Suggested Reading List
DAZZLED: A Nikki Easton Mystery
Author: Maxine Nunes
Description: Nikki Easton, who'd once been a teenage runaway, is struggling to build a career in acting when a single event--the disappearance of her closest friend Darla Ward--draws her into a world more perilous than the life she had escaped. During a late summer L.A. heat wave, four people are murdered in the Hollywood Hills, and Darla might be one of the victims. Nikki is no stranger to life's brutality, but she has never seen anything like the battered girl on the gurney at the morgue. Could this face, so bruised it looks barely human, really be Darla, a talented beauty on the verge of stardom? In her relentless search for the truth, Nikki discovers the hidden side of her friend's life, laying bare secrets buried before Darla was born, and uncovering widening layers of corruption that reach far beyond the film world to the highest levels of government.
"Nothing is as it seems in Dazzled, Maxine Nunes' dark and vivid tale about the underside of the Hollywood dream. Surprising and sizzling." --Dianne Emley, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Love Kills
The Stratford Conspiracy: An Amelia Watson Mystery
Author: Michael Mallory
Description: The Second Mrs. Watson is back on the case! This time the intrepid Amelia Watson finds herself in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, seeking to help the sister of a lifelong friend with a family crisis. Before long, she, her trouble-prone chum Harry Benbow, and new acquaintance, a neophyte Canadian detective, all become enmeshed in a web of intrigue centering on shocking evidence proclaiming that Queen Elizabeth I was William Shakespeare! The adventure begins with the murder of an American Shakespearean scholar in London, and travels all the way to William Shakespeare’s grave in an ancient church on the banks of the gently-flowing Avon. In the process, Amelia is forced to admit that she may finally have taken on a case that is too puzzling and too deadly for her to solve; and worse, that she may become the next victim of the ruthless murderer that is stalking Stratford.
Author: Diana Gould
Description: Brett Tanager is the writer/producer of a hit TV detective show until the mistakes of one dreadful night send her life skidding out of control into a downward spiral that takes her job, family, savings and self-respect. At her lowest ebb she is approached by Julia, her sixteen-year-old former stepdaughter whose best friend Caleigh has disappeared. It seems Julia's classmates, young daughters of Hollywood's elite, were "partying" with high rollers for a thousand bucks a night, and now Caleigh is missing, her parents are lying, and Julia is terrified. But not as terrified as Brett when Caleigh's naked corpse turns up and Julia goes missing. Brett's attempt to find Julia plunges her into a dark, disturbing journey through moneyed Hollywood and its sinister undersides. Now she must find resources other than drink to overcome her fears, as she is pitted against the cunning of a ruthless killer, and a web of deceit in which the darkest secrets may be her own.
Strawberry Yellow (A Mas Arai Mystery)
Author: Naomi Hirahara
Description: Watsonville, California, is not only a mecca for strawberry growers, but also the birthplace of Japanese American Mas Arai, who returns in another entry in this quietly entertaining mystery series. The curmudgeonly septuagenarian journeys to Watsonville to attend the funeral of his cousin Shug, part of a group of youths with whom Mas lived when he returned to America after the bombing of Hiroshima. In the ensuing years, cousin Shug had become a renowned strawberry breeder and was poised to introduce a new blight-resistant berry, curiously named after Mas himself. With competition among local breeders running high, could Shug’s death be murder? And why, after all these years apart and all his success, would Shug name his revolutionay fruit after a very “unspectacular” L.A. gardener? Mas, less an amateur detective than a cranky, accidental one, is what makes the story work. His obdurance, his skill as a listener, and even his broken English are charming in a quirky, uncomplicated way that makes up for a perhaps less dramatic tale than the previous series entries. --Stephanie Zvirin for BOOKLIST
What She Saw (Forensic Handwriting Mysteries)
Author: Sheila Lowe
Description: This novel of psychological suspense follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia, where no one is who or what they appear to be. In What She Saw, Claudia Rose, Zebediah Gold, and Joel Jovanic of Sheila Lowe's equally captivating Forensic Handwriting Mystery series play an important role in unraveling the web of mystery.
Author: Sue Grafton
Description: The mystery, like other stories, relies on believable characters, a strong narrative, and crisp prose. But it is also "a way of examining the dark side of human nature," says Writing Mysteries editor Sue Grafton. The book's 37 contributors ponder everything from brainstorming ideas to dealing with editors. Jeremiah Healy jump-starts the book with a piece that considers the unwritten "rules" of mystery writing. Stuart Kaminsky discusses research--experts, it turns out, are just waiting for you to contact them--and Sandra Scoppettone discusses vivid villains. Sara Paretsky contemplates the pitfalls of using a recurring hero, and Michael Connelly contributes a fine piece on characterization. "The best crime novels," Connelly says, "are not about how a detective works on a case; they are about how a case works on a detective." Other chapters focus on amateur sleuths, convincing dialogue, depiction of violence, and specialty genres. The book's short chapters form a sort of mystery writer's antipasti plate. Some won't resonate, while others will leave you wishing you had a larger serving. An ideal primer for mystery writers. --Jane Steinberg
Crime Scene Evidence Photographer's Guide, 2nd ed.
Author: Steven Staggs
Description: The Crime Scene and Evidence Photographer's Guide, 2nd Edition is designed to be a field reference for those responsible for photography at the crime scene. It may be used by law enforcement officers, investigators, and crime scene technicians. It contains instructions for photographing a variety of crimes scenes and various types of evidence. It is a valuable reference tool when combined with training and experience. The Crime Scene and Evidence Photographer's Guide is also a helpful resource for students and others interested in entering into the field of crime scene investigation.