‘Takes One to Know One’ by Susan Isaacs is a mystery/thriller and a page-turner

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When a new Susan Isaacs novel comes out, her fans take notice. She’s not an extremely prolific writer; instead, she takes her time and writes a book every few years. But every one of her books has been a New York Times bestseller. She says she writes the kind of books she’d like to read — and she succeeds in writing books people love to read.

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‘A Sudden Death in Cyprus’ by Michael Grant is about “What ifs” and the power of believing

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Michael Grant’s first adult novel, “A Sudden Death in Cyprus,” is a convincing demonstration of his unique skill in creating prose fiction of virtually any genre or targeted age group.

In this novel, Grant creates a protagonist who is very much like the author himself. Like Grant, David Mitre (just one of his aliases) dropped out of high school, started a life of crime, and met that perfect woman in the window. Like Mitre, Grant was a fugitive from the law — perhaps that’s why he took a pseudonym as an author. Regarding the Grant/Mitre oneness, Grant explained to me, “Frankly I thought Mitre might be insufferable, so I’m relieved people don’t seem to hate him (me). The Mitre ‘voice’ is a pretty faithful representation of what goes on inside my head.” So it’s not “just” a mystery, it’s also a character study — of the author and what he might have become had he not chosen well in terms of a life partner. Continue reading

‘Dachshund Through the Snow’ by David Rosenfelt is a doggone sweet thriller with plenty of four-legged love to go around

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Fans of the “Andy Carpenter” series are going to be thrilled. New readers will be charmed. With “Dachshund Through the Snow,” author David Rosenfelt has added a new canine to the regulars. There’s Tara, namesake of the late real Tara much beloved by Rosenfelt and his wife, for whom they began to rescue many, many senior dogs. Then there’s the basset hound Sebastian, whose gait is tortoise-slow. Now there’s Simon, retired (thanks to Andy Carpenter’s brilliance and his handler’s love) K9. He and his handler, Corey Douglas, will be making return appearances. Continue reading

‘All the Flowers in Paris’ by Sarah Jio is a beautiful but heartbreaking combination of historical and current fiction taking readers to Paris now and during WWII

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Paris, ostensibly the most beautiful city in the world, has a checkered past. During the German occupation in WWII, many Parisians collaborated with the Nazis. “All the Flowers in Paris” by Sarah Jio is about a French family with Jewish ancestry that is “outed” by a neighbor, and about a woman in modern Paris who loses her memory and must find out who she is and why she was basically a recluse before the accident that caused her memory loss. What she finds hidden in her lovely apartment gives her a mystery to solve, and by solving that mystery, Caroline not only finds closure for the long-ago Parisian family, but also for herself.

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‘Thirteen’ by Steve Cavenagh is a most unusual procedural/thriller

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Steve Cavenagh’s “Thirteen” is a unique take on the popular genre we generally label the “police procedural.” But here, that label is not an exact fit. For one thing, it’s not the police who do the investigation. It’s a lawyer, the fascinating Eddie Flynn. Eddie is an ex-con artist who has become a terrific criminal defense attorney. As such, he not only helps people rather than cheating them, he also gets to use those old conman skills when the appropriate occasion arises.

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‘The Last Widow’ by Karin Slaughter is the book you don’t want to miss reading in 2019

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“The Last Widow” is the newest book in the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, don’t let that fact stop you from reading this one because it reads like a stand-alone novel. Be forewarned that after you finish it, you will probably want to start the series at the beginning and read all about Will Trent and Sara Linton.

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‘The Chestnut Man’ by Soren Sveistrup: Gory and terrific

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Danish novelist Soren Sveistrup’s “The Chestnut Man” offers us two fascinating protagonists, several gruesome murders, a few puzzling clues, and zero investigative results — through many hours and days — despite a long, grueling search for the perpetrator. Here is an electric police procedural/murder mystery and a harrowing miasma of gritty suspense that builds to a brutal, ugly, and entirely appropriate climax. “The Chestnut Man” is downright perfectly nerve-wracking. Just as it’s supposed to be.

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‘The Murder List’ by Hank Philippa Ryan will keep you wondering

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“The Murder List” by Hank Phillippi Ryan is a mystery that keeps us wondering — almost until the end — who the characters really are behind the narration that we are reading and taking at face value. From the very first page, we know that Rachel North is a law student. Not a fresh-out-of-college law student, but a law student at 36. She’s married to a criminal defense lawyer, Jack Kirkland. Handsome and successful, he’s completely dedicated to winning and making sure that no innocent person gets incarcerated. It’s his passion.

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‘Must Love Dogs: Hearts and Barks’ by Claire Cook is a funny but tender story of relationships and dogs…and cats

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In “Must Love Dogs: Hearts and Barks” by Claire Cook, Sarah Hurlihy and John Anderson might be living together in her family’s home, but that doesn’t mean that Valentine’s Day is going to be a simple affair. Between Sarah’s indecisiveness and John’s romantic streak, Sarah’s crazy family and crazier father, and all the dogs and cats ruling their house, life is hectic, to say the least.

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‘Things You Save in a Fire’ by Katherine Center begins with a spark and ends in an inferno

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“Things You Save in a Fire” by Katherine Center isn’t literally about things you would save in a fire. The main character, firefighter Cassie Hanwell, was born to be a firefighter. She’s a fascinating and complex character. When there’s an emergency, she gets calm and knows exactly what to do. She’s the one you want to be with when danger threatens. But in her own life, she’s helpless to get things on track.

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‘The Escape Room’ by Megan Goldin: nonstop action from the first page to the last

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Greed and arrogance are qualities that permeate the personalities of the characters in Megan Goldin’s “The Escape Room.” The first chapter offers the reader clues that the story will not end well for some of those characters, but just how that comes about is part of the mystery and the thrill. Four hedge fund traders at the competitive firm of Stanhope and Sons are commanded to appear for a team-building exercise. Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam all have better things to be doing, but they are all extremely competitive, and they all want to get the best bonus possible, so they all show up to the not-quite-completed office building and enter the elevator.

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‘Keeping Lucy’ by T. Greenwood is an emotional story of a mother who will take on the world to protect her daughter

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Ginny Richardson and her successful lawyer husband have one perfect child, Peyton. When Lucy, her second baby, is born with Down syndrome, her wealthy in-laws whisk the newborn to a “school” where she will live and be cared for. Ginny is told she was “enrolled” in the school, and by the time she was coherent after sedative injection after sedative injection, it was too late. Everyone except Ginny’s mother and best friend are told the baby died.

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