From small-town scandals to high-stakes Hollywood horrors, these crime fiction novels have all the gritty twists and turns you’ve been missing.
A man is murdered in a back alley. Renowned forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs are left with a veritable mountain of evidence collected from the trash-filled alley, and their only lead is a young eyewitness: the man’s eight-year-old son, who was riding along on his father’s delivery route.
But the murder victim may have been more than just a simple deliveryman. Rhyme and Sachs uncover clues that he might have been delivering a highly illegal, contraband shipment, which is now missing. And someone wants it back…
Merci Rayborn, T. Jefferson Parker’s stubborn, principled Orange County detective, is almost alone in believing that deputy Archie Wildcraft didn’t kill his beautiful young wife and then turn his service weapon on himself. The evidence against Wildcraft–now hospitalized with a bullet lodged in his head–seems overwhelming. But Merci, who’s still unpopular for exposing an old police scandal that caused the death of one cop and the ruination of others (The Blue Hour), is resisting pressure from her boss and a headline-hunting D.A. to arrest Wildcraft and charge him with murder. Then the deputy, who’s lost his memory and maybe his mind as a result of his injury, goes missing from his hospital room, intent on tracking down the real killers and managing to stay a step ahead of Merci. Soon, they both begin to realize that Gwen Wildcraft wasn’t killed because she got in the way of an attempted hit on her husband—it was the other way around.
There’s a saying at Hollywood station that the full moon brings out the beast—rather than the best—in the precinct’s citizens. One moonlit night, LAPD veteran Dana Vaughn and “Hollywood” Nate Weiss, a struggling-actor-turned cop, get a call about a young man who’s been attacking women. Meanwhile, two surfer cops known as Flotsam and Jetsam keep bumping into an odd, suspicious duo—a smooth-talking player in dreads and a crazy-eyed, tattooed biker. No one suspects that all three dubious characters might be involved in something bigger, more high-tech, and much more illegal. After a dizzying series of twists, turns, and chases, the cops will find they’ve stumbled upon a complex web of crime where even the criminals can’t be sure who’s conning whom.
by Archer Mayor
Brattleboro is the epitome of scenic Vermont. Quaint in its architecture and plainspoken in its politics, it dominates the state’s southeast corner as both an employment hub and an election year powerhouse-all while looking like a genteel, postindustrial New England mill town. And yet there is darkness here, too, and nobody knows it better than Joe Gunther. Over the years he has battled drug pushers and corporate swindlers, grappled with environmental conspirators, and foiled gangs and home invaders. But while usually successful in his fight for the town’s future, Gunther hasn’t always come out on top… Thirty years earlier store owner Klaus Ober-feldt was robbed and beaten senseless. When Klaus died six months later, a case of assault and battery became first degree murder. The guilty man eventually appeared to be a well-known, small-time crook, but enough time had elapsed for him to vanish. Gunther, distracted by his wife’s losing struggle with cancer in the same hospital where Klaus was slipping from life, did something that would plague him for the rest of his career: He let the case go cold, burying it in the past along with his private sorrows. Now serendipitously reopened, the Ober-feldt investigation forces Gunther to revisit ancient history and open old wounds. Torn between righting the past and confronting his demons, the veteran cop faces the most personal and dangerous case of his career. For somewhere on the idyllic Brattleboro streets stalks a long-lost murderer who never quite disappeared-and with Joe’s renewed interest, now has good reason to kill again…
Foreword by Michael Connelly
Twenty and two. Those are the numbers turning in the mind of William “Bumper” Morgan: twenty years on the job, two days before he “pulls the pin” and walks away from it forever. But on the gritty streets of L.A., people look at Bumper like some kind of knight in armor–they’ve plied him with come-ons, hot tips, and the hard respect a man can’t earn anywhere else. Now, with a new job and a good woman waiting for him, a kinky thief terrorizing L.A.’s choice hotels, and a tragedy looming, Bumper Morgan is about to face the only thing that can scare him: the demons that he’s been hiding behind his bright and shiny badge…
For a cop, a night on the job means killing time and trying not to get killed. If you’re a cop in Hollywood Division, it also means dealing with the most overwrought, desperate, and deluded criminals anywhere. When you’re patrolling Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards, neither a good reputation nor the lessons of scandals past will help you keep your cool, your sanity, or your life when things heat up.The robbery of a Hollywood jewelry store, complete with masks and a hand grenade, quickly connects to a Russian nightclub, an undercover operation gone bloodily wrong, and a cluelessly ambitious pair of tweakers.
Putting the pieces together are the sergeant they call the Oracle and his squad of street cops. There’s Budgie Polk, a twenty-something firecracker with a four-month-old at home, and Wesley Drubb, a rich boy who joined the force seeking thrills. Fausto Gamboa is the tetchy veteran, and Hollywood Nate is the one who never shuts up about movies. They spend their days in patrol cars and their nights in the underbelly of a city that never sleeps. From their headquarters at Hollywood Station, they see the glamour city for what it is: a field of land mines, where the mundane is dangerous and the dangerous is mundane.
by Shirley Lord
Ginny Walker always had one dream: to be a great clothing designer, the next Calvin Klein or Bill Blass. She will do anything to succeed. She does happen to have a cousin (male) in New York; he is an investment banker of some sort, with lots of contacts, so she sets off for the Big Apple.
Starting in a lowly job on 7th Avenue, she begins the life too many young New Yorkers know: a cramped living space, a dead end job with a sleazy boss, a wonderful set of friends, and a great amount of talent. Part of this talent is put to use designing evening attire for aw hot young model and partly used in dressing herself: Ginny Walker is wearing her own creations to the best parties in town, parties to which she is not invited, parties she crashes.
Along the way Ginny falls in love, is gravely misused by the people she thought cared for her and does a great deal of growing up. But, it is only when she witnesses a murder that she needs to make the most important decisions of her life and become the kind of adult—and designer—she always knew she could be.
Two kinds of cops find their way to Portland’s North Precinct: those who are sent there for punishment, and those who come for the action. Officer Hanson is the second kind, a veteran who survived the war in Vietnam only to decide he wanted to keep fighting at home. Hanson knows war, and in this battle for the Portland streets, he fights not for the law but for his own code of justice.
by Warren Ellis
After a shootout claims the life of his partner in a condemned tenement building on Pearl Street, Detective John Tallow unwittingly stumbles across an apartment stacked high with guns. When examined, each weapon leads to a different, previously unsolved murder. Someone has been killing people for twenty years or more and storing the weapons together for some inexplicable purpose.
Confronted with the sudden emergence of hundreds of unsolved homicides, Tallow soon discovers that he’s walked into a veritable deal with the devil. An unholy bargain that has made possible the rise of some of Manhattan’s most prominent captains of industry. A hunter who performs his deadly acts as a sacrifice to the old gods of Manhattan, who may, quite simply, be the most prolific murderer in New York City’s history.
by Ed McBain
It’s not a mystery, it’s a story of survival and triumph. That’s what some people say about Romance, a would-be hit play about an actress pursued by a knife-wielding stalker. But isn’t it romantic! Before the show can open, the leading lady is really attacked, outside the theater. And before the detectives of the 87th can solve that crime, the same actress is stabbed again. This time for keeps. A.D.A. Nellie Brand moves in for a murder conviction, but Detective Steve Carella is sure she’s got the wrong guy, and wrestles for the case with Fat Ollie Weeks, Isola’s foulest cop. While Bert Kling interviews witnesses and suspects ranging from the show’s producers to the author–who has written novels about cops and knows how it’s done–to the lead’s lovely understudy, he can’t keep his mind off what’s happening to him. He’s falling in love. With a doctor. Who happens to be a deputy chief surgeon. Who happens to be a black woman. In the city of Isola, nothing is black and white. In the play Romance, no one is guilty or innocent. And in the gritty reality of the 87th Precinct, everyone is in love with something–even if it’s only murder.