Mysteries for cold winter days

By Marianne Murray Guess

Brrrr! Winter is in its full glory, folks.

Hopefully, you’ve avoided the crowds, survived Black Friday and the helter skelter of the holidays. It’s January and time to reflect on the upcoming New Year. Also, it’s time to relax, maybe throw an afghan around your shoulders, slink down into your favorite chair and crack open the pages of a good mystery. Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, David Baldacci and Janet Evanovich all have new books out now. Here are some others I believe are worth a read as well.

“The Great Reckoning” by Louise Penny: This book debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was named a top 10 book of 2016 by librarians across the U.S. It is also the 12th installment of Penny’s Inspector Gamache Series. When an intricate old map is found stuffed in the walls of a bistro, it seems at first no more than a curiosity. But the closer those in the local village look at it, the stranger it becomes. The map was then given to Inspector Armand Gamache the first day on his new job, and it eventually leads him to some shattering secrets. This is crime fiction at its best.

“The Nowhere Man” by Gregg Hurwitz: Evan Smoak is the Nowhere Man and is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. He is a man of skills, resources and has a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. When the truly desperate and deserving reach out to him he will do anything to protect and save them. This is the second novel in “The Orphan X” Series. In “The Nowhere Man,” Smoak’s life is interrupted when a surprise attack comes from an unlikely angle and Evan is caught unaware, captured, drugged and taken to a remote location. He is cut off from everything he knows. What his captures don’t know is they have caged one of the deadliest and resourceful men on earth. If you’re a fan of Jack Reacher, Mitch Rapp or Jason Bourne you will love Evan Smoak. The Washington Post wrote, “A smart, stylish, state-of-the art thriller!”

“Bat Crazy” by Carole Brown: This is another book in the Denton and Alex Davies cozy mystery series. These two amateur detectives plunge into their newest case, this time in New Mexico. They’ve been told red-eyed monster bats have attacked humans. They don’t think so, but who are they to quibble with local gossip. What they find is an ancient story, an old map, a lost jewel and even a bat clan that will provide the Davies duo with their hardest case so far. Carole said she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy. An admirer wrote, “This whodunit will hook you early and keep you turning the pages until the last delightful surprise.”

“Will Tanner, U.S. Deputy Marshall” by William & J.A. Johnstone: William Johnstone was one of the greatest western writers of all time. Sadly, he passed away in 2004. His nephew has been carrying on his legacy doing quite well for himself I might add. J.A. remarked that working everyday with Bill was an adventure story in itself. Will Tanner is a new series in paperback featuring a new hero of the Old West. After spending most of his life driving cattle from Texas to Nevada, Will decides to move on. He finds himself in a town where he saves a deputy’s life in a saloon gunfight. Then, all of a sudden, he finds he has a new job — U.S. Deputy Marshall. There is another new paperback out in the Buckhorn Saga, “Paid in Blood.” The story is about a young gun-for-hire with Indian blood, a lightning fast trigger and his own special brand of justice. Both of these books are great reads for you western fans.

I could go on about mysteries because there are so many new ones on bookstore shelves now. By the way, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. If you’ve never read any of his mysteries you might want to start.

Stay warm, have a Happy New Year and happy reading, everyone!

By Marianne Murray Guess