Review: <i>The Broken Girls</i> by Simone St. James Review: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James Angie Barry Read Angie Barry's review! Review: <i>Death by Dumpling</i> by Vivien Chien Review: Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review! Review: <i>Second Story Man</i> by Charles Salzberg Review: Second Story Man by Charles Salzberg Thomas Pluck Read Thomas Pluck's review! <i>Not That I Could Tell</i>: Excerpt Not That I Could Tell: Excerpt Jessica Strawser An innocent night of fun takes a shocking turn...
From The Blog
March 19, 2018
Q&A with Christi Daugherty, Author of The Echo Killing
Christi Daugherty and Crime HQ
March 16, 2018
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Adam Wagner
March 13, 2018
Q&A with Sebastian Rotella, Author of Rip Crew
Sebastian Rotella and John Valeri
March 9, 2018
Murder and Mayhem in Chicago
Lori Rader-Day and Dana Kaye
March 9, 2018
Robbery with a Chance of Meatballs: Man Steals Meatballs & Gets Caught Red-Handed
Adam Wagner
Showing posts by: Doreen Sheridan click to see Doreen Sheridan's profile
Mar 22 2018 1:00pm

Review: Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien

Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien is the first book in the new Noodle Shop Mystery series (available March 27, 2018).

Take a visual tour of Death by Dumpling with GIFnotes!

Lana Lee is 27 years old and, after a cascade of poor life choices, has found herself working as a server in her family’s restaurant to make ends meet. Ho-Lee Noodle House is one of the most prosperous shops in Asia Village, a charming Asian-themed plaza located on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. Asia Village is the brainchild and baby of Thomas Feng, the 50-something property owner with an allergy to shrimp so deadly that he carries an Epi-pen with him at all times. It seems like business as usual when Lana delivers a take-out order to Mr. Feng’s office after the cook who usually doubles as the delivery man begs off due to other pressing orders. Everyone at Ho-Lee Noodle House knows about the allergy, so Mr. Feng being found dead soon after seems like tragic happenstance—until the coroner rules that he died from a reaction to shrimp dumplings, with his Epi-pen nowhere to be found.

Lana is stunned to discover that she’s the prime suspect given that she was the last person to handle his food. She’s even more astonished when the death brings out not only the ugly side of some of her neighbors but also deep, dark secrets from Asia Village’s past. Unwilling to sit idly by while her character is besmirched, she proceeds to methodically investigate—despite the stern warnings of the detective in charge, the dreamy Adam Trudeau (and with a last name like that, I keep envisioning him as a certain good-looking Prime Minister. I don’t think anyone can blame me).

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Death by Dumpling...]

Mar 21 2018 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Marinating In Murder by Linda Wiken

Event planner JJ Tanner is looking forward to a picnic outing with her Culinary Capers club—a group of friends who meet to choose recipes from a cookbook one member picks each month to put together a dinner from. The gang has met up in the driveway of one member, Alison Manovich, to convoy over to the picnic grounds. When Alison unlocks her SUV to load up the trunk with goodies, she has the shock of her life when she discovers a dead body inside. Worse still, it’s the body of her estranged husband, James Bailey.

Alison is a police officer, so she quickly alerts her colleagues and calmly accepts a suspension with pay while James’s death is being investigated. JJ is eager to do everything she can to help Alison; she has had some success helping solve murders in the past, after all. At first, Alison wants JJ to leave the investigating to the professionals. But then, they learn that James has been leading a double life with another wife in New York State, just an hour’s drive away from their Vermont town of Half Moon Bay.

Despite her shellshock, Alison knows that she needs all the help she can get. With the information Alison gives her and the invaluable help of former cop turned private detective Ty Devine, JJ sets out both to clear Alison’s name and figure out the enigma that was the dearly departed.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Mar 20 2018 12:00pm

Review: The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon

The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon is the 27th novel in the bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series, where a suspicious accident leads Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences (available March 20, 2018).

In this 27th installment of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series, our hero—a detective in the state police force stationed in Venice—is approached by a friend of his wife Paola’s. Professoressa Elisa Crosera is concerned about changes in her 15-year-old son’s behavior and suspects they may be due to drugs. She wants Brunetti to investigate who might be selling drugs to kids at Sandro’s school, but she doesn’t have any actual proof or leads.

Brunetti is too polite to tell her that adolescent boys tend to go through periods of off-putting behavior that isn’t necessarily illegal or immoral, but he does promise to look into any suspicious drug activity around the Albertini, the private school in which both of Crosera’s children are enrolled. To do so, he must make inquiries with a somewhat unusual contact whom he discusses with his colleague and friend, Commissario Claudia Griffoni, in a conversation that is extremely illuminating of the Italian way of life:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of The Temptation of Forgiveness...]

Mar 15 2018 1:00pm

Review: The Purloined Puzzle by Parnell Hall

In The Purloined Puzzle by Parnell Hall, amateur sleuth and crossword impresario Cora Felton is asked to solve a puzzle, only to find that it’s been stolen―and a murder weapon has been left in its place (available March 13, 2018).

Take a visual tour of The Purloined Puzzle with GIFnotes!

Wow, 19 Puzzle Lady books in and they’re still as fun and witty as they’ve ever been! Cora Felton is famous for being the Puzzle Lady—the renowned creator and solver of crossword puzzles—complete with a lucrative endorsement deal for Granville Grains breakfast cereals. What very few people know, however, is that Cora can’t solve a crossword puzzle to save her life, much less compose one. She’s a huge fraud who merely serves as the kindly-seeming frontperson for her niece Sherry, the real mastermind behind the crosswords. Which isn’t to say that Cora is a slouch in the brains department; she’s a whiz at Sudoku and—more relevant to her everyday life in the small town of Bakerhaven—crime-solving, often while working as an investigator for local lawyer Becky Baldwin.

As The Purloined Puzzle opens, Cora is enjoying her day, minding her own business as she gets a scone and a latte from her favorite bakery, when an obnoxious teenage girl comes barging in demanding Cora solve a crossword puzzle for her. As usual, Cora attempts to fob off her “fan” on Harvey Beerbaum, another Bakerhaven resident who happens to be a genuine cruciverbalist. She succeeds in getting Harvey to go with the girl, Peggy, to retrieve the puzzle, which is when things start getting weird. The puzzle goes missing, and a chagrined Peggy files a police report, prompting Police Chief Harper to bring the case full circle by consulting with the town’s most famous puzzle-solver:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of The Purloined Puzzle...]

Mar 14 2018 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Dipped to Death by Kelly Lane

The third installment of the Olive Grove Mystery series delves really deep into our heroine Eva Knox’s romantic past, as one of her exes, Dudley Dexter Codman III (or Dex, for short), shows up unannounced at the Knox Plantation with a bevy of his cronies from Boston. Eva’s eldest sister, Daphne, is only too happy to accommodate paying guests at the inn that the sisters run, even if she’s completely in the dark about Eva’s relationship with Dex.

Eva hasn’t shared any of that portion of her past with the residents of her hometown of Abundance, Georgia, and thought she’d left that all behind when she left Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Dex seems far less interested in letting go than she is—even as he and his friends are ostensibly in town just for bird watching, an interest none of them have ever expressed before.

After a very public altercation on the night of Dex’s arrival, Eva downs a bunch of wine to help fight her chronic insomnia and, for once, is out like a light in her cottage a short distance from the inn’s main building. The next day, she does her best to avoid Dex and his buddies and decides to go on a picnic down by the pond with only her dog for company. Discovering Dex’s dead body in the water is a huge shock—especially after all the other bodies she’s only very recently stumbled upon—but it’s even worse when it becomes clear that she herself is the prime suspect in his murder.

[Recipes and pictures below!]

Mar 7 2018 6:00pm

Cooking the Books: Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs

The 19th installment of the bestselling Tea Shop Mystery series plunges us straight into the action as our heroine, tea shop owner Theodosia Brown, and her trusty sidekick/tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are enjoying the air at the Charleston mansion of their old friend Timothy Neville. They’ve arrived too late to his Gaslights and Galleons Parade viewing party to be properly introduced to the other guests, but they’ve arrived just in time to see local banker Carson Lanier plummet from the third-story widow’s walk.

Theo quickly runs down to the railing on which Carson has fallen and determines that he is, indeed, dead. To her surprise, the main wound comes not from where the metal railing impaled him but from what appears to be a crossbow quarrel to his chest.

Thinking quickly, she notices that the bed and breakfast across the way not only provides a prime vantage point from which to aim a weapon at the widow’s walk but also has a suspiciously open window. She and Drayton rush towards the inn in search of a killer, and while they don’t find one that night, the events of the next few days have them in hot pursuit of a murderer all too ready to use every advantage and every dirty trick to not only escape justice but also harm Theo and her friends.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Feb 28 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Oh no! This was a terrible installment for me to put this series on pause! Joanne Fluke delivers another emotional-cliffhanger ending that makes up in emotional punch what it may perhaps lack in plausibility (but that’s also why I want to read the next book immediately, to find out whyyyyyyy.)

But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this 14th book of the bestselling Hannah Swensen series, Reverend Bob Knudson and his newlywed wife, Claire, are finally going on their honeymoon! His ministry will be taken over by an old friend and former Lake Eden resident, Reverend Matt Walters, who is happy to spend time in the parish he grew up in and get reacquainted with the locals. Or is he? When Reverend Bob’s grandmother approaches Hannah with her concerns about Reverend Matt’s identity, Hannah does her best to allay Grandma Knudson’s fears. But things take a decided turn for the worse when Reverend Matt is found shot to death in church shortly thereafter.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Feb 26 2018 1:00pm

Review: A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart

A Whisper of Bones by Ellen Hart is the 25th book in the Jane Lawless Mysteries series (available February 27, 2018).

Take a visual tour of A Whisper of Bones with GIFnotes!

In this 25th novel of the award-winning Jane Lawless series, a young woman named Britt Ickles is sure she’s being gaslit by her only surviving family members, two elderly aunts. She distinctly remembers meeting a boy her own age named Timmy when she was six years old and back in St. Paul with her mother for her grandfather’s funeral. Timmy was her cousin and the only bright spot of what was otherwise a miserable experience. On top of the funeral, there had been a big family row, and Britt’s mother, Pauline, vowed never to return to the family home.

Nearly three decades later, Britt is attending a conference in the city and decides to drop in on her aunts. The older of them, Eleanor Skarsvold Devine, is gracious, but the younger, Lena Skarsvold, is bound to a wheelchair and bitter. When Britt inquires after Timmy, the sisters tell her that no such person ever existed. Confused, Britt happens to mention this at a cocktail party to Cordelia Thorn, the best friend of private investigator and restaurateur Jane. Naturally, Cordelia puts the two women in contact.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of A Whisper of Bones...]

Feb 21 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

Several months have elapsed since the emotional cliffhanger ending of the previous book in the Hannah Swensen series. Fortunately for Hannah, that unreformed cad Bradford Ramsey has had sense enough to stay out of her way—despite now teaching at the local college—so Hannah can concentrate on the rest of her life without him. Which, as summer begins, includes getting roped into a charity event run by the mayor’s wife, Stephanie Bascomb.

When Stephanie shows up at The Cookie Jar to solicit donations, Hannah’s quick-thinking partner Lisa Beeseman suggests that they make apple turnovers for volunteers to toast and sell over the course of the three-day charity gala instead. Stephanie accepts and provides Lisa with even more good news: one of the gala nights will feature a talent show! Lisa quickly volunteers her amateur magician husband (and town patrolman), Herb. When his usual assistant has to withdraw due to illness, Hannah is asked to step in, leading to a humorous subplot involving the cursed purple dress she had to wear the last time she took on the role.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Feb 20 2018 2:00pm

Review: The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch is a prequel to the Charles Lenox series, which takes readers back to Lenox's very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London’s most brilliant detectives (available February 20, 2018).

This is a really great jumping-on point for readers new to the Charles Lenox series, as it details our hero’s first murder case and its consequences. At the callow age of 23, Charles Lenox, the younger son of a landed earl, has defied the Victorian convention that demands he chooses from one of the few professions deemed acceptable by his class in those times: politics, the military, or the clergy. Instead, and rather scandalously, he has chosen to be a consulting detective, with the aid of his indispensable valet, Graham.

Unfortunately, he has few cases to occupy his time. His peers consider him a novelty at best, and the detectives of Scotland Yard openly mock him when they’re not being outright hostile. But Lenox and Graham’s daily habit of going through London’s newspapers for reports and signs of criminal activity leads them to a letter to the editor of The Challenger boasting of a perfect murder and hinting at more to come.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of The Woman in the Water...]

Feb 15 2018 4:00pm

Review: A Dangerous Crossing by Ausma Zehanat Khan

A Dangerous Crossing by Ausma Zehanat Khan is a the fourth book in the Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak series.

I had two great regrets upon finishing this novel. The first—and one I am certain Ausma Zehanat Khan aims to elicit in her readers—is that I do not do more to aid in the humanitarian efforts to resettle refugees. While A Dangerous Crossing concerns itself primarily with the effects the Syrian civil war has had in displacing thousands from their homes—

Wait, that’s too sanitary, too nice a term. “Displacing people from their homes” sounds like eviction and not the murder and destruction it actually entails. President Assad of Syria has turned the full force of his military on Syrian civilians, on their homes, and most grotesquely in a catalog of horrors, on the rescue workers who try to pull survivors out of the rubble. He bombs his own cities—striking with missiles and chemicals—and follows this with indiscriminate jailings and torture. The average Syrian has to run, spending all their money on bribes to escape a government determined to destroy everything they know and love.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of A Dangerous Crossing...]

Feb 14 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke

Only 10 more shopping days until Christmas, but our heroine Hannah Swensen has already bought all her presents and is focusing on her business interests. Providing the snacks sold at the seasonal Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot—which is more mini-carnival than your typical tree-selling enterprise—is putting a little extra money in her bakery’s coffers. When her mother, Delores, claims that she doesn’t want to go alone to a business class she’s enrolled in at the local community college, Hannah quickly realizes that accompanying her mother will be an opportunity to sharpen her own skills as well.

Unfortunately, her business class experience starts poorly when she runs into an old flame while walking through campus. The class itself is pretty awesome—until Hannah finds uncomfortable parallels between the ethically dubious business practices it highlights and her own dealings with the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot.

Hannah decides to discuss this with the lot’s owner, Larry Jaeger, and he’s quick to promise amends. Unfortunately, when Hannah and her sometimes-boyfriend Norman Rhodes stop by Larry’s trailer to pick up the check he owes her, they find more than they bargained for in Larry’s shot-dead corpse.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Feb 7 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke

Can I say how disappointed I was that the murder in Cream Puff Murder wasn't precipitated by the book the mother of our heroine, Hannah Swensen, announced was being published in the last novel? Granted, Joanne Fluke dealt with it very cleverly after Delores’s bold claims, and I suppose that it is a bit clichéd for a fictionalization of town life to provide the basis for a murder, but I can’t help feeling it’s a bit of an opportunity lost (or maybe I just enjoy mischief a bit too much for my own good, teehee).

Anyway, Hannah is in a tizzy with the upcoming release party of Delores’s Regency romance novel, with characters based on people from their small town of Lake Eden. She’s been asked to cater, which she looks forward to despite Delores’s constant indecision regarding the menu. What she does not look forward to is serving refreshments in the Regency-era dress Delores ordered for her based on her measurements from the year before. When it finally arrives, Hannah’s worst fears are confirmed: the dress is too small.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Feb 5 2018 1:00pm

Review: This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong

Life in Rockton is about to get even more dangerous in This Fallen Prey, Kelley Armstrong's third Casey Duncan novel (available February 6, 2018).

Take a visual tour of This Fallen Prey with GIFnotes!

The third novel in Kelley Armstrong’s Casey Duncan series is a twisty, thorny, thrill ride! First, let me explain Rockton to those new to the series: it’s a small, isolated town in the Yukon wilderness, built decades ago as a haven for those running from their pasts. It’s completely off the grid, with no electricity, no Internet, no cell phones, and not even postal mail. Prospective residents are heavily vetted by a shadowy council who serves as Rockton’s only channel to modern life. No one gets in or out without the council’s permission.

Casey got in by virtue of being a police detective at a time when Rockton desperately needed a homicide investigator. Now, she and the town sheriff, Eric Dalton, are partners in every respect, professional and personal. As This Fallen Prey opens, they are faced with an untenable decision. The council has shipped them a prisoner, Oliver Brady, who the council claims is a serial thrill killer. Rockton has to host Oliver for six months, after which the young man will hopefully be persuaded to enter voluntary exile on a private island resort, sponsored by a worried, wealthy stepfather who has an eye both on his beloved wife and on his media-shy company’s bottom line.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of This Fallen Prey...]

Jan 31 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Our heroine Hannah Swenson might solve murders in Lake Eden, but her real calling is baking for The Cookie Jar—her cookie café and the local hotspot for all the good gossip. Thus, she’s excited to help when her business partner, Lisa, starts organizing a big family reunion for both Lisa’s own family and her newlywed husband’s. Over a hundred Beesemans and Hermans from all over the country will be descending on Lake Eden, and Lisa and Hannah are tag-teaming running The Cookie Jar with feeding and shepherding Lisa’s relatives.

When Lisa’s long-lost Uncle Gus rolls into town, he immediately becomes the center of attention. Having run off under something of a cloud from Lake Eden, he’s back with a vengeance, eager to show how he’s made good in the ensuing 25 years. So it comes as a huge shock to everyone when Hannah discovers his body stabbed to death next to the carrot cake she’d baked specially for him just a day earlier.

In a reversal from the last book, Deputy Sheriff Mike Kingston—Hannah’s sometimes boyfriend—enlists her help on the case. Hannah suspects that the partnership he’s offering is really more of a one-way street, with her giving him all her information but not the other way around. With the help of her sisters (and the absolutely wonderful, underappreciated Norman Rhodes, her other sometimes boyfriend), she does manage to solve the case before him—though not without putting herself in great, if rather picturesque, peril.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Jan 31 2018 2:00pm

Review: Killed in Action by Michael Sloan

Creator of The Equalizer TV series, Michael Sloan reinvents the story of the mysterious Robert McCall—a former intelligence officer who helps desperate people in need of his unique skill set—in Killed in Action.

I’m totally dating myself here, but I was not old enough for my parents to allow me to watch The Equalizer when it originally aired on TV. I always enjoyed the idea of it though: a person who was willing to help equalize the odds against you when you were the target of bad people. I never got around to watching the movie either, but when I heard that The Equalizer’s creator, Michael Sloan, was writing a series of books based on the character, I leaped at the chance to finally immerse myself in that universe.

And what a multi-layered universe it is! Equal parts international black-ops thriller and gritty urban vigilante procedural, the thrills and spills are leavened with true heart—even as Mr. Sloan weaves a fascinating tapestry of many different cases vying for our hero Robert McCall’s time and attention. Most of these have to do with—perhaps surprisingly—mothers: there’s a mother looking for her wayward 20-something daughter in the big city; a mother seeking recourse for her much younger daughter, a victim of their building’s rat infestation; and a mother who doesn’t believe the US Army when they tell her that her son has been killed in action in the Middle East. There’s also the case of a vanished former boss from McCall’s time at The Company, a shadowy branch of the CIA. To complicate things closer to home, there’s a vigilante who thinks McCall isn’t doing enough and who has begun to imitate him in hopes of usurping his role and identity.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Killed in Action...]

Jan 29 2018 2:00pm

Review: The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley is the ninth book in the Flavia de Luce series.

This is how much I enjoy Flavia de Luce: I’m not sure that I like her better now than I would have had I been a pre-teen who’d discovered her in my mystery-reading journey from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. Flavia bridges that reading gap so perfectly that I’m almost sorry for my much younger self that Alan Bradley only started publishing these delightful novels nine years ago. At the rate of one a year since then, Mr. Bradley has covered a tumultuous—if much shorter—period in young Flavia’s life.

When this ninth novel in the series begins, Flavia is in a fairly dark place, contemplating suicide with the singular focus of a highly educated chemist in the body of a sensible, if bloody-minded, young lady:

[I] would simply do away with myself.

And as an authority on passing, I knew precisely how to accomplish it.

No cyanide for me, thank you!

I knew the symptoms all too well: the vertigo, the dizziness, the burning in the throat and stomach and, as the vagus nerve becomes paralyzed, the difficulty in breathing, the cold sweat, the feeble pulse, the muscular paralysis, the crushing heaviness of the heart, the slobbering…

I think it was the slobbering, more than anything, that put me off the cyanide. What self-respecting young woman would want to be found dead in her bedroom drowned in her own drool?

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of The Grave's a Fine and Private Place...]

Jan 26 2018 4:00pm

Review: Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride

From Stuart MacBride, the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes Now We Are Dead—a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel (available in hardcover on January 30, 2018).

Am I supposed to like DS Roberta Steel? This being my first exposure to Stuart MacBride, I get the feeling I’m not; she is—as perfectly described by several other characters in this book—a Horror. She scratches herself inappropriately, flirts in a way that borders on harassment, and is constantly shirking her work onto poor Tufty (more on him in a minute). She’s violent and crude and, oh yes, was recently demoted for planting evidence to put a rape suspect, Jack Wallace, in jail. Jack got his conviction overturned and is not only back on the streets but also promising righteous vengeance against the police department that framed him.

To make matters worse, violent rapes keep occurring that Roberta knows are his handiwork. She’s been admonished to stay away from him and focus on the cases she does have, such as the assault of an elderly woman who owed money to a loan shark and is now in the hospital with grievous injuries:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Now We Are Dead...]

Jan 24 2018 5:30pm

Cooking the Books: Key Lime Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Professional baker and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen has been asked to judge the baking competition at the weeklong Tri-County Fair—a perfect role for her, and one she much prefers to the position of dunk-tank target that her mother sneakily got her to agree to. Her fellow judges are also pulling double duty, with student-teacher Willa Sunquist electing to chaperone the beauty pageant girls, including Hannah’s youngest sister, Michelle. The only mystery currently plaguing Hannah is why her one-eyed, one-eared cat Moishe has suddenly stopped eating.

Determined to tempt him with different delicious things, Hannah heads back to the dunk-tank booth as the carnival is closing up one night in order to grab the burger her business partner Lisa had kindly bought for him. As the lights go down, she hears something suspicious and, perhaps foolishly, goes to investigate. Finding Willa’s freshly bludgeoned corpse is a frightful surprise, and Hannah is only too glad when one of her boyfriends, Deputy Sheriff Mike Kingston, comes to find her before the killer can.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Jan 23 2018 2:00pm

Review: Her Beautiful Monster by Adi Tantimedh

Her Beautiful Monster by Adi Tantimedh is the second book in the Ravi PI series, where Ravi ends up on the run in Los Angeles with a car full of stolen guns, chased by killers as the city is surrounded by a ring of fire (available January 23, 2018).

Let’s start with the most obvious fact about this book: that really is Sendhil Ramamurthy on the cover! He was terrific in the TV show Heroes (full disclaimer: I never got around to watching Heroes Reborn), and oh boy was I mad when The Office’s Kelly gave in to her shallowness and dumped his character Ravi after her ex-boyfriend Ryan’s incredibly terrible declaration of love or whatever that was supposed to be. Mr. Ramamurthy has since been selected to embody another Ravi, the reluctant private investigator this supernatural mystery series is named for. Given how cinematic the books have been so far, it’s very easy to imagine him in the role of a PI catching bad guys while having the occasional existential crisis brought about by his circumstances.

Ravi Chandra Singh, you see, is a former religious scholar turned former secondary school teacher, fired to cover up a scandal where he tried to do the right thing and protect a student from another teacher. At a loose end, he accepted a friend’s offer to interview with the Golden Sentinels detective agency, based in London. In the second book of the series, Her Beautiful Monster, he’s still coming to terms with the amoral nature of his work and colleagues.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Her Beautiful Monster...]