Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pierce’s Picks

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

A Little More Free (ECW Press), the sequel to John McFetridge’s 2014 crime novel, Black Rock, returns us to 1970s Montreal, Canada, and the company of half-French, half Irish-Canadian Constable Eddie Dougherty. This new yarn finds Dougherty on the scene of his city’s real-life Blue Bird Café fire of 1972, an arson-caused blaze that left 37 people dead. As if his role in investigating that tragedy weren’t enough to keep him busy, Dougherty--who’s still trying to gain a firm footing as a detective--is also tasked with solving a headline-making theft at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and discovering the identity of a murdered man found on Mount Royal, overlooking the City of Saints. Into this story, McFetridge also blends a Canada-USSR hockey rivalry, the politics surrounding American draft dodgers, and the ever-shadowy world of organized crime. McFetridge’s spare storytelling style nicely showcases all the drama. The Scribe, by Matthew Guinn (Norton), sends readers even farther back into the past--to post-Reconstruction Atlanta, Georgia. The precise year is 1881, and the city is preparing to open its International Cotton Exposition, a world’s fair meant to signal Atlanta’s recovery from Civil War devastation. However, a rash of murders among African-American entrepreneurs, all of whom are left with capital letters carved into their foreheads, threatens to stall any financial good the fair might do. Hoping to put a quick end to these serial slayings, a cluster of powerful local businessmen throws the case into the lap of a discredited white police detective, Thomas Canby, who, partnering with Atlanta’s first black constable, Cyrus Underwood, soon realizes there’s more to these killings than bigotry turned violent. Careful pacing and intriguing character development both benefit this second novel by Guinn, who previously published the Edgar Award-nominated The Resurrectionist (2013).

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

LISTEN UP:Episode 68: Matthew Guinn” (Speaking of Mysteries).

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