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Here are some of the best new thrillers

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"The Bloodless Boy," by Robert J. Lloyd

Everything new is old again — rumor-mongering, disinformation campaigns, religious bigotry — in Robert J. Lloyd's nifty murder mystery loosely based on real events in Restoration England. In the winter of 1678-79, the bodies of three young boys wash up along a Thames tributary in London. Naturalist and inventor Robert Hooke, one of several real-life characters in the novel, is reluctant to investigate (anti-Catholic hysteria might be involved) but young Royal Society scientist Harry Hunt plunges in at the urging of the nice-guy king, Charles II. Lloyd provides lots of period detail, as when an enraged Earl of Shaftesbury breaks a man's nose with a copy of "Paradise Lost." (Melville House)

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"The Dark Hours," by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch, retired from the LAPD and feeling his age, is still eager to apply his controversial results-oriented approach to solving crimes by helping young, like-minded, to-hell-with-the-rules Detective Renee Ballard in the duo's fourth crackerjack police procedural. Demoralized by COVID and anti-police protests, most L.A. cops are dragging their feet on two investigations, one a brutal serial-rapist tag team, the other involving murder, extortion and — Connelly makes it plausible — a group of corrupt dentists. Ballard and Bosch are a great combination as they work in and around a police force that Ballard believes too often aims to "protect and serve the image instead of the citizens." (Little, Brown)

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"Hello, Transcriber," by Hannah Morrissey

In her moody, unsettling debut novel, Hannah Morrissey takes us inside the head of Hazel Greenlee, the high-speed transcriber of police reports in a high-crime Wisconsin town. Morrissey, a former police-report transcriber herself, understands the role well. Miserable with a gun-nut husband who once raised a bird so he could shoot it, Greenlee falls for Nikolai Kole, the muscular, aromatic detective investigating a series of opioid deaths among children. She's also drawn to Forge Bridge, the site of numerous suicides. Much of the novel's heightened suspense concerns which is more dangerously alluring for Greenlee: the sexy cop or the suicide bridge? (Minotaur)

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"The Night Will Be Long," by Santiago Gamboa

A teenage boy sitting in a tree is the lone witness to a bloody attack on an SUV convoy in the opening scene of Santiago Gamboa's 11th novel, a richly textured thriller about competing religious organizations in post-civil war Colombia. Julieta Lezama is the intrepid journalist with a serious gin and Sprite habit who helps the boy locate his ex-FARC-guerrilla mother at the same time she's investigating a succession of murders instigated by decidedly un-Christlike evangelicals. Among Gamboa's colorful cast of characters is prosecutor Edilson "Wildcat" Jutsinamuy, who reminds Lezama that "in this country, everything out of the ordinary turns out to be either a crime or a miracle." (Europa)

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"The Pledge," by Kathleen Kent

As a schoolgirl in Brooklyn, Betty Rhyzyk once grabbed the yardstick from Sister Mary Ignatius, the teacher who was about to spank her, and whacked the nun instead. Grown-up Betty is just as righteous and no less volatile as a Dallas police detective in this riveting tale, which pits the lesbian crime fighter against a psychopathic religious cult leader and drug dealer named Evangeline Roy. Rhyzyk is menaced by both Roy and Roy's business competitor, the cartel enforcer El Cuchillo. Both make threats against Rhyzyk and her partner, Jackie — some of which are carried out — that are Scandinavian in their goriness but with a uniquely Mexican flair (Mulholland)

 

 

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