HEAVEN'S A LIE by Wallace Stroby (Mulholland). One of the best pure crime novelists—writers of dark doings by people that we root for without quite approving of them—one of the best we've got, I …
HEAVEN'S A LIE by Wallace Stroby (Mulholland). One of the best pure crime novelists—writers of dark doings by people that we root for without quite approving of them—one of the best we've got, I was about to say, is back. But, well, he never went anywhere; just, the column (inexcusably!) lost track of him for a while. He's every bit as good as ever, of course. A Jersey guy; this one, on the shore. Not a Crissa Stone novel—that was his series about a hard, smart woman crook, a sort of female Parker. We've a woman here, too, a young widow, and more desperate than desperado; but, enterprising. She sees a car crash, does her very brave best to pull the dying driver from the rapidly burning, near-exploding car, and finds a bag of cash alongside him. And we're off. She's great; the actual owner of that money—it's not the guy who died in the crash—is creepy and deadly (we do not root for him); and this is an adrenaline rush that will keep you up, and you'll be glad.
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BIRD: FROM FLYING TO NESTING, EATING TO SINGING, WHAT BIRDS ARE DOING AND WHY by David Allen Sibley (Knopf). So, on a way other shelf, or table, this big, gloriously beautiful—every page with color illustrations—inspiring without really trying, intimate introduction to many, many birds, neglecting none of those we often catch sight of, robins, sparrows, hummingbirds, gulls, pigeons—but many, many more (and different ones in various parts of our continent, of course). And: I've said introduction, and it's entirely in plain language, but it gets pretty deep: how they see and hear and fly and what they eat (and how much!); practical tips: what to do with/for a bird that's fallen from a nest, and much more (how many feathers does a bird have? you'll be astonished); and still more, about many, many species.
THE HIDING PLACE: A MERCY CARR MYSTERY by Paula Munier (Minotaur). The third of this excellent mystery series. A dog gets serious attention in these novels, but the books don't scratch behind your ears (not that there's anything wrong with that!), they command and richly reward real attention, and this is the most intricate and satisfying yet.
MOTHER MAY I by Joshilyn Jackson (Morrow). Another column favorite writer, this one of domestic suspense: a witchy (but not supernatural) woman gets our hearts pumping right off; but then a fairly decent woman and devoted mother is blackmailed by kidnapping her baby and tricking her into performing what turns out to be a murder; and that's just the set-up. Yes, the witchy woman is involved.
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