A variety of new and interesting mysteries have arrived at the Field Library. Come on in and check them out!
Loren Estleman, one of the masters of the hard-boiled mystery, has a new book out featuring his private eye, Amos Walker. In The Sundown Speech, Amos is hired by a somewhat Bohemian couple to find the filmmaker to whom they’d given a large sum of investment money and who had then disappeared. He finds the missing man easily enough: the filmmaker is in a cupboard in his bedroom, dead, a bullet through his head. Fairly simple case, until Amos’ client is arrested for the murder of the filmmaker, and the client’s wife hires Amos to prove her husband isn’t guilty. As he begins to investigate, the case turns more complex and deeper, and when someone tries to kill him and his client, he begins to wonder if the filmmaker is actually dead, and if he isn’t, whose body DID Amos find in that bedroom? This is the twenty-second of Estleman’s books featuring Amos Walker, and if you enjoy this new book, you have the pleasure of going back and reading through his earlier cases as well (there’s nothing like discovering an author you like and then realizing this author has a back catalog of books you haven’t read yet).
Traveling from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Sydney, Australia, we have the first book in a new series by Barry Maitland, Crucifixion Creek. The protagonist, Harry Belltree, is a homicide detective who’s a veteran of Afghanistan. His brother in law is stabbed to death in the street, a meth-addicted biker shoots and kills a woman during a police siege, and an elderly couple commit suicide in public. When Harry learns these seemingly disparate deaths may in fact be related, and that all these victims had connections to a seedy and potentially dangerous money man, he feels compelled to dig deeper and find out what’s actually going on. Since one of the victims is related to him, he’s not able to investigate officially, but that’s not going to stop him. Even the risk of his own death or worse is not going to stop him from finding out what the links between these deaths.
On a somewhat lighter note, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, by Jennifer Kincheloe, takes us to 1907 Los Angeles, where Anna Blanc, a socialite, finds an unusual way to give rein to her inner Sherlock Holmes. She escapes her chaperone, makes up a fake name, and gets a job as a police matron, where she stumbles on information about a series of murders of prostitutes. The regular police aren’t giving those murders a high priority, but Anna refuses to leave them alone. If the police captain finds out she’s doing this without authorization, she’ll be fired. If her father finds out she’s doing this at all, he’ll disown her. If her fiance finds out, he’ll break off the engagement. Her dilemma is real: either she can follow her dreams and try to find this killer, and run the risk of losing her social standing and financial support and even her job, or she can back off, return to the life she’s supposed to live and stay out of trouble, at the cost of leaving a killer on the loose. Anna is a pip of a character, and the milieu of 1907 Los Angeles is practically a character itself in this romp of a mystery.