Notwithstanding potential spills of sunscreen on nice new hardbacks, this summer promises plenty of choice in crime fiction. Here’s a sample:
Kate Atkinson, “Big Sky” (Little, Brown). Atkinson, always brilliant, returns (yes!) to her series character, private eye Jackson Brodie, juggling his complicated life while confronting the profound repercussions of having prevented a suicide.
Mick Herron, “Joe Country” (Soho). Herron’s wry, riveting series about Slough House — British Intelligence’s backwater for disgraced and incompetent spies — continues with this tale involving, among other things, the organization’s efforts to find the killer of one of its own.
Denise Mina, “Conviction” (Mulholland). Mina, known for her gritty Scotland-set thrillers, explores the life of a quiet housewife as it spins out of control after she hears a particular true-crime podcast.
Martin Walker, “The Body in the Castle Well” (Knopf). Bruno, the canny and food-loving chief of police in a small French village, investigates a case that encompasses Renaissance art, the legendary singer Josephine Baker, WWII skulduggery and contemporary murder.
Ace Atkins, “The Shameless” (Putnam’s). Quinn Colson, a sheriff in rural Mississippi and an exceptionally vivid character, tackles the decades-old disappearance of a teenage boy and its aftermath.
Laura Lippman, “Lady in the Lake” (Morrow). One of the most compassionate writers in crime fiction sets her tale in 1960s Baltimore, where a housewife abandons her comfortable existence to explore the murder of a young woman.
Daniel Silva, “The New Girl” (Harper). Gabriel Allon, Israel’s intelligence chief and star of Silva’s rewarding series, confronts the kidnapping of an enigmatic and heavily guarded student at an exclusive Swiss private school.
Robert Crais, “A Dangerous Man” (Putnam’s). When tough, scary ex-Marine Joe Pike witnesses a kidnapping, he runs down the bad guys and the police arrest them — but then the would-be kidnappers are murdered and Pike turns to his pal, private eye Elvis Cole, to help find the truth.
Howard Michael Gould, “Below the Line” (Dutton). Former L.A. cop and deeply unconventional human Charlie Waldo emerges from his austere mountain exile to investigate a spectacularly unreliable teen and a dead teacher who may or may not have been a sexual predator.
Fred Vargas, “This Poison Will Remain” (Penguin). Inspector Adamsberg, the eccentric and intuitive Parisian policeman at the heart of this addictive series, peers into the case of three elderly men murdered via spider venom.