5 New Books to Read this Week: September 6, 2016

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 saw the release of a new Hercule Poirot from Sophie Hannah as well as a new entry in the In Death series from J.D. Robb! It may be a short work week, but the list of great books that published yesterday is seemingly endless.

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah

“What I intend to say to you will come as a shock…”

With these words, Lady Athelinda Playford—one of the world's most beloved children's authors—springs a surprise on the lawyer entrusted with her will. As guests arrive for a party at her Irish mansion, Lady Playford has decided to cut off her two children without a penny…and leave her vast fortune to someone else: an invalid who has only weeks to live.

Among Lady Playford's visitors are two strangers: the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited—until Poirot begins to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murder. But why does she seem so determined to provoke a killer? And why—when the crime is committed despite Poirot's best efforts to stop it—does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?

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Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil…

Read Janet Webb's review of Apprentice in Death!

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Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen

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.

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The White Mirror by Elsa Hart

Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord’s heir sleep in the barn like a servant? And who is the mysterious woman traveling through the mountain wilds?

Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he’s tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter’s murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must.

Check out an exclusive Q&A with Elsa Hart, and read an excerpt of The White Mirror!

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Victim Without a Face by Stefan Ahnhem

A KILLER WITH A MESSAGE.

Two men are dead. Both had been bullies at school. A single clue has been found at the scene: a class photo, with two faces neatly crossed out.

A DETECTIVE WHO CAN’T LET GO.

Fabian Risk is among the faces in the photograph. He’s also the lead detective on the case. He thought he’d left his schooldays behind. Now his classmates are dying for the sins of their childhood. . . .

CAN YOU EVER HIDE FROM JUSTICE?

The first book in an internationally bestselling, award-winning series, Stefan Ahnhem's Victim Without a Face is a chilling novel about the ultimate revenge.

Read an excerpt from Victim Without a Face here!

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