Sunday, 20 May 2018 15:54

Politics makes strange bedfellows—a saying that has never been more true than in the current arena.

But politics mainly stays out of the mystery genre.

While political thrillers abound, most of the time the authors are very careful about not taking sides.

Often a political thriller will not say which political party a character represents. And if the author does use that character to take a stand, sometimes it is done in a way that both sides think that they are being represented.

I think that is because crime fiction rises above so many things. Crime fiction—mysteries, whatever label you want to use—has always been more about the social issues of the day, about making us think about who we are as a society. These novels challenge us to look beyond the plot and see what lies beneath.

So I am very interested in an upcoming short story collection Low Down Dirty Vote and how these authors handle politics. The dozen authors have penned short stories related to voter suppression, including Anthony, Macavity, and Edgar winners such as Catriona McPherson, James Ziskin, David Hagerty (pictured), and Camille Minichino.

I think they will do an excellent job.

I haven’t read the collection yet, but knowing these authors’ works, I think they will challenge the reader without giving away their own views. Low Down Dirty Vote comes out July 4—how appropriate. Even more appropriate, 100 percent of the sales of this book is being donated to the ACLU to help fight voter suppression.

Low Down Dirty Vote also fits in well with the new direction short story collections are taking. I am loving that so many short story collections take a unique theme that the authors embrace with aplomb.

Some of my favorite collections though the years are:

Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns edited by Eric Beetner (Down & Out Books);

Crime + Music: Twenty Stories of Music-Themed Noir (Three Rooms Press);

In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper edited by Lawrence Block (Pegasus Books);

The publisher Akashic’s noir collection features short stories set in different cities or regions such as Chicago, Miami, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, the list goes one.

Mystery Writers of America does a terrific collection each year with a different theme.

The annual Bouchercon mystery conference also publishes a short story collection with proceeds going to a nonprofit.

As for a vintage collection, I recommend The Archer Files, The Complete Short Stories of Lew Archer, Private Investigator by Ross Macdonald.

A Vote for Everyone
Oline H. Cogdill
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 12:24

Key West, Florida, isn’t just for winter visitors. It also has a thriving mystery conference each June.

Ace Atkins, the author of 21 novels, will be the guest of honor with other mystery writers and true-crime experts at the 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24 in Key West.

The award-winning Atkins writes the Quinn Colson series as well as continuing the late Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels.

Atkins will be joined by authors Heather Graham, Lisa Black, Nancy J. Cohen, Diane A.S. Stuckart, Alyssa Maxwell, and Charles Todd, among others.

In addition to panels and presentations, the 2018 Fest will include professional publishing and marketing discussions, a mini Conch Train tour, and the annual presentation of the 2018 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition and Award.

All panels and presentations will take place at the DoubleTree Resort in Key West. Event registration is $195 and includes all panels and presentations, a luncheon, and a brunch at Key West’s historic seaport. For a full Fest schedule, online registration, and links to accommodations visit

Ace Atkins in Key West
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 28 April 2018 15:28

Mystery Writers of America presented its annual Edgar® Awards during its 72nd Gala Banquet on April 26, 2018, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. The novels represent those published during 2017.

Congratulations to all those who took home an Edgar Award, as well as congratulations to all the nominees.

Each category featured terrific novels—I don't envy the judges, as making the final choice could not have been easy.

Winners below are in boldface with asterisks.

The Dime by Kathleen Kent (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
**Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus Books)
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (Penguin Random House – The Dial Press)

**She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper (HarperCollins – Ecco)
Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li (Polis Books)
Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love (Penguin Random House – Crown)
Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy (Macmillan – Flatiron Books)
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Random House)

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Ragged Lake by Ron Corbett (ECW Press)
Black Fall by Andrew Mayne (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper Paperbacks)
**The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)
Penance by Kanae Minato (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown & Co./Mulholland Books)
The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong (Text Publishing)

**Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Penguin Random House – Doubleday)
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse (W.W. Norton & Company – Liveright)
The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca (St. Martin’s Press)

From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon by Mattias Bostrom (Grove/Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier by Tatiana de Rosnay (St. Martin’s Press)
Murder in the Closet: Essays on Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall by Curtis Evans (McFarland Publishing)
**Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson (W.W. Norton & Company)
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury USA)

**"Spring Break” by John Crowley (New Haven Noir, Akashic Books)
“Hard to Get” by Jeffery Deaver (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dell Magazines)
“Ace in the Hole” by Eric Heidle (Montana Noir, Akashic Books)
“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” by Kenji Jasper (Atlanta Noir, Akashic Books)
“Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” by S.J. Rozan (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Dell Magazines)

Audacity Jones Steals the Show by Kirby Larson (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
**Vanished! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
The Assassin’s Curse by Kevin Sands (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
First Class Murder by Robin Stevens (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
NewsPrints by Ru Xu (Scholastic – Graphix)

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Feiwel & Friends)
Grit by Gillian French (HarperCollins Publishers – HarperTeen)
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (Simon & Schuster)
**Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Simon & Schuster – Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers – Balzer + Bray)

“Episode 1” – The Loch, Teleplay by Stephen Brady (Acorn TV)
“Something Happened” – Law and Order: SVU, Teleplay by Michael Chernuchin (NBC Universal/Wolf Entertainment)
**“Somebody to Love” – Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley (FX Networks/MGM)
“Gently and the New Age” – George Gently, Teleplay by Robert Murphy (Acorn TV)
“The Blanket Mire” – Vera, Teleplay by Paul Matthew Thompson & Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)

"The Queen of Secrets" by Lisa D. Gray (New Haven Noir, Akashic Books)

Jane Langton
William Link
Peter Lovesey

Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books
The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas

Robert Pépin

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby (Minotaur)
You’ll Never Know Dear by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
**The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)
Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins – William Morrow Paperbacks)

2018 Edgar Award Winners
Oline H. Cogdill