Idris Elba, Alex Cross and James Patterson
Oline Cogdill
I have long thought that British actor Idris Elba should be the next action star. He has the acting chops to carry a movie, plus, he also has the looks.
Elba brought a complicated intelligence to the role of Stringer Bell on HBO's brilliant The Wire. A drug dealer, a college business major, a thug and a refined man -- Elba showed all the sides of Bell. The Wire remains one of my favorite TV series and the Bell character is quite memorable.
altElba also showed a different side of his skills when he played the new boss on NBC's comedy The Office.
Now Elba is signed to take over the role of Dr. Alex Cross, the forensic psychologist/sleuth of James Patterson's wildly popular series.
Elba takes over the role from Morgan Freeman, who originated the role in Kiss the Girls (1997) and Along Came a Spider (2001).
Elba will star in the film version of Cross, the 12th novel in Patterson's series. In this novel, Alex Cross tries to nab a serial rapist who is a former mob enforcer and who may have killed Cross' pregnant wife years earlier.
The director will be David Twohy. According to news reports, production is scheduled to begin in the spring, 2011.

Meanwhile, Elba is one of the stars of the heist flick Takers, which opens Aug. 27. He also will be appearing in four episodes of Showtime's comedy/drama The Big C as a love interest of Laura Linney's cancer-stricken character.
Xav ID 577
2010-08-30 18:40:20
I have long thought that British actor Idris Elba should be the next action star. He has the acting chops to carry a movie, plus, he also has the looks.
Elba brought a complicated intelligence to the role of Stringer Bell on HBO's brilliant The Wire. A drug dealer, a college business major, a thug and a refined man -- Elba showed all the sides of Bell. The Wire remains one of my favorite TV series and the Bell character is quite memorable.
altElba also showed a different side of his skills when he played the new boss on NBC's comedy The Office.
Now Elba is signed to take over the role of Dr. Alex Cross, the forensic psychologist/sleuth of James Patterson's wildly popular series.
Elba takes over the role from Morgan Freeman, who originated the role in Kiss the Girls (1997) and Along Came a Spider (2001).
Elba will star in the film version of Cross, the 12th novel in Patterson's series. In this novel, Alex Cross tries to nab a serial rapist who is a former mob enforcer and who may have killed Cross' pregnant wife years earlier.
The director will be David Twohy. According to news reports, production is scheduled to begin in the spring, 2011.

Meanwhile, Elba is one of the stars of the heist flick Takers, which opens Aug. 27. He also will be appearing in four episodes of Showtime's comedy/drama The Big C as a love interest of Laura Linney's cancer-stricken character.
Ellen Crosby's Viognier Vendetta
Oline Cogdill
Fiction follows fact or does fact follow fiction?
Whatever, there are times when an author's imagination gets a real-world workout.
I recently reviewed Ellen Crosby's The Viognier Vendetta, part of her series about the owner of a Virginia vineyard. In this mystery, Lucie Montgomery is trying to produce viognier wine. My review is here.
altNow, I have been known to enjoy a glass of wine -- or 40. But I had never heard of this wine until Crosby's novel. Simply, it's a classic French grape that is just making its way into American wines.
That review of The Viognier Vendetta appeared just a few weeks ago.
Now, viognier wine seems to be all the rage.
Just this week, I saw three food sections of three different newspapers devote a lot of space to viognier wine, with recommendations on which wines to buy and viognier food pairings.
That doesn't include the countless stories that have popped up on the internet, linking to other newspapers, magazines and Websites.
In honor of this interest in viognier wine -- and Crosby's timely novel -- let's raise a toast... with a glass of viognier, of course.
Xav ID 577
2010-08-26 14:55:13
Fiction follows fact or does fact follow fiction?
Whatever, there are times when an author's imagination gets a real-world workout.
I recently reviewed Ellen Crosby's The Viognier Vendetta, part of her series about the owner of a Virginia vineyard. In this mystery, Lucie Montgomery is trying to produce viognier wine. My review is here.
altNow, I have been known to enjoy a glass of wine -- or 40. But I had never heard of this wine until Crosby's novel. Simply, it's a classic French grape that is just making its way into American wines.
That review of The Viognier Vendetta appeared just a few weeks ago.
Now, viognier wine seems to be all the rage.
Just this week, I saw three food sections of three different newspapers devote a lot of space to viognier wine, with recommendations on which wines to buy and viognier food pairings.
That doesn't include the countless stories that have popped up on the internet, linking to other newspapers, magazines and Websites.
In honor of this interest in viognier wine -- and Crosby's timely novel -- let's raise a toast... with a glass of viognier, of course.
Bouchercon, San Francisco Short Stories
Oline Cogdill
Like many of us who love mysteries, I have Bouchercon fever. It's a disease that comes around just about this time every year when I start planning and looking forward to Bouchercon, the annual mystery fiction conference.

Of course, I registered myself, my husband and my brother-in-law Peter about two years ago, but there is still time to sign up for Bouchercon, which will be Oct. 14-17.
And the fact that it is in San Francisco is an even more incentive -- the city and the area offers so much to do.
One way I soothe Bouchercon fever -- and this will work for you -- is to start looking at mysteries and crime fiction set in or around the area.

And San Francisco offers so much fodder for wonderful novels and movies.

altSo, this will be a regular/irregular feature that will continue until Bouchercon starts. By that I mean, I will write these posts when I feel like it.

So, first up, let's look at short stories collections.
San Francisco Noir (2005, Akashic Books) Akashic Books could publish Yellow Pages Noir and I would probably be enthralled. Akashic is keeping the short story alive while publishing series of terrific short stories that look at various cities and their specific neighborhoods. Be sure to read David Corbett's "It Can Happen" about a family inheritance in Hunter's Point. and Kate Braverman's funny "The Neutral Zone," a classic tale of love and hate of two bipolar people in Fisherman's Wharf. Domenic Stansberry's "The Prison" is set on North Beach. Eddie Muller, who is Bouchercon's toastmaster, takes us South of Market with Kid's Last Fight, the story of a very long day.
San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics (2009, Akashic Books) Akashic takes us back with classic stories by, among others, Mark Twain, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce and, of course, Dashiell Hammett, who by law must be included in any discussion of San Francisco crime fiction.
San Francisco Thrillers (1995, Chronicle Books) The eclectic collection shows the timelessness of San Francisco. Stories set in the 1900s could easily be set in 2010. Oscar Lewis' true-crime piece "The Phosphorescent Bridal" concerns a controversial trial, but unless you had been told it took place in the late 1800s you might wonder why
you had missed it on TruTV. Dashiell Hammett, course, is here with "Fly Paper." Marcia Muller checks in with an excerpt from "Deception" and Jim Thompson's "Ironside" has a familiar ring. There's also some script from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." Francis Bruguiere's photos look as fresh as when they first appeared -- in his 1919 book "San Francisco."
Xav ID 577
2010-09-02 14:38:35
Like many of us who love mysteries, I have Bouchercon fever. It's a disease that comes around just about this time every year when I start planning and looking forward to Bouchercon, the annual mystery fiction conference.

Of course, I registered myself, my husband and my brother-in-law Peter about two years ago, but there is still time to sign up for Bouchercon, which will be Oct. 14-17.
And the fact that it is in San Francisco is an even more incentive -- the city and the area offers so much to do.
One way I soothe Bouchercon fever -- and this will work for you -- is to start looking at mysteries and crime fiction set in or around the area.

And San Francisco offers so much fodder for wonderful novels and movies.

altSo, this will be a regular/irregular feature that will continue until Bouchercon starts. By that I mean, I will write these posts when I feel like it.

So, first up, let's look at short stories collections.
San Francisco Noir (2005, Akashic Books) Akashic Books could publish Yellow Pages Noir and I would probably be enthralled. Akashic is keeping the short story alive while publishing series of terrific short stories that look at various cities and their specific neighborhoods. Be sure to read David Corbett's "It Can Happen" about a family inheritance in Hunter's Point. and Kate Braverman's funny "The Neutral Zone," a classic tale of love and hate of two bipolar people in Fisherman's Wharf. Domenic Stansberry's "The Prison" is set on North Beach. Eddie Muller, who is Bouchercon's toastmaster, takes us South of Market with Kid's Last Fight, the story of a very long day.
San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics (2009, Akashic Books) Akashic takes us back with classic stories by, among others, Mark Twain, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce and, of course, Dashiell Hammett, who by law must be included in any discussion of San Francisco crime fiction.
San Francisco Thrillers (1995, Chronicle Books) The eclectic collection shows the timelessness of San Francisco. Stories set in the 1900s could easily be set in 2010. Oscar Lewis' true-crime piece "The Phosphorescent Bridal" concerns a controversial trial, but unless you had been told it took place in the late 1800s you might wonder why
you had missed it on TruTV. Dashiell Hammett, course, is here with "Fly Paper." Marcia Muller checks in with an excerpt from "Deception" and Jim Thompson's "Ironside" has a familiar ring. There's also some script from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." Francis Bruguiere's photos look as fresh as when they first appeared -- in his 1919 book "San Francisco."
Tess Gerritsen on Rizzoli & Isles
Oline Cogdill
This is proving to be quite a summer for author Tess Gerritsen. The TNT series Rizzoli & Isles, which airs at 10 p.m. EST/ 9 p.m. CST on Mondays with encore presentations, is one of the top rated shows and it has been renewed for a second
season.
alt
She is continuing her book tour for her latest Rizzoli & Isles novel Ice Cold (called The Killing Place in the U.K.) and, of course, planning her next novel.

We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about the TNT series, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Q: Although the stars of Rizzoli & Isles -- Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander -- don’t look like the characters as described in your novels, they make these characters work. Why?
A: It's all in the attitude. Harmon has the character of Jane nailed down pat. If she weren't so gorgeous, she would be exactly as I created her. The TV persona of Maura has been altered for TV purposes, something that I can understand. In the books, both women are pretty intense, and Maura is a moody, introspective character. That
might not translate well to TV. Sasha Alexander does a fine job of playing the somewhat Aspergian and brilliant character that's been written for her on TV.
alt
Q: Do you find yourself working an alternative universe as you write the novels yet see the characters on TV at a different point in their “lives”?
A: It is weird, continuing on with the books as I've created them, while a parallel universe spins out on TV. I'm trying to stay true to my books, because these are the characters I started off with, and to change them based on TV's influence would be too weird at this point!

Q: Aside from the characters and plot, what is your favorite detail in the TV series?
A: I love their casting choices. Bruce McGill is brilliant, and Lee Thompson Young has a real intensity as Frost. Also, I'm utterly nuts about the theme music they play during the titles. Since I'm a celtic music fan (I play the fiddle) it was such a thrill to hear that jig played for the first time!

Q: This isn’t your first time having your work make it to the screen. You co-wrote the story and screenplay, Adrift, which aired on CBS as Movie of the Week in 1993, and starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Greenwood. Were you pleased with that?
A: That was quite a different experience, as I was actually involved in writing the script. I thought the finished product was terrific, and I've been a fan of Bruce Greenwood ever since. It was also a revelation to me how much more powerful a scene can be on-screen. I recall writing a scene where the villains hold Kate Jackson's hand overthe burner flame, and she screams. Watching it on screen took that scene to a whole different level of horror.

Q: Has the TV series of Rizzoli & Isles had any impact on book sales? And are you getting feedback from readers?
A: We're just starting to see movement in the backlist. I know that the Amazon numbers have really improved, and I understand that weekly sales of the paperback The Surgeon have more than doubled. I'm hoping that, as more viewers realize there are books behind the characters, that they'll want to explore where the stories came from.

Q: Rizzoli & Isles has just been renewed for a second series. Will be see more novels?
A: I'm working on the ninth Rizzoli & Isles novel now. It should be out next summer.

Q: Do you have any input into the series?
A: Not really. I'm friends with the executive producer and head writer, Janet Tamaro, so I suppose I could email her and bend her ear. But I think they know where they want to go with the series, and they don't need the novelist to give them guidance!

Q: Is there any thing about the TV series that no one has asked but you are dying to tell?
A: The amazing amount of real-world advice they're getting for their stories! They have a Boston PD homicide detective often on-site, advising them on police work, and they have a medical examiner and coroner's assistant helping them with some of the medical details.

Q: How do the characters and their backgrounds as portrayed in Rizzoli & Isles different from your novels?
A: TV-Jane Rizzoli is very close to the book-Jane Rizzoli. TV-Maura Isles is sunnier, friendlier, and less troubled than book Maura Isles. Also, they've given Maura a French boarding-school background and a lot more fashion sense than I ever envisioned "my" Maura having!

Q: Will we see any more Tess Gerritsen work make it to the screen?
A: One can always hope! My long-time dream has been to see "Gravity" make it to screen. The film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, but so far ... nothing.
PHOTO: Top: Gerritsen; Center: Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander TNT photo
Xav ID 577
2010-09-12 08:11:30
This is proving to be quite a summer for author Tess Gerritsen. The TNT series Rizzoli & Isles, which airs at 10 p.m. EST/ 9 p.m. CST on Mondays with encore presentations, is one of the top rated shows and it has been renewed for a second
season.
alt
She is continuing her book tour for her latest Rizzoli & Isles novel Ice Cold (called The Killing Place in the U.K.) and, of course, planning her next novel.

We caught up with her to ask her a few questions about the TNT series, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Q: Although the stars of Rizzoli & Isles -- Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander -- don’t look like the characters as described in your novels, they make these characters work. Why?
A: It's all in the attitude. Harmon has the character of Jane nailed down pat. If she weren't so gorgeous, she would be exactly as I created her. The TV persona of Maura has been altered for TV purposes, something that I can understand. In the books, both women are pretty intense, and Maura is a moody, introspective character. That
might not translate well to TV. Sasha Alexander does a fine job of playing the somewhat Aspergian and brilliant character that's been written for her on TV.
alt
Q: Do you find yourself working an alternative universe as you write the novels yet see the characters on TV at a different point in their “lives”?
A: It is weird, continuing on with the books as I've created them, while a parallel universe spins out on TV. I'm trying to stay true to my books, because these are the characters I started off with, and to change them based on TV's influence would be too weird at this point!

Q: Aside from the characters and plot, what is your favorite detail in the TV series?
A: I love their casting choices. Bruce McGill is brilliant, and Lee Thompson Young has a real intensity as Frost. Also, I'm utterly nuts about the theme music they play during the titles. Since I'm a celtic music fan (I play the fiddle) it was such a thrill to hear that jig played for the first time!

Q: This isn’t your first time having your work make it to the screen. You co-wrote the story and screenplay, Adrift, which aired on CBS as Movie of the Week in 1993, and starred Kate Jackson and Bruce Greenwood. Were you pleased with that?
A: That was quite a different experience, as I was actually involved in writing the script. I thought the finished product was terrific, and I've been a fan of Bruce Greenwood ever since. It was also a revelation to me how much more powerful a scene can be on-screen. I recall writing a scene where the villains hold Kate Jackson's hand overthe burner flame, and she screams. Watching it on screen took that scene to a whole different level of horror.

Q: Has the TV series of Rizzoli & Isles had any impact on book sales? And are you getting feedback from readers?
A: We're just starting to see movement in the backlist. I know that the Amazon numbers have really improved, and I understand that weekly sales of the paperback The Surgeon have more than doubled. I'm hoping that, as more viewers realize there are books behind the characters, that they'll want to explore where the stories came from.

Q: Rizzoli & Isles has just been renewed for a second series. Will be see more novels?
A: I'm working on the ninth Rizzoli & Isles novel now. It should be out next summer.

Q: Do you have any input into the series?
A: Not really. I'm friends with the executive producer and head writer, Janet Tamaro, so I suppose I could email her and bend her ear. But I think they know where they want to go with the series, and they don't need the novelist to give them guidance!

Q: Is there any thing about the TV series that no one has asked but you are dying to tell?
A: The amazing amount of real-world advice they're getting for their stories! They have a Boston PD homicide detective often on-site, advising them on police work, and they have a medical examiner and coroner's assistant helping them with some of the medical details.

Q: How do the characters and their backgrounds as portrayed in Rizzoli & Isles different from your novels?
A: TV-Jane Rizzoli is very close to the book-Jane Rizzoli. TV-Maura Isles is sunnier, friendlier, and less troubled than book Maura Isles. Also, they've given Maura a French boarding-school background and a lot more fashion sense than I ever envisioned "my" Maura having!

Q: Will we see any more Tess Gerritsen work make it to the screen?
A: One can always hope! My long-time dream has been to see "Gravity" make it to screen. The film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox, but so far ... nothing.
PHOTO: Top: Gerritsen; Center: Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander TNT photo
Jack Reacher, the Movie Version
Oline Cogdill
Who do you want to see play Lee Child's Jack Reacher in the movie version?
We actually may be getting closer to the day that we see Lee Child's Jack Reacher character make it to the screen.
altAccording to the Hollywood Reporter and a couple of other sources, Christopher McQuarrie has been tapped to rework an existing script for the Paramount thriller One Shot and to become its director.
McQuarrie won an Oscar for writing The Usual Suspects and co-wrote the upcoming Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller The Tourist. The first and last time he directed was the 2000 The Way of the Gun.
One Shot, the ninth book in the series, is about a military sniper accused of murder who seeks Reacher's help.
Now that the script and the director are set, can the casting be far behind? Who to play Jack Reacher, the former military cop turned drifter? I think it has to be an unknown or a TV actor who can carry a movie.
Like I said, Who do you want to see play Lee Child's Jack Reacher in the movie version?
Photo by Sigrid Estrada
Xav ID 577
2010-11-03 10:07:24
Who do you want to see play Lee Child's Jack Reacher in the movie version?
We actually may be getting closer to the day that we see Lee Child's Jack Reacher character make it to the screen.
altAccording to the Hollywood Reporter and a couple of other sources, Christopher McQuarrie has been tapped to rework an existing script for the Paramount thriller One Shot and to become its director.
McQuarrie won an Oscar for writing The Usual Suspects and co-wrote the upcoming Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller The Tourist. The first and last time he directed was the 2000 The Way of the Gun.
One Shot, the ninth book in the series, is about a military sniper accused of murder who seeks Reacher's help.
Now that the script and the director are set, can the casting be far behind? Who to play Jack Reacher, the former military cop turned drifter? I think it has to be an unknown or a TV actor who can carry a movie.
Like I said, Who do you want to see play Lee Child's Jack Reacher in the movie version?
Photo by Sigrid Estrada
Charles Todd Short Story an E-Book
Oline Cogdill
The popularity of e-books is growing daily and can't be denied anymore.
Will they continue to be decent sellers or even surpass printed books?
Who knows? But it is interesting to see the sales continue. Recent reports are that Laura Lippman's latest novel I'd Know You Anywhere sold more copies as e-books than as hardcover
alt
According to a press release, News Corp.’s HarperCollins reported that in its first five days, I'd Know You Anywhere sold 739 more e-books than the 4,000 hardcovers.
Charles Todd is now offering an e-book short story called The Girl on the Beach and is an original Bess Crawford short story.
Todd's latest novel about World War I nurse Bess Crawford called An Impartial Witness just came out.
The Girl on the Beach is free and will be available through e-retailers through Sept. 14.
Readers who download the short story will get a bonus of an excerpt from A Duty to the Dead, Todd's first Bess Crawford novel published last year.
Two more promotional e-books by Todd are expected to be released later this fall.
Xav ID 577
2010-09-08 08:56:38
The popularity of e-books is growing daily and can't be denied anymore.
Will they continue to be decent sellers or even surpass printed books?
Who knows? But it is interesting to see the sales continue. Recent reports are that Laura Lippman's latest novel I'd Know You Anywhere sold more copies as e-books than as hardcover
alt
According to a press release, News Corp.’s HarperCollins reported that in its first five days, I'd Know You Anywhere sold 739 more e-books than the 4,000 hardcovers.
Charles Todd is now offering an e-book short story called The Girl on the Beach and is an original Bess Crawford short story.
Todd's latest novel about World War I nurse Bess Crawford called An Impartial Witness just came out.
The Girl on the Beach is free and will be available through e-retailers through Sept. 14.
Readers who download the short story will get a bonus of an excerpt from A Duty to the Dead, Todd's first Bess Crawford novel published last year.
Two more promotional e-books by Todd are expected to be released later this fall.
A Mysterious Gathering in Calhoun, Georgia
Oline Cogdill
While I love Bouchercon and the large mystery fiction gatherings, small conferences also are nice.

altTake the upcoming A Deadly Dinner to be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun, Georgia.

This will be a round-robin dinner with eight published authors. For $25 per person, you get a dinner, a conversation with some good authors and the chance to win more door prizes, including autographed books.

A better deal you may never find.

For more information, contact the Harris Arts Center at 706-629-2599 or visit www.harrisartscenter.com and click on Programs/Literary Guild.

Events such as these -- and they are being held across the country -- are a wonderful way to showcase writers as well as raise money for local causes. A Deadly Dinner is co-sponsored by the Southeastern Chapter Mystery Writers of America and other local groups and businesses.
alt
Authors who will be at A Deadly Dinner are:
Mignon Ballard (Augusta Goodnight series)
Kathleen Delaney (Ellen McKenzie series)
Mary Anna Evans (Faye Longchamp series)
Gerrie Ferris Finger (The End Game and Look Away from Evil)
Marion Moore Hill (Deadly Past series)
Randy Rawls (Ace Edwards, PI, series)
Fran Stewart (Biscuit McKee series)
Jaden E. Terrell (Racing the Devil)

This is the first time the Georgia town has held such an event and I hope it's so successful it will be an annual dinner.

Are there events in your area that showcase authors? Let us know.
Xav ID 577
2010-10-17 08:47:52
While I love Bouchercon and the large mystery fiction gatherings, small conferences also are nice.

altTake the upcoming A Deadly Dinner to be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Harris Arts Center in Calhoun, Georgia.

This will be a round-robin dinner with eight published authors. For $25 per person, you get a dinner, a conversation with some good authors and the chance to win more door prizes, including autographed books.

A better deal you may never find.

For more information, contact the Harris Arts Center at 706-629-2599 or visit www.harrisartscenter.com and click on Programs/Literary Guild.

Events such as these -- and they are being held across the country -- are a wonderful way to showcase writers as well as raise money for local causes. A Deadly Dinner is co-sponsored by the Southeastern Chapter Mystery Writers of America and other local groups and businesses.
alt
Authors who will be at A Deadly Dinner are:
Mignon Ballard (Augusta Goodnight series)
Kathleen Delaney (Ellen McKenzie series)
Mary Anna Evans (Faye Longchamp series)
Gerrie Ferris Finger (The End Game and Look Away from Evil)
Marion Moore Hill (Deadly Past series)
Randy Rawls (Ace Edwards, PI, series)
Fran Stewart (Biscuit McKee series)
Jaden E. Terrell (Racing the Devil)

This is the first time the Georgia town has held such an event and I hope it's so successful it will be an annual dinner.

Are there events in your area that showcase authors? Let us know.
My New York
S. J. Rozan

New York, New York. It’ll never be the same.

I was born here, I grew up here, so ask me to write a piece about New York and you won’t get objectivity. But you won’t get New York boosterism, either. Patriotism? My city right or wrong? Forget that. Sure, New York is different from every other city on the planet. So is Paris, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Bangkok. Yes, I love it here, more now than ever. On 9/11 New Yorkers showed what they’re made of, and though I wish I’d never had to see it, what I saw was great. But Parisians would have done that, too, and Beijingers. The truth about pretty much everybody is, get the ideologues out of the way and people come through for each other. Most people. The people who don’t, well, they’re everywhere too.

Is New York the center of the universe? Probably not. The funny thing is, we don’t really see ourselves that way. A lot of other people seem to see us as seeing ourselves that way, though, and resent us for it, and go out of their way to tell us we’re not. Okay, fine. This doesn’t seem to be a universe with much of a center, anyway: not a lot of order here.

What we do see ourselves as is a place where a vast array of worlds, connected and unconnected, are at the top of their game. Each attracts newcomers all the time, each vibrates with so much energy it sets the others vibrating too. We see ourselves as a place so big we may be ungovernable but we’re also, in the best sense, uncontrollable: anything can happen here. The separate worlds—theater, art, food, commerce; the lives of endless waves of immigrants - are valuable in themselves. The cracks between them, though, are what’s critical. What falls into those cracks, what develops in the spaces where those worlds overlap, split, flow together again: that’s where new things happen.

rozan_timessqareAnd when new things happen in New York, they happen on limited land masses: a geological determinism that forces us to live on top of each other, to keep re-inventing our lives and our neighborhoods because we can’t just build new ones, we can’t just spread out, move on. (The Bronx is the only borough of New York City that’s on the mainland of North America. But Yonkers, a whole other city, sits right on top of it.) So neighborhoods rise and fall. Waves of change wash over us, flow on, leaving some things the same, some different, leaving some new things no one ever saw before. The head of the Times Square Business Improvement District (an interesting idea in itself) puts it this way: “Times Square is not humanity at its best or its worst but at its most, which is a lot of what New York is.” Humanity at its most. A staggering concept.

So what now, in this post-9/11 world? Well, this is New York. Our new mayor, one of the richest men in the country, bought the election - and is turning out on some issues to be pretty good, surprising the hell out of me. Race relations, in a very bad way for the past few years, are now, according to polls, at a high point. (They were so low earlier partly because of the fascist attitude of our previous mayor, who suddenly got to be a saint after 9/11, surprising the hell out of me.) We’re getting along, the theory goes, because people who die together live together better afterwards. The economy is still bad, which may mean not a lot of new building for awhile, which may not be bad. We need to catch our breath every now and then, see what we’ve actually done, and that’s one thing we don’t usually have much time for here, breath-catching.

rozan_nyccentrallibrary
And for writers, especially crime writers? An interesting question. Those of us who live here and set our books here are facing a dilemma now. So much of what New York always was, it still is; the places and the worlds we’ve always mined for material are still rich with untapped veins. But now there’s an 800-pound gorilla in the corner. How do you deal with 9/11—a sudden 16-acre hole in the center of real estate that’s been among the world’s most densely-built for 300 years? The 1,700 people so completely pulverized that there are no remains to identify? The 343 firefighters dead, not in a single day, but in an hour? Every New Yorker thinks about it every day. But can you put it in a book about something else without it taking over? Can you ignore it, so that it won’t take over, and write the book you might have written on 9/10, as though neither the city nor the writer had changed? Can you weave it in, assuming everyone understands the changes? Can you write about it directly?

S.J. Rozan portraitWe’ll see how different writers answer this question over the next year or two, as we see how New York and New Yorkers deal with the unprecedented questions 9/11 brought to our own lives.

But since this city began, in the mud at the tip of the island, the unprecedented has been something we do here on a regular basis.

I love New York.

Note: This essay originally appeared in Mystery Scene #76, Fall 2002.


S.J. Rozan is a lifelong New Yorker. Her latest Lydia Chin/Bill Smith mystery is On the Line (Minotaur Books, Sept. 2010)

Teri Duerr
2010-09-10 17:45:57

rozan_timessquareAuthor and New Yorker S. J. Rozan reflects on a post-9/11 world.

The City of New York: Rising From the Ashes
Maan Meyers

They said you could see the glow in the sky from as far as Philadelphia. The flames were relentless. Firemen and volunteers raced to the scene, but it was an impossible task. Heroism abounded. Troops were called in. In all, the area south of Wall Street and east of Broad Street was devastated.

We’re in New York. But the year is 1835.

What we’ve described was the Great Fire. It began the evening of December 16th, a night of high winds and cold that took the temperature readings down well below zero. A spark in a warehouse on the corner of Exchange Place and Pearl Street turned the area into an inferno in minutes.

The City firemen had been up the night before fighting two other blazes. Exhausted, they raced to fight this new threat.

Because of the intense cold, both rivers were frozen. Firemen had to use their axes to chop holes in the ice, and once they started pumping, the water froze in their hoses. Even vessels in the harbor were not safe. It took two weeks for the fire to be vanquished.

The commercial district of the City was destroyed. Yet, business continued. The New York Stock Exchange resumed trading four days after the fire began. Amazingly, only two people died.

The fire still smoldering, real estate prices for the burned out lots in the district skyrocketed.

Rebuilding began immediately. A year later, the entire area was thriving. Without the help of Congress. It was the New York State government in Albany that approved six million dollars for disaster relief.

meyers_nycfire

The fire that began on September 21, 1776, destroyed one-fourth of New York’s buildings.

In the dead of night, on September 21st, 1776, a firestorm hit the City with tremendous force. It did not come from the shelling from the British ships in the harbor because the British had already—more or less—won the City. Terrified shrieks of women and children rose above the blaze as hundreds of people clutching their few possessions ran from the heat and smoke.

The fire began at Whitehall Slip and burned through Bridge, Stone and Beaver Streets destroying everything in its path, then crossing Broadway, it reduced Trinity Church to ashes. St. Paul’s, only six blocks north, was saved thanks to a bucket brigade of British soldiers and seamen.

One-fourth of the City’s structures were destroyed.

On November 16, 1776, the British took secure possession of all of Manhattan, and the City swarmed with Crown Loyalists from the other colonies. The occupation was painful for ordinary New Yorkers. Soldiers attacked young women, looted and pillaged, seized livestock, cut down forests and shared nothing with the freezing, starving people. New York remained in British hands until November 21st, 1783. The British left the City in terrible shape. They had not rebuilt the area destroyed by the fire years before. Trinity Church remained a burnt-out shell. Buildings still standing throughout the City were unlivable. Private homes had been made foul. The now treeless streets were clogged with filth and garbage.

Any other city might have been whipped, but we’re talking about New York.

meyers_broadwaysketch

Confederate officers set a fire in Barnum’s Museum on Broadway (center; St. Paul’s at right).

The plot to destroy New York began in the fall of 1864. Even though the Confederacy was on its last legs, Judah Benjamin, its Treasurer, allocated $300,000 for the mission. Its purpose was to demoralize the North by burning down its most important city.

The conspirators were eight Kentucky officers. Though Kentucky was a Union state, it had many Southern sympathizers. The eight officers were assured that New York, being a city of commerce, had its share of those who believed in the Cause, and that these would rise up and join the conspirators.

Yes, New York had Southern sympathizers. The war was bad for business. But the conspirators totally misunderstood the people of New York. We complain mightily, but we stand fast.

The conflagration was earmarked for Election Day. Lincoln was running for a second term and New York was an anti-Lincoln, Democratic stronghold. Somehow, it became common knowledge that the conspirators were in the City and the army was called in to protect the election. The conspirators decided to bide their time and choose another moment when the City would be most vulnerable.

While they waited, they attended lectures and concerts and church services, even played baseball in Central Park, mixing freely into cosmopolitan New York life. Truth to say, they got swept up in the magic of the City. The news of Sherman’s burning of Atlantic brought them back to their mission. Swearing revenge, the eight determined to carry out their original plan.

They chose the day after Thanksgiving, which Lincoln, after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, had fixed as November 24th. Since municipal buildings were now guarded, the conspirators selected as targets thirteen of the City’s finest hotels. Teams went to several of them and rented rooms. They decided that with fires in many of the hotels throughout the City proper, flames would race through entire neighborhoods, causing great panic. In additon to the hotels, fires were set in warehouses and ships along the waterfront, in Barnum’s Museum, Niblo’s Theatre, and the Winter Garden Theatre, where the Booth brothers were performing Julius Caesar to raise money for a statue of Shakespeare for Central Park.

But the conspirators were poor scientists and worse arsonists; they made a crucial mistake. By closing the doors and windows tight, they suffocated their fires. The result was more smoke than fire. Volunteer firemen and the police performed admirably. Although the damage was calculated to be about $400,000, no lives were lost. We’re not surprised that the conspirators, in what newspapers of the day dubbed The Incendiary Plot, were dazzled by the amazing City of New York. We were born here, and the City still has this affect on us.

meyers_amtroopssketch

Return of the American troops to New York, 1783.

In November of 1783, after occupying the City for eight long years, the British, smart in their fine red coats and arms, marched down the Bowery to the East River wharves and out of New York forever. George Washington and his troops returned, tattered, but triumphant.

Once more our City rises from the ashes.

Note: This essay originally appeared in Mystery Scene #76, Fall 2002.

Martin and Annette Meyers, using the pseudonym of Maan Meryers, write The Dutchman historical novels and short stories which span several centuries of New York City history. Their latest book in that series is The Organ Grinder (Five Star, 2008).

Teri Duerr
2010-09-11 14:26:31

meyers_broadwaysketchAnnette and Martin Meyers, the writers behind the pseudonym Maan Meyers and The Dutchman Series set in historical New York, reflect on the city's ability to weather tragedies throughout its history in their essay from Mystery Scene #76.

Historicals Set in San Francisco
Oline Cogdill
Historical novels not only show us our past but also show how that past is never completely finished. We tend to make the same mistakes and have the same concerns as our parents, grandparents and great-great-great relatives did. All that really changes are the technology and fashion.
altSo that leads me to historicals based in San Francisco. In honor of Bouchercon 2010 set in San Francisco, I am doing an ongoing look at mysteries set there. I am sure I am missing a few so please, tell us your favorite historicals set in San Francisco...or anywhere.
Kelli Stanley -- City of Dragons: For me, this is one of the most exciting novels to come out this year. Set in in San Francisco during 1940, City of Dragons introduces P.I. Miranda Corbiean, independent, unconventional heroine who isn't always likable. Here's a quote from my review: "The gritty, hard-boiled City of Dragons works as an
insightful look at racisim and sexism. Stanley never misses a beat as she also shows San Francisco’s hidden corners, seething emotions in the days before WWII."
Ace Atkins: Devil's Garden -- Atkins used the real-life event of comic Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s trial for rape and manslaughter in 1921 for an insightful look at the fascination with celebrities, the power of the press, dirty politics, voyeurism and the thrill that the early movies brought to audiences. His meticulous research gives a very human view of Fatty Arbuckle, whose reign as America's favorite comic crashed when Virginia Rappe, a starlet with a dubious past, died during a Labor Day party at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Fatty was accused of crushing her to death during sex. Although he was acquitted after three trials, the comic’s career was over. While the comic’s arrest and trial provide the backdrop of Devil’s Garden, Atkins uses another fact about the case to elevate the novel. Before he was known for his crime fiction classics, Samuel Dashiell Hammett was a Pinkerton detective hired by the defense to sleuth out the facts.
Shirley Tallman: The Cliff House Strangler -- Each of Tallman's novels is set in a different area of San Francisco, showing, as do the other historicals, just how much the city has and hasn't changed. The Cliff House, which is still there, is now a restaurant that I have always wanted to visit so I am partial to this 2007 novel in her series about the engaging Sarah Woolson, an attorney in 19th-century San Francisco. Set during the 1880s, Tallman's series also delves into issues of the era, which sound suspiciously like the concerns of 2010. The fascination with spiritualism and psychics is prominent in The Cliff House Strangler; her latest novel Scandal on Rincon Hill looks at Chinese immigrants.
Dianne Day: Emperor Norton's Ghost -- This 1999 novel continued Day's series about Freemont Jones, a Bostonian who ended up in San Francisco in the early 1900s, opens a typewriting business (we'd call it secretarial today) and finds a gift for solving crimes. Day's novels were filled with oddities of the day and bigger-than-life characters based on real people. Emperor Norton was a 19th-century San Franciscan who crowned himself Emperor Norton I of the United States and Defender of Mexico.
Xav ID 577
2010-09-22 23:39:03
Historical novels not only show us our past but also show how that past is never completely finished. We tend to make the same mistakes and have the same concerns as our parents, grandparents and great-great-great relatives did. All that really changes are the technology and fashion.
altSo that leads me to historicals based in San Francisco. In honor of Bouchercon 2010 set in San Francisco, I am doing an ongoing look at mysteries set there. I am sure I am missing a few so please, tell us your favorite historicals set in San Francisco...or anywhere.
Kelli Stanley -- City of Dragons: For me, this is one of the most exciting novels to come out this year. Set in in San Francisco during 1940, City of Dragons introduces P.I. Miranda Corbiean, independent, unconventional heroine who isn't always likable. Here's a quote from my review: "The gritty, hard-boiled City of Dragons works as an
insightful look at racisim and sexism. Stanley never misses a beat as she also shows San Francisco’s hidden corners, seething emotions in the days before WWII."
Ace Atkins: Devil's Garden -- Atkins used the real-life event of comic Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s trial for rape and manslaughter in 1921 for an insightful look at the fascination with celebrities, the power of the press, dirty politics, voyeurism and the thrill that the early movies brought to audiences. His meticulous research gives a very human view of Fatty Arbuckle, whose reign as America's favorite comic crashed when Virginia Rappe, a starlet with a dubious past, died during a Labor Day party at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Fatty was accused of crushing her to death during sex. Although he was acquitted after three trials, the comic’s career was over. While the comic’s arrest and trial provide the backdrop of Devil’s Garden, Atkins uses another fact about the case to elevate the novel. Before he was known for his crime fiction classics, Samuel Dashiell Hammett was a Pinkerton detective hired by the defense to sleuth out the facts.
Shirley Tallman: The Cliff House Strangler -- Each of Tallman's novels is set in a different area of San Francisco, showing, as do the other historicals, just how much the city has and hasn't changed. The Cliff House, which is still there, is now a restaurant that I have always wanted to visit so I am partial to this 2007 novel in her series about the engaging Sarah Woolson, an attorney in 19th-century San Francisco. Set during the 1880s, Tallman's series also delves into issues of the era, which sound suspiciously like the concerns of 2010. The fascination with spiritualism and psychics is prominent in The Cliff House Strangler; her latest novel Scandal on Rincon Hill looks at Chinese immigrants.
Dianne Day: Emperor Norton's Ghost -- This 1999 novel continued Day's series about Freemont Jones, a Bostonian who ended up in San Francisco in the early 1900s, opens a typewriting business (we'd call it secretarial today) and finds a gift for solving crimes. Day's novels were filled with oddities of the day and bigger-than-life characters based on real people. Emperor Norton was a 19th-century San Franciscan who crowned himself Emperor Norton I of the United States and Defender of Mexico.
Read Dashiell Hammett -- It's the Law
Oline Cogdill
San Francisco's history is one of the country's most colorful filled with pirates, scallywags and the occasional earthquake. I appreciate a city that embraces is unsavory past and builds on a future that includes a most diverse populations.
altRemember, I'm from Florida, the land of anything goes.
And since Bouchercon 2010 will be in San Francisco in just a few weeks, I 'm offering an ongoing look at mysteries set there.
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon. Granted when this novel about Sam Spade and the stuff that dreams are made of was published in 1930 it was a contemporary novel. Now we can look at what is often called the quintessential San Francisco mystery as a historical that also is as modern as when it was published. The alleys, streets and fog of San Francisco haven't changed much. There's also a plaque on the street where Archer was killed. I think it is a law that any mystery fan -- or anyone for that matter -- who visits San Francisco must read The Maltese Falcon at least once.
Joe Gores: Spade & Archer -- Published in 2009, this prequel to The Maltese Falcon delves into the background of Sam Space, his partner Miles Archer and other characters from Hammett's classic. Although he was first refused, Gores eventually got permission from Hammett's relatives to write the novel.
Xav ID 577
2010-10-04 00:11:06
San Francisco's history is one of the country's most colorful filled with pirates, scallywags and the occasional earthquake. I appreciate a city that embraces is unsavory past and builds on a future that includes a most diverse populations.
altRemember, I'm from Florida, the land of anything goes.
And since Bouchercon 2010 will be in San Francisco in just a few weeks, I 'm offering an ongoing look at mysteries set there.
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon. Granted when this novel about Sam Spade and the stuff that dreams are made of was published in 1930 it was a contemporary novel. Now we can look at what is often called the quintessential San Francisco mystery as a historical that also is as modern as when it was published. The alleys, streets and fog of San Francisco haven't changed much. There's also a plaque on the street where Archer was killed. I think it is a law that any mystery fan -- or anyone for that matter -- who visits San Francisco must read The Maltese Falcon at least once.
Joe Gores: Spade & Archer -- Published in 2009, this prequel to The Maltese Falcon delves into the background of Sam Space, his partner Miles Archer and other characters from Hammett's classic. Although he was first refused, Gores eventually got permission from Hammett's relatives to write the novel.
Newspaper Mysteries Make Deadline
Oline Cogdill
Across the nation, the newspaper industry struggles with more papers laying off staff. But in mysteries, the newspaper industry thrives.

Or at least makes for some darn good plots.

The past couple of years have seen an uptick in mysteries set at a newspaper. These are timely novels that show the struggles of newspapers and how the fear of being laid off hangs over many newspaper staffs. A few set in the recent past make us yearn for the good old days.

Anyone who has worked at a newspaper knows there is nothing like a newsroom culture -- the constant banter, the exchanging of ideas, the feeling that you are making a difference in people's lives. Not to mention the lifelong friendships and, of course, marriages that come out of newsroom.
But we have our memories....and our mystery novels. Recently, some journalists from the first newspaper I worked and myself had some fun reminising about those old days, and trying to remember what ever became of our coworkers.
alt
Brad Parks' novel Faces of the Gone about Newark investigative reporter Carter Ross made my list of best debuts for 2009. Apparently I wasn't the only one who liked this novel as Faces of the Gone has been nominated for a Shamus Award in the best first category and for a Nero Award. Parks will learn if he or the other Shamus nominees take the prize on Oct. 15 during Bouchercon week; Nero award winners will be announced in December.
Canadian author Rick Mofina has written three series about newspaper reporters, each of them set in the United States. His latest series hero Jack Gannon debuted in Vengeance Road, which is up for a Shamus for best paperback original. In his latest novel, Gannon teams up with a mother desparately looking for her child in The Panic Zone. He also has five novels in his award-winning series featuring San Francisco Star crime reporter Tom Reed and Homicide Inspector Walt Sydowski, also set in San Francisco. Blood of Others received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada.
An obit writer for a small-town newspaper finds himself at the center of attention in Death Notice, the debut by journalist Todd Ritter. While this is more of a police procedural, Ritter shows how small-town newspapers cover an area. (My review will be in the next issue of Mystery Scene.)
Community journalism plays is a major factor of Bryan Gruley's excellent Starvation Lake was one of the best debuts for 2009. Gus Carpenter left his hometown of Starvation Lake to become a big-city reporter in Detroit. But scandal forced him out of his job and now he is back home working as an editor on the town’s small daily. Gruley's newly released second novel The Hanging Tree has Carpenter trying to find out why a young woman who left town 18 years ago apparently commits suicide shortly after returning home.
(More newspaper mysteries in a couple of weeks.)
Xav ID 577
2010-10-10 15:13:17
Across the nation, the newspaper industry struggles with more papers laying off staff. But in mysteries, the newspaper industry thrives.

Or at least makes for some darn good plots.

The past couple of years have seen an uptick in mysteries set at a newspaper. These are timely novels that show the struggles of newspapers and how the fear of being laid off hangs over many newspaper staffs. A few set in the recent past make us yearn for the good old days.

Anyone who has worked at a newspaper knows there is nothing like a newsroom culture -- the constant banter, the exchanging of ideas, the feeling that you are making a difference in people's lives. Not to mention the lifelong friendships and, of course, marriages that come out of newsroom.
But we have our memories....and our mystery novels. Recently, some journalists from the first newspaper I worked and myself had some fun reminising about those old days, and trying to remember what ever became of our coworkers.
alt
Brad Parks' novel Faces of the Gone about Newark investigative reporter Carter Ross made my list of best debuts for 2009. Apparently I wasn't the only one who liked this novel as Faces of the Gone has been nominated for a Shamus Award in the best first category and for a Nero Award. Parks will learn if he or the other Shamus nominees take the prize on Oct. 15 during Bouchercon week; Nero award winners will be announced in December.
Canadian author Rick Mofina has written three series about newspaper reporters, each of them set in the United States. His latest series hero Jack Gannon debuted in Vengeance Road, which is up for a Shamus for best paperback original. In his latest novel, Gannon teams up with a mother desparately looking for her child in The Panic Zone. He also has five novels in his award-winning series featuring San Francisco Star crime reporter Tom Reed and Homicide Inspector Walt Sydowski, also set in San Francisco. Blood of Others received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada.
An obit writer for a small-town newspaper finds himself at the center of attention in Death Notice, the debut by journalist Todd Ritter. While this is more of a police procedural, Ritter shows how small-town newspapers cover an area. (My review will be in the next issue of Mystery Scene.)
Community journalism plays is a major factor of Bryan Gruley's excellent Starvation Lake was one of the best debuts for 2009. Gus Carpenter left his hometown of Starvation Lake to become a big-city reporter in Detroit. But scandal forced him out of his job and now he is back home working as an editor on the town’s small daily. Gruley's newly released second novel The Hanging Tree has Carpenter trying to find out why a young woman who left town 18 years ago apparently commits suicide shortly after returning home.
(More newspaper mysteries in a couple of weeks.)
Crusading Journalists in Mysteries
Oline Cogdill
Crusading journalists who solve murders may seem a fictional fantasy and, truth be told, in real newsrooms, of course, most journalists don't moonlight as sleuths. But many journalists' reporting has helped get innocent people released from custody, or bring to light corrupt politicians. So these mysteries have a sense of reality.
In his 2009 novel The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly, a former newspaper reporter himself, returned to character of Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jack McEvoy, who was introduced in The Poet (1996). The Scarecrow tackled the downsizing of newspaper staffs, the embattled newspaper industry and the rise of the Internet in a tense action-laden plot. In my review, I also mentioned that "The Scarecrow also works as a tale about work ethics, integrity and pride in a job well done, even if that employment is ending."
alt
Jason Pinter's action-packed series about New York newspaper reporter Henry Parker show how the all-consuming business of covering the news can control one's life. The Darkness is a good place to start with this series.
Jonathon King, the Edgar-winning author of the Max Freeman novels, set his Eye of Vengeance (2006) in a South Florida newsroom -- a place King knows well having worked at a South Florida newspaper for some 18 years. In Eye of Vengeance, crime reporter Nick Mullins' articles about a sniper shooting leads him to believe that a killer is targeting criminals that he has written about.

Jan Burke's series about California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly have earned the author numerous awards. In these novels, Burke has delivered deep, rich plots about the devastating effects of crime as seen through the prism of an insightful, ethical journalist. A personal favorite is Bloodlines.

Edna Buchanan's Britt Montero covers crime for a Miami newspaper.

Although Lisa Scottoline is best known for her legal thrillers, she focused on a newspaper reporter and single mother in Look Again (2009).
Xav ID 577
2010-11-11 10:34:24
Crusading journalists who solve murders may seem a fictional fantasy and, truth be told, in real newsrooms, of course, most journalists don't moonlight as sleuths. But many journalists' reporting has helped get innocent people released from custody, or bring to light corrupt politicians. So these mysteries have a sense of reality.
In his 2009 novel The Scarecrow, Michael Connelly, a former newspaper reporter himself, returned to character of Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jack McEvoy, who was introduced in The Poet (1996). The Scarecrow tackled the downsizing of newspaper staffs, the embattled newspaper industry and the rise of the Internet in a tense action-laden plot. In my review, I also mentioned that "The Scarecrow also works as a tale about work ethics, integrity and pride in a job well done, even if that employment is ending."
alt
Jason Pinter's action-packed series about New York newspaper reporter Henry Parker show how the all-consuming business of covering the news can control one's life. The Darkness is a good place to start with this series.
Jonathon King, the Edgar-winning author of the Max Freeman novels, set his Eye of Vengeance (2006) in a South Florida newsroom -- a place King knows well having worked at a South Florida newspaper for some 18 years. In Eye of Vengeance, crime reporter Nick Mullins' articles about a sniper shooting leads him to believe that a killer is targeting criminals that he has written about.

Jan Burke's series about California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly have earned the author numerous awards. In these novels, Burke has delivered deep, rich plots about the devastating effects of crime as seen through the prism of an insightful, ethical journalist. A personal favorite is Bloodlines.

Edna Buchanan's Britt Montero covers crime for a Miami newspaper.

Although Lisa Scottoline is best known for her legal thrillers, she focused on a newspaper reporter and single mother in Look Again (2009).
San Francisco Legal Thrillers
Oline Cogdill
With Bouchercon about a week away, I am continuing the ongoing look at San Francisco-based mysteries.
I've been trying to come up with several legal thrillers based in San Francisco and, amazingly, I am coming up short. Surely San Francisco would be wonderful fodder for legal thrillers.
So readers, help me out. If you know of other authors who write legal thrillers set in San Francisco, please post their names.
alt
John Lescroart: A Certain Justice and A Plague of Secrets, among others -- Lescroart's series about attorney Dismas Hardy go beyond the courtroom to look at how a community deals with strife. Flawed characters, flawed ethics and a flawed legal system add up to exciting novels. In 1995's A Certain Justice, Dismas Hardy only makes an appearance as Abe Glitsky, the head of San Francisco’s homicide department, takes center stage when a race riot engulfs the city. The murder of a manager of a trendy coffee shop jumpstarts the energetic A Plague of Secrets (2009). Lescroart's latest novel is Treasure Hunt, the first of a new series about San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt.

Julie Smith: Death Turns a Trick -- Before she turned her attention to New Orleans and Skip Langdon and Talba Wallis, the heroines of her two Big Easy series, Smith wrote about San Francisco attorney Rebecca Schwartz. These novels are lighter in tone than her other two series, and often quite funny. Death Turns a Trick (1992) introduced the self-described "Jewish feminist lawyer." Before my first trip to the Monterey, I read Dead in the Water (1993), which is set at the Monterey Aquarium; on each visit I always look twice at those wonderful exhibits.
Xav ID 577
2010-10-07 02:27:55
With Bouchercon about a week away, I am continuing the ongoing look at San Francisco-based mysteries.
I've been trying to come up with several legal thrillers based in San Francisco and, amazingly, I am coming up short. Surely San Francisco would be wonderful fodder for legal thrillers.
So readers, help me out. If you know of other authors who write legal thrillers set in San Francisco, please post their names.
alt
John Lescroart: A Certain Justice and A Plague of Secrets, among others -- Lescroart's series about attorney Dismas Hardy go beyond the courtroom to look at how a community deals with strife. Flawed characters, flawed ethics and a flawed legal system add up to exciting novels. In 1995's A Certain Justice, Dismas Hardy only makes an appearance as Abe Glitsky, the head of San Francisco’s homicide department, takes center stage when a race riot engulfs the city. The murder of a manager of a trendy coffee shop jumpstarts the energetic A Plague of Secrets (2009). Lescroart's latest novel is Treasure Hunt, the first of a new series about San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt.

Julie Smith: Death Turns a Trick -- Before she turned her attention to New Orleans and Skip Langdon and Talba Wallis, the heroines of her two Big Easy series, Smith wrote about San Francisco attorney Rebecca Schwartz. These novels are lighter in tone than her other two series, and often quite funny. Death Turns a Trick (1992) introduced the self-described "Jewish feminist lawyer." Before my first trip to the Monterey, I read Dead in the Water (1993), which is set at the Monterey Aquarium; on each visit I always look twice at those wonderful exhibits.
Marcia Muller and More San Francisco Authors
Oline Cogdill
If you're in San Francisco for Bouchercon, it's not too late to power read some mysteries set there. If you can't make it this year -- and we miss each of you -- take a virtual tour of San Francisco with our look at the city's mysteries.
alt
Marcia Muller: Any Sharon McCone novel. My friend Janet Rudolph recommends starting at the beginning of this wonderful series with Edwin of the Iron Shoes (1977). And that's a darn good place to start. But really any Sharon McCone novel will do. In this series, Muller has taken her private detective Sharon McCone from a wide-eyed innocent working tirelessly for a San Francisco legal co-op to a savvy businesswoman whose own agency is one of the city’s best-known. Along the way, Muller also has melded an acute look at San Francisco in her novels, blending factual and fictional sites to capture the spirit of San Francisco with a realism that becomes quite apparent to anyone who visits the area. If you like to start in the middle, try Dead Midnight, which looks at the demise of the dotcom industry. The newest McCone novel Coming Back will be released during October.
Meg Gardiner: The Dirty Secrets Club -- San Francisco forensic psychiatrist Jo Becket looks at a series of odd suicides and murders in the debut of this series. Gardiner first came to the attention of American readers when Stephen King wrote a glowing magazine column about her. Gardiner, who was published in the U.K. first, went on to win the Edgar Award for her novel China Lake. She will be one of the guests of honor during Sleuthfest 2011, from March 4-6 (mwaflorida.org/sleuthfest). She will share the honor with Dennis Lehane.

Rick Mofina: No Way Back -- A searing look at journalism and its ethics are at the heart of the solidly plotted No Way Back as a news story becomes personal for San Francisco crime reporter Tom Reed.
Robin Burcell: Face of a Killer -- San Francisco FBI forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick looks at the 20-year-old murder of her father before his convicted killer is executed.
Xav ID 577
2010-09-29 10:40:54
If you're in San Francisco for Bouchercon, it's not too late to power read some mysteries set there. If you can't make it this year -- and we miss each of you -- take a virtual tour of San Francisco with our look at the city's mysteries.
alt
Marcia Muller: Any Sharon McCone novel. My friend Janet Rudolph recommends starting at the beginning of this wonderful series with Edwin of the Iron Shoes (1977). And that's a darn good place to start. But really any Sharon McCone novel will do. In this series, Muller has taken her private detective Sharon McCone from a wide-eyed innocent working tirelessly for a San Francisco legal co-op to a savvy businesswoman whose own agency is one of the city’s best-known. Along the way, Muller also has melded an acute look at San Francisco in her novels, blending factual and fictional sites to capture the spirit of San Francisco with a realism that becomes quite apparent to anyone who visits the area. If you like to start in the middle, try Dead Midnight, which looks at the demise of the dotcom industry. The newest McCone novel Coming Back will be released during October.
Meg Gardiner: The Dirty Secrets Club -- San Francisco forensic psychiatrist Jo Becket looks at a series of odd suicides and murders in the debut of this series. Gardiner first came to the attention of American readers when Stephen King wrote a glowing magazine column about her. Gardiner, who was published in the U.K. first, went on to win the Edgar Award for her novel China Lake. She will be one of the guests of honor during Sleuthfest 2011, from March 4-6 (mwaflorida.org/sleuthfest). She will share the honor with Dennis Lehane.

Rick Mofina: No Way Back -- A searing look at journalism and its ethics are at the heart of the solidly plotted No Way Back as a news story becomes personal for San Francisco crime reporter Tom Reed.
Robin Burcell: Face of a Killer -- San Francisco FBI forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick looks at the 20-year-old murder of her father before his convicted killer is executed.
Just Once in San Francisco
Oline Cogdill
Some authors -- like some tourists -- visit San Francisco just once or twice, or for special events such as Bouchercon 2010. In our final look at the city's mysteries, here are some authors who have set some intriguing novels in San Francisco before moving on to other venues.
alt
David Corbett: Done for a Dime -- The murder of an aged black saxophonist who used to play with the greats of blues music lays the foundation for a look at a community under siege, family ties, greed and lost ambitions in Done for a Dime (2003). While the search for the old bluesman’s killer alone could sustain an interesting mystery, Done for a Dime turns on a dime to explore the community of Rio Mirada, a multicultural suburb plagued by drugs and racism. Rio Mirada also occupies some prime real estate just north of San Francisco.
Rupert Holmes: Swing -- Holmes has mastered just about every entertainment medium. His plays and musicals include The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Accomplice, both Edgar winners, and Say Goodnight, Gracie. He created and wrote all four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning television series Remember WENN, set in a 1940s radio station. His first mystery novel, Where The Truth Lies, was made into a movie directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Kevin Bacon. And there’s a little ditty he wrote that was quite popular – Escape (The Pina Colada Song). The 2005 Swing is set during 1940 as a war rages in Europe; anti-German sentiments percolate in the United States and the San Francisco Golden Gate Exhibition on Treasure Island draws in visitors.
alt
Walter Mosley: Cinnamon Kiss -- Mosley is most associated with Los Angeles where his reluctant detective Easy Rawlins lifes. But in this 2005 novel, Easy leaves L.A., still reeling from the aftermath of the Watts Riots for San Francisco to find a prominent attorney who’s gone missing with his assistant and a suitcase filled with documents. Easy could not be more uneasy in the San Francisco of 1966 where the streets are filled with hippies, Vietnam protests and a new generation challenges the ways of the old guard.
Xav ID 577
2010-10-13 10:08:24
Some authors -- like some tourists -- visit San Francisco just once or twice, or for special events such as Bouchercon 2010. In our final look at the city's mysteries, here are some authors who have set some intriguing novels in San Francisco before moving on to other venues.
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David Corbett: Done for a Dime -- The murder of an aged black saxophonist who used to play with the greats of blues music lays the foundation for a look at a community under siege, family ties, greed and lost ambitions in Done for a Dime (2003). While the search for the old bluesman’s killer alone could sustain an interesting mystery, Done for a Dime turns on a dime to explore the community of Rio Mirada, a multicultural suburb plagued by drugs and racism. Rio Mirada also occupies some prime real estate just north of San Francisco.
Rupert Holmes: Swing -- Holmes has mastered just about every entertainment medium. His plays and musicals include The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Accomplice, both Edgar winners, and Say Goodnight, Gracie. He created and wrote all four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning television series Remember WENN, set in a 1940s radio station. His first mystery novel, Where The Truth Lies, was made into a movie directed by Atom Egoyan and starring Kevin Bacon. And there’s a little ditty he wrote that was quite popular – Escape (The Pina Colada Song). The 2005 Swing is set during 1940 as a war rages in Europe; anti-German sentiments percolate in the United States and the San Francisco Golden Gate Exhibition on Treasure Island draws in visitors.
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Walter Mosley: Cinnamon Kiss -- Mosley is most associated with Los Angeles where his reluctant detective Easy Rawlins lifes. But in this 2005 novel, Easy leaves L.A., still reeling from the aftermath of the Watts Riots for San Francisco to find a prominent attorney who’s gone missing with his assistant and a suitcase filled with documents. Easy could not be more uneasy in the San Francisco of 1966 where the streets are filled with hippies, Vietnam protests and a new generation challenges the ways of the old guard.
Royal Blood
Bob Smith

If the producers of PBS Mystery! are smart they will option Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series. It has everything needed for TV success—fascinating locales, interesting historical backgrounds, delightful characters, and puzzling mysteries. The heroine of the series is Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the throne of England, who left the family estate in Scotland to make her way in London. Unfortunately Georgie is penniless and must use her wits to survive, which she does in various ways, one of which is “spying” for Queen Mary.

In Royal Blood, Georgie represents the crown at the wedding of Princess Maria Theresa, of Romania to Prince Nicholas of Bulgaria. It takes place in a remote castle in Transylvania, invoking the specter of the vampire Dracula. Balkan political intrigues threaten the festivities and matters get complicated when the Bulgarian field marshall, a vulgar, lecherous man, is murdered. Georgie isn’t alone in trying to solve the murder as some of the series’ recurring characters are on hand, including her mother, her best friend Belinda, perpetual suitor Prince Siegfried (who prefers men but seeks a royal marriage), and Georgie’s one true love, Darcy O’Mara, an impoverished Irish noble.

This fourth book in the series has something for everyone, all put together by a master storyteller. There are a couple of murders, a creepy castle isolated by a blizzard, vampires (real or imagined?), hidden passages, suspicious shadowy individuals lurking in dark corridors, secrets from the past, nightly romantic trysts, delightful secondary characters, and first and foremost Georgie, who will win you over from the start. I strongly recommend you read the book (actually the whole series!) before the TV people adapt it—and they are fools if they don’t.

Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 19:22:12

bowen_royalbloodA delightful and puzzling mystery in the latest Royal Spyness novel featuring Lady Georgiana Rannoch.

The Unbelievers
Helen Francini

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Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 19:42:38

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Murder in Vein
Helen Francini

A vampire wannabe has been killing off young women in Los Angeles. When two real vampires save feisty young Madison Rose from one of the murderer's deadly attacks, she agrees to help to catch the perpetrator before his crimes threaten to disrupt the city's true vampire community. Along the way, Madison discovers more than she ever wanted to know about real vampires, and the humans who imitate them, and she lands in more danger than she bargained for.

Madison’s job as waitress in a diner invites instant comparison to the popular Southern Vampire series from writer Charlaine Harris that spawned HBO’s True Blood. But the first in Jaffarian’s new series lacks the dry wit that characterizes Harris’ work; Murder in Vein is closer to Goth noir. Unlike Sookie Stackhouse, Madison had no grandma to raise her; she is the product of a series of foster homes. Now in her twenties, she still has a street urchin’s gut reactions to danger. Dodie and Doug Dedham, Madison’s vampire rescuers, live in a comfortable suburban home where they sleep in a bed (not a coffin), bake cookies, and are more like surrogate grandparents than the sexy, flashy creatures of the night common to vampire literature.

Despite being set in California, one of the nation’s biggest cultural cauldrons, the characters all have first names like Samuel, Ethan, Colin, and Mike, with no ethnic last names among them (until the first Latino character appears in chapter 31). Jaffarian’s sometimes clunky writing interferes with the noir atmosphere (“‘Okay,’ said Madison, ignoring the die part and turning the information around inside her head with the other stuff.”). Still, she makes the reader care what happens to Madison and her new vampire friends, and wonder what Madison’s next adventure will be.

Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 20:00:39

The first in Sue Ann Jaffarian's new vampire murder mystery series.

The Network
Verna Suit

Rugged, beautiful Afghanistan in the months before 9/11 provides the scenic setting for this cloak and dagger adventure story based on true-life characters. Captain Anthony Hugh Taverner is recruited out of a bucolic retirement into a secret and all-powerful British intelligence service for a highly-classified mission: to locate a cache of CIA-supplied Stinger missiles left over from the days of the Soviet occupation and blow up the weapons before they can fall into Al Qaeda hands.

An extensive early section describes in great detail the concentrated training "Ant" receives in the world of special operations and tradecraft, and will make fascinating reading for military and espionage buffs. But The Network really comes alive once Ant and his mentor H enter Afghanistan and begin their journey through the rough terrain of Bamiyan and Oruzgan Provinces. Afghan proverbs and everyday phrases in Dari bring immediacy to the narrative, and future Afghan president Hamid Karzai makes a cameo appearance. The story’s tension rises as Ant and H near their destination, and culminates in a climactic confrontation reminiscent of the Alamo, though with a different outcome.

Author Elliot is an award-winning travel writer and his skill is evident. Drawing on his extensive personal experience in the region, he captures the character of the Afghan people and provides knowledgeable insights into the country’s situation over the 20 years leading up to 9/11. However, the book does tend to read more like an episodic travelogue than a sustained fictional narrative. The growing debate on the future of the war in Afghanistan makes The Network’s publication particularly timely and certainly raises some interesting ideas. Readers who find that it whets their appetite for more Afghan adventures would do well to look up Elliot’s 2001 account of his journey in the company of the anti-Soviet mujaheddin, An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan.

Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 20:34:09

elliot_networkA cloak and dagger adventure story in pre-9/11 Afghanistan based on true-life characters.

Voyeur
Kevin Burton Smith

In the preface of Shamus Award winner Judson’s taut new noir, Remer is a hotshot Manhattan PI, an ex-Marine turned big city dick with a good rep and a clear conscience, living large off the proceeds of other people's marital transgressions. Then what seems like a routine case takes a very bad bounce, and Remer is left mentally shattered and physically mutilated.

Six years later, we meet him again. He's traded in his past for the quiet half-life of running a small liquor store in the sleepy resort town of Southampton on Long Island, retreating nightly to his tiny apartment to self-medicate himself with a dose of his special herbal "blend"—a potent brew that combines “skullcap, lavender, passionflower vine, larch and wormwood, the hallucinatory ingredient in absinthe.”

But what kind of noir would this if the past stayed where we put it? Mia Ferrara, a troubled former lover, has gone missing, and her wealthy mother wants Remer to track her down. Reluctantly, Remer agrees, still haunted by unresolved issues between Mia and himself, and urged on by a local police officer friend and her private investigator boyfriend—only to discover that much of what he thought he knew about his ex is wrong.

Noir fans may be reminded, as I was, of The Dark Corner, the 1946 B-flick where another fallen private eye who should have known better gets suckered in all over again. In fact, there’s much here—despite the thoroughly modern trappings of cell phones, computers and GPS monitoring devices—to recall those classics noirs. Our toys may change, Judson seems to suggest, but human treachery, greed, and violence remain constant. As do questions of how much we can ever really know anyone—even or perhaps especially those we love.

Unsure of whom he can trust, a battered and drugged Remer (“pain behind his eye and…ringing in his ears”) finds himself on the run, backed into a dark corner of his own. It’s all handled deftly and with admirable restraint, making this dark little story all the more potent and memorable. The chill of the final scenes, set against the finely painted backdrop of the cold, desolate off-season limbo of a resort town, will linger long after the final page is read. Pay attention, kids. This is how it’s done.

Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 21:05:35

judson_voyeurA dark, deft, little noir featuring Manhattan PI Remer.

The Spider's Web
Leslie Doran

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Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 21:28:00

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Pretty Little Things
Sue Emmons

Jilliane Hoffman draws on her own experiences as a former prosecutor of sex crimes to offer a chilling tale of abduction, torture and murder in South Florida. Thirteen-year-old Lainey Emerson—unhappy with her parents, siblings and new school—turns to an Internet chat room in search of companionship. Like many of her contemporaries, she lies about her age and posts a sexy photograph to which she bears scant resemblance. And instead of the hunky football player with whom she believes she has connected, she meets a monster.

Assigned to lead the investigation is Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Bobby Dees, whose own daughter went missing more than a year ago, creating a maelstrom in his marriage and a void in his life. As the investigation unfolds, a classic serial slayer whom the police dub “Picasso,” emerges as a vicious killer with a lust for “pure” teenage girls—and Dees fears his own daughter may be among his victims. Hoffman stabilizes her compelling story with statistics on missing children and the problems they pose to law enforcement, providing a satisfying and workman-like thriller, peppered with a few too many coincidences and an over abundance of acronyms.

Teri Duerr
2010-09-13 21:33:37

hoffman_prettylittlethingsA former prosecutor of sex crimes offers a chilling tale of child abduction, torture and murder.

The Town: 3 1/2 Stars
Oline Cogdill
When a crime fiction novel makes it to the big (or little screen), there's always the fear, for those of us who care about these things, that what made the novel so good will be lost in translation.
The Town, directed by and starring Ben Affleck as a bank robber, proves that capturing the spirit of a novel is more important than following a crime fiction book to the letter.
altAnd The Town, based Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves, does just that. Hogan's excellent 2004 novel about friends moonlighting as bank robbers featured a gripping sub-plot about their neighborhood changing from blue-collar to upscale. The men could barely control their anger, prejudice and anxiety as wealthier, more educated yuppies moved in, making rents higher and turning corner bars into martini bars.
In the Hammett Prize-winning Prince of Thieves, their life of crime had an undertone of rebellion based on classism, their way of showing that they were just as good as those with more money and more education -- and still in control.
The Town works so well because it remains faithful to the essence of Hogan's solid novel. The movie never wavers in showing how a person's background influences who he becomes, and the strength and inner resolve a person must have to rise above that background.
Affleck, who co-wrote the script, does Hogan's novel proud.
Both The Town and Prince of Thieves share energetic story-telling, characters worth caring about, a faithful sense of place, and neither resorted to the cliche of honor among thieves.
Charlestown, the blue-collar Boston neighborhood that Doug MacRay (Affleck) and his friends grew up in, has produced more bank and armored-car robbers in one square mile than anywhere in the U.S. Doug and his crew are just following the family business in their planned-to-the-second robberies. The men have an air of futility about them, stuck in the same kinds of lives that their parents endured. This is further driven home when a local crime boss says, while prepping them for the next big robbery, that he sees their fathers' faces in each of theirs.
altDuring a robbery, Doug and his buddies take a hostage -- bank manager Claire Keesey (the excellent Rebecca Hall from Vicky Christina Barcelona) whom they later release. When the gang later learns that Claire lives about four blocks away, Doug offers to find out how much she remembers about the robbers. But for Doug, this is not just another job. He falls for Claire and wants a real relationship with her. Dating her without giving himself away is one problem; the other is leaving his life of crime without betraying his friends.
Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley (Mad Men's square-jawed Jon Hamm), relentlessly gathers evidence to arrest Doug and his crew. Looking scruffy with days'-old beards, Hamm proves his acting skills convert well to the big screen.
Affleck's direction is flawless as he depicts Doug and crew following the only career path they believe they are capable of. He pulls first-class turns from each actor, making each a part of Boston streets. A Boston boy himself, Affleck's affection and affinity for the area shine as he did directing the excellent 2007 Gone Baby Gone, based on fellow Bostonian Dennis Lehane. Affleck shows the neighborhood's nuances and how it fits into the bigger scheme of Boston.

The Town reaffirms what a good actor Affleck is, best at playing off-kilter characters. The man once proclaimed America's sexiest by People magazine tamps down his looks for a gritty, world-weary view. Doug is a man of action and his angst never seems cliched. Affleck's Doug once had a chance to leave the neighborhood when he was recruited to play pro hockey but self-destructed during his first season. He knows that Claire is his second -- and only -- chance left to change his life or he may end up killed or in prison like his father. Oscar-winner Chris Cooper steals his one breath-taking scene as Doug's father serving several life sentences.
The chemistry between Hall and Affleck is realistic and we understand why Doug will do anything to be with this centered, intelligent woman. An even more intriguing relationship is between Doug and his ex-con friend Jem skillfully played by Jeremy Renner. An Oscar nominee for The Hurt Locker, Renner portrays the seething violence his character carries, full of rage, even when he is simply watching TV. Raised together, Jem and Doug are as close to brothers as either has had in their lives and they depend on each other. But that doesn't mean that Jem will forgive any hint of betrayal.
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.

Captions: Rebecca Hall as Claire Keesey and Ben Affleck as Doug MacRay; Up against the wall are, from left, Slaine as Albert "Gloansy" Magloan, Ben Affleck as Doug MacRay, Jeremy Renner as Jem Coughlin and Owen Burke as Desmond Elden. Photos courtesy Warner Bros.
Bros. Pictures.
Xav ID 577
2010-09-14 14:39:54

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The Town, directed by and starring Ben Affleck as a bank robber, proves that capturing the spirit of a novel is more important than following a crime fiction book to the letter.

Missing David Thompson
Oline Cogdill
The mystery community -- authors, agents, publishers, readers, critics -- is actually a small one and each time there is a death, we collectively mourn.
The death of bookseller and publisher David Thompson on Sept. 13 hit especially hard. David was only 38 years old, yet it seemed as if he had been a part of the mystery community forever.
And he had. He began working more than 21 years ago at Houston's landmark bookstore Murder by the Book, one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery bookstores. He was a major supporter of the authors and delighted in working with authors who came to the bookstore.
David also was the publisher of the crime imprint Busted Flush, which had recently been sold to Tyrus Books. With Busted Flush, David's mission was simple: "The intent of the press is to reprint fine thrillers and hard-boiled crime fiction."
altAnd that he did, showcasing authors he admired, and giving a second life to works of authors such as Daniel Woodrell. While everyone is geared up for the San Francisco Bouchercon, David was working on the 2011 Bouchercon in St. Louis.
Everyone who met David liked him and respected him. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word for authors and readers.
David's death is a shock to all of us and many Facebook postings and tributes mentioned speaking with him or exchanging e-mails with him in the past week. Sarah Weinman has gathered many of the tributes in one place.
All of his friends at Mystery Scene send our deepest sympathy to his wife, McKenna Jordan, his friends and family. We wish them well and hope they find strength in their wonderful memories of this kind, compassionate man.
"The mystery community has not only lost a gifted publisher and dedicated bookseller, it has lost a good man. He will be missed," said Mystery Scene publisher Kate Stine, speaking for all of us.
One of the best tributes we can give our departed friend is to read a book in his honor and remember how short our time is with each other.
A memorial service will be planned and Murder by the Book will share details as soon as they are available. David's wife, McKenna Jordan, asks that no tributes be sent to the bookstore for now.
We offer our deepest sympathies.
Xav ID 577
2010-09-15 00:47:14
The mystery community -- authors, agents, publishers, readers, critics -- is actually a small one and each time there is a death, we collectively mourn.
The death of bookseller and publisher David Thompson on Sept. 13 hit especially hard. David was only 38 years old, yet it seemed as if he had been a part of the mystery community forever.
And he had. He began working more than 21 years ago at Houston's landmark bookstore Murder by the Book, one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery bookstores. He was a major supporter of the authors and delighted in working with authors who came to the bookstore.
David also was the publisher of the crime imprint Busted Flush, which had recently been sold to Tyrus Books. With Busted Flush, David's mission was simple: "The intent of the press is to reprint fine thrillers and hard-boiled crime fiction."
altAnd that he did, showcasing authors he admired, and giving a second life to works of authors such as Daniel Woodrell. While everyone is geared up for the San Francisco Bouchercon, David was working on the 2011 Bouchercon in St. Louis.
Everyone who met David liked him and respected him. He always had a smile on his face and a kind word for authors and readers.
David's death is a shock to all of us and many Facebook postings and tributes mentioned speaking with him or exchanging e-mails with him in the past week. Sarah Weinman has gathered many of the tributes in one place.
All of his friends at Mystery Scene send our deepest sympathy to his wife, McKenna Jordan, his friends and family. We wish them well and hope they find strength in their wonderful memories of this kind, compassionate man.
"The mystery community has not only lost a gifted publisher and dedicated bookseller, it has lost a good man. He will be missed," said Mystery Scene publisher Kate Stine, speaking for all of us.
One of the best tributes we can give our departed friend is to read a book in his honor and remember how short our time is with each other.
A memorial service will be planned and Murder by the Book will share details as soon as they are available. David's wife, McKenna Jordan, asks that no tributes be sent to the bookstore for now.
We offer our deepest sympathies.