Waiting On Wednesday (156) @ragnarjo @MinotaurBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Girl Who Died
Ragnar Jonasson
Minotaur Books, May 2021
Mystery, Psychological Thriller

From the publisher—

Teacher Wanted At the Edge of the World

Una wants nothing more than to teach, but she has been unable to secure steady employment in Reykjavík. Her savings are depleted, her love life is nonexistent, and she cannot face another winter staring at the four walls of her shabby apartment. Celebrating Christmas and ringing in 1986 in the remote fishing hamlet of Skálar seems like a small price to pay for a chance to earn some teaching credentials and get her life back on track.

But Skálar isn’t just one of Iceland’s most isolated villages, it is home to just ten people. Una’s only students are two girls aged seven and nine. Teaching them only occupies so many hours in a day and the few adults she interacts with are civil but distant. She only seems to connect with Thór, a man she shares an attraction with but who is determined to keep her at arm’s length.

As darkness descends throughout the bleak winter, Una finds herself more often than not in her rented attic space―the site of a local legendary haunting―drinking her loneliness away. She is plagued by nightmares of a little girl in a white dress singing a lullaby. And when a sudden tragedy echoes an event long buried in Skálar’s past, the villagers become even more guarded, leaving a suspicious Una seeking to uncover a shocking truth that’s been kept secret for generations.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? To be honest, more than a bit of boredom has crept into my reading while we’ve all been hunkered down and I think a little shaking up is in order. This one is outside of my comfort zone in a lot of ways—new exotic setting as I tend to avoid Scandinavian noir (although I have a years-long fascination with Iceland), new (to me) author, compelling premise of perhaps the ultimate closed room type of mystery. I’m a little concerned that the dismalness may be more than I’ll want but there’s a lot about this that appeals to me so, fingers crossed!

Waiting On Wednesday (155) @Steve_Goble @SeventhStBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Pieces of Eight
A Spider John Mystery #4
Steve Goble
Seventh Street Books, March 2021
Mystery, Historical

From the publisher—

1723—Spider John is almost home, free of the horrors of the pirate life, free of the violence, free of the death. The wife and baby he left behind almost a decade ago are almost within reach.

But then a murder aboard Minuet uncovers a deeper conspiracy, and soon Spider and his friends—curmudgeonly Odin, swashbuckling young Hob and alluring Ruth Copper— find themselves in the midst of flintlock smoke and bloodshed.

The violence follows Spider ashore to Nantucket, where the loving reception he’d dreamed of turns out to be something utterly unexpected. Soon, Spider is running for his life and confronting cutthroats and thieves — while hiding from islanders who think he left a man dead on a widow’s front step.

The solution? Find the killer. The consequences? Those could change Spider John’s life forever.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? Pirates! I ask you now, what could be more fun than a mystery full of nefarious, scruffy, potty-mouthed ruffians brimming over with verbal invective and very bad behavior? Spider John has been trying for three books now to get out of the piracy business and has been failing miserably, sidetracked by dead bodies who, er, shouldn’t be dead, and here comes another one…or more. Will he succeed this time? Avast, Mateys!

Waiting On Wednesday (154) #DCIBanks @WmMorrowBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Not Dark Yet
A DCI Banks Novel #27
Peter Robinson
William Morrow, March 2021
Mystery, Police Procedural

From the publisher—

When property developer Connor Clive Blaydon is found dead, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks and his Yorkshire team dive into the investigation. As luck would have it, someone had installed a cache of spy-cams all around his luxurious home. The team hope that they’ll find answers—and the culprit—among the video recordings.

Instead of discovering Connor’s murderer, however, the grainy and blurred footage reveals another crime: a brutal rape. If they can discover the woman’s identity, it could lead to more than justice for the victim; it could change everything the police think they know about Connor and why anyone would want him dead.

Meanwhile, tensions are rising between Banks and his friend, Zelda. A super recognizer—able to recognize faces significantly better than most people—Zelda is determined to bring the men who abused her to justice. But stirring up the murky waters of the past will put her in far greater danger than ever before, and Banks worries that he won’t be able to stop her from plunging too deep before it’s too late.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? I confess, I haven’t read all 26 of the novels preceding this one but I have enjoyed quite a few of them and I do mean “enjoyed”. In fact, Stephen King believes this is the best mystery series going these days and he may be right. The Inspector is a man of many talents including a sharp mind and a broad understanding of the world around him, leading him to be a most effective investigator, and I fully expect to find myself in the midst of a tense and compelling mystery.

Waiting On Wednesday (153) @WhittyAuthor @HenryHolt

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

We Begin at the End
Chris Whitaker
Henry Holt and Co., March 2021
Mystery, Psychological Thriller

From the publisher—

With We Begin at the End, Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? This is one of those rare books, I think, that takes a “common” mystery and elevates it into something much more involved. It seems to be a deep look into the psyches of several people who are affected in one way or another by a crime from years past. From the man who went to prison for a murder he may not have committed to the chief of police who believed in his friend to the woman who’s devolved into a continual downward spiral to the young teen who lives as a rebel but would do anything to protect her little brother…all these players and more give us a psychological study of a small town and how a singular crime changes the town and its people. First published about a year ago in the UK, it’s new to the US and I think I’m going to be very glad to dive into it.

Waiting On Wednesday (152) @CharlesFinch @MinotaurBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

An Extravagant Death
A Charles Lenox Mystery #14
Charles Finch
Minotaur Books, February 2021
Mystery, Historical

From the publisher—

In what promises to be a breakout in Charles Finch‘s bestselling series, Charles Lenox travels to the New York and Newport of the dawning Gilded Age to investigate the death of a beautiful socialite.

London, 1878. With faith in Scotland Yard shattered after a damning corruption investigation, Charles Lenox’s detective agency is rapidly expanding. The gentleman sleuth has all the work he can handle, two children, and an intriguing new murder case.

But when Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli offers him the opportunity to undertake a diplomatic mission for the Queen, Lenox welcomes the chance to satisfy an unfulfilled yearning: to travel to America. Arriving in New York, he begins to receive introductions into both its old Knickerbocker society and its new robber baron splendor. Then, a shock: the death of the season’s most beautiful debutante, who appears to have thrown herself from a cliff. Or was it murder? Lenox’s reputation has preceded him to the States, and he is summoned to a magnificent Newport mansion to investigate the mysterious death. What ensues is a fiendish game of cat and mouse.

Witty, complex, and tender, An Extravagant Death is Charles Finch’s triumphant return to the main storyline of his beloved Charles Lenox series―a devilish mystery, a social drama, and an unforgettable first trip for an Englishman coming to America.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? This is one of my favorite historical mystery series and it features a gentleman of means but not excessive wealth in Victorian England who sets himself up as a private detective. This far along in the series, Charles is well-established and has gained the respect of society and those in positions of authority. This time, though, he’s making his first trip to America, a long-time dream, and he quite naturally falls into a case. I’m really anticipating this one because of the hurdles he’ll face in an unfamiliar setting.

Waiting On Wednesday (151) @dianevallere

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Tough Luxe
A Samantha Kidd Mystery #11
Diane Vallere
Polyester Press, February 2021
Mystery, Cozy

From the author—

She wanted to visit an old friend. The “friend” is in jail for murder. Can Samantha find new evidence to clear a convicted killer?

Fashionista Samantha Kidd’s new role as style columnist for the local paper encourages her to attend events and discover new trends. But when an out-of-the-blue invitation to visit an acquaintance arrives, standing out is the last thing she wants. The acquaintance is the heiress to a pretzel fortune—or she would be if she were free. Instead, she’s quietly serving a double life sentence after being convicted of killing her media mogul husband.

With a parole hearing looming, the heiress is ready to break her silence. But while the press lines up to get the scoop (and the ratings!), Samantha can’t help wondering who the victim is in this scenario. And after hearing the heiress’s story firsthand, Sam suspects the wrong person was locked up. If she’s right, a killer’s on the loose and will stop at nothing to silence Samantha too.

Can Samantha infiltrate the high life to expose a down and dirty crime?

Tough Luxe is the eleventh fashionable cozy mystery in the Style in a Small Town series. If you like manipulative characters, stylish crimes, and Orange-Is-the-New-Black drama, then you’ll love Diane Vallere’s high-stakes cozy.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? I’m in the mood for something lighthearted and Ms. Vallere‘s books fit the bill. The main thing I like about this particular series is that Samantha is not TSTL, as many cozy protagonists are, but she can still be counted on to go off on a wild hair now and then. By now, she’s gotten a reputation as an amateur sleuth so her snooping isn’t entirely misguided and she makes me laugh, a lot. I’m the last person on earth to care about fashion but that aspect of these mysteries doesn’t distract me from enjoying a clever, funny read, especially in the winter doldrums 😃

Waiting On Wednesday (150) @KensingtonBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

When the Apricots Bloom
Gina Wilkinson
Kensington Books, February 2021
General Fiction

From the publisher—

Inspired by her own experiences stationed in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein’s rule, former foreign correspondent Gina Wilkinson’s evocative, suspenseful debut is told through the eyes of three very different women in Iraq at the turn of the millennium. A secretary, an artist and a diplomat’s wife, each must confront the complexities of trust, friendship, and motherhood under the rule of a dictator and his ruthless secret police…

At night, in Huda’s fragrant garden, a breeze sweeps in from the desert encircling Baghdad, rustling the leaves of her apricot trees and carrying warning of visitors at her gate. Huda, a secretary at the Australian embassy, lives in fear of the mukhabarat–the secret police who watch and listen for any scrap of information that can be used against America and its allies. They have ordered her to befriend Ally Wilson, the deputy ambassador’s wife. Huda has no wish to be an informant, but fears for her teenage son, who may be forced to join a deadly militia. Nor does she know that Ally has dangerous secrets of her own.

Huda’s former friend, Rania, enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the daughter of a sheikh. Now her family’s wealth is gone, and Rania too is battling to keep her child safe and a roof over their heads. As the women’s lives intersect, their hidden pasts spill into the present. Facing possible betrayal at every turn, all three must trust in a fragile, newfound loyalty, even as they discover how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect their families.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? This is kind of a leap of faith for me because it’s so far out of my reading comfort zone. Events during the past few years have given me a re-invigorated appreciation of cultures and life experiences different from my own and, for a number of years, I’ve been fascinated in particular by the Middle East. A story about women coping with the unique dangers and difficulties of a brutal regime seems like a good way to learn more plus I suspect this is a cracking good tale.