Saturday, 23 May 2020

“Everybody counts or nobody counts” is a refrain of Harry Bosch, the hero of Michael Connelly’s novels.

For the LAPD detective, this phrase is his mantra illustrating Bosch’s mission in solving murders.

“Everybody counts or nobody counts” also has worked as a slogan on T-shirts sold during campaigns to raise funds for worthy causes.

The latest fundraiser to benefit from “Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts” is the #SaveIndieBookstores campaign. The sale of the “Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts” T-shirts and money from donors raised nearly $35,000 with Connelly, left, contributing $10,000 toward the #SaveIndieBookstores campaign.

#SaveIndieBookstores campaign was a partnership of James Patterson, who donated $500,000, the American Booksellers Association and the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc).

The campaign, which began April 2, 2020, and was to end April 30 but was extended to May 5, raised $1,239,595 to support independent bookstores, Bookselling This Week reported. The “Everybody Counts” campaign ended at the same time.

All the money raised will be given to independent bookstores, who are encouraged to apply for a grant.

For previous essays on this campaign, visit the Mystery Scene blog.

Sales of the “Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts” T-shirt have been launched three other times to raise money for worthy causes. “We will likely run it again at some point for another good cause, or do a new design,” said Jane Davis, the website manager of

Speaking from personal experience, the “Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts” T-shirts are quite nice and high quality. I bought one for my husband a couple of years ago. We’ve taken ours all over the country, when we could travel, and it has held up through numerous washings.

In support of #SaveIndieBookstores campaign, Connelly posted this comment:

“We are all struggling under the threat of this pandemic. We’ve lost people, others are sick. People have lost jobs, businesses have closed. While the front line of this war is being heroically fought by our health care workers and first responders, all of us around the world are doing the best we can. The future is uncertain other than the certainty that we will get through this together.

“Harry Bosch says everybody counts or nobody counts. I think he would agree that every bookstore counts, too. The DNA of our society and culture is in our books, our stories. I want to help make sure the places and people who put those books in our hands get through this difficult time."

In Fair Warning, Connelly returns to his journalist Jack McEvoy, who first appeared in The Poet, in 1996; then in The Scarecrow, published in 2009.

Bosch will return, just not yet.

Connelly’s next novel The Law of Innocence will focus on defense attorney Mickey Haller and is scheduled to be published November 10, 2020.


Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts to #SaveIndieBookstores
Oline Cogdill
Wednesday, 20 May 2020

As we all deal with the pandemic and how it is affecting our daily lives, 2020 also will be the year in which we also will not be attending some of our favorite conferences and gatherings.

The Mystery Writers of America's 75th anniversary of the Edgar Awards Symposium and Banquet had to be canceled.

Malice Domestic also was canceled.

While Left Coast Crime began—barely—in March, it was closed by the city of San Diego Thursday afternoon, pretty much between panels.

Now the International Thrillers Writers (ITW) is forced to cancel its annual ThrillerFest, which was scheduled to be held in July.

In a statement, ITW stated: “The health and safety of our attendees is our absolute priority, and because of the current health risks in New York City, we’re deeply saddened to announce that ITW is canceling ThrillerFest 2020. We will be providing full refunds to everyone, and you will receive those funds in approximately two weeks, as soon as Cvent (our registration provider) can process our request. We look forward to seeing everyone next year, when ThrillerFest will return in July 2021. Remember, if you have booked rooms for the conference at the Hyatt or any other hotel, be sure to cancel your reservations.”

VIRTUAL THRILLERFEST 2020 IS ONBut as with so many other events, ITW is planning an online presence for ThrillerFest:

“To help you avoid ThrillerFest withdrawal, we will be offering, in July, a virtual conference that you can enjoy from the safety of your own home. This event will include PitchFest, ConsultFest, Master Class, the Debut Author Breakfast, the Thriller Awards Presentation, and other special ThrillerFest presentations. Current registrants will have first dibs to register for these events before others are welcomed to join in the fun (if there’s still space). Details and your chance to sign up will follow soon,” ITW's statement continued.

The organizers currently are putting together the virtual panels so they will be ready for the online ThrillerFest.

Some highlights are:

FREE Debut Author Presentations
Debut authors will provide videos about themselves, with Steve Berry hosting, recorded and available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

FREE ITW Author Videos
ITW authors are creating 15-20 minute videos with helpful content for aspiring writers and fans of thrillers. These videos will be available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

FREE Thriller Awards Presentation
All Thriller Awards will be presented in a recorded session, with special guests and music by Daniel Palmer and Brad Parks, available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

ThrillerFest also will have other events such as

Mega CraftFest & CareerFest; Price: $149
Thriller writers will discuss the craft of writing in new videos. The more than 60 conversations will feature more than 120 authors. These videos will be available on a private YouTube channel for at least six months.

Master Class & CareerFest; Price: $399
The Master Class will be held via Zoom (free download) with one instructor in a private Zoom room with up to 10 attendees. The traditional full-day class will be broken into two four-hour sessions. Eight instructors will teach, so there will be eight Zoom rooms running simultaneously. Those wishing to participate will need to submit a ten-page writing sample.

Pitching Sessions; Price: $50 per session  
Virtual pitching sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee and one agent/editor. A tech host will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. Those interested can purchase up to seven pitching appointments and specify the top three choices from the list of available agents.

Consulting Sessions; Price: $75 per session
Consulting sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee and one agent/editor. These consulting sessions are for writers who are not yet ready to “pitch” a completed manuscript, but would like to discuss their synopsis, their query letters, and writing samples for 10-15 minutes with agents and editors. Those interested can purchase up to five consulting appointments.

For details on these sessions, visit Virtual ThrillerFest XV.

ITW began in 2005 and the first ThrillerFest was held in June 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona, at which the International Thriller Writers Awards were announced.

Meanwhile, here are the nominees for the 2020 ITW Thriller Awards. 

The winners will be announced in a special presentation on Saturday, July 11, 2020 during “Virtual” ThrillerFest hosted by the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

Congratulations to all the finalists.

One Good Deed, by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)
Rag and Bone, by Joe Clifford (Oceanview Publishing)
Recursion, by Blake Crouch (Crown)
They All Fall Down, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge Books)
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland Books)
Conviction, by Denise Mina (Mulholland Books)
My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing (Berkley)
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Good Detective, by John McMahon (G.P. Putnam’s Son)
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
Girl Most Likely, by Max Allan Collins (Thomas & Mercer)
Never Look Back, by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Jihadi Bride, by Alastair Luft (Black Rose Writing)
The Scholar, by Dervla McTiernan  (Penguin Books)
The Bird Boys, by Lisa Sandlin (Cinco Puntos Press)
Such a Perfect Wife, by Kate White (Harper Paperbacks)
“Turistas,” by Hector Acosta (Down & Out Books)
 “Call Me Chuckles,” by Michael Cowgill (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
 “The Long-Term Tenant,” by Tara Laskowski (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
 “Snow Job,” by Lia Matera (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
 “Fathers-in-Law,” by Twist Phelan (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry, by Jen Conley (Down & Out Books)
Catfishing on Catnet ,by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
We Speak in Storms, by Natalie Lund (Philomel Books/Penguin Young Readers)
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (Kokila/Penguin Young Readers))     
Keep this to Yourself, by Tom Ryan (Albert Whitman & Company)
Night Man, by Brett Battles (Brett Battles)
The Deep Abiding, by Sean Black (Sean Black)
Murder Board, by Brian Shea (Severn River Publishing)
Leave No Stone, by LynDee Walker (Severn River Publishing)
Close To You by, Kerry Wilkinson (Bookouture)

(The way, book covers chosen for this column were picked randomly.)

2020 ThrillerFest Conference Canceled; Online ThrillerFest Planned
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 16 May 2020

The partnership of Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America has a given readers some provocative new authors to enjoy with its First Crime Novel Competition.

The annual First Crime Novel Competition provides a previously unpublished writer an opportunity to launch his or her career with the Minotaur Books imprint. The winner will receive a one-book, $10,000 contract.

The contest became in 2008 with Stefanie Pintoff, whose In the Shadow of Gotham went on to win MWA’s Edgar Award for best first novel by an American Author.

The winner of the 2020 competition is Rebecca Roque, left, a nurse working in Phoenix, Arizona. Her winning novel, tentatively titled Till Human Voices Wake Us, will be published in 2021.

According to the press release, Roque’s novel opens when Alice, the best friend of 17-year-old Silencia “Cia” Lucero, is found dead from a supposed suicide. But Cia knows three things must be true: Alice is dead, Alice could not have killed herself, and Alice, a budding journalist, must have found something. Cia is determined to solve the mystery Alice left behind.

Roque’s winning novel certainly will have a higher readership than her first venture in publishing. She sold her first book at age five to her mother for some red Skittles. Roque’s resume includes an intensive care unit at a busy metropolitan hospital, a juvenile detention center, a comic book shop, and several craft beer bars.

The press release added that Roque “is constantly inspired by the lived stories of people from all walks of life, and believes in the power of tattoos and stories to bring down walls between people.”

In announcing the winning novel, Kelley Ragland, Vice President, Associate Publisher for Minotaur Books, stated “With a remarkable voice and a diverse cast, the book is an engaging mystery about the life of a town as well as the life of one teenage girl. And when we found out that Rebecca is also a nurse currently working on the frontlines of the COVID crisis, we were even more honored to be able to work with this amazing writer on her debut novel.”

While the first novel competition is an annual event, there have been a couple of years during which a winner has not been named, making the final choice even more coveted. And this competition has produced some terrific writers.

Previous winners include The Vanishing Season by Joanna Schaffhausen (2016 ); The Drowned Land by John Keyse-Walker (2015); The Man on the Washing Machine by Susan Cox (2014); The Impersonator by Mary Miley (2012); A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns (2011); One Man's Paradise by Douglas Corleone (2009); In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff (2008).

Minotaur is currently accepting submissions for next year’s award. For more information, visit

Rebecca Roque wins MWA-Minotaur Books 2020 First Crime Novel Competition
Oline H Cogdill