Reviews
Oline Cogdill

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Most astute readers will recognize the majority of authors and their books listed in the Anthony nominations, which were announced. But it is always interesting to note how many of the authors also have won this year’s Edgar and Agatha awards.

Among the Anthony Award nominees are William Kent Krueger whose Ordinary Grace took this year’s Edgar for best novel and Alex Marwood’s The Wicked Girls, which won the Edgar for best paperback original.

The authors who had been nominated for an Edgar in best first novel who also are up for an Anthony in the same category are Roger Hobbs (Ghostman); Becky Masterman (Rage Against the Dying); and Kimberly McCreight, (Reconstructing Amelia).

Stephen King’s Joyland landed a nomination for an Edgar and an Anthony in the best paperback original.

While Robert Crais’ Suspect was not an Edgar finalist, he was one of this year’s Grand Masters, an honor that comes from the Mystery Writers of America. He shared that honor with Carolyn Hart.

John Connolly’s short story, “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository,” won an Edgar and is now up for an Anthony.

Daniel Stashower took home an Edgar and an Agatha in the best fact crime category for The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War and is up for an Anthony in the same category.

Hank Phillippi Ryan won this year’s Agatha for best novel for The Wrong Girl; Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Through the Evil Days had been nominated for that same category.

Chris Grabenstein won an Agatha for his children’s book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. As he was for an Agatha, he is again up against Joelle Charbonneau, The Testing, and Penny Warner, The Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate’s Treasure, for an Anthony.

Art Taylor’s short story, “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” took home an Agatha and is now nominated for an Anthony.

This year’s Anthony Awards include eight categories of novels, television, audio books and short stories.

Bouchercon 2014—nicknamed “Murder on the Beach”—will present the the Anthony Awards during the 45th annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention to be held in Long Beach, Calif.

Bouchercon, a do-not-miss conference, will be Nov. 13 to 16 and is expected to be one of the largest Bouchercons. This year’s guests of honor are J.A. Jance and Edward Marston with Eoin Colfer as the YA guest of honor and Jeffery Deaver taking the Lifetime Achievement Award. Toastmaster is Simon Wood.

The Anthony Awards will be voted on during the convention and presented on Nov. 15. The Anthony Award nominees have been selected by vote of the Bouchercon membership.

Here are the nominees for 2013 publications.

Congratulations to all the nominees:

Best Novel
Robert Crais, Suspect
Sara J. Henry, A Cold and Lonely Place
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace
Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Wrong Girl
Julia Spencer-Fleming, Through the Evil Days

Best First Novel
Matt Coyle, Yesterday’s Echo
Roger Hobbs, Ghostman
Becky Masterman, Rage Against the Dying
Kimberly McCreight, Reconstructing Amelia
Todd Robinson, The Hard Bounce

Best Paperback Original Novel
Chris F. Holm, The Big Reap
Darrell James, Purgatory Key
Stephen King, Joyland
Alex Marwood, The Wicked Girls
Catriona McPherson, As She Left It

Best Short Story
Craig Faustus Buck, “Dead Ends”
John Connolly, “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository”
Deni Dietz, “Annie and the Grateful Dead”
Travis Richardson, “Incident on the 405”
Art Taylor, “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work
Maria Konnikova, Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes
Cate Lineberry, The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines
Josh Stallings, All the Wild Children
Daniel Stashower, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
Sarah Weinman (ed.), Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives

Best Children’s or Young Adult Novel
Joelle Charbonneau, The Testing
Margaux Froley, Escape Theory
Chris Grabenstein, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Elizabeth Keim, Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy
Penny Warner, The Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate’s Treasure

Best Television Episode Teleplay First Aired in 2013
Jon Bokenkamp, The Blacklist, Pilot
Allan Cubitt, The Fall, “Dark Descent”
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad, “Felina”
Kevin Williamson, The Following, Pilot
Graham Yost, Justified, “Hole in the Wall”

Best Audio Book
Christina Cox, reading Crescendo by Deborah J Ledford
Robert Glenister, reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Mauro Hantman, reading Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell
Davina Porter, reading Death and the Lit Chick by G.M. Malliet
Tracy Sallows, reading Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

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Our fascination with WWI should never end.

This so-called Great War was a game changer in so many ways in the way it restructured combat, politics and society.

I think our fascination has nothing to do with Downton Abbey, though that has increased some awareness, and everything to do how we view our history.

David Downing has explored the Second World War in his six excellent espionage novels about John Russell.

But now Downing turns his attention to the First World War in Jack of Spies (Soho), for which the British author will be touring the U.S. for the first time. Jack of Spies will be published on May 13.

Some of the best and most involving espionage novels aren’t about super-spys, the James Bonds, but about ordinary people caught up in circumstances beyond their control.

And that is what Downing does in Jack of Spies. Set in 1913, on the eve of WWI, the novel’s hero is Jack McColl, a Scottish luxury car salesman. McColl has a knack for languages and he served England during the Boer War. Being a globetrotting car salesman proves to be the perfect cover to gather some light intelligence for Great Britain.

But “light espionage” won’t cut it when the world is on the brink of disaster, when war—a horrific war—looms over the U.K., Germany and Europe.

Jack is kind of playing at being a spy, supplementing his Royal Navy pay with his sales commissions. He’s in China showing a magnificent bottle-green Maya automobile, strolling along the harbor and snapping photos and watching the movement of ships. He’s not above paying the occasional prostitute to tell what her German clients talk about.

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But this is not the time to dabble in spy craft. And as the situation intensifies, Jack is pulled into the spy business. In addition to the politics that will result in WWI, Downing also fills Jack of Spies a look at Irish and Indian revolutionary causes that were shaping the political landscape.

Jack of Spies is set in Tsingtao, San Francisco, New York, Tampico and Dublin, on steamliners and cross-country trains, reflective of the time.

Jack of Spieshad received a lot of pre-publication buzz, and had been chosen by the American Booksellers Association (ABA) as its June IndieNextList, It’s also been picked as one of the Top Ten Mysteries & Thrillers Pick for Spring 2014 and is a Library Journal Editor’s Pick for Spring 2014.

While I post interviews on this blog that I have conducted, the Soho site has an interesting discussion with Downing about his new series and his thoughts on WWI and WWII.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:

On why Downing decided to write about WWI: “The Second World War was more horrendous than the First in many ways—most notably in the number of civilians killed—but I’ve always felt that the latter was more of game-changer, and I wanted to write a series that reflected the move away from conflicts between established nation states, and the increasing importance of the class, gender and colonial conflicts raging inside them.”

On Downing’s new hero: “I wanted a protagonist who would find these changes hard to cope with, but struggle to do so nevertheless. In the ‘Station’ series John Russell was always politically-motivated, and his views at the end have hardly changed at all, but in the new series British agent Jack McColl is more of a blank slate, politically speaking. The events he witnesses and the people he meets will confront him with many uncomfortable choices.

On the political landscape of the time, including the Irish Republican movement; the Indian independence movement; the Paterson strikes and workers’ rights; the Tampico Affair: “In 1914 there was no shortage of places where the British Empire was being threatened in one way or another. In Jack of Spies he turns up in China, the US, Mexico and Ireland, but it could have been any number of exotic destinations. And my female protagonist, Caitlin, a radical New York journalist, would have been all too aware of the Paterson strike and its aftermath in 1913-14.”

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

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The Mystery Writers of America has announced the winners of the 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2013.

The Edgar Awards were presented to the winners at the 68th banquet last night, May 1, 2014, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The winners are in bold below. We congratulate all the winners as well as the nominees.

(pictured left: Grand Master honoree Carolyn Hart)

krueger_ordinarygraceBEST NOVEL

Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)
Sandrine’s Case, by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic/The Mysterious Press)
The Humans, by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster)
How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Standing in Another Man’s Grave, by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group)
Until She Comes Home, by Lori Roy (Dutton Books)

matthews_redsparrowBEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews (Scribner)

The Resurrectionist, by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
Ghostman, by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rage Against the Dying, by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins)

marwood_thewickedgirlsBEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood (Penguin Books)

The Guilty One, by Lisa Ballantyne (William Morrow)
Almost Criminal, by E. R. Brown (Dundurn)
Joe Victim, by Paul Cleave (Atria Books)
Joyland, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime)
Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas and Mercer)

stashower_thehourofperilBEST FACT CRIME

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)
Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery, by Paul Collins (Crown)
Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal, by Michael D’Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder, by Charles Graeber (Grand Central/Twelve)
The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and the Medics Behind Nazi Lines, by Cate Lineberry (Little, Brown and Company)


dussere_americaiselsewhereBEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture, by Erik Dussere (Oxford University Press)
Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories, by Bill Alder (McFarland & Company)
Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing, by Justin Gifford (Temple University Press)
Ian Fleming, by Andrew Lycett (St. Martin’s Press)
Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction, by Melissa Schaub (Palgrave Macmillan)

connolly_caxtonprivatelendingBEST SHORT STORY

"The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” – Bibliomysteries, by John Connolly (Mysterious)
"The Terminal" – Kwik Krimes, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Thomas & Mercer)
"So Long, Chief" – The Strand Magazine, by Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane (The Strand)
"There Are Roads In the Water" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Trina Corey (Dell Magazines)
"Where That Morning Sun Goes Down" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, by Tim L. Williams (Dell Magazines)

timberlake_onecamehomeBEST JUVENILE

Strike Three, You’re Dead, by Josh Berk (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking, by Erin Dionne (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial)
P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man, by Caroline Lawrence (Penguin Young Readers Group – Putnam Juvenile)
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Publishing Worldwide – Disney-Hyperion)
One Came Home, by Amy Timberlake (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)

pitcher_ketchupcloudsBEST YOUNG ADULT

All the Truth That’s In Me, by Julie Berry (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Juvenile)
Far Far Away, by Tom McNeal (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
Criminal, by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)
How to Lead a Life of Crime, by Kirsten Miller (Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill)
Ketchup Clouds, by Annabel Pitcher (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

thefallBEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Episode 3” – Luther, teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC)
“Episode 1” – The Fall, teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix)
“Legitimate Rape” – Law & Order: SVU, teleplay by Kevin Fox & Peter Blauner (NBC)
“Variations Under Domestication” – Orphan Black, teleplay by Will Pascoe (BBC)
“Pilot” – The Following, teleplay by Kevin Williamson (Fox/Warner Bros. Television)

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
"That Wentworth Letter" – Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional, by Jeff Soloway (St. Martin’s Press)

crais_robertGRAND MASTER

Robert Crais
Carolyn Hart

(Pictured right: Grand Master honoree Robert Crais)

RAVEN AWARD

Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan


milchman_coverofsnowTHE SIMON & SCHUSTER - MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 30, 2014)
Winner is in bold:

Cover of Snow, by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine Books)
There Was an Old Woman, by Hallie Ephron (William Morrow)
Fear of Beauty, by Susan Froetschel (Seventh Street Books)
The Money Kill, by Katia Lief (Harper)
The Sixth Station, by Linda Stasi (Forge Books)

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

malicedomestic_banner

The winners of the 2014 Agatha Awards were announced this weekend at the Malice Domestic 26 conference (May 2-4, 2014) at the Hyatt, Bethesda, Maryland.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Agatha winners and nominees. Good books all.

The winners below are in bold:

ryan_wronggirlBEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL
The Wrong Girl, Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Through the Evil Days, Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Pagan Spring, G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
How the Light Gets In, Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Clammed Up, Barbara Ross (Kensington Books)

budewitz_deathaldenteBEST FIRST NOVEL
Death Al Dente, Leslie Budewitz (Berkley Prime Crime)
You Cannoli Die Once, Shelley Costa (Pocket Books)
Board Stiff, Kendel Lynn (Henery Press)
Kneading to Die, Liz Mugavero (Kensington)
Front Page Fatality, LynDee Walker (Henery Press)

todd_aquestionofhonorBEST HISTORICAL NOVEL
A Question of Honor, Charles Todd (William Morrow)

Heirs and Graces, Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Death in the Time of Ice, Kaye George (Untreed Reads Publishing)
A Friendly Game of Murder, JJ Murphy (Signet)
Murder in Chelsea, Victoria Thompson (Berkley Prime Crime)

grabenstein_escapefrommrlemoncellosBEST CHILDREN'S/ YA
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Chris Grabenstein (Random House Books)

The Testing, Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery, Kathleen Ernst (American Girl Mysteries)
Andi Unexpected, Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz)
Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure, Penny Warner (Edgmont USA)

stashower_thehourofperilBEST NONFICTION
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)
Georgette Heyer, Jennifer Kloester (Source Books Inc.)
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Maria Konnikova (Viking Penguin)
Not Everyone's Cup of Tea: An Interesting & Entertaining History of Malice Domestic's First 25 Years, Verena Rose and Rita Owen, editors (Wildside Press)

EQMM_March-April_2013BEST SHORT STORY
"The Care and Feeding of House Plants" in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Art Taylor

"Evil Little Girl" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even, Barb Goffman (Wildside Press) "Nightmare" in Don't Get Mad, Get Even, Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"The Hindi Houdini" in Fish Nets, Gigi Pandian (Wildside Press)
"Bread Baby" in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold, Barbara Ross (Level Best Books)

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

ravenoline_mwa
I’d like to get a bit personal today.

This time last year, I was high on a cloud because I had been selected to receive the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America during the Edgar banquet.

I shared the Raven honor with the lovely people from The Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, which has been owned by Terry Gillman, Maryelizabeth Hart and Jeff Mariotte since in 1993.

It was a glorious night for The Mysterious Galaxy and myself. I also was so happy for the authors who took home Edgars that night.

The Raven remains a career highlight for me. I felt—and said so in my acceptance speech—that receiving the Raven meant my work was respected by the board and by the mystery writers.

So enough about me.

It is now time to pass the baton, or in the case, the Raven.
Figuratively, that is.

I have the Raven in a place of honor and you are not getting it back.auntagatha_agnews2

So I offer an extra heartfelt congratulations to Robin and James Agnew, at right, whose store Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will take home this year’s Raven. I know how you’ll feel taking that little bird home with you.

The Raven as well as the Edgar Awards will be presented by the Mystery Writers of America May 1 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Here’s a list of all the Edgar nominees.

Aunt Agatha’s is celebrating its 22nd year in business this year, no small feat in this day of online orders. A couple of years ago I did a story on the store’s celebrating its 20th anniversary, which is linked here.

The store has stayed in business because, like other independent bookstores, its staff knows its clientele. They can intelligently recommend books that they know their customers will like. And that personal kind of service never goes out of style.

The Agnews have no plans for an anniversary party this year. They are going to wait until “the big 25,” Robin Agnew told me in an email. ye are

“Otherwise things are chugging along as they always have though weirdly when it's busy, it's REALLY busy, and when it's slow, it's REALLY slow,” said Robin Agnew in the email last week.

“All the things we've been doing - book clubs, author visits, etc. we plan to continue. I'm looking forward to what's next, what great writers are coming up, and what kind of work writers I already love will continue to create,” she said.

Authors who have been coming to Aunt Agatha’s for years speak highly of the store.

“There’s no one more important to an author than the bookseller. Who else will make sure that your beloved novel gets placed personally into a reader’s hand?” said William Kent Krueger, whose Ordinary Grace is up for an Edgar in the best novel category.

“Among all the fine booksellers out there, Robin and Jamie Agnew are at the top of the list. Their store, Aunt Agatha’s, is such a splendid place, particularly in spirit. When a crowd gathers for a book event there, it’s like a little festival. I love the store, and I dearly love those two folks who own it,” Krueger added.

Needless to say, the Agnews are delighted about the Raven.

“We are unbelievably pleased to be honored by the writers whose work we love to sell and share with customers and friends,” Robin Agnew said in the email.

“Mysteries have been a touchstone for me all of my life starting with Nancy Drew and they continue to be. The friends we've made and the authors whose careers we've seen grow from specks to big success has really been a delight as well,” she added.

Congratulations to all.

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