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BERGER & MITRY MYSTERIES

10. THE COAL BLACK ASPHALT TOMB
St. Martin's Minotaur
The Coal Black Asphalt Tomb Now Available!

The mismatched romantic crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry are forced to go smack up against historic Dorset's blood-blooded aristocracy when the body of a hometown hero who disappeared more than 40 years ago is discovered buried underneath Dorset Street. The body belongs to U.S. Navy Lt. Lance Paffin, former First Selectman Bob Paffin's dashing older brother. It seems that Lance been down there this whole time. It also seems that he was murdered. It's up to Mitch and Des to figure what really happened to him. And why. And just exactly how it's possible that the truth has stayed a secret in this tranquil, picture postcard New England village for so long.

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9. THE SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE
St. Martin's Minotaur
The Snow White Christmas Cookie

This newest adventure featuring the mismatched crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry presents Des with her first real taste of Christmas in the historic New England village of Dorset. Three blizzards have blanketed Dorset in 40 inches of snow. And a grinch is stealing the mail from the Historic District. Except it's no grinch. It's a black market prescription drug ring that has ties to organized crime. And now a fourth blizzard is on its way. And so is murder.

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8. THE BLOOD RED INDIAN SUMMER
St. Martin's Minotaur
The Blood Red Indian Summer
This newest adventure featuring the mismatched crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry presents Des with her first genuine racially charged case in the historic New England village of Dorset, the gem of Connecticut's Gold Coast. Mitch, meanwhile, is about to experience his own close encounter of the first kind. His retired parents are on their way up from Vero Beach to meet the new woman of color in their nice Jewish boy's life. Not to mention her steely father.

Otherwise, life is pretty normal in Yankee Eden.

It's that rarest of seasons in Dorset—Indian Summer. After a cold, stormy September the month of October has turned so freakishly warm that it's hard to believe it's football season. And what a strange football season this is for Tyrone "Da Beast" Grantham, the famously volatile superstar linebacker who has been wreaking havoc on the gridiron every October since he was a 15-year-old kid back in the mean streets of Compton, California. A six-feet-four, 240-pound hit-seeking missile, Da Beast is the most dominant, fearsome middle linebacker in the NFL. He is also one of the league's worst citizens. The NFL commissioner has had to ban him from league play this season due to "conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the league." Da Beast has been ordered to go somewhere peaceful and get it together. Trouble is he and his entourage have chosen to get it together in an $8 million waterfront estate in Dorset, where life is about to become anything but peaceful.

"Handler's blend of suspenseful plot, skillful telling, and occasional splashes of comic relief add up to a heady cocktail of prime crime."
   —Publishers Weekly

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7. THE SHIMMERING BLOND SISTER
St. Martin's Minotaur The Shimmering Blond Sister

Police officer Desiree Mitry is under a huge amount of pressure to catch the Dorset Flasher, who has been terrorizing the wealthy dowagers of the Dorset Historic District every weekend. She becomes convinced that her man is Augie Donatelli. After the two have engaged in heated public quarrels, Augie turns up dead. Now Des will need Mitch Berger's help proving she wasn't the killer.

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6. THE SOUR CHERRY SURPRISE
St. Martin's Minotaur The Sour Cherry Surprise

Something has gone very wrong on bucolic Sour Cherry Lane. A straight-arrow high school student has started throwing wild sex parties. The distinguished history professor across the lane has gone missing. His estranged wife, a popular author of children's books, is strung out on crystal meth. And the new man in her life is under surveillance by a joint federal and state drug task force.

It's not exactly a day in Yankee paradise for Desiree Mitry, the alluring resident trooper of Dorset, Connecticut. Especially when you throw in those unwelcome fainting spells she's been having ever since she broke it off with pudgy New York film critic Mitch Berger and took up again with her ex-husband, U.S. Attorney Brandon Stokes.

Mitch has moved on with his life. Said goodbye to Dorset and hello to a new high-profile television career. Not to mention a newly slimmed down and styled self. Des is completely out of his system. Or so Mitch thinks.

Des, meanwhile, is furious to discover that a major drug cartel has been operating in Dorset right under her nose. And even more furious when she finds out that the task force has been working closely with none other than her very own Brandon Stokes, who hasn't told her one word about it. When Des confronts Brandon she is told—ordered—to keep clear of the entire operation.

Not surprisingly, Resident Trooper Des Mitry will not be told what to do in her own town. Not by an ex-husband who is starting to show his true colors again. Especially when one of those troubled Sour Cherry Lane residents turns up dead. Des will pursue this case her way. The only problem is that her way gets her in way too deep. And there's only person who can possibly get her out.

The question isn't whether Mitch will ride to her rescue. Of course he will, whitened smile and all. The question is whether the two of them will live to tell about it.

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5. THE SWEET GOLDEN PARACHUTE
St. Martin's Minotaur The Sweet Golden Parachute

A storm is brewing in Dorset.

Poochie Vickers, the local aristocrat, is becoming even more eccentric in her old age. She's taken up shoplifting and reckless driving but refuses to see a doctor. Her worrisome daughter, Claudia, is angling to take over the family fortune, which makes some of the would-be beneficiaries uneasy. Two of Dorset's biggest troublemakers are being released from prison. And the bad blood between these two families, rich on the one hand, swamp Yankee on the other, could come to a boiling point: Two young people from the families are dating, to no one's delight but their own.

Someone is bound to snap, and someone does, resulting in the brutal murder of a harmless and homeless man who went about town collecting recyclables.

While Des is trying to track down the murderer, she's also trying to wrap her head around the idea of marrying Mitch. When so many things are going wrong, loving someone seems like a big risk.

Handler's fifth novel in this charming and edgy series displays his deftness in creating memorable, distinctive characters and for crafting uniquely entertaining mysteries.

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4. THE BURNT ORANGE SUNRISE
St. Martin's Minotaur The Burnt Orange Sunrise

Everyone from Hollywood heavy hitters and supermodels to rap music stars and high-profile athletes are invited to a party to honor legendary film director Ada Geiger at the faux Castle her husband built for her in Dorset, Connecticut. This is just the kind of event Mitch Berger hates even though he idolizes Ada and credits her for inspiring him to become a film critic. It's too late for him to cancel. But Mitch gets a lucky break when a snowstorm hits.

One by one, the regrets come flowing in. The gathering is pared down to just a few people: Ada's son and his wife up from New York, the Castle's caretaker and her brother Les, Mitch and his beautiful police officer lover, Des Mitry, and a few others. It's the snowiest winter anyone under the age of ninety can remember in Dorset with six more inches falling every three days, stranding the guests at the Castle. But any romantic notions that may have crossed Mitch's mind are dashed when one by one the people at The Castle are killed off. Delving into the investigation, Des and Mitch are faced with their toughest case yet—one that might leave both of them dead...

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3. THE BRIGHT SILVER STAR
St. Martin's Minotaur The Bright Silver Star

It's the peak of the tourist season on the beautiful Connecticut gold coast. But this is no ordinary July for the picture-perfect village of Dorset—or for transplanted New York film critic Mitch Berger and his alluring love, Resident State Trooper Desiree Mitry. When famous, and combustible, movie star Tito Molino plunges to his death from a cliff just outside town, Des's investigation—along with a ravenous celebrity press corps and gawkers by the thousands—threatens to reveal secrets too terrible to imagine. But just when things seem to be at their worst, Mitch and Des's close friends are suddenly implicated in the case, and suspicion falls even on Mitch himself...

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2. THE HOT PINK FARMHOUSE
St. Martin's Minotaur The Hot Pink Farmhouse

So much for the peace and quiet New York film critic Mitch Berger expected to find in his antique carriage house overlooking Long Island Sound. Nothing can shelter him from the goings-on in nearby Dorset. A violent death in a speeding Porsche...an attempted suicide by the school superintendent...and dirty politics are about to propel Mitch out of the shadows into a starring role. And then there's his new love, resident state trooper Desiree Mitry...

Des has transferred out of her position as the highest-ranking black woman in the state police homicide department to give more time to the art for which she has a sure talent. But as she soon learns, Dorset's bucolic exterior hides some ugly secrets. The femme fatale daughter of a famous local sculptor is killed in a car explosion that makes tabloid headlines. Now Des is on the case, saddled with a pushy former colleague, and reaching out to Mitch for an extra pair of eyes—and arms—in a case that threatens to tear the town apart...

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1. THE COLD BLUE BLOOD
St. Martin's Minotaur The Cold Blue Blood

Mitch Berger, a top film critic with a major New York newspaper at a surprisingly young age, has become almost a recluse since his wife died one year ago. He spends his time secluded in his apartment or in the dark recesses of a screening room. Although he continues to dazzle moviegoers and the film elite with his criticisms, his editor and good friend is alarmed about him. As a scheme to pull him out of the doldrums of his grief, she gives him a non-film assignment—to do a color story on the wealthy and social homeowners on Connecticut's Gold Coast. It takes some doing, but in the end Mitch agrees.

He is fortunate to find a cottage to rent on Big Sister, the absolute top-of-the-line private island outside the town of Dorset. His landlady, Dolly, is pleasant and friendly, but some of the other inhabitants of this small piece of land, although too well bred to come right out and say it, are not happy to have Mitch, born of parents only one generation away from Eastern Europe and raised on the city's pavements, arrive in their back yard. But Dolly, whose husband has recently left her, needs the money, and at least she is more than gracious.

The discovery of a body during a bout of optimistic gardening in Dolly's back yard brings on the other main player—Lieutenant Desiree Mitry, one of only three women on the Connecticut State Police major crimes squad, the youngest of the three, and the only black. A dedicated officer, she is the terror of everyone who doesn't really want to give a home to one of her stray cats. She is, as well, a closet artist and a complicated and beautiful woman, and she intrigues Mitch from the start.

"The beginning of what looks to be a swell series."
   —Susan Isaacs

"A true delight. Chock-full of wry observations and propelled by a compelling plot."
   —Jeffery Deaver

"Handler has created an engaging odd couple, whose further adventures promise to win the same strong following as his Stewart Hoag series."
   —Publishers Weekly


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