Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case. The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory. . . .
Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die (A Bio of Willie Nelson) by Kinky Friedman
In Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Willie Nelson muses about his greatest influences and the things that are most important to him, and celebrates the family, friends, and colleagues who have blessed his remarkable journey. Willie riffs on everything: music, wives, Texas, politics, horses, religion, marijuana, children, the environment, poker, hogs, Nashville, karma, and more. He shares the outlaw wisdom he has acquired over eight decades, along with favorite jokes and insights from friends and others close to him. Rare family pictures, beautiful artwork created by his son Micah Nelson, and lyrics to classic songs punctuate these charming and poignant memories. Willie Nelson has touched millions, and none more deeply than his family, friends, and bandmates, several of whom share, for the first time, intimate stories about the Red Headed Stranger.
Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding
There’s something deadly lurking in the shadows at Shadow Creek . . .
Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex and grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies. What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated.
And Then You Dye by Monica Ferris
Betsy is a natural-born yarnsmith—so it’s only fitting that some of her favorite items to stock come from the dye-works of Hailey Brent. Hailey makes hand-dyed knitting wool, silk, soy, and corn yarns. She uses only natural vegetable dyes, creating soft and beautiful colors. Which means her yarns are expensive, but well worth it. Unfortunately, someone thinks they’re worth killing for.When Hailey’s body is discovered shot dead in her workshop, Betsy discovers that there was a lot about Hailey she would have never guessed. Like her penchant for stealing other’s property for her own use. Her use of dangerous additives to create her so-called all-natural fibers. And a scheming mind that had made her more than one enemy. Now, Betsy must wring the truth from a bevy of colorful suspects. Because the truth just might mean the difference between living—and dyeing…
The Black Box by Michael Connelly
At his core, Harry Bosch is a cop with a mission—to tip the scales of justice toward the side of murder victims and their survivors. The scales can never be righted, of course, even by solving the cases Bosch is assigned in the Open Unsolved Unit of the LAPD. That is especially true in the 20-year-old murder of Danish journalist Anneke Jesperson, who was killed during the L.A. riots of 1992. What was Jesperson, a white woman, doing in South Central L.A. in the aftermath of the riots? As usual, Bosch faces not only the seeming impossibility of reconstructing a crime that has been cold for two decades but also the roadblocks imposed by the bureaucrats at the top of the LAPD. But Bosch has never met a roadblock he wasn’t compelled to either barge through or cannily avoid. Harry is such a compelling character largely due to his fundamentally antiestablishment personality, which leads to chaos as often as to triumph, but also because his unswerving work ethic reflects not simply duty but also respect for the task before him. Harry does it right, even—or especially—when his bosses want something else entirely.
Dying On The Vine by Aaron Elkins
It was the custom of Pietro Cubbiddu, patriarch of Tuscany’s Villa Antica wine empire, to take a solitary month-long sabbatical at the end of the early grape harvest, leaving the winery in the trusted hands of his three sons. His wife would drive him to an isolated cabin and return for him a month later, bringing him back to his family and business. So it went for almost a decade—until the year came when neither of them returned. Months later, a hiker stumbles on their skeletal remains. The carabinieri investigate and release their findings: they are dealing with a murder-suicide. The evidence makes it clear that Pietro Cubbiddu shot and killed his wife and then himself. Not long afterwards, Gideon Oliver and his wife, Julie, are in Tuscany visiting their friends, the Cubbiddu offspring. The renowned Skeleton Detective is asked to reexamine the bones. When he does, he reluctantly concludes that the carabinieri, competent though they may be, have gotten almost everything wrong. Whatever it was that happened in the mountains, a murder-suicide it was not. Soon Gideon finds himself in a morass of family antipathies, conflicts, and mistrust, to say nothing of the local carabinieri’s resentment. When another Cubbiddu relation meets an unlikely end, it becomes clear that the killer is far from finished…
Fox Tracks by Rita Mae Brown
While outside on Manhattan’s Midtown streets a fierce snowstorm rages, nothing can dampen the excitement inside the elegant ballroom of Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel. Hunt clubs from all over North America have gathered for their annual gala, and nobody is in higher spirits than “Sister” Jane, Master of the Jefferson Hunt in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Braving the foul weather, Sister and her young friend “Tootie” Harris pop out to purchase cigars for the celebration at a nearby tobacco shop, finding themselves regaled by the colorful stories of its eccentric proprietor, Adolfo Galdos. Yet the trip’s festive mood goes to ground later with the grisly discovery of Adolfo’s corpse. The tobacconist was shot in the head but found, oddly enough, with a cigarette pack of American Smokes laid carefully over his heart. When a similar murder occurs in Boston, Sister’s “horse sense” tells her there’s a nefarious plot afoot—one that seems to originate in the South’s aromatic tobacco farms. Meanwhile, Sister’s nemesis, Crawford Howard, will stop at nothing to subvert the Jefferson Hunt Club. There’s more than one shadowy scheme in the works in Albemarle County, and some conspirators are unafraid of taking shots at those evidencing too keen an interest in other people’s business. When Sister voices her suspicions, she, too, becomes a target. Fortunately for her, the Master of the Jefferson Hunt may rely upon the wits and wiles of her four-legged friends—including horses Lafayette and Matador, the powerful hound, Dragon, and even the clever old red fox, Uncle Yancy! From Manhattan’s gritty streets to the pastoral beauty of Virginia horse country, Fox Tracks features the beloved characters from past Sister Jane novels in a fascinating new intrigue. This sly, fast-paced mystery gives chase from sizzling start to stunning finish!
Live By Night by Dennis Lehane
Boston, 1926. The ‘20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one—neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover—can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.
Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.
Shiver by Karen Robards
If driving a piece-of-crap tow truck through the seediest part of town with a Smith & Wesson beside her means putting a roof over her son’s head, then Samantha Jones is going to be the best damn repo woman on the books. The streetwalkers, the drug pushers, the bands of looking-for-trouble punks haunting the mean streets at midnight don’t intimidate her. These are her people. The guy she finds bound and bloodied in the trunk of her latest conquest, a flashy new BMW, is a different breed entirely. Daniel Panterro was certain he was going to die. Instead, by a stroke of luck, he was beaten to within an inch of his life and left for dead. But if he’s having a bad day, Sam’s day is about to get way worse. Danny knows he hasn’t seen the last of the vicious drug runners who kidnapped him from protective custody. His only recourse is to take his pretty savior hostage and force her to help him. There’s no going back for Sam and her four-yearold son, Tyler. They’re in way too deep. With ruthless killers stalking their trail, Sam’s only choice is to trust this handsome, menacing stranger. But as she relinquishes control, Sam feels an unmistakable desire. Could she be tempted by Danny, who seems intent on protecting her and Tyler from even his own darkest secrets? And what is the price of falling in love with a man who operates on the edge of danger—her heart, her life . . . or both?
The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie by Ayan Mathis
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last—glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.
An Outlaw’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller
With his wild heart, Sawyer McKettrick isn’t ready to settle down on the Triple M family ranch in Arizona. So he heads to Blue River, Texas, to seek a job as marshal. But in a blinding snowstorm he’s injured—and collapses into the arms of a prim and proper lady in calico. The shirtless, bandaged stranger recuperating in teacher Piper St. James’s room behind the schoolhouse says he’s a McKettrick, but he looks like an outlaw. As they wait out the storm, the handsome loner has Piper remembering long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood. But for how long is Sawyer willing to call Blue River home?
As the gray skies clear, Piper’s one holiday wish just might bring two lonely hearts together forever
Today I’d like to mention author Charlaine Harris, one of our most popular writers. Many of you know her as the author of the books that HBO’s True Blood is based on…but she’s so much more!
Harris has a number of other series; the Lily Bard books, set in a small Arkansas town and featuring a woman who was once badly hurt and who doesn’t mind defending the weak and kicking bad guy butt when the need arises. The Aurora Teagarden books are delightful; she lives in a small town, has many admirers and a Mom who looks (and acts) like Lauren Bacall…oh, and Aurora solves murders!
The Harper Connelly books are the third and shortest of Harris’ series. They’re dark, because, you see, Harper sees the dead and they tell her how they died. She frequently works with police departments…not always with the results they’d like. Connelly is probably the most nuanced and shaded of all Harris’ characters, but sadly, there’s only four books and no more in the wings.
I really like Charlaine Harris, although sometimes people associate her with “those vampire books” more than they should. Her stories are always set in the South and she has a splendid Southern Voice, and a true feel and love for the sometimes odd and off center characters that make life in the South so interesting.