–> Swan Peak: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke
Dave Robicheaux and his former partner, Clete Purcel, find trouble in western Montana in bestseller Burke’s fine 17th novel to feature the New Iberia, La., sheriff’s deputy (after Tin Roof Blowdown). When two security men for Texas oil millionaire Ridley Wellstone deliberately drive over Clete’s fishing gear after Clete inadvertently fishes on Wellstone’s private land, Clete recognizes one of them as a former associate of a mob boss who died in a plane crash years before. Soon afterward, a University of Montana coed and her boyfriend are murdered near the home where Dave and Clete are staying. Then an escaped convict from Texas turns up, pursued by a vengeful prison guard determined to return him to prison. Lyrical passages describing the Montana landscape contrast with the subtle but intense way Burke depicts the violence and perversity lurking in his characters’ hearts. But despite all the nastiness, love and redemption retain the power to heal some very wounded souls in a surprising denouement.
–> Occupational Hazards by Jonathan Segura
Bernard Cockburn, a beat reporter in his early 30s for the Omaha Weekly News-Telegraph, pounds the fearsome streets of Omaha, Neb., in Segura’s crisp, raunchily amusing debut. Cockburn (pronounced Co-burn, as he often has to explain) exudes enough jaded cynicism for a reporter twice his age, but he reacts like an irresponsible adolescent to the news that his live-in girlfriend, Allison, is pregnant. Despite the boozing and drugging, Cockburn’s got a nose for a story and the one he’s been researching about a bogus LLC group buying up dilapidated properties downtown takes a sinister turn after two of the group’s principal members end up dead.
The trail leads to neighborhood militants who have taken to exacting vigilante justice on Omaha’s pushers, pimps and addicts. A dark truth in Cockburn’s past that he’d prefer to keep secret complicates his investigation. With an emphasis on the protagonist’s angst, Cockburn is the sort of dysfunctional dude-immature, posturing, hapless-that will keep readers intrigued and should appeal especially to fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Arthur Nersesian.
–> Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva
Silva’s hero, Gabriel Allon, master art restorer and officer of the Israeli intelligence service, is back in an exceptional follow-up to The Messenger. Gabriel takes on what seemingly is a short and mundane assignment: review the files of a dead terrorism analyst in Amsterdam. This simple task soon leads Gabriel into the simmering cauldron of radical Islamic terrorists among the immigrant communities of Europe, culminating in a major terror attack in London and the kidnapping of the daughter of the American ambassador to the UK. This fantastically written thriller is a fine addition to the series, which is especially relevant in today’s world. One surprise is the author’s explanation and portrayal of the process and brutality that transforms ordinary men over time into terrorists in the name of religion and the possible future situation in Europe.
–> Dog Eats Dog by Iain Levison
Philip Dixon is down on his luck. An escape from a lucrative but botched bank robbery lands him bleeding and on the verge of collapse in a college town in New Hampshire. How can he find a place to hide out in this innocent setting? Peering into the window of the nearest house, he sees a glimmer of hope: a man in his mid-thirties, obviously some kind of academic, is rolling around on the living room floor with an attractive high-school student. Professor Elias White is then blackmailed into harboring a dangerous fugitive, as Dixon-with a cool quarter-million in his bag and dreams of Canada in his head-gets ready for the last phase of his escape.
But the last phase is always the hardest. Attractive and persistent FBI agent Denise Lupo is on his trail. As for Elias White, his surprising transition from respected academic to willing accomplice poses a ruthless threat that Dixon would be foolish to underestimate.