Twenty years ago John Costello's life, as he knew it, ended. He and his beautiful girlfriend, Nadia, became victims of the deranged 'Hammer of God' killer who terrorised New Jersey City throughout the summer of 1984. This murderer went after young courting couples in an attempt to 'save their souls'. Nadia was killed by the first blow of the hammer. John survived, but was physically and psychologically scarred to an extent that few people could comprehend. He withdrew from society, hid in his apartment and now only emerges to work as a crime researcher for a major newspaper. Damaged he may be, but no one in New Jersey knows more about serial killers than John Costello. So, when a new spate of murders starts - all seemingly random and unrelated - John is the only one who can discern the complex pattern that lies behind them. But could this dark knowledge be about to threaten his life?
And in Edinburgh of all places. I mean, you never think of that sort of thing happening in Edinburgh, do you...?' 'That sort of thing' is the brutal abduction and murder of two young girls. And now a third is missing, presumably gone to the same sad end. Detective Sergeant John Rebus, smoking and drinking too much, his own young daughter spirited away south by his disenchanted wife, is one of many policemen hunting the killer. And then the messages begin to arrive: knotted string and matchstick crosses - taunting Rebus with pieces of a puzzle only he can solve.
A junkie lies dead in an Edinburgh squat, spreadeagled, cross-like on the floor, between two burned-down candles, a five-pointed star daubed on the wall above. Just another dead addict - until John Rebus begins to chip away at the indifference, treachery, deceit and sleaze that lurks behind the facade of the Edinburgh familiar to tourists. Only Rebus seems to care about a death which looks more like a murder every day, about a seductive danger he can almost taste, appealing to the darkest corners of his mind . . .
They call him the Wolfman - because he takes a bite out of his victims and because they found the first victim in the East End's lonely Wolf Street. Scotland Yard are anxious to find the killer and Inspector Rebus is drafted in to help. But his Scotland Yard opposite number, George Flight, isn't happy at yet more interference, and Rebus finds himself dealing with racial prejudice as well as the predations of a violent maniac. When Rebus is offered a serial killer profile of the Wolfman by an attractive female psychologist, it's too good an opportunity to miss. But in finding an ally, he may have given his enemies an easy means of attack.
In Special Assignments, Erast Fandorin, nineteenth-century Russia';s suavest sleuth, faces two formidable new foes: One steals outrageous sums of money, the other takes lives. "The Jack of Spades" is a civilized swindler who has conned thousands of rubles from Moscow';s residents-including Fandorin';s own boss, Prince Dolgorukoi. To catch him, Fandorin and his new assistant, timid young policeman Anisii Tulipov, must don almost as many disguises as the grifter does himself. "The Decorator" is a different case altogether: A savage serial killer who believes he "cleans" the women he mutilates and takes his orders from on high, he must be given Fandorin';s most serious attentions.
Peopled by a rich cast of eccentric characters, and with plots that are as surprising as they are inventive, Special Assignments will delight Akunin';s many fans, while challenging the gentleman sleuth';s brilliant powers of detection.
Praise from England:
"Boris Akunin';s wit and invention are a source of constant wonder." -Evening Standard "[Fandorin is] a debonair combo of Sherlock Holmes, D';Artagnan and most of the soulful heroes of Russian literature. . . . This pair of perfectly balanced stories permit the character of Fandorin to grow." -The Sunday Telegraph "Agatha Christie meets James Bond: [Akunin';s] plots are intricate and tantalizing. . . . [These stories] are unputdownable and great fun." -Sunday Express "The beguiling, super-brainy, sexy, unpredictable Fandorin is a creation like no other in crime fiction." -The Times From the Trade Paperback edition.
A brilliantly layered novel of crime, character, and place from the two-time Edgar Award winner, Gold Dagger Award winner, and New York Times bestselling author of Sunset Limited.
Few writers in America today combine James Lee Burke's lush prose, crackling story lines, and tremendous sense of history and landscape. In Cimmaron Rose, longtime fans of the Dave Robicheaux series found that the struggles of Texas defense attorney Billy Bob Holland show Burke at his best in exploring classic American themes--the sometimes subtle, often violent strains between the haves and the have-nots; the collision of past and present; the inequities in the criminal justice system.
Heartwood is a kind of tree that grows in layers. And as Billy Bob's grandfather once told him, you do well in life by keeping the roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Holland's dusty little hometown of Deaf Smith, in the hill country north of Austin, local kingpin Earl Deitrich has made a fortune running roughshod and tainting anyone who stands in his way. Billy Bob has problems with Deitrich and his shamelessly callous demeanor, but can't shake the legacy of his passion for Deitrich's "heartbreak-beautiful" wife, Peggy Jean.
When Holland takes on the defense of Wilbur Pickett--a man accused of stealing an heirloom and three hundred thousand dollars in bonds from Deitrich's office--he finds himself up against not only Earls power and influence, but also a past Billy Bob can't will away. A wonderfully realized novel, rich in Texas atmosphere and lore, and a dazzling portrait of the deadly consequences of self-delusion, Heartwood could only have been written by James Lee Burke, a writer in expert command of his craft.
Two seventeen-year-olds are killed by an ex-Army loner who has gone off the rails. The mystery takes Rebus into the heart of a shattered community. Ex-Army himself, Rebus becomes fascinated by the killer, and finds he is not alone. Army investigators are on the scene, and won't be shaken off. The killer had friends and enemies to spare and left behind a legacy of secrets and lies. Rebus has more than his share of personal problems, too. He's fresh out of hospital, but won't say how it happened. Could there be a connection with a house-fire and the unfortunate death of a petty criminal who had been harassing Rebus's colleague Siobhan Clarke?