Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!
This week, three cozies pair with Garry Disher's Australian noir and Rachel Caine's second Stillhouse Lake thriller to highlight a great week of books! See what we're reading:
Ginger Snapped by Gail Oust
Piper Prescott and Police Chief Wyatt McBride might have gotten off on the wrong foot but, over the past year, their interactions have evolved into a friendship of sorts. And when the body of Shirley Randolph is found floating in a fishing hole, their relationship reaches entirely new territory.
Shirley, the town's Realtor of the Year, was also Wyatt's suspected romantic interest, and now the residents of Brandywine Creek are speculating that Wyatt is responsible for her death. As the town council moves to suspend the handsome lawman, Piper springs into action to save his reputation and possibly his freedom. She enlists the aid of her BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, along with Wyatt himself, to help solve the puzzle and find Shirley’s real killer.
Pointing them toward high-powered real estate tactics and possible affairs, the investigation soon becomes personal when Piper's shop, Spice It Up!, is burglarized, and she’s forced off the road late one night, narrowly escaping serious injury. Realizing that she must be close to uncovering the truth, and that the evidence against Wyatt is no longer circumstantial, Piper resorts to drastic measures to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice.
Bloodstains with Bronte by Katherine Bolger Hyde
Windy Corner is being remodeled into a writers' retreat. Two of the young workers, Jake and Roman, are showing too much of the wrong kind of interest in Katie, Emily's young single-mother housekeeper.
It's a stormy autumn and Emily is reading Wuthering Heights. Roman, a dark and brooding type, reminds her of Heathcliff. At a Halloween murder mystery fundraiser at Windy Corner, someone is found stabbed to death. Windy Corner's very own detective, Luke, is reluctantly forced to investigate Katie.
Luke digs into the background of the contractor, Jeremiah Edwards, and Emily, now reading Jane Eyre, realizes Jeremiah resembles St. John Rivers in his obsessive, tormented piety. Will Luke figure out who the murderer is before Katie ends up in jail or someone else is killed?
Signal Loss by Garry Disher
The Ned Kelly Award-winning master of Australian noir shows us the darker side of the Peninsula. A meth-related crime has Inspector Hal Challis on his backfoot, while Sergeant Ellen Destry hunts down an elusive serial rapist.
A pair of hit men working a job for a meth kingpin have a very bad day, and the resulting bushfire draws attention to a drug lab and two burned bodies in a Mercedes. Sergeant Ellen Destry—newly minted head of her department’s sex crime unit—and Inspector Hal Challis return in this newest installment of Garry Disher’s Peninsula-based crimes series. With meth-related crime on the rise, interdepartmental tensions mount, and Challis soon finds himself fighting to keep control of his case. Meanwhile, Destry is hunting for a serial rapist who is extremely adept at not leaving clues. A tense, human, and at times darkly funny entry into Disher’s celebrated Ned Kelly Award–winning series.
Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.
Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…
You’re not safe anywhere now.
Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.
But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia. She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.
Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case. Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families … including her own.
When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest.