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Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In.
Louise Penny’s How the Light Gets In.

crime fiction

A return to Three Pines, and other new crime fiction worth a read Add to ...

Bones of The Lost
By Kathy Reichs (Scribner, 336 pages, $29.99)

Carolina medical examiner Temperance Brennan is in a flap. Her daughter, Katy, grieving the death of her fiancé in Afghanistan, has joined the army; Katy’s father, Tempe’s soon-to-be-ex, is griping that the divorce isn’t coming through fast enough. Then there’s the dead young girl found on the side of a road and the six mummified dogs from Peru that a Desert Storm vet tried to slip through customs. Then there’s Tempe’s other life, up in Montreal. Reichs once again spins her tale and manages to provides action and outrage without ever bogging down the plot.

Alex
By Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press, 384 pages, $24.95)

How the French can combine chilling gore and charming wit is a Gallic mystery. This book begins with a young woman snatched off the streets of Paris and beaten, tortured, and locked in wooden cage suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse. Why and who are the issue, but most of all, there’s the question of where. Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven must find the why in order to uncover where Alex is hidden and save her life. Verhoeven is a short man in a tall suit and fans of Fred Vargas will love him.

The Bones of Paris
By Laurie R. King (Bantam, 432 pages, $30)

This isn’t the best of Laurie R. King’s collection of novels, but even a middling King is good enough to keep you reading. Set in Paris, in 1929, The Bones Of Paris welcomes back Harris Stuyvesant and Bennett Grey in a plot line that combines Dada, Grand Guignol, old bones, and some very nice old-fashioned ratiocination. Stuyvesant is hired to locate a missing American girl in Jazz Age Paris. The clues lead him into the heart of the art world and to bistro tables with the likes of Man Ray and Picasso. There’s not much whodunit but the background makes it all worthwhile.

The Gifted
By Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart, 258 pages, $29.95)

What’s next for Joanne Kilbourn Shreve? Over two decades, we’ve followed her from backroom NDP political worker to widowed single parent, to college professor, and now, to happily remarried wife and mother, grandmother, and retiree. Along the way, she’s solved several really nasty murders, but that’s not why we read. This chapter in Joanne’s life is her facing the reality of her adopted daughter’s artistic talents and what that means for a young woman already dragging a lot of baggage. There’s a murder in The Gifted, but it takes a while to happen and it’s not the center of the plot. Will Taylor Shreve’s gifts take her to the darkness that ultimately swallowed her biological mother? Or will Joanne and Zack manage to keep her safe? And there’s a really nice twist at the end that has nothing at all to do with the murder. Stay tuned.

Always Love A Villain on San Juan Island
By Sandy Frances Duncan and George Szanto (TouchWood Editions, 264 pages, $14.95 (paper))

The is the fourth in the slick little series by Duncan and Szanto featuring insurance investigator Kyra Rachel and journalist Noel Franklin. The setting, again, is the Pacific Northwest, this time fictional San Juan Island, just off the B.C. coast. They begin in a university investigating a lost manuscript that may or may not prove a case of plagiarism but they’re quickly drawn into a far more serious crime; a professor’s daughter has been kidnapped and the ransom is the professor’s highly sensitive research. This is a good weekend book and you may want to read the other three.

Black Star Nairobi
By Mukoma Wa Ngugi (Melville International Crime, 272 pages, $15.95)

This stylish thriller is a sequel to Wa Ngugi’s debut, Nairobi Heat, which introduced the American and Kenyan detectives Ishmael and O. Now it’s 2007 and they’ve opened their own office and named it Black Star. Barack Obama is running for President of the United States and Kenya is on the map at last. Their first big case is a murder that may be linked to the bombing of a Nairobi hotel. Terrorists? External or home-grown? The thugs who attempt to get them to give up the case seem local but, in a world of shadows, everyone is suspect. This is a terrific novel with intriguing characters and a wonderful setting.

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