The Lady in the Silver Cloud

The Lady in the Silver Cloud by David Handler

Expected publication date:  February 1, 2022 – Penzler Publishers/Mysterious Press

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

Ghostwriting sleuth Stewart Hoag investigates the murder of his wealthy neighbor—and discovers her dark, mobbed-up past

A 1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is a fantastically expensive car, especially in the pristine condition of the one owned by Muriel Cantrell. Living in a luxury apartment building on Central Park West, the delicate, sweet 75-year-old woman is a neighbor of Merilee Nash, the beautiful movie star, and Stewart Hoag, whose first book was a sensation but whose career crashed when he became involved with drugs and alcohol. Divorced ten years earlier, Hoagy has been welcomed back into Merilee’s life and apartment.

Apparently universally beloved in her building, residents are shocked when Muriel is murdered after a Halloween party. No one takes it harder than her long-time chauffeur, Bullets Durmond, whose previous job was as an enforcer for the mob. Who in the world would want to harm the silver-haired lady whose major vices were buying shoes and Chanel suits (always in cash), and watching day-time soap operas?

Lieutenant Romaine Very of the NYPD is called to investigate and again seeks help from his friend Hoagy who, along with his basset hound Lulu, has been an invaluable aide in the past. The investigation leads to the unexpected source of Muriel’s wealth, the history of her early years as a hatcheck girl at the Copacabana, how her chauffeur came to be called Bullets, her desperate meth-head nephew, and her wealthy neighbors, who have secrets of their own. (publisher)

My take:

It’s the 1990s so no cell phones, PCs, etc that make solving modern day crimes much easier in many ways. But the criminal still needs to be found and that is usually the result of capable detecting – in this case, one of NYPD’s best and his friend and author Stewart Hoag. Also on the team is Hoag’s basset hound Lulu.
Stewart has (hopefully) reconciled with his ex-wife and is living in her upscale Central Park West co-op. When a neighbor is found dead in a service stairwell it’s only natural that Hoag, Lieutenant Very, and Lulu are on the case. Colorful characters and suspects abound and the team will have to narrow things down quickly if they hope to catch the killer.
I enjoyed the time spent with the apparently recurring characters in this ongoing series. I think The Lady in the Silver Cloud is #12 or #13 but I’m happy to say it can stand alone. I like David Handler’s style that had me often laughing. I felt a “Only Murders in the Building” vibe and would definitely pick up the next in the series if it continues.


About the author:

David Handler is the Edgar Award-winning, critically acclaimed author of several bestselling mystery series. He began his career as a New York City reporter, and wrote his first two novels-Kiddo (1987) and Boss (1988)-about his Los Angeles childhood. In 1988 he published The Man Who Died Laughing, the first of his long-running series of mysteries starring ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful basset hound Lulu.


 

Release Day Spotlight: Observations by Gaslight

Published:  Dec. 7, 2021 – Mysterious Press

Description:

A new collection of Sherlockian tales that shows the Great Detective and his partner, Watson, as their acquaintances saw them

Lyndsay Faye—international bestseller, translated into fifteen languages, and a two-time Edgar Award nominee—first appeared on the literary scene with Dust and Shadow, her now-classic novel pitting Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper, and later produced The Whole Art of Detection, her widely acclaimed collection of traditional Watsonian tales. Now Faye is back with Observations by Gaslight, a thrilling volume of both new and previously published short stories and novellas narrated by those who knew the Great Detective.

Beloved adventuress Irene Adler teams up with her former adversary in a near-deadly inquiry into a room full of eerily stopped grandfather clocks. Learn of the case that cemented the lasting friendship between Holmes and Inspector Lestrade, and of the tragic crime which haunted the Yarder into joining the police force. And witness Stanley Hopkins’ first meeting with the remote logician he idolizes, who will one day become his devoted mentor.

From familiar faces like landlady Mrs. Hudson to minor characters like Lomax the sub-librarian, Observations by Gaslight—entirely epistolary, told through diaries, telegrams, and even grocery lists—paints a masterful portrait of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as you have never seen them before. (publisher)

About the Author: 

Lyndsay Faye is the author of six critically acclaimed books: The Paragon Hotel; Jane Steele, which was nominated for an Edgar for Best Novel; Dust and Shadow, a Sherlock Holmes pastiche; The Gods of Gotham, also Edgar-nominated; Seven for a Secret; and The Fatal Flame. She has also published numerous short stories featuring the Holmes character, several of which were collected in 2017’s The Whole Art of Detection.

Advance Praise

“One of the best examples of [Sherlock Holmes pastiche] that this die-hard Sherlockian has encountered . . . Faye perfectly captures the tone and spirit of the Conan Doyle originals.” – Seattle Times (on The Whole Art of Detection)


 

The Left-Handed Twin

The Left-Handed Twin by Thomas Perry

Expected publication:  November 16, 2021 – Mysterious Press

Advance review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

Rescue artist Jane Whitefield leads a deadly crime syndicate on a wild chase through the Northeast

Jane Whitefield helps people disappear. Fearing for their lives, fleeing dangerous situations, her clients come to her when they need to vanish completely—to assume a new identity and establish a new life somewhere they won’t be found. And when people are desperate enough to need her services, they come to the old house in rural western New York where Jane was raised to begin their escape.

It’s there that, one spring night, Jane finds a young woman fresh from LA with a whole lot of trouble behind her. After she cheated on her boyfriend, he dragged her to the home of the offending man and made her watch as he killed him. She testified against the boyfriend, but a bribed jury acquitted him, and now he’s free and trying to find and kill her.

Jane agrees to help, and it soon becomes clear that outsmarting the murderous boyfriend is not beyond Jane’s skills. But the boyfriend has some new friends: members of a Russian organized crime brotherhood. When they learn that Sara is traveling with a tall, dark-haired woman who disappears people, the Russians become increasingly interested in helping the boyfriend find the duo. They’ve heard rumors that such a woman existed—and believe that, if forcibly extracted, the knowledge she has of past clients could be worth millions.  

Thus begins a bloodthirsty chase that winds through the cities of the northeast before finally plunging into Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness. But in a pursuit where nothing can be trusted, one thing is certain: only one party—Jane or her pursuers—will emerge alive. (publisher)

My take:

The Left-Handed Twin is book nine in the Jane Whitefield series. If you, like me, haven’t read any of the previous books don’t let that stop you from dipping in with this book. A past case or two are referenced but didn’t make me feel I was missing context.

Jane helps desperate people to disappear and start life over. She’s an honorable woman who lives according to a philosophy that was instilled by her ancestors. It’s an important layer of the novel and one I appreciated.

So, no spoilers here except to say if you enjoy breath-taking, edge of your seat thrillers you should read The Left-Handed Twin. I’m happy I had the chance and won’t hesitate to pick up another of Thomas Perry’s books.

About the author:  Thomas Perry is the bestselling author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield series, The Old Man, and The Butcher’s Boy, which won the Edgar Award.


 

When Christmas Comes

When Christmas Comes by Andrew Klavan

Expected Pub. date:  November 2, 2021

Review copy courtesy of Mysterious Press

Description:

After a confession of murder, a sleuthing English teacher will need a Christmas miracle to prove a condemned man innocent

Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan—how could a beloved son of this tight-knit burgh commit such a grisly deed?

As a community of military families a few miles down the road from an Army base, no one in Sweet Haven wants to investigate a war hero like Blake, not even the top brass at the police department. In steps Cameron Winter, a rugged and lonesome English professor haunted by the ghosts of his own Christmas past, whose former lover asks him to prove Blake innocent. The Sweet Haven murder reverberates in his mind, echoing a horrific yuletide memory from his youth, and Winter knows there are darker powers at play here than a simple domestic dispute. If he can solve this small-town mystery, just maybe he can find peace from his inner demons as well.

The thirty-sixth novel by two-time Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan, When Christmas Comes is a seasonal tale of tradition, family, and murder; its chilling twists are best experienced curled up beside a burning Yule log. (publisher)

My take:  When a former love interest of our college professor requests his help in an investigation of her client he can’t resist saying yes. Known to have an innate ability to see details others miss, Cameron Winter is someone to have on the case. He’s not without his own demons which I felt gave him compassion despite the melancholy that seems to envelop him. But melancholy does seem to insert itself into the holidays for many people, doesn’t it? At any rate, Cameron has good reason to feel that way. It wasn’t all melancholy. There were a couple of times when I appropriately laughed out loud. Depending on how you read short mysteries this one could probably be read in an afternoon but I took my time and read a chapter or two a day. It’s quite descriptive and the setting is cinematic – I think that Klavan should write the screenplay and maybe direct it. That’s how detailed it read for me. I enjoy a Hallmark-esque novel at this time of year but When Christmas Comes was an entertaining departure. Thanks to Mysterious Press for sending the ARC. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this author.


About the author:

Andrew Klavan (b. 1954) is a highly successful author of thrillers and hard-boiled mysteries. Born in New York City, Klavan was raised on Long Island and attended college at the University of California at Berkeley. He published his first novel, Face of the Earth, in 1977, and continued writing mysteries throughout the eighties, finding critical recognition when The Rain (1988) won an Edgar Award for best new paperback.

Besides his crime fiction, Klavan has distinguished himself as an author of supernatural thrillers, most notably Don’t Say a Word (1991), which was made into a film starring Michael Douglas. Besides his fiction, Klavan writes regular opinion pieces for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other national publications.


 

Christmas in July – Spotlight

I’ve accepted a few Christmas review galleys that will publish in September and October so I thought I’d shine a spotlight on them today. I’ll hold off on reading for a while but have to say I’m looking forward to each book!

Description

From May Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it. 

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

Description

The reigning legendary queens of Regency Romance, bestselling authors Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, and Mary Jo Putney, deck the halls with this delightful Christmas collection of three sparkling holiday interconnected romances, as stranded travelers find merriment, mistletoe, and holiday romance awaiting at a quaint country inn…
 

THE UNEXPECTED GIFT by Madeline Hunter
Jenna Waverly has closed her inn, anticipating a blissfully quiet Christmas, until a snowstorm brings the first of several strangers to her property. Lucas Avonwood, as charming as he is secretive, is on a mission to track down a scoundrel, but the inn’s lovely owner is giving him a more compelling reason to stay…

WHEN WE FINALLY KISS GOOD NIGHT
 by Sabrina Jeffries
When Flora Younger first met Konrad Juncker, she thought she’d found her match, only to have her hopes dashed. Konrad is now a famous playwright whose plays Flora has secretly panned in reviews. But a chance meeting in a secluded inn may help them rewrite this star-crossed romance…

WHEN STRANGERS MEET by Mary Jo Putney
Kate Mcleod is shocked to find that her fellow guest in the snowbound inn is the dashing soldier who may or may not be her husband. Daniel Faringdon barely remembers that long-ago night when he rescued her from disaster, but the desire they discover now will be impossible to forget, or to ignore . . .

Description

Maybe this Christmas can thaw his frozen heart—and heal hers.

Hollywood starlet Tia Beckett knows one moment can change your life. Her career had been on the fast track before a near-fatal accident left her with a debilitating facial scar. Certain her A-lister dreams are over, she agrees to house-sit at her producer’s secluded estate in Silver Springs. It’s the escape from the limelight Tia’s been craving, until she discovers she’s not the only houseguest for the holidays. And her handsome new roomie is impossible to ignore.

Artist Seth Turner has good reason to keep his distance. Losing his wife after only a few years of marriage has left a deep scar, even if he is still happy to spend a semester teaching art classes at the New Horizons Boys Ranch for troubled teens. Despite nursing her own wounds, Tia finds her curiosity piqued by enigmatic Seth, whom she recognizes as something of a kindred soul. Maybe spending Christmas together could be another game changer for both of them—this time, for good.

Description

“[Thayne’s] books are wonderfully romantic, feel-good reads that end with me sighing over the last pages.”—Debbie Macomber, #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Celebrate the season with this sparkling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber, Dorthea Benton Frank, and Nancy Thayer!

Ranch manager Annie McCade thought her twin niece and nephew could join her at the Angel View Ranch for Christmas with her absent employer being none the wiser. But when the ranch’s owner, Tate Sheridan, shows up out of the blue, Annie’s plans are upended. Soon she finds herself helping Tate make a Christmas to remember for his grieving and fractured extended family.

Sleigh Bells Ring is the latest heartwarming, festive Christmas story by New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne.

Description:

After a confession of murder, a sleuthing English teacher will need a Christmas miracle to prove a condemned man innocent

Colorful Christmas lights dapple the family homes in the idyllic lakeside town of Sweet Haven when Jennifer Dean, a young librarian at the local elementary school, is brutally murdered. There are witnesses and her boyfriend Travis Blake confesses to the crime… but something doesn’t quite add up. Blake is a third generation Army Ranger, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism in Afghanistan―how could a beloved son of this tight-knit burgh commit such a grisly deed?

As a community of military families a few miles down the road from an Army base, no one in Sweet Haven wants to investigate a war hero like Blake, not even the top brass at the police department. In steps Cameron Winter, a rugged and lonesome English professor haunted by the ghosts of his own Christmas past, whose former lover asks him to prove Blake innocent. The Sweet Haven murder reverberates in his mind, echoing a horrific yuletide memory from his youth, and Winter knows there are darker powers at play here than a simple domestic dispute. If he can solve this small-town mystery, just maybe he can find peace from his inner demons as well.

The thirty-sixth novel by two-time Edgar Award winner Andrew Klavan, When Christmas Comes is a seasonal tale of tradition, family, and murder; its chilling twists are best experienced curled up beside a burning Yule log.

The Last Commandment

Description:

A Scotland Yard detective tracks a serial killer from London to New York City

Christmastime in London. When three seemingly unconnected victims are murdered with matching sequential Roman numerals carved into their foreheads, Metropolitan Police Commander Austin Grant finds his answer in one of the last places he’d expect: the Holy Bible. Each of the deaths correspond to a transgression of one of the Ten Commandments, and Grant must find the killer before the remaining Commandments are commemorated with homicides.

Unfortunately for Grant, the next victim with a number on their forehead turns up not in London, but across the pond at the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, turning this English murder case into a transatlantic manhunt spanning two global metropolises, each with its own rich history and culture. Commander Grant must team up with a charming NYPD detective named John Frankel, as well as his own estranged daughter Rachel—a cunning investigative reporter with conflicting feelings about her father.

The Last Commandment is the third novel by acclaimed screenwriter and producer Scott Shepherd, whose decades of television writing experience shine through in the swift pace and character-driven storytelling of this devilishly fun, page-turning mystery. Flipping the “buddy cop” story on its head with a touch of Old Testament fatalism, this twisty tale leads from the seedy back-alleys of Piccadilly to the Grande Dame hotels of Midtown Manhattan and back again. (from the publisher)

My take:

I’m a casual and interested reader of the Mystery genre so when Mysterious Press offered a copy of THE LAST COMMANDMENT I happily accepted. And I’m so glad I did. From the first page I was caught up in the race to find a macabre serial killer (aren’t they all??).

Scott Shepherd’s screenwriting skills shone in this well-paced novel. The principal characters were engaging and had me looking forward to getting back to the book each time life interrupted my reading. I loved the ‘both sides of the Pond’ settings and plot as well as the exciting denouement. As I turned the last page I was hoping for another case for Austin Grant and John Frankel.

About the author:

Scott Shepherd is a veteran writer/producer/show-runner with years of experience running network series; his production and screenwriting credits include The Equalizer, Miami Vice, The Outer Limits, Haven, and Quantum Leap. Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, he currently teaches television writing at the University of Texas in Austin. 

Praise for THE LAST COMMANDMENT:

“Scott Shepherd is a dazzling storyteller, whose authentic and richly textured characters and clever, pulsating plotting captivate. The Last Commandment is a riveting and wondrously satisfying thriller with that all too rare commodity: abundant heart and soul.” – May Cobb, author of THE HUNTING WIVES

“An enthralling mystery that will hook you on the very first page and keep you turning until the last. Shepherd’s signature storytelling is on full display in The Last Commandment.” – Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of PIECES OF HER

“The intensifying, suspenseful investigation ends in a shocking, made-for-TV reveal…The fast-paced story and twisted villain will appeal to fans of crime dramas.” – Library Journal

“A fast-paced tale that weds its golden-age homage to some serious violence. Sinners beware.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A real corker […] Good idea, expertly executed.” – Booklist

“Written in taut, tight chapters that land like a hail of bullets. You’ll race through this story.” – Brian Freeman, New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP, DEEP SNOW

“Scott Shepherd is a marvelous storyteller, and The Last Commandment is further proof of his abilities. Smart, funny, and layered with a terrific sense of time and place, the story rockets from one twist to the next while always deepening the questions of family, trust, and the weight of old sins. A gem of a thriller, not to be missed.” – Michael Kortya, New York Times bestselling author of NEVER FAR AWAY

“A twisty, turns, globetrotting tale filled with mystery and suspense.” – F.Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of the REPAIRMAN JACK series.

“Ingeniously constructed and breathlessly told, The Last Commandment is Scott Shepherd at his gripping best.” – Charles Ardai, publisher of Hard Case Crime