On the Radar: Last seen in Lapaz

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When we say Lapaz, we mean the town in Ghana, rather than Bolivia, but this week’s collection of new books will take you all over the map and through a wild range of topics and ideas too. From Kwei Quartey’s new African mystery, you can work your way through immigration issues in Seattle, a William Blake-inspired novel set in San Francisco, the freeing of slaves in 1830s Pennsylvania and… yup… a cosy mystery involving a dead dog trainer back over in California.

Woof. Woof.

Last Seen in Lapaz by Kwei Quartey

Last Seen in Lapaz by Kwei Quartey front cover

Get the passport ready, because you’ll be travelling from Nigeria to Ghana in Last Seen in Lapaz, third book in Kwei Quartey‘s series featuring PI Emma Djan, out on 7 February. Ngozi, a young Nigerian woman is a straight A student until she falls under the spell of her new boyfriend Femi and goes missing, possibly to Accra. Soon Emma is on their trail but when Femi is murdered and there is no sign of Ngozi, the investigator finds unsettling links to sex traffickers across West Africa. It’s clear that one of Femi’s many enemies killed him, and now the race is on to find Ngozi before she, too, is murdered in cold blood.
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Extreme Vetting by Roxana Arama

Extreme Vetting by Roxana Arama front cover

It’s 2019. Laura Holban is a Romanian American immigration lawyer based in Seattle, and the challenges of her work become even tougher in the thriller Extreme Vetting by Roxana Arama, which comes out on 7 February. Her client Emilio Garcia has been flying under ICE’s radar for more than 20 years, until he is arrested in front of his sons after an anonymous tip about his undocumented status. As she digs into his case, Laura uncovers a deadly conspiracy involving ICE, stolen data and human trafficking that starts to bring all the puzzle pieces together. She and Emilio must find a way out – not just for themselves, but for their families.
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Who Killed Jerusalem? by George Albert Brown

Who Killed Jerusalem by George Albert Brown front cover

Mystery writing doesn’t come more offbeat than Who Killed Jerusalem, published on 6 February and mixing together clever plotting, black humour and the poetry of William Blake, who wrote the hymn Jerusalem, amongst other things. Ickey Jerusalem is San Francisco’s unofficial poet laureate. He is handsome, rich and about to receive widespread acclaim – until he ends up dead inside a toilet cubicle in first class on a flight from New York. It looks like suicide, but was it? Fellow passenger Dedalus ‘Ded’ Smith, a morose, divorced life insurance claims adjuster, is roped into helping investigate the poet’s death – but is he ready for a trip into the dark recesses of San Francisco’s counterculture?
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Lay this Body Down by Charles Fergus

Lay This Body Down by Charles Fergus front cover

Welcome to 1837, during one of the most horrific periods in pre-Civil War America, when human beings were considered chattel and both northern and southern states grew rich from slave labour. Here we find Pennsylvania sheriff Gideon Stoltz, who has his hands tied by federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. But when Gideon defies the racist law to protect a boy who has fled north from a Virginia plantation, he pays dearly for his principles. Helped by his wife True, Gideon must solve a murder, bust a kidnapping ring and try to get the boy to safe haven. Lay this Body Down by Charles Fergus is out on 14 February.
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Playing Dead by Peggy Rothschild

Playing Dead by Peggy Rothschild front cover

Canine-loving former private detective Molly Madison is back to solve another doggone difficult murder in her California community with a mystery that’ll have cosy crime fans begging for more. Molly has had little chance to catch her breath since moving to the sleepy beach town she now calls home. But as a former PI, she senses a strange chemistry between members of Playtime Academy when she and her St Bernadoodle, Noodle and golden retriever, Harlow, pay a visit. Then a trainer’s body is found on-site and Molly is soon on the scent of a killer – but is she prepared for what her investigations dig up? Peggy Rothschild‘s Playing Dead is out on 7 February.
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Click here to read about last week’s new crime books.

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