ON THE SHELF: Suspense titles to shock and surprise

Published 8:00 am Sunday, March 6, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features popular mystery and suspense authors in our New Adult Fiction collection.

Alys Clare continues her historical mystery series featuring Dr. Gabriel Taverner with “Magic in the Weave.” In October 1604, a theatre company brings secrets, magic and murder along on their ‘Plague Tour.’ Because the Plague has hit London, the theatres are closed, but their loss is Plymouth’s gain. Country physician Gabriel Taverner is both enthralled and disturbed by the company’s racy staging of Othello. Despite the King’s deadly spies lurking around every corner, they have chosen to play up the magic and witchcraft of the story. Gabriel’s friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, overheard a whispered conversation during a break that concerns one of the cast with a terrible secret. Gabriel is relieved that the theatre company will soon be leaving. When one of the actors collapses, Gabriel feels that Death is stalking this group of thespians and he is not sure that he can trust his own eyes where the evidence is concerned. What is a country doctor to do?

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The latest in Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse series is called “Honey Roasted.” Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi is trying to find a romantic and affordable destination for her upcoming honeymoon with longtime partner NYPD detective Mike Quinn. She is also busy perfecting her Honey-Cinnamon Latte she plans to serve at her spring wedding. The honey Clare was lucky enough to source for her new drink is all the rage in the culinary world. It is produced by Madame’s old friend “Queen” Bea Hastings who uses rooftop hives and commands a premium price for the golden nectar. Top chefs compete to use it in their signature dishes. One night, a swarm of escaped bees covers the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after she has seemingly fallen from her high-rise rooftop-hive setup. The police think Bea either had a tragic accident or she committed suicide, but Clare doesn’t believe either theory. Clare takes matters into her own hands and investigates a world of cutthroat chefs, culinary start-ups and competitive urban beekeepers.

Ever popular bestselling author James Patterson calls his latest suspense novel “Steal.” Everyone is surprised when Carter von Oehson, a sophomore in Dr. Dylan Reinhart’s Abnormal Psychology class, posts his intention to kill himself on social media. Twenty-four hours later, no one has seen him, and a full-scale search is launched. The worst-case scenario seems to be confirmed when Carter’s sailboat rolls in with the tide with no one on board. Did he really kill himself? Carter’s father and founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Mathias von Oehson, is the one person who believes his son is still alive. However, what Mathias knows and how he knows it could ultimately reveal a secret so damning that it would be as if he were committing suicide himself. There is no way he can go to the police, so Mathias turns to Dylan for help. The professor now finds himself wrapped up in multi-million-dollar secrets and danger. Only smart and stubborn NYPD Detective Elizabeth Needham can help him stay ahead of the bad guys and his employer.

The latest in Mark Greaney’s series featuring the Gray Man is titled “Sierra Six. It has been years since the Gray Man’s first mission, but before Court Gentry took up that alias, he was known as Sierra Six. He was the junior member of a CIA action team whose first mission to take out a terrorist leader was successful but had a terrible cost. Now, the Gray Man is on a simple mission when he sees a ghost: the long-dead terrorist — looking quite spry for a dead man. Even after a decade, the Gray Man isn’t one to leave a job unfinished or a blood debt unpaid.

Vicki Delany’s latest Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery is called “The Three Book Problem.” With the crispness of fall descending on the town, business is slowing for Gemma Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium as well as Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room next door. Wealthy philanthropist David Masterson has rented Suffolk Gardens House where he plans to entertain his friends in a traditional English country house weekend. As the chosen caterers, Jayne Wilson and Gemma Doyle get to work preparing elaborate meals and setting up Sherlockian books and props for entertainment. Police detective Ryan Ashburton has decided to take some time away from work to help in the kitchen. Things quickly devolve when it becomes clear that David’s guests don’t like him or one another. Before Gemma can work out the guests’ relationships, a poisoned dart sails through a window in the library, presenting Gemma with a three-book problem.

D. Robb’s bestselling “…in Death” series gets a new title with “Abandoned in Death.” Detective Eve Dallas must work out a twisted family history while trying to save the life of a hostage. A woman’s body is found early in the morning on a bench in a New York City playground. She is clean, her hair neatly styled and her makeup carefully applied. Other things, however, are out of place — like the tattoo and piercings, clearly just done. The clothes are decades out of date and the fatal wound is hidden beneath a ribbon around her neck. And then, there’s the note. It reads “Bad Mommy” and is written in crayon as if by a child. The department’s top profiler agrees that they’re dealing with a killer whose childhood involved some sort of trauma. Yet the clues suggest a perpetrator who’d be about 60 years old, and there is no record of any crime with a similar modus operandi. Eve discovers that other young women — who physically resemble the first victim — have disappeared, the clock ticks faster. To do so, she’ll have to probe the distant past as well as the darkness of a shattered mind.