Tuesday, 02 December 2014 07:12

lehane dennis
There’s a joke I’ve heard for years that writers rule in books and the theater, but in Hollywood they have little standing.

Go watch The Player (1992) with Tim Robbins, one of the best movies about moviemaking, if you don’t believe me.

But perhaps all that is changing. Apparently book writers are becoming a bit more powerful in Hollywood.

Finally, it seems that the moviemakers are understanding the power of the book. While some changes and modifications are necessary for film, the more faithful to the book, the better the film.

Go watch Burglar (1987) with Whoopi Goldberg and see how that film has little to do with Lawrence Block’s amusing series. Then watch A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014, yes, this year) with Liam Neeson and see what a difference it makes when the scriptwriters and director understand Block’s Matt Scudder novels.   

So it was interesting to read The Hollywood Reporter’s list of 25 Most Powerful Authors in Hollywood. I won’t bore you with the non-mystery writers. But several mystery writers did make the list.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The real superheroes of the industry right now? These writers — ranked in order of influence — whose books are source material for more than 300 movie and TV projects, have helped rake in billions in box office and revenue, and prove every day that originality, above all else, still matters.”

Click on each author on the site and you’ll find out why they made this list.

Coming in at No. 2 is Stephen King.

No. 7 is Gillian Flynn, who adapted the screenplay of her novel Gone Girl, also has in development her other novels Sharp Objects and Dark Places.

No. 8 is James Patterson, who is developing his YA series Maximum Ride for a YouTube series.

No. 11 is Dennis Lehane, above, whose list of accomplishments keeps growing.

No. 18 is Ken Follett.

No. 21 is Brad Meltzer.

No. 24 is John Grisham.

For a complete list, visit the site.

Saturday, 29 November 2014 11:11

Gagliano anthony
Anyone who has been to a mystery writers’ conference knows how most crime fiction authors are among the most generous and giving writers.

Most authors are happy to introduce a colleague to a reader, knowing that more books being enjoyed is good for all writers.

I’ve heard many authors go out of their way to recommend a new author. What author wouldn’t get a boost when Michael Connelly recommends your novel? Which he has done several times.

When Elaine Viets had a stroke several years ago, many of her fellow writers went on book tour for her. (She’s fine now; and published two novels this year—Catnapped and A Dog Gone Murder.

The generosity of crime writers again is on display.

Back in 2007, Miami resident Anthony Gagliano, left, finally saw his dream come true—he became a published crime author whose debut Straits of Fortune (HarperCollins) was garnering many positive reviews, including from Art Taylor for Mystery Scene. The novel about a former NYPD cop, Jack Vaughn, who found a second career as a personal trainer in Miami was based on his MFA thesis at Florida International University.

Gagliano was working on his second novel, The Emperor’s Club, when he suffered a stroke and died at age 53. His wife, family, and friends were, obviously, devastated. His death rallied his former FIU professors, who also were his friends, to do the ultimate tribute—finish his novel for him.

Les Standiford, director of the FIU creative writing program, and Dan Wakefield, who was the writer in residence at FIU for 15 years, began to work on Gagliano’s manuscript.

Gagliano emperorclub“Tony was one of my all-time best students, and most loyal friend, so it's great to have had a small part in bringing his second novel to print,” said Wakefield. “Both Les and I have such respect for Tony as a writer, and admiration of his work, that this is a real triumph. It is also a gift to readers, for Tony was unmatched in his tough, ironic, private-eye dialogue, and his ability to render the underside of South Florida with fascination and flair.”

The two authors, both of whom have a number of fiction and nonfiction titles to their credit, spent a couple of years working on the book.

“It took a few years, but we were not going to give up easily,” said Standiford.

After hearing about the project, their FIU colleague, and fellow author, John Dufresne agreed to edit the finished book. Dufresne also found a publisher, the small but growing MidTown Publishing.

“We want to get what I think is a wonderful book into the hands of the reading public. We want folks to know that the book is out there at last,” said Dufresne.

Anyone who is in the Miami area this week can learn more about how these friends rallied for their colleague.

The Emperor’s Club will be unveiled during a reading/celebration with Standiford and Dufresene at 8 p.m., Dec. 5, at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, Florida, 305-444-9044.

Lana Callen, Gagliano’s widow, has arranged to donate the author's proceeds to the FIU Creative Writing Program in her late husband's name.

“The event will give us a chance to celebrate Tony’s too-short life and career and talk about how we got the book into shape. And we will also have the pleasure of talking about why we think Tony's work is so darn good,” said Standiford.

A portion of this story appeared in the Sun Sentinel.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 05:11

The Anthony Awards, given during Bouchercon, the Shamus Awards from the Private Eye Writers of America, and the Macavity Awards from Mystery Readers International are among the mystery genre’s highest awards.

Here are the winners who were honored during Bouchercon 2014 in Long Beach, California. The Shamus winners were announced during the PWA banquet held the weekend of Bouchercon.

We congratulate the winners and the nominees. Here is a full list of the novels nominated for an Anthony Award.


krueger ordinarygrace
Best Novel

William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace

Best First Novel
Matt Coyle, Yesterday’s Echo

Best Paperback Original Novel
Catriona McPherson, As She Left It

Best Short Story
John Connolly, “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository”

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work
Daniel Stashower, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

Best Children’s or Young Adult Novel
Joelle Charbonneau, The Testing

Best Television Episode Teleplay First Aired in 2013
Jon Bokenkamp, The Blacklist, Pilot

Best Audio Book
Robert Glenister, reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith



(Here's a full list of the novels nominated for the Shamus Award)

Best Hardcover PI Novel
Brad Parks, The Good Cop 

Best First PI Novel

Lachlan Smith, Bear Is Broken 

Best Original Paperback PI Novel

P.J. Parrish, Heart of Ice

Best PI Short Story

Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane, “So Long, Chief”

Best Indie PI Novel

M. Ruth Myers, Don’t Dare a Dame 



Best Mystery Novel
William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace

Best First Mystery

Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill

Best Mystery Short Story

Art Taylor, "The Care and Feeding of Houseplants"

Best Nonfiction
Daniel Stashower, The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award
David Morrell, Murder as a Fine Art