Friday, July 03, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers for July 03, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending July 03, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

No surprise at all to find last week's featured mystery, Finger Lickin' Fifteen by , at the top of the list this week, shifting the other top bestsellers down a notch.

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

New in the top 15 is a book that has just missed the list since its publication two weeks ago, the 9th Joe Pickett mystery Below Zero by . Below Zero begins with an unassuming phone message: “Tell Sherry April called.” But Sherry—Joe Pickett’s oldest daughter, Sheridan—and the Pickett family are shaken to the core. April, Pickett’s foster daughter, was killed in a horrific murder and arson spree six years prior. To Joe, it doesn’t seem even remotely possible that April could have survived the massacre described in Winterkill. He was there. But Sherry starts to believe there’s a chance that April is still alive; the girl on the other end of the phone is able to recall family incidents that only April could know. Joe, however, remains suspicious, especially when he discovers that the calls have been placed from locations where serious crimes have occurred. At the same time, an older man and a much younger girl cross the country. The man is on a mission to repent for the crimes he’s committed against the environment during his lifetime. He ultimately wants to offset each incident until he not only becomes carbon neutral, but actually drops below zero—as if he’s never existed. As the path of these travelers starts to intersect with the Pickett family’s, the question is raised: Is this young girl April—or are Joe and his family the victims of the cruelest of hoaxes? Publishers Weekly calls Below Zero a "relentlessly paced powder keg of a thriller [that] could be Box's best to date."

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet EvanovichThe Scarecrow by Michael ConnellyDead and Gone by Charlaine HarrisGone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Agatha Christie Marple Series 4 Debuts This Sunday on PBS

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: Series 4

A new face takes on the role of a most familiar spinster sleuth this summer in the fourth series of Agatha Christie: Marple on PBS. Julia McKenzie, best known to Masterpiece audiences for her portrayal of Mrs. Forrester in the acclaimed series Cranford, brings her distinctive style to the role. "I think Julia is a very different character than the other actresses who played Miss Marple recently, and more different than people who played her a long time ago," says Christie's grandson Mathew Prichard. "... I think audiences will love her."

In an adaptation of Christie's A Pocket Full of Rye, which airs this Sunday (July 5th, check your local listings) and is the first of four new episodes to be broadcast, businessman Rex Fortescue drops dead after breakfast, apparently poisoned. The only clue is incomprehensible — grain found in his suit pocket. It's obvious that Fortescue isn't exactly missed. Between his estranged and angry children and a wife who seems to not be at a loss for comfort, the Fortescue house is full of secrets. Inspector Neele is dispatched to investigate, but makes little progress until the arrival of Miss Marple. For Marple, the case is child's play — the killer seems inspired by the rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence." As the murders pile up, Marple discovers a motive as dark as blackbirds.

Agatha Christie's Miss Marple Series 4 will be released on DVD on August 4th.

Watch a video preview of the series below:

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Mystery Savings: Last Weekend for B&N's Buy 2 Get 1 Free DVD and Blu-ray Sale!

Mystery Savings: Discounted Products and Services on Books, Movies, and more!

Mystery Savings periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing mystery-themed products and services products through our partner websites. Below is a special offer recently received by us that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

This is the final weekend of Barnes&Noble's DVD and Blu-ray Buy 2 Get the 3rd Free promotion! More than 35,000 specially marked titles are included. Simply click on the banner below and when you purchase three (3) or more DVDs or Blu-ray discs with the FREE DVD & BLU-RAY OFFER icon, you get the least expensive DVD or Blu-ray disc for free. Your credit for the least expensive disc will appear at checkout. This offer is valid for one order per individual. This offer may not be combined with any other coupon or any discount promotion. Barnes & Noble Member program discounts will apply. Shipping charges may also apply.

But hurry! This offer ends July 07, 2009 at 2:59 AM ET.

Buy 2 DVDs, Get the 3rd FREE

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New Poster Released for Surrogates with Bruce Willis

Poster: Surrogates with Bruce Willis

In mid-May we posted a trailer for the new futuristic thriller Surrogates starring Bruce Willis as a detective forced to leave his home to investigate a mysterious murder of a college student linked to a techno-terrorist bent on returning society to a time when people lived their lives instead of merely experiencing them.

Now, thanks to, we get to see the poster Touchstone Pictures, a division of Disney, has released for the film.

Surrogates is based on the graphic novel The Surrogates by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. A special edition hardcover edition of The Surrogates is scheduled for a July 2009 release and is intended as a companion volume to the film.

Bruce Willis ... a mysterious murder ... adapted from a novel that Publishers Weekly said "comes heartily recommended" ... what more could one ask for in a film? Surrogates will be in theaters September 25th.

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Games of Mystery: G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles, Phantom of the Renaissance Faire, New at Big Fish Games

G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire

G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire finds you hot on the trail of a menacing and terrifying ghost. This vengeful ghost has damaged attractions, vandalized shops and has driven away the park patrons. Inspect the park and determine if this is indeed ghostly activity or just a cruel and disastrous hoax. It is up to you to find out who is behind the haunting at the Renaissance Faire in this exciting hidden object adventure game.

G.H.O.S.T. Chronicles: Phantom of the Renaissance Faire may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (114.87 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

BBC Films Acquires Rights to William Boyd's Thriller Ordinary Thunderstorms

Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd

Variety is reporting that the film rights to William Boyd's new thriller Ordinary Thunderstorms have been acquired by Origin Pictures and BBC Films. What's rather remarkable is that the book isn't scheduled for publication in the UK until September, and until Janury 2010 in the US.

Boyd will write the screenplay. Two of his previous books were adapted for the screen: A Good Man in Africa as a film in 1994 and Armadillo as a TV series in 2001.

About Ordinary Thunderstorms: Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in London for a job interview, ambles along the Embankment, admiring the view. He is pleasantly surprised to come across a little Italian bistro down a leafy side street. During his meal he strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterwards. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents through which Adam will lose everything -- home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, mobile phone -- never to get them back. The police are searching for him. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him. He is alone and anonymous in a huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go but down - underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing that throng London's lowest levels as he tries to figure out what to do with his life and struggles to understand the forces that have made it unravel so spectacularly.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tom Selleck Talks About His Series Character Jesse Stone

Jesse Stone (A Mystery TV Movie)

Doug Nye of the McClatchy-Tribune News Service (and as reported on Silicon Valley recently had a conversation with Tom Selleck, who plays Paradise (MA) police chief Jesse Stone in a series of popular made-for-television movies that have aired on CBS. The movies are based on a character created by mystery author Robert B. Parker. The most recent of these, Thin Ice, was recently released on DVD.

Selleck, who is probably best known playing Thomas Magnum on the long-running series Magnum P.I. wasn't looking to do another character when CBS approached him 5 years ago. "They asked me about doing a movie with them," Selleck said. "I wasn't crazy about the idea because I didn't want to be involved in another one of those movies of the week. They look like TV movies. I told them I would do it if we could do something that looked like a feature film that had been sold to television." The first movie, Stone Cold, which originally aired in February 2005, was a critical and ratings success.

When asked how many Jesse Stone movies there will be, "I don't see an end to it as long as we stay true to the character," Selleck said. "Parker asked us for only two things: to continue Jesse's struggles with his ex-wife and his drinking problem. These are a series of films where the characters are more important than the crime or mystery that is being investigated."

A sixth movie, Jesse Stone: No Remorse, has completed filming but no air date has been set by CBS.

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Mystery Book Review: In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff

A Simon Ziele Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-54490-1 (0312544901)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-54490-4 (9780312544904)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Stefanie Pintoff introduces young police detective Simon Ziele investigating a brutal murder among New York's upper class in In the Shadow of Gotham, which won the Mystery Writers of America / St. Martin's Minotaur First Crime Novel Award in 2008.

Set in late 1905, Simon Ziele is the new police detective in Dobson, a small community of wealthy residents situated along the Hudson River north of New York City. Murder is all but unheard of here, but the niece of a prominent family, Sarah Wingate, is found stabbed, her face beaten so badly it is nearly unrecognizable, and part of her hair cut off. There are no witnesses and, worse for Ziele and his partner and boss Joe Healy, no motive or suspect. Then an academic researcher from Columbia, where the victim attended graduate school studying Mathematics, one Alistair Sinclair, puts forth an interesting premise: a man he's been studying, Michael Fromley, fits the profile of the killer. Sinclair is even able to provide unpublished details about the murder scene without having visited it. Despite no physical evidence linking Fromley (who, to no one's surprise, has disappeared) to Sarah Wingate, Ziele, working with Sinclair, begins to link together the disparate threads that tie the two together and form the foundation for an arrest and conviction.

In the Shadow of Gotham is a beautifully written, atmospheric novel, replete with historical details that relate to the time and place of the story. But it's also rather flat, lifeless as it were. The story is told from the perspective of Ziele, who is a very analytical person. He's just beginning to use the new science of forensics, and is very detail oriented. So it's probably not unexpected that the narrative is analytical as well. But after a while it gets somewhat monotonous, not necessarily uninteresting, but unexciting. For example, early in the book Ziele says, "Like me, he [crime photographer Peter] attempted to sanitize the horror of this crime by reducing it to base analytical terms. Today, in the midst of so much blood, I had trouble facing up to the Wingate crime scene. But tomorrow I would have no difficulty reviewing and analyzing the autopsy report. It was always far easier to deal with the violence of murder when it was reduced to words and facts on paper." And that's what happens, in large part, in the book: everything is simply reduced to words and facts on paper, well crafted and thought out though they most certainly are. Which would probably be sufficient and satisfactory if Ziele himself were more animated, more interesting in his own right. When asked at one point, "'When you arrest a man for a particularly heinous crime, don't you often wonder why he did it?'", Ziele says to the reader, "I had to confess I did not."

Still, it's hard not to appreciate the writer's skill in creating a probable pathway for Ziele's case all the while deftly inserting clues that ultimately lead in another direction. In the Shadow of Gotham is a fine start to the series, but one wonders how much more memorable it might have been had it been more spirited, more energetic.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of In the Shadow of Gotham for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Dobson, New York, 1905.

Detective Simon Ziele lost his fiancĂ©e in the General Slocum ferry disaster—a thousand perished on that summer day in 1904 when an onboard fire burned the boat down in the waters of the East River. Still reeling from the tragedy, Ziele transferred to a police department north of New York, to escape the city and all the memories it conjured.

But only a few months into his new life in a quiet country town, he’s faced with the most shocking homicide of his career to date: Young Sarah Wingate has been brutally murdered in her own bedroom in the middle of an otherwise calm and quiet winter afternoon. After just one day of investigation, Simon’s contacted by Columbia University’s noted criminologist Alistair Sinclair, who offers a startling claim about one of his patients, Michael Fromley—that the facts of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to Fromley’s deranged mutterings.

But what would have led Fromley, with his history of violent behavior and brutal fantasies, to seek out Sarah, a notable mathematics student and a proper young lady who has little in common with his previous targets? Is Fromley really a murderer, or is someone mimicking him?

This is what Simon Ziele must find out, with the help of the brilliant but self-interested Alistair Sinclair—before the killer strikes again.

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ABC to Publish a Castle Tie-In Mystery Novel "Written" by Richard Castle

Castle (A Mystery on TV Series)

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that ABC television will promote the second season of Castle by publishing a mystery novel "written" by the series lead, Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion).

Titled Heat Wave, the first chapter will be available on on August 10th. Additional chapters will be posted weekly for 10 weeks. The real author of the book has not been identified.

Castle premiered as a mid-season replacement for the network earlier this year. In the opening episode, a killer is staging murder scenes depicted in Castle's bestselling mysteries. He teams up with Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) to solve the crime. Later episodes have Castle and Beckett continuing to work together and bring a hint of romance between the two series leads.

The first season of Castle will be available on DVD September 22, 2009.

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Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in July 2009 Mysteries

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of with books scheduled for publication this month. In this post, which we're calling Firsts on the 1st, we're introducing readers to new series characters who will make their debut during July.

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Bait by Nick Brownlee

Title: Bait
Author: Nick Brownlee
Series Characters: Jake Moore and Daniel Jouma

What we know about the characters: Ex-Scotland Yard detective Jake Moore's career was cut short by a bullet 10 years ago; now he runs a game fishing business in the Kenyan city of Mombasa. Daniel Jouma is a police detective in Mombasa, seemingly the only good cop in a city where corruption is king.

Their first case: Daniel asks Jake for his help in solving a baffling murder, and the two men find themselves drawn into a deadly conspiracy involving local hoodlums, murderous ex-pats, and a mysterious and psychopathic kingpin who presides over a sickening trade in innocent human life.

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Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

Title: Wife of the Gods
Author: Kwei Quartey
Series Character: Darko Dawson

What we know about the character: Darko Dawson is a Detective Inspector in Ghana's capital city of Accra.

His first case: Dawson is sent to the small town of Ketanu, where a young woman–a promising med student–has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Eager to close the case, the local police have arrested a poor, enamored teenage boy and charged him with murder. Needless to say, they are less than thrilled when an outside force arrives from the big city to lead an inquiry into the baffling case.

Additional note: Mysterious Reviews is scheduled to review Wife of the Gods during the month. This post will be updated with a link when the review is available.

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A Deadly Habit by Andrea J. Sisco

Title: A Deadly Habit
Author: Andrea J. Sisco
Series Character: Penelope Santucci

What we know about the character: Penelope "Pen" Santucci is a probation officer in Hennepin County (Minneapolis, Minnesota).

Her first case: When Pen was a child, she dreamt of being a nun. She dressed in bed sheets and roller-skated regularly into the confessional of Father Daniel Kopecky, fabricating sins only an 8-year-old could invent. As a 27-year-old woman, she's doing the same thing, sans the roller skates and bed sheets. Only this time, she isn't inventing stories. She's confessing her involvement in a murder; a murder she didn't commit, but one in which she is the most promising suspect.

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The Innocent Spy by Laura Wilson

Title: The Innocent Spy
Author: Laura Wilson
Series Character: Ted Stratton

What we know about the character: Ted Stratton is a Detective Inspector in Central London. The series is set during the Second World War.

His first case: When the body of silent screen star Mabel Morgan is found impaled on railings in Fitzrovia, the coroner rules her death as suicide, but DI Stratton is not convinced. Despite opposition from his superiors, he starts asking questions, and it becomes clear that Morgan’s fatal fall from a high window may have been the work of one of Soho’s most notorious gangsters.

Additional note: The Innocent Spy (original UK title: Stratton's War) was the winner of the 2008 Ellis Peters Award for Best Historical Crime Novel.

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during July, please visit our home page. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with July 2009 releases.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Harlequin Worldwide Mystery Titles for July 2009 has announced the July 2009 titles for their Worldwide imprint, your partner in crime. Amateur sleuths, traditional cozies, police procedurals and private-eye fiction, written by award-winning authors. To purchase any of the books below, click on the book title or the book cover. (Previous months titles can be found on the backlist page. Note: The book cover images were not available on the site as of the date of this post; the hardcover/trade paperback covers are shown instead.)

Orange as Marmalade by Fran Stewart

Orange as Marmalade by Fran Stewart
A Biscuit McKee Mystery (1st in series)

There aren't many secrets between folks in small old Southern towns like Martinsville, Georgia. But when someone is found murdered in the local library, even the biggest gossips are speechless. First on the scene in the wee hours is a curious cat named Marmalade, followed later by the new librarian, Biscuit McKee. She finds the victim—Harlan Schneider, a young, good-looking nature photographer—stabbed through the heart.

Everyone seems genuinely puzzled as to why the man was in the library, and how he came to draw his last breath on the second-floor landing. Between getting ready for her upcoming wedding to the town's only police officer and poking her nose into Martinsville's colorful history, Biscuit—with help from her tenacious feline companion—manages to identify the surprising motive, means … and murderer.

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Paint the Town Dead by Nancy Bell

Paint the Town Dead by Nancy Bell
A Jackson Crain Mystery (3rd in series)

When the lifeless body of local real estate king Tom Delgado is found, the discovery stirs up all kinds of gossip in Post Oak, Texas. Suspicion falls on his widow, Dovie, who discovered that funds from her husband's sizable bank account—as well as his affections—had been going to flashy Dallas television evangelist Mary Dobbs McDermott.

Luckily, nothing happens down home in the small East Texas town without the knowledge of mild-mannered, quick-witted judge Jackson Crain. And he's the first to figure out that the mesmerizing preacher woman has a sinfully sordid past. One that includes seducing a rich married man and sending his wife off the deep end? Maybe. But as the evidence piles up against Dovie Delgado, the judge brings his own brand of Southern barbecue to smoke out the true killer before an innocent woman gets cooked.

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Murder on the ICW by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter

Murder on the ICW by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter
A Wilmington NC Mystery (5th in series)

The mix of old and new continues to intrigue Wilmington, North Carolina, historic preservationist Ashley Wilkes, especially with the discovery of a decades-old murder. The skeletal remains of a Prohibition-era federal agent are found buried beneath the rubble of an old moonshine operation in a hunting lodge Ashley plans to renovate. But this mysterious bit of history mirrors something infinitely more dramatic and dangerous in Ashley's personal life: the bodies of young, healthy men who all have one thing in common …

Ashley's gorgeous sister, Melanie.

Police suspect her man-magnet sister is a killer, but Ashley's innate ability to reconstruct the past tells of a motive that runs much deeper. As she pushes to find out who is killing the swinging bachelors of Wilmington, she tangles with a killer with enough dark history and blood on his hands to paint the town—and Ashley's short-lived future—red.

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If you enjoy the books in this series, you can join Worldwide Mystery and get 2 free books plus 2 free gifts just for giving the automatic program a try. Accepting your two free Worldwide Mystery books and mystery gifts places you under no obligation to buy anything. You may keep the books and gifts and return the shipping statement marked cancel. If you do not cancel, about two months later, and then every other month, eHarlequin will send you three additional Worldwide Mystery books.

Keep up to date by subscribing to's free newsletter that contains the latest information about their series of books as well as informing you about subscriber-only special offers and new products. Click on the banner below to subscribe for free:

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Harlequin Mira Mystery and Suspense Titles for July 2009 has announced the July 2009 titles for their Mira imprint, the brightest stars in women's fiction. From all titles available, we've only listed those that are mystery, thriller, or suspense on this page. To purchase any of the books below, click on the book title or the book cover. (Previous months titles can be found on the backlist page.)

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
A Charlotte "Charlie" McNally Mystery (1st in series)

In the cutthroat world of television journalism, seasoned reporter Charlotte McNally knows that she'd better pull out all the stops or kiss her job goodbye. But it's her life that might be on the line when she learns that an innocent-looking e-mail offer resulted in murder, mayhem and a multimillion-dollar fraud ring.

All too soon her investigation leads her straight to Josh Gelston, who is a little too helpful and a lot too handsome. Charlie might have a nose for news, but men are a whole other matter. Now she has to decide whether she can trust Josh…before she ends up as the next lead story.

Mystery Book Review: Prime Time by Hank Phillippi RyanRead our Review of Prime Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan.

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The Mist by Carla Neggers

The Mist by Carla Neggers

When Lizzie Rush uncovers evidence that thrill-seeking billionaire Norman Estabrook may be at the center of an international criminal network, she finds herself playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Raised in the elite world of her hotelier family, educated in reality by her spy father, Lizzie is the perfect choice to slowly amass information that will take down Estabrook. But no good deed goes unpunished.

Despite Norman's arrest, Lizzie knows she's not safe. Estabrook will stop at nothing to exact revenge against the people who took him down—unless she stops him first. When she learns of a bomb that's about to go off in Boston, her instincts are proven right. But her warning doesn't come quickly enough. One detective is seriously injured in the blast and another, the FBI director's daughter, disappears. Then intelligence officer Will Davenport arrives with a single, simple message: Norman Estabrook is gone.

Lizzie doesn't know how Will found her or whose side he's on, but she does know he can help her prevent the killers from striking again. Now Lizzie—a woman who's spent the past year shrouded in a fog of deception—has no choice but to trust Will, a man who lives by a code of personal honor and answers to no one. At least until the mist clears and the frightening truth is revealed.

— ◊ —

Red Blooded Murder by Laura Caldwell

Red Blooded Murder by Laura Caldwell
An Izzy McNeil Mystery (2nd in series)

Chicago is the Windy City, and these days the winds of change are whipping Izzy McNeil's life all over the map. A high-profile job on Trial TV lands her in the hot seat. After a shocking end to her engagement, she finds herself juggling not only her ex-fiancé, but a guy she never expected. And a moonlighting undercover gig has her digging deep into worlds she barely knew existed.

But all of this takes a backseat when Izzy's friend winds up brutally murdered. Suddenly, Izzy must balance the demands of a voracious media and the knowledge that she didn't know her friend as well as she thought.

— ◊ —

Fan Mail by P. D. Martin

Fan Mail by P. D. Martin
A Sophie Anderson Mystery (3rd in series)

Getting into a killer's mind is both a blessing and a curse for FBI profiler Sophie Anderson. The agent suffers through brutal premonitions in order to save lives. Now a resident of Los Angeles, Sophie is working on a case where fiction has become fatal. A popular crime writer is sexually mutilated, strangled and marked with an eerie lipstick kiss…just like the crime scene in the dead author's last book.

As more writers are punished for their dark imaginations, there is a recurring theme—a chilling fan letter that arrives before each murder. In order to stop the slaughter, Sophie must delve into the writings of the dead authors. But the sinister mind behind the crimes is linked to an unsolved case from Sophie's past. And that person is determined to create a killer ending.

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Outcast by Joan Johnston

Outcast by Joan Johnston

Society bachelor and former army sniper Ben Benedict moves between two worlds—from high-society Washington to the mean city streets, from tuxedos to Glocks. His powerful Virginia family wants him out of harm's way, but Ben stays on the job, determined to make amends for a past that haunts him.

Dr. Anna Schuster is fighting demons of her own when she crosses paths with Agent Benedict. The two become adversaries—and lovers—as they search for an Al Qaeda operative bent on revenge.

Ben must fight against time—and his own darkness—to rescue millions of innocents and the woman he loves from a virulent bioweapon in the hands of a dangerous enemy.

— ◊ —

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Mystery Book Review: And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman

A Delia Truesdale Mystery

Point (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-545-08722-8 (0545087228)
ISBN-13: 978-0-545-08722-3 (9780545087223)
Publication Date: July 2009
List Price: $16.99

Review: Jennifer Sturman’s 5th novel, but her first for young adults, And Then Everything Unraveled, introduces Delia Truesdale, a surfing loving California Girl enjoying the summer. That is, as the title says, until everything unravels. Delia's mother is dead, or so the public thinks.

Delia, on the other hand, knows that her mother is too organized to disappear for no apparent reason. Delia fights everyone she knows, arguing that her mother is still alive and in danger and that they must find her. Nobody listens. Instead of helping her, they send her away to live with her two aunts, one a posh snob the other a "downtown bohemian", who bicker with each other on the future for the child. When sent to a rich school, Delia can't figure out how she’s going to find her mother when a guy enters the picture. Now her life gets even crazier as she can't figure out whether or not to focus on the guy or finding her mom. Nobody is what they seem … and then everything unravels.

This book was very interesting. I felt the mystery solving part of it was way too underground. Most of the book was about how wacky Delia’s social life is and about this guy at school. Some readers, boys my age, couldn’t care less about how cute the guy was. I wanted to know whether or not she was making any progress finding her mother in this mystery. I wanted to know where her mom was, whether she was in Argentina or Antarctica. Sure, the rest of it, such as the imagery and the creativity, was excellent but the content of the mystery was minimal. Also it seems that the author is going to have a second book in the series, or maybe a sequel, because it ends in a very abrupt manner.

And Then Everything Unraveled is an average book. As a mystery, it wasn’t much of one. The other aspects of the book, however, were right on. The group that would enjoy this book would be late middle school to early high school girls. Boys would find the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship stuff boring and uneventful.

Special thanks to Alex Nauert for contributing his review of And Then Everything Unraveled and to Point for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Alex Nauert — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Delia Truesdale has no idea her life's about to change forever. She's too busy enjoying the California summer. Her internet tycoon mother, T.K. Truesdale, is out of town, and that means Delia can spend all her time at the beach, surfing. That is, until everything unravels.

Her mother suddenly goes missing, and everyone thinks she's dead - excpet Delia, who knows T.K.'s way too organized to simply disappear. But Delia's still sent to New York to live with her two aunts -- a downtown bohemian and an uptown ice queen.

And in case that's not bad enough, she also has to deal with a snooty new school and trying not to fall for the wrong guy. Oh, and finding her mother.

As she delves deeper into the tangle of conspiracies and lies surrounding T.K.'s disappearance, Delia begins to suspect that the wrong guy may be the right guy ... and that some secrets -- especially the dangerous ones - were never meant to be unraveled.

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