Kidnapping features in several impressive thrillers, led by French author Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex, his first novel to be translated into English and the first in his Commandant Camille Verhoeven trilogy. Verhoeven investigates the abduction of Alex Prévost, “a Parisian version of Lisbeth Salander,” according to the London Sunday Times. Le Monde calls the book “Hitchcockian.” The publisher is backing the 150,000-copy first printing with a $150,000 marketing campaign.
Elsewhere in Europe, a Ukrainian woman, Natasha Doroshenko, is arrested for murdering her Danish fiancé in Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis’s Death of a Nightingale. Meanwhile, someone tries to take Natasha’s eight-year-old daughter from the Red Cross center that’s been caring for the girl while her illegal immigrant mother is in jail. A $100,000 national marketing campaign backs this one.
On this side of the Atlantic, true crime author Carla Norton makes her first foray into fiction with The Edge of Normal, in which Reeve LeClaire, who has rebuilt her life in San Francisco after being held captive four years as a teen, helps treat the psychological wounds of a 13-year-old girl whom a fiend held prisoner for a year. A 100,000-copy marketing promotion will support what Jeffery Deaver calls “an edge-of-the-seat” thriller. A 13-year-old girl also goes missing in Paula Daly’s debut, Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, in which a string of horrifying abductions tears through a smalltown community. Elizabeth Haynes says of this domestic thriller that it’s “the very definition of a page-turner.”
Rick Marder, a respected New York book editor with a secret past, ventures south of the border in Michael Gruber’s The Return. Dying of a brain tumor, Marder has little time to accomplish his mission of vengeance in the Mexican town where his late wife grew up and her parents were murdered years before.
Sue Grafton nears the end of her iconic alphabet series with W Is for Wasted, in which PI Kinsey Millhone investigates the deaths of two men within six weeks of each another—one a murder, the other of natural causes—in the Santa Barbara–like city of Santa Teresa, Calif.
Three standout historicals cover a range of periods and continents: Eliot Pattison’s Original Death, in which Scottish exile Duncan McCallum and his Native American friend, Conawago, look into a series of murders in the American wilderness toward the close of the French and Indian War in 1760; Lynn Shepherd’s A Fatal Likeness, a mid-Victorian in which Sir Percy Shelley tries to prevent his famous father’s former lover from tarnishing the Romantic poet’s posthumous reputation; and John Lawton’s Then We Take Berlin, in which a brilliant Cockney turned spy hunts for Nazis in postwar Berlin—and later gets involved in intrigue on the eve of JFK’s 1963 speech at the Berlin Wall.
The Nazis have triumphed in C.J. Sansom’s Dominion, set in 1952 Britain, 12 years after Churchill didn’t become prime minister and the appeasers made peace with Hitler. The Times (U.K.) says, “There will be few better historical novels published this year.”
PW’s Top 10 Fiction: Mysteries & Thrillers
Alex. Pierre Lemaitre. Quercus/MacLehose, Sept.
Death of a Nightingale. Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis. Soho Crime, Nov.
The Edge of Normal. Carla Norton. Minotaur, Sept.
Just What Kind of Mother Are You? Paula Daly. Grove, Sept.
The Return. Michael Gruber. Henry Holt, Sept.
W Is for Wasted. Sue Grafton. Putnam/Marian Wood, Sept.
Original Death: A Mystery of Colonial America. Eliot Pattison. Counterpoint, Aug.
A Fatal Likeness. Lynn Shepherd. Delacorte, Aug.
Then We Take Berlin. John Lawton. Atlantic Monthly, Sept.
Dominion. C.J. Sansom. Little, Brown/Mulholland, Jan.
Mysteries & Thrillers Listings
Best of the Akashic Noir Series, edited by Johnny Temple (Nov. 5, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-189-9). Temple, Akashic’s editor-in-chief, makes his book debut as the editor of this anthology of 37 stories.
Amazon/Thomas & Mercer
The Nero Decree by Gregory Lee (Nov. 5, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-47780-871-9). Amid the chaos of Berlin in the spring of 1945, two half-brothers, sworn enemies since childhood, wage a personal battle to save themselves.
Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Sept. 3, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-4516-7797-3). Joe Middleton (aka the Christchurch Carver) is in jail for a slew of murders he says he doesn’t remember.
Blind Justice: A William Monk Novel by Anne Perry (Sept. 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-53670-9). Hester Monk questions the finances of a London church whose members’ hard-earned charitable gifts appear to have ended up in the pocket of charismatic preacher Abel Taft.
The Invisible Code: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler (Dec. 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-52865-0). When a young woman is found dead in the pews of St. Bride’s Church Arthur Bryant assumes this case will go to the Peculiar Crimes Unit, but the city police take over the investigation.
Berkley Prime crime
The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star by Susan Wittig Albert (Sept. 3, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-425-26058-6). Miss Lily Dare (aka the Texas Star) brings her Dare Devils Flying Circus to Darling, Ala., along with a whole lot of trouble, in this Depression-era cozy.
Others of My Kind by James Sallis (Sept. 10, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-62040-209-2). Jenny Rowan, who was abducted as a child, agrees to help a young woman who has suffered a similar experience.
(dist. by PGW)
Original Death: A Mystery of Colonial America by Eliot Pattison (Aug., hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-58243-731-6). As the French and Indian War reaches its sixth year in 1760, Scottish exile Duncan McCallum and his Nipmuc friend, Conawago, look into a series of murders.
The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner (Oct. 8, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8041-3682-2). In British author Viner’s first novel, Patty and Jim Lancing are devastated by the unsolved murder of their college-age daughter, Dani, but 20 years later Dani’s old boyfriend, now a detective, finds some clues to the cold case.
A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd (Aug. 20, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-345-53244-2). Sir Percy Shelley, son of the late Romantic poet, hires detective Charles Maddox to prevent the poet’s former lover, from tarnishing his father’s reputation.
The Prince of Risk by Christopher Reich (Dec. 3, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-385-53506-9). Everything changes for Bobby Astor, a rising New York hedge fund manager, when his father, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, is killed in an attack on the south lawn of the White House.
Compound Fractures by Stephen White (Aug. 20, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95260-2). In the final outing for Boulder, Colo., psychologist Alan Gregory, Gregory must contend with a declining practice, the shooting of his wife, and becoming a murder suspect.
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George (Oct. 15, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-525-95296-1). Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers faces the challenge of her career—helping her friend Taymullah Azhar, whose daughter has been taken by the girl’s mother only later to be kidnapped in Italy.
Dark Times in the City by Gene Kerrigan (Nov. 5, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-60945-144-8). Danny Callaghan is fresh from prison, enjoying a drink in a Dublin pub, when two young thugs walk in. The guns come out and Danny intervenes, simultaneously saving the intended victim and insulting the kingpin.
Beyond Redress: A Harry Brock Mystery by Kinley Roby (Oct. 23, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-4328-2726-7). When PI Harry Brock goes looking for the killer of community activist Henrico Perez, he soon learns that the woman who hired him is the prime suspect.
Ask Not by Max Allan Collins (Oct. 22, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-3626-2). PI Nate Heller investigates a suspicious outbreak of suicides, accidental deaths, and outright murders in 1964 among witnesses to JFK’s assassination.
Identical by Scott Turow (Oct. 16, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-4555-2720-5). Two identical twin brothers—one a candidate for the mayor of Kindle County, the other newly released from prison—clash in this legal thriller.
White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Nov. 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-4555-2583-6). Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI discovers an unlikely secret in the past of Roaring Fork, a former mining camp that’s now a resort, involving Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde.
Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook (Aug. 6, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-8021-2608-5). College professor Sam Madison goes on trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine, a fellow professor with a passion for ancient history.
Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly (Sept. 3, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-8021-2162-2). English author Daly makes her debut with a thriller in which a string of horrifying abductions tear through a smalltown community.
Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton (Sept. 3, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-2196-7). An East End Londoner turned spy working in the rubble of post-WWII Berlin, becomes embroiled in the machinations between intelligence agencies at the start of the Cold War.
The Star of Istanbul: A Christopher Marlowe Cobb Thriller by Robert Olen Butler (Oct. 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-2155-4). War correspondent and spy Christopher Marlowe Cobb crosses paths with a sultry and mysterious actress who may be the key to saving—or toppling—two empires during WWI.
Hard Case Crime–Subterranean
Catch and Release by Lawrence Block (Sept. 30, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-59606-571-0). MWA Grand Master Block offers 16 tales of murder and desire in this collection of mostly recent short fiction.
Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman (Oct. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-227048-1). Reporter Hillerman, Tony Hillerman’s daughter, makes her fiction debut with a new entry in her father’s Leaphorn and Chee series.
The Return by Michael Gruber (Sept. 3, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8050-9129-8). Rick Marder, a New York book editor and Vietnam vet who’s a crack shot with a pistol, sets off on a mission of vengeance to Mexico.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The Ludwig Conspiracy by Oliver Pötzsch (Sept. 3, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-547-74010-2). A contemporary mystery with a historical saga involving the encoded diary of mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
The Lincoln Deception by David O. Stewart (Sept., trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-7582-9067-0). A deathbed confession and a long-hidden conspiracy cast new light on the Lincoln assassination.
The Double by George Pelecanos (Oct. 8, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-07839-9). Iraq War vet Spero Lucas seeks to recover a valuable stolen painting whose owner, Grace Kincaid, also wants him to find the violent career criminal who humiliated her.
S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst (Oct. 29, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-316-20164-3). TV writer and producer Abrams teams with Dorst (Alice in Necropolis) on this multilayered puzzle of love and adventure centered on a mysterious book.
Dominion by C.J. Sansom (Jan. 28, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-25491-5). In this alternative history set in 1952 Nazi-occupied Britain, a scientist in a Birmingham hospital holds a secret that could alter the balance of the global struggle.
Melville International Crime
Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski (Jan. 7, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-61219-272-7). In 1919 Breslau, Germany, Insp. Eberhard Mock looks into the case of the battered, naked bodies of four sailors.
A Basket of Trouble: A Claire Hanover Mystery by Beth Groundwater (Nov., trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-7387-2703-5). Gift basket designer Claire Hanover saddles up for the opening event at her brother’s new riding stable, but the discovery of a dead stable hand dampens the festivities.
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Aug. 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-65547-1). Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Quebec Sûreté investigates the strange murder of an elderly woman who’s the last survivor of a once celebrated set of quintuplets.
The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton (Sept. 10, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-250-03104-4). A 22-year-old woman who was kidnapped and held captive for years tries to rebuild her life after her escape.
Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Nov. 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-312-60684-8). Russ and Clare their new marriage, their unborn child, a missing teen, and their own lives on the line.
The Good Boy by Theresa Schwegel (Nov. 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-00179-5). A young boy goes on the run with the only friend he trusts, his dad’s police dog, after witnessing a shooting.
The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson (Aug. 27, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-134817-4). One of caterer Goldy Schulz’s best friends has a fatal heart attack while leaving a birthday party—caused by not the rich food but a dish spiked with medicine lethal to the victim.
A Question of Honor: A Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd (Aug. 27, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-223715-6). British nurse Bess Crawford investigates an old murder that occurred during her childhood in India, a search for the truth that will leave a troubling question: how can facts lie?
(dist. by Midpoint)
Reel Stuff by Don Bruns (Dec. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-60809-096-9). Is it suicide or murder when Academy Award–winning actor Jason Londell leaps to his death during the filming of a TV show in Miami?
City of Lies by R.J. Ellory (Nov., hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-59020-465-8). After 17 years away from New York, John Harper discovers that the father he believed to be dead for more than 30 years is lying in a coma in a Manhattan hospital.
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Nov. 5, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-307-37841-5). Mma Precious Ramotswe agrees to help the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, who’s having trouble with her business.
(dist. by Norton)
The Sleep Room by F.R. Tallis (Sept. 15, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-60598-476-6). Psychiatrist James Richardson jumps at the chance to take a job at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, where he oversees a pioneering therapy in which extremely disturbed patients are kept asleep for months.
The Preservationist by Justin Kramon (Oct. 15, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-60598-480-3). The relationship between Sam Blount, who’s pushing 40, and Julia Stilwell, a college freshman, is tested by a shy young man with a secret who’s also infatuated with Julia.
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (Sept. 17, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15838-4). Timothy Wilde, the most reluctant and talented officer in the recently formed NYPD, does battle with a gang of slave catchers who have come North to kidnap free blacks.
Blowback: A Vanessa Pierson Novel by Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett (Oct. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15820-9). Former CIA agent Plame (Fair Game) makes her fiction debut with the first in a spy series introducing Vanessa Pierson, an undercover CIA agent.
419 by Will Ferguson (Aug. 27, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-318872-8). When Laura Curtis, a lonely editor in a cold Northern city, discovers that her father has died because of an Internet swindle, she sets out to track down—and corner—her father’s killer.
The Tenth Witness by Leonard Rosen (Sept., hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-1-57962-319-7). Interpol agent Henri Poincaré uncovers a startling WWII secret that brings back the ghosts of Nazism days.
Covenant with Hell: A Medieval Mystery by Priscilla Royal (Dec. 3, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4642-0193-6). In 1277, rumors abound that King Edward may come to the East Anglican shrine where Prioress Eleanor is visiting—and an assassin lurks.
White Ginger by Thatcher Robinson (Oct. 8, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-61614-817-1). Fierce loyalties, staunch compassion, and a weakness for strays lead Bai Jiang—San Francisco’s best known souxun, or people finder—into violent conflicts that test her pacifist beliefs.
The Final Cut by Catherine Coulter with J.T. Ellison (Sept. 17, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-399-16473-6). Scotland Yard’s Nicholas Drummond, American born, U.K. raised, goes to New York City to investigate the murder of a colleague and the disappearance of the Koh-i-Noor diamond the colleague was guarding.
Mortal Bonds by Michael Sears (Oct. 1, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15867-4). The family of disgraced financial adviser William Van Becker, who’s died in prison, hires Jason Stafford, himself a disgraced Wall Street operator, to find a large amount of missing money before the Feds do.
W Is for Wasted by Sue Grafton (Sept. 10, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-399-15984-8). Two dead men—one a local PI of suspect reputation gunned down near the Santa Teresa beach, the other a homeless man who expired of apparently natural causes—preoccupy PI Kinsey Milhone.
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (Sept., hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-62365-000-1). French police commandant Camille Verhoeven has virtually nothing to go on in her hunt for an abducted woman, Alex Prévost, who’s suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a cage.
Accused by Lisa Scottoline (Oct. 29, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-250-02765-8). A 13-year-girl walks into the Philadelphia all-women law firm seeking representation to free a man she believes was wrongly convicted of her sister’s murder.
No Man’s Nightingale: An Inspector Wexford Novel by Ruth Rendell (Nov. 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-4448-3). Inspector Wexford comes out of retirement to assist in figuring out who strangled the Rev. Sarah Hussain, the daughter of a white Irishwoman and an immigrant Muslim, in Kingsmarkham’s St. Peter’s Church.
Severn House/crème de la crime
A Decent Interval: A Charles Paris Novel by Simon Brett (Aug., hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-78029-044-7). Actor-sleuth Charles Paris welcomes steady work in a new, offbeat production of Hamlet, in which the actors playing Hamlet and Ophelia are at odds.
Simon & Schuster
The Case of the Love Commandos: From the Files of Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator by Tarquin Hall (Oct. 8, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-451-61326-1). PI Vish Puri gets pulled into a high-stakes mystery involving one of India’s most controversial commodities: love.
The Monster of Florence by Magdalen Nabb (Oct. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61695-324-9). This final novel from Simenon protégé Nabb (d. 2007) follows the reopening of a cold case—a serial killer who targeted unmarried couples and terrorized Florence for two decades.
Death of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis (Nov. 5, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61695-304-1). Red Cross nurse Nina Borg gets involved in the case of a Ukrainian woman who escapes police custody after being arrested for her Danish fiancé’s murder.
The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford (Aug., trade paper, $14.99, ISBN 978-1-4022-8212-6). Did Jane Austen die in 1817 of natural causes or was she murdered?