| | A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette Introducing: Bronwyn "Win" Crewse, a 20-something who's returned to small-town Ohio and is set to reopen her family's traditional ice cream parlor in this charming, cozy series opener.
What happens: A con artist with a connection to Win's family shows up, and shortly afterwards, Win discovers his corpse in the snow. When the cops suspect Win's dad, it's up to Win, her grandfather, and her friends to clear his name.
Why you might like it: the warm relationship between Win and her family; the diverse characters; the ice cream details and recipes.
| | Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby What it's about: Stellar getaway driver Beauregard "Bug" Montage has been on the straight and narrow for three years, but with the rent for his Virginia car repair shop well overdue, his mom's care home wanting money, and his kid needing glasses, he agrees to work a heist. But his efforts are complicated by violence, racism, and the ghosts of his past.
For fans of: gritty, compelling noir; James Sallis' Drive, which features a getaway driver in California and Arizona; stories that examine poverty and crime in the rural South, like Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone.
| | Indigo: A Valentino Mystery by Loren D. Estleman What it's about: UCLA archivist and film detective Valentino is given a rare copy of a 1957 noir film that wasn't released due to the lead actor's disappearance (presumably killed by the mob). In order to increase enthusiasm for a screening, Valentino sets out to uncover what happened to the actor way back when, and runs into snags aplenty.
Series alert: Valentino fans will be happy the likeable detective is back in a 6th book; newcomers, especially cinephiles, can jump right in.
Don't miss: the fascinating annotated list of books and movies that appends the novel.
| | Love & Other Crimes: Stories by Sara Paretsky What it is: a wide-ranging collection featuring 14 stories that vary in time and place and were written over the course of 20 years.
Don't miss: Chicago detective V.I. Warshawski, who stars in several stories, including the title one; Sherlock Holmes in "The Curious Affair of the Italian Art Dealer;" and a Miss Marple-esque character who appears in "Murder at the Century of Progress."
Reviewers say: "wisely provocative and zestfully entertaining" (Booklist); "the most distinguished mystery collection so far this year" (Kirkus Reviews).
| | The Distant Dead by Heather Young Starring: lonely sixth grader Sal Prentiss, who discovers the burnt body of his favorite middle school teacher in Nevada's high desert hills; Sal's social studies teacher, Nora Wheaton, who takes an interest in the case and thinks Sal is the key to solving the murder.
For fans of: captivating, slow-burn novels with plot twists, well-crafted characters, and poetic writing, like Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels.
Reviewers say: "Electrifying, ambitious, and crushingly beautiful" (Kirkus Reviews).
Mysteries with Very Good Boys
| | Bite Club by Laurien Berenson What happens: Wife, mom, and show dog breeder Melanie Travis starts a mystery book club made up of fellow dog lovers. After one of the members is killed, Melanie (with some help from her take-charge Aunt Peg) tries to suss out a murderer.
Series alert: This amusing 23rd Melanie Travis mystery is a treat for both fans and newbies. The 26th book, Howloween Murder, comes out this month.
Read this next: Donna Andrew's Meg Langslow mysteries, which offer humor, eccentric family members, and a wide array of animals.
| | A Little Yellow Dog: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley November 1963: Easy Rawlins has been working as head custodian at a Los Angeles inner city junior high school and staying away from trouble for two years. But an affair with a teacher who disappears (leaving behind nothing but her little yellow dog) has him fighting old enemies and digging into murder investigations once again.
Series alert: This is the evocative, dialogue-rich 5th of 14 entries in the acclaimed Easy Rawlins mysteries; readers can pick up here or start with the 1st book, Devil in a Blue Dress (which was made into a 1995 film starring Denzel Washington).
| | A Borrowing of Bones by Paula Munier Introducing: 29-year-old retired military police corporal Mercy Carr; and Elvis, her PTSD-suffering Belgian shepherd, who was formerly handled by Mercy's lover, who died in Afghanistan.
What happens: Hiking near their home in Vermont, the two find an abandoned baby and become embroiled in an investigation involving a missing mother and a cold-case murder.
Read this next: the sequel, Blind Search; or try other series with working dog detectives, like Margaret Mizushima's Timber Creek K-9 mysteries or Kylie Logan's Jazz Ramsey novels.
| | Dog On It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn Introducing: Chet the Jet, our delightful canine narrator who failed K-9 school; Bernie Little, Chet's human and the perpetually cash-strapped owner of the Little Detective Agency.
What happens: Bernie investigates when teenaged Madison Chambliss goes missing...but when she returns home, neither Chet nor Bernie buys her story. And then she disappears again.
Series alert: This fun, charming book is the series debut; the 10th novel, Of Mutts and Men, came out in July.
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