Fresh Meat: <i>Goodhouse</i> by Peyton Marshall Fresh Meat: Goodhouse by Peyton Marshall Amy Eller Lewis In a school full of criminals, fear is all you learn. FM: <i>The Haunting Ballad</i> by Michael Nethercott FM: The Haunting Ballad by Michael Nethercott Doreen Sheridan 1950s Greenwich Village is at the backdrop of this musical mystery. Fresh Meat: <i>To Dwell in Darkness</i> by Deborah Crombie Fresh Meat: To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie Janet Webb Smoke bombs aren't supposed to explode... Fresh Meat: <i>Crossing the Line</i> by Frederique Molay Fresh Meat: Crossing the Line by Frederique Molay Leigh Neely Going to the dentist is bad enough as it is...
From The Blog
September 19, 2014
Checking into The Knick 1.06: “Start Calling Me Dad”
Joe Brosnan
September 18, 2014
The Maze Runner Trailer
Crime HQ
September 17, 2014
Thief Robs Autistic Man's Birthday Money
Teddy Pierson
September 16, 2014
Denzel Washington Joins Cast of The Magnificent Seven Remake
Joe Brosnan
September 15, 2014
Steve McQueen: The King of Cool Westerns
Edward A. Grainger
Showing posts by: Katherine Tomlinson click to see Katherine Tomlinson's profile
Fri
Aug 29 2014 11:00pm

Fresh Meat: Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry

Fall of Night by Jonathan Maberry is the second thriller in the Dead of Night series about a world overrun with zombies (available September 2, 2014).

The road to hell, so they say, is paved with good intentions. Most disaster movies begin with a well-meaning act, or an unintentional act, or even just a mistake. But in Jonathan Maberry’s “Dead of Night” series, the end of the world is set off by an act of pure evil—a prison doctor developing a serum that will allow a prisoner’s consciousness to survive even as his body rots in his grave.

Karma, as they also say, is a bitch, and in this second installment of Maberry’s zombie apocalypse series, the bitch is back.

With a vengeance.

In the first 15 pages, someone readers care about will die, and with that death we realize we’re in George R. R. Martin territory where no one is safe.

[No, not even you!]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 12:30pm

Fresh Meat: Don’t Ever Look Back by Daniel Friedman

Don't Ever Look Back by Daniel Friedman is second book featuring 88-year-old retired cop Buck Schatz who is asked for help by an old nemesis from his days on the force (available April 22, 2014).

I grew up in what was essentially a three-generation household. My maternal grandparents stayed with us off and on for months at a time because my grandfather, who’d been born in the last years of the 19th century and was ancient even when I was a kid, was being treated for various ailments at the VA hospital in the city where we lived. My grandmother hated my father and the feeling was mutual, and their ongoing hostilities made life a living hell for my mother.

I loved my grandmother dearly but she was one tough old woman who spoke her mind, damn the consequences. Buck Schatz, the ornery ex-cop at the center of Daniel Friedman’s new novel (the second in a much-heralded series) reminds me a lot of my grandmother. This was a woman who was such a terrible cook that any time we went to see her, we’d insist on taking her out to eat to avoid having to consume some godawful concoction she’d whip up out of lime gelatin and mayonnaise. And yet, she had no problem criticizing her daughter’s cooking. But at least she had the option of cooking for herself. That’s not true for Bud Schatz, and one of the (many) indignities he’s had to suffer at the Valhalla Estates Assisted Lifestyle Community for Older Adults is that the food is close to inedible.

Whoever said that life in assisted-living facilities lacked variety clearly never had breakfast at Valhalla. A single plate of scrambled eggs could have burnt bits, cold places, and runny parts.

[Can you pass the salt, please?]

Tue
Mar 25 2014 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Notorious by Allison Brennan

Notorious by Allison Brennan is a debut thriller featuring Max Revere, formally Maxine, a renowned TV investigative reporter with a passion for cold cases, who's dragged back to her hometown to confront the murder that made her who she is (available March 25, 2014).

It may not be true that behind every great crime-stopper there’s a personal connection to a crime, but sometimes it seems that way. America’s Most Wanted was born from the horrible death of Adam Walsh, and the murder of her fiancé derailed Nancy Grace’s plans to become an English professor and turned her into the passionate victims’ rights advocate she is today. The relationship between the media and crime goes far beyond the editorial policy of “if it bleeds, it leads.”  Crime fiction writers have traditionally relied on journalists to tell their stories, and more often than not, those reporters have a vested interest in solving the crime.

These days, when writers choose media figures as their protagonists, they are much more likely to bypass print reporters (like Edna Buchanan’s alter-ego Britt Montero) and pick people whose careers span the transition from print to pixel. And so it is with Alison Brennan’s 21st novel, Notorious.  Maxine “Max” Revere hosts an extremely popular cable crime show that only airs monthly but has enough of a fan base that she can’t travel incognito, not even to the funeral of an old friend.

[Lights, Camera, Action…]

Wed
Mar 12 2014 6:00pm
Excerpt

Whipping Boy: New Excerpt

Katherine Tomlinson

Whipping Boy, a California noir cozy novella by Katherine TomlinsonWhipping Boy by Katherine Tomlinson is a California cop mystery novella, the debut of a female criminalist whose strange existence swings from the grimmest crime scenes to life among Hollywood royalty—no wonder she has such a bad attitude (available March 12, 2014).

Murder hits close to home for criminalist Lark Riordan when a neighbor’s son is killed and another neighbor is arrested for the crime. Teaming up with homicide detective Max Siwek to investigate the case, Lark encounters family secrets, old grudges, and dysfunctional relationships that make her own life seem normal. And that’s saying something because her father is a self-involved actor who’s just been nominated for an Oscar, and she and Max have a thing for each other even though he’s her stepbrother. It’s… complicated.

 

I was working the night Jimmy Morrissey died.

I had been called out to an industrial park in Panorama City at seven o’clock, and three hours later, I was still processing the scene while the nineteen-year-old rent-a-cop who’d called 911 chain-smoked Marlboro Lights and tried not to puke on his already vomit-stained uniform. He’d told his story at least twice since I’d been there, and he was now telling it for a third time to the bored redheaded cop everyone called “Bozo” behind his back. Bozo’s job was to keep civilians away from the crime scene, but the industrial park had been pretty deserted by the time I arrived. The only people whose cars were still in the lot were a couple of kids who were working on a start-up that had outgrown their studio apartment.

They had bounced around the perimeter earlier, jacked up on energy drinks and curiosity, but there really wasn’t that much to see, so they’d eventually retreated to their office and returned to their regularly scheduled lives.

As the security guard droned on, I tried to tune him out, but he and Bozo were standing right outside the dumpster where I was working, and he had one of those voices—high and nasally—that was just the right frequency to cut through the white noise, so I couldn’t help hearing him as he once again recounted the sequence of events leading up to this horror show.

[Continue reading Whipping Boy by Katherine Tomlinson...]

Tue
Feb 4 2014 2:45pm

Fresh Meat: Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons

Doing Harm by Kelly ParsonsDoing Harm by Kelly Parsons is a debut medical thriller about a Boston surgeon whose hospital and life are under threat from a serial killer. (available February 4, 2014).

Even without reading the author’s bio, you will know the novelist is a doctor from the very first scene as he casually inserts authentic-sounding details into his doctor/protagonist’s thoughts. This is what Dr. Steve Mitchell is thinking as his dying patient’s hand flops lifelessly:

“…Back in medical school, one of my anatomy instructors had pointed out to us how the hand is one of the most recognizably human parts of the human body; how, unlike the anonymous organs inhabiting the abdomen and chest, it can trigger instant recognition and empathy. To prove his point, he sawed a hand off one of the cadavers and passed it around the class, followed by the spleen of another.

He was right, of course. The hand creeped everyone out much more than the spleen, which was like a big, brown sponge left out to dry in the sun for too long.”

Later, Steve thinks about the music his boss Dr. Collier (a dead ringer for the middle-aged Charlton Heston) likes to crank in the operating room during surgery and wonders what patients would think if they could see him cutting into a kidney while humming “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. Forget the details of the murders going around University Hospital, it’s details about the way things really work behind the scenes of a big hospital that give us the chills.

[I can feel the goosebumps...]

Mon
Jan 27 2014 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Fatal Jealousy by Colin McEvoy and Lynn Olanoff

Fatal Jealousy: The True Story of a Doomed Romance, a Singular Obsession, and a Quadruple Murder by Colin McEvoy and Lynn Olanoff explores a 2010 mass murder in Pennsylvania (available January 28, 2014).

Sometimes I wonder how true crime writers cope when they spend months (sometimes more) researching and interviewing and writing about violence. This book rekindled my curiosity about that. What must it be like to share your life with killers for the time it takes to write a book about their crimes? Because there’s no such thing as a true crime book that doesn’t have a point of view.

That’s not to say the authors have an axe to grind but they do have opinions and observations and they bring a sense of commitment to the writing here that makes the book visceral and memorable.

McEvoy and Olanoff let their readers know right away that this is not going to be a story about a simple crime. There will be emotion. There will be drama and madness and paranoia and pain.

And there will be blood.

Above all, there will be blood.

[In true crime, it's not corn syrup and food dye...]

Tue
Jan 21 2014 11:15am

Fresh Meat: Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

Bad Wolf by Nele NeuhausBad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus is the second translated novel in the Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein detective series (available January 21, 2014).

Nele Neuhaus knows how to kickstart a story. The first chapter of Bad Wolf, the second novel in her series about detectives Pia Kirchoff and Oliver von Bordenstein, opens with a sweaty fry cook showering off the stink of rancid oil and grilled meat in the cramped shower of his trailer’s bathroom and then strapping on a watch that cost him 11,000 Deutsche Marks—the last reminder he has of a previous, more prosperous life. Who is this man and what caused his disgrace and how is he connected to the body of the young woman the police are calling “the Mermaid” after fishing her lifeless body out of a river? For some writers, answering those questions would be mystery enough for a single novel, the plot here is composed of a lot of different moving parts, and the writer takes time to set all these pieces in motion before pulling back to allow us to see the whole, beautifully crafted mechanism.

And lurking inside the mechanism are the wolves.

[We don't think we like the way that sounds...]

Mon
Jan 13 2014 4:15pm

Fresh Meat: Dead to Me by Cath Staincliffe

Dead to Me by Cath Staincliffe, a prequel novel to the TV series Bailey & ScottDead to Me by Cath Staincliffe introduces an unlikely pairing of female detectives on Manchester's murder squad in a prequel to the U.K.'s Scott & Bailey procedural TV series (available January 14, 2014.)

Sisterhood is powerful.

Constable Rachel Bailey has a plan. Even as she’s freezing her tits off guarding a bleak Manchester crime scene, she’s got her eyes on the prize—a transfer to the Major Incident Team (MIT), where she can use her skills to solve murders. So she wraps her coat tighter around her and thinks…

…nowhere else she’d rather be. Not strictly true – she’d rather be inside the cordon than guarding the periphery. She’d rather be in an MIT syndicate some day. Major Incidents: running a team, catching killers. But there was no shortcut. She had to work her way up, build her portfolio. And she was on track, she allowed herself a little pat on the back. Five years in uniform, nearly five in Sex Crimes. Stepping stones, foundations for the bigger stuff. Rachel did another shuffle, waved her arms to get the circulation going. Times like these she made the best use of, alert to what was required of her, but in the lulls when no one was entering or leaving the scene she practised her definitions. Knowing the law, criminal law, inside out, upside down; because anyone who had to enforce the law needed to understand it. She was practising homicide, murder or manslaughter now. That’s where she wanted next. It was a big jump and they were queuing round the block for opportunities. She just needed a chance, an opening, and she needed to spot it before her competitors.

And then DCI Gill Murray shows up. Gill (aka “Golden girl Gill”) is everything Rachel aspires to be and when Rachel gets a frosty reception when she insists Gill produce identification before entering the crime scene, the junior cop is sure she’s blown her chances for advancement.

[But that wouldn't be much of a novel, would it?]

Mon
Nov 4 2013 3:30pm

Fresh Meat: Grimm-The Icy Touch by John Shirley

Grimm- The Icy Touch by John Shirley is the first book in the paranormal mystery media tie-in series based on the show, Grimm (available November 5, 2013).

I can’t tell you how geeked I was when I first heard about Grimm. I like my urban fantasy with a side serving of mystery and since the cancellation of The Dresden Files, there hadn’t been anything on television that filled that niche. When a Twitter link offered a code for a “special preview” of the series pilot, I logged on eagerly. When the show opened with a girl in a red hoodie being abducted from a jogging path in an absolutely gorgeous Portland park, I was so there.

I continued to be engaged as a bravely bald Kate Burton showed up towing a trailer of ancient weapons and books filled with arcane lore. And when the hour ended with a twist I did not see coming—and I’m pretty good at seeing twist endings coming—I was ready to become a fan.

In the subsequent weeks though, I was often disappointed. For one thing, although the show’s writers hinted at larger backstories for the characters, particularly the enigmatic Captain Renard, most of the episodes were “Wesen of the Week” and that got boring.

Also, and no disrespect intended toward actor Silas Weir Mitchell, who’s great—the writers fell in love with their laid-back blutbad character and turned him into “Fonzie,” to the detriment of all the other characters. (Seriously, when are they going to give Reggie Lee something more to do than be comic relief? I once saw him playing a silky, sinister gangster in a Jason Statham movie and he rocked the part.)

[Oooh, that could be fun!]

Fri
Oct 11 2013 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Shadow of the Alchemist by Jeri Westerson

Shadow of the Alchemist by Jeri Westerson, a medieval noir featuring disgraced knight Crispin GuestShadow of the Alchemist by Jeri Westerson is the sixth mystery of medieval noir featuring disgraced knight Crispin Guest (available October 15, 2013).

It is a snowy November morning in 1387 when French alchemist Nicholas Flamel seeks out disgraced knight Crispin Guest for help in locating his missing wife and the young apprentice she’s apparently run off with.

Crispin is massively hung-over or, as his apprentice Jack Tucker would say, “out of sorts” and by no means in the mood to ply his trade as a tracker in a case that seems to be a routine domestic matter. Such cases never end well, in Crispin’s experience, and cause nothing but heartache to everyone concerned.

But of course, this is a story tagged “medieval noir,” and nothing noir is ever straightforward. Not even when it’s historically accurate. Westerson does a good job of bringing new readers up to speed on her characters and their world, with references to Crispin’s other cases, former patrons, and current allies, but does not let “backstory” bog down her current tale. That’s good, because the political shenanigans going on at the time were complicated and could easily have overshadowed Crispin’s case, despite the intriguing intersection of codes and ciphers and arcane knowledge that lie beneath the murder and mayhem.

With historical fiction, half the fun for the reader is the immersion in another place and another time, but the writer has to straddle a fine line when ladling out the history. There’s too little and then there is a little more than a little which is, in the Shakespearean phrase, “much too much.” Westerson gets the balance just right. We know when this story takes place (late 14th century), and—from conversations Crispin has with the young son of one of his former patrons—that political intrigue is afoot. For those who know their history (or their Shakespeare for that matter), that means that Richard II is king and the country is enmeshed in the Hundred Year’s War and a group of nobles have plans to stage a coup.

[A dangerous time to be too curious...]

Mon
Sep 2 2013 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. BoyerLowcountry Bombshell by Susan M. Boyer is the second cozy mystery about private investigator Liz Talbot set on a small-town island in South Carolina (available September 3, 2013).

Susan M. Boyer gets it.

And by “it,” I mean “the southern voice.”

And by that I do not mean she throws “Y’all”  into every other line of her dialogue. I mean she understands deep down how Southern people talk and can replicate the cadence and music of that speech on the page as delicately as a master chef adding a last pinch of sea salt to a batch of Hollandaise sauce.

Too many writers attempting regional flavor in their fiction lay it on as thick as a Cajun cook seasoning a pot of jambalaya. The result can be as grating to the reader as listening to an actor using a generic “southern accent” composed of equal parts Dukes of Hazzard and Jimmy Carter.

(Seriously, I can’t be the only person who cringes every time I hear what’s supposed to be a “southern” accent on a show like True Blood or The Closer.)

But Susan M. Boyer gets it.

In Lowcountry Bombshell, private investigator Liz Talbot has moved back to Stella Maris, South Carolina (the “lowcountry” island of the title), where she lives in her Gram’s house with her dog Rhett, who is prone to “barking his fool head off” and the occasional company of her best friend Colleen, who doesn’t look a day over seventeen, because that’s how old she was when she died.

[To see Stella Maris, the star of the sea...]

Tue
Jun 18 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns

Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns

Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns is the second book in her Will Rees mysteries about a Revolutionary War veteran-turned-itinerant weaver (available June 18, 2013).

They didn't have Facebook back in the 18th century, so hearing unexpected news about an old friend rarely meant something good had happened. For Will Rees, learning that Nate Bowditch is dead is not only unexpected; it's unbelievable.

“Dead?” Rees repeated, staring at George Potter in shock.

“Dead?” A spasm of unexpected grief shot through him. Although he hadn’t seen Nate Bowditch for eighteen years, not since Rees had marched away with the Continental Army in 1777, as boys they’d been closer than brothers. “Are you sure?”

Potter put down his cup with a clink. “Of course I’m sure. His wife herself told me of his death.”

“I’ve never met her,” Rees said.

“After almost twenty years? He lives— lived on the other side of Dugard, not the Atlantic Ocean. What happened? You were such good friends.”

Rees shrugged; that story was too long to tell. “We . . . went in different directions.”

[And they never were seen again...]

Tue
Jun 4 2013 11:00am

Fresh Meat: Blood Orange by Karen Keskinen

Blood Orange is a debut mystery about a female California P.I. by Karen KeskinenBlood Orange by Karen Keskinen is a debut mystery featuring a contemporary female private eye in California (available June 4, 2013).

The sunniest places can harbor the darkest of secrets...

Santa Barbara private investigator Jaymie Zarlin has built her fledgling agency on finding missing people. Still struggling with the death of her troubled brother, who died in police custody, Jaymie is determined to help others in similar situations find their way home.  Homicides are not in her repertoire.

When a beautiful young girl is raped and murdered on the night she appears in Santa Barbara's annual Solstice festival, Danny Armenta is blamed for the crimes and no one on the police force seems to be bothered that it all seems a little too convenient. Then Danny's aunt shows up at Jaymie Zarlin's office—it's just a few doors away from a woman who reads pet auras—demanding that she look into the crime because there's no way her nephew could have done what he's being accused of. Murder is way over Jaymie's paygrade but when she hears that Danny is schizophrenic, like her beloved brother Brodie, she agrees to take the case.

[Family matters, but having loyal friends does, too.]

Fri
May 31 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Joyland by Stephen King

Set in a small-town amusement park in North Carolina in 1973, Joyland by Stephen King is a noir thriller (available June 4, 2013).

There’s a weird thing that happens when a writer’s name becomes a brand. On the one hand, readers start using it as shorthand—“the new John Grisham,” “the new Nicholas Sparks”—to convey their enthusiasm for their favorite author’s work. It’s an easy way of saying, “If you liked Grisham’s last book, you’re going to like this new one.” In these conversations, it doesn’t actually matter what the title of the new book is, you know that the writer is going to deliver a good read.

At the same time, though, brand name recognition sets up certain expectations. If you’re a Grisham fan, for instance, you might have been surprised, or even disappointed, when the king of legal thrillers came out with Skipping Christmas, an engaging story of one couple’s attempt to bypass the annual holiday madness. The novel had nothing to do with Grisham’s usual subject matter and was also so different in tone that calling it a “Grisham novel” was actually inaccurate even though it was a novel by John Grisham. (Skipping Christmas is my favorite of Grisham’s books, but then, I love Christmas even more than I love crime.)

[Where my favorite author leads, I will follow...]

Tue
May 7 2013 11:30am

Fresh Meat: Mirror Image by Ice-T and Jorge Hinojosa

Ice-T, Mirror ImageMirror Image by Ice-T and Jorge Hinojosa is the second in the Kings of Vice noir thriller series (available May 7, 2013).

Celebrity authors.

Do you secretly roll your eyes when you see a celebrity’s name on the cover of a novel? Do you expect the book to be snark-bait along the lines of Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s beach-read The Shore Thing? Are you more or less skeptical when you see a co-author’s name? (And if you’re more skeptical, how do you feel about all those books James Patterson co-authors with people you never heard of?)

Let’s be honest. We probably would not be sitting here talking about Mirror Image if it were just the second novel by a 55-year-old Jersey guy named Tracy Marrow co-written by his good friend and business partner.

Or maybe we would.

[Here’s why...]

Mon
Apr 1 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing AmeliaReconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight is a literary mystery wherein a mother struggles to understand the reason for her daughter’s death, and the complications of her life (available April 2, 2013).

When Kate Barron is summoned to her daughter’s school by Grace Hall’s unlikable dean of academics, her first emotion is annoyance. She is annoyed with her daughter Amelia. She is annoyed with Dean Pearl, who won’t tell her why Amelia is being suspended for three days, starting immediately. And Kate is really annoyed with one of her colleagues, who is much too eager to take over the client meeting she’s being forced to leave. When Kate arrives at the school twenty minutes later and sees the knot of firefighters and police mingling with the students and faculty in a courtyard, her annoyance intensifies. No one seems to know what’s going on. No one seems to know where Amelia is. No one seems to care that she needs to get back to her office. And then she sees the empty boot and her annoyance turns to something colder.

[A daughter’s death turns a mother’s life inside out...]

Tue
Feb 12 2013 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Nobody Walks by Dennis M. Walsh

Nobody Walks by Dennis M. WalshNobody Walks by Dennis M. Walsh is the true story of a man who set out to find his brother’s killer (available February 12, 2013).

In the summer of 2003, a meth-addicted criminal named Christopher Walsh went missing. More than a week later, his body was discovered in a storage locker in Van Nuys, California. Walsh had been shot five times in the head and neck and then stuffed head-first into a trash can before being put in the storage locker. It was the kind of crime that happens every day in the seedier parts of Southern California and like most crimes of its nature, it originally went unsolved. It wasn’t that the detectives investigating the murder were uncaring or incompetent, but murder in the Southland is a rising tide as implacable and unstoppable as the ocean rising over the New Orleans levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

[But some cases aren’t destined to go cold...]

Mon
Jan 14 2013 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus is the fourth in the  Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff series (available January 15, 2013).

Secrets.

A small town holds many secrets.

When 30-year-old Tobias (Tobi) Sartorius returns to his small hometown after serving a ten-year prison term for double murder, those secrets start to fester and ooze.

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus is the fourth (and most successful) in Neuhaus’s series featuring German detectives Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff and it is the first to be translated into English. (One of Neuhaus’s stand-alone novels will be published in English this summer.)

Bodenstein and Kirchoff get involved in the small town’s business when a skeleton belonging to one of the dead girls shows up in a tank on an abandoned military base about the same time someone pushes Tobi’s mother over a bridge and into busy traffic.

[So much death in a small town]

Tue
Nov 27 2012 10:30am

Fresh Meat: Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse

Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse

Seal Team 666 by Weston Ochse is a paranormal military thriller (available November 27, 2012).

It’s May 2, 2011, at Zero Dark Thirty and we’re with five men and a dog in a helicopter heading for a sleepy residential neighborhood in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

They are Seal Team 666 and their mission is to kill a man. But when they reach their objective they encounter a force field that brings the helicopter down just outside the walled compound.

Blowing a hole in the wall, the team powers through and into the house, killing the guards and the demon that emerges from a hallway.

They fight their way through to the room that holds their target—a tall man with a long gray-streaked beard.

And that’s when things start to get weird.

[Beware the guy who looks like a wizard...]

Tue
Oct 16 2012 10:30am

Fresh Meat: A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet

A Fatal Winter by GM MallietA Fatal Winter is the second in G.M. Malliet’s traditional mystery series about MI5 agent-turned-vicar Max Tudor (available October 16, 2012).

Oscar, Lord Footrustle, a wealthy old aristocrat living alone (the servants don’t count) invites his extended family to spend Christmas with him at Chedrow Castle, their crumbling ancestral home situated in the quaint English village of Nether Monkslip.

Among the relatives gathered are his fading actress daughter, her much-younger half-siblings (“the Twyns”), a resentful poor relation, and assorted cousins who can’t wait to get their hands on the castle’s furnishings and fittings and paintings, which include a suspected Reynolds and a minor Rembrandt.

What could possibly go wrong?

[What, indeed?]