The Keepers by Jeffrey B. BurtonWhat happens: In their 2nd outing, Mace Reid and his cadaver dogs uncover a body in a burnt-out Chicago warehouse. It's a dangerous case with links to a murdered musician, the mafia, and high-level corruption.
Read it for: the suspenseful plot; the snappy dialogue; and, of course, the engaging dogs, who have their own well-depicted personalities.
Read these next: For more fast-paced dog-centric mysteries, try books by Margaret Mizushima, David Rosenfelt, or Paula Munier. For more lighthearted fare, pick up Spencer Quinn's humorous Chet and Bernie books or Laurien Berenson's cozy Melanie Travis mysteries.
Death in Daylesford by Kerry GreenwoodStarring: Phryne Fisher, an unconventional young woman in 1929 Australia, who's elegant, intelligent, and a whiz at detecting.
What happens: Phryne and her loyal maid Dot visit a rural spa catering to shell-shocked World War I solders, a cause close to Phryne's heart. While there, she learns about missing women and odd local deaths. Back in St. Kilda, Phryne's cohorts investigate a mysterious drowning.
Series alert: This is the long-awaited (seven years!), sparkling 21st entry in the Phryne Fisher mysteries (note: the 22nd book, The Lady with the Gun Asks the Questions, was released in Australia earlier this year).
A Rogue's Company by Allison MontclairMeet: the proprietors of London's Right Sort Marriage Bureau: Iris Sparks, who can take care of herself but can't talk about what she did in the war, and Gwendolyn Bainbridge, who broke down after her soldier husband died, which led to her rich in-laws getting custody of her son.
What happens: In 1946, the couple get their first Black client, who happens to know Gwen’s father-in-law, Lord Bainbridge. Bainbridge, newly returned from Africa, causes trouble for Gwen as she seeks custody of her son -- and then there's a murder and kidnappings.
Series alert: Following The Right Sort of Man and A Royal Affair, A Rogue's Company is the lively 3rd in the fun Sparks & Bainbridge books.
Suburban Dicks by Fabian NiciezaWhat it is: the gritty, witty debut mystery novel by the cocreator of Marvel's Deadpool.
Starring: Andie Stern, a former FBI profiler and currently very pregnant stay-at-home mom of four; and Kenneth Lee, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who's been on a downward career trajectory for years.
What happens: In a sleepy New Jersey town, someone's brutally killing convenience store clerks, so Andie and Kenneth, who knew each other as teens, work together to solve the crimes.
The Killing Hills by Chris OffuttWhat it's about: Army CID agent and combat vet Mick Hardin is back in the hills of eastern Kentucky -- he's on leave as his wife prepares to give birth (to a baby that may not be his, he learns) and staying at a cabin in the woods as he helps his sheriff sister investigate her first murder case.
For fans of: atmospheric Southern fiction, country noir, Brian Panowich, S.A. Cosby, Wiley Cash, Daniel Woodrell.
Reviewers say: "Rural crime fiction that kicks like a mule" (Kirkus Reviews); "Offutt brilliantly evokes the body and soul of his wounded hero" (Publishers Weekly).
Terns of Endearment by Donna AndrewsStarring: Virginia blacksmith Meg Langslow, who's a mother of two and part of a large family of animal lovers.
What happens: Meg's famous naturalist grandfather is lecturing on a cruise, so his friends and family get discounted rates -- but a malfunctioning ship leaves them all stranded near the Bermuda Triangle. After a dead body is found and people start to disappear, Meg and her family investigate as they try to get the ship operational again.
Series alert: This is the 25th entry in this fun series; the 29th book, Murder Most Fowl, has a Shakespearean theme and arrives next month.
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys BowenStarring: newlywed Georgiana "Georgie" Rannoch, who had been 35th in line for the British throne before marrying Irishman Darcy O'Mara.
What happens: Honeymooning in Kenya's Happy Valley, home to many hedonistic British aristocrats, the couple unhappily navigate the wild party scene and discover a corpse. As a favor for the queen, Georgie also tries to keep an eye on the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson.
Series alert: This atmospheric 13th Royal Spyness cozy isn't as lighthearted as some entries, but offers a well-researched look at 1930s Kenya, including troubling colonialist and racist attitudes. The Christmas-inspired 15th book, God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen, arrives in October.
|Little tiny teeth by Aaron J. ElkinsForensics professor Gideon Oliver's supposedly peaceful Amazon riverboat jaunt with a group of research botanists turns deadly when one of the scientists is killed by a deranged passenger who then leaps overboard in the darkness, a case that is further complicated by the discovery of a fresh skeleton that turns up in the river, scoured clean by the local piranhas.
The Dark Angel by Elly GriffithsThe trip: Asked to help identify Roman-era bones found in a picturesque hilltop town in Italy, English forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway makes a vacation of it, taking her young daughter Kate along.
What happens: Threats and a modern murder have Ruth pondering a link between the old and new. Meanwhile, worried dad DCI Harry Nelson -- who fathered Kate during an affair with Ruth -- shows up even as trouble is brewing for him back in England.
Series alert: This 10th Ruth Galloway mystery features an evocative setting and complex characters and relationships. The Night Hawks, the well-reviewed 13th entry starring Ruth, arrives this month.
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. KingWhat happens: While Sherlock Holmes is (mostly) away on a case, his wife Mary spends the summer of 1925 in the French Riviera. There she encounters their secretive former housekeeper Mrs. Hudson, who becomes embroiled in a Monte Carlo murder and needs their help.
Series alert: Beginning just after the events of Island of the Mad, this 16th in an acclaimed series is followed by Castle Shade, out this month -- but readers starting the series here will get up to speed quickly.
Read this next: If you like well-researched 1920s-era stories and smart female characters, check out Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries or Sujata Massey's Perveen Mistry novels.
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