My Sister’s Grave
Hank Wagner

In Robert Dugoni’s My Sister’s Grave, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite is haunted by the presumed death of her younger sister Sarah, who abruptly went missing some 20 years prior to the events of this novel. When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered in the mountains abutting their hometown of Cedar Grove, Washington, Tracy is hell-bent on finally getting some real answers to the central mystery of her life. As she searches for those answers, she uncovers shocking truths, which, besides placing her in mortal danger, stun her to her core.

Dugoni does a masterful job of knitting a police procedural together with a suspenseful mystery novel, then combining that with a riveting legal thriller, as Tracy must first take steps to free the man she feels was wrongfully convicted of crimes against her sister. He also creates an atmosphere that simply reeks of conspiracy. Finally, he does an exquisite job of slowly ratcheting up the tension, deepening his audience’s involvement in the harrowing events he depicts.

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:14:40
Easy Death
Hank Wagner

Daniel Boyd shows absolute mastery over his narrative in Easy Death, the latest offering from the much-acclaimed Hard Case Crime line of hardboiled crime novels. Beginning just before midnight on December 19, 1951, it tells the tale of an armed car robbery and all involved, leapfrogging back and forth chronologically from the time of the robbery, covering the next 20 hours or so. We are treated to multiple, ever-shifting points of view, as Boyd craftily details the trials and travails—and sometimes the antics—of an extremely colorful and well-realized cast of characters, including robbers, law enforcement officials, and even those on the edges of story, such as family members of the aforementioned. Throw in extreme weather conditions, a park ranger who picks an inopportune time to lose his marbles, and dialogue that would make even Elmore Leonard envious, and you get one hell of a tale, enthralling, humorous, and diverting. Although this is Boyd’s first crime novel (his only previous novel, a Western called ’Nada, was a Spur Award nominee), I hope for all our sakes that it is not his last.

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:20:46

Boyd shows absolute mastery over his narrative in Easy Death.

Spell Booked
Lynne Maxwell

Joyce and Jim Lavene are surely the hardest-working wife-husband team in the mystery-writing business. Not only are they prolific, but they also juggle multiple mystery series. But there can never be enough cozies, right? Thank goodness the Lavenes are on hand to keep them coming! Spell Booked, first in the new Retired Witch mystery series, introduces a coven of three witches of a certain age whose magic is waning and whose spells spin out of control, often in humorous ways. Olivia, the oldest of the trio, is hoping to recruit a young replacement, so that she can retire to Boca Raton, Florida, the apparent haven of retired witches. (Who knew?) But before Olivia can retire, her throat is slashed in a dark alley. How did this wealthy, fashionable woman end up there? Immediately, the remaining two witches, Molly and Elsie, set forth to investigate. Fortunately, they are able to conjure up Olivia’s last words: she cried out the name of Dorothy, the local librarian. It turns out that Dorothy is not only a fledgling witch, who can complement the magic of the coven, but she is also the daughter whom Olivia had put up for adoption at birth. With the assistance of Dorothy and Olivia, who has returned as a ghost, the witches do battle against a powerful witch who is attempting to drain their power in order to bolster her own. Molly has the additional challenge of working with, and around, her husband, Joe, who is a homicide detective. Surprises abound as the final scenes unfold, but suffice it to say that “the retired witches” will return to work their magic anew. Kudos to Joyce and Jim Lavene for brewing up this enjoyable new series in their creative cauldron!

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:25:34
Tagged for Death
Lynne Maxwell

Newcomer Sherry Harris may lack an extensive publishing history, but her debut book, Tagged for Death, is anything but amateurish. Harris capitalizes on her knowledge of tag sales (otherwise known as “garage sales”) and Air Force bases to produce an engaging first mystery featuring Sarah Winston. Newly separated from her husband, CJ, who was ejected from his career in the Air Force by allegations that he had an affair with a subordinate, Sarah struggles to make sense of her life and its direction. She’s a California girl from Monterey, trying to establish her new life off-base in small-town Ellington, Massachusetts, where CJ has become police chief. Reeling from CJ’s betrayal, Sarah keeps busy by systematically visiting garage sales and sharing her bargaining techniques with friends. In fact, her prowess positions her to begin a new career running garage sales for customers. While Sarah finds her calling, the remainder of her fortunes continues to plummet, as CJ’s young paramour disappears, leaving bloody evidence of a struggle in her room on base. Worse, in one of her bags of clothing from a garage sale, Sarah discovers a bloody shirt that she had previously given to CJ. Despite feeling betrayed by CJ, Sarah knows he is no killer, so when he is arrested for alleged murder, she does her due diligence and sets about proving his innocence. She is especially skilled at breaching security and sneaking onto base, and, in the end, succeeds in her quest. Tagged for Death is skillfully rendered, with expert characterization and depiction of military life. Best of all, Sarah is the type of intelligent, resourceful, and appealing person we would all like to get to know better. Hopefully, we will have that opportunity very soon!

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:39:16

A promising new series from newcomer Sherry Harris

Meow If It’s Murder
Lynne Maxwell

T.C. LoTempio’s Meow If It’s Murder is the first in the series, and it merits a resounding purr. Downsized from her job as a crime reporter at the Chicago Tribune, Nora Charles returns home to Cruz, California, to run the family deli. She hasn’t lost her sleuthing skills, though, and is quickly drawn into a mystery involving murder and missing persons. In particular, she is drawn to solving the mystery of a missing private investigator, who leaves behind a preternaturally savvy cat whom Nora names “Nick.” In tribute to Dashiell Hammett, Nick and Nora take on some truly scary bad guys, forming a persistent partnership promising future noirish adventures. Cat lovers will rejoice at Nick’s uncanny ability to appear at just the right moment and piece together clues. Two paws up!

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:43:35
Robert Parker’s Blind Spot
Dick Lochte

Some previous post-Parker novels featuring his creation Jesse Stone, Police Chief of Paradise, Massachusetts, have read like fan fiction. This one, by Reed Farrel Coleman (award-winning author of the now-completed Moe Prager series), is something quite different. It’s even a little different from Parker’s own novels. They cruised smoothly along with snappy half-sentence dialogue and clean, well-crafted plots. Reading them was like riding a Segway on a stretch of beach, a lot of fun but predictable. Listening to Coleman’s addition is closer to traveling in a fast sports car along a dark back road where you get bounced around a little taking unexpected turns on two wheels. The characters, including Stone, have traded in some of their glibness; they’re not as witty, perhaps, but more human. As Parker had it, Stone was headed toward a career in the bigs when he suffered a shoulder injury that ended that dream. Coleman has chosen to focus on that event, sending Stone from Paradise to Manhattan (no symbolism there?) where his old team is having a reunion, organized by the guy whose throw caused the injury. While there, Stone catches a rumor that the injury may not have been an accident. With that hard ball bouncing around in his head, he’s called back to Paradise by the brutal murder of a young girl and the disappearance of her socially prominent boyfriend. Is the missing college student the murderer or a witness in deep trouble? Before the investigation is wrapped up, not at all neatly, Coleman complicates matters with liars, extortionists, kidnappers, and a possible link between the reunion and the girl’s death. James Naughton has read many of the Jesse Stone novels and, as he has in the past, performs this one in a clear, natural-sounding manner. His pacing follows the author’s lead, from cool, casual conversations to revved up moments of stress. Listeners who may wonder why they’re thinking about “erectile dysfunction being the result of poor blood flow” should know that Naughton is also the voice of Cialis commercials. But we shouldn’t hold that against him when he does such a fine job of bringing Stone to life and adding nice touches to the rest of the cast. Here, an Irish hit man sounds remarkably like Liam Neeson. (One final note: there’s an extremely un-Parker-like plot point in which Stone cuts a deal with crime boss Gino Fish and promises him one “favor,” no matter what it may be. This will clearly pose a serious problem in some future book. It will be interesting to find out what the favor is and how Stone manages to handle it without a loss of honor or winding up forever in Fish’s pocket.)

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:51:22

colemanroberparkersblindspotaudioSome post-Parker Jesse Stone novels have read like fan fiction. This one, by Reed Farrel Coleman, is something quite different.

The Job
Dick Lochte

Book three (after The Heist and The Chase) in the comedy-adventure series about hardboiled no-nonsense FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and self-amused playboy con man and master thief Nicholas Fox finds the charming scoundrel gradually thawing out the abrasive agency ice princess as they attempt to bring down a drug kingpin whose appearance and location are unknown. Their only clue is that he’s cuckoo not for Cocoa Puffs but for a more upscale product of the bean, Knipschildt chocolates. The search sends them chocolate-popping around the world following a plot that is sturdy enough to support their pre-romantic bickering as well as an assortment of bizarre situations and characters, not the least of which is a brutal Portuguese hit man who acts on the advice of a pickled head. The wary partnering of cop and crook is hardly an innovative premise. The movie 48 Hours and TV shows It Takes a Thief and White Collar come quickly to mind. There have even been romantic combos, like The Thomas Crown Affair (both of them) and Out of Sight. The secret has always been the chemistry between the leads and here that works just fine. Janet Evanovich and Goldberg have created a duo that’s easy to like, and narrator Brick brings the pair to sparkling audio life. A top-tier reader, he’s developed a way of presenting the material clearly without slowing the novel’s swift pacing, all the while adding a playful attitude that’s a realistic stroke shy of tongue-in-cheek. Just because much of the book is flat-out hilarious doesn’t mean that there isn’t a sense of danger hovering over its more suspenseful passages. If it’s entertainment you want...

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 15:58:04
Perfidia
Dick Lochte

This is a wild, be-bop opera of a novel, and reader Craig Wasson is so tuned in to James Ellroy’s unique stylistic excesses and romantic flourishes, it’s difficult to separate the singer from the song. Much of the entertainment comes from the author’s often-bizarre take on the conflicting ambitions, goals, galloping lusts, and hatreds held by assorted members of the Los Angeles Police Department during the uncertain period of paranoia (especially on the West Coast) after the attack on Pearl Harbor. But there’s also the amazing way Wasson goes with the flow of the author’s famed staccato rhythms. He also, with no apparent effort, shifts from character to character, from, for example, the relatively subdued police chemist Hideo Ashida, the sole Japanese-American in the 1940s LAPD and arguably its sanest member, to the certifiably wacko, raging Sergeant Dudley Smith, murderer and war profiteer, whose craving to become the next chief of police is only partially sidetracked by his affair with Bette Davis. (Yes, that Bette Davis.) The novel, a prequel to the author’s Los Angeles Quartet (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz), though occurring seven years earlier, includes many familiar players other than Dudley Smith. Kay Lake, who eventually will have a major role in The Black Dahlia, here stumbles through a seemingly endless series of troubles on a quest for self-preservation. Captain William H. Parker, a genuine part of L.A.’s history, who eventually will become the city’s police chief, spends much of his time here in an alcoholic fog. The book is a sprawling sociological crime saga, roiling in fury (and unbridled hilarity) over the corruption and greed that seems to have kept the coppers hopping during that turbulent period. The hook on which the pot hangs is the assassination of a Japanese family just a day before the fatal Sunday Franklin D. Roosevelt will describe as “a date that will live in infamy.” Regardless of the fact that the deaths have a powerful influence over ensuing events, only Ashida seems truly interested in solving the crime. But, as one may suspect, considering the author’s dark, dyed-in-the-wool cynicism, seeing justice done isn’t the police scientist’s only motivation.

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 16:02:42
Not a Drill
Dick Lochte

This short by Lee Child is a prime example of a relatively new trend—the creation and marketing of single short stories for digital download. Some of these offerings seem strictly secondary, dashed off between novels. But this one is a strong addition to the Reacher canon, even adding a bit of information about his brother. It’s virtually a mini version of the books, with the peripatetic hero, on a whim, deciding to set foot on “the end of the road”—the precise spot where a Maine highway reaches the Canadian border and continues on into New Brunswick. His hitchhiking to that point is fairly uneventful, but on the return trip, he’s picked up by a trio of young Canadians who talk him into joining them on a trip into the Wilderness Trail. When he awakes the next day, he discovers that the trail has been closed and is being patrolled by gruff military police. But two of Reacher’s new companions have entered the forest before the closure and could be in trouble. And, judging by the no-nonsense attitude of the guards, this is definitely not a drill. What to do? What Reacher always does.

Teri Duerr
2015-03-23 16:05:50
Kay Hooper on Horses and Georgette Heyer

If it hadn’t been for my second-grade teacher, I might never have become a novelist. More importantly, I might never have discovered the utter joy of reading. You see, at the end of that year, she noted on my report card that my parents “might want to encourage Kay to read over the summer, as she’s shown little interest in that so far.”

Looking back, I can’t imagine having shown little interest in reading, but in any case, my mother dutifully took me to the library that summer. And a very wise librarian asked me a simple question: What do you like?

Well, I was a little girl. I loved horses.

The librarian immediately took me to the children’s section and pointed out the stories about horses. Black Beauty. The Black Stallion. Misty of Chincoteague.

Black Beauty broke my heart—and opened my eyes to the often careless cruelty dealt out by humans to animals. The Black Stallion made me want to ride race horses. Misty just enthralled me.

So I was hooked. I read every horse book on the shelves that summer. And when I was done, I asked the librarian what to read next. She and I together would huddle at the shelves, considering this and that novel. Novels about animals, novels about intrepid young ladies (Hello Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew!), novels about adventure.

When I returned to school that fall, I was reading nearly three grades higher than I had at the beginning of the summer, and a hunger for reading had been awakened in me. I went to the school library, and began working my way through any books that looked interesting. All kinds of books.

Admittedly, when I hit my pre-teens, there were a lot of romance novels, both new and classic. And somewhere along the way, I discovered a book by Georgette Heyer. Even with all my reading, I had never before been transported to another time and place, so different from the here and now, and that probably changed everything for me. Heyer’s wonderful novels showed me that books could do more than enthrall and entertain, they could transport.

I could visit other countries, other times, other worlds. Years later, as a novelist myself, I learned that I could also build worlds of my own, which was wonderful and amazing to me. And gave me a career.

But it all started with books about horses (I still love them), and the romances and mysteries of Georgette Heyer. Horses taught me to love reading; Georgette Heyer taught me how to lose myself in a story and be transported to worlds very unlike my own.

And a final word about that summer librarian, whose last words to me were, “Try everything, because you never know what you’ll enjoy unless you open the book and start reading.”

How right she was.

Teri Duerr
2015-03-26 21:29:12
Aurora Teagarden on the Screen

AuroraTeagarden bonetopick
Before Charlaine Harris created telepath waitress Sookie Stackhouse and the vampires who resided in Bon Temps, Louisiana, the author had Aurora Teagarden, a sharp-as-a-tack librarian in the quiet town of Lawrenceton, Georgia.

While these novels certainly could be considered amateur sleuths, they weren’t as “cozy” as one might expect. Harris always had an eye for the darkness that lurks just below the surface.

Sure, there was humor, and very little overt violence, in these novels. And the name Teagarden seems tailor-made for a cozy. But Harris also added that extra bit of noir to seep in.

While it is doubtful that Harris will ever write another Aurora Teagarden novel, this series is getting a terrific reboot on the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel.

A Bone to Pick, the first Aurora Teagarden movie, debuts at 9 p.m., April 4, on both channels. Check your local listings for time changes, etc.

Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) delivers an impressive performance as Aurora, whose career as a librarian plays into her hobby as a sleuth and member of the Real Murders Club, a group that gets together to analyze crimes during its monthly meetings.

Aurora is close friends with Jane, an elderly member of the club who is especially interested in the history of women murderers. Jane, a retired librarian, sees herself in Aurora. The day after Aurora picks up a book from Jane, the older woman passes away.

Aurora is upset over her friend’s death, but stunned to learn that Jane’s will leaves her everything. Aurora now owns Jane’s house, money, possessions, including a skull that seems to indicate the person had been murdered.

Taking over Jane’s house, Aurora finds a neighborhood filled with secrets, including mysterious break-ins, missing children, and families in flux.

A growing romance with a sexy minister and Aurora’s close relationships with her best friend, Sally, and her meddling mother add to the plot.

aurorateagarden bonetopick2
Bure brings a sense of vulnerability and steely intelligence to Aurora. She understands the character’s ambition and independence.

Marilu Henner brings her usual fine acting chops to the role of Aida, Aurora’s mother who wants her daughter to be happy, yet can’t help meddling every now and then. Lexa Doig as Sally and Stephen Huszar as Father Scott Aubrey add the likable cast of characters.

A Bone to Pick does justice to Harris’ novels.

A Bone to Pick, the first Aurora Teagarden movie, debuts at 9 p.m., April 4, on both the Hallmark Channel and the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Check your local listings for time changes, etc.

Photos: Top, Candace Cameron Bure stars as Aurora Teagarden; center, Candace Cameron Bure with Marilu Henner who plays Aida, Aurora’s mother. Photos courtesy Hallmark Channel.

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-01 08:50:00
James Patterson in Libraries and on the Air

pattersonjames superhero2
James Patterson continues his literacy campaign and this time he is targeting school libraries.

Patterson has agreed to donate $1.5 million to school libraries during this year. Originally he had pledged $1.25 million, but decided to increase that because of the response he received from school libraries.

Patterson and Scholastic have received more than 10,500 grant applications from school libraries for amounts ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. Those requests include a myriad of ways the libraries would use the money—from new books and better shelves to flood-damage repairs. Scholastic is matching Patterson’s donation with “bonus points” teachers can use for educational materials.

“It's clear that our school libraries require critical help,” Patterson stated in a release. “I know we can't solve the issues overnight, but I hope at the very least we're able to raise awareness about the important position the school library plays in the educational achievement of children.”

Patterson also plans to help some school libraries stock their shelves. He is partnering with First Book to donate 100,000 copies of his new middle-grade book, Public School Superhero (Little, Brown) to under-resourced schools and youth programs.

That’s appropriate because children who go to those schools will identify with Public School Superhero, co-written by Chris Tebbetts and illustrated by Cory Thomas, which is about an African American sixth-grade chess devotee named Kenny Wright who lives in an inner city.

PATTERSON ON THE AIR
Patterson’s documentary Murder of a Small Town, which he wrote and produced through James Patterson Entertainment, is getting an airing on local PBS stations.

The documentary looks at crime and the families affected by it in Belle Glade and Pahokee, Florida, an impoverished area in far western Palm Beach County. The documentary also explores the murder of a popular Belle Glade grocery store owner, who was killed during a botched robbery. The murderer was a former high school football player.

The Murder of a Small Town documentary will be airing on local PBS stations. Check your local listings.

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-05 18:15:00
Kay Hooper on Horses and Heyer

hooper kay2

“Might want to encourage Kay to read over the summer, as she’s shown little interest in that so far.”

If it hadn’t been for my second-grade teacher, I might never have become a novelist. More importantly, I might never have discovered the utter joy of reading. You see, at the end of that year, she noted on my report card that my parents “might want to encourage Kay to read over the summer, as she’s shown little interest in that so far.”

Looking back, I can’t imagine having shown little interest in reading, but in any case, my mother dutifully took me to the library that summer. And a very wise librarian asked me a simple question: What do you like?

Well, I was a little girl. I loved horses. The librarian immediately took me to the children’s section and pointed out the stories about horses. Black Beauty. The Black Stallion. Misty of Chincoteague.

Black Beauty broke my heartand opened my eyes to the often careless cruelty dealt out by humans to animals. The Black Stallion made me want to ride race horses. Misty just enthralled me.

sewell blackbeautySo I was hooked. I read every horse book on the shelves that summer. And when I was done, I asked the librarian what to read next. She and I together would huddle at the shelves, considering this and that novel. Novels about animals, novels about intrepid young ladies (Hello Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew!), novels about adventure.

When I returned to school that fall, I was reading nearly three grades higher than I had at the beginning of the summer, and a hunger for reading had been awakened in me. I went to the school library, and began working my way through any books that looked interesting. All kinds of books.

Admittedly, when I hit my preteens, there were a lot of romance novels, both new and classic. And somewhere along the way, I discovered a book by Georgette Heyer. Even with all my reading, I had never before been transported to another time and place, so different from the here and now, and that probably changed everything for me. Heyer’s wonderful novels showed me that books could do more than enthrall and entertain, they could transport.

I could visit other countries, other times, other worlds. Years later, as a novelist myself, I learned that I could also build worlds of my own, which was wonderful and amazing to me. And gave me a career.

heyer georgetteBut it all started with books about horses (I still love them), and the romances and mysteries of Georgette Heyer. Horses taught me to love reading; Georgette Heyer taught me how to lose myself in a story and be transported to worlds very unlike my own.

And a final word about that summer librarian, whose last words to me were, “Try everything, because you never know what you’ll enjoy unless you open the book and start reading.”

How right she was.

Kay Hooper is the New York Times selling author of the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series as well as many other bestselling, award-winning books. She is also a passionate animal rights advocate, and works to network shelter dogs and cats as well as working with others to get a new animal shelter built in her area. Kay lives in North Carolina with her dogs and cats.

This “Writers on Reading” essay was originally published in At the Scene” eNews April 2015 as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more special content available first to our enewsletter subscribers, sign up here.

Teri Duerr
2015-04-08 00:17:15

hooper kay"My second grade teacher noted on my report card that my parents 'might want to encourage Kay to read over the summer, as she’s shown little interest in that so far.'"

Avery Aames on Krista Davis and Cookies: A Perfect Pairing

gerber darylwoodWhat can I say? I love food. I love reading. I love reading with food in hand. I love cooking food while reading. I write about food in culinary mysteries. I create recipes for the blog I do with other mystery writers on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. I’m a foodie and a reader, pure and simple. I have cooked all my life. I’ve read books all my life. (Well, maybe I was resistant when I was eight years old, but when I got hold of the Nancy Drew Mysteries at the age of nine, I was hooked! In fact, that’s when I knew I wanted to write.)

Reading and food simply go together for me. I’m a big fan of cozies about food, and one of my favorite culinary series is Krista Davis’ Domestic Diva Mysteries. Her protagonist Sophie Winston can put together a quickie meal. No guest is turned away. She is always prepared.

Now, understand, whatever Sophie serves, it is always gourmet, but what Sophie does prepare isn’t hard. And—big tip—she has plenty of things on hand in the freezer. She thinks ahead. I love this about her.

Sophie loves her friends and family and counts on them to sit around her table and chat. She wants to chat, too; she is not strapped to the stove. Sophie is a party planner, but she’s not even remotely a “diva.” She doesn’t make froufrou food. Most of her recipes are easy to reproduce. And her mysteries always work out in just as tasty and satisfying a way.

You guessed it. I want to be Sophie in my next life. At ease with a party. At ease with a group full of hungry people who descend upon my home. At ease solving crime.

davis divawrapsitupIn one of Davis’ latest books, The Diva Wraps It Up, which is set at Christmas, there are cookies galore. I have to admit, I suffered from cookie envy after reading it. I wanted not only to eat all the cookies Sophie has on hand in her freezer, I wanted to possess all her cookie recipes, too.

So there. That’s my pairing: Cookies and Krista Davis. Delicious. By the way, I do make a mean cream cheese sugar cookie. I’ve been known to down a handful while reading. With milk or tea or coffee as an accompaniment? Perfect!

I love cookies. I eat cookies when I read. I am very good at turning pages with a cookie in my hand.

See below for two cookie recipes perfect for your reading (and eating) pleasure.

Avery Aames is the Agatha Award–winning author of the Cheese Shop Mystery series, including Days of Wine and Roquefort, To Brie or Not to Brie, Clobbered by Camembert, Lost and Fondue, and The Long Quiche Goodbye. She loves to cook and enjoys a good wine. She speaks a little French and has even played a French woman onstage. And she adores cheese. As Daryl Wood Gerber she also writes the Cookbook Nook Mysteries.

CreamCheeseCookieDARYL WOOD GERBER'S CREAM CHEESE COOKIES
(makes 36-40 cookies; similar to a shortbread)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 4-6 tablespoons white sugar, for topping

DIRECTIONS
In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, cheese, salt, extracts and yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour.

Roll the dough into a tube about 2” in diameter. Wrap in saran. Chill the dough for 4-8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the dough in slices, lay on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Press with spoon or wet fingers. Brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.

NOTE
You may use sugar in the raw for topping, or colored sugar. For Christmas, I used crushed candy canes for the topping.

cookie kristaKRISTA DAVIS' DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP AND CHERRY OATMEAL COOKIES
(makes about 20 2 1/2 inch cookies)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick (eight tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries

DIRECTIONS
Melt the butter with the sugar over medium heat. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Beat the egg well. Add a small amount of the flour mixture and beat. Add a small amount of the butter mixture and beat. Alternate adding them until incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix well. Add the oatmeal and mix. Add chocolate chips and dried cherries and mix.

The batter will be very thick. Roll it into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place on parchment paper. Using your palm or the base of a glass, flatten them to about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Teri Duerr
2015-04-09 15:34:22
2015 Thriller Award Nominations

thrillerawards 2015
The winners of the 2015 Thriller Awards, sponsored by the International Thriller Writers, will be announced during the annual conference, July 7-11 in New York City.

The awards banquet is scheduled for July 11.

And here are the nominees:

ITW 2015 Thriller Awards Nominees


BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
Megan Abbott – THE FEVER (Little, Brown and Company)
Lauren Beukes – BROKEN MONSTERS (Mulholland Books)
Joseph Finder – SUSPICION (Dutton)
Greg Iles – NATCHEZ BURNING (William Morrow)
Chevy Stevens – THAT NIGHT (St. Martin’s Press)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Ray Celestin – THE AXEMAN’S JAZZ (Mantle)
Julia Dahl – INVISIBLE CITY (Minotaur Books)
Allen Eskens – THE LIFE WE BURY (Seventh Street Books)
Laura McHugh – THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (Spiegel & Grau)
Andy Weir – THE MARTIAN (Crown)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Shelley Coriell – THE BURIED (Forever)
Robert Dugoni – MY SISTER’S GRAVE (Thomas & Mercer)
James R. Hannibal – SHADOW MAKER (Berkley)
Rick Mofina – WHIRLWIND (Harlequin MIRA)
Vincent Zandri – MOONLIGHT WEEPS (Down & Out Books)

BEST SHORT STORY
Richard Helms – “Busting Red Heads” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)
Stephen Ross – “Pussycat, Pussycat” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)
Gigi Vernon – “Show Stopper”, MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS ICE COLD: TALES OF INTRIGUE FROM THE COLD WAR (Grand Central)
Bev Vincent – “The Honey Trap”, MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA PRESENTS ICE COLD: TALES OF INTRIGUE FROM THE COLD WAR (Grand Central)
Tim L. Williams – “The Last Wrestling Bear in West Kentucky” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Elle Cosimano – NEARLY GONE (Kathy Dawson Books)
Kristen Lippert-Martin – TABULA RASA (EgmontUSA)
Meredith McCardle – THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN (Skyscape)
Victoria Schwab – THE UNBOUND (Disney-Hyperion)
Kara Taylor – WICKED LITTLE SECRETS (St. Martin’s Griffin)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Sean Black – POST (Sean Black Digital)
Layton Green – THE METAXY PROJECT (Sixth Street Press)
Michael Logan – WANNABES (Michael Logan)
C.J. Lyons – HARD FALL (Legacy Books)
Gil Reavill – 13 HOLLYWOOD APES (Alibi)

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-14 13:20:00
“Bloodline”: Go Watch It Now, and Binge

bloodline netflix1
I admit that I am behind on my TV watching—it’s all those mystery novels that take up my time!

So I have just discovered two new—well, new to me—TV shows that mystery fans will be interested in, and which may be the best new series around. One is Empire, which I am still watching, and the other is Bloodline, which I just finished.

Bloodline is following the new trend by not being launched on a network, but on Netflix, and making all the episodes available at the same time. This is what the producers of Bosch, the series based on the Michael Connelly novels, did on Amazon Prime. Bosch has been picked up for a second season. (See my review here or in the current issue of Mystery Scene.)

And Bloodline also has been picked up for a second season.

So here is why you should binge away on Bloodline, as I did during a recent long weekend.

1. Bloodline takes a familiar story line and turns it inside out, adding a heavy bit of noir and secrets you don’t see coming. The wealthy family that is systematically brought down is a timeless tale, but so often it is a family who the viewer—or the reader—hopes will get their comeuppance, and their failures become a nice bit of revenge for all. But in Bloodline, we are immediately drawn to the Rayburns, who live in the lovely Florida Keys.

bloodline netflix2
2.
The Rayburns are a nice family—well-to-do, yes, but not the wealthiest family. But the Rayburns also are among the most respected and beloved in their Islamorada community. They have worked hard to get where they are and they still work hard. Robert Rayburn (Sam Shepard) and Sally Rayburn (Sissy Spacek) are devoted to their four children and have tried to raise each with love, respect, and as strong a work ethic as they have. Robert and Sally run a successful hotel in Islamorada, the kind of upscale resort that draw visitors to the Keys, and makes them want to stay.

Three of the Rayburn children also are hard-working and well-respected by the community.

John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) is a detective with the Monroe County sheriff's office. Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini), the only daughter and the youngest, is an attorney. Youngest son Kevin Rayburn (Norbert Leo Butz), who has a quick temper, refurbishes boats at Indian Key Channel Marina.

And that leaves the oldest son—Danny—the family black sheep.

3. Ben Mendelsohn, who plays Danny, isn’t your typical family outsider. This Australian actor brings a cunning shadiness to his role. “Something’s not right with Danny,” says John’s lovely wife, Diana (Jacinda Barrett), and she couldn’t be more right. Danny is apart from the family for several reasons, which are revealed during the course of the series. Yet he is more than a drifter. He is a con man who observes the family and sees exactly where their weaknesses are and goes after them. Mendelsohn exudes danger—whether he is about to give a toast at his parents’ party or getting his brother John drunk or just watching everyone.

4. The rest of the cast. Who wouldn’t want to have Sam Shepard and Sissy Spacek as their parents? Or a big brother like Kyle Chandler or a sister like Linda Cardellini? And having seen Norbert Leo Butz a few times on Broadway, I am always on his side—even when his character is being a jerk.

bloodline netflix3
5.
The Florida setting. Those of us who live in Florida know how beautiful it is, and yet, how the darkness simmers just beneath surface. That pristine blue water can churn up danger. Those clear skies can turn into a storm in seconds.

6. The pacing. The Rayburns have a lot of secrets, which multiply in the course of the series. These are doled out like candy at Easter.

7. The supporting cast. I come at this as a regular attendee of regional theater in South Florida. (My husband is a theater critic so we see everything.) South Florida theater has a good number of excellent actors, many of which have been on Burn Notice, The Glades, and Magic City when those series were filming here. While these actors frequently are on the stages in South Florida, it is great to see them on the screen. So kudos to (and I hope I don’t forget any) Paul Tei, Betsy Graver, Todd Allen Durkin, Chaz Mena, Karen Stephens, Lela Elam, Matthew Chizever, and Avi Hoffman.

And please, bring them back, and hire more local actors. Their cameos are terrific.

8. The creative team. Bloodline is created by the Damages trio of Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, and Daniel Zelman.

Now, back to Empire, which mystery fiction fans also will enjoy. Go Cookie.


Photos: Top, Kyle Chandler and Linda Cardellini; second, Ben Mendelsoh, left, with Kyle Chandler; bottom, Ben Mendelsoh. Photos/Netflix

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-15 16:15:00
2015 Agatha Award Nominations

malice domestic

The Agatha Awards honor “traditional mysteries” (containing no explicit sex, excessive gore, or gratuitous violence). Winners will be announced at the 27th annual Malice Domestic Conference, in Bethesda, Maryland, from May 1 to 3.

BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL
The Good, The Bad and The Emus, Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Demon Summer, G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
Truth Be Told, Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
The Long Way Home, Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Designated Daughters, Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL
Hunting Shadows, Charles Todd (William Morrow)
An Unwilling Accomplice, Charles Todd (William Morrow)
Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, D.E. Ireland (Minotaur Books)
Queen of Hearts, Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Murder in Murray Hill, Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

BEST CHILDREN’S / YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Andi Under Pressure, Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory, Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
The Code Busters Club, Case #4: The Mummy’s Curse, Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Found, Harlan Coben (Putnam Juvenile)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Circle of Influence, Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Tagged for Death, Sherry Harris (Kensington Publishing)
Finding Sky, Susan O’Brien (Henery Press)
Well Read, Then Dead, Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime)
Murder Strikes a Pose, Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)

BEST NONFICTION
400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman, Adam Plantinga (Quill Driver Books)
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer’s Journey, Hank Phillippi Ryan, ed. (Henery Press)
Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice, Kate Clark Flora (New Horizon Press)
The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books)
The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England’s Most Notorious Doctor, Stephen Bates (Overlook Press)

BEST SHORT STORY
“The Odds Are Against Us,” Art Taylor, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, November 2014
“Premonition,” Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays, Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley, eds. (Wildside Press)
“The Shadow Knows,” Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays, Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley, eds. (Wildside Press)
“Just Desserts for Johnny,” Edith Maxwell, Kings River Life Magazine, January 4, 2014
“The Blessing Witch,” Kathy Lynn Emerson, Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler, eds. (Level Best Books)

GUESTS OF HONOR
Charles and Caroline Todd

INTERNATIONAL GUEST OF HONOR
Ann Cleeves

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Sara Paretsky

Teri Duerr
2015-04-15 15:19:47
The Psychology of Mysteries

scottolinelisa EveryFifteenMinutes
In a way, each crime fiction novel delves into psychology, whether it is the psychology of the main character or the psychological makeup of the villain.

But at least four authors use psychology as the top spin for their novels.

In the past few weeks, Lisa Scottoline and Sandra Block have both come out with novels in which the main character is a psychiatrist, and both novels are involving.

Lisa Scottoline, Every Fifteen Minutes
Lisa Scottoline is best known for her engrossing legal thrillers featuring strong characters and hefty plots. That approach earned her the nickname “the female John Grisham.”

Scottoline shows she’s just as adept at delving into the complicated world of medicine and psychiatry in the thrilling Every Fifteen Minutes.

In this 24th novel, Scottoline looks at the inner workings of psychiatry as well as the motives of a sociopath.

Dr. Eric Parrish, chief of the psychiatric unit at Havemeyer General Hospital in a Philadelphia suburb, is at the top of his career since his hospital unit has just been named No. 2 in the country.

However, his personal life is a different story. He is about to be divorced and he can’t spend more time with his seven-year-old daughter, Hannah, with whom he is very close.

Then one of his patients has violent thoughts about a teenager, who is later murdered. His staff and supervisors lose respect for him when Eric is accused of sexual harassment.

Is Eric guilty or is he being targeted by a sociopath?

In Every Fifteen Minutes, Scottoline deftly shows how sociopaths can live among us undetected and that we may never see their destruction coming. Scottoline expertly ladles out the clues.

Sandra Block, Little Black Lies
blocksandra littleblacklies
Sandra Block shows how the subconscious can dredge up memories and feelings we are not prepared to accept in her debut Little Black Lies.

Zoe Goldman, a psychiatry resident at a Buffalo, New York hospital, was adopted by a loving couple when she was about four years old. Her birth mother was killed in a fire from which Zoe was rescued.

For years, she was plagued by nightmares about that night, but those nightmares stopped when she was a teenager. But lately, Zoe has had some uncomfortable nightmares about that night, dreams that are a bit different than when she was in high school.

These dreams lead Zoe to discuss these nightmares with her own therapist and try to find out more about her biological mother.

The subconscious becomes a major theme in Little Black Lies, as does family dynamics. Zoe is close to her adopted mother and there is never any question that this woman, who lovingly raised her, is her true mother; nor is there any question that her brother is her real brother. The bonds are strong because of love, not blood.

Block has delivered an outstanding debut in Little Black Lies that she will follow up with her next Zoe Goldman novel, The Girl Without a Name, which is due out in September 2015.

Jonathan Kellerman, Alex Delaware
Jonathan Kellerman has been using psychology for decades in his involving Alex Delaware novels. A child psychologist by trade, Alex consults for the L.A. Police Department.

Well, mainly he consults for his friend, homicide detective Milo Sturgis.

Their friendship plays a major part of the foundation of each of Kellerman’s novels, as does Alex’s insight as a psychologist.

The latest Alex-Milo adventure is Motive.

Dennis Palumbo
Dennis Palumbo was one of the scriptwriters for one of my favorite movies—My Favorite Year.

But since he left the movie business, Dennis Palumbo became a licensed psychotherapist in private practice.

He also is author of the series about Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist who is a consultant with the Pittsburgh Police Department.

Like Alex Delaware, Daniel Rinaldi’s cases take him to a variety of homes and patients.

In his fourth novel, Phantom Limb, Daniel looks at the dark side of fame with his new patient, Lisa Harland, who made a splash in Playboy before bottoming out.

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-19 03:54:31
2015 Arthur Ellis Nominations

arthurellisaward crimewriterscanada
The Crime Writers of Canada
has announced the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing for novels published in 2014.

The Crime Writers of Canada was founded in 1982 as a professional organization designed to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers from coast to coast. Members include authors, publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and literary agents as well as many developing authors.

The winners will be announced during the banquet on May 28, 2015, at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto.

Congratulations to all the nominees.

Best Novel
Brenda Chapman, Cold Mourning, Dundurn Press
Barbara Fradkin, None So Blind, Dundurn Press
C.C. Humphreys, Plague, Doubleday Canada
Maureen Jennings, No Known Grave, McClelland & Stewart
Alen Mattich, Killing Pilgrim, House of Anansi

Best First Novel
Janet Brons, A Quiet Kill, Touchwood Editions
Steve Burrows, Siege of Bitterns, Dundurn Press
M.H. Callway, Windigo Fire, Seraphim Editions
Eve McBride, No Worst, There Is None, Dundurn Press
Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents, Dundurn Press

Best Novella
Rick Blechta, The Boom Room, Orca Book Publishers
Vicki Delany, Juba Good, Orca Book Publishers
Ian Hamilton, The Dragon Head of Hong Kong, House of Anansi
Jas. R. Petrin, A Knock on the Door, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Best Short Story
Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress, McClelland & Stewart
Melodie Campbell, Hook, Line and Sinker, Northword Literary Journal
Peter Clement, Therapy, Belgrave House
Madona Skaff, First Impressions, The Whole She-Bang 2, Sisters in Crime
Kevin P. Thornton, Writers Block, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing

Best Book in French
Hervé Gagnon, Jack: Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Expression noir / Groupe librex
Andrée Michaud, Bondrée, Editions Québec Amérique
Maryse Rouy, Meurtre à l’hôtel Despréaux, Édition Druide
Richard Ste Marie, Repentirs, Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Book
Michael Betcherman, Face-Off, Penguin Canada
Sigmund Brouwer, Dead Man's Switch, Harvest House
S.J. Laidlaw, The Voice Inside My Head, Tundra Books
Norah McClintock, About That Night, Orca Book Publishers
Jeyn Roberts, The Bodies We Wear, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Best Nonfiction Book
Bob Deasy (with Mark Ebner), Being Uncle Charlie, Penguin Random House
Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder, HarperCollins
Joan McEwen, Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry, Heritage House
Bill Reynolds, Life Real Loud: John Lefebvre, Neteller and the Revolution in Online Gambling, ECW Press
Paula Todd, Extreme Mean, McClelland & Stewart

Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred
Full Curl by Dave Butler
Crisis Point by Dwayne Clayden
Afghan Redemption by Bill Prentice
Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

The 2015 Derrick Murdoch Award Winner
Sylvia McConnell will be awarded the organization’s Derrick Murdoch Award.

In 1998, Sylvia McConnell began RendezVous Crime, a publishing house with the mandate to publish crime novels written by Canadians set in Canada. During the next 13 years she published 80 works of crime fiction, many of which were nominated for or won prestigious awards.

In its release, Crime Writers of Canada stated “For her belief in the value of Canadians telling Canadian stories, for her encouragement of new Canadian authors, and for her recognition of talent with staying power, we are proud to present Sylvia McConnell with the Derrick Murdoch award for 2015.”

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-26 18:25:00
2015 Agatha Winners

The Agatha Awards honor “traditional mysteries” (containing no explicit sex, excessive gore, or gratuitous violence) and were announced during the banquet at the 27th annual Malice Domestic Conference, in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 2, 2015.

The awards honored those books published during 2014.

The winners are the first mentioned and are in bold. Congrats to all the winners and nominees.

ryantruthbetold
BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL

Truth Be Told, Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
The Good, The Bad and The Emus, Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Demon Summer, G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
The Long Way Home, Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Designated Daughters, Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

BEST HISTORICAL NOVEL
Queen of Hearts, Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Hunting Shadows, Charles Todd (William Morrow)
An Unwilling Accomplice, Charles Todd (William Morrow)
Wouldn’t It Be Deadly, D.E. Ireland (Minotaur Books)
Murder in Murray Hill, Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

BEST CHILDREN’S / YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
The Code Busters Club, Case #4: The Mummy’s Curse, Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Andi Under Pressure, Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory, Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
Found, Harlan Coben (Putnam Juvenile)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
moranterrie wellreadthendead
Well Read, Then Dead
, Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime)

Circle of Influence, Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Tagged for Death, Sherry Harris (Kensington Publishing)
Finding Sky, Susan O’Brien (Henery Press)
Murder Strikes a Pose, Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)

BEST NONFICTION
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer’s Journey, Hank Phillippi Ryan, ed. (Henery Press)
400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman, Adam Plantinga (Quill Driver Books)
Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice, Kate Clark Flora (New Horizon Press)
The Art of the English Murder, Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books)
The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England’s Most Notorious Doctor, Stephen Bates (Overlook Press)

BEST SHORT STORY
“The Odds Are Against Us,” Art Taylor, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, November 2014
“Premonition,” Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays, Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley, eds. (Wildside Press)
“The Shadow Knows,” Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays, Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley, eds. (Wildside Press)
“Just Desserts for Johnny,” Edith Maxwell, Kings River Life Magazine, January 4, 2014
“The Blessing Witch,” Kathy Lynn Emerson, Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler, eds. (Level Best Books)

GUESTS OF HONOR
Charles and Caroline Todd

INTERNATIONAL GUEST OF HONOR
Ann Cleeves

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Sara Paretsky

Oline Cogdill
2015-05-02 06:05:00
2015 Edgar Award Winners

The Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2014.

The Edgar Awards were presented to the winners during the 69th Gala Banquet, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

(Winners are in bold and are the first mentioned.)



kingstephen mrmercedes
BEST NOVEL
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster/Scribner)
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press)
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group/Little, Brown)
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse/Ballantine Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books/Seventh Street Books)
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books)
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Albani (Penguin Randomhouse/Penguin Books)
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow)
The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing/Thomas and Mercer)
boumantom drybones
The Day She Died
by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide/ Midnight Ink)
The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

BEST FACT CRIME
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers)
Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)
The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins)
The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing)


BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)
The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)
James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Jim Mancall (McFarland)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noir by Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)
Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)

mannwilliam 3D-Tinseltown
BEST SHORT STORY

“What Do You Do?” – Rogues by Gillian Flynn (Penguin Randomhouse Publishing – Ballantine Books)
“The Snow Angel” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
“200 Feet” – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)
“Red Eye” – FaceOff by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)
“Teddy” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)

BEST JUVENILE
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)


BEST YOUNG ADULT
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books - Amistad)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Episode 1” – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
“The Empty Hearse” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
“Unfinished Business” – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
“Dream Baby Dream” – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)
“Episode 6” – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“Getaway Girl” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine By Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)

GRAND MASTER
Lois Duncan
James Ellroy

RAVEN AWARDS
Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine
Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD
Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Tuesday, April 28, 2015)
The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur Books)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)



Oline Cogdill
2015-04-30 06:00:00
Location, Location, Location

slaughter coptown
Readers know that oftentimes the location of a novel becomes as important a character any fictional person.

When you think of Michael Connelly, you think of Los Angeles. Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski is forever linked to Chicago. Baltimore is as much a part of Laura Lippman’s novels as is her P.I. Tess Monaghan. Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford “owns” Florida’s Gulf Coast.

I’ve been thinking about a novel’s location a lot lately as I prepare for the panel I will be moderating during the Edgar symposium. The panel is, you guessed it, on location.

The four authors on the panel each write about a different locale and each is up for an Edgar Award.

Tom Bouman, Best First Novel nominee, writes about northeastern Pennsylvania in Dry Bones in the Valley.

CB McKenzie, Best First Novel nominee, focuses on Arizona in Bad Country.

Karin Slaughter, Best Novel nominee, showcases Atlanta in her 16th novel Cop Town.

Lisa Turner, Best Paperback Original nominee, takes us to the various parts of Memphis, Tennessee, in The Gone Dead Train.

First, I want to wish each of the nominees best wishes.

Reading and, in a couple of cases, re-reading these novels, reinforced how well each of these authors showcased the area they are writing about. Each writes about an area that has been explored before in crime fiction, yet each brings a fresh perspective.

Each of these authors shows how location affects their characters. In addition, an area’s economic situation, its isolation or proximity to urban areas, and even the weather are part of the location and also inform the characters.

For example, Bad Country doesn’t just show beautiful vistas. The empty areas provide an easy path for illegals and drug traffickers to enter the country. And the main character lives in the only habitable dwelling in the remnants of a planned community in an area appropriately called The Hole.

mckenzie badcountry
The community in Dry Bones in the Valley is grappling with the steady encroachment of gas drilling, which will bring new wealth and erode neighborly trust.

The Gone Dead Train takes us to some of the poorest areas of Memphis, where many people are squatting in vacant homes.

Unlike Slaughter’s ongoing series about Sara Linton and Will Trent, the author sets Cop Town during the 1970s when Atlanta was just starting to show signs of economic growth. Cop Town shows how women were taking their rightful place in the police department, and faced overwhelming resistance. In Cop Town, it seems as if the male cops want to punish the women cops by sending them to poorest areas.

We are going to have a great time during the panel. Come if you can, and if you can’t, happy reading.

Oline Cogdill
2015-04-26 21:00:00
Why MWA and Other Writers’ Organizations Matter

bookstack open copy
My recent trip to New York City was terrific—a chance to catch up with friends, see some wonderful theater, and shop.

But the main reason for the trip was to attend the Edgar symposium, where I moderated a panel, and, of course, attend the Edgar Awards.

Now that I am unpacked, mostly, and caught up laundry, mostly, I’ve been thinking, What is the value of the Mystery Writers of America, which will celebrate its 70th year in 2016, and the Edgar Awards?

In my opinion, both matter a lot and both should be embraced by published writers, unpublished writers, planning to be writers, and, of course, readers.

Awards such as the Edgar, the Agatha and the Anthony, and organizations such as MWA and Sisters in Crime help us celebrate the genre.

And we should celebrate it.

Mystery readers, and writers, know that the genre often goes where no other form of literature can.

Mysteries, or crime fiction, or whatever label you need to use, show us who we are as a society. These novels act as today’s social novels, how we deal with contemporary issues as well as how we handle crimes and punishments.

I’ve said all that before, and why would we not want to celebrate that?

Any time the mystery community gives an award, the grumbles begin.

Actually, that happens any time an award in the arts is presented, whether it is the Edgar, the Oscar, the Tony, or any regional arts award. I hear everything from “We shouldn’t be competing against each other” to “They never honor [fill in the blank…cozies, thrillers, hard-boiled, women, minorities, etc.]” to “It’s all political” to “The awards don’t mean anything” to “When is it my turn?”.

I disagree with just about all those comments.

The awards don’t mean that authors are competing against each other; the awards are honoring some of the best books the genre has to offer. With so many wonderful books published each year, it’s fitting and right to honor as many books as possible.

Were the Edgars winners my picks?

Some were, some were not, but I am not going to elaborate on that.

It is not my place to second-guess any of the judges, of any awards.

I do an annual best-of list and some of my picks overlap the Edgars and other awards, and some do not.

And I think that is good because it points out how there are so many worthy books that no one list can have them all. I actually like when our lists contain some differences because it brings attention to more books.

And if an author’s book doesn’t make it to the list, that doesn’t mean it is bad. It just means that others were a notch above.

The genre is filled with many books I’d label B+ and A….and a large number I’d call A+. The competition is stiff, so stop grumbling about not making the list, and instead celebrate the best of the best.

The Edgars truly are the Oscars of the mystery world, and we need that.

I also love that the Agatha Awards celebrate the traditional mystery and the Anthonys are a fan-based award.

As for why MWA, Sisters in Crime, and the other organizations matter...

The mission statement says it all: “MWA is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre.”

Isn’t that enough reason?

I also am grouping Sisters in Crime, the Private Eye Writers of America, and other organizations in this. And their mission statements are similar.

Crime fiction and crime writers deserve respect and organizations fight for that respect. These groups are not just about established writers, but for anyone who is related to the genre.

These organizations educate us about the genre, keep us informed about the legalities, offer scholarships, discounts, sometimes can offer insurance, and make us think about why we love mysteries.

Sisters in Crime is entering its 28th year; MWA celebrates its 70th year in 2016; The Private Eye Writers of America has been going for 34 years.

Writing is a solitary enterprise, so having a group of others to be with is invaluable. And you cannot get that just from the Internet or social media.

One gets out of an organization what one wants to, and what a person puts into it. And these organizations are so worthwhile. Plus, the membership dues are quite affordable.

One more thing: anyone, whether a member of MWA or not, can attend the Edgars symposium, the Edgar banquet, or the seminars and workshops it sponsors around the country.

Likewise, Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and the other conferences, are open to anyone.

So all this matters; it matters a lot.

Enjoy who we are, honor the books that compose the genre, and, most of all, read and buy books.

Oline Cogdill
2015-05-06 10:05:00
Key West Competition, Award to Honor Jeremiah Healy

healyjerry bobblehead
In addition to becoming an annual event, the second Mystery Writers Key West Fest will launch a writing award to honor an author who made Florida his home.

The first Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award—“The Jerry”—will be presented during the event, August 14-16 in Key West, Florida. The winner will receive a book publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, free Mystery Writers Key West Fest registration, hotel accommodations for two nights, and a bobble-headed Jerry trophy (shown at left).

Healy, who died in August 2014, was the author of 13 novels about Boston-based private detective John Francis Cuddy and, under the pseudonym Terry Devane, wrote the Mairead O'Clare legal thriller series. Healy’s writing career began while a professor at the New England School of Law, where he taught for almost two decades. Healy wrote 18 novels and over 60 short stories, 15 of which won or were nominated for the Shamus Award.

A graduate of Rutgers College and Harvard Law School, Healy’s career path included stints as a military police lieutenant and a trial attorney.

For nearly 20 years, Healy lived in Fort Lauderdale, where he was active in the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the writers conference Sleuthfest. He also served as moderator and panelist at the first Mystery Writers Key West Fest in 2014.

“The Jerry” is sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks. Candidates for the Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award should submit the first three pages of a finished, unpublished manuscript no later than June 30, 2015. There is no fee to enter, finalists will be notified August 1, and will have until August 10 to submit full manuscripts.

The award judging committee will be led by Healy's fiancée, mystery author Sandra Balzo, and includes Shirrel Rhoades, author, film critic, media consultant and publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks; Ted Hertel, attorney, author, reviewer and immediate past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America; and Gary Warren Niebuhr, library director, reviewer and author of numerous nonfiction works on crime fiction, including Make Mine a Mystery: A Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction and Read 'em Their Writes: A Handbook for Mystery Book Discussions.

This year’s Mystery Writers Key West Fest—“Murder & Mayhem in Paradise”—includes multiple workshops, presentations, panel discussions, and social events with crime fiction and true crime writers.

For information on the Second Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest and complete Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award competition guidelines and submission details, visit www.mysterywriterskeywestfest.com.

Oline Cogdill
2015-05-09 10:35:00
Spring Issue #139 Contents

139coverB 250

Features

John Sandford

More than 25 years into a spectacular career at the top of the thriller charts, the creator of Minnesota cops Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers is only getting started.
by Oline H. Cogdill

The Unexpected Dorothy Gilman: Creator of Mrs. Pollifax

Dorothy Gilman struck a chord with her New Jersey grandmother turned CIA agent.
by Michael Mallory

Full Stream Ahead: Crime Shows on the Internet

New streaming services are a bonanza for crime and mystery fans, offering access to foreign and vintage offerings, and even high-quality original series and films.
by Kevin Burton Smith

Gormania

A chat with the versatile Libby Fischer Hellmann.
by Ed Gorman

All She Wrote: Leigh Brackett’s Spectacular Career

From screenplays for The Big Sleep to Rio Bravo to The Empire Strikes Back, Brackett spanned decades and genres with ease.
by Jake Hinkson

Peter May: The Lewis Trilogy

As Americans catch on to the lauded series set in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, this writer takes on other worlds.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

Georges Simenon’s Maigret

Keeping some streets dark in the City of Light.
by Cara Black

Roaring in Retrospect Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments

At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

Hints & Allegations

2015 Thriller Award nominations, 2015 Left Coast Crime Awards, 2015 Derringer Awards

The Hook

First lines that caught our attention

My Book

Cold Case: The Atlanta Child Murders, Wayne Williams, and the writing of Innocent Blood
by Michael Lister

Reviews

Small Press Reviews: Covering the Independents

by Betty Webb

Very Original: Paperback Originals Reviewed

by Lynne Maxwell & Hank Wagner

What About Murder? Reference Books Reviewed

by Jon L. Breen

Sounds of Suspense: Audiobooks Reviewed

by Dick Lochte

Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered

by Bill Crider

Mystery Scene Reviews

Miscellaneous

The Docket

Letters

Our Readers Recommend

Advertiser Info

Teri Duerr
2015-05-04 19:20:05

135cover_250

Features

The Detections of Lillian de la Torre

A look at the historical mystery writer who put Dr. Sam Johnson on the case in witty short stories.
by Michael Mallory

Gormania

Katherine Hall Page discusses her Faith Fairchild series, favorite authors, the writing life, and her new collection of short stories.
by Ed Gorman

Ben H. Winters: World of Trouble

It’s six months before an asteroid destroys Earth and detective Hank Palace continues his lone crusade to bring order to the apocalypse in the final book of this highly praised trilogy.
by KOline H. Cogdill

Paul Doiron: A Light in the Forest

It’s law and order Maine-style with Game Warden Mike Bowditch.
by Lynn Kaczmarek

Justified

This Elmore Leonard-inspired show has always had big ambitions —and the payoff is on the way.
by Jake Hinkson

Dorothy Salisbury Davis

A star in the 1950s to ’70s, Davis had a rich understanding of the human condition.
by Sarah Weinman

“Killer Wedding” Crossword

by Verna Suit

Departments

At the Scene

by Kate Stine

Mystery Miscellany

by Louis Phillips

Hints & Allegations

2014 Anthony Award nominations, Edgar Awards, Agatha Awards, Audie Awards, Lambda Awards, Arthur Ellis Awards

New Books

Catnapped!
by Elaine Viets

Storytelling Through Totem Poles
by R.J. Harlick

The Hook

First lines that caught our attention

Reviews

Small Press Reviews: Covering the Independents

by Betty Webb & Sharon Magee

Very Original: Paperback Originals Reviewed

by Lynne Maxwell & Hank Wagner

What About Murder? Reference Books Reviewed

by Jon L. Breen

Sounds of Suspense: Audiobooks Reviewed

by Dick Lochte

Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered

by Bill Crider

Mystery Scene Reviews

Miscellaneous

The Docket

Letters

Our Readers Recommend

Advertiser Info