“Rogue Heroes” by Ben Macintyre chronicles the true adventures of the SAS, an elite commando unit that become the prototype for special forces around the world. Founded by David Stirling, an ristocratic dilettante who found his calling as a soldier, the SAS attracted mavericks and daredevils who gleeffuly worked behind enemy lines. ‘Rogue Heroes’ reads like a mashup of “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Great Escape,” with a sprinkling of “Ocean’s 11” (NY Times).
Walt Longmire, the Wyoming sheriff with the cowboy code of honor, is back for its fourth season. Ongoing themes include Watt’s ongoing feud with Jacob Nighthorse, this time over his new casino, the rape of a native girl that may involve employees of an oil company, and the ongoing search for the killer of Walt’s wife. Longmire is “the best of two worlds” (WSJ): a modern crime drama, done with dry wit and heart-wrenching emotion, that hearkens back to familiar western themes and motifs.
In these thrillers, the hunter becomes the hunted. thrillers. “The Obsidian Chamber” by Douglas Preston begins with a double bang. Inspector Prendergast is presumed dead at sea (“Crimson Shore”, 2015, etc.); meanwhile, his ward, Constance Greene, is missing and presumed kidnapped. The twin dramas play out in a plot that is “fast-moving, sophisticated and bursting with surprises (“Washington Post). In “Order to Kill”, Mitch Rapp (the late Vince Flynn) tries to foil a Russians plot to detonate a dirty bomb in Saudi Arabia’s oil fields. But the bad guys have also laid a trap for him. In author Kyle Mills, the Rapp series in “good hands.”
Cozy mystery readers will be delighted to read the latest entry in the Maggie Hope series. In “The Queen’s Accomplice” (print and CD), Susan Elia MacNeal has Maggie working undercover to track a Jack the Ripper copycat, who commits his crimes under the cover of the London Blitz. Maggie’s escapades “never disappoint” (Kirkus Reviews). In “Precious and Grace” by Alexander McCall Smith, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier detective, helps a young Canadian woman finding a long-lost acquaintance from her African childhood. Smith weaves “a gossamer web” and servers up “properly humble” rewards.
Here two top notch police procedurals. In “The Trespasser “by Tana French, a young woman is found dead in her apartment. The most likely suspect is her boyfriend, but inspector Antoinette Conway thinks otherwise, especially when a superior begins to pressure her to press charges. This is “required reading for anyone who appreciates unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting” (NY Times). In “The Moth Catcher” by Ann Cleaves, two murders startle a Northumberland community. Neither victim is native to the area, and the only the only connection between the two is a shared hobby. The playing out of this “intricate plot” is “atmospheric and well-wrought” (Publishers Weekly”).
El Paso by Winston Groom (Forrest Gump) is an “expansive, rich novel” (Publishers Weekly) set in the 1916 Mexican revolution. When an American family is kidnapped by Poncho Villa’s men, a railway tycoon leads a band of hired cowboys on a rescue mission. As in Doctorow’s Ragtime, historical characters rub shoulders with fictional in this “engaging epic” (Booklist). In Mercury by Margot Livesey, marital discontent turns to crisis, when a wife becomes obsessed with a young thoroughbred at the stable where she is working. A “haunting inquiry” into marriage and human nature” (Jennifer Egan). In Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks, a newly minted single dad must raise his daughter on his own.