Started Early, Took My Dog
Kate Atkinson (Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur)
Semiretired PI Jackson Brody returns to his Yorkshire hometown to trace the biological parents of a woman adopted in the 1970s, but finds only questions in this intensely plotted, multilayered novel.
Rory Clements (Bantam)
John Shakespeare, the playwright's older brother and spy, seeks the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of the colonists of Roanoke, Va., in this first-rate Tudor historical full of intricate plots.
Reed Farrell Coleman (Tyrus)
Razor-edged contemporary whodunits don't get much better than Coleman's seventh Moe Prager mystery, in which the Brooklyn PI, recently diagnosed with cancer, looks into the stabbing murder of his ex-wife's estranged sister.
A Simple Act of Violence
R.J. Ellory (Overlook)
A must-read for noir fans, this crime thriller charts the efforts of Det. Robert Miller to catch a serial killer strangling women in an upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood.
Philip Kerr (Putnam/Marian Wood)
Set in 1954 with flashbacks to the 1930s and '40s, Kerr's outstanding seventh Bernie Gunther novel finds the tough, wisecracking Berlin cop under interrogation by the U.S. authorities for his role in saving the life of the future East German spy master, the real-life Erich Mielke.
The Most Dangerous Thing
Laura Lippman (Morrow)
Childhood friends, long since splintered off, uneasily reunite after the death of one of their own, in this unsettling stand-alone from Lippman, who sets the action in the Baltimore suburb where she grew up.
A Trick of the Light
Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Chief Inspector Gamache of the Québec Sûreté and his team look into the mysterious death of a woman—found with a broken neck in the garden of artist Clara Morrow—in this subtle seventh entry in this acclaimed traditional series.
Two for Sorrow
Nicola Upson (Harper)
Upson upsets readers' expectations with a surprise three-quarters into her psychologically rich third Josephine Tey mystery, in which the author of The Daughter of Time draws inspiration for her novel-in-progress from the 1903 execution of two women convicted for murdering babies.