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Box 21 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom

Box 21 by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (2009)
Swedish crime is intriguing. If you liked the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, this book is for you. It is second in the Ewert Grens thrillers, a series with cutting edge crime and dark characters. I suggest reading the first book, The Beast, because two stories converge in Box 21 – an unfinished thread from the first book and a brand-spanking new blockbuster in the second. Although much of the plot circles around the sex slave trade, the authors show restraint in portraying this grueling subject.

Starred reviews indicate that this series could really fly. Time will tell.

For more on the authors, check out their website.

Devil’s Garden by Ace Atkins

Devil’s Garden by Ace Atkins (2009)
Fatty Arbunkle
was a silent movie comic at the top of the box office when he was accused of murdering a young starlet in a drunken debauch. Sam Hammett (later known as Dashiell) was a Pinkerton operative hired to work on the case. Those two sentences are true. What author Atkins does with them is to develop a marvelous feel for the time, early 1920s, the place, San Francisco, and the characters, real and imaginary.

Pick up a copy of the book at Indian Prairie or the Woodridge Public Library and join the Crime Readers Book Club discussion on December 16, 2010, 7 p.m. at the Downers Grove Wine Shop, 1240 75th Street.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

House Rules by Jodi Picoult (2010)
In her latest novel, which is one of her best, a teenage boy with Asperger’s syndrome is accused of murder. Not only is this book really difficult to put down, you can also learn a great deal about Asperger’s and forensic science. Jodi Picoult sure does her research while creating her novels. Excellent read!

Read an excerpt from the book and visit this bestselling author's website.

Act of Treason by Vince Flynn

Act of Treason by Vince Flynn (2006)
Recently I made a 300 mile drive alone and was afraid of falling asleep at the wheel. A good friend suggested that I get a book on CD by Vince Flynn to play in the car – and she could guarantee I wouldn’t fall asleep. She was right!

I selected Act of Treason and did not have one sleepy moment on my trip. It was truly spellbinding and suspenseful and I enjoyed every minute and looked forward to every new chapter. It was a fast-paced as well as high anticipation story. I look forward to reading another one of his novels!

Check out the author's website and take a sneak peak of the book.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2004)
In post-WWII Barcelona, young Daniel is taken by his bookseller father to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He is told to choose a book to protect. He selects one. He reads it, loves it and searches for the rest of the author’s works only to discover that someone is trying to destroy every book the author has ever written. This book is part detective story, part boy’s adventure, part romance, fantasy and gothic horror.

Discover reviews, discuss questions, info about the author and more at BookBrowse.com. Visit the author's website to learn more about Ruiz Zafon and his books.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (2004)
Dexter Morgan is a lab tech for the Miami Police Department. He’s also a serial killer. It’s okay, though, because he only murders bad guys. But when a new series of murders bears a startling resemblance to Dexter’s work, he gets a little nervous.

Darkling Dreaming Dexter is the first in a series. It’s also the basis for the hit TV show Dexter (find seasons 1-3 at the library).

Visit the author's website to read an excerpt, find a reading guide, and more.

Delusion by Peter Abrahams

Delusion by Peter Abrahams (2008)
Nell Jarreau's geologist fiancé was murdered on a summer night in Louisiana as they were walking. Her eyewitness identification of Alvin Dupree resulted in a life sentence for the killer. Nell married the lead detective on the case; they raised her daughter and led an idyllic life for nearly 20 years until a hurricane struck. During the cleanup, new evidence surfaced that ultimately proved Dupree innocent. He was released from prison and Nell's world began coming apart.

Nell wonders if she made a mistake. Is this new evidence credible? Who is telling the truth? Is the reporter lying to write a sensational story? The suspense level in this book builds and builds as Nell discovers inconsistencies and possible alternate theories. The man who she believes killed her fiancé is free, her husband is uncommunicative and angry, and her college student daughter, once open and chatty, is now closed and sullen, demanding information about her birth father's life. The plot thickens, new clues surface, new motivations are uncovered and the twists and turns continue.

Also try While I Was Gone by Sue Miller and Just One Look by Harlan Coben.

Read the Bookreporter.com review and visit the author's website.

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly (2008)
If you've read Michael Connelly's other mystery books, you'll understand the characters from previous novels. This is the first Michael Connelly book I've read and it didn't matter that I did not know the characters from his other books.

You'll immediately think of the O.J. trial in LA. The opening line on page 3 is the book's theme: "Everybody lies.  Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victims lie. The trial is a contest of lies." The book offers  interesting insights into a lawyer's mind. The Brass Verdict has an easy writing style and is fun at the end when all the characters in the plot merge.

Check out the author's website and read the EW.com review.

Spade and Archer by Joe Gores

Spade and Archer by Joe Gores (2009)
Gores has imagined Sam Spade's life prior to events in The Maltese Falcon. If you are familiar with the original novel, Hammett's other stories and his life, this book is a delight as you can catch carefully inserted tidbits from all of the above. The book opens in 1921 with Spade opening his own office and ends in 1928 with secretary Effie announcing that Miss Wonderly is waiting in the outer office, and is she a knockout.

Read more about the author and take a look at the New York Times review.

L. A. Requiem by Robert Crais

L. A. Requiem by Robert Crais (1999)
If you like a book that has flashback info about things that happened before the time of this story, you'll like this book for that detail. If you do not like flashbacks interrupting the story you're reading, you won't like this book.

I enjoyed this book, which is the first by Robert Crais that I've read. Therefore, I wasn't familiar with Elvis Cole and I think Crais' readers of previous books will be happy to learn about Joe Pike through the flashbacks to know his history growing up and working at LAPD. I liked all the characters in this story regardless of their habits because the author has given each character a reason to like him/her. It was an enjoyable read and a page turner of suspense. If you've been to LA and Palm Springs area, you'll relate to the places where the action takes place.

Preview the book before you visit the library and visit the author's website.

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell (2004)
If you liked The Da Vinci Code, this book is for you. Codes, secret meanings, and literary puzzles are what I liked best about this book. It doesn’t have as much action as The Da Vinci Code; instead it focuses more on the relationship of four college friends who are trying to solve an ancient mystery.

Read an interview with the author, view an excerpt from the book, check out the reviews at Amazon.com and the reading group guide at BookBrowse.

Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart

Treasure Hunt by John Lescroart (2010)
Wyatt Hunt’s detective agency is in a slump. Just as he’s considering closing the doors, his only employee Mickey Dade stumbles across the body of Dominic Como, the head of a network of social service agencies with a $50 million budget.

Mickey envisions a scenario where Hunt’s agency would act as a clearinghouse for tips to be filtered to the police, partly to prove the innocence of Alicia Thorpe, the sister of his culinary school friend. As the investigation moves forward, the sinister side of philanthropy produces several motives and suspects, as does the romantic entanglements and resulting jealousies.

Mickey’s sister and grandfather join Dade and Hunt in their search for the killer and each struggles to figure out who they can believe. The police have one theory, Dade has another and Hunt wonders whether other recent events have skewed his ability to trust. The tension thickens as more killings occur and people close to the investigation disappear.

If you enjoy Treasure Hunt, try On this Rockne by Ralph M. McInerny.

Visit the author's website and read reviews at Amazon.com.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (2003)
I couldn’t put down this eerie and unsettling fast-paced psychological thriller by the author of Mystic River. Two U.S. marshals are sent to Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane on a small island off Massachusetts in the summer of 1954 to investigate the disappearance of a patient. They must relinquish their guns and have trouble getting cooperation from the staff, especially the director Dr. Cawley.

Teddy Daniels, the lead marshal, is having a hard time dealing with the death of his wife two years ago. He has an ulterior motive for wanting to be on the island. A hurricane hits the island preventing Teddy and his partner, Chuck Aule, from leaving, but it gives them time to find out what is really going on after the patient mysteriously reappears. What is happening in Unit C? What is real and what is imagined? It will keep you guessing until the end.

Shutter Island has been made into a motion picture (reserve your copy today!) directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Try the Playaway format for a convenient worthwhile audio experience.


The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (2006)
This is an interesting fictional tale about a 16-year-old girl who trusts the wrong person and finds herself in a very dangerous situation. After a horrible tragedy occurs, she must go “underground” and assume a new identity to protect herself.

As the story unfolds, we see how this impacts her life and the lives of those she loves. It kind of grabs you and holds your interest after the first few chapters. You feel as if you really get to know the characters.

Visit the author's website and read reviews at Amazon.com.

I Can See You by Karen Rose

I Can See You by Karen Rose (2009)
When the lines between virtual reality and real life blur, psychology grad student Eve Wilson gets drawn into a police investigation and catches the attention of a serial killer. While conducting a study of an online role-playing game, Eve discovers several participants have been murdered. Together with Detective Noah Webster, Eve’s in a race against time to stop the killer from claiming another victim. Filled with lots of twists, turns, and surprises, I Can See You keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Visit the author's website, check out her interview on YouTube and read reviews at Amazon.com.