Hart, Erin. The False Mermaid (Scribner $26 in now Signed April 21).
Her third mystery in an award-winning Irish series takes Nora Gavin back to the Twin Cities and the unsolved murder of her sister's death. It haunts Nora who is sure the husband did it.... but how to prove the case?
Mercer, Ken. Slow Fire ($26) Signed
Leaving behind the gritty streets of Los Angeles and a heroin addiction, former LAPD narcotics detective Will Magowan takes a job as chief of police in the small Northern California town of Haydenville. His advanced skills are required almost immediately, when the body of young Caitlyn Johnson is discovered near an abandoned kayak. But a controversial shooting at the town's only bar puts Will in the cross hairs of local enemies like Frank Carver, transformed from a Hell's Angel and convicted killer into philanthropist and literary lion. Will's pending divorce, his eager but bumbling deputy Thomas, as well as the effort of staying clean pile up the stress, and Mayor Bonnie Newman, who hired him to clean up Haydenville's blossoming drug trade, warns that his days may be numbered. Mercer's debut is full of familiar plot elements, but both his prose and his hero are refreshingly honest and direct.
Parker, Robert B. Split Image (Putnam $26 -- Unsigned, in case you did not learn the sad news of Parker's death in January).
Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone has a body in legbreaker Petrov Ognowski. Curiously, Petrov's employer Reggie Galen has an ocean front mansion in Paradise right next door to a similar estate owned by fellow Boston crime boss Knocko Moynihan. Why is that? The two racketeers (retired?) are married, 20 years each, to identical twins Rebecca and Roberta. In their (Catholic) youth, the girls were known as the Bang Bang Twins by Boston youth. Is this meaningful when Knocko is then murdered? Meanwhile Sunny Randall is in Paradise checking out a teenager in a gentle kind of cult. The girl has way weird parents...and then goes missing. The real mystery of course is whether Parker will abandon the Spenser/Susan box and free Jesse and Sunny for each other....
Simmons, Dan. Drood ($16).
A stunning re-creation of Dickens' London and its characters that is almost as good as...Dickens. This is here history and horror meet..."-Booklist Starred Review, matching raves from various critics and even Stephen King.
Dan will be here March 3 at 7 pm to discus and sign his new book Black Hills a title that earned a starred review from Publisher Weekly