Need new crime fiction? We have you covered with three enticing new releases.
“Blood Grove” by Walter Mosley (Mulholland, $27). Mosley’s long-running Easy Rawlins series only grows in power and relevance when seen through the lens of America’s most recent struggles with racism.
Rawlins, a Black World War II veteran, was originally an unlicensed private eye in postwar Los Angeles. Now, in 1969, he’s got his own tiny agency, but he’s still committed, in classic hard-boiled gumshoe style, to fighting injustice in an increasingly volatile L.A.
A traumatized Vietnam vet, Craig Kilian, needs Rawlins’ help. He tells the private eye that he intervened as a Black man was about to attack a white woman at a remote campsite. He may have killed the man before he was knocked unconscious. When Kilian awoke, both victim and attacker were gone. Empathizing with a troubled fellow vet, Rawlins looks into the case and soon encounters twisty trouble involving more death, stolen money and kinky sex.
Mosley’s inimitable rat-a-tat prose style is in full force here, and he keeps his passionate commitment to social issues right up front. A worthy addition to a nonpareil series.
“Exit” by Belinda Bauer (Atlantic Monthly, $26). “Exit” starts out as a relatively simple book about a complex problem, then morphs into a murder mystery, a sly social satire and a soulful look into the hearts of some very moving characters.
In small-town England, a lonely, elderly widower, Felix Pink, has a secret: He’s part of a secretive volunteer group, the Exiteers, who just barely stay within legal bounds while witnessing the assisted suicides of the terminally ill. But then things go horribly wrong — Pink and his partner accidentally help the wrong person die. The police get involved, and a crucial question emerges: Has Felix been framed for murder? Told from the alternating perspectives of Felix (who just wants to do the right thing) and the case’s amiable top cop (who has some secrets of his own), it’s a dark and droll tale that features several memorable, slightly cracked supporting players along with its stars.
“Slough House” by Mick Herron (Soho, $27.95). In Herron’s richly imagined and ridiculously entertaining espionage novels, Slough House is where British intelligence dumps its dregs — spies who have disgraced themselves, experienced blown covers, are woefully incompetent or have otherwise been deemed irrelevant. Though seemingly doomed to lives of miserable busywork, the “Slow Horses” nonetheless manage to get into some pretty good scrapes.
Among the Horses are River Cartwright (surprisingly competent), Roddy Ho (convinced of his irresistible studliness to the point of delusion) and Louisa Guy (tough-minded and “relatively sane”). Lording over all of them is Jackson Lamb, their brilliant, slovenly and spectacularly offensive boss, who both ridicules them and fearlessly defends them.
Some of the Slow Horses are dying under suspicious circumstances; meanwhile, the survivors learn that their personal information is being purged from agency records. Who is trying to erase the Slow Horses, and why? The question is set within a tangle of tightening budgets, greedy politicians, ill-tempered bureaucrats and a creepy zillionaire media darling who is insinuating himself, for unknown reasons, into Slough House’s affairs.