Ladybird, ladybird…

On the Radar — The Las Vegas convention as a setting for murder has been used in more than one episode of CSI, but our lead book this week brings more unique inspiration to the table. Here we have a trade show dolly dressed as a ladybird and murdered in the hotel room of a man who sells the insects to right-on gardeners. Fly away home, indeed! We’ve also got new books from John Florio and Jacqui Rose, as well as two very interesting looking translations – one from Japan and another from Austria. Read on, and let us know which books you’ll be adding to your TBR pile this week.

A-death-in-Vegas-coverA Death in Vegas by Christopher Meeks
The president of BenBugs, Patton Burch, has found a gap in the market. He sells predatory insects to ethical gardeners, who buy the bugs as creepy-crawly hitmen to devour the aphids and pests that ruin their flora. Part of the BenBugs marketing strategy is to have a young lady dressed as a sexy ladybird to attract buyers at the industry’s convention in Las Vegas. Sadly, the Lustful Ladybird is found dead – in the boss’s hotel suite. As Burch tries to clear his name, he runs up against mobsters, money launderers and malcontents. Out now.
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AvengedAvenged by Jacqui Rose
The author is a self-confessed admirer and habitué of London’s celebrated but notorious Soho district. She loves the rough and tumble, the street girls and unashamed sense of danger that she finds. So, like previous novels, Avenged is set in London and the central character is a feisty female. Patrick Doyle is a career criminal, but even the bad guys have wives and families. Doyle’s daughter Franny loves her dad to bits, in spite of his lifestyle and career choices. Like her father, Franny can scrap and play dirty with the best of them, and when she comes up against Patrick’s enemies, her fiery Celtic heritage means that she takes no prisoners. We reviewed the author’s previous book here. Avenged is out today, 14 August.
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BagmenBagmen by William Lashner
This is the ninth outing for Lashner’s  Philadelphia lawyer Victor Carl. He first appeared in Hostile Witness (2004), and he practices on the ethical legal world. It is ironic that the term ‘Philadelphia lawyer’ has evolved to be a phrase describing someone who is not averse to the odd short cut and Carl is certainly no stranger to the darker side of the attorney’s art. When Carl senses a career opportunity in carrying hot money around town for a crooked politician, he underestimates the potential dangers of his new vocation, and finds himself the target of some seriously heavy villains. Bagmen is out now.
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Blind Moon AlleyBlind Moon Alley by John Florio
Jersey Leo, who was introduced in Sugar Pop Moon, is a mixed-race albino, and he is trying to stay ahead of the game in prohibition era Philadelphia. Jersey Leo works a bar called The Inkwell, where he receives a call from an old friend who happens to be on Death Row. Aaron Garvey wants one last favour from Leo. He feels obliged to do what he can to save his old friend, but it isn’t easy. Leo has to dance his way through crooked cops, booze-running mobsters, and as diverse a cast of street characters as you could wish for, before he gets to the truth about Aaron Garvey – and himself. Out on 19 August.
Pre-order now on Amazon

Rain GirlRain Girl by Gabi Kreslehner
Austrian crime fiction is something of a rarity, so it’s nice to find an English translation of this novel by the Ottensheim-based author Gabi Kreslehner. Beside a rain-soaked autobahn, a young woman’s body is found. Clearly, she has been hit by a car, but why was she there? Why is she wearing in a beautiful party dress? Why are there bloodstains in a nearby lay-by? Homicide detective Franza Oberweiser often thinks she has been doing the job for too long, and she has gazed into the abyss once too often. As she tries to cope with her dysfunctional private life, and keep her expectant father police partner Felix focused on the job, she must also investigate the girl’s death. Rain Girl is out now.
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The Art WhispererThe Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
Alix London is the ‘whisperer’ of the title, but it’s art not horses she’s an expert with, having an almost supernatural eye for a forgery. When she suspects that a hideously expensive painting attributed to Jackson Pollock is, in fact, a bad copy, she brings down a world of trouble on her head. The fact that the painting belongs to her current employer – a prestigious museum – makes life doubly difficult, and when Alix is attacked in her hotel room, she realises that the case is about something more deadly than the disputed authenticity of a painting. This, the third in the Alix London series, will be published on 19 August.
Pre-order now on Amazon

confessions100Confessions by Kanae Minato
Confessions came out in Japan in 2008 and two years later was made into a film directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. Now thanks to translator Stephen Snyder we we have a new English version of the novel. Yuko Moriguchi is a junior high school teacher. Her fiancé and the father of her only daughter is stricken with AIDS. She breaks off the engagement and takes four-year-old Manami to school with her. One awful day, the little girl is found dead in the school pool. Yuko copes as best she can with the tragedy, but as she grieves, she suspects foul play. She announces her resignation from the school and as she makes her farewell speech she announces that she has wreaked a terrifying revenge on the two children she believes murdered Manami. Already available as a hardback, the paperback is out today. View the film trailer below.
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