Cold Wind by C. J. Box
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must try to prove that his despised mother-in-law, Missy Alden, isn't guilty of murdering Earl Alden, her fifth husband, in Box's searing 11th Joe Pickett novel (after Nowhere to Run). Pickett's gruesome discovery of Alden's body is followed almost immediately by the stage-managed arrest of Missy by Sheriff Kyle McLanahan. Both Missy and Earl have done plenty to earn the enmity of their neighbors, so Missy's arrest benefits McLanahan's bid for re-election, but Pickett is surprised to find county attorney Lisa Rich already convinced the case is solid. Pickett could use the help of his friend Nate Romanowski, but they are on the outs. Meanwhile, Romanowski, hunted by the widow of a man he killed, finds his withdrawal from the world has endangered others. Box parlays a heady mix of Wyoming politics and the advent of wind power into a deadly brew. This engaging series just keeps getting better with each new entry.
Executive Intent by Dale Brown
The Chinese and Russian heads of state collaborate, using deception and sabotage to jeopardize the successful U.S. military facilities on the sea and in space. Recurring characters from Brown's previous books play major roles in both thrilling military operations and tense political confrontations.
Scones & Bones by Laura Childs
Charleston tourist notes enhance Childs's charming 12th tea-themed cozy featuring Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the city's Indigo Tea Shop (after 2010's The Teaberry Strangler). During the Heritage Society's Pirates and Plunder show, someone steals a diamond-embedded skull cup possibly fashioned from the skull of pirate Edward Teach (aka Blackbeard) right beneath the noses of Theo and Drayton Conneley, Theo's master tea blender. Even worse, the robber fatally stabs college kid Rob Commers, the society's history intern, and assaults Camilla Hodges, the society's office manager. While plucky Theo, her faithful shop employees, and CPD's Det. Burt Tidwell chase a nasty killer, Theo feels romantically torn between her boyfriend, chef Parker Scully, and an attractive newcomer, Max Scofield, a local museum's PR director. As usual, everyone finds time for abundant tea breaks. Tempting recipes include creamy dreamy parfait and lemon chess pie.
Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader
Bestseller Lustbader's wordy sequel to First Daughter takes dyslexic Jack McClure, former ATF agent and now adviser to recently elected U.S. president Edward Carson, to Moscow, where Carson is negotiating an important treaty with Russian president Yukin. When minority whip Sen. Lloyd Berns dies in a mysterious hit-and-run accident on Capri, the president asks Jack to investigate. Accompanied by Annika, a beautiful Federal Security Bureau agent who's part of a complicated Russian trap, and Alli, Carson's 22-year-old daughter whom Jack saved from a bad guy in the previous book, Jack travels to Ukraine, where Berns was supposed to be on a fact-finding tour. In Kiev, Jack finds a secret agency called Trinadtsat, a shadowy group of Russian oligarchs, and plenty of trouble, including a retired American general out to have him killed. Lustbader fritters away many pages with Jack's navel-gazing, time that could have been better spent in gunfights and derring-do.