Saturday, 4 June 2016

Book Purchases - May 2016

I last updated my book buying at the end of April when I went to our local Rotary Club Book Sale. I've been pretty good in May, only purchased 17 books. For the most part they are mysteries of one sort or another, some new authors and with the others, I've been catching up on favourite series. The one different book is a horror story from Jonathan Maberry.

These are the books I've purchased this past month.

Patient Zero
1. Jonathan Maberry - Patient Zero (Joe Ledger #1 / Horror) - I have previously read one other Jonathan Maberry horror book and quite enjoyed. I've heard a lot about this series from my Goodreads associates so I ordered this one to give it a try. This is the synopsis -

"Joe Ledger, Baltimore Police Department detective, ex-army, martial arts expert, a man who has killed often, is scared. He's just had to kill the same man for the second time. And the top secret government agency who have just co-opted him onto their strength are scared too. The Department of Military Sciences are desperately trying to counter a new terrorist plot. Anti-terrorist operations have been thrown into confusion by the appearance of re-animated corpses. Corpses that are almost impossible to stop, corpses with an insatiable hunger for human flesh. The race is on to destroy the cell, to crack the science behind the outbreak, find out who is responsible and stop the apocalypse. But somehow the terrorists are always one step ahead and hell beckons..."

City of Ice
2. John Farrow - City of Ice -  I have mentioned this book previously in my recent Blog about future Reading Group Challenges. John Farrow is a Canadian writer and has published a mystery series amongst his other books. This is the first story in a series featuring Montreal police detective, Emile Cinq-Mars, who must solve a murder while keeping out of the clutches of the Russian and Canadian mob.

Historical Mysteries
3. Nicola Upson - London Rain (Josephine Tey #6). This is a new author for me.
"Following the gloomy days of King Edward VIII's abdication, London is elated to welcome King George VI. Just one of the many festivities celebrating the 1937 coronation is a BBC radio adaptation of Queen of Scots, and the original playwright, Josephine Tey, has been invited to sit in on rehearsals.

But Josephine's play is not the only drama unfolding. Britain's most venerable newsman, Anthony Beresford, is sleeping with the lead actress - and his humiliated wife works at the BBC. The sordid triangle reaches its climax when Beresford is shot to death in his broadcasting booth at the deafening height of the coronation ceremony.

Josephine's friend Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose thinks he has the case wrapped up. But after two more murders, it falls to Josephine to unravel a web of betrayal, jealousy, and long-held secrets, as she herself is caught in a love triangle of her own."

4. Jacqueline Winspear - Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs #2). I enjoyed the first book in this series very much.

"It is the spring of 1930 and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. But what seems a simple case at the outset soon becomes increasingly complicated when three of the heiress's old friends are found dead. Is there a connection between the woman's mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would want to kill three seemingly respectable young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War."

New Authors
5. Michael Dibdin - Vendetta (Aurelio Zen #2) - The missus and I enjoyed the TV series based on this series of mysteries very much. I didn't realize, although I probably should have, that it was based on a book series.

"Inspector Zen has an impossible murder to solve. An eccentric billionaire was killed inside a heavily fortified Sardinian fortress, where every room was monitored by video camera. But although the cameras captured the billionaire's grisly death, they did not record the face of his killer. As Zen gets to work, he is plunged into a menacing and violent world where his own life is soon at risk."

6. The Coffee Trader - by David Liss. I had recently purchased Liss' A Conspiracy of Paper and this one also looks interesting.

"Amsterdam, 1659. On the world's first commodities exchange, wealth can be won and lost in an instant. It is a truth that Miguel Lienzo, a crafty trader in the city's close-knit community of Portuguese Jews, knows only too well. Once among the most envied merchants, he has lost everything in a sudden shift in the sugar markets.

Impoverished and humiliated, living on the charity of his petty younger brother, Miguel would do anything to change his fortunes. Which is why he enters into a partnership with Geertruid Damhouder, a seductive Dutchwoman who offers Miguel one last chance at success - a daring scheme to corner the market in an astonishing new commodity called coffee.."

A Hollywood Mystery
7. Joseph Kanon - Stardust - This is another new author for me. He also wrote The Good German, amongst others.

"Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from war-torn Europe to find his brother has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful movie career, and a heroic past choose to kill himself?

Ben enters the uneasy world beneath the glossy shine of the movie business, where politics and the dream factories collide and Communist witch hunts are rendering the biggest star makers vulnerable. Even here, where the devastation of Europe seems no more real than a painted movie set, the war casts long and dangerous shadows. When Ben learns troubling facts about his own family's past and embarks on a love affair that never should have happened, he is caught in a web of deception that shakes his moral foundation to its core."

AKA J.K. Rowling
8. Robert Galbraith - The Silkworm. I've avoided trying J.K. Rowling's post-Harry Potter books, but I finally broke down.

"When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. Mrs. Quine thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives - meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before."

9. Jennifer McMahon - The Winter People. I honestly can't remember why I added this to my TBR list, but I was happy to see the book at my local and the synopsis sounded excellent.

"West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter.

Now, in the present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she's not the only person looking for someone they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself."

More New Authors
10. Julian Symons - The Blackheath Murders. Many of the books I try out, I find listed at the back of books I've just read. The next two fall into that category.

"The descendants of Charles Mortimer, the Collards and the Vandervents, share two vast mansions on the fringes of Blackheath. Despite their wealth and position, they are a family cursed by bad luck from which no generation is exempt.

Roger Vandervent, the successful manager of the family business, is mysteriously struck down with food poisoning and dies suddenly. Only his son Paul suspects murder and the subsequent disappearance of secret letters written to Roger compounds his suspicion.

In attempting to move attention away from his adored aunt Isabel, whose relationship with Roger was little short of scandalous, Paul discovers a viper's nest of blackmail, evil and secret vice."

11. Arthur Upfield - Bony and the Kelly Gang. This is one of many books featuring Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, a mystery series set in Australia.

"Tucked away in the mountains of New South Wales is Cork Valley, inhabited by hard-drinking Irishmen...

Here an Excise Officer looking for illicit 'stills' has been murdered, and it's Bony's job to find the killer..

Disguised as a horse-thief and gaol-breaker, the famous half-aborigine detective hitch-hikes into the valley. But before he can spring the trap, Bony develops a strong affection for these lawless, lusty characters..."

From the Golden Age of Mystery writers
12. Georgette Heyer - Behold, Here's Poison (Inspector Hannaysyde #4)

"When Gregory Matthews, patriarch of the Poplars, is found dead one morning, imperious Aunt Harriet blames it on the roast duck he ate for supper. After all, she had warned him about his blood pressure. But a post-mortem determines that the cause of death is much more sinister. Murder. By poison.

Suspicion falls immediately upon his bitter, quarrelsome family. Each has a motive; each, opportunity. It falls to Superintendent Hannaysyde to sift through all the secrets and lies and discover just who killed Gregory Matthews, before the killer strikes again."

13. Agatha Christie - Postern of Fate (Tommy & Tuppence Beresford #4)

"Hidden among the pages of an adventure novel, the message had been left by a long-dead schoolboy, several years before the First World War.

Half a century later, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford stumble on it - and uncover a sinister trail of poisoning, spies and subversion.. For even after sixty years, Mary Jordan's enemies - or their descendants - are prepared to kill to ensure that she keeps her secret."

Ongoing series
14. Clive Cussler - The Mediterranean Caper (Dirk Pitt #1). I've been looking for this book for awhile so I could finally start this series.

"On a Greek island, a U.S. Air Force base has come under attack - by a World War I fighter plane..

Now it's up to Dirk Pitt to root out the elusive truth behind the attack - and find out how it's connected to mysterious acts of sabotage against a scientific expedition, an international smuggling ring and a dark-haired beauty with some dangerous secrets..."

15. Rex Stout - Over My Dead Body (Nero Wolfe #7). I finally read a Nero Wolfe mystery, or, rather a collection of his short stories and I enjoyed everything about it. It's time to try and find more of this series so I can make a dent in it.

"When a Balkan beauty gets in trouble over some missing diamonds, whom else can she turn to but world-famous Nero Wolfe? Especially since she claims to be Wolfe's long-lost daughter! The stakes are suddenly raised when a student at this woman's fencing school ends up dead after a pointed lesson. As Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie, thrust and parry into a tangle of documents, identities, and international intrigue, another student body turns up, expertly skewered through the heart. Is Wolfe's long-lost daughter the black sheep of the family, a hot-blooded mistress of murder?"

And the final two....
16. Len Deighton - Billion Dollar Brain.  In my previous Blog, I mentioned that Jun is Spy Month so this book is a possibility.

"The classic thriller of lethal computer-age intrigue and a maniac's private cold war..."

17. John Harvey - Rough Treatment (Charles Resnick #2). I enjoyed Lonely Hearts, the first book and want to continue with this mystery series.

"Things have started to get seriously out of hand for kind-hearted burglar Jerry Grabianski. His violent, opportunistic partner-in-crime, Trevor Grice, is uncontrollable. And now Jerry has fallen hard for married, love-starved and willing Maria Roy - whom he and Trevor met while ransacking her house.

Detective Inspector Charlie Resnick is certain that the criminals responsible for the break-in at the Roy household are the same two who left a corpse behind during their previous caper. But there are some things neither Maria nor her television director husband Harold are revealing to the melancholy investigator. And when love, lies and larceny mix, the result can be murder."

So there you go. Any of them make you want to check them out? I hope so.

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