Newsletter - What I'm Reading by Sian

Tuesday Aug 06 2013
by Sian

I’m sorry to say that a rough semester of school has me behind THREE books towards my goal of 100 books read in 2013, but I expect to catch up while I’m off this August.

First off, I’m going to be annoying and tell you about four books that are new in hardcover, either by new authors or new series. I know that investing in hardcovers for an unknown is a pricey business, but I mention these because I think they are worth the purchase price and also because I hope you’ll at least give them a shot when they come out in trade paperback.

Washington D.C. is among my favorite cities in the world and this summer has two mysteries featuring it that I loved. Ellen Crosby, who you may recognize from the ‘Wine Country Murders’, is in real life a journalist who’s spent much time abroad. She turns her experiences into the inspiration for her new series featuring Sophie Medina, a freelance photographer who moves back to DC from London after the death of her husband, an oil executive. In Multiple Exposure, not everything is as it seems (is it ever?), particularly in regards to an assignment to photograph Faberge eggs, she investigates. The writing here is crisp and the story line moves along sharply. I’m excited to read more about Ms. Medina’s adventures. 

Also set partly in DC, and also by a journalist, is Anonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly, a former NPR correspondent. It features a young journalist named Alexandra James whose radar goes after the unusual death of a Harvard Alumnus on campus. Starting in Boston, then off to Cambridge, London, and DC, it’s a fascinating story involving very modern terrorism issues. I loved this book and it would have been perfect if not for a weird secondary plot that I’m not sure added anything to the story. A Twitter conversation with the author reveals she’s working on another thriller, though not with the same character.

 As many of you know, I left my job in publishing after 7 years last summer to do my MBA, but I still have a soft spot for the industry and was excited to discover a mystery featuring it. And speaking of writing what you know, agent Barbara Rogan has done just that in A Dangerous Fiction. Agent Jo Donovan is at the top of her career when a would-be client turns stalker. When her clients start being threatened, things take a turn for the serious. I loved the publishing references and the fact that the book keeps you guessing to the very end. Rogan indicates this is the first in a series, and I’ll certainly be glad to read more.

My final hardcover pick is also book related. In The Bookman’s Tale we meet Peter Byerly, an antiquarian bookseller who has abandoned most everything in the wake of his wife’s death. When he finds a Victorian painting in an old book that looks exactly like his late wife, he has to investigate. The story goes deep into the world of Shakespearean forgeries and antiquarian bookselling and it’s fascinating. This is just the book to buy someone as a Christmas gift to be binged on over the holidays.

Finally, let’s talk quickly about what’s coming through the rest of this month and the fall. It’s a good year if you’re a fan of Rhys Bowen’s ‘Her Royal Spyness’ series with TWO hardcovers in less than 12 months. Heirs and Graces has just been released and it’s on my to-read pile. The mass market of The Twelve Clues of Christmas will be available in November just in time for Christmas stockings.

I’ve raved plenty about Madeleine Robins’ ‘Sarah Tolerance’ series, and the first book in the series is being re-released in trade paperback this month. Point of Honour is part Regency romance, part thriller, and 100% excellent. Robins is working on a fourth book in the series, and I’ll be keeping an eye out.

I know I converted many of you to be Gail Carriger fans and I hope her new YA series isn’t disappointing. If you haven’t given Etiquette and Espionage a shot yet, I would recommend giving the soft cover a shot in October. For those who are already fans, Curtsies and Conspiracies will be released as a very reasonably priced hardcover in November.

Lastly, though there is no Deanna Raybourn or Laurie R. King ‘Mary Russell’ to look forward to this fall, there is a new Tasha Alexander. Behind the Shattered Glass is the 8th ‘Emily Ashton’ series and I’m sure it will be excellent.

Email me at We’re trying to incorporate as many of your suggestions as we can into our social media and internet presence, but we’re open to suggestions as well. If you’re on Facebook, do ‘like’ us to get access to some extra content.

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