Tuesday, 21 October 2014 10:10

kava alex
If you are in the San Diego area on Nov. 8, here is an interesting event. The Military Book Fair aboard the USS Midway will include an array of authors who will be on hand to discuss their works, meet the public, and sign books.

Mystery authors scheduled to appear include Catherine Coulter, James Rollins, Grant Blackwood, Jan Burke, Alex Kava, at left, Allison Brennan, Ted Bell, T. Jefferson Parker, and others.

The fair will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 8, at the USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego.

Events will include panel discussions with authors and military veterans.

Organizers say that proceeds are earmarked for select Veteran Service Organizations (Congressionally chartered non-profits) including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Assoc., and the Marine Corps League as well as non-profit veteran support groups including Veterans Village of San Diego (National Coalition for Homeless Veterans), Reboot (veterans transition services), United Service Organizations (USO), Authors United for Veterans, and others.

The non-profit organization US4Warriors runs this event.

Author projects honoring the military are ongoing.

For several years, the International Thriller Writers has worked with the USO/Armed Forces Entertainment to bring some of our top crime fiction writers to soldiers and military families. At various stops, the authors will discuss their works, talk with the soldiers, and families if around, and hand out copies of their books.

Last year, this USO tour included stops in Kuwait, Germany, the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and Walter Reed Bethesda National Military Medical Center.

Photo: Alex Kava

Saturday, 18 October 2014 11:10

wedding1 hallmark
Lately, there has been an abundance of movie riches for mystery fans.

The Drop, based on Dennis Lehane’s work, A Walk Among the Tombstones, based on Lawrence Block’s novel, and Gone Girl, based on Gillian Flynn’s thriller, have all made terrific movie transitions.

Those films are solid treatments that do justice to the hard-edged novels.

But sometimes one needs a lighter type of story. That’s why we often crave dessert after a heavy meal. Well, that and because we always want dessert.

And sometimes a rich dessert is just too heavy. We want something light, airy, forgettable, something we don’t have to think about but will enjoy while we’re in the moment. Think about a marshmallow.

And that would be fluffy, marshmallow-like The Wedding Planner Mystery, which premieries at 9 p.m. ET/PT and 8 p.m. CT Sunday Oct. 19 on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. (See the previous story on the Hallmark Channel reboot.)

It’s a lighter-than-air film that, while containing a number of clichés and unrealistic plot twists, is fun to watch. Murder, She Wrote had more memorable plots, but The Wedding Planner Mystery still is enjoyable.

Erica Durance stars as Carnegie Kincaid (Smallville), whose latest event quickly turns tragic when a bridesmaid is murdered, and days later another bridesmaid (Chelan Simmons, Final Destination 3) is kidnapped. The family has been the center of a high-profile fraud scheme, which the media is covering.

donnelly vieledtheats
Carnegie is being followed by a news reporter (Andrew W. Walker, When Calls the Heart), accused of plotting the crimes by a detective (Rick Ravanello, True Justice), and romanced by a handsome attorney (Brandon Beemer, The Bold and the Beautiful). She’s also being accused of inflating her bill.

The wedding planning aspects of the story are well handled and the charming Carnegie so winningly played by Durance makes up for a lot.

But this Pacific Northwest town must have the stupidest detectives to make Carnegie a person of interest.

And anyone who has read a mystery—or seen Jessica Fletcher in action—will spot the villains and holes in the plot.

Still, I had a good time watching and would love to see more of these wedding planner mysteries. And that wedding cake actually looked good.

The Wedding Planner Mystery is based on Deborah’s Donnelly’s novel Veiled Threats, the first of her appealing series.
And as I always say, enjoy the film, but read the book.

The Wedding Planner Mystery premieres at 9 p.m. ET/PT and 8 p.m. CT Sunday Oct. 19 on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel.

Photos: Erica Durance as Carnegie Kincaid
Courtesy Crown Media United States

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 07:10

kornetsky doghouse
Dogs and cats, as well as horse, hamsters and other animals, often show up in mysteries either as  main character or in a supporting role.

So, in honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, which is October, Animal Welfare Week, which was Oct. 5 to 11, and National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, which is Nov. 2-8, let’s give a shout out to those authors who show  animals playing a role in their plots.

L.A. Kornetsky: Her Gin and Tonic mysteries pair up dog lover Ginny Mallard and her bartender, cat-loving, friend Teddy Tonica, along with some of their pets, in this cool series.

Robert Crais: Suspect-- Maggie, a German shepherd trained by the Marines and who was shot by a sniper that also killed her human partner in Afghanistan, becomes a K9 cop to LAPD officer Scott James who was severely wounded and traumatized during a shoot-out. The two become true partners.

Clea Simon: Cats, as well as the occasional parrot, play an important role in her three eries featuring music journalist Theda Krakow, pet expert Pru Marlowe,  and grad student Dulcie Schwartz.

Jonathan Kellerman: Blanche the French bulldog plays a reoccurring role in the Alex Delaware novels.

Spencer Quinn:  Quinn’s delightful yet hardboiled, in a way, novels pair up one of the most lovable detectives, Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of the Chet & Bernie Mystery Series, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator.

Laura Lippman: A greyhound, Doberman and an Italian greyhound—all rescues in some way or the other--are often the office companion of private detective Tess Monaghan.

Miranda James: Widowed librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon, Diesel, solve crimes in the Cat in the Stacks series.

Dennis Lehane: The Drop, based on a short story, shows the power of a dog to break through to a person who has closed himself off from everyone.

Now it’s our readers turn to tell us their favorites.