The Kizuna Coast
Sujata Massey (Ikat Press)
The eleventh installment in Massey's Rei Shimura series finds the investigator/antiques dealer traveling to Japan to aid her mentor, Ishida, who has been injured in a devastating tsunami. Framed by the 2011 disaster that wreaked havoc on Japan's northeast coast, the story unfolds briskly as Rei cunningly locates Ishida, only to learn that his current assistant has gone missing. A few improbable plot-twists ensue, but Massey, a former Evening Sun reporter, infuses the narrative with enough journalistic detail to make it compelling.
Laura Lippman (William Morrow)
Lippman's twelfth Tess Monaghan novel adds a twist to the Baltimore private eye's life—motherhood. Tess, like Lippman, is a new mother, and the realities of raising a child inject welcome doses of self-deprecating wit and sentient warmth into the proceedings, which revolve around a sensational case of infanticide and a mother's claim of post-partum psychosis. Lippman smartly eschews a good mom vs. bad mom plot in favor of a more nuanced puzzle that doesn't shy from the mysteries of parenthood.