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, we get a new Longmire mystery and a new Jesse Stone novel! See what other books to snag for that long flight to New Orleans for Bouchercon this weekend:
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson
In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are called to Hulett, Wyoming—the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower—to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry's '59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt's granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won't stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
Murder in the Bayou by Ethan Brown
An explosive, true-life southern gothic story, Murder in the Bayou chronicles the twists and turns of a high-stakes investigation into the murders of eight women in a troubled Louisiana parish.
Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the heart of the Jefferson Davis parish. Local law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage—from CNN to The New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the “Jeff Davis 8,” and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveals a small southern community’s most closely guarded secrets.
As Ethan Brown suggests, these homicides were not the work of a single serial killer, but the violent fallout of Jennings’ brutal sex and drug trade, a backwoods underworld hidden in plain sight. Mixing muckraking research and immersive journalism over the course of a five-year investigation, Ethan Brown reviewed thousands of pages of previously unseen homicide files to determine what happened during each victim’s final hours. Epic in scope and intensely suspenseful, Murder in the Bayou is the story of an American town buckling under the dark forces of poverty, race, and class division—and a lightning rod for justice for the daughters it lost.
Sun, Sand, Murder by John Keyse-Walker
When Lane Coolman's car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but. Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield—the eponymous Razor Girl—and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page.
There's Trebeaux, the owner of Sedimental Journeys—a company that steals sand from one beach to restore erosion on another; Dominick “Big Noogie” Aeola, a NYC mafia capo with a taste for tropic-wear; Buck Nance, a Wisconsin accordionist who has rebranded himself as the star of a redneck reality show called Bayou Brethren; a street psycho known as Blister who's more Buck Nance than Buck could ever be; Brock Richardson, a Miami product-liability lawyer who's getting dangerously—and deformingly—hooked on the very E.D. product he's litigating against; and Andrew Yancy—formerly Detective Yancy, busted down to the Key West roach patrol after accosting his then-lover's husband with a Dust Buster.
Yancy believes that if he can singlehandedly solve a high-profile murder, he'll get his detective badge back. That the Razor Girl may be the key to Yancy's future will be as surprising as anything else he encounters along the way—including the giant Gambian rats that are livening up his restaurant inspections.
Red Right Hand by Chris Holm
When viral video of an explosive terrorist attack on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge reveals that a Federal witness long thought dead is still alive, the organization he'd agreed to testify against will stop at nothing to put him in the ground.
FBI Special Agent Charlie Thompson is determined to protect him, but her hands are tied; the FBI's sole priority is catching the terrorists before they strike again. So Charlie calls the only person on the planet who can keep her witness safe: Michael Hendricks.
Once a covert operative for the US military, Hendricks makes his living hitting hitmen… or he did, until the very organization hunting Charlie's witness—the Council—caught wind and targeted the people he loves. Teaming up with a young but determined tech whiz, Cameron, on the condition she leave him alone after the case, Hendricks reluctantly takes the job.
Of course, finding a man desperate to stay hidden is challenging enough without deadly competition, let alone when the competition's shadowy corporate backer is tangled in the terrorist conspiracy playing out around them. And now Hendricks is determined to take the Council down, even if that means wading into the center of a terror plot whose perpetrators are not what they seem.
Robert B. Parker's Debt to Pay by Reed Farrel Coleman
All is quiet in Paradise, except for a spate of innocuous vandalism. Good thing, too, because Jesse Stone is preoccupied with the women in his life, both past and present. As his ex-wife, Jenn, is about to marry a Dallas real-estate tycoon, Jesse isn’t too sure his relationship with former FBI agent Diana Evans is built to last. But those concerns get put on the back burner when a major Boston crime boss is brutally murdered. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Jesse suspects it’s the work of Mr. Peepers, a psychotic assassin who has caused trouble for Jesse in the past.
Peepers has long promised revenge against the Mob, Jesse, and Suit for their roles in foiling one of his hits—and against Jenn as well. And though Jesse and Jenn have long parted ways, Jesse still feels responsible for her safety. Jesse and Diana head to Dallas for the wedding and, along with the tycoon’s security team, try to stop Peepers before the bill comes due. With Peepers toying with the authorities as to when and where he’ll strike, Jesse is up against the wall. Still, there’s a debt to pay and blood to be spilled to satisfy it. But whose blood, and just how much?