Tactical Advantage by Julie Miller. Published by Harlequin

After criminologist Annie Herman is attacked on the job Detective Nick Fenalson vows to do whatever he can to keep her safe, even if it means becoming her personal bodyguard. Annie doesn’t like being fussed over, but she has to admit she is enjoying Nick’s attention. When Annie finds evidence that could convict a killer, Nick knows he will sacrifice his own life to keep her safe.

Great police procedural/romance. Recommended for readers of both genres and fans of CSI

Picture Perfect Corpse by Joanna Campbell. Published by Midnight Ink

In the latest Kiki Lowenstein mystery, Kiki is healing from her encounter with the man who planned her husband’s murder. He is dead, Kiki is recovering from a small head wound, but luckily her baby is just fine. Detective Chad Detweiler is thrilled about his impending fatherhood, but then Brenda Detweiler is found dead, shot to death with a bullet from her husband’s gun.

A highly enjoyable cozy mystery with likeable characters and an entertaining mystery

Brush with Death by Karen MacInerney. Published by Midnight Ink

In this return to the Gray Whale Inn on Maine’s Cranberry Island, inn owner Natasha Barnes is looking forward to an upcoming art exhibition as well as a visit from a prominent artist. Natalie’s niece Gwen is thrilled but nervous as some of her own work will be displayed. Natalie has worries of her own – the arrival her future mother-in-law and the potential loss of her inn due to foreclosure. Then Gwen’s mentor turns up dead…. is there a rival artist to blame?

The Gray Whale Inn series is always a delight. Natalie and her inn are as warm and cozy as a hot cup of tea

The Flower of Empire by Tatiana Holway. Published by Oxford University Press

A love of all things natural was a hallmark of the Victorian era and in 1837 when naturalist Robert Schomburgk discovered a huge and beautiful lily in Guiana, it was no surprise that Europeans were clamoring for a lily to call their own. In England, the lily was named Victoria Regia, after the new queen. Flower of  Empire is a fascinating look at the scientists, wealthy collectors and rulers during this golden age of science.

Die Easy by Zoe Sharp. Published by Pegasus

New Orleans bodyguard Charlie Fox is not having much luck lately. Her lover and fellow bodyguard Sean Meyer has just awoken from a gun shot induced coma. He seems to remember plenty about the security business, but almost nothing about their intimate relationship. And when a robbery turns into a hostage situation, it turns about the hostage takers have a bone to pick with Sean – problem is, he doesn’t remember what it is.

Charlie is a refreshing change from standard heroines who need a man to keep them safe and out of trouble. She can take care of herself, thank you very much. Add the faded decay of New Orleans and this book is a winner

Crime of Privilege by Walter Walker. Published by Random House

George Beckett is a young lawyer for the D.A.’s office in Cape Cod. His job is comfortable, pays well and allows him to socialize with the Cape’s elite. But when George gets a visit from the father of a young woman who was found murdered at at tony golf club years before, he realizes he may have gotten a little too comfortable. No one has ever been charged with the young woman’s murder, although there was evidence that was never fully examined. With the father pleading for answers, George sets out to find them. As he travels around the country, contacting people he thought were friends, he finds himself stonewalled. It seems  quite a few of his friends are a little too comfortable as well, but they have no intentions of giving up their lifestyle for something as mundane as the truth

A remarkable novel. The story of  a man who sold his soul and is now looking for redemption – even if it means losing his life in the process

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher. Published by Grand Central

Author Rod Dreher’s sister has been diagnosed with a fast moving type of cancer at just 40 years of age.  Residents of the town rally around Ruthie, a beloved school teacher, and Ruthie herself seems to accept her fate with a grace and calmness that astounds her brother. After his sister’s death, Dreher makes the decision to move his wife and three daughters back to St. Francisville, so they too can become a part of this amazing community.

An incredibly touching story that highlights how tightly knit, small communities rally around their own. Any one who lives in a small town will see the similarities to their own community and readers who live in cities may well contemplate a move.