Thursday, 15 September 2011

Want to know what reviewers really think?

Or some of the books we recommend?

Then attend our panel at Bouchercon.

From 2:30 to 3:30 on Friday, Sept. 16, come to the "Anything for a Friend" panel in the Landmark room.


The panel is subtitled "Getting Critical: A chat with Mystery Scene."

Kate Stine will be the moderator; panelists include Bill Crider, Dick Lochte, Brian Skupin, Art Taylor and myself.

We'll have a lot of fun. We promise.

Mystery Scene Panel at Bouchercon
Oline Cogdill
mystery-scene-panel-at-bouchercon

Want to know what reviewers really think?

Or some of the books we recommend?

Then attend our panel at Bouchercon.

From 2:30 to 3:30 on Friday, Sept. 16, come to the "Anything for a Friend" panel in the Landmark room.


The panel is subtitled "Getting Critical: A chat with Mystery Scene."

Kate Stine will be the moderator; panelists include Bill Crider, Dick Lochte, Brian Skupin, Art Taylor and myself.

We'll have a lot of fun. We promise.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

altDuring a recent vacation in Seattle, my husband and I took a bus to the Space Needle. As he looked for a seat, I did what I always do -- look at the book covers of those who were reading.

Among the Lee Childs, Michael Connellys and assorted romance novels was one rider engrossed in Robert Randisi's In the Shadow of the Arch. I wanted to stop and ask this riding reader how he liked the novel, which is part of Randisi's Joe Keough series and is set in St. Louis. But the bus was crowded and seats needed to be found and, besides, the man was quite deep into the novel.

But it illustrates what I have always said, that no geography or region, even any subject, is out of bounds for mystery readers. Perhaps the man had visited St. Louis or was from the Gateway to the West. Or maybe he just wanted a good novel.

With the St. Louis Bouchercon about to start, now's a good time to look at Missouri's Men of Mysteries.

ROBERT RANDISI
To call Robert Randisi prolific is an understatement.

Even he has said he doesn't know how many novels and short stories he has written, though the number has been quoted as more than 500 novels. I'll just say that under his various pseudonyms he's written A LOT.

Randisi's work include private detective novels, historicals, thrillers, science fiction and westerns, which make up the bulk of his books. His detective characters include Miles Jacoby, Henry Po, Nick Delvecchio, and Joe Keough. His latest is a series of "Rat Pack" mysteries such as Fly Me to the Morgue with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and the rest of their pals as sleuths. He also has co-written a series with Young and the Restless actress Eileen Davidson, latest one is Swingin' in the Rain.

Randisi's mysteries are straight forward p.i. or police procedurals with involving plots, full characters and a sense of the area -- all befitting the man who established in 1981 The Private Eye Writers of America, which gives out the Shamus Award.

In the novels he sets in St. Louis, Randisi captured the nuances of his adopted city, not just the obvious like the Arch but the nuances of St. Louis such as the neighborhoods. Randisi's St. Louis novels include In the Shadow of the Arch, Blood on the Arch, East of the Arch and Arch Angels, which was reprinted as Blood of Angels.

There's a good reason why Randisi, along with John Lutz, will be honored during Bouchercon as Living Local Legends.

JOHN LUTZ
John Lutz is the other Living Local Legend who will be honored during the St. Louis Bouchercon.

altLutz also may be the most well-known of St. Louis authors, especially since his novel SWF Seeks Same was adapted by director Barbet Schroeder into the 1992 film Single White Female with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

But Lutz was known among those of us who appreciate good mysteries long before Jennifer Jason Leigh tried to make herself in Bridget Fonda.

After all, the man has written more than 40 novels. That includes stand-alones, a variety of series including those novels with Fred Carver, Frank Quinn, and Alo Nudger, and enough short stories to fill several anthologies. His latest novel is Serial.

Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lutz's 2010 Frank Quinn novel Mister X has been nominated for a Shamus Award for best original paperback private eye novel. Winners will be announced in St. Louis at a private Private Eye Writers of America banquet.

Although he has lived in St. Louis for decades, and is a part-time resident of Sarasota, Fla., Lutz generally sets his novels in New York City.

I have always found Lutz's serial killers novels quite intriguing, stressing the plot and the characters rather than the gruesome. He uses the dramatic structure of a serial killer investigation to tell broader stories.

JOEL GOLDMAN
Let's leave St. Louis for another part of Missouri -- Kansas City, the setting for Joel Goldman's legal thrillers about Lou Mason; the latest of which is The Last Witness, and his novels about former FBI Special Agent Jack Davis, the latest of which is No Way Out.
alt
As a former Missourian, I like both St. Louis and Kansas City. Though they are both in the same state, the two cities are vastly differently. Those coming to Bouchercon will get a taste of St. Louis.

Each author brings a part of him or herself to the books they write. Goldman does this especially with his Jack Davis novels. Beginning with Shakedown (2008), Davis is coming down with a rare movement disorder that has come out of nowhere.

Goldman also has this disorder and writing about it has helped him understand the disorder. Goldman writes about this on his website.

Kansas City has a rich history. Great barbecue, a decent arts scene, good shopping and a sense of what makes a big city but with small-town amenities. Kansas City, both the Missouri and the Kansas cities, have long been a mid-way point for mobsters making drops from the west coast and Las Vegas. And, yes, Goldman has more of Kansas City history on his website.

Goldman's family has lived in Kansas City for more than 100 years and he brings a sense of that history to his novels.

Goldman's legal thrillers and the police procedures are well plotted with characters who are realistic.

Randisi, Lutz, Goldman
Oline Cogdill
randisi-lutz-goldman

altDuring a recent vacation in Seattle, my husband and I took a bus to the Space Needle. As he looked for a seat, I did what I always do -- look at the book covers of those who were reading.

Among the Lee Childs, Michael Connellys and assorted romance novels was one rider engrossed in Robert Randisi's In the Shadow of the Arch. I wanted to stop and ask this riding reader how he liked the novel, which is part of Randisi's Joe Keough series and is set in St. Louis. But the bus was crowded and seats needed to be found and, besides, the man was quite deep into the novel.

But it illustrates what I have always said, that no geography or region, even any subject, is out of bounds for mystery readers. Perhaps the man had visited St. Louis or was from the Gateway to the West. Or maybe he just wanted a good novel.

With the St. Louis Bouchercon about to start, now's a good time to look at Missouri's Men of Mysteries.

ROBERT RANDISI
To call Robert Randisi prolific is an understatement.

Even he has said he doesn't know how many novels and short stories he has written, though the number has been quoted as more than 500 novels. I'll just say that under his various pseudonyms he's written A LOT.

Randisi's work include private detective novels, historicals, thrillers, science fiction and westerns, which make up the bulk of his books. His detective characters include Miles Jacoby, Henry Po, Nick Delvecchio, and Joe Keough. His latest is a series of "Rat Pack" mysteries such as Fly Me to the Morgue with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and the rest of their pals as sleuths. He also has co-written a series with Young and the Restless actress Eileen Davidson, latest one is Swingin' in the Rain.

Randisi's mysteries are straight forward p.i. or police procedurals with involving plots, full characters and a sense of the area -- all befitting the man who established in 1981 The Private Eye Writers of America, which gives out the Shamus Award.

In the novels he sets in St. Louis, Randisi captured the nuances of his adopted city, not just the obvious like the Arch but the nuances of St. Louis such as the neighborhoods. Randisi's St. Louis novels include In the Shadow of the Arch, Blood on the Arch, East of the Arch and Arch Angels, which was reprinted as Blood of Angels.

There's a good reason why Randisi, along with John Lutz, will be honored during Bouchercon as Living Local Legends.

JOHN LUTZ
John Lutz is the other Living Local Legend who will be honored during the St. Louis Bouchercon.

altLutz also may be the most well-known of St. Louis authors, especially since his novel SWF Seeks Same was adapted by director Barbet Schroeder into the 1992 film Single White Female with Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

But Lutz was known among those of us who appreciate good mysteries long before Jennifer Jason Leigh tried to make herself in Bridget Fonda.

After all, the man has written more than 40 novels. That includes stand-alones, a variety of series including those novels with Fred Carver, Frank Quinn, and Alo Nudger, and enough short stories to fill several anthologies. His latest novel is Serial.

Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lutz's 2010 Frank Quinn novel Mister X has been nominated for a Shamus Award for best original paperback private eye novel. Winners will be announced in St. Louis at a private Private Eye Writers of America banquet.

Although he has lived in St. Louis for decades, and is a part-time resident of Sarasota, Fla., Lutz generally sets his novels in New York City.

I have always found Lutz's serial killers novels quite intriguing, stressing the plot and the characters rather than the gruesome. He uses the dramatic structure of a serial killer investigation to tell broader stories.

JOEL GOLDMAN
Let's leave St. Louis for another part of Missouri -- Kansas City, the setting for Joel Goldman's legal thrillers about Lou Mason; the latest of which is The Last Witness, and his novels about former FBI Special Agent Jack Davis, the latest of which is No Way Out.
alt
As a former Missourian, I like both St. Louis and Kansas City. Though they are both in the same state, the two cities are vastly differently. Those coming to Bouchercon will get a taste of St. Louis.

Each author brings a part of him or herself to the books they write. Goldman does this especially with his Jack Davis novels. Beginning with Shakedown (2008), Davis is coming down with a rare movement disorder that has come out of nowhere.

Goldman also has this disorder and writing about it has helped him understand the disorder. Goldman writes about this on his website.

Kansas City has a rich history. Great barbecue, a decent arts scene, good shopping and a sense of what makes a big city but with small-town amenities. Kansas City, both the Missouri and the Kansas cities, have long been a mid-way point for mobsters making drops from the west coast and Las Vegas. And, yes, Goldman has more of Kansas City history on his website.

Goldman's family has lived in Kansas City for more than 100 years and he brings a sense of that history to his novels.

Goldman's legal thrillers and the police procedures are well plotted with characters who are realistic.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

altI am always interested in mystery fiction set in my home state of Missouri.

Not just because I like to read about Missouri, but I also recommend these novels to friends I’ve known since I was five years old who live in my hometown down in the Bootheel.

And since St. Louis is the site of the 2011 Bouchercon, it’s an even better time to look at Missouri mysteries. (See previous post here.)

Whether or not you are attending Bouchercon, these mysteries will give you insight into the Show Me State.

And today, let’s look at the Women of Missouri (mystery writers).

Sophie Littlefield
Sophie Littlefield’s three novels – A Bad Day for Sorry, A Bad Day for Pretty, and A Bad Day for Scandal – filled a void needed in the mystery genre and in Missouri novels in particular.

On the surface, A Bad Day for Sorry, her debut that won the Edgar, would seem to be a quirky, cozy tale about a middle-aged Missouri woman who dabbles in helping abused women. With wry humor and a penchant for rural sayings, Stella Hardesty exudes sassiness. The fiftysomething Stella lives in the fictional Prosper, located somewhere in western Missouri.

But Littlefield disarms the reader and quickly spins this premise into a more hard-edge look at domestic violence, vigilante justice, life’s regrets and taking control of your life.

While the author keeps a sense of humor flowing through her novel, she doesn’t sacrifice plot or realism for a joke. One could call Stella “sassy,” but it would be better to call her relentless, capable and perceptive.

She’s no super-hero, but what she does in her “justice-delivering career” is both heroic and illegal.

Littlefield and Stella will be with us for a while.

Elaine Viets
Former St. Louis newspaper columnist Elaine Viets has created three solid cozy series since leaving the Post-Dispatch. Viets sets one of her series – the Dead End Job mysteries featuring Helen Hawthorne – in Fort Lauderdale. But her Mystery Shopper series about single mother Josie Marcus is set in St. Louis.

altSt. Louis plays heavily in Viets’ novels about Josie who shops the high-end stores and the small boutiques. Viets takes the reader on a merry ride throughout the suburbs that are part of St. Louis’ complexion.

Viets is well-known for the humor she infuses in her mysteries and her Josie Marcus novels have laugh-out-loud humor that adds to the brisk action. While her stories take a light approach, Viets strengthens her plots with insightful looks at the bonds between mother and daughter, the challenges of living in a multi-generational household and the rewards of nonjudgmental friendships.

Viets launched her career as a novelist with her mysteries featuring St. Louis City Gazette columnist Francesca Vierling.

Rett MacPherson
Rett MacPherson’s 11 novels about genealogist Torie O'Shea not only give insight to the vagaries of families but also include a bit of Missouri history. Torie lives in a small town on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis.

Beginning with Family Skeletons, MacPherson’ cozies featured engrossing plots and lively characters.

Shirley Kennett/Dakota Banks
altDuring the 1990s, St. Louis author Shirley Kennett wrote the PJ Gray series, a psychological profiler who used virtual reality software to recreate crime scenes. Five novels were in this series set in St. Louis: Gray Matter, Fire Cracker, Chameleon, Act of Betrayal (written as Morgan Avery), and Time of Death. Kennett also wrote a standalone, Burning Rose, which features Hawaii-based freelance journalist Casey Washington.

Kennett’s PJ Gray series were a little ahead of their time with virtual reality software still seeming to be a fantasy. Gray’s cutting-edge techniques of virtual reality, the Computerized Homicide Investigations Project, or CHIP, recreated crimes by placing the user in the mind of the perpetrator. I found these novels to be very intriguing with realistic characters.

Kennett now writes a dark urban fantasy thriller series called the Mortal Path under the name of Dakota Banks. The latest is Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2.

Littlefield, Viets, Kennett: Women of Missouri
Oline Cogdill
littlefield-viets-banks-women-of-missouri

altI am always interested in mystery fiction set in my home state of Missouri.

Not just because I like to read about Missouri, but I also recommend these novels to friends I’ve known since I was five years old who live in my hometown down in the Bootheel.

And since St. Louis is the site of the 2011 Bouchercon, it’s an even better time to look at Missouri mysteries. (See previous post here.)

Whether or not you are attending Bouchercon, these mysteries will give you insight into the Show Me State.

And today, let’s look at the Women of Missouri (mystery writers).

Sophie Littlefield
Sophie Littlefield’s three novels – A Bad Day for Sorry, A Bad Day for Pretty, and A Bad Day for Scandal – filled a void needed in the mystery genre and in Missouri novels in particular.

On the surface, A Bad Day for Sorry, her debut that won the Edgar, would seem to be a quirky, cozy tale about a middle-aged Missouri woman who dabbles in helping abused women. With wry humor and a penchant for rural sayings, Stella Hardesty exudes sassiness. The fiftysomething Stella lives in the fictional Prosper, located somewhere in western Missouri.

But Littlefield disarms the reader and quickly spins this premise into a more hard-edge look at domestic violence, vigilante justice, life’s regrets and taking control of your life.

While the author keeps a sense of humor flowing through her novel, she doesn’t sacrifice plot or realism for a joke. One could call Stella “sassy,” but it would be better to call her relentless, capable and perceptive.

She’s no super-hero, but what she does in her “justice-delivering career” is both heroic and illegal.

Littlefield and Stella will be with us for a while.

Elaine Viets
Former St. Louis newspaper columnist Elaine Viets has created three solid cozy series since leaving the Post-Dispatch. Viets sets one of her series – the Dead End Job mysteries featuring Helen Hawthorne – in Fort Lauderdale. But her Mystery Shopper series about single mother Josie Marcus is set in St. Louis.

altSt. Louis plays heavily in Viets’ novels about Josie who shops the high-end stores and the small boutiques. Viets takes the reader on a merry ride throughout the suburbs that are part of St. Louis’ complexion.

Viets is well-known for the humor she infuses in her mysteries and her Josie Marcus novels have laugh-out-loud humor that adds to the brisk action. While her stories take a light approach, Viets strengthens her plots with insightful looks at the bonds between mother and daughter, the challenges of living in a multi-generational household and the rewards of nonjudgmental friendships.

Viets launched her career as a novelist with her mysteries featuring St. Louis City Gazette columnist Francesca Vierling.

Rett MacPherson
Rett MacPherson’s 11 novels about genealogist Torie O'Shea not only give insight to the vagaries of families but also include a bit of Missouri history. Torie lives in a small town on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis.

Beginning with Family Skeletons, MacPherson’ cozies featured engrossing plots and lively characters.

Shirley Kennett/Dakota Banks
altDuring the 1990s, St. Louis author Shirley Kennett wrote the PJ Gray series, a psychological profiler who used virtual reality software to recreate crime scenes. Five novels were in this series set in St. Louis: Gray Matter, Fire Cracker, Chameleon, Act of Betrayal (written as Morgan Avery), and Time of Death. Kennett also wrote a standalone, Burning Rose, which features Hawaii-based freelance journalist Casey Washington.

Kennett’s PJ Gray series were a little ahead of their time with virtual reality software still seeming to be a fantasy. Gray’s cutting-edge techniques of virtual reality, the Computerized Homicide Investigations Project, or CHIP, recreated crimes by placing the user in the mind of the perpetrator. I found these novels to be very intriguing with realistic characters.

Kennett now writes a dark urban fantasy thriller series called the Mortal Path under the name of Dakota Banks. The latest is Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2.