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, Steve Berry's latest Cotton Malone thriller combines with the final completed Mickey Spillane novel to highlight a killer week of books! See what else we're reading:
The Bishop's Pawn by Steve Berry
History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968, when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.
Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.
It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a young Navy lawyer, is trying hard not to live up to his burgeoning reputation as a maverick. When Stephanie Nelle, a high-level Justice Department lawyer, enlists him to help with an investigation, he jumps at the opportunity. But he soon discovers that two opposing forces―the Justice Department and the FBI―are at war over a rare coin and a cadre of secret files containing explosive revelations about the King assassination, information that could ruin innocent lives and threaten the legacy of the civil rights movement’s greatest martyr.
Malone’s decision to see it through to the end—from the raucous bars of Mexico to the clear waters of the Dry Tortugas and, ultimately, into the halls of power within Washington D.C. itself—not only changes his own life, but the course of history.
The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon
The memorable characters and Venetian drama that have long captivated Donna Leon’s many readers are on full display in The Temptation of Forgiveness. Surprised, if not dismayed, to discover from his superior, Vice-Questore Patta, that leaks are emanating from the Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is surprised more consequentially by the appearance of a friend of his wife’s, fearful that her son is using drugs and hopeful Brunetti can somehow intervene. When Tullio Gasparini, the woman’s husband, is found unconscious and with a serious brain injury at the foot of a bridge in Venice after midnight, Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy’s behavior. But the truth, as Brunetti has experienced so often, is not straightforward.
As the twenty-seventh novel unfolds in Donna Leon’s exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti pursues several false and contradictory leads while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper. Exasperated by the petty bureaucracy that constantly bedevils him and threatens to expose Signorina Elettra, Brunetti is steadied by the embrace of his own family and by his passion for the classics. This predilection leads him to read Sophocles’ Antigone, and, in its light, consider the terrible consequences to which the actions of a tender heart can lead.
Duel to the Death by J. A. Jance
After taking down the man responsible for his best friend’s death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is, until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated.
To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cyber security colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg’s existence.
Graciella Miramar, an unassuming accountant to all appearances, is actually the right-hand woman to El Pescado, the leader of a dangerous drug cartel. She’ll do anything to get her hands on that program. With Frigg’s help, Graciella hopes to take over her father’s criminal underworld and become wealthy beyond her wildest dreams. But Stu—and El Pescado and his henchmen—may not be so easily defeated.
City of Sharks by Kelli Stanley
The blonde secretary was scared when she visited Miranda Corbie’s office. A shove into a streetcar track, a box of poisoned chocolates…hateful, violent letters.
Someone was trying to kill her.
Miranda isn’t sure of anything at first except that Louise Crowley, the blonde who works as an assistant to Niles Alexander, San Francisco publisher, is in trouble. Despite her own preparations for an imminent voyage to a blitzkrieged Britain and a painful farewell to the city she loves, Miranda decides to help Louise and takes on her last case as a private detective in San Francisco…investigating her client, surveying the publishing world of 1940, and stumbling into murder with a trail that leads straight to Alcatraz…an island city of sharks.
Along the way, Miranda explores her beloved San Francisco once more, from Playland-at-the-Beach to Chinatown to Nob Hill and Treasure Island. She encounters John Steinbeck and C.S. Forester, and is aided and abetted by the charming and dapper San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. And she also discovers personal truths she’s long denied…
The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane
When legendary mystery writer Mickey Spillane died in 2006, he left behind the manuscript of one last novel he'd just completed: The Last Stand. He asked his friend and colleague (and fellow Mystery Writers of America Grand Master) Max Allan Collins to take responsibility for finding the right time and place to publish this final book. Now, on the hundredth anniversary of Spillane's birth, his millions of fans will at last get to read The Last Stand, together with a second never-before-published work, this one from early in Spillane's career: the feverish crime novella A Bullet for Satisfaction.
A tarnished former cop goes on a crusade to find a politician's killer and avoid the .45-caliber slug with his name on it. A pilot forced to make an emergency landing in the desert finds himself at the center of a struggle between FBI agents, unsavory fortune hunters, and members of the local Indian tribe to control a mysterious find that could mean wealth and power – or death. Two substantial new works filled with Spillane's muscular prose and the gorgeous women and two-fisted action the author was famous for, topped off by an introduction from Max Allan Collins describing the history of these lost manuscripts and his long relationship with the writer who was his mentor, his hero, and for much of the last century the bestselling author in the world.