“Chris Picks” June: Crime Writers

Here are this month’s five great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders! Click on a title to place a hold. To find previous Chris Picks just click on the “what to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our home page.

Thomas Perry
(Jane Whitefield Series)
Jane Whitefield: “I’m a guide . . . I show people how to go from places where somebody is trying to kill them to other places where nobody is.”

I’ve only read the Whitefield series. Thomas Perry has written many other stand-alone books, but I’m particularly enamored by series characters because I like to follow characters as they develop. When returning for a new adventure it’s like reconnecting with an old friend.

Jane Whitefield is a Native American woman living in Upstate New York who helps people who are running from something disappear. One of my compatriots with whom I work here at the library recommended Thomas Perry and I went through every Jane Whitefield book in a matter of about two months. Check the series out. I think you’ll find these novels captivating

James Grippando
(Jack Swyteck Series)
Jack Swyteck is a criminal defense lawyer in Florida. His best friend Theo Knight was on death row after being wrongly convicted of murder. Jack’s father, the former governor of Florida, signed Knight’s death warrant. Theo was eventually freed when Swyteck discovered DNA evidence that exonerated his friend.

Now Theo helps Swyteck with his defense cases. There is sporadic humor laced throughout the series.  Some of the humor reminds me just a bit of Carl Hiaasen. That shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Florida Fiction, as most Florida mystery writers can trace their good fortune back to Hiaasen.

Michael McGarrity
(Kevin Kearny Series)
McGarrity writes about the Southwest in the same vein as Tony Hillerman. McGarrity’s character is Kevin Kerney, a police detective in New Mexico. I’ve read just about all the Kerney novels that have been published and they are fun little reads with enough action and suspense to keep most readers on edge and continuing to turn the pages.

This is another series that helps if you read the books in order.

Margaret Coel
(Wind River Reservation Series)
Father John O’Malley and Vicky Holden are characters I’ve followed for a while now. The Wind River Reservation stories take place in Wyoming. Tight storytelling. The place itself is a character.

Tom Corcoran
(Alex Rutledge Series)
Having visited Key West in 2006 and fallen in love with the island, I wanted to return, at least in my mind.  I began searching in our library’s catalog for Key West fiction. I came across a name I wasn’t familiar with and the brief description of Corcoran’s recurring character resonated deeply with me: Alex Rutledge, a photographer who gets caught up in crime scenes in Key West.

I’ve read the entire series now and upon reading the first book after returning (not the first in the series) Air Dance Iguana, I was transported back to that island. It was amazing. As I read each line I was right there with Alex as he spent time in The Green Parrot Bar on Whitehead Street. (I passed the bar every morning as I walked to town.) I loved reading Corcoran as he knows Key West so well and it was nice being mentally transported back to a place that quickly became like home for me.

Bob Morris
(Zack Chasteen Series)
Zack Chasteen is a former Miami Dolphins football player who became a part-time detective after he retired from football. His partner Boggy claims to be the last living Taino Indian. There are five books in the Chasteen series; someone looking for a new author should have no problem getting caught up before a new book appears.

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