Monday, 25 April 2022

This month has been the month of awards with the Edgar, Agatha, Lefties and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize announced.

Here are the honorees to date. We will up date the list as more awards are announced.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.
The winners are listed first, in bold type, with ** in front of title
THE AGATHA AWARDS
(The Agatha Award winners were announced on April 23, 2022, during the Malice Domestic conference)
Best Contemporary Novel
**Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Watch Her by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books)

Best Historical Novel
**Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins)
Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
The Devil's Music by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best First Novel
**Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
The Turncoat's Widow by Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
A Dead Man's Eyes by Lori Duffy Foster (Level Best Books)
Murder in the Master by Judy L. Murray (Level Best Books)
Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Short Story
**"Bay of Reckoning" by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
"A Family Matter" by Barb Goffman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2021)
"A Tale of Two Sisters" by Barb Goffman in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
"Doc's at Midnight" by Richie Narvaez in Midnight Hour (Crooked Lane Books)
"The Locked Room Library" by Gigi Pandian (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July/Aug 2021)

Best Non-Fiction
**How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)
The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice by Jan Brogan (Bright Leaf Press)
Murder Most Grotesque: The Comedic Crime Fiction of Joyce Porter by Chris Chan (Level Best Books)
The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanaugh (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Best Children's/YA Mystery
**I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)
Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Fiewel and Friends/Macmillan)
Leisha's Song by Lynn Slaughter (Fire and Ice/Melange Books)
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)


LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE

Mystery/Thriller category
Awarded April 22, 2022 during the L.A. Times Books Festival
(Note: This category judged by Paula L. Wood, Alex Segura and Oline H. Cogdill)
**The Turnout by Megan Abbott (Putnam)
The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron)
The Collective, by Alison Gaylin (Morrow)
Velvet Was the Night, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)


THE LEFTIES
The Lefties were announced April 9 during the Left Coast Crime Conference in Albuquerque 2022 Lefty Awards: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
(winner) Raquel V. Reyes, Mango, Mambo, and Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Ellen Byron, Cajun Kiss of Death (Crooked Lane Books)
Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code (Berkley Prime Crime)
Elle Cosimano, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Minotaur Books)
Cynthia Kuhn, How To Book a Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Wendall Thomas, Fogged Off (Beyond the Page Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970
(winner) Naomi Hirahara, Clark and Division (Soho Crime)
Susanna Calkins, The Cry of the Hangman (Severn House)
John Copenhaver, The Savage Kind (Pegasus Crime)
Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince (Soho Crime)
Catriona McPherson, The Mirror Dance (Hodder & Stoughton)
Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway (William Morrow)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
(winner) Wanda M. Morris, All Her Little Secrets (William Morrow)
Alexandra Andrews, Who Is Maud Dixon (Little, Brown and Company)
Marco Carocari, Blackout (Level Best Books)
Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl (Atria Books)
Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo (Berkley Prime Crime)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
(winner) William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike (Atria Books)
Tracy Clark, Runner (Kensington Books)
S.A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears (Flatiron Press)
Matt Coyle, Last Redemption (Oceanview Publishing)
P.J. Vernon, Bath Haus (Doubleday)

2022 Malice, L.A. Times, and Lefty Winners Announced
Oline H Cogdill
malice-l-a-times-lefty-winners
Friday, 15 April 2022

Among the many things we have all missed during the past two pandemic years are in-person mystery conferences.

As Joni Mitchell said, “Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.”

And we have missed those in-person mystery conferences like crazy.

I give many compliments to the organizers of these conferences who converted them to zoom events.

These online events have kept us together, promoted books, engaged readers and continued our sense of community.

Zoom conferences serve a purpose, and I think we will move forward with a kind of hybrid.

For example, Mystery Writers of America’s current online Edgar Award symposium is a brilliant way to connect with readers from across the country. (Details on the MWA site.) Full disclosure, I will be conducting the interview with Grand Master Laurie R. King, Raven honoree Lesa Holstine and Ellery Queen honoree Juliet Grames on April 26.

The Edgar Awards banquet will be in person. YAY!

How much I’ve been missing attending these in-person conferences was brought home to me—and others—last week at Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque.

I was at the infamous San Diego Left Coast Crime in 2020 that was shut down after the first day as the pandemic was taking hold.

I had been asked to moderate four panels as many people were starting to cancel.

I moderated one panel, went up to my room, and came down to be told the conference was shut down. At first, I thought they meant the opening party. Oh no, the entire conference.


While those of us there were sad, my heart went out to the organizers and volunteers who had put their hearts and soul and years of time trying to make a terrific conference.

Perhaps that is why Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque was even more special.

It seemed as if everyone was pulling for this conference.

Everyone seemed to be so happy to be at an in-person conference—a sentiment I recited about 100,000 times.

The panels were terrific and were packed. Many standing room only. It was as if each attendee was trying to wring every moment out of the conference.

So special thanks to Lucinda Surber and Stan Ulrich and all their wonderful volunteers.

Each novel nominated for the Leftie awards were so deserving.

2022 Lefty Awards: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
(winner) Raquel V. Reyes, Mango, Mambo, and Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Ellen Byron, Cajun Kiss of Death (Crooked Lane Books)
Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code (Berkley Prime Crime)
Elle Cosimano, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Minotaur Books)
Cynthia Kuhn, How To Book a Murder (Crooked Lane Books)
Wendall Thomas, Fogged Off (Beyond the Page Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970
(winner) Naomi Hirahara, Clark and Division (Soho Crime)
Susanna Calkins, The Cry of the Hangman (Severn House)
John Copenhaver, The Savage Kind (Pegasus Crime)
Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince (Soho Crime)
Catriona McPherson, The Mirror Dance (Hodder & Stoughton)
Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway (William Morrow)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
(winner) Wanda M. Morris, All Her Little Secrets (William Morrow)
Alexandra Andrews, Who Is Maud Dixon (Little, Brown and Company)
Marco Carocari, Blackout (Level Best Books)
Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl (Atria Books)
Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo (Berkley Prime Crime)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
(winner) William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike (Atria Books)
Tracy Clark, Runner (Kensington Books)
S.A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears (Flatiron Press)
Matt Coyle, Last Redemption (Oceanview Publishing)
P.J. Vernon, Bath Haus (Doubleday)

Albuquerque was my first full Left Coast Crime, but it won’t be my last.

In 2023, Left Coast will be in Tucson, Arizona, March 16–19, 2023.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to Bouchercon.

Compliments to Left Coast Crime
Oline H Cogdill
compliments-to-left-coast-crime
Tuesday, 08 February 2022

Yes! Finally! It’s about time!

Fans of Lee Child’s venerable series about Jack Reacher, the former military officer turned roaming loner, will find much to like in the eight-part TV series Reacher now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

And that starts with Alan Ritchson making a formidable presence as Jack Reacher, the decorated major in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps and now self-proclaimed “hobo.”

Yes, Ritchson is tall, very tall, clocking in at six-foot, two-inches, only slightly shorter than how Child’s novels describe Reacher as six-foot, five-inches. But what’s a few inches among friends?

Ritchson is certainly taller than the five-foot, seven-inch Tom Cruise, who attempted to portray the character in the films Jack Reacher (2012) and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016).

Much is made of Ritchson’s size in Reacher—almost every character makes a comment about his height.

And Ritchson also is big, very big with massive arms and chest—much is made of this also with, again, almost every character mentioning his size, including a taxi driver.

Reacher capitalizes on Ritchson’s size with lots of shirtless scenes, including one in the shower. There are no complaints.


But looks aside, Ritchson also embodies the character of Reacher—those long stares, the times when Reacher “said nothing,” as the novels say, and his swagger are on point.

We believe Ritchson is Reacher, and that’s all we ask.

Fans of Child’s novels also will find their sweet spot in the script of Reacher. The entire eight-episode first season is based on Killing Floor, Child's 1997 debut novel. Child’s source material is treated with respect with minor changes, all of which keep the spirit and tone of the novel. Credit showrunner  Nick Santora (Scorpion), who also is the writer and executive producer.

Other executive producers are Don Granger, Scott Sullivan, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross, Christopher McQuarrie, and Lee Child. Director is M. J. Bassett.

We’ll see the same team again as Reacher already has been renewed for a second season.

Child’s novels have always had a hint of the western as Reacher is the modern Shane, wandering the country, occasionally taking odd jobs (though money is never a problem for him), and getting involved in righting wrongs and cleaning up any criminal activity he finds.

He’s saved most of his miliary salary and pension so he can draw what he needs from any bank. He doesn’t have a spare change of clothes—he just buys a fresh T-shirt and pants, often at thrift stores, when those he’s wearing get dirty, or bloodied.

Aside from his wallet, Reacher only carries a toothbrush though I don’t how Ritchson could fit a toothbrush in those pants.

Using Child’s debut Killing Floor for the entire first season works well, allowing the writers, actors and the audience to be fully immersed in this kind of origin story.

In Reacher, he arrives on a bus in the small town of Margrave, Georgia. He remembers his brother had mentioned that blues musician Blind Blake died there. At a diner, he’s just ordered a peach pie—touted as the best in the state—and is about to take his first bite when the local police barge in, arresting him for murder.  

He’s held in a local prison with banker Paul Hubble, who confessed to the murder for which Reacher was arrested. After an attempt on their lives, Hubble tells Reacher he and his family have been threatened by a criminal enterprise that has a long reach.

Like it or not, Reacher is involved. Reacher finds two allies—Oscar Finlay, the chief detective of the Margrave Police Department and Roscoe Conklin, a police officer.

Oscar (played by Malcolm Goodwin) and Roscoe (played by Willa Fitzgerald) are, in their own way, outsiders as is Reacher.

Oscar is Harvard-educated, prefers tweed suits and recently relocated to Margrave. As a black man, he stands out in the mostly white town.

Roscoe’s family was one of the founders of Margrave, but her strong investigative skills are often discounted because she is a woman.

Goodwin and Fitzgerald deliver solid performances. Goodwin portrayed Det. Clive Babineaux on the CW series iZombie.

Fitzgerald portrayed cheerleading coach Colette French in the USA series Dare Me, based on Megan Abbott’s novel.

Rounding out the cast are Bruce McGill (Rizzoli and Isles, Animal House) as Grover Teale, Margrave’s mayor, and Maria Sten as Frances Neagley, a former army investigator who worked with Reacher and is now a private detective.

Ritchson has had a string of roles in movies and television shows. According to several sources, Ritchson was first noticed when he appeared on the third season of American Idol in 2004 as one of the top 87 contestants. Many sources mention his striptease in one episode. Judge Paula Adbul apparently was quite interested.

Reacher is action-packed—of course he can take on 10 men and win—and a bit graphic in its violence, sometimes over-the-top.

But Reacher never falters in its entertainment values, and is beautifully photographed with attention to details.

Fans will also spot a familiar face in a cameo role in the last episode of Reacher.

And amid all the fights, car chases, fires and more, most of us also worry if Reacher ever gets to taste that peach pie.


PHOTOS: Top, Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher; second photo, Malcolm Goodwin (Oscar Finlay), Alan Ritchson (Jack Reacher), Willa Fitzgerald (Roscoe Conklin); third photo Alan Ritchson (Jack Reacher), Willa Fitzgerald (Roscoe Conklin) Photos courtesy Shane Mahood/Amazon Studios


A Reacher We Can Appreciate
Oline H. Cogdill
a-reacher-we-can-appreciate