With the start of hurricane season and Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Northeast this week-end, I thought I’d offer up some hurricane themed mysteries for your consideration. I wasn’t initially planning to highlight mysteries, but mysteries certainly seem to be the bulk of recent publications.
Listed below are our most recent hurricane relate mysteries, with one exception – famed New Orleans mystery writer James Lee Burke offers up a collection of ten Hurricane Katrina themed short stories in Jesus Out to Sea.
The Killing Storm
by Kathryn Casey
“The kidnapping of a four-year-old boy from a Houston park brings local law enforcement and the FBI together in an intense search. Meanwhile Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong (Blood Lines) investigates the slaughter of some prize cattle. Symbols drawn on their hides point to African folklore. As the search for the guilty party intensifies, a major hurricane bears down in the Gulf heading straight for Houston. Contrasting the seeming unconcern of the missing boy’s mother with the anguish of Sarah’s daughter, who has just recovered from her father’s death and now fears that her mother will perish in the storm, adds depth to this suspenseful thriller. Verdict Readers waiting patiently for the next J.A. Jance mystery will want to try this exciting read.” ~ Library Journal
Damaged : a Maggie O’Dell novel
by Alex Kava
“FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell is tired and stressed when she gets a call from her colleague at Homeland Security, Charlie Wurth. A fishing cooler has surfaced in the waters near Pensacola, Florida, and it is not full of fish. She heads for Florida as Hurricane Isaac closes in on the area. Her boyfriend, Colonel Benjamin Platt, an infectious-disease expert, is also there investigating a mysterious virus that is killing soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The two cases come together as events unfold. This action-packed thriller moves from land to air to sea as Maggie, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Liz Bailey, Platt, and Wurth chase a ruthless criminal and look for the source of the infection all while the hurricane rages. This one will appeal to the adrenalin junkies who prefer their fictional crimes to be as grisly as possible.” ~ Booklist
Toros & Torsos
by Craig McDonald
“Spanning the years from 1935 to 1959, Edgar-finalist McDonald’s second novel to feature crime novelist Hector Lassiter deftly mixes myth, history and a serial killer who arranges dead bodies to resemble surrealistic art. Lassiter, whose work embodies the “write what you live and live what you write” ethos, loves hard, drinks hard and keeps an eye on avenging the loss of the beautiful blonde he meets in a Key West bar on page one.
As a popular author, Lassiter interacts with such notables as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, whom the author skillfully animates. Other celebrities of the day make cameo appearances.
Solidly grounded in such actual events as the Key West hurricane of 1935, the Spanish Civil War and Cuba’s last days before Castro, McDonald’s imaginative tale takes an enjoyably different approach to art and murder. ~ Publishers Weekly
Acts of Nature
by Jonathon King
“*Starred Review* The latest entry in the Max Freeman series (King won an Edgar with the debut of cop-turned-recluse Freeman in 2002’s Blue Eye of Midnight) is every bit as polished and absorbing as its four predecessors, and it trumps King’s own standards for description with a stunning depiction of a hurricane and its aftermath.
In his latest, Freeman and his new love, a South Florida detective, are enjoying a break at Max’s retreat when a hurricane rips apart the shack, nearly killing Freeman’s girlfriend. This novel is more adventure-suspense tale than mystery, as the couple struggles to survive, first against the hurricane and then against the villains who flood into the Everglades. King juxtaposes Max’s first-person narration with third-person accounts of criminals in a breathtaking series of survival moves. Gripping.”~ Booklist
by Rick Riordan
“Tres Navarre had given up private investigation—and with it a violent past that had buried too many friends. Newly married, with a baby on the way, it was time to find a safer line of work. He and Maia had come to Rebel Island to celebrate their honeymoon and a new future. … a monster hurricane is about to hit Rebel Island, cutting them off from the mainland and leaving them trapped on a flooding island with the hotel’s remaining guests brutally dying one by one. Tres knows better than anyone that the bloodlines of South Texas are as twisted as barbed wire. This time they’re guarding a revelation that can turn his dreams of happily ever after into the ultimate nightmare. ” ~ publisher
Jesus Out to Sea : stories
by James Lee Burke
“In this moving collection of short stories, James Lee Burke elegantly marries his flair for gripping storytelling with his lyrical writing style and complex, fascinating character portraits. The backdrop of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast is a versatile setting for Burke’s stories, which cover the scope of the human experience — from love and sex to domestic abuse to war, death, and friendship.” ~ publisher