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Mysteries Released In Time For Holidays

Sat., Dec. 13, 1997, midnight

Novelists James Patterson and Jonathan Kellerman each write a series of popular thrillers featuring a crime-solving psychologist.

And each writer has just added a new novel to his series.

Patterson’s “Cat & Mouse” (Little, Brown) offers another case for Washington, D.C., psychologist Alex Cross. Meanwhile, in California, Dr. Alex Delaware analyzes a 12th mystery in Kellerman’s “Survival of the Fittest” (Bantam).

Cross is trying to figure out the next move of a madman planning to wreak havoc on rail commuters in Washington and New York.

Delaware’s case involves the murder of a diplomat’s teenage daughter on a school field trip to the Santa Monica Mountains.

Both books are among new hardcover volumes of mystery and suspense fiction that also include works by Dorothy Uhnak, Walter Mosley, Emma Lathen and Joan Hess, among others.

Uhnak ends a 10-year absence from the crime-fiction scene with “Codes of Betrayal” (St. Martin’s). It’s about a New York police officer torn between duty and family loyalty when a relative is involved in the murder of his teenage son.

In “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned” (Norton), Easy Rawlins series creator Mosley introduces a new hero: Socrates Fortlow, ex-con living a simple life in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The novel unfolds in a series of stories in which Fortlow explores philosophical questions of morality in a world of crime, poverty and racism.

Wall Street banker John Putnam Thatcher travels to Gdansk, Poland, for his 23rd case. In “A Shark Out of Water” (St. Martin’s) by Lathen, Thatcher smells an investment opportunity in the possible rebuilding of the Keil Canal, but is soon trying to sniff out a murderer instead.

In “A Holly, Jolly Murder” (Dutton), Hess provides a 12th case for Arkansas bookseller-sleuth Claire Malloy. As Christmas nears, a depressed Claire attends a Druid celebration of the winter solstice, during which their wealthy benefactor is murdered.

After a double cross leaves professional killer Jake Nacht paralyzed, he consults a physician whose experimental therapy might make Jake walk again - and might also create dangerous consequences for Jake’s enemies, in “Nightkill” (Forge) by F. Paul Wilson and Steve Lyon.

Lynda La Plante brings back Lorraine Paige, a former police lieutenant with a troubled past, in “Cold Blood” (Random House). Private eye Paige investigates the disappearance of a teen whose parents are offering $1 million for her return - dead or alive.

The third Lee Ofsted mystery has the pro golfer looking for a killer, in “Nasty Breaks” (Mysterious) by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins. While Lee is in Rhode Island teaching golf to salvage company workers on Block Island, the company’s owner is murdered and there is a botched attempt to kidnap his wife.

“Irresistible Impulse” (Dutton) by Robert K. Tanenbaum is the ninth legal thriller for Butch Karp of the New York City district attorney’s office. Karp prepares to prosecute a killer who preyed on the elderly while Karp’s private eye wife, Marlene, is after the stalker of a concert cellist.

“Spenser” creator Robert B. Parker selected “The Best American Mystery Stories 1997” (Houghton Mifflin). This first in a proposed series contains 20 stories, including “The Mask” by Pat Jordan, “Will You Always Love Me?” by Joyce Carol Oates, and “Karen Makes Out” by Elmore Leonard.

And in “Cat Crimes for the Holidays” (Donald I. Fine), Martin H. Greenberg et al. have selected 19 new tales about cats in holiday capers: from an Arbor Day story by Nancy Pickard to “The Easter Cat” by Bill Crider.

Other choices:

“Sandman” (Soho) by J. Robert Janes. A serial killer targets schoolgirls in Nazi-occupied Paris.

“The Body in the Fjord” (Morrow) by Katherine Hall Page. A woman stumbles onto murder while in Norway investigating a friend’s disappearance.

“Black and Blue” (St. Martin’s) by Ian Rankin. A Glasgow detective searches for a killer whose crimes mimic those of an uncaught killer from decades past.

“What Mommy Said” (St. Martin’s) by H. Paul Jeffers. In a near-death experience, a boy’s mother tells him that her recent death was murder, not suicide.

“Bluefin Blues” (St. Martin’s) by Paul Kemprecos. A Japanese tuna buyer in Cape Cod is murdered with a harpoon.

“The Cleveland Local” (St. Martin’s) by Les Roberts. A famous lawyer urges a private eye to stop investigating his son’s mysterious death.

“Sleeping With the Crawfish” (St. Martin’s) by D.J. Donaldson. A cadaver seems to be that of a Louisiana convict, whom prison officials insist is alive and in his cell.

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