Editor’s picks: Novels

AFAF

The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, US $27.00, Pp 352, August 2017, ISBN 978-0735212664

Dead Woman Walking: A Novel by Sharon Bolton, Minotaur Books, US $25.99, Pp 364, September 2017, ISBN 978-1250103444

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey, Grand Central Publishing, US $26.00, Pp 400, October 2017, ISBN 978-1538759905

Private investigator Roland Ford is good at finding people. He has had a bright and shining career as a cop and then a marine in the past. When Air Force veteran Clay Hickman goes missing from a mental asylum, Ford instinctively knows he is being drawn into something deep and dark. Clay developed mental problems in the war and has become dangerous. The reason is everybody is giving a different story about the disappearance. The teenage woman Sequoia who facilitated Clay’s escape can easily fend off Ford’s questions. As she is too impetuous, she is also on the run with an armed man. Clay’s doctor, Paige Hulet, cares deeply for his welfare but is impossible to read. Ford feels attracted to her. She is the first woman towards whom Ford is attracted since his wife’s death. Briggs Spencer, the proprietor of the mental institution, is as enigmatic as he is brash and ambitious to the point of being ruthless. As this case becomes a life-or-death obsession for Ford, he feels pitted against immensely powerful and treacherous people. Ford has to face chilling questions about truth, justice, and the American way. Ford is determined to bring Clay back home before he reveals the secret that haunts him. It is full of suspense and intrigues. You will not be able to decipher what happens next as you read this thriller breathlessly. It is a great crime thriller.

Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker’s next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California.

*****

Dead Woman Walking is set just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish borders. A man murders a young woman at a time when a hot-air balloon is flying just above the scene of the crime. All the thirteen persons flying in the hot-air balloon witness the murder. But the hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. Twelve of the thirteen flyers die in the crash. Only one woman survives. She has seen the murderer as the balloon is falling but the murderer has also seen her face. She manages to escape unhurt for now. But, the murderer is determined to kill her because she is the only witness. Scared and distrustful of everybody, she is running for life. She wants to go where she will feel safe but that place could be the most dangerous place for her. Dead Woman Walking is thrilling and suspenseful. You will remain glued to its page until you finish it. It’s a necessary crime thriller for those who love crime thrillers.

Sharon Bolton is a Mary Higgins Clark Award winner and an ITW Thriller Award, CWA Gold Dagger and Barry Award nominee. She lives near London, UK. Sharon Bolton was previously published as S.J. Bolton.

*****

The peace of an Australian rural town is disturbed when Rosalind Ryan’s body is found floating in a lake. Rosalind Ryan, a former student at the local high school, was strangled before her body was thrown into the lake. Rosalind Ryan was one of the most beautiful young women in the town. Rosalind Ryan studied at the Smithson High School and came back to the same school to teach drama. The crime unnerves lead homicide investigator Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. Jemma and Rosalind studied together at the Smithson High School. Since the school days, Rosalind was a mystery to Jemma. Now her death is a bigger puzzle to him. Jemma has to find the answer to questions like why Rosalind quit her job in Sydney and return to her hometown. And why was she living in a small, run-down apartment although her father is one of the richest men in the town? Was she really interested in somebody in the town? The murder of Rosalind frustrates and Jemma. The reason is Jemma also have his own dangerous secrets. He is having an affair with a colleague and several past tragedies. Will his secrets also be discovered?  One thing is certain: Rosalind’s secrets did not die with her.

Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she still lives with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and has a career in advertising. She is currently a partner at a creative agency, Mr. Smith. The Dark Lake is her first novel.