Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman

Straight into Darkness by Faye Kellerman (2005)
It’s 1929, and the Nazis are causing daily trouble in Munich at the time that police inspector Axel Berg searches for a serial killer.

Before you come to the library, preview the book. You can also visit the author's website.

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (2008)
This book is vintage Lincoln Rhyme. In this thriller, Deaver graphically portrays murder(s) via computers. The concept really blows the reader away. We are all vulnerable in cyberspace. As the plot twists and turns, the romantic team of Lincoln and Amelia face the ultimate amoral mastermind. This reader was breathless and involved until the last word of the last page.

Visit the author's website for an excerpt and interview. Watch a video on Amazon.com.

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe

The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe (2008)
This novel is a “first in a series” serial mystery that takes place in rural Ontario. Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, flawed, middle-aged, divorced, is herself a walking trauma unit. What hasn’t happened to her yet is just a matter of time.

Our killer creatively dispatches his victims with a tad too much gore for my taste, but I often skim the gut wrenching details. However, overlooking that point, the plot gathers momentum until the final scene reaches a pretty exciting ending.

Through the story, we empathize with Hazel because she is “us.” We want her to survive almost as much as we want to stop the killer. The contrast between the rural police force and the urban police force is just another bonus along the way.

Before you get the book from the library, read an excerpt.

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green

Something from the Nightside by Simon Green (2003)
ATTENTION MYSTERY LOVERS -- don’t let the “science fiction” sticker on the spine scare you away! This book is just as much a mystery as a work of fantasy. A private detective, with a few special powers, works in London’s other-world, the Nightside. Take the adventure. You won’t regret it!

Goodbye, She Lied by Russ Hall

Goodbye, She Lied by Russ Hall (2007)
In a tiny Texas town, Esbeth Walters enjoys her vocation as amateur detective. The local police find her an annoying, old busybody. In this zippy adventure, Esbeth takes on conmen and scams. A particular rest home loses guests a little too predictably, a murder is ruled a suicide, and two mean Vegas hitmen give Esbeth visions she’d rather not see.

As a retired schoolteacher, Esbeth has been well-trained in dealing with problems and problem children. Such an offbeat character makes reading mysteries down home fun.

Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb

Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb (1997)
A great mystery for science fiction fans! The entire story takes place at a science fiction convention. I found the setting and the characters believable. It is just as enjoyable as McCrumb’s Ballad series.

Plus, how can you resist a title like Bimbos of the Death Sun?

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang (2008)
Present day, Beijing. A detective story that goes to the heart of modern China. Mei Wang, our first Chinese female detective, is more than just a pretty face. Hired by her uncle to find a rare piece of jade, she slips into the dark side of Beijing as well as the extremely affluent world of her younger sister, Lu.

As the plot unwinds, Mei also reveals her own inner core of isolation from her family, from her lost love, and from her former job in the Ministry of Public Security. In her quest for justice, she uncovers dark secrets and darker choices.

After reading so many novels that lack that special touch of author style, this book is as refreshing as a real spring day. Read an excerpt, other reviews, and an interview with the author.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult (2000)

Very well-written story about Ellie, a defense attorney who is helping a young Amish girl accused of murder. I couldn’t put it down!

Visit the author's website for a synopsis, an excerpt, and discussion questions. Read a Lifetime interview where Picoult discusses her inspiration for the book and her experience living with the Amish. Compare the novel to the 2004 TV movie adaptation starring Mariska Hargitay.

The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell

The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell (2008)
In late Victorian London, young maid Jane Wilbred comes from the country to take a position with the Bentley family. Soon Jane becomes the pawn of both upstairs and downstairs. Jane’s mistress Mina Bentley has a secret past she is desperate to outrun and a mysterious woman shows up claiming to be the widow of Mr. Bentley’s older brother. Is the young man wooing Jane in love with her, or only using her for his own master’s devious plans? Wonderfully gothic and atmospheric.

At the publisher's website, you can browse inside the book, find more about the story and the author, and view a reading group guide.

The Eye of the Abyss by Marshall Browne

The Eye of the Abyss by Marshall Browne (2003)

In late 1938, Franz Schmidt, an unassuming, slight man and bank auditor, takes up the anti-Nazi cause as his bank is taken over by the Party.

The New York Times has an overview of this novel and other crime stories from 2003.

The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon

The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon (2007)
It’s France in the 1930s, Inspector Maigret has been shot, and incredibly he solves the case never having left his hospital bed. It’s easy to read the Maigret series because the stories are short and can be read in one day.

The Good German by Joseph Kanon

The Good German by Joseph Kanon (2001)
An American journalist in post-war Berlin tracks down the whereabouts of a former Nazi. Check out the 2007 movie adaptation featuring George Clooney.

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth

Blood on the Tongue by Stephen Booth (2002)
Narrated by Christopher Kay, this mystery stars the “everyman” of hometown detectives, Ben Cooper. The heart of the story hangs on an airplane that crashed during World War II. The intertwining threads of the plot create a great audio experience.

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill

The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill (2004)
If you’re looking for something a little different in the mystery genre, try this! Interesting locale, great characters and an intriguing mystery make this a good book.

This novel takes place in 1976 in Laos. The royal family has been deposed, the professional classes have fled and the communists have taken over, and Dr. Siri Paiboun has just been appointed state coroner for the Laos People’s Democratic Republic. The 72-year-old Siri has got the coroner’s job because he’s the only doctor left in Laos. But when the wife of a Party leader is found dead and the bodies of tortured Vietnamese soldiers surface on a Laotian lake, all eyes turn to the new coroner and his small staff to figure things out. Siri looks to old friends, consults tribal shamans, and uses forensic deduction to figure out what’s going on.

Listen to an NPR interview with the author where he discusses the unique setting for the novel and how that affected his main character.

The Serpent’s Daughter by Suzanne Arruda

The Serpent’s Daughter: A Jade del Cameron Mystery by Suzanne Arruda (2008)
This is the third entry in the Jade del Cameron mysteries. Jade grew up on a ranch in New Mexico and served as an ambulance driver during WWI. Her abilities to survive in extreme circumstances serve her well as her adventures take her to Colonial East Africa. In The Mark of the Lion, she searches for the murderer of her dead fiancé’s father and in Stalking Ivory, she tracks down elephant poachers. Her latest adventure takes her to Morocco where she is to meet her mother before heading off to Spain to buy a stallion for the family ranch. When Jade’s mother is kidnapped, Jade chases after Tangier to Marrakesh. These charming books are part mystery, part Saturday afternoon matinee adventure.

Check out the author's blog for information on Jade and the time period in which she lives.