Good Reads

Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Posted November 24, 2015 By jviescas

Robert Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling – world famous author of the Harry Potter series. She decided to try her hand at mystery stories, so she chose a pen name to obscure her real identity in case the stories were a flop. She needn’t have worried! Excellent tales featuring Cormoran Strike – a hardscrabble independent investigator. Be sure to read them in order.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cormoran Strike Mystery #1

The Silkworm

Cormoran Strike Mystery #2

Career of Evil

Cormoran Strike Mystery #3

Bruno, Chief of Police

Posted October 5, 2015 By jviescas

In my spare time (lots now that I’m retired), I really enjoy reading what in France they call “policiers” – crime novels. This series is especially apropos if, like me, you love the Dordogne – Perigord region of France and all the good food that comes from there (truffles, foie gras, confit de canard, etc.). In quite a few chapters, he has the main character whipping up regional food to serve his guests. You can find the complete recipes for many dishes mentioned at the Bruno, Chief of Police website.

The author is an internationally acclaimed author of many in-depth non-fiction books in political science and history. He lives in the Perigord much of the year, and in the last several years has started writing excellent crime novels centered on the area of France he loves. Be sure to read them in order.

Bruno, Chief of Police

Bruno, Chief of Police #1

The Dark Vineyard

Bruno, Chief of Police #2

Black Diamond

Bruno, Chief of Police #3

The Crowded Grave

Bruno, Chief of Police #4

The Devil’s Cave

Bruno, Chief of Police #5

Bruno and the Carol Singers

Bruno, Chief of Police #5.5 (short)

The Resistance Man

Bruno, Chief of Police #6

The Children Return

Bruno, Chief of Police #7

A Market Tale

(short story)

Bruno, Chief of Police #7.7 (short)

The Patriarch

Bruno, Chief of Police #8

M. L. Longworth

Posted October 5, 2015 By jviescas

Mary Lou Longworth was born in Canada. She moved with her husband to France in 1997, and after a few years ended up settling down in Aix-en-Provence. Having fallen in love with the area, she started writing non-fiction articles that were published in places like the Washington Post. She eventually graduated to writing crime novels centered in Aix. Similar in some ways to the Bruno books by Martin Walker, Longworth’s stories revolve around a Chief Inspector of police (Antoine Verlaq) and his on-again-off-again love interest who is a law professor (Marine Bonnet). Be sure to read them in order.

Death at the Chateau Bremont

Provençal Mystery #1

Murder in the Rue Dumas

Provençal Mystery #2

Death in the Vines

Provençal Mystery #3

Murder on the Ile Sordou

Provençal Mystery #4

The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne

Provençal Mystery #5

Karin Slaughter

Posted October 4, 2015 By jviescas

Karin Slaughter (her real name) is a best-selling crime novelist from Georgia. Her first series centers around murders occurring in the fictitious Grant County in Georgia. The main characters are Jeffrey Tolliver, the Chief of Police, and Sara Linton, Tolliver’s ex-wife and local pediatrician / county coroner. Their lives keep getting thrown back together as she helps him solve various murders. Slaughter’s second series stars Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent, again solving complex murder mysteries. Slaughter has recently branched out into other independent books, though still centered in her home state of Georgia.

The stories all involve rather gory and bizarre murders, so this author may not be to your tastes if you prefer “soft” crime mysteries. First few books in Grant County aren’t as polished as the rest. Slaughter really started to hit her stride about midway through the Will Trent series, so stick with it if you’re not sure you like the first few.

The Will Trent series follows chronologically after all the Grant County stories, so be sure to finish all the Grant County stories first. Characters from Grant County show up again in Will Trent (not going to tell you which ones – that would be a spoiler). Will make more sense if you do all of Grant County first, but Slaughter adds enough explanation so that you can also jump right into the Trent series if you like.

Grant County Series


Grant County #1


Grant County #2

A Faint Cold Fear

Grant County #3


Grant County #4


Grant County #5

Beyond Reach

Grant County #6

Will Trent Series


Will Trent #1


Will Trent #2


Will Trent #3


Will Trent #4


Will Trent #5

Criminal / Snatched

Will Trent #6 & 7

Unseen / Busted

Will Trent #8 & 9

Other Books

Cop Town

Blond Hair, Blue Eyes

(Short Story)

Pretty Girls

Louise Penny

Posted September 25, 2015 By jviescas

Another crime novelist – this time from Canada. Follow Chief Inspector Gamache as he solves complex murders in Quebec. Be sure to read them in order.

Still Life

A Fatal Grace

The Cruelest Month

A Rule Against Murder

The Brutal Telling

Bury Your Dead

A Trick of the Light

The Beautiful Mystery

How the Light Gets In

The Long Way Home

The Nature of the Beast

Michael Connelly

Posted September 18, 2015 By jviescas

Michael Connelly is arguably the American master of the murder mystery. His Harry (Hieronymus) Bosch detective novels follow the career of this renowned L.A.P.D. homicide detective as he solves complex murder mysteries and battles the bureaucracy of the department. Many of you may remember the Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller) movie starring Matthew McConaughey about an L.A. defense lawyer whose office is his black Lincoln limousine. While I enjoyed the movie, the books are even better. The Jack McEvoy (L.A. Times reporter) and Terry McCaleb (L.A. FBI retired detective) books are other very readable spin-offs from from the Bosch series that explore other leading characters in more depth. (Avoid the Clint Eastwood version of Blood Work – it’s awful.) Sadly, Connelly writes about one book a year, so I’m waiting with bated breath for the next one!

Harry Bosch Books

Black Echo

Harry Bosch #1

Black Ice

Harry Bosch #2

The Concrete Blond

Harry Bosch #3

The Last Coyote

Harry Bosch #4

Trunk Music

Harry Bosch #5

Angels Flight

Harry Bosch #6

A Darkness More Than Night

Harry Bosch #7 (Terry McCaleb #2)

A City of Bones

Harry Bosch #8

Lost Light

Harry Bosch #9

The Narrows

Harry Bosch #10 (Terry McCaleb #3)

The Closers

Harry Bosch #11

Echo Park

Harry Bosch #12

The Overlook

Harry Bosch #13

The Brass Verdict

Harry Bosch #14 (Mickey Haller #2)

Nine Dragons

Harry Bosch #15 (Mickey Haller #3)

The Reversal

Harry Bosch #16 (Mickey Haller #4)

The Fifth Witness

Harry Bosch #17 (Mickey Haller #5)

The Drop

Harry Bosch #18

The Black Box

Harry Bosch #19

The Burning Room

Harry Bosch #20

The Crossing

Harry Bosch #21

Mickey Haller (Lincoln Lawyer) Books

The Lincoln Lawyer

Mickey Haller #1

The Brass Verdict

Mickey Haller #2 (Harry Bosch #14)

Nine Dragons

Mickey Haller #3 (Harry Bosch #15)

The Reversal

Mickey Haller #4 (Harry Bosch #16)

The Fifth Witness

Mickey Haller #5 (Harry Bosch #17)

The Gods of Guilt

Mickey Haller #6

Terry McCaleb Books

Blood Work

Terry McCaleb #1

A Darkness More Than Night

Terry McCaleb #2 (Harry Bosch #7)

The Narrows

Terry McCaleb #3 (Harry Bosch #10)

Jack McEvoy Books

The Poet

Jack McEvoy #1

The Scarecrow

Jack McEvoy #2

Other Books

Chasing the Dime

Crime Beat