Poison Pen 2014 Book List

Unless otherwise noted, summaries on this page are quoted from fantasticfiction.co.uk



Axelrod, Steven. Nantucket Sawbuck, 2013.
Henry Kennis series, #1.

When Nantucket homeowner Preston Lomax is killed in his McMansion, everyone on the island could be a suspect. Lomax lived large, owed money, and the word was spreading he was planning to stiff them all and disappear. Chief of Police Henry Kennis, a newcomer from California, finds himself investigating with help from the State Police. Together they solve the case – or so it appears. But Kennis can’t shake the feeling that they’ve missed something.
Kennis soon discovers scandals and intrigues behind the scenes in one of America’s most exclusive resort locations. This glamorous setting hosts an eclectic cast of local characters – oddball journalists, surfing carpenters, drug dealers, wealthy homeowners, and their slacker children. Kennis uncovers a truth that lies somewhere between the bad blood and the good neighbors and realizes that the real answer hits painfully close to home.


Beukes, Lauren. The Shining Girls, 2013.

In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter who is falling for her, Kirby has to unravel an impossible mystery.


Brookes, Adam. Night Heron, 2014.

Tell them, the Night Heron is hunting . . .

A lone man escapes a labour camp in the dead of night, fleeing across the winter desert of north-west China.

Two decades earlier, he was a spy for the British. Now he finds Beijing transformed and crawling with danger – the fugitive must quickly disappear on its surveillance-blanketed streets or face death.

Desperate and ruthless, he reaches out to his one-time MI6 paymasters via journalist Philip Mangan, offering secrets in return for his life.

Mangan is dragged into a deeper and deeper whirlpool of lies, as the secrets prove more valuable than either of them could ever have known… and not only to the British.


Dicker, Joel. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, 2014.

August 30, 1975. The day of the disappearance. The day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. That summer, struggling author Harry Quebert fell in love with fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan. Thirty-three years later, her body is dug up from his yard, along with a manuscript copy of the novel that secured his lasting fame. Quebert is the only suspect.

Marcus Goldman-Quebert’s most gifted protege – throws off his writer’s block to clear his mentor’s name. Solving the case and penning a new bestseller soon merge into one. As his book begins to take on a life of its own, the nation is gripped by the mystery of The Girl Who Touched the Heart of America. But with Nola, in death as in life, nothing is ever as it seems.


Elo, Elisabeth. North of Boston, 2014.

Pirio Kasparov finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic when the fishing boat she’s on is rammed by a freighter that looms out of the silence of the sea. She somehow survives for nearly four hours in the icy water and is rescued by the Coast Guard.

The boat’s owner and Pirio’s fisherman friend, Ned, is not so fortunate. He disappears without a trace.

Compelled to look after Ned’s son, Pirio can’t shake the suspicion that the boat’s sinking – and Ned’s death – was no accident. With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins to unravel a lethal plot that takes her to Northern Canada and the ice-cold waters of Baffin Bay.

To survive, she must uncover long-lost secrets from her past, and confront her ultimate challenge: to trust herself again.


Goodman, Lee. Indefensible, 2014.

Sometimes a simple walk in the woods can lead you down the deadliest of trails…

When birdwatcher Cassandra Randall stumbles upon two men digging what appears to be a grave in a state park, she immediately reports it to the authorities. Federal prosecutor Nick Davis is initially incredulous about her claims, but he agrees to investigate. To his surprise, the far-fetched account turns up a body, and Nick is drawn into a case that will shake both his morals and his personal life to their very core.

One body quickly leads to another. The danger Cassandra has uncovered is just the beginning of a game of deadly stakes that implicates small-time drug dealers, petty thieves turned murderers, domestic abuse perpetrators, child pornographers, the highest offices of the legal system… and a criminal who is closer to Davis than he can even imagine.


Graedon, Alena. The Word Exchange, 2014.

In the not-so-distant future, the forecasted ‘death of print’ has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers, and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication but have become so intuitive as to hail us taxis before we leave our offices, order takeout at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called the Word Exchange.

Anana Johnson works with her father, Doug, at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed. Doug is an intellectual who fondly remembers the days when people used e-mail to communicate – or even actually spoke to one another. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices, leaving a single written clue: ALICE. It’s a code word he and Anana devised to signal if one of them ever fell into danger….

Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague (who is secretly in love with her), Anana’s search for her father will take her into dark basement incinerator rooms, underground passages of the Mercantile Library, meetings of a secret society designed to save the written word, the boardrooms of the evil online retailing giant Synchronic, and, ultimately, to the hallowed halls of the Oxford English Dictionary – the spiritual home of the written word. As Anana pieces together what is going on, and Bart falls victim to the strange ‘word flu’ that is spreading worldwide, the very future of language is at stake….


Kuhn, Shane. The Intern’s Handbook (aka Kill Your Boss), 2014.
John Lago series, #1.

If you’re reading this, you’re a new employee at Human Resources, Inc.

Congratulations. And condolences. At the very least, you’re embarking on a career that you will never be able to describe as dull. You’ll go to interesting places. You’ll meet unique and stimulating people from all walks of life. And kill them. You will make a lot of money, but that will mean nothing to you after the first job.

Assassination, no matter how easy it looks in the movies, is the most difficult, stressful, and lonely profession on the planet.

Even when you’re disguised as an intern.

John Lago is a hitman. He has some rules for you. And he’s about to break every single one.


La Seur, Carrie. The Home Place, 2014.

The only Terrebonne who made it out, Alma thought she was done with Montana, with its bleak winters and stifling ways. But an unexpected call from the local police takes the successful lawyer back to her provincial hometown and pulls her into the family trouble she thought she’d left far behind: Her lying, party-loving sister, Vicky, is dead. Alma is told that a very drunk Vicky had wandered away from a party and died of exposure after a night in the brutal cold. But when Alma returns home to bury Vicky and see to her orphaned niece, she discovers that the death may not have been an accident.


Little, Elizabeth. Dear Daughter, 2014.

Hollywood It Girl Janie Jenkins has it all. The looks, the brains, the money, the fame. Oh, and the murder conviction – for killing her mother. Out of jail and on the run, she’s determined to prove her innocence and find out what really happened the night her mother died. The only problem? Janie’s not totally sure that she is innocent…


McHugh Laura. The Weight of Blood, 2014.

People still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, who vanished years ago from the town of Henbane, deep in the Ozark mountains.

When one of Lucy’s friends is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost women: by the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect.

But her search for answers, in a place where secrets are easily concealed, leads her to a chilling discovery. And with this revelation, she must grapple with the meaning of family, the secrets we keep and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.


McKenzie, CB. Bad Country, 2014.

Rodeo Grace Garnet lives with his old dog in a remote corner of Arizona known to locals as El Hoyo. He doesn’t get many visitors in The Hole, but a body found near his home has drawn police attention to his front door. The victim is not one of the many undocumented immigrants who risk their lives to cross the border in Rodeo’s harsh and deadly “backyard,” but a member of a major Southwestern Indian tribe, whose death is part of a mysterious rompecabeza-a classic crime puzzler-that includes multiple murders, cold-blooded betrayals, and low-down scheming, with Rodeo caught in the middle.

Retired from the rodeo circuit and scraping by on piecework as a bounty hunter, warrant server, and divorce snoop, Rodeo doesn’t have much choice but to say yes when offered an unusual case. An elderly Indian woman from his own Reservation has hired him to help discover who murdered her grandson, but she seems strangely uninterested in the results. Her attitude seems heartless, but as Rodeo pursues interrelated cases, he learns that the old woman’s indifference is nothing compared to true hatred, and aligned against a variety of creative and cruel foes, the hard-pressed PI is about to discover just how far hate can go.


Moss, Todd. The Golden Hour, 2014.
Judd Riker series, #1.

As director of the State Department Crisis Reaction Unit, Judd Ryker gets a chance to prove his theory of The Golden Hour actually works when there is a coup in Mali. But in the real world, those hours include things he’s never even imagined. As Ryker races from Washington to Europe and across the Sahara desert, he finds that personalities and loyalties begin to shift beneath his feet, and that friends and enemies come in many forms. THE GOLDEN HOUR takes its name from the hundred hours following a coup in which diplomatic action might reverse a chain of events.


Swanson, Peter. The Girl with a Clock for a Heart, 2014

On an ordinary Friday evening at his favorite Boston tavern, George Foss’s comfortable, predictable life is shattered when a beautiful woman sits down at the bar, a woman who vanished without a trace twenty years ago.

Liana Dector isn’t just an ex-girlfriend, the first love George couldn’t quite forget. She’s also a dangerous enigma and quite possibly a cold-blooded killer wanted by the police. Suddenly, she’s back – and she needs George’s help. Ruthless men believe she stole some money…and they will do whatever it takes to get it back.

George knows Liana is trouble. But he can’t say no – he never could – so he makes a choice that will plunge him into a terrifying whirlpool of lies, secrets, betrayal, and murder from which there is no sure escape.

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