Munching through a fresh pouch of crime novels

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.

Last week I gave an after dinner speech to some lovely folks with the Kiwanis Club of Kettering/Centerville. I talked about some of my experiences as a book reviewer and author interviewer. Afterwards we had a lively question and answer session. During my presentation I confessed that I’m thoroughly addicted to reading crime novels. This is true, I read crime novels in the way that some people munch on potato chips.


Tried, trusted, and true. He’s James Lee Burke

Three of my favorite crime writers have new books out. And one of these three authors recently turned me on to another book by a promising new talent in the genre. Here they are:

“The Trespasser” by Tana French (Viking, 451 pages, $27).

With “The Trespasser,” the sixth novel in her “Dublin Murder Squad” series Tana French continues to burnish her burgeoning reputation as “The First Lady of Irish Crime.” French delves into the psychology of her characters. Each book in the series presents a viewpoint from a different investigator. A detective who was a peripheral figure in a previous book could be assuming a lead role in the next one.

‘The Trespasser” begins with what initially appears to be an open and shut case. A beautiful young woman is found murdered in her home. The table had been set for a romantic dinner. Surely the boyfriend did it? Detective Antoinette Conway and her colleague Stephen Moran soon realize this case is far more complex.

“Love You Dead” by Peter James (Macmillan, 437 pages, $27.95)

In “Love You Dead” Detective Superintendent Roy Grace of the Sussex (U.K.) Police investigates a woman who has been marrying rich men and then killing them. Jodie Bentley is the Black Widow character — she trolls the Internet for her victims. This12th novel in the series also marks the return of the nefarious contract killer Tooth, who once made an impossible escape from Grace in a previous book.

“Escape Clause” by John Sandford (Putnam, 392 pages, $29).

John Sandford’s blockbuster “Prey” series spun off another series which features the Minnesota investigator Virgil Flowers. Virgil was a colleague of Lucas Davenport from the “Prey” books and Lucas and Virgil are polar opposites. Virgil is far more easy going. As “Escape Clause” begins thieves are stealing a pair of rare tigers from a zoo. The illicit market for banned medicinal products made from tiger parts increases the urgency of this case. Virgil must stop these insidious criminals before they can kill the tigers.

“IQ” by Joe Ide (Mulholland Books, 325 pages, $26).

John Sandford tipped me off about “IQ” by Joe Ide. ‘IQ” is Isaiah Quintabe, a young man with few prospects. He lives in gang infested East Long Beach, California. Isaiah may be a high school dropout but he has the sleuthing intellect of a ghetto Sherlock Holmes. He’s trying to prevent an assassin from killing a famous hip hop music star. IQ and his sidekick Dodson are operating in a gray zone. They have their own criminal endeavors. There’s lots of profanity, enormous lethal dogs, and rippling dialogue in this debut of what will hopefully become a series.

Now I must get back to reading the next sizzling crime novel.

About the Author