The good reads continue:
Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Protagonist: Insp. Jimmy Perez
Setting: Shetland islands off Scotland
Comments: A teenaged girl is murdered, bringing up memories of a young girl who disappeared years earlier. The same woman finds both bodies, and then her own young daughter goes missing. Cleeves' slow-moving book draws you in, cleverly laying the clues while you are looking elsewhere. A wonderful sleight-of-hand, right up to the moment the killer is revealed. This is the first in four books that Cleeves is writing about the Shetland islands and Insp. Perez. The book isn't available in the U.S. right now, but worth buying through amazon.uk.
Under the Beetle's Cellar by Mary Willis Walker (on audio)
Protagonist: Journalist Mary Cates
Comments: A group of religious fanatics kidnaps 11 children and their bus driver, holding them hostage underground. As federal negotiators try to free them, journalist Molly Cates uncovers information about cult leader Samuel Mordecai that puts her right in the middle of the story. Suspenseful and very believable (almost painfully so, at times). This book was recommended without my having ever heard of Mary Willis Walker; now I'm sure to seek out her other books.
The Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell
Protagonists: Wexford and Burden
Setting: Kingsmarkham, England
Comments: Floods are threatening the town of Kingsmarkham, but Wexford has bigger problems when two teens and their sitter disappear over the weekend. You can never go wrong with Rendell. This is a slow-moving police procedural, but also a novel about families and relationships.
M is for Malice by Sue Grafton (audio)
Protagonist: Kinsey Millhone
Comments: Kinsey is asked to find a missing man. That she does quickly, but it only brings bad fortune. Her old boyfriend, Robert Dietz, returns. Will he stay this time? The book's mystery is well-plotted, but there was just a little bit of supernatural woo-woo thrown in -- which threw me off. Still, I have the next in her series lined up.