Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Harlequin Worldwide Mystery Titles for September 2009 has announced the September 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.)

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Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon

Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon
A Theda Krakow Mystery (3rd in series)

The hit-and-run death of a radical animal rights activist on the snowy streets of Boston appears to be an accident. Freelance music journalist Theda Krakow knew the woman, as did her best friend, punk musician and animal-shelter owner Violet, who shares with Theda her dark fears about the dead woman and strange doings in the local music scene.

Tensions are rife among members of a highly charged activist group, Animals Now. Theda suspects there may be a link to a new designer drug that's making its way around the city, creating a wave of overdoses. When evidence proves that the accident victim was actually killed by drug poisoning, Theda begins to connect the dots. But now she's targeted by dangerous characters who want to make sure the cat gets her tongue—permanently.

Mystery Book Review: Cries and Whiskers by Clea SimonRead our Review of Cries and Whiskers by Clea Simon.

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Valley of Death by Helen Goodman

Valley of Death by Helen Goodman

Predictability can be a nice perk to small-town life—a nicety Allison Aldridge notes when her life suddenly becomes quite unpredictable. Somebody broke in to her classroom and her house, and now her elderly neighbor is missing. Something is very wrong in her peaceful little valley. And, like it or not, she's part of it.

The missing woman, Malvina, left suddenly without her medication, leaving only a scribbled note about visiting her sister. But she never arrived. Her husband, Leroy, claims to be as confused as everybody else—until they find his dead body tangled in a paper-rolling machine. Add a counterfeit ring, odd antics by some locals, and it's clear that danger is becoming routine. And that Allison has something somebody wants from her—whether she's dead or alive.

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Scent of Danger by Doranna Durgin

Scent of Danger by Doranna Durgin
A Dale Kinsall Mystery (2nd in series)

The average crazy day for a vet like Dale Kinsall is a waiting room of furry patients and a staff of colorful eccentrics who like to meddle. But anonymous notes? Actually, make that anonymous rhymes? At first, he thought they were a joke—some kind of game. Now the hint of menace is palpable.

Whoever is leaving the notes has full access within the locked doors of the clinic. Odder, the notes seem to coincide with a wave of Hanta fever, spreading outside Flagstaff. When the love interest in Dale's life, Laura, contracts the fever and the strange notes pile up, Dale knows he's running out of time. But thanks to a clue courtesy of his beagle—who has a nose for trouble that surpasses that of his human companion—Dale makes a shocking discovery.

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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.

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Harlequin Mira Mystery and Suspense Titles for September 2009 has announced the September 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.)

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Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina

Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina

The murder of a brokenhearted woman …

The body of Bernice Hogan, a troubled young former nursing student with a tragic past, is found in a shallow grave near a forest creek.

… and the chilling disappearance of her friend …

Jolene Peller, a single mom struggling to build a new life with her little boy, vanishes the night she tries to find Bernice.

… raise questions about their ties to a respected detective …

Hero cop Karl Styebeck is beloved by his community, but privately police are uneasy with the answers he gives to protect the life—and the lie—he's lived.

… and lead to one journalist's obsession to find the truth …

The case haunts Jack Gannon, a gritty, blue-collar reporter whose own sister ran away from their family years ago. Gannon risks more than his job to pursue the story behind Styebeck's dark secret, his link to the women, and the mysterious big rig roaming America's loneliest highways on its descent into eternal darkness.

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Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
A Charlotte "Charlie" McNally Mystery (3nd in series)

When savvy TV reporter Charlotte McNally enters the glamorous world of high fashion, she soon discovers that when the purses are fake—the danger is real. And no one can be trusted!

Now Charlotte can't tell the real from the fake as she goes undercover to bring the couture counterfeiters to justice—and in her struggle to answer an all-important, life-changing question from a certain handsome professor…

The one thing Charlotte knows for sure is that the wrong choice could be the last decision she ever makes!

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Exposed by Alex Kava

Exposed by Alex Kava
A Maggie O'Dell Mystery (6th in series)

Veteran FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell and Assistant Director Cunningham believed the threat targeted Quantico. It targeted them.

A deadly virus—virtually undetectable until it causes death from a million internal cuts. The victims appear random, but Maggie wonders if vengeance isn't the guiding hand.

An aficionado of contemporary killers, using bits and pieces from their crimes—the Beltway Sniper's phrases, the Unabomber's clues, the Anthrax Killer's delivery.

Maggie knows dangerous minds, but she must tackle this new opponent from within a biosafety isolation ward—while waiting to see if death is already multiplying inside her body. She just fears her last case might end with the most intelligent killer she's ever faced escalating from murder … to epidemic.

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Blind Eye by Jan Coffey

Blind Eye by Jan Coffey

Counting down to a Chernobyl-scale disaster, the clock starts now …

Tick …

Scientist Marion Kagan is the sole survivor after gunmen attack the facility where her team was working on a top secret project. Wounded and trapped in a collapsed building, Marion must stop radioactive test samples from leaking out and killing millions.

… tick …

In a Connecticut psychiatric hospital, Marion's twin sister, who has been in a comalike state for years, begins to thrash violently in her bed. When an experimental program is used on her to read the images of her brain, researchers are shocked at what they find.

… tick …

An American soldier just back from Iraq is searching for direction in his life. While he watches the news about the research facility explosion, he is unaware that fate has just chosen a direction for him—straight into a deadly game of international corporate intrigue.

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The Perfect Liar by Brenda Novak

The Perfect Liar by Brenda Novak
A Last Stand Mystery (5th in series)

Obsession leads to lies …

When air force captain Luke Trussell opens his door one Sunday morning, he's shocked to find the police—and even more shocked when they charge him with rape. He knows he made a mistake in judgment the night before, but he certainly didn't force his attentions on the woman who's been stalking him for months.

Problem is…Karina Harter has the bruises—and the DNA evidence—to make her claim convincing.

… and lies can lead to murder.

Determined to isolate Luke, Karina goes to victims' rights advocate Ava Bixby of The Last Stand, hoping Ava will help put Luke behind bars. But Ava soon realizes she's defending the wrong victim.

Problem is … switching her support to Luke could be dangerous—especially when she falls for him. Because Karina won't tolerate losing the man she wants to anyone. Least of all Ava.

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Dark Road Home by Karen Harper

Dark Road Home by Karen Harper
An Amish Maplecreek Thriller

After a murder case threatens her safety, attorney Brooke Benton seeks sanctuary in the quiet Amish community of Maplecreek. Although the locals disagree with her worldly ways, she soon manages to find a place in their lives. But when a tragic hit-and-run accident turns fatal, Brooke cannot abide by the community's belief in absolute forgiveness. She wants answers.

Daniel Brand left his childhood home to explore the outside world years ago. Now he has returned to his Amish roots, and worldly Brooke Benton does not fit into his plans. But when his niece dies, he slowly agrees that they must bring to justice the driver who killed her—especially when a silent presence continues to threaten the community. Together, Brooke and Daniel begin a journey along a dark road, hoping to bring peace to the small community…and maybe lead their hearts home.

Three more Amish Maplecreek thrillers by Karen Harper are featured this month: Down to the Bone, Dark Harvest, and Dark Angel.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Guardian Profiles Crime Novelist Dick Francis and his son Felix Francis

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

The Guardian ran a profile over the weekend on author Dick Francis, the prolific former jockey whose mysteries set in the world of horse racing are perennial bestsellers. His latest thriller, Even Money, co-written with his son Felix Francis, was published last week by Putnam.

The Guardian article notes that Francis' novels have always been family affairs. For many years, his wife Mary (who died in 2000) was his primary researcher, but the author credits his entire family for the twists and turns of his plots, the authenticity of his characters, and insights into the world of horses and racing.

But following Mary's death, it looked like Francis wouldn't write any more books. His son Felix changed that. "Dick Francis is a brand," says Felix. "And I mean to carry it on." Their first collaboration, Under Orders, published in 2006, was a success.

What's next for the writing team? Felix's youngest son William has just graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. "I think it's fair to say you can expect a plot featuring a soldier soon."

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Synopsis of Even Money: On the first day of Royal Ascot, the world's most famous horse race, the crowd rejoices in a string of winning favorites. Ned Talbot has worked all his life as a bookmaker -- taking over the family business from his grandfather -- so he knows not to expect any sympathy from the punters as they count their winnings, and he his losses. He's seen the ups and downs before, but, as the big gambling conglomerates muscle in on small concerns like his, Ned wonders if it's worth it any more.

When a gray-haired man steps forward from the crowd claiming to be his father, Ned's life is thrown into far deeper turmoil. He'd been told since he was a baby that his parents had died in a car crash.

Barely an hour later, his newly found father is stabbed by an unknown assailant in the Ascot parking lot. Blood oozing from his abdomen, his father warns Ned to "be very careful." But of whom? Of what? Ned finds himself in a race to solve his father's riddle -- a race where coming in second could cost him more than even money -- it could cost him his life.

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CWA Announces New Sponsorship and Award

TNT Television

The Crime Writers Association announced today that they will merge their annual Dagger awards for crime writing for the next three years with an award sponsored by Cactus TV, ITV3, and Specsavers, an eyewear company, and now collectively called the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards (though the CWA will apparently continue to call them the "Daggers"). The winners will be announced October 21st, with the shortlists published this Friday, September 4th.

CWA chair Margaret Murphy said "The CWA Daggers have been synonymous with quality crime writing for over 50 years. This exciting partnership with Cactus TV and ITV3 will enable us to create a mass media platform for the CWA's proud heritage in recognising great crime writing talent."

The new award being given out this year is the ITV3 Bestseller Dagger sponsored by Specsavers. The winner will be chosen by ITV3 viewers. Other awards to be given out include the Gold Dagger, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and the John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

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Mystery Book Review: Change-Up by John Feinstein

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Change-Up by John Feinstein. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Change-Up by John Feinstein

A Steve and Susan Sports Mystery

Knopf (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-375-85636-6 (0375856366)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-85636-5 (9780375856365)
Publication Date: August 2009
List Price: $16.99

Review: Anyone who's into baseball only dreams of being a part of the World Series. Well that's one of the many jobs teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are able to get. Now they are covering the 2009 World Series and it's a matchup between the infamous Red Sox and the underdog Washington Nationals. With this amazing achievement there is bound to be something fishy, but what is it?

The Washington Nationals, the Washington D.C. baseball team, have done the unthinkable. They have made it to the 2009 World Series; their opponent will be the feared Boston Red Sox. In the midst of the partying and commotion, Stevie runs into a man outside of all the happiness. His name is Norbert Doyle, a minor league pitcher who never expected to make it in the majors, let alone the playoffs, and a man still mourning the loss of his wife several years earlier, raising two kids on his own. Stevie thinks a human interest, behind-the-scenes profile would be a great article for his paper. They decided to meet and discuss more when the team arrived in Boston. During their conversation there, the coach came and wanted to speak to Norbert for a bit. So Stevie and Susan talked with Norbert's kids, David and Morra, about how their dad was. Then Norbert came back with a scared expression on his face. He said, "I'm pitching Game 2 of World Series." Stevie then realized he had an even bigger story on his hands than he thought. But as the young reporters looked more and more into Doyle's life they began to wonder whether everything they had heard was true.

This book would be excellent for any sports fan ever or even any boy looking for a good mystery to read. It would be particularly good for boys in middle school because guys could relate to Stevie's experiences and would enjoy the conflict Stevie has to go through. Also any sports fan would love the book because it is heavily based on the game of baseball and many of the terms that are used are baseball terms. I personally just adored the book it was easily one of if not the best sports mystery I have ever read. Stevie actually was able to act like a detective while not losing that sporty kid feel that you would know him to be. It was just an amazingly well put together book. Truthfully I didn't expect too much, thinking it was just a mystery with a sports setting. I was really blown away.

In the end I would give this book an all out five stars. It was just excellent; nothing was truly bad about it, everything was just fabulous. There are three other books that John Feinstein has written but they really can all stand alone, they don't rely on each other to pull the reader through.

Special thanks to Alex (age 14) for contributing his review of Change-Up and to Random House 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): Teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are covering baseball’s World Series, and during the course of an interview with a new hot pitcher, they discover more than a few contradictions in his life story. What’s he hiding? An embarrassing secret? A possible crime? Let the investigation begin!

Change-Up is the fourth mystery in this series, which won an Edgar Award in 2006 for its debut title, Last Shot.

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TNT Orders 3rd Season of Crime Caper Leverage

TNT Television

TNT announced in a press release last week that it has renewed the crime caper drama Leverage for a third season, ordering 15 episodes of the series. Leverage is currently airing on Wednesdays at 9 PM (ET/PT); it airs its summer finale on September 9th and will return with the final episodes of the second season later this year. The third season is scheduled to debut next summer.

Leverage stars Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, a former insurance investigator determined to bring down the kind of corrupt bigwigs whose neglect led to the death of his son. His highly skilled team includes Sophie Devereaux (Gina Bellman), a grifter who uses her acting skills to corner her marks; Eliot Spencer (Christian Kane), a “retrieval specialist” with bone-crunching fighting skills; Alec Hardison (Aldis Hodge), a gadget and technology wizard who keeps the team connected and informed; and Parker (Beth Riesgraf), a slightly off-center thief adept at rappelling off buildings or squeezing into tight places.

The first season of Leverage is available on DVD from Mysteries on TV.

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The Mystery Bookshelf: The Tick of Death by Peter Lovesey, a Sergeant Cribb Investigation

The Mystery Bookshelf: Discover a Library of New Mysteries

The Mystery Bookshelf, where you can discover a library of new mysteries, is pleased to feature a new mystery series title we recently received from the publisher.

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The Tick of Death by Peter Lovesey
A Sergeant Cribb Investigation
Soho Constable (Trade Paperback)
Publication Date: September 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-596-6

The Tick of Death by Peter Lovesey
More Information About The Tick of Death by Peter Lovesey

About The Tick of Death (from the publisher): The year is 1884 and a series of bomb blasts has caused mayhem in London. The perpetrators are Irishmen seeking independence. One of the “infernal machines” has even bombed the CID office at Scotland Yard. Worse, Constable Thackeray is suspected of conspiring with the terrorists.

Reluctantly Sergeant Cribb attends a course in the science of bomb-making and infiltrates the Dynamite Party.

Originally published in the UK in 1974 as Invitation to a Dynamite Party.

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About Peter Lovesey: The author of 26 highly praised mystery novels who has been awarded the CWA Gold, Silver, and Diamond Daggers as well as many US honors, he lives in West Sussex, England. Visit his website at

Mysterious Reviews: Mysteries Reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery BooksMysteries by Peter Lovesey reviewed by Mysterious Reviews: The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (2008), The Secret Hangman (2008), Wobble to Death (2008), Abracadaver (2009), and Mad Hatter's Holiday (2009).

Mystery Book Review: Peace, Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Peace, Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Peace, Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner

A Bo Forrester Mystery

Five Star (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59414-775-2 (1594147752)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-775-3 (9781594147753)
Publication Date: August 2009
List Price: $25.95

Review: Nancy Holzner introduces upstate New York cab driver Bo Forrester who's under suspicion after police stop him for a minor traffic violation and then find a body in the trunk of his car in Peace, Love, and Murder.

The dead man is Fred Davies, founder of the Davies Foundation for the Arts, which operated the Finger Lake Artists in Residence program, promoting promising talent who passed their rigorous application process. Though Bo isn't a suspect, he's a person of interest and Deputy Trudy Hauser takes it upon herself to link Bo to the crime. A few days later when one of Bo's fares turns up murdered, he really looks guilty. So if the police think he's involved, he might as well be, and seeks to discover who really killed Fred Davies and why they're trying to frame Bo for the murder.

There's no shortage of people who might have wanted Davies dead, and this diverse group keeps Peace, Love, and Murder interesting. A financial officer for the foundation with a gambling problem, an art expert who fancies herself a femme fatale, a skinny white rapper artist trying to make a name for himself, and more. The only character who is really unlikeable, at least initially, is Deputy Trudy Hauser. Her antics seem more appropriate for a teenager than a law enforcement professional. That she and Bo will ultimately work together is a given; it's just that the tension that supposedly exists between them early in the book seems forced and unnatural. Still, the story serves as a good introduction to the characters and gives Bo and Trudy a challenging puzzle to solve.

In a promising twist for future books in the series, the reasons Bo has returned to his home town is to look for his parents, hippies from the 60s from whom he has been estranged and lost contact with. Peppered throughout Peace, Love, and Murder are references to his parents and Bo's search for them; the conclusion of the book offers a hint where they might be ... and is likely the setting for more amateur sleuthing by Bo Forrester.

Special thanks to Nancy Holzner for providing an ARC of Peace, Love and Murder for this review.

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

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Finding a corpse in the trunk of your cab is a rotten way to start the day. For Bo Forrester, things go straight downhill from there. The cops are asking an awful lot of questions. The murder weapon turns up too close for comfort. And the attractive woman giving him the eye turns out to be Trudy Hauser, a cute-but-crazy deputy dead set on arresting him for murder.

Bo returned to Rhodes, an upstate New York college town, hoping to reconcile with his parents, gentle hippies who couldn’t accept his decision to join the Army at eighteen. Twenty years later, the commune where he grew up is a subdivision, and his parents are long gone. Pondering his next move, Bo takes a job driving a cab. And he has no clue how the bullet-riddled body of art philanthropist Fred Davies ended up in the trunk.

Now, he can’t turn around without bumping into Trudy—it’s not her case, but that’s not slowing her down. The local cops, suspecting robbery as the motive, are right behind her. When Davies’s beautiful widow asks Bo for help, he can’t say no. Starting his own investigation, he’s plunged into a world of privilege, corruption, and high-stakes greed. A lot of people had reason to want Davies dead: a flirtatious art history professor with a taste for booze and men; her insanely jealous, ex-felon husband; the business partner with a secret addiction; and an avant-garde artist who proclaims that murder is the ultimate art form.

As the body count escalates, Bo must combine the skills he learned as a soldier with the values he grew up with on the commune to flush out a vicious murderer—if he manages to stay alive that long.

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

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of as well put up new September paperbacks on The Mystery Bookshelf. 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 September.

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Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Title: Heat Wave
Author: Richard Castle
Series Character: Nikki Heat
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Nikki Heat is an NYPD homicide detective. Tough, sexy, professional, Nikki Heat carries a passion for justice as she leads one of New York City's top homicide squads.

Her first case: A New York real estate tycoon plunges to his death on a Manhattan sidewalk. A trophy wife with a past survives a narrow escape from a brazen attack. Mobsters and moguls with no shortage of reasons to kill trot out their alibis. And then, in the suffocating grip of a record heat wave, comes another shocking murder and a sharp turn in a tense journey into the dirty little secrets of the wealthy. Secrets that prove to be fatal.

Heat Wave is a tie-in to the ABC television series Castle.

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The Hidden Man by David Ellis

Title: The Hidden Man
Author: David Ellis
Series Character: Jason Kolarich
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jason Kolarich is an attorney in an unnamed Midwestern city.

His first case: Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers’ street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini—a neighbor with prior offenses against minors—was arrested, but never convicted. The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason Kolarich’s office, saying only that he represents a third party who wants the man charged with murder off the hook and that Kolarich is perfect for the job. The new client: Audrey Cutler’s older brother, Sammy—Kolarich’s estranged childhood best friend—a man he hasn’t seen in nearly twenty years. But when Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith’s enigmatic employer, he figures out that the secrecy behind this nameless third party—and the key to winning Sammy’s case—is entangled with the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance.

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Deadly Descent by Charlotte Hinger

Title: Deadly Descent
Author: Charlotte Hinger
Series Character: Lottie Albright
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Lottie Albright is director of the Carlton County Historical Society in western Kansas.

Her first case: False accusations threaten senatorial candidate Brian Hadley’s political career, and secrets whispered to Lottie as editor of the county history books spur a personal search for his aunt’s murderer. Ignoring warnings from her twin sister, Josie, that she is in over her head, Lottie dons a badge to have access to information. She delves into a horrifying “cold case” to prove her merits as a deputy and impresses Sheriff Sam Abbot with her ability to combine historical research methods and police procedure. To help her sister, Josie adds her expertise in untangling the web of families bound by a lethal legacy of prideful secrets. Soon Lottie is stalked by a clever killer threatened by the twins’ ability to connect the dots.

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Murder at Longbourn by Tracy Kiely

Title: Murder at Longbourn
Author: Tracy Kiely
Series Character: Elizabeth Parker
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Elizabeth Parker is a fact-checker for a Washington DC newspaper. She's also just dumped her unhealthy lifestyle along with her two-timing boyfriend.

Her first case: An invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a How to Host a Murder Party on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B&B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved aunt of suspicion. The suspects include the town gossip, a haughty rich woman, and an antiques business owner. If that isn’t bad enough, Elizabeth must also contend with her childhood nemesis, Peter McGowan---a man she suspects has only matured in chronological years---and her suspicions about his family’s interest in Winnie’s inn. Is it any wonder her New Year's resolution to achieve inner poise is in tatters?

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Hell's Kitchen Homicide by Charles Kipps

Title: Hell's Kitchen Homicide
Author: Charles Kipps
Series Character: Conor Bard
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Conor Bard is a forty-something New York City homicide detective from Precinct One Eight in Hell's Kitchen, who dreams of becoming a rock star.

His first case: When a corpse is discovered at the edge of the Hudson River, Conor is called to the scene. The victim is Walter Lawton, a hugely successful criminal defense attorney with rumored ties to the Mafia. Among the prime suspects is Lawton's chic, sexy wife, who stands to inherit two hundred million dollars and was having an affair with one of her husband's most dangerous associates. Did Lawton's ruthless wife kill him with the help of her mafioso lover? Or was it one of Lawton's bitter clients who murdered him? Or an elusive Albanian gunman? And how does Monica, the sorrowful, intriguing young Albanian woman Conor meets, fit into the picture?

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Stuck on Murder by Lucy Lawrence

Title: Stuck on Murder
Author: Lucy Lawrence
Series Character: Brenna Miller
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Brenna Miller teaches a popular decoupage class in the picturesque New England town of Morse Point.

Her first case: For Brenna, teaching a decoupage class is the only way to gloss over her painful past. But it hasn’t been easy making friends in a town that doesn’t warm up to outsiders. And it doesn’t help when the pushy mayor asks her to convince her enigmatic landlord, Nate Williams, to sell his lakefront property to land developers. But just when Brenna thinks the mayor’s given up, his body is found stuffed in a trunk at Morse Point Lake. And a witness claims that Nate’s truck was at the docks on the night of the murder. Now Brenna needs to help prove Nate’s innocence before his fate is signed, sealed and delivered.

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Hound by Vincent McCaffrey

Title: Hound
Author: Vincent McCaffrey
Series Character: Henry Sullivan
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Henry Sullivan is a bookhound who buys and sells books he finds at estate auctions and library sales around Boston.

His first case: When a woman from Henry's past, Morgan Johnson, calls to ask him to look at her late husband’s books, he is drawn into the dark machinations of a family whose mixed loyalties and secret history will have fatal results.

Vincent McCaffrey is the owner of Boston’s legendary Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop.

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The Yard Dog by Sheldon Russell

Title: The Yard Dog
Author: Sheldon Russell
Series Character: Hook Runyon
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Hook Runyon is a "yard dog", a railroad detective, assigned to run off hobos and arrest pickpockets. He lives in a caboose, collects rare books, and drinks busthead liquor. The series is set in Oklahoma near the end of World War II.

His first case: When a coal picker by the name of Spark Dugan is found run over by a reefer car, Hook and his sidekick, Runt, the local moonshiner, suspect foul play and are drawn into a scheme far greater than either could have imagined. This conspiracy reaches the highest echelons of the camp and beyond and will push Hook and Runt to their physical and mental limits.

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Working Stiff by Annelise Ryan

Title: Working Stiff
Author: Annelise Ryan
Series Character: Mattie Winston
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Mattie Winston is a former nurse turned deputy coroner in a small Wisconsin town.

Her first case: As a Deputy Coroner, Mattie gets to poke her nose into everyone else's business, but her first case -- a murder -- hits a little too close to home. The victim is Karen Owenby, Mattie's former coworker and the woman who had an affair with Mattie's soon-to-be-ex-husband, David. As Mattie tries to determine if her husband is a killer, her judgment is clouded by her attraction to the darkly handsome homicide detective in charge of the case, though her romantic notions are dampened by the fact that her own name is at the top of the suspect list. Unable to pursue the case officially, Mattie launches her own investigation, aided by a cast of quirky characters who help her uncover a trail of sordid secrets, deadly betrayals, and missing underwear.

— ◊ —

Shades of Grey by Clea Simon

Title: Shades of Grey
Author: Clea Simon
Series Character: Dulcie Schwartz
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Dulcie Schwartz is a doctoral student at Harvard University.

Her first case: Dulcie's having an awful summer. Her beloved cat Mr. Grey's been put to sleep, and her new room-mate, Tim, is a jerk. Walking home, she sees a cat the spitting image of Mr. Grey, and hears a voice say, I wouldnt go in just now. She enters to find Tim dead stabbed with her own knife. Dulcie's in the frame for murder and she hasn't seen the last of Mr. Grey, either.

Clea Simon is also the author of the Theda Krakow mystery series.

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Targets of Deception by Jeffrey Stephens

Title: Targets of Deception
Author: Jeffrey Stephens
Series Character: Jordan Sandor
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jordan Sandor is a former agent with the CIA.

His first case: Jordan is reluctantly drawn back into action when a series of violent events leads him to search out a new al-Qaeda conspiracy to initiate a new wave of cataclysmic assaults with poison gas. He follows the deadly trail from New York to Florida to Paris and, ultimately, to the small town of Portofino on the Italian Riviera. Never sure who he can trust and who may be an enemy, Jordan relies on his experience, instincts and skills as he risks his life to uncover plans for attacks against the United State and its allies. The terrorist strategy is cunning and far-reaching, with the lives of millions of people at stake. When Jordan discovers a rogue agent behind the plot, he realizes he is the one man who can prevent the catastrophe.

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A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

Title: A Duty to the Dead
Author: Charles Todd
Series Character: Bess Crawford
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Bess Crawford is a British Army nurse who grew up in India. The series is set in the early days of World War I.

Her first case: On board a hospital ship, Bess grows fond of the young, gravely wounded Lieutenant Arthur Graham. Something rests heavily on his conscience, and to give him a little peace as he dies, she promises to deliver a message to his brother. It is some months before she can carry out this duty, and when she's next in England, she herself is recovering from a wound. When Bess arrives at the Graham house in Kent, Jonathan Graham listens to his brother's last wishes with surprising indifference. Neither his mother nor his brother Timothy seems to think it has any significance. Unsettled by this, Bess is about to take her leave when sudden tragedy envelops her. She quickly discovers that fulfilling this duty to the dead has thrust her into a maelstrom of intrigue and murder that will endanger her own life and test her courage as not even war has.

Charles Todd is the mother and son writing team of Caroline Todd and Charles Todd. They also write the Ian Rutledge mystery series.

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during September, 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 September 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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New Preview Video Available for ABC Series FlashForward, Based on the Novel by Robert J. Sawyer

FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer

ABC has a new 2½ minute preview video for its upcoming fall series FlashForward, based on the 1999 science fiction thriller of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer.

TV show synopsis: A mysterious global event causes everyone to black out simultaneously for two minutes and seventeen seconds, and each person sees a glimpse of their lives six months from now. When they wake up, everyone is left wondering if what they saw will actually happen.

USA Today recently ran a lengthy article on the new series, which some are calling the next Lost. Of fall's new shows, it notes, FlashForward most closely fits the definition of the serialized epic, a sweeping tale mixing action, suspense, mystery, romance and melodrama. "It's a buffet," executive producer Marc Guggenheim says. "To reach the widest audience possible, you need to have that spice. You have to have that wide variety."

Also taking a page from Lost, the producers have mapped out a five season storyline, with a known endpoint. It could be told in three seasons, if necessary, or could "accordion it out" to run longer than five. Besides the ending, they say they know how the penultimate season concludes.

Watch the new preview of the series below; FlashForward is scheduled to premiere Thursday, September 24th, at 8 PM (ET/PT).

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