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A Shimmer Of Hummingbirds

By Steve Burrows

Dundurn, 374 pages, $15.99

"The Birder Murder Series" has a nice ring to it. This fourth outing for Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune, the Canadian copper in the British countryside, is the best book so far with a solid plot dealing with Jejeune's precarious position in the Norfolk CID. His boss has a replacement ready and to add to the injury, she's angry because her significant other has become as enchanted with birdwatching as Jejeune. Then there's Jejeune's request to head for Colombia, supposedly on a birdwatching holiday in the jungle but actually in search of evidence in his brother's manslaughter case. While he's away, a young woman is murdered. The manslaughter in Colombia seems poised to add another victim and there's an attack on Jejeune's friend, Linda Hey. It's clear that she's in danger and that there is much more going on in Norfolk than meets anyone's eye. Jejeune has a terrible choice, save the job he loves or let a killer escape.


By Sara Paretsky

William Morrow, 448 pages, $34.99

Has it really been 35 years since Indemnity Only brought Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski to life? Here she is, still well-shod and accompanied by her dog in Kansas searching for an aged black actress. Of course, nothing is what it's supposed to be, but it's nice to see Vic outside her Chicago comfort zone. Regulars know that Paretsky always has a bit of politics tucked into her plots and this is is highly appropriate. Old racial hatreds cling in small towns and people have long memories for events that should be buried. As Vic digs, she's uncovering plenty, but none of it is leading her to what she wants. Then the bodies start turning up. This is a terrific book to be read without a break. Save it for a long weekend.

Dead Man Switch

By Matthew Quirk

Mulholland Books, 320 pages, $34

It's difficult to be a spy on the run when the government has drone cameras the size of a housefly and a pilot in Utah can send a missile down in the wastes of the Mongolian desert. John Buchan just had to get his hero onto a train to Scotland; Matthew Quirk's agent-undercover, John Hayes, has a far more difficult trail. He's part of an elite and ultra-secret special-operations team that has saved countless lives. Now someone is murdering members of the team and Hayes, who has spent two years establishing his credibility as a turncoat, has to uncover the killer. This is an excellent thriller with a suitably complicated plot and action that moves from California to Europe to Cairo. The baddie is very bad and Hayes is not a superman, just a highly skilled and intelligent agent. He's joined by his protégé Claire Rhodes, an interesting character who may or may not be on his side and who is not a Bond girl. This is a sequel to Cold Barrel Zero and if you missed that one, you'll want to get them both.

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