One cold January day the police are called to a sleepy little hamlet in the north of Sweden where they discover a savagely murdered man lying in the snow. As they begin their investigation they notice that the village seems eerily quiet and deserted. Going from house to house, looking for witnesses, they uncover a crime unprecedented in Swedish history. When Judge Birgitta Roslin reads about the massacre, she realises that she has a family connection to one of the couples involved and decides to investigate. A nineteenth-century diary and a red silk ribbon found in the forest nearby are the only clues. What Birgitta eventually uncovers leads her into an international web of corruption and a story of vengeance that stretches back over a hundred years, linking China and the USA of the 1860s with modern-day Beijing, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and coming to a shocking climax in London's Chinatown. "The Man from Beijing" is both a gripping and perceptive political thriller and a compelling detective story. It shows Henning Mankell at the height of his powers, handling a broad historical canvas and pressing international issues with his exceptional gifts for insight and chilling suspense.
Parshall, Sandra. Broken Places ($) Signed
“Near the start of Parshall's excellent third Rachel Goddard mystery (after 2007's Disturbing the Dead), the Mason County, Va., veterinarian witnesses an argument between newspaper publisher Cam Taylor, who's desperate for money to save his paper, and popular cartoonist Ben Hern (aka Cuban-American artist Benicio Hernandez), who won't give him any, at Ben's mansion. On the drive home, Rachel spots Cam's abandoned car in the road, pulls over, hears gunshots, and finds Cam dead in the woods. Rachel and her vet assistant, Holly Turner, must take care not to become a frantic killer's next victims in a suspenseful tale distinguished by its sharp prose.” –Publishers Weekly of Broken Places
“This third Rachel Goddard mystery (after The Heat of the Moon and Disturbing the Dead ) grips readers from the opening page with a suspenseful plot that will leave them breathless. The tension between Tom and Rachel adds to the thrill of the hunt for a clever murderer who has covered all the bases. Fans of Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott mysteries will enjoy.” –Library Journal of Broken Places
Pearson, Ridley. Steel Trap: The Academy ($16) Signed
Steven "Steel" Trapp has been placed in an East Coast boarding school for gifted kids by his FBI agent father. He soon discovers that there's a clubby element of the faculty and upper classmen that is very secretive and protective. To his surprise, his friend Kaleigh arrives to board at the school and it isn't long before the two realize that this is not your normal boarding school. It seems a select few students are recruited, while still minors, to serve as special "translators" for the US Government. People-including diplomats and dignitaries-will say things around kids that they wouldn't otherwise dare speak outside of embassies. The willing student "agent" takes a semester abroad and ends up spying for his country.
But there are dark elements at play at the school. Foreign agents may have penetrated the school's secrecy and may have sleepers in place: kids spying on future kid spies. There is conspiracy and competition among the elite faculty that threatens security. As Steel and Kaileigh are recruited for their first test run-trying to break a ring of pickpockets in a Boston hotel-things go impossibly wrong. Betrayal and conspiracy cloud what should have been a straightforward assignment. And all too soon, their very lives are in danger.
Roberts, John Madox. The Year of Confusion. SPRQ 13 ($25) Signed
Caius Julius Caesar, now Dictator of Rome, has decided to revise the Roman calendar, which has become out of sync with the seasons. As if this weren’t already an unpopular move, Caesar has brought in astronomers and astrologers from abroad, including Egyptians, Greeks, Indians and Persians. Decius is appointed to oversee this project, which he knows rankles the Roman public: “To be told by a pack of Chaldeans and Egyptians how to conduct their duties towards the gods was intolerable.” Not long after the new calendar project begins, two of the foreigners are murdered. Decius begins his investigations and, as the body count increases, it seems that an Indian fortuneteller popular with patrician Roman ladies is also involved. This latest in the acclaimed series is sure to please historical mystery fans.