Hut's Place
 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

November 19, 2017

What a Thrill - Three New Mysteries From Three Old Pros
The Midnight Line by Lee Child. There have been a slew of 'lone hero' thrillers published over the past couple of years, featuring men combining strong physical skills with a streak of both morality and revenge who fight to right wrongs perpetrated on the disenfranchised. Some are better than others, but none of them match the leader of the pack, Lee Child's iconic Jack Reacher. He's the ultimate loner, given that he doesn't actually live anywhere and only packs a toothbrush when he's on the road (which is all the time when you don't have a home address). But I've always thought that what makes Reacher so interesting is his equal mix of brawn and brains. He loves a good fight, preferably with more than two opponents, but his brain power is equally impressive.  
In this, the 22nd installment, Reacher's curiosity is piqued when he sees a female cadet's West Point class ring in a pawn shop window in a small Wisconsin town. Why would a cadet give up such a cherished item? As you might expect, the search for that answer leads Reacher off on one of his inimitable adventures in which he takes on powerful forces guarding a vast criminal enterprise. Child is always dependable, and the Midnight Line proves an enjoyable addition to this still-the-best franchise.
Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch, Connelly's longtime LA police detective, left the force a couple of books back, but once a policeman... Bosch is now working as a volunteer on cold cases for the San Fernando police and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been  murdered. Bosch and the town's three-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous big-business world of prescription drug abuse. At the same time, an old case from Bosch's LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him and seems to have new evidence to prove it. And because Bosch exited the squad on not the best of terms, his former colleagues aren't too keen to help out. Happily, Harry hasn't burned all his LAPD bridges, and Connelly also cleverly inserts half-brother Mickey Haller (made famous by the author in The Lincoln Lawyer) into the fray.  
The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith. Another long-running series (number 18, if you're counting), The No. 1 Ladies' Detectiv e Agency, checks in with a new mystery featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe, the owner and chief detective in the agency located in Botswana, and her (ov er) eager assistant Grace Makutsi. This time, the pair is investigating the firin g of a  store clerk who may have gotten a raw deal. Never one to let an act of injustice go unanswered, Precious begins to investigate, but soon discovers unexpected information that causes her to reappraise her views about the increasingly puzzling case. To further muddy the waters, her abusive ex-husband has shows up in town, apparently to seek her out. And McCall Smith also trots out recurring bad girl Violet Sephotho to stir things up as well. 
This is not a book for readers who are new to the series - it's definitely written more for fans of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. If you are one of those, you'll enjoy being led down the mystery road with the familiar characters, along with the slices of modern-day life in Botswana that McCall Smith provides.   
Author of The Martian Sets Cool New Thriller on the Moon 
Artemis by Andy Weir. Is there anyone who didn't either read The Martian or see the movie starring Matt Damon? Software engineer-turned-author Weir proved himself a deft and entertaining writer in creating a  believ
able scenario about a stranded astronau t surviving on Mars until a rescue attempt could be made. With his second book, Weir h eads back into space with his imagination and sense of humor intact in this heist story set on the moon. Here's a brief description: 
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she's stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself -- and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

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Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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