New crime fiction for January includes four new mysteries by Seattle authors, including A.J. Banner, Tracy Weber, Ingrid Thoft and Rachel Bukey.
Let us salute the beginning of 2017 with new mysteries by Seattle-area writers — all of them, by happy coincidence, women.
A.J. Banner’s psychological thriller “The Twilight Wife” (Simon & Schuster, 275 pp., $15) has a canny premise and an intense follow-through.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury in a diving accident, marine biologist Kyra Winthrop has retreated to a sparsely populated San Juan island, cared for by her hyper-attentive husband, Jacob.
Kyra has only flashes of memory of the years leading up to the accident. She can flawlessly recall the minutiae of marine biology, but relies on Jacob and a few other islanders for the missing years. Then disturbing memories start returning, leaving Kyra to wonder: Is Jacob as reliable a source of information as he seems?
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Not all of the book’s characters are as well developed as Kyra, but her convincing and sympathetic nature carries the day.
If you’re a fan of yoga, dogs, childbirth and murder cases, then Tracy Weber’s “A Fatal Twist”(Midnight Ink, 312 pp., $14.99) is just what the fertility doctor ordered.
The fourth in Weber’s charming “Downward Dog” series, “Twist” finds Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson training to become a doula while continuing to teach yoga and hang out with her boyfriend and dogs. The yoga/midwife circles overlap — one of her students, Rachel, like Kate, volunteers at a local birthing center.
But in a hospital bathroom, Kate stumbles on the dead body of Rachel’s husband, a womanizing fertility doctor. The doc was not universally loved, but Rachel is the prime suspect and Kate vows to prove her friend’s innocence.
Author appearances: Tracy Weber will read from and sign “A Fatal Twist” at these locations:
• At 5 p.m. Jan. 19 at Edmonds Bookshop (425-775-2789 or edmondsbookshop.com).
• She will sign books at 12:15 p.m. Jan. 28 at Seattle Mystery Bookshop (206-587-5737 or seattlemystery.com).
• At 12:30 p.m. Jan., 29 at Whole Life Yoga (206-784-2882 or wholelifeyoga.com).
“Duplicity” (Putnam’s, 448 pp., $25) extends Ingrid Thoft’s engrossing series about Fina Ludlow, a no-nonsense investigator for her father’s Boston law firm.
A young woman in thrall to a slippery church leader wants to donate a valuable piece of property to the church, but her skeptical mother wants the pastor vetted first.
This fairly routine case, even after murder comes into play, pales in interest next to Fina’s spectacularly dysfunctional family — notably her brother, who has returned to the fold despite having sexually abused his teenage daughter. What is forcing the family to tolerate his presence?
Author appearance: Ingrid Thoft will sign “Duplicity” at noon Jan. 21 at Seattle Mystery Bookshop (206-587-5737 or seattlemystery.com).
The esteemed newspaper you’re reading plays a prominent fictional role in Rachel Bukey’s “Notes from Hell”(Rat City, 254 pp., $14.95), in the form of Seattle Times reporter Ann Dexter.
An opera lover, Ann is delighted when she gets to interview opera superstar Franco Albanese, in town for a production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Life imitates art here: Albanese is, like his operatic character, a sexy and persuasive ladies’ man.
The interview turns into a daylong sightseeing trip around town, with the reporter successfully fending off the singer’s playful attempts at seduction. Soon after, though, he is kidnapped and Ann begins receiving cryptic messages: Albanese will be released if she prints “the truth” about him.
Chasing the story leads the reporter to Albanese’s past and a variety of suspects. A vivid supporting cast enriches the book, notably Ann’s psychic boyfriend and her sister, who is battling cancer. Bonus: Fans of “Don Giovanni” will appreciate the loving evocations of opera and the joke behind the book’s title.