Year’s Best 2020 — The DP List

Titles listed below garnered starred reviews in the four library journals (Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal) and a glowing review in Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine as indicated. 

This list will be added to as the year progresses and more titles are published. 

Best Novels

**VICTIM 2117 by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton, $28.00).  The newspaper refers to the body only as Victim 2117—the two thousand one hundred and seventeenth refugee to die in the Mediterranean Sea. But to three people, the unnamed victim is so much more, and the death sets off a chain of events that throws Department Q, Copenhagen’s cold cases division led by Detective Carl Mørck, into a deeply dangerous—and deeply personal—case. A case that not only reveals dark secrets about the past, but has deadly implications for the future.  DP & BL      

**THE RED HOUSE by James R. Benn (Soho Crime, $27.95). Just days after the Liberation of Paris, US Army Detective Billy Boyle and Lieutenant Kazimierz are brought to Saint Albans Convalescent Hospital in the English countryside. Kaz has been diagnosed with a heart condition, and Billy is dealing with emotional exhaustion and his recent methamphetamine abuse. Meanwhile, Billy’s love, Diana Seaton, has been taken to Ravensbruck, the Nazi concentration camp for women, and Kaz’s sister, Angelika, who he recently learned was alive and working with the Polish Underground, has also been captured and transported to the same camp. PW & DP

**CITY OF MARGINS by William Boyle (Pegasus, $25.95). In City of Margins, the lives of several lost souls intersect in Southern Brooklyn in the early 1990s. There’s Donnie Parascandolo, a disgraced ex-cop with blood on his hands; Ava Bifulco, a widow whose daily work grind is her whole life; Nick, Ava’s son, a grubby high school teacher who dreams of a shortcut to success; Mikey Baldini, a college dropout who’s returned to the old neighborhood, purposeless and drifting; Donna Rotante, Donnie’s ex-wife, still reeling from the suicide of their teenage son; Mikey’s mother, Rosemarie, also a widow, who hopes Mikey won’t fall into the trap of strong arm work; and Antonina Divino, a high school girl with designs on breaking free from Brooklyn. Uniting them are the dead: Mikey’s old man, killed over a gambling debt, and Donnie and Donna’s poor son, Gabe. PW & LJ

**A PRIVATE CATHEDRAL by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster, $28.00). When Robicheaux attends a concert by rock-and-roll heartthrob Johnny Shondell, New Iberia teenager Isolde Balangie is among the crowd of swooning girls. Despite all odds, Johnny and Isolde fall in love, and like Romeo and Juliet, their respective families go to extreme lengths to keep the young couple apart. The Shondell and Balangie families are longtime enemies in the New Iberia criminal underworld and show each other no mercy. The two run away together after Isolde is given as a sex slave to Johnny’s uncle. When Robicheaux digs deeper to uncover why, he gets too close to both Isolde’s mother and the mistress of her father, a venomous New Orleans mafioso whose jealousy knows no bounds. In retribution, he hires a mysterious assassin to go after Robicheaux and his longtime partner, Clete Purcel. BL & PW

    **THE LAST FLIGHT by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks, $26.99). Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish LJ, Kirkus, PW  & DP

**THE BOY FROM THE WOODS by Harlan Coben (Grand Central, $29.00). Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing. No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi. Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in LJ & DP

**FAIR WARNING by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $29.00). Veteran reporter Jack McEvoy has taken down killers before, but when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered in a particularly brutal way, McEvoy realizes he might be facing a criminal mind unlike any he’s ever encountered. Jack investigates–against the warnings of the police and his own editor–and makes a shocking discovery that connects the crime to other mysterious deaths across the country. Undetected by law enforcement, a vicious killer has been hunting women, using genetic data to select and stalk his targets. Uncovering the murkiest corners of the dark web, Jack races to find and protect the last source who can lead him to his quarry. But the killer has already chosen his next target, and he’s ready to strike. Kirkus & BL

**CUT TO THE BONE by Ellison Cooper (Minotaur, $27.99). After grieving the death of her fiancé and almost losing her job, Agent Sayer Altair is finally starting to rebuild her life. Her research into the minds of psychopaths is breaking new ground and her strange little family is thriving. But Sayer’s newfound happiness is threatened when she is called in to investigate a girl’s body left inside a circle of animal figurines below a cryptic message written in blood. When they discover that the dead girl is one of twenty-four missing high school students, Sayer quickly realizes that nothing in this case is what it seems. BL & PW

**BLACKTOP WASTELAND by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron, $26.99). Beauregard “Bug” Montage is an honest mechanic, a loving husband, and a hard-working dad. Bug knows there’s no future in the man he used to be: known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best wheelman on the East Coast. He thought he’d left all that behind him, but as his carefully built new life begins to crumble, he finds himself drawn inexorably back into a world of blood and bullets. BL & LJ

**THE GOODBYE MAN by Jeffery Deaver (Putnam, $28.00). In the wilderness of Washington State, expert tracker Colter Shaw has located two young men accused of a terrible hate crime. But when his pursuit takes a shocking and tragic turn, Shaw becomes desperate to discover what went so horribly wrong and if he is to blame. Shaw’s search for answers leads him to a shadowy organization that bills itself as a grief support group. But is it truly it a community that consoles the bereaved? Or a dangerous cult with a growing body count? BL & PW

**THE BLAZE by Chad Dundas (Putnam, $26.00). Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father’s death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It’s not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew’s past that might lead to all the answers he’s been searching for. Kirkus, PW, BL

**THE FAMILIAR DARK by Amy Engel (Dutton, $26.00).  Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson. PW & BL

**RUNNING OUT OF ROAD by Daniel Friedman (Minotaur, $26.99).  Once, Detective Buck Schatz patrolled the city of Memphis, chasing down robbers and killers with a blackjack truncheon and a .357. But he’s been retired for decades. Now he’s frail and demented, and Rose, his wife of 72 years, is ill and facing a choice about her health care that Buck is terrified to even consider. But Buck’s past is under attack as well. After 35 years on death row, convicted serial killer Chester March finally has an execution date. Chester is the oldest condemned man in the United States, and his case has attracted the attention of NPR producer Carlos Watkins, who believes Chester was convicted on the strength of a coerced confession. Chester’s conviction is the capstone on Buck’s storied career, and, to save Chester’s life, Watkins is prepared to tear down Buck’s reputation and legacy.  PW & Kirkus

**THE NIGHT SWIM by Megan Goldin (St. Martin’s, $27.99). The new season of Rachel Krall’s podcast has brought her to a small town being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. A local golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into her investigation. And she also gets frequent mysterious letters about a 25-year-old death which the writer claims was a murder. BL & PW

**HAMMER TO FALL by John Lawton (GroveAtlantic, $26.00).  Wilderness is reprimanded with a posting to remote northern Finland, under the guise of a cultural exchange program to promote Britain abroad. Bored by his work, with nothing to spy on, Wilderness finds another way to make money, this time by smuggling vodka across the rather porous border into the USSR. He strikes a deal with his old KGB pal Kostya, who explains to him there is, no joke, a vodka shortage in the Soviet Union, following a grain famine caused by Khrushchev’s new agricultural policies. But there is something fishy about why Kostya has suddenly turned up in Finland?and MI6 intelligence from London points to a connection to the mining of cobalt in the region, a critical component in the casing of the atomic bomb. Wilderness’s posting is getting more interesting by the minute, but more dangerous too.  PW, BL & Kirkus

**ONCE YOU GO THIS FAR by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur, $26.99). Junior-high school nurse Rebecca Newsome was an experienced hiker, until she plummeted to her death at the bottom of a ravine in a Columbus metro park. Her daughter, Maggie, doesn’t believe it was an accident, and Rebecca’s ex-husband is her prime suspect. But he’s a well-connected ex-cop and Maggie is certain that’s the reason no one will listen to her. PI Roxane Weary quickly uncovers that the dead woman’s ex is definitely a jerk, but is he a murderer? BL & PW

**THE FINISHER by Peter Lovesey (Soho Press, $27.95). Through a particularly ill-fated series of events, couch potato Maeve Kelly, an elementary school teacher whose mother always assured her “curvy” girls shouldn’t waste their time trying to be fit, has been forced to sign up for the Other Half, Bath’s springtime half marathon. The training is brutal, but she must disprove her mother and collect pledges for her aunt’s beloved charity. What Maeve doesn’t know is just how vicious some of the other runners are. Meanwhile, Detective Peter Diamond is tasked with crowd control on the raucous day of the race—and catches sight of a violent criminal he put away a decade ago, and who very much seems to be up to his old tricks now that he is paroled. DP

**THE LAST HUNT by Deon Meyer (Atlantic Monthly, $27.00).  When a cold case dossier lands on Captain Benny Griessel’s desk, he and his partner Vaughn Cupido, fellow member of the Hawks elite police unit in South Africa, reluctantly set to work reviewing the evidence of the disappearance?and possible murder?of ex-cop Johnson Johnson on the world’s most luxurious train line. Two fellow travelers might have the answers Griessel and Cupido need?but they too seem to have disappeared into thin air, and the few clues that exist suggest a cover-up. Meanwhile, Daniel Darret has settled into a new, quiet life in Bordeaux, far from his native South Africa and his revolutionary past. But when a man from that past reappears to commission his unique skills one more time, Daniel is forced to decide whether to remain anonymous or to strike a forceful blow against a corrupt government. PW, BL & DP

**THE HOLDOUT by Graham Moore (Random House, $28.00). Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school, and her teacher, Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect. It’s an open-and-shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed—until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty. Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence—by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed.   PW & LJ

**LONG BRIGHT RIVER by Liz Moore (Riverhead, $26.00).  In a Philadelphia neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey’s district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit–and her sister–before it’s too late.  BL & LJ

**DEATH IN THE EAST by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus, $25.95). 1905, London. As a young constable, Sam Wyndham is on his usual East London beat when he comes across an old flame, Bessie Drummond, attacked in the streets. The next day, when Bessie is found brutally beaten in her own room, locked from the inside, Wyndham promises to get to the bottom of her murder. But the case will cost the young constable more than he ever imagined. 1922, India. Leaving Calcutta, Captain Sam Wyndham heads for the hills of Assam, to the ashram of a sainted monk where he hopes to conquer his opium addiction. But when he arrives, he sees a ghost from his life in London—a man thought to be long dead, a man Wyndham hoped he would never see again. PW, LJ & DP

**THE SHADOWS by Alex North (Celadon, $26.99). You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy and inspired more than one copycat. Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul comes home to take care of his mother and it’s not long before things start to go wrong. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. PW & BL

**HARD CASH VALLEY by Brian Panowich (Minotaur, $26.99). Dane Kirby is a broken man and no stranger to tragedy. As a life-long resident and ex-arson investigator for McFalls County, Dane has lived his life in one of the most chaotic and crime-ridden regions of the south. When he gets called in to consult on a brutal murder in a Jacksonville, Florida, motel room, he and his FBI counterpart, Special Agent Roselita Velasquez, begin an investigation that leads them back to the criminal circles of his own backyard. BL & LJ

**ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE by Louise Penny (Minotaur, $28.99). On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. BL, PW & LJ

**UNDER PRESSURE by Robert Pobi (Minotaur, $26.99). On a beautiful October evening, New York City’s iconic Guggenheim Museum is closed for a tech company’s private gala. Until an explosion rocks the night, instantly killing 702 people. An explosion of that precision was no accident and, in response, the FBI mobilizes its entire team — but the sheer number of victims strains their resources. Were all 702 victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was there only one target and 701 unlucky bystanders? Brett Kehoe, Special Agent in Charge of Manhattan, decides that he can’t do this without more computational power. Enter Dr. Lucas Page, astrophysicist, university professor, and former FBI agent, who is uniquely gifted for the task at hand – he can visualize a crime scene as if he was a bystander and can break down any set of data at a glance. Even though Page wants nothing to do with the FBI, with his city under attack and his family at risk, he steps in to find a killer in a haystack before they strike again. PW & DP

**WHEN SHE WAS GOOD by Michael Robotham (Scribner, $26.00). Who is Evie, the girl with no past, running from? She was discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Her ability to tell when someone is lying helped Cyrus crack an impenetrable case in Good Girl, Bad Girl. Now, the closer Cyrus gets to uncovering answers about Evie’s dark history, the more he exposes Evie to danger, giving her no choice but to run. Ultimately, both will have to decide if some secrets are better left buried and some monsters should never be named.. Kirkus, BL & DP

**DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS by Sally Spencer (Severn House, $28.99). Oxford, 1975. Three years ago, world-renowned anthropologist Grace Stockton was slain in a brutal, unprovoked attack. Despite a large-scale police investigation, the identity of the prime suspect was never uncovered . . . and neither was the location of Grace’s head. But Grace’s daughter, the wealthy academic Julia Pemberton, refuses to accept that the trail has run cold. Determined to find out who killed her mother, she knows just the woman for the job: private investigator Jennie Redhead. Who was the woman caught on CCTV visiting Grace’s isolated home on the day of the murder? And why did she cut off her victim’s head? Jennie’s search for answers takes her on a dark, disturbing journey into the past, from the ancient tribal customs of Papua New Guinea, to war-torn 1940’s London, and to a dark tangle of secrets and scandal that someone is desperate should never be revealed . PW & BL

**EIGHT PERFECT MURDERS by Peter Swanson (Morrow, $27.99).  Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History. But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookstore in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. BL, PW, Kirkus & DP

**TIE DIE by Max Tomlinson (Oceanview, $26.95). Steve Cook was a musical sensation in the ‘60s; now he’s divorced with an 11-year-old daughter and works construction in San Francisco. Life takes an unexpected turn when his daughter is kidnapped. Rather than seeking help from the police, he turns to unlicensed p.i. (and ex-con) Colleen Hayes. It doesn’t take Colleen long to realize something fishy is going on with the kidnapping of Melanie Cook. What transpires is a harrowing journey through a music industry rife with corruption and crime. BL & DP

**THE SHOOTING AT CHATEAU ROCK by Martin Walker (Knopf, $25.95). It’s summer in the Dordogne. The heirs of a Périgordian sheep farmer learn that they have been disinherited, and their father’s estate sold to an insurance company in return for a policy that will place him in a five-star retirement home for the rest of his life. But the farmer never gets his life of luxury–he dies before moving in. Was it a natural death? Was there foul play? Bruno begins the investigation that leads him to several shadowy insurance companies owned by a Russian oligarch with a Cypriot passport. PW

**ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $27.99). Evoking the snowy seclusion of In a Dark, Dark Wood; the luxe environs of The Woman in Cabin 10; and the cutting edge technology of The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware returns with an ultramodern locked-door thriller about an ill-fated corporate ski retreat in the French Alps – where survival soon trumps synergy. When the cofounder of trendy social music app Snoop upends the agenda of a week-long getaway by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. After staff and guests are cut off from all access to the outside world by a devastating avalanche, resentments are laid bare as the corporate food chain unravels and office politics take a deadly turn. LJ & BL

**HOLD YOUR BREATH, CHINA by Qiu Xiaolong (Severn House, $28.99). Chief Inspector Chen and Detective Yu Guangming are brought into a serial murder case when the Homicide squad proves incapable of solving it. But before Chen can make a start, he is called away by a high-ranking Party member for a special assignment: to infiltrate a group of environmental activists meeting to discuss the pollution levels in the country and how to prompt the government into action. Chen knows it will be a far from simple task, especially when he discovers the leader of the group is a woman from his past. Meanwhile, Yu is left to investigate a serial murder case on his own. BL & PW

Best First Novels

**THE FINDERS by Jeffrey B. Burton (Minotaur, $26.99). Mason “Mace” Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection. He trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid’s coming off a taxing year – mourning the death of a beloved springer spaniel as well as the dissolution of his marriage. He adopts a rescue dog with a mysterious past – a golden retriever named Vira. And when Reid begins training Vira as a cadaver dog, he comes to realize just how special the newest addition to his family truly is. BL & LJ

**HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS by Raymond Fleischmann (Berkley, $26.00).  It’s been twenty years since Elisabeth’s twin sister, Jacqueline, disappeared without a trace. Now thirty-year-old Elisabeth is living far from home in a small Alaskan town. She’s in a loveless marriage and has a precocious young daughter she loves more than anything but who reminds her too much of her long-missing sister. But then Alfred, a dangerous stranger with a plan of his own, arrives in town and commits an inexplicable act of violence. And he offers a startling revelation: He knows exactly what happened to Elisabeth’s sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if she fulfills his three requests. BL

**THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, $26.00). In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late? Kirkus & PW

**FIREWATCHING by Russ Thomas (Putnam, $26.00).  Someone is setting fire to Sheffield. It starts with small things – dustbins and abandoned sheds – so people don’t notice at first. But the calling card is there if you look for it.  Soon the fires spread to offices, homes, people. The Firewatcher’s followers are growing and they have one particular blaze in mind – one that the police would do well to pay attention to.But D/S Adam Tyler is distracted by a case, one that he is unknowingly connected to. And if he can’t discover the link between the fires and himself, he will burn – along with the entire city.  PW & LJ                       

Best Thrillers      

  **INSIDIOUS by Brett Battles (Independently published, $14.95). “That way.” It’s such a simple request that Nate doesn’t think twice about turning down the path Liz suggests. But when he finds the body, he realizes he should have known better. Liz has the habit of pointing him toward those who need his help, even if they are no longer living. His deceased girlfriend isn’t the only one pushing him to solve the dead woman’s murder. After his best friend Jar discovers the woman’s true identity, she insists they need to investigate. Nate is not as sure. The police are on the case, after all, and if he and Jar intervene, they would only get in the way. But when more dead bodies begin stacking up, it becomes clear Nate and Jar are the only ones who can unravel the devious plot behind the young woman’s murder, and the trail of death meant to cover it up. DP          

**ONE MINUTE OUT by Mark Greaney (Berkley, $28.00).  While on a mission to Croatia, Court Gentry uncovers a human trafficking operation. The trail leads from the Balkans all the way back to Hollywood. Court is determined to shut it down, but his CIA handlers have other plans. The criminal ringleader has actionable intelligence about a potentially devastating terrorist attack on the US. The CIA won’t move until they have that intel. It’s a moral balancing act with Court at the pivot point. PW & DP

**HOUSE PRIVILEGE by Mike Lawson (Grove Atlantic, $26.00).  Fifteen-year-old Cassie Russell, the only daughter of a mega-rich Boston couple, is the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed her parents. She’s also the goddaughter of the newly elected Speaker of the House, John Mahoney, and Mahoney becomes her legal guardian. Normally, Mahoney would send his kind-hearted wife to deal with his new ward, but she’s unavailable so he dispatches his fixer, Joe DeMarco, to make sure the girl’s okay. DeMarco’s job is only to put things into a holding pattern until Mrs. Mahoney is able to step in and take charge—but DeMarco unintentionally flips over a rock and out from under it crawls a lawyer, the one managing Cassie’s vast estate PW, BL & DP

**THE WILD ONE by Nick Petrie (Putnam, $26.00).  From the northernmost European capital to a rustbound fishing vessel to a remote farm a stone’s throw from the arctic, Peter must confront his growing PTSD and the most powerful Icelandic snowstorm in a generation to find a killer, save an eight-year-old boy, and keep himself out of an Icelandic prison–or a cold Icelandic grave. PW & DP  

**THE LAST TOURIST by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur, $27.99). Reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists,” CIA-trained assassins to bed. A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him. Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run. BL & PW

**THE COLDEST WARRIOR by Paul Vidich (Pegasus, $25.95). In 1953, Dr. Charles Wilson, a government scientist, died when he “jumped or fell” from the ninth floor of a Washington hotel. As his wife and children grieve, the details of the incident remain buried for twenty-two years. With the release of the Rockefeller Commission report on illegal CIA activities in 1975, the Wilson case suddenly becomes news again. Wilson’s family and the public are demanding answers, especially as some come to suspect the CIA of foul play. Enter agent Jack Gabriel, an old friend of the Wilson family who is instructed by the CIA director to find out what really happened to Wilson. It’s Gabriel’s last mission before he retires from the agency and his most perilous. Key witnesses connected to the case die from suspicious causes. LJ & PW

Best Paperback Originals

**THE DECENT INN OF DEATH by Rennie Airth (Penguin, $16.00). On a trip into Winchester, former chief inspector Angus Sinclair learns of a tragedy that has taken place in the village he is staying in. Beloved church organist Greta Hartmann has slipped and fallen to her death in a shallow creek, and while investigations conclude it to be an accident, her friend and housemate, Vera, remains unconvinced. After learning that Greta was the widow of a prominent anti-Nazi German preacher, Sinclair meets with the distraught Vera, and he resolves to dig deeper into the story. His investigations lead him to the stately manor of Julia Lesage, where she lives with her devoted staff that includes her secretary, cook, and driver. PW

**BAD DAY AT THE VULTURE CLUB by Vaseem Khan (Redhook Books, $15.99). The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city of Mumbai: respected, envied and sometimes feared. When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence — where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures — the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced. Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case. DP

**RUNNING FROM THE DEAD by Mike Knowles (ECW, $15.95). Private eye Sam Jones is at a coffee shop when he spots some blood on his cuff. Mystified he goes to the washroom to wash it off. Then he notices a message written on the wall in eyebrow pencil. It’s a cry for help from a young girl. Kirkus, PW & BL

**HIDE AWAY by Jason Pinter (Thomas & Mercer, $15.95). On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she’s a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma…or worse. But crime follows her everywhere. When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can’t help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. BL, LJ & DP

**THE SILENCE OF THE WHITE CITY by Eva Garcia Saenz (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $16.95). Young Inspector Unai López de Ayala, known as “Kraken,” is charged with investigating a series of ritualistic murders. The murders are eerily similar to ones that rattled the citizens of Vitoria twenty years earlier. But back then, police were sure they had discovered the killer, a prestigious archaeologist who is currently in jail. Now Kraken must race to determine whether the killer had an accomplice or whether the wrong man has been incarcerated for two decades. This fast-paced, unrelenting thriller weaves in and out of mythology and legends of the Basque country as it hurtles to its shocking conclusion. PW & Kirkus

**DARKNESS FOR LIGHT by Emma Viskic (Allen & Unwin) After a lifetime of bad decisions troubled PI Caleb Zelic is finally making good ones. He’s in therapy, reconnecting with the Deaf community, and reconciling with his beloved wife. But he can’t escape his past. A violent confrontation forces Caleb back into contact with his double-crossing partner, Frankie. When her niece is kidnapped, Frankie and Caleb must work together to save the child’s life. But their efforts will risk everything, including their own lives. DP

**THE NAMES OF THE DEAD by Kevin Wignall (Thomas & Mercer, $15.95). Former CIA officer James ‘Wes’ Wesley paid the ultimate price for his patriotism when he was locked up in a French jail for an anti-terror operation gone wrong—abandoned by the Agency he served. Now he is shattered by the news that his ex-wife, Rachel, a State Department analyst, has been killed in a terrorist attack in Spain. He also discovers that his young son, Ethan, is missing. But Wes didn’t know he had a son—until now. Granted early release, Wes takes flight across Europe to search for the truth and exact his revenge. DP