Books: Going Beyond Brand Names

Some superb new mysteries from lesser-known writers

One almost infallible measure of the true mystery buff is that when asked to cite his favorite current author, he will respond with some name the general public would never recognize. To the obsessive fan, the big story is rarely the arrival of a new Elmore Leonard or Ed McBain or Dick Francis -- although, as it happens, each of those established commercial writers has a new book out at the moment, all of middling quality. The main event is more likely to be, say, a new Simon Brett or Stuart M. Kaminsky, a new Jonathan Valin or Michael Allegretto. These...

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