Unless otherwise noted, summaries on this page are quoted from fantasticfiction.co.uk
Adler-Olsen. The Absent One (aka Disgrace). 2012.
Department Q series, book 2.
Kimmie’s home is on the streets of Copenhagen. To live she must steal. She has learned to avoid the police and never to stay in one place for long. But now others are trying to find her. And they won’t rest until she has stopped moving – for good.
Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, the cold cases division, has received a file concerning the brutal murder of a brother and sister twenty years earlier. A group of boarding school students were the suspects at the time – until one of their number confessed and was convicted. So why is the file of a closed case on Carl’s desk? Who put it there? Who believes the case is not solved?
A police detective wants to talk to Kimmie and someone else is asking questions about her. They know she carries secrets certain powerful people want to stay buried deep. But Kimmie has one of her own. It’s the biggest secret of them all. And she can’t wait to share it with them . . .
Adler-Olsen. Mercy (aka The Keeper of Lost Causes). 2011.
Department Q series, book 1.
The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Adler- Olsen’s Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl Morck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carl, who didn’t draw his weapon, blames himself.
So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.
But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl’s been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigations division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases to keep him company, Carl’s been put out to pasture. So he’s as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A missing politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she’s dead. His colleagues snicker about the time he’s wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process. Because she isn’t dead . . . yet.
Atkinson, Kate. Case Histories. 2004.
Jackson Brody series, #1
The scene is set in Cambridge, with three case histories from the past: A young child who mysteriously disappeared from a tent in her back garden; An unidentified man in a yellow jumper who marched into an office and slashed a young girl through the throat; and a young woman found by the police sitting in her kitchen next to the body of her husband, an axe buried in his head. Jackson Brodie, a private investigator and former police detective, is quietly contemplating life as a divorced father when he is flung into the midst of these resurrected old crimes. Julia and Amelia Land, long having given up hope of uncovering the truth of what happened to their baby sister, Olivia, suddenly discover her lost toy mouse in the study of their recently-deceased father. Enlisting Jackson’s help they embroil him in the complexities of their own jealousies, obsessions and lust. A woman named Shirley needs Jackson to help find her lost niece. Amidst the incessant demands of the Land sisters, Jackson meets solicitor Theo Wyre whose daughter, Laura, was murdered in his office and, now that the police case has been closed, is desperate for Jackson to help him lay Laura’s ghost to rest. As he starts his investigations Jackson has the sinister feeling that someone is following him. As he begins to unearth secrets that have remained hidden for many years, he is assailed by his former wife’s plan to take his young daughter away to live in New Zealand, and his stalker becomes increasingly malevolent and dangerous. In digging into the past Jackson seems to have unwittingly threatened his own future. This wonderfully crafted, intricately plotted novel is heartbreaking, uplifting, full of suspense and often very funny, and shows Kate Atkinson returning to the literary scene at the height of her powers.
Carlisle, Kate. Ripped from the Pages, 2015.
Bibliophile series, #9.
Excited to explore the secrets of wine country, Brooklyn attends an excavation of the caves hidden deep under her parents’ commune…and the findings are explosive. A room is unearthed, and it contains a treasure trove of artwork, rare books, a chest of jewelry…and a perfectly mummified body.
A closer examination of the murdered man’s possessions reveals a valuable first edition of Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hidden in the book is a secret map that unveils an even greater hoard of treasures brought to California by French winemakers fleeing the Nazi invasion with the commune leader’s grandfather, Anton, among them.
As reporters and art appraisers flock to Sonoma to see the precious bounty, questions begin to rise…did Anton hide these items to protect them, or did he steal them for himself? Who is the mysterious man left for dead inside the cave? But not all crime is buried in the past. When a new presence threatens the town’s peace, Brooklyn decides to do a little excavating of her own and solve the mystery of the treasure before anyone else is written off.
Castillo, Linda. The Dead Will Tell. 2014.
Kate Burkholder series, #6.
Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time – and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.
On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide – an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they’re both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?
When a second man is found dead – also seemingly by his own hand – Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished – and his young wife disappeared without a trace. And, as Kate knows – the past never truly dies . . .
Connelly, Michael. The Closers. 2005.
Harry Bosch series, #11.
The Closers puts Harry Bosch back in the Los Angelese Police Department, where he was meant to be, and sets him to solving old cases, which is what he always did best, alongside Kiz Rider, who was always the best of the partners fate, and Connolly, gave him. They are working on the death of a bi-racial teenager back in the 1980s, abducted from her bedroom and shot dead. The racial tensions of the time are clearly a factor – the DNA of a known racist is trapped in blood on the gun – but in a Michael Connolly novel, things are never as simple as they seem. And Bosch finds, not to his especial surprise, that he has been asked back into the LAPD as someone’s weapon in the dance of departmental politics. The death of Backy Verloren was a tragedy – the investigation of her murder was a series of mistakes that left her father an alcoholic mess and her mother an obsessive trapped in the past, and someone profited by their misery. Connolly is always at his best when Harry is caught up in the problems of other people, rather than his own, and this excellent, twisty police procedural is a snappy return to form. –Roz Kaveney
Cornwell, Patricia. Blow Fly, 2004.
Kay Scarpetta series, #12.
Settling into her new life as a private forensic consultant, Kay Scarpetta agrees to investigate a cold case in Louisiana—the baffling eight-year-old murder of a woman with a history of blackouts and violent outbursts. Then she receives news that chills her to the core: Jean-Baptiste Chandonne—the vicious and unrepentant Wolfman who pursued her to her very doorstep—has asked to see her. From his cell on death row, he demands an audience with the legendary Dr. Scarpetta. With her friends and family by her side, Scarpetta tries to guess what sort of endgame this madman has in mind—how, if at all, it’s related to the Louisiana case—and then confronts the shock of her life: a blow that will force her to question the loyalty and trust of all she holds dear…
summary from amazon.com
Edwards, Martin. The Coffin Trail. 2004.
Lake District series, #1.
What is meant as a fresh start in the English Lakes District begins to reek of buried secrets….
Oxford historian and TV personality Daniel Kind and his new lover, Miranda, both want to escape to a new life. On impulse they buy Tarn Cottage in Brackdale, an idyllic valley in the Lake District that Daniel knew as a boy. He is still fascinated by a place so remote that the dead had to be carried out over the peaks on pack animals along the ancient Coffin Trail. But though the couple hope to live the dream of downsizing, the past has a way of catching up.
Tarn Cottage was once home to Barrie Gilpin, an autistic youth suspected of a savage murder-what looks like the ritualistic killing of a young woman visitor to the valley. She was found laid out on the Sacrifice Stone, an ancient pagan site up on the fell. Barrie fell to his death near the crime scene before he could be questioned. All these years later, Daniel retains his belief in Barrie’s innocence and questions his own policeman father’s handling of the case. When DCI Hannah Scarlett and her squad launch a cold case review, Brackdale’s skeletons begin to rattle. The wild geography of the Lakes District plays against local literary references, all backdrop to the lives of villagers and outsiders drawn to this beautiful spot – but for what reasons?
Edwards, Martin. The Hanging Wood. 2011
Lake District series, #5.
Twenty years ago, a teenage boy, Callum Hinds, went missing in England’s Lake District. His uncle was suspected of having done the boy harm and interviewed by the police. When he committed suicide close to his cottage in the Hanging Wood, everyone assumed it was a sign of guilt. But the body of the boy was never found.
Now his sister, Orla Payne, who never believed in their uncle’s guilt, has returned to the Lakes, and takes up a job in an atmospheric residential library, close to her father’s farm, the upmarket caravan park where her step-father works, and the Hanging Wood. She wants to find the truth about Callum’s disappearance, and–at the prompting of Daniel Kind–and, in a drunken call, tries to interest DCI Hannah Scarlett, head of Cumbria’s Cold Case Review Team, in the case. Hannah is reluctant, leading Orla to demand whether she cares about justice. Hannah does care, and when Orla dies in strange and shocking circumstances, she determines to find the truth about what happened to Callum–and to Orla.
Hannah’s investigation brings her back into contact with Daniel, while she tries to resolve her troubled relationship with bookseller Marc Amos. But their personal lives have to be put on hold when another death occurs, and Hannah finds herself racing against time to prevent a shocking murder as the past casts long shadows on the sunlit landscape of the Lakes.
Franklin, Tom. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. 2011
Larry Ott and Silas ”32” Jones were unlikely boyhood friends. Larry was the child of lower middle-class white parents, Silas the son of a poor, single, black mother — their worlds as different as night and day. Yet a special bond developed between them in Chabot, Mississippi. But within a few years, tragedy struck. In high school, a girl who lived up the road from Larry had gone to the drive-in movie with him and nobody had seen her again. Her stepfather tried to have Larry arrested but no body was found and Larry never confessed. The incident shook up the town, including Silas, and the bond the boys shared was irrevocably broken.
Almost thirty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence in Chabot, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion, the looks of blame that have shadowed him. Silas left home to play college baseball, but now he’s Chabot’s constable. The men have few reasons to cross paths, and they rarely do — until fate intervenes again.
Another teenaged girl has disappeared, causing rumors to swirl once again. Now, two men who once called each other friend are finally forced to confront the painful past they’ve buried for too many years.
French, Tana. The Secret Place. 2014
Dublin Murder Squad series #5.
The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago.
The caption says, ‘I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM’.
Detective Stephen Moran hasn’t seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she’s sixteen and she’s shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys’ school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place – the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously – Holly found the card.
Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. But to get it solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway – tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn’t want in a partner. And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn’t want to hear.
Grafton, Sue. K is for Killer. 1994
Kinsey Millhone series, #11.
Lorna Kepler was beautiful and willful, a loner who couldn’t resist flirting with danger. Maybe that’s what killed her. Her death had raised a host of tough questions. The cops suspected homicide, but they could find neither motive nor suspect. Even the means were mysterious: Lorna’s body was so badly decomposed when it was discovered that they couldn’t be certain she hadn’t died of natural causes. In the way of overworked cops everywhere, the case was gradually shifted to the back burner and became another unsolved file. Only Lorna’s mother kept it alive, consumed by the certainty that somebody out there had gotten away with murder. In the ten months since her daughter’s death, Janice Kepler had joined a support group, trying to come to terms with her loss and her anger. It wasn’t helping. And so, leaving a session one evening and noticing a light on in the offices of Millhone Investigations, she knocked on the door. In answering that knock, Kinsey Millhone is pulled into the netherworld of unavenged murder, where only a pact with the devil will satisfy the restless ghosts of the victims and give release to the living they have left behind. (summary by Buffalo & Erie County Library)
King, Stephen. Mr. Mercedes, 2014.
Bill Hodges Trilogy series, #1.
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.
LeHane, Dennis. Moonlight Mile, 2010.
Kenzie and Gennaro series #6.
Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child’s aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl – only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.
Now Amanda is sixteen – and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda’s aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie’s door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman – a woman who hasn’t been seen in weeks.
Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It’s a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.
In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it’s possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don’t always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.
May, Peter. Extraordinary People (aka Dry Bones). 2006
Enzo Macleod Investigation series #1.
What has happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher who trained some of France’s best and brightest at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration as future Prime Ministers and Presidents vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. Talk about your cold case.
The mystery inspires a bet, one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland can ill afford to lose. The wager is that Enzo can find out what happened to Jacques Gaillard by applying new science to an old case.
Enzo comes to Paris to meet journalist Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven celebrated unsolved murders, the assumption being that Gaillard is dead. He needs Raffin’s notes. And armed with these, he begins his quest. It quickly has him touring landmarks such as the Paris catacombs and a chateau in Champagne, digging up relics and bones. Yes, Enzo finds Jacques Gaillard’s head. The artifacts buried with the skull set him to interpreting the clues they provide and to following in someone’s footsteps–maybe more than one someone–after the rest of Gaillard. And to reviewing some ancient and recent history. As with a quest, it’s as much discovery as detection.
McDermid, Val. A Darker Domain, 2008.
It seemed like an unsolvable mystery at the time: a wealthy heiress and son kidnapped in Fife, then a botched payoff, leaving her dead with no trace of the child. So when, over twenty-five years later, a possible clue is discovered by a journalist in Tuscany, cold case expert DI Karen Pirie doesn’t hold much hope of unravelling the infamous enigma. She’s already investigating a case from the same year. At the height of the miner’s strike, Mick Prentice broke ranks to join ‘scab’ strike-breakers down south. But new evidence suggests Mick’s disappearance may not be as straightforward as that – and Karen’s investigations take her into a dark domain of secrets, betrayal and the ultimate violence!
Millar, Louise. The Hidden Girl, 2014.
Hannah Riley and her musician husband, Will, hope that a move to the Suffolk countryside will promise a fresh start. Hannah, a human rights worker, is desperate for a child and she hopes that this new life will realise her dream. Yet when the snow comes, Will is working in London and Hannah is cut off in their remote village.
Life in Tornley turns out to be far from idyllic: Who are the threatening figures who lurk near their property at night? And why is her neighbour so keen to see them leave? Plus Will’s behaviour is severely testing the bonds of trust.
Hannah has spent her professional life doing the right thing for other people. But as she starts to unbury a terrible crime, she realises she can no longer do that without putting everything she’s ever wanted at risk. But if she does nothing, the next victim could be her….
Reichs, Kathy. Deadly Decisions, 2001.
Temperance Brennan series, #3.
Nine-year-old Emily Anne Toussaint is fatally shot on a Montreal street. A North Carolina teenager disappears from her home, and parts of her skeleton are found hundreds of miles away. The shocking deaths propel Tempe Brennan from north to south, and deep into a shattering investigation inside the bizarre culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs — where one misstep could bring disaster for herself or someone she loves.
summary from amazon.com