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Originally published Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 6:06 AM

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New in crime fiction: Waverly Curtis and Robert Ferrigno

April’s crime-fiction roundup features new work by local writers Waverly Curtis, Robert Ferrigno and Seattle native Lis Wiehl, as well as Portlander Phillip Margolin.

Special to The Seattle Times

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This month’s selection of crime fiction comes from writers with local connections — well, if Portland can be considered local.

Light as a feather and a whole lot of fun, Waverly Curtis’ “Chihuahua Confidential” (Kensington, 256 pp., $7.99 paperback) marks the return of private eye Geri Sullivan and her talking Chihuahua, Pepe.

And if you buy that setup, you’ll dig this book.

The author (actually Seattle writers Waverly Fitzgerald and Curt Colbert) place Pepe and Geri in Hollywood, ready to join the TV show Dancing with Dogs.

Along the way, Pepe (who speaks in melodramatic tones and tells outrageous whoppers) falls for a Pomeranian and helps Geri investigate the death of one of the show’s judges, a real meanie. Could this be a nod to a certain real-life program’s meanie judge?

Waverly Curtis will sign “Chihuahua Confidential” at noon April 27 at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 117 Cherry St., Seattle (206-587-5737,

With “The Girl Who Cried Wolf” ($4.99, available through Kobo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes), Kirkland writer Robert Ferrigno takes the plunge into publishing in e-book format only.

Ferrigno’s cast of characters, as always, is choice: A smooth-talking environmental terrorist who kidnaps a zillionaire’s daughter and hides her in a wilderness treehouse; two dopes he convinces to join him in the crime; and a rogue FBI agent with her own agenda.

But the kidnapped woman’s boyfriend is implacable in his mission to find her. Just as crucial is the fact that she turns out to be way more resourceful than her befuddled kidnappers expected. The result is a swift thriller and a wickedly funny satire of the more fuzzyheaded wing of the environmental movement.

“A Matter of Trust” (Thomas Nelson, 320 pp., $26.99) is a ruthlessly efficient page-turner, set in Seattle and written by Seattle native Lis Wiehl and Portlander April Henry. (Wiehl is a former federal prosecutor turned Fox News commentator, and Henry is a seasoned thriller writer.)

The book is loosely based on the real-life and still unsolved murder of federal prosecutor Thomas Wales, shot through the window of his Queen Anne home office.

In the book, federal prosecutor Mia Quinn is on the phone with her pal and colleague Colleen Miller — both are at home — when Miller is shot. Keeping the line open, Quinn calls 911 and races to her friend’s house, but too late.

Quinn is assigned to the case while simultaneously pursuing the circumstances of another death: a young man who has committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying. Quinn is also coping with a tough home life: she’s a recent widow with two kids.

Portlander Phillip Margolin’s legal thrillers are always enjoyably tense, and “Slight of Hand” (HarperCollins, 320 pp., $26.99) — despite its disappointingly thin characters — succeeds well in the ingenious plotting department.

Charles Benedict is a triple, if unlikely, threat: brilliant defense attorney, amateur magician, and hit man for a Russian gangster. (He’s no doubt an entertaining party guest.)

Benedict is forced by circumstances to frame a rich guy for his young wife’s death. Meanwhile, Dana Cutler, a private eye who has starred in previous Margolin books, is tracking down a priceless and remarkably elusive relic. I’m giving nothing away to say that the two plots have a sinister connection.

Phillip Margolin will sign “Slight of Hand” at noon Monday April 15 at Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

Adam Woog’s column on crime and mystery fiction appears on the second Sunday of the month in The Seattle Times.

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