Friday, January 01, 2010

Harlequin Mira Mystery and Suspense Titles for January 2010 has announced the January 2010 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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Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
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Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
A Lady Julia Grey Mystery (1st in series)

Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.

These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that her husband was murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers damning evidence for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

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Shattered by Joan Johnston
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Shattered by Joan Johnston
A Bitter Creek Mystery (8th in series)

Nine years ago Kate Grayhawk Pendelton walked into Wyatt Shaw's life—and out of it the next morning. Now Wyatt's back—and has the power to shatter Kate's future with the man she loves.

By reputation, Wyatt Shaw is a brutal killer who always gets what he wants. And he wants Kate and her twin eight-year-old sons.

Texas Ranger Jack McKinley is hot on Wyatt Shaw's trail. The presumed heir to the D'Amato crime syndicate is threatening to steal the woman he loves.

Holly McKinley is fighting to keep Jack from leaving her for another woman. Now the secret she's kept for over twenty years may save their son's life, and cost her the only man she's ever loved.

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Dead Silence by Brenda Novak
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Dead Silence by Brenda Novak
The Stillwater Trilogy (1st in series)

There's a body buried behind a Mississippi farmhouse …

Grace Montgomery knows who it is, and she knows why it happened. She was only thirteen the night it all went wrong. And now, like then, she has no choice but to keep her mouth shut.

Grace left the town of Stillwater thirteen years ago, trying to forget, trying to make good. As an assistant D.A. in Jackson, she's finally achieved the success that was supposed to change her life. But it hasn't—so she's come back to confront her own history. Which means returning to the farmhouse now owned by her brother and facing the people of Stillwater, a number of whom suspect the truth.

Widower Kennedy Archer is one of those people. He's running for mayor and needs to stay as far away from Grace as possible. And yet … she's an enigma he can't resist. Even though her enemies are close to finding out what really happened—and that could ruin them both.

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Dead Giveaway by Brenda Novak
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Dead Giveaway by Brenda Novak
The Stillwater Trilogy (2nd in series)

The Reverend Lee Barker went missing nineteen years ago …

And the people of Stillwater, Mississippi, believe they know why. They're convinced he was murdered—by his stepson, Clay Montgomery. But only Clay—and his mother and sisters—can say for sure. They were the only ones there that fateful night, the only ones who know what really happened. And they're not talking.

Allie McCormick is a cold-case detective from Chicago. After a particularly difficult divorce, she's returned to Stillwater with her six-year-old daughter to find the peace she once knew in her hometown, and to work for the local police force while she's starting over. But when Clay's powerful enemies join forces to put him behind bars, Allie feels duty bound to uncover the truth. Her instincts tell her he didn't murder the Reverend Lee Barker.

Maybe Clay's a dark and brooding man with more than his share of secrets, but he was just sixteen at the time. And he's not a cold-blooded killer. At least, that's what Allie believes—until she finds proof that behind the preacher's pious demeanor lurked the heart of a monster.

Then she has to ask herself whether justice has already been done.

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Firsts on the 1st: New Series Characters Being Introduced in January 2010 Mysteries

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books recently updated its list of as well shelved new January 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 January.

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No Mercy by Lori Armstrong
More information about the book

Title: No Mercy
Author: Lori Armstrong
Series Character: Mercy Gunderson
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Mercy Gunderson is a former Army sniper living in South Dakota.

Her first assignment: Mercy is a straight shooter with a hard edge. On medical leave from the army, she returns home to South Dakota, which isn't much safer for her than Iraq. Arriving just after the death of her father, it is up to Mercy to decide what to do with the family ranch and try to deal with her irresponsible sister and nephew. Feeling guilty that she didn't make it home soon enough to see her father one last time, Mercy is suddenly pulled into the local community when the body of an Indian boy is found on her land. But nobody seems to be doing anything about it, especially not the local law enforcement. When tragedy strikes again, Mercy is ready to throw all her energy into her own investigation, and she's out for revenge. As she digs up the truth behind the shocking crimes, Mercy uncovers dark and dangerous secrets and must race to stop a killer before everything she's fought for is destroyed forever.

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Death by the Book by Lenny Bartulin
More information about the book

Title: Death by the Book
Author: Lenny Bartulin
Series Character: Jack Susko
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jack Susko owns a second-hand bookshop in Sydney (Australia).

His first case: Jack is trying for a quiet life in his second-hand bookshop in downtown Sydney. It’s more tin mine than gold mine, yet it’s his and that’s something. But when a wealthy businessman hires Jack to locate some books for him, life starts to get a little more complicated. Soon he’s up to his neck in family secrets, corruption and murder, plunged into a world he thought he’d left behind. Making a play for the businessman’s beautiful daughter doesn’t help matters. And as the bodies start piling up, Jack can’t help but wonder when second-hand book dealing became so dangerous.

Originally published in Australia as A Deadly Business.

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Double Black by Wendy Clinch
More information about the book

Title: Double Black
Author: Wendy Clinch
Series Character: Stacey Curtis (Ski Diva)
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Bostonian Stacey Curtis is a self-described ski bum.

Her first case: Twenty-something Stacey ditches her cheating fiance and heads for a Vermont ski town. She's living the life she’s always dreamed about -- until she finds a dead body in the ski chalet and stumbled into financial intrigue, bitter family warfare, and murder. And after her new landlord turns out to be the local sheriff, her life contains a whole lot more suspense than she bargained for.

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The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
More information about the book

Title: The Crossing Places
Author: Elly Griffiths
Series Character: Ruth Galloway
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist living with her two cats in a Saltmarsh cottage.

Her first case: Nearing 40 and overweight, Ruth is content with her life, teaching at the University of North Norfolk and living in a cottage on remote Saltmarsh. When DCI Harry Nelson enlists her help in identifying the bones of a child unearthed in the marsh, he anticipates closing the case of five-year-old Lucy Downey, snatched from her bed 10 years earlier. But Ruth confirms that the bones date from the Iron Age, an exciting find that recalls memories of a dig led by her mentor, Erik, at which she met her former lover, Peter. Impressed with Ruth, Nelson shares his file on the missing child and calls on her when another little girl goes missing, putting Ruth herself at risk.

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A Deadly Wilderness by Kelly Irvin
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Title: A Deadly Wilderness
Author: Kelly Irvin
Series Character: Ray Johnson
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Ray Johnson is a homicide detective in San Antonio, Texas.

His first case: An idyllic wilderness hike turns deadly when Ray tumbles into a ravine and lands on a corpse. Not just any corpse, but the son of a prominent citizen that turns the case into a political hot potato. Ray teams up with his troubled partner and their boss to solve the murder before city leaders bump them from the case and out of their jobs. As the pressure builds to solve the case, Ray finds himself with multiple missions: solve a murder ... save a partner from career suicide and another from matrimonial destruction ... and win a woman’s heart. And stay alive to enjoy happily ever after.

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Dead Air by Mary Kennedy
More information about the book

Title: Dead Air
Author: Mary Kennedy
Series Character: Maggie Walsh (Talk Radio)
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Maggie Walsh is a radio psychologist in South Florida.

Her first case: Maggie left her clinical practice in Manhattan and moved to sunny Cypress Grove, Florida, where she became host of WYME's "On the Couch with Maggie Walsh." From co-dependent wives to fetish fiends, all the local crazies love her show. Then threats start pouring in against one of the station's special guests-self-styled new age prophet Guru Sanjay Gingii. When one of the threats becomes a deadly reality, Maggie's new roommate, Lark, is surprisingly the prime suspect. Now, Maggie has to prove Lark innocent while dealing with a killer who needs more than just therapy ...

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Short Squeeze by Chris Knopf
More information about the book

Title: Short Squeeze
Author: Chris Knopf
Series Character: Jackie Swaitowski
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Jackie Swaitowski is a Hamptons attorney, first introduced in the Sam Acquillo mysteries.

Her first case: Jackie is a smart-aleck attorney whose legal turf is supposed to be the buzzing Hamptons real-estate market. But when a new client turns up dead, things take a sudden and decidedly dangerous turn. In a client's pocket is an envelope that contains a shocking piece of evidence that suggests that the death was anything but an accident. Still, Jackie has bigger fish to fry -- like her old flame Harry's surprise return to town -- until a late-night car chase changes her priorities. Now she has every reason to believe that the next name on the killer's list is her own.

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The Breach by Patrick Lee
More information about the book

Title: The Breach
Author: Patrick Lee
Series Character: Travis Chase
Format: Mass Market Paperback

What we know about the character: Travis Chase is an ex-con/ex-cop living in Alaska.

His first case: Trying to regain his life in the Alaskan wilds, Travis stumbles upon an impossible scene: a crashed 747 passenger jet filled with the murdered dead, including the wife of the President of the United States. Though a nightmare of monumental proportions, it pales before the terror to come, as Chase is dragged into a battle for the future that revolves around an amazing artifact. Allied with a beautiful covert operative whose life he saved, Chase must now play the role he's been destined for—a pawn of incomprehensible forces or humankind's final hope—as the race toward Apocalypse begins in earnest. Because something is loose in the world. And doomsday is not only possible ... it is inevitable.

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Silver by Steven Savile
More information about the book

Title: Silver
Author: Steven Savile
Series Character: Ogmios Team
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the characters: The Ogmios Team consists of Ronan Frost, Orla Nyren, Konstantin Kharvin, Noah Larkin and Jude Lethe, on adventures that are steeped in history, religion and a good old fashioned dose of political skulduggery.

Their first adventure: Two thousand years ago, thirty silver Tyrian shekels were paid to secure the most infamous betrayal of all time. Melted down by the grandsons of Judas Iscariot, Menahem and Eleazar ben Jair, in the dark heart of the Sicarii fortress, Masada, the silver was re-forged as a dagger. When the Sicarii zealots committed mass suicide in AD73 the dagger of Iscariot and the truth of his sacrifice were lost. Until now. A religious cult calling itself the Disciples of Judas has risen in the Middle East. Its influence is pernicious, its reach long. In thirteen cities across Europe thirteen people martyr themselves in the name of Judas, promising forty days and forty nights of terror. They twist the words of ancient prophecies to drive home the fear. On the last day, they promise, faith will fall. Everything you believe in will be proved wrong. Everything you hold true will fail. Day by day the West wakes to increasingly more harrowing acts of terror. Fear cripples the capitals of Europe, who will be the next to fall? London? Rome? Berlin? In a race against time – and prophecy – believing the terrorists intend to assassinate the Pope as part of their plan to bring down the Catholic Church, Sir Charles Wyndham’s team of combat specialists, codename Ogmios, tracks a labyrinthine course through truth, shades of truth and outright lies that takes them from the backstreets of London to the shadow of Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin all the way into the heart of the Holy See itself.

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Snow Angels by James Thompson
More information about the book

Title: Snow Angels
Author: James Thompson
Series Character: Kari Vaara
Format: Hardcover

What we know about the character: Kari Vaara is a police inspector in Finland.

His first case: Kaamos: Just before Christmas, the bleakest time of the year in Lapland. The unrelenting darkness and extreme cold above the Arctic Circle drive everyone just a little insane ... perhaps enough to kill. A beautiful Somali immigrant is found dead in a snowfield, her body gruesomely mutilated, a racial slur carved into her chest. Heading the murder investigation is Inspector Vaara, the lead detective of the small-town police force. The vicious killing may have been a hate crime, a sex crime -- or one and the same. Vaara knows he must keep this potentially ex­plosive case out of the national headlines or else it will send shock waves across Finland, an insular nation afraid to face its own xenophobia. The demands of the investigation begin to take their toll on Vaara and his marriage. His young American wife, Kate, newly pregnant with their first child, is struggling to adapt to both the unforgiving Arctic climate and the Finnish culture of silence and isolation. Meanwhile Vaara himself, haunted by his rough childhood and failed first marriage, discovers that the past keeps biting at his heels: He suspects that the rich man for whom his ex-wife left him years ago may be the killer. Endless night can drive anyone to murder.

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For a list of more mysteries scheduled for publication during January, 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 January 2010 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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Mystery Book Review: The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville


Soho Crime (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-56947-600-4 (1569476004)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-600-0 (9781569476000)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $25.00

Review: Stuart Neville offers an unusual twist on the serial killer thriller with his debut novel The Ghosts of Belfast.

Gerry Fagen is a man tormented by his past. An IRA terrorist who was not only good at his "job", but seemed to revel in it, he's now haunted by the souls of 12 innocent people who lost their lives as a consequence of his actions, his self-described followers. Respected by his former colleagues -- some of whom have taken prominent posts in Ireland's government, some of whom remain true to the cause and long for the days when terror ruled the day -- Fagen is left alone to drown his pain at the local pub. Until he kills one of the men he holds ultimately responsible for the deaths of one of his innocents ... and the number of his followers drops to 11. Fagen realizes that he can only find inner peace when he kills those members who either ordered, or were present at the time of, the innocents' deaths, but his former colleagues think Fagen has gone mad and is a threat to their current way of life. And before Fagen can expose them, they are determined to kill him first.

There is no denying that The Ghosts of Belfast is brilliantly written with expressive narrative and crisp dialog. The characters are multi-layered, complex, and intricately drawn; the setting appropriately atmospheric, dark and dank, suitably mysterious. Even the potentially baffling politics of The Troubles and subsequent uneasy peace in Northern Ireland, against which the action takes place, are handled in a understandable manner. From a technical perspective, it's nearly flawless. The problem here is the story. Though the plot is well conceived, it isn't developed much, if at all, after the first 70 pages or so, when the number of followers drops from the original twelve to nine (and will, predictably, drop to zero at the end). "Who's next," Fagen asks his followers at this point. Who indeed. It gets a little repetitive here. To be sure, there is more, but it takes the form of a completely unnecessary, even intrusive, subplot involving Fagen's relationship with a woman that is overlaid on the main story, seemingly written as an afterthought to support a plot point towards the end, but isn't truly integrated and adds little substantive.

A tough call here: there is so much to like about The Ghosts of Belfast that it deserves a recommendation but with the caveat that the storyline doesn't really deliver all that it could.

Special thanks to Soho Press for providing a copy of The Ghosts of Belfast for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Fegan has been a “hard man,” an IRA killer in northern Ireland. Now that peace has come, he is being haunted day and night by twelve ghosts: a mother and infant, a schoolboy, a butcher, an RUC constable, and seven other of his innocent victims. In order to appease them, he’s going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.

As he’s working his way down the list he encounters a woman who may offer him redemption; she has borne a child to an RUC officer and is an outsider too. Now he has given Fate -- and his quarry -- a hostage. Is this Fegan’s ultimate mistake?

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Games of Mystery: Youda Legend in The Golden Bird of Paradise

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed video, electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Youda Legend: The Golden Bird of Paradise
Youda Legend: The Golden Bird of Paradise

Are you ready for a new adventure? As Youda Legend, you've decided a relaxing holiday in a tropical paradise is in order after your previous adventure in Amsterdam. It all seems peaceful, but again the journey will be nothing like you expected it to be. The tropical environments will bring you more than a relaxing time and cocktails at the beach as your hidden object skills are tested. The jungle hides secrets, and the locals know more than they may be willing to reveal. Questions arise and irreversible decisions have to be made to uncover the mystery of the Golden Bird of Paradise!

See also the first game in the series, Youda Legend: The Curse of the Amsterdam Diamond.

Youda Legend: The Golden Bird of Paradise, a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (138.92 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:


Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card!

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases


And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Mystery Bestsellers for January 01, 2010

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending January 01, 2010 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

A relatively quiet week, with little change among the top mystery bestsellers though a new suspense title enters the list.

Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag
More information about the book

Debuting in 13th position this week is Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag.

California, 1984. Three children, running in the woods behind their school, stumble upon a partially buried female body, eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't yet realize is that this will mark the end of innocence for an entire community, as the ties that bind families and friends are tested by secrets uncovered in the wake of a serial killer's escalating activity.

Detective Tony Mendez, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is charged with interpreting those now revealed secrets. He's using a new technique-profiling-to develop a theory of the case, a strategy that pushes him ever deeper into the lives of the three children, and closer to the young teacher whose interest in recent events becomes as intense as his own.

As new victims are found and the media scrutiny of the investigation bears down on them, both Mendez and Navarre are unsure if those who suffer most are the victims themselves-or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is a brutal, calculating psychopath.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownI, Alex Cross by James PattersonPirate Latitudes by Michael CrichtonU is for Undertow by Sue Grafton

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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