Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Pierce’s Picks

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

After the Crash (Hachette) is French author Michel Bussi’s award-winning story about a 1980 airplane tragedy in the Swiss Alps, which kills more than 160 people, leaving just a single survivor: a 3-month-old baby girl. Unfortunately, there were two such youngsters on board, one of them from an oil-rich family, the other from a clan of much more modest means. Even 18 years later, the girl’s identity remains in question, and Crédule Grand-Duc, a private detective who’s failed to get to the bottom of that mystery, contemplates suicide. He’s stopped only by a previously unrealized clue, one he won’t be able to reveal, before he’s murdered—or so it seems.

No Mortal Thing (Hodder & Stoughton) finds British writer Gerald Seymour returning to the subject of organized crime in Italy, which he last addressed in 2009’s The Collaborator. This new novel introduces Jago Browne, an up-and-coming investment banker from one of London’s rougher quarters, who’s now based in Berlin, Germany. One morning he witnesses a vicious assault on a woman, but when he tries to intervene, things don’t go well. He subsequently reports the incident to police, but is surprised by their lack of interest or concern; they basically tell him to forget all about it. However, Browne learns where the perpetrator of the attack, Marcantonio Cancello—associated with southern Italy’s ’Ndrangheta crime organization, and on the lookout for ways to funnel their ill-gotten millions into legitimate European enterprises—is based, and embarks on a quixotic plan to strike a blow at the Cancello family. What he doesn’t know, though, as he calculates his opportunities and gains an ally in a woman named Consolata, is that his activities have put him smack in the middle of a sensitive surveillance operation being directed against the Italian mafia. Although No Mortal Thing is a UK book, Seymour also has another new book out this week in the States: Vagabond (Thomas Dunne).

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

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