The dead man was a drunk; a regular on the park benches of Gotland’s city centre. He had been celebrating winning 80,000 Krona at the races. His body is discovered by one of his drinking buddies: he is drenched in blood and someone or something has left a hole the size of a fist in the back of his head.
It’s winter on the island of Gotland. The tourists have returned home. The tree branches are bare, the sky is sleet grey and the days are getting shorter and darker. Winter is a quiet time for Chief Inspector Anders Knutas and Detective Karin Jacobsson; the tourists tend to take the violent crimes with them back to the mainland. To keep their lives simple, they are tempted to assume that the victim died as a result of a drunken brawl over money. But all of the clues point to something far more sinister.
Then 14-year old Fanny Jansson, a volunteer at the local stables, vanishes. At first Knutas and Jacobsson find it hard to believe that the two cases are linked: one is a violent murder, the other, the disappearance of a lonely and isolated child who has probably run away. Painstakingly, they work the clues, assisted by ambitious TV reporter Johan Berg. But what none of them realise is that truth is much closer to home than they’d ever imagine.
Mari Jungstedt - The Killer's Art
It is a cold wintry morning in the picturesque port town of Visby when art dealer Egon Wallin's battered and naked body is found hanging from a gate in the town's old city walls. His was a very public death, but who killed him and why? As Inspector Knutas begins his investigation, Egon's secrets quickly begin to come to the surface. He died on the eve of leaving his wife. Is his death a spurned lover's revenge? And when a painting by a new cause-célèbre artist is stolen from his gallery, more questions are raised.Another theft and another death, this time in Stockholm, widens the search for the killer. As the police piece together the clues, one scandal is followed by another and Inspector Knutas will discover that beneath the patina of glamour, the high-society world of art collecting hides many secrets - some worth killing for.
Mari Jungstedt - The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle opens with an international group of young archeology students sweating on a dig on the island of Gotland, uncovering a Viking fortification dating back over a millennium. They are a fun-loving lot, partying together every night, but the good vibe turns to horror when one of them, twenty-one-year-old Martina Flochten, disappears. Her body is found a short while later, naked, bled out, and hanging from a tree. Her injuries indicate that she is the victim of a ritual killing. Inspector Anders Knutas investigates Martina’s acquaintances. Who was the mysterious lover she was supposed to have been meeting in secret and whom none of her fellow archaeologists have actually seen? What do the marks on Martina’s body signify? Is there possibly a connection between Martina’s death and the recent and unsolved brutal beheading of a Gotland pony? The pony was also bled out, and its head was missing---until it appears mounted on a stick outside the next victim’s house. Inspector Knutas and his team work feverishly to catch the killer, but before long there are more victims, all of whom have been killed and mutilated the same way.
Mari Jungstedt - Unseen
The island of Gotland is in the middle of a busy tourist season and getting ready for Midsummer, the 4th of July of Swedish holidays, when a young woman and her dog are found brutally murdered. The dog has been beheaded and is missing a paw; the woman is naked, covered in gruesome axe wounds, and her panties have been stuffed in her mouth. What looks like a crime committed by the victim's jealous husband keeps the local police force on their toes. Then a second victim is found. A serial killer terrorizes tourists and locals alike, and Inspector Anders Knutas has to face additional pressure from the media and local politicians who are worried about bad PR for the island. In his quest for the murderer, he is aided by Johan Berg, an intrepid young journalist from Stockholm who has been sent to cover the incidents and who gets involved with Emma, one of the first victim's close friends. Three women die before Knutas and Berg, each approaching the case in their own way, finally close in on the killer, who has always, until now, been the one unseen by everybody.
Jane Costello - My Single Friend
At 28, Lucy is doing well for herself. She's got a great job in PR, her boss loves her, and her best girlfriends Dominique and Erin think she's great. More important than anyone's opinion is that of her flatmate, and oldest friend in the world, Henry. For twenty years they've been inseparable: beauty and the geek. Henry thinks the world of Lucy. So why does she feel the need to lie outrageously on dates? From rock-climbing to Chekov: when it comes to prospective boyfriends, Lucy is compelled to embellish her C.V. with unlikely porkies that always backfire - with hilarious results. Henry can't understand it. Lucy is so loveable: why can't she just be herself? But when Lucy turns the spotlight on Henry, he wishes he'd never brought it up. With a penchant for jumpers and NHS-style specs, Lucy decides that Henry is in need of a makeover - big time. Enlisting the help of Dom and Erin, it's not long before the girls have Henry out of the flat, and into the Topman changing rooms. A new haircut, contact lenses, a flirting master-class from Dom ...poor Henry doesn't know what's hit him. But nothing can prepare them for the surprise results! Before long, Lucy realises that their lives will never be the same again
Tess Gerritsen - Call After Midnight
THEY'D SAID HER HUSBAND WAS DEAD... SO WHY WAS SHE SURE HE WAS STILL ALIVE? A ringing phone in the middle of the night shakes newlywed Sarah Fontaine awake. Expecting her husband's call from London she hears instead an unfamiliar voice. Nick O'Hara from the US State Department is calling with devastating news: Geoffrey Fontaine, Sarah's husband of two months, died in a hotel fire... in Berlin. Convinced her husband is still alive, Sarah forces a confrontation with Nick that finds them crisscrossing Europe on a desperate search for Geoffrey. Trying to stay one heartbeat ahead of a dangerous killer, they become quarry in the clandestine world of international espionage, risking everything for answers that may prove fatal
Tess Gerritsen - The Silent Girl
Lorraine Bracco loves The Silent Girl, saying "She did it to me again! I can't get anything done when Tess puts out a new book and this one caught me as I was starting work on Season 2 of "Rizzoli & Isles." So instead of memorizing my lines, I was sucked up into Boston's Chinatown with Jane, Maura, and company and could not put this one down. Just like the other books. Every time. And to top it off, now I have to wait for the NEXT one to come out--you're killing me, Tess! So good..." No one takes readers to the dark side and back with more razor-sharp jolts and sheer suspense than the storytelling master behind Ice Cold and The Keepsake. When New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen has a tale to tell, put yourself in her expert hands—and prepare for the shocks and thrills that are certain to follow. Every crime scene tells a story. Some keep you awake at night. Others haunt your dreams. The grisly display homicide cop Jane Rizzoli finds in Boston’s Chinatown will do both. In the murky shadows of an alley lies a female’s severed hand. On the tenement rooftop above is the corpse belonging to that hand, a red-haired woman dressed all in black, her head nearly severed. Two strands of silver hair—not human—cling to her body. They are Rizzoli’s only clues, but they’re enough for her and medical examiner Maura Isles to make the startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel. Nineteen years earlier, a horrifying murder-suicide in a Chinatown restaurant left five people dead. But one woman connected to that massacre is still alive: a mysterious martial arts master who knows a secret she dares not tell, a secret that lives and breathes in the shadows of Chinatown. A secret that may not even be human. Now she’s the target of someone, or something, deeply and relentlessly evil. Cracking a crime resonating with bone-chilling echoes of an ancient Chinese legend, Rizzoli and Isles must outwit an unseen enemy with centuries of cunning—and a swift, avenging blade.
Patricia Cornwell - Body of Evidence
In Patricia Cornwell's Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2), we meet Beryl Madison. Someone is threatening her and spying on her and she flees to Key West for a break. She returns home, and is murdered...and now Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner is on the case.
Belinda Bauer - Blacklands
Twelve-year-old Steven Lamb digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. Every day after school, while his classmates swap football stickers, Steven goes digging to lay to rest the ghost of the uncle he never knew, who disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery. Only Steven's Nan is not convinced her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it's too late. And if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son, he'll do it. So the boy takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored serial killer ...
Caroline Graham - Death of a Hollow Man
Actors do love their dramas, and the members of the Causton Amateur Dramatic Society are no exception. Passionate love scenes, fits of ego, jealous rages, operatic reconciliations--put together, they’re better than a paycheck, which is good thing, because no one in this production of Amadeus is getting one. However, even the most theatrically minded have to admit that murdering the leading man in full view of the audience is a bit over the top. Luckily, Inspector Tom Barnaby is in that audience, and while he may lack certain skills as a theater critic, he’s just the man to figure out who removed the tape from the “prop” straight-razor, causing the star to slit his own throat downstage-center. With so many dramas playing out, there’s no shortage of motives or suspects, including the star’s embittered ex-wife and faithless widow, plus secret lovers and jealous understudies galore. Ms. Graham, a former actress, tweaks her collection of community-theater artistes and small-town drama queens with merciless delight, and the reader’s only regret will be that, eventually, the curtain must come down on the final page. The 2nd Inspector Barnaby Mystery
Caroline Graham - Written in Blood
The Midsomer Worthy's Writers' Circle has never had much luck in attracting guest speakers: They invite famous authors but usually have to content themselves with a local fellow who publishes the occasional article in Practical Woodworking. Consequently, there is much surprise -- and, in the case of the Circle's secretary, Gerald Hadleigh, a furious, inexplicable objection -- when bestselling novelist Max Jennings accepts their invitation. Surprise turns into a variety of responses when Hadleigh is found dead the morning after Jennings' visitation. Chief Inspector Barnaby, called in to investigate, is intrigued by the range of reactions, but soon determines that the key to solving the murder will lie with the illustrious Jennings. There's only one problem: He seems to have disappeared.
Caroline Graham - Death in Disguise
When the death up at the big house is announced to the village of Compton Dando, few are surprised. Given that it's the home of an unlikely bunch of New Age oddballs, perhaps it was a only a matter of time before one of them came to a bad end. The verdict: an accident. But only weeks later, another death is reported, and this time there's no doubt about it - it's murder. To Chief Inspector Barnaby, hurriedly summoned to the scene, it is immediately apparent that the case is far from straightforward, the suspects being among the most bizarre he has ever encountered...
Caroline Graham - The Killings at Badger's Drift
Badger’s Drift is the ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness. In the grand English tradition of the quietly intelligent copper, Barnaby has both an irresistibly dry sense of humor and a keen insight into what makes people tick. Badger’s Drift marks Barnaby’s debut.
Karin Slaughter - Beyond Reach
In a stifling hospital room in a small Georgia town, Detective Lena Adams sits, silent and angry—the only suspect in a horrific murder. Soon, a hundred miles away, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver will get the call that his young detective has been arrested. And Jeffrey’s wife, pediatrician and medical examiner Sara Linton, has troubles of her own and little patience for Lena or her dramas. Fighting a heartbreaking malpractice suit, Sara cannot guess that within days she herself will be at the center of a bizarre and murderous case. For Lena has fled back to the place where she grew up hard, careening back through the shadows of her past and into a shocking underground world of bigotry and rage. And now only Jeffrey and Sara can free Lena from the web of lies and brutality that has trapped her—as this powerhouse of a novel races toward its shattering climax…and a final, unforgettable twist.
Karin Slaughter - Indelible
Sometimes a past comes back to kill . . . Two armed men enter the police station in tiny Heartsdale, Georgia, and open fire. When the shooting stops, an officer is dead, Police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver is seriously wounded, and the survivors—including a class of grade-school children and medical examiner Sara Linton—are held hostage. In a tense standoff that could erupt at any moment into more bloodletting—with her ex-husband on the threshold of death—Sara must search for answers and an escape in the memories of a time at the start of their relationship when another brutal, shocking crime shattered their small-town world. Because the sins of the past have caught up with Sara and Jeffrey . . . with a vengeance.
Jeff Abbott - The Last Minute
They framed me. They abducted my wife. They took my child. I want him back. Sam Capra has one reason to live: to reclaim his baby son from the people who kidnapped him. Teaming up with a young mother whose daughter went missing, he tracks his child across the country in a dangerous, desperate race against time. From the internationally bestselling author of Panic, The Last Minute is the most heart-stopping thriller of the year, from 'one of the best thriller writers of our time'.
Jo Nesbø - The Devil's Star
A serial killer taunts Harry Hole in Nesbø's searing third crime novel to feature the Oslo police detective to be made available in the U.S. (after Nemesis). Still suffering from alcohol-fueled demons and obsessed with hunting for evidence against a clearly dirty cop, Hole grudgingly agrees to help look into the murder of a woman whose finger has been amputated and a red diamond stuck under her eyelid. More bodies follow, with the murderer leaving identical five-pointed diamonds (the titular devil's star) at each crime scene. At first the killings appear to be random, but Hole soon discovers an ominous pattern. Nesbø brilliantly incorporates threads from earlier novels, including Hole's often tumultuous relationship with his lover, Rakel, without ever losing the current story's rhythm. Even with—or perhaps because of—his flaws, Hole is arguably one of today's most fascinating fictional detectives.
Mo Hayder - The Treatment
A quiet residential street in south London. A husband and wife are discovered, imprisoned in their own home. Badly dehydrated, they've been bound and beaten. He is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing. When Detective Inspector Jack Caffery is called in to investigate, the similarities with events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime dispassionately. And as he digs deeper - as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both his past and his present - the real nightmare begins...
Mo Hayder - Ritual
Just after lunch on a Tuesday in April, nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there's no body attached is disturbing enough. Yet more disturbing is the discovery, a day later, of the matching hand. Both have been recently amputated, and the indications are that the victim was still alive when they were removed. DI Jack Caffery has been newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol. He and Flea soon establish that the hands belong to a boy who has recently disappeared. Their search for him - and for his abductor - lead them into the darkest recesses of Bristol's underworld, where drug addiction is rife, where street-kids sell themselves for a hit, and where an ancient evil lurks; an evil that feeds off the blood - and flesh - of others ...
Mindy Raf - The Symptoms of My Insanity
A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet debut full of wit, wisdom, heart, and a hilarious, unforgettable heroine. When you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really wrong. I almost raised my hand, but what would I say? “Mr. Bayer, may I please be excused? I’m not totally positive, but I think I might have cancer.” No way. Then everyone at school would know, and they would treat me differently, and I would be known as “Izzy, that poor girl who diagnosed herself with breast cancer during biology.” But Izzy’s sense of humor can only get her so far when suddenly her best friend appears to have undergone a personality transplant, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her beautiful maybe-boyfriend is going all hot and cold. Izzy thinks she’s preparing for the worst-case scenario, but when the worst-case scenario actually hits, it’s a different story altogether—and there’s no tidy list of symptoms to help her through the insanity
Cheryl Rainfield - Scars
Fifteen-year-old Kendra has scars all up and down her arms which she hides from everyone in her life. Kendra is a cutter and she mutilates her own body in order to escape the emotional scars that ravage her mind and soul. See, Kendra was sexually abused for years – she actually doesn’t recall when it started and stopped, but she knows that she spent a good part of her life being abused and raped by someone close to her family. The problem is, she doesn’t know who the person was who did this to her. And she knows that she must keep his identity a secret, so she doesn’t allow her mind to go there, doesn’t allow her mind to process the identity of this person. But now that she’s in therapy, her therapist is getting dangerously close to pulling the truth out of her. Not only that, but she’s starting to fall in love, and it won’t be long before her love interest sees her scars and realizes the extent of her pain. As she gets closer to the truth of who her abuser was, she has more and more breakdowns as this person begins stalking her, threatening her, and reminding her of her place. Will she find out who he is? And will the healing powers of her therapist and her new girlfriend help her through the pain? Scars sort of reminds me of another YA book I read recently about cutting called Willow (my review). The books are quite different, but I would say that if you read and enjoyed Willow you will most likely appreciate Scars as well. And I haven’t seen this book get too much attention, which is unfortunate as it is a really excellent book for teens and young adults.