Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pierce’s Picks

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

Last Words (Little, Brown) marks Michael Koryta’s return to private-eye fiction, following his popular Lincoln Perry series. Here the protagonist is Markus Novak, a gumshoe in the employ of a Florida-based pro bono legal firm that specializes in winning freedom for wrongly convicted death-row inmates. To distract Novak from his continuing obsession with the demise of his lawyer wife, his boss sends him north to Indiana, where he’s to determine whether the firm should take on an investigation into the mystery surrounding a teenage girl. It seems that a decade ago, Sarah Martin vanished into a cave used heavily by tourists, only to be found--handcuffed and dead--by a knowledgeable but eccentric caving enthusiast, Ridley Barnes. Barnes can’t say for certain whether he did the girl in, but his small-town neighbors are convinced of his guilt. Novak figures he’s just wasting his time interviewing the people involved in that long-ago fatality. But after he’s suckered with lies, then told in no uncertain terms to beat a hasty retreat home, the private eye starts to wonder whether this make-work assignment deserves closer attention. The Catalyst Killing, by Hans Olav Lahlum (Mantle UK), isn’t actually due out until next week, but since so many new novels are being issued right now, I didn’t want to miss mentioning this one. It’s the third entry (following Satellite People) in Norwegian historian-author Lahlum’s series starring Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen, aka K2, and his brilliant but disabled young assistant, Patricia Louise Borchmann. This time around, the pair probe the murder of Marie Morgenstierne, whose fate might be connected to the disappearance, two years ago, of her boyfriend, Falko Reinhardt, during a mountain walking excursion. Did Morgenstierne know something about the incident that would have caused her more recent concerns? And is there a link between both of these mysteries and Falko’s research into Norwegian Nazis?

Click here to see more of this season’s most-wanted books.

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