1. Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson, 288 pages, Mystery, Hardback, 2007 (Walt Longmire Series, Book 3).
Sheriff Walt Longmire and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, leave Wyoming for a long weekend in Philadelphia. Henry has an invitation to lecture on his Mennonite pictures; Walt wants to visit his daughter, Cady. But not long after they arrive, Cady is brutally attacked and left in a coma. With help from Deputy Victoria Moretti’s family, Walt assists the investigation, unveiling a political cover-up. I missed the book not being in Absaroka County, but it was great to see the cop family that Vic comes from. I especially liked the designation of Vics in the family: Vic the Father, Vic the Son, and Vic the Holy Terror (our feisty deputy is called the Terror throughout the book). This series has not disappointed me yet, and I’ll be looking for the next book soon.
2. Conspiracy In Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 372 pages, Mystery, Paperback, 1999 (In Death, Book 8).
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is assigned to the strange death of a sidewalk sleeper (homeless man); his heart was removed surgically – a complicated procedure done without moving the man from his makeshift hovel. All the evidence suggests a well-trained surgeon as a suspect. As Dallas ties more murders fitting this pattern, and the local murders to a particular clinic, political pressure is placed for them to drop the investigation – the victims were considered insignificant for the resources being used. So when a policewoman who is harassing Eve with constant complaints turns up murdered, Dallas is asked to turn in her shield. But she still has a murderer to stop. I love the emphasis this novel had on the personal relationships between Eve and her husband and her team at work, how they all deal with each other to get over the obstacles and provide needed support while doing so. The futuristic aspect of this series (it’s the beginning of 2059) is so understated, but so essential to the story. It’s a wonderful balance of social science fiction and pure crime mystery.
3. Loyalty In Death by J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), 358 pages, Mystery, Paperback, 1999 (In Death, Book 9).
This book starts out with a warning, the first of several letters from the terrorist group, Cassandra, promising destruction and targeting Lieutenant Eve Dallas as their worthy opponent in the upcoming destruction (that is, the person they are sending taunting letters to about the upcoming disasters). Dallas, however, doesn’t know what is about to come her way; she’s busy with the murder of a wealthy businessman. But when she’s lured to an abandoned warehouse moments before it is blown up, the game’s afoot. Eve’s hand-picked team struggles with sketchy clues, false leads (including one involving Officer Peabody’s little brother on his first visit to the big city), and relationship issues clouding things, leading to both Eve and her husband, Roarke (so rich he only has the one name), in a battle with Cassandra at the Statue of Liberty. This book was written before 9/11; one of the potential targets is the Twin Towers. Other known landmarks in New York City are blown up using hidden bombs throughout the structures, with innocents killed, so some who are sensitive may want to give this one a skip. I enjoyed the book, but I’m quite invested in the series by this point. Only another 20 or so books left in the series at this point!