Wednesday, April 30, 2014

California Bookstore Day: Saturday, May 3

 

Celebrate California's First Bookstore Day this Saturday, May 3. California Bookstore Day is a statewide party with more than 90 stores in more than 80 zip codes putting on all their bells and whistles.

Each store will have its own party. The headline attraction are the just-for-us books you can't get on any other day at any other place (click here to find the celebration closest to you). But there will also be readings, and prizes, and things to eat and drink. In some cases there will be famous authors and artists, and people writing live poetry.

Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent.

California is home to lots of authors, and stores will showcase their favorite locals for the occasion--Isabel Allende, Wendy MacNaughton, Megan McDonald and Michael Pollan are among those on board. Dave Eggers will be making the rounds to four Bay Area stores on Saturday. At {pages} in Manhattan Beach, YA bestseller DJ McHale is on the program, while Vroman's in Pasadena will feature a performance of LA Noir Unscripted by the ImproTheatre, and has invited its neighbors, the founders of Prospect Park Books, over for a game of literary trivia. At Book Shop Santa Cruz, a local brewery will provide libations for its trivia session. Hicklebee's in San Jose hand-made scratch-off "Golden Tickets" offering prizes to young readers.

Pete Mulvihill, one of the owners of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, came up with the idea for California Bookstore Day, which soon was adopted by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. The list of sponsors is long, and includes author James Patterson, who contributed $15,000 as part of his campaign to support independent bookstores.

Everyday is Bookstore Day in my "Book", so even if your favorite store isn't on the list, be sure and stop by...and buy books!

Participating Bookstores

Bob Hoskins: R.I.P.

So sad.

From ABC News:

British actor Bob Hoskins, whose career ranged from noir drama "Mona Lisa" to animated fantasy "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" has died aged 71.

A family statement released Wednesday said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012.

A versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and Cockney charm, Hoskins appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic "The Long Good Friday." His Hollywood roles included "Mermaids" and "Hook."


His movie breakthrough came in 1980 thriller "The Long Good Friday," playing an East End gangster hoping to profit from redevelopment of London's docks. It contained one of his most memorable speeches, a Cockney-accented dismissal of American culture: "What I'm looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world: culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than an 'ot dog, know what I mean?"

The film, which also featured Helen Mirren and a young Pierce Brosnan, is ranked 21 in the British Film Institute's list of the top 100 British films of the 20th century.

Hoskins specialized in tough guys with a soft center, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort in Neil Jordan's 1986 film "Mona Lisa." Hoskins was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.

His best-remembered Hollywood role was as a detective investigating cartoon crime in 1988 hit "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," one of the first major movies to meld animation and live action.

May Day Crime Fiction and Morris Dancing Mysteries

"What potent blood hath modest May."- Ralph W. Emerson

For the past few years, I've posted a list of May Day Mysteries. I love May Day with its Morris Dancing and the Maypole, all dating back to pagan Celtic times. And, although May may seem idyllic with its flowers and showers, it can actually be murderous! Later this month, I will have an updated list of Mother's Day Mysteries and Memorial Day Mysteries. Both take place in May.

I've expanded my May Day list to include a few other May mysteries. Let me know if I've forgotten any titles. Be sure and check out the Morris Dancing Mysteries at the end of the list.

Want some Chocolate on May Day? Check out my May Day post on DyingforChocolate.com: History of May Day, Alfred Lord Tennyson's The May Queen, Recipes for Queen of the May Chocolate Cake and Maypole Parfaits.

May Day Mysteries

Five Days in May by Paul Eiseman
30 Days in May by Wayne Hancock
Five Days in May by Christopher Hartpence
Seven Days in May by Fletcher Knebel 
May Day by Jess Lourey
May Might Mean Murder by Bill McGrath 
A Hearse on May-Day by Gladys Mitchell  
May Day in Magadan by Anthony Olcott 
The Merry Month of May by Elvi Rhodes
A Hot Day in May by Julian Jay Savarin
The May Day Murders by Scott Wittenburg


Morris dancing is one of the Great English Mysteries, like cricket and warm beer. 
--Rosemary Edghill, mystery writer, in Book of Moons, 1995 


For over 35 years at dawn on May Day, Berkeley Morris Dancing takes place at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park. The Berkeley Morris Dancers also perform at the University of California Botanical Garden, Sunday, May 4, 12:30-1pm. Free with Garden Admission. Check for Morris Dancing in your area.

Morris Dancing Mysteries

As the Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate by M.C. Beaton
Blind to the Bones by Stephen Booth
Thieves by Hannah Dennison
Death of a Fool (Off with his Head) by Ngaio Marsh
Dead Men's Morris by Gladys Mitchell 
The Death-Cap Dancers by Gladys Mitchell
The Lazareth Pit by Elizabeth Patterson

Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Ways to Keep Readers Turning the Pages: Bernard Besson Guest Post

Today I welcome back award-winning thriller writer Bernard Besson.

Bernard Besson has had a long career in French intelligence and law enforcement. He is a former chief of staff of the French FBI, was involved in dismantling Soviet spy rings in France and Western Europe at the fall of the Soviet Union, and is one of the France’s top specialists in economic intelligence. He has also written nine novels that have been published in French. His latest was translated into English. It’s a spy novel set on a backdrop of global warming—The Greenland Breach —and it hits bookstores on April 30, 2014. Here he talks about how his life experience interacts with his writing, and what he does to keep his readers interested. 

BERNARD BESSON:
5 WAYS TO KEEP READERS TURNING THE PAGES

When I’m writing, it’s impossible for me to forget my “day job,” which consists of auditing companies and teaching them about business intelligence. It’s also hard for me to forget that I used to work in the French intelligence services. My writing stems from and is inseparable from my life experience. The process, however, is sometimes painful, because you can be a police and/or intelligence officer without necessarily having the ability to write a thriller or spy novel. For that matter, you can be a very fine mystery or thriller writer without having ever been a police officer or having worked as a spook. The two activities are very difference and it takes a lot of effort to reconcile them. I personally work very hard at not boring my readers. Here are some things I do.

1) Write through your characters.

I don’t want my novel writing to read like a lecture. To do this, I write through my characters, who then come to life with reactions that sometimes surprise me.

2) Do your research.

Before I plot a story, I do research. So, for The Greenland Breach, I spent time with climate specialists to understand the complex reasons behind global warming and explored how, in the past, periods of glaciation alternated with periods of intense warming, before there was humanity and industry.


3) Discover your inner reader.

Only after I have taken in all this research do I start writing, and that’s when I put myself in the reader’s shoes. What questions would a reader ask about Greenland and global warming? What would a reader’s fears and anxieties be? That is when I discover the reader in me, and that helps me to write.

4) Look for original points of view.

Then, still focusing on not being boring, I try to pull in original points of view, without pretending to recount any truths, as I am not a scientist. For that matter, scientists don’t all agree, which is something my readers also know.

5) Use what you know.

My past and present work experience does contribute a lot to making my characters interaction with the world of intelligence and law enforcement authentic. That, however, in itself is not enough to make readers want to keep turning the pages.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

SPOTTED OWL AWARD


Friends of Mystery in Portland, OR, have awarded Mike Lawson the Spotted Owl Award for House Odds. The Spotted Owl Award is given for best mystery by an author from the Northwest.

For more info go to: Friends of Mystery

Saturday, April 26, 2014

James Melville: AKA Roy Peter Martin: RIP

Such sad news. James Melville aka Roy Peter Martin and Hampton Charles, or Peter as he was known to me, passed away on March 23 at the age of 83. I remember so many visits both in the UK and here in Berkeley. Peter showed my sister and me around the North of England on one of our visits. Castles, tea, and beer! Here in Berkeley Mystery Readers NorCal hosted James Melville at a Literary Salon, and I showed him around San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma.  We met at other times at various Bouchercons, but I will always remember his graciousness and hospitality.

SHOTS Magazine reports:

It is with deep sadness that Shots reports the death of Roy Peter Martin, better known to crime fiction fans as James Melville and Hampton Charles, who passed on 23rd March, aged 83, only weeks before his most famous crime series, the novel featuring Japanese policeman Superintendent Otani, was to be brought back into print by Ostara Crime, after a gap of more than thirty years.

Roy Peter Martin was born in London in 1931.  He read philosophy at Birkbeck College and after National Service in the RAF worked in local government and then entered teaching.  In 1960 he became a British Council Officer and thereafter his career was in cultural diplomacy and educational development in Indonesia, Japan and Hungary.  In 1979 he returned to Japan as Head of the British Council and began to write the Superintendent Otani series of crime novels which “provided a vivid and multi-stranded portrait of Japanese society, caught between its traditional (and often hidebound) past and the exigencies of modern life”.  He also wrote historical novels set in Japan and spy novels which drew on his experiences in Indonesia and Hungary.

Under the pen name Hampton Charles, he continued the ‘Miss Seeton’ series of stories (gentle parodies of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple books) originally written by Heron
Carvic (1913-1980).  

Ostara Publishing are to release new Ostara Crime editions of James Melville’s first three ‘Otani’ novels: The Wages of Zen, The Chrysanthemum Chain and A Sort of Samurai.  Further details on: www.ostarapublishing.co.uk.

Read the Obit in The Guardian by his sons James and Adam Martin.

Cartoon of Day: Crime Scene


Vintage Typewriter Advertisement: Tyepwriter with Multiple Fonts!


Friday, April 25, 2014

CWC Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist and Grand Master

Crime Writers of Canada announced the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists, and the winner of the CWC Grand Master Award for Crime Writing in Canada. 

This is the inaugural year of the CWC Grand Master Award, intended to recognize Canadian crime writers who have a substantial body of work that has garnered national and international recognition.

This year’s winner of the CWC Grand Master Award is Howard Engel, the author of the award winning Benny Cooperman detective series. A mainstay of the Canadian crime writing scene for many years, Mr. Engel helped put Canadian crime writing on the map at a time when few mysteries were set in this country.

The 2014 Arthur Ellis Shortlists for Excellence in Crime Writing Best Novel 
John Brooke, Walls of a Mind, Signature Editions
Seán Haldane, The Devil’s Making, Stone Flower Press
Lee Lamothe, Presto Variations, Dundurn
Howard Shrier, Miss Montreal, Vintage Canada
Simone St. James, An Inquiry into Love and Death, Penguin Books

Best First Novel 
E.R. Brown, Almost Criminal, Dundurn
A.S.A. Harrison, The Silent Wife, Penguin Books Canada
Axel Howerton, Hot Sinatra, Evolved Publishing
J. Kent Messum, Bait, Penguin Canada
S.G. Wong, Die on Your Feet, Carina Press

Best Novella
Melodie Campbell, The Goddaughter’s Revenge, Orca Books
Brenda Chapman, My Sister’s Keeper, Grassroots Press
James Heneghan, A Woman Scorned, Orca Books 1

Best Short Story 
Donna Carrick, Watermelon Weekend, Thirteen, Carrick Publishing
Jas. R. Petrin, Under Cap Ste. Claire, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, October 2013, Dell Magazines
Twist Phelan, Footprints in Water, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, July 2013, Dell Magazines
Sylvia Maultash Warsh, The Emerald Skull, Thirteen, Carrick Publishing
Sam Wiebe, The Third Echo, Girl Trouble: Malfeasance Occasional, MacMillan/St Martin’s Press

Best Book in French 
Chrystine Brouillet, Saccages, La courte échelle
Jacques Côté, Et à l'heure de votre mort, éditions Alire
Maureen Martineau, L’enfant promis, La courte échelle
Jacques Savoie, Le fils emprunté, Éditions Libre Expression

Best Juvenile/YA 
Karen Autio, Sabotage, Sono Nis Press Gail Gallant, Apparition, Doubleday Canada
Elizabeth MacLeod, Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries, Annick Press
Ted Staunton, Who I’m Not, Orca Books

Unhanged Arthur 
L.J. Gordon, Death at the Iron House Lodge
Rachel Greenaway, Cold Girl
Charlotte Morganti, The Snow Job
Kristina Stanley, Descent
Kevin Thornton, Coiled

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.

CRIMEFEST AWARDS SHORTLIST

CRIMEFEST AWARD SHORTLIST
The winners of the CRIMEFEST awards will be announced during the Gala Dinner at CrimeFest on Saturday, May 17.

Audible Sounds Of Crime Award
The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2013 in both printed and audio formats, and available for download from audible.co.uk, Britain’s largest provider of downloadable audiobooks. Courtesy of sponsor Audible UK, the winning author and audiobook reader share the £1,000 prize equally.

Nominees:
- Ben Aaronovitch for Broken Homes, read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Orion Audio)
- John le Carré for A Delicate Truth, read by John le Carré (Penguin)
- Robert Galbraith for The Cuckoo's Calling, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio)
- Peter James for Dead Man’s Time, read by Daniel Weyman (Macmillan Audio)
- Peter May for The Chessmen, read by Peter Forbes (Quercus)
- James Oswald for Natural Causes, read by Ian Hanmore (Penguin)

eDunnit Award
The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2013. The winning author receives £500 and a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Nominees:
- A.K. Benedict for The Beauty of Murder (Orion)
- Thomas H. Cook for Sandrine (Head of Zeus)
- Sara Gran for Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (Faber and Faber)
- Elizabeth Haynes for Under a Silent Moon (Sphere)
- Val McDermid for Cross and Burn (Sphere)
- Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)
- Denise Mina for The Red Road (Orion)
- Thomas Mogford for Sign of the Cross (Bloomsbury)
- George Pelecanos for The Double (Orion)
- Anne Zouroudi for The Feast of Artemis (Bloomsbury)

Goldsboro Last Laugh Award
The Goldsboro Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2013. The £500 prize is sponsored by Goldsboro Books, the UKs largest specialist in first edition, signed books.

Nominees:
- Colin Bateman for Fire and Brimstone (Headline)
- Alan Bradley for Speaking from Among the Bones (Orion)
- Colin Cotterill for The Axe Factor (Quercus)
- Shamini Flint for A Calamitous Chinese Killing (Little, Brown)
- Carl Hiaasen for Bad Monkey (Little, Brown)
- Suzette A. Hill for A Little Murder (Allison & Busby)
- Derek B. Miller for Norwegian by Night (Faber and Faber)
- Teresa Solana for The Sound of One Hand Killing (Bitter Lemon Press)

Congratulations to all!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

National Parks Week: Scott Graham Q & A

In honor of National Parks Week, I asked Scott Graham for a guest post. Since Scott is traveling right now, he put together some questions and answers about himself and his books. Thanks, Scott.

Scott Graham has explored the Grand Canyon all his life. He has backpacked into the canyon’s farthest reaches, and rowed his own eighteen-foot raft down the canyon’s notorious Colorado River rapids. He is an avid outdoorsman and amateur archaeologist who enjoys rock climbing, skiing, backpacking, mountaineering, river rafting, and whitewater kayaking with his wife, an emergency physician, and their two sons. Graham’s book, Extreme Kids, won the National Outdoor Book Award. His five nonfiction books have been reviewed positively by many publications, including the New York Times. Graham lives in Durango, Colorado. Canyon Sacrifice is his first mystery.

What inspired your love for the outdoors? 
I moved from heavily polluted inner-city Akron, Ohio, to Durango, Colorado, at age ten. I remember looking around me at the surrounding mountains and forests while waiting outside to enter my elementary school for my first day of classes in Durango and realizing I’d been transported to heaven. I backpacked for the first time that fall, hunted and killed my first deer at age twelve, and have been happily exploring the West’s mountains, canyons, and deserts ever since.

You are obviously familiar with the Grand Canyon—how did you use your personal experience and expertise when writing Canyon Sacrifice
I was lucky to first visit the Grand Canyon as a child with my family, and I’ve explored the canyon regularly in the years since. Because I’ve spent time at the canyon in many ways—backpacking, camping, day hiking, river rafting—it was easy to immerse myself in that fantastic place during the writing of Sacrifice. It was gratifying to share with readers the real places along the South Rim and in the canyon that I’ve loved for so many years, while creating a number of fictional locales at the canyon as well.

Does your family enjoy the outdoors as much as you do? 
I was fortunate to be raised by outdoors-loving parents who introduced me as a boy to skiing, backpacking, mountaineering, and hunting in the mountains of southwest Colorado. A generation later, my wife Sue and I have enjoyed introducing our two sons to the outdoors as well.

Before our sons were born, Sue and I backpacked, trekked, and mountaineered extensively in the Himalayas, Andes, and American and Canadian Rockies. We introduced our sons to the outdoors as soon as we could, taking them on multi-day river-rafting and backpacking trips as toddlers, putting them on skis at age two, and celebrating their fifth birthdays by overnighting in snow caves we built with them.

Both our boys have taken to the outdoors. They kayak, ski, backpack, hunt, fly fish, mountain bike, trail run, and rock climb. Though they’re independent teenagers now, I’m happy to report they’re still willing to do many of those activities with Sue and me.

What is your biggest national park pet peeve? 
Our national parks truly are “America’s best idea.” I’m a champion of the thousands of park staffers and employees who dedicate their professional lives to protecting and preserving our parks for future generations.

My only park pet peeve is that, as a regular visitor to national parks across the West, I’ve seen the damage ongoing federal funding cuts are doing to our national treasures. Our parks deserve—and require—our support as owners and taxpayers.

Tell us a little about Book 2 in the National Park Mystery Series. 
Book 2 is set in another park I’ve explored many times—Rocky Mountain National Park in the Colorado Rockies northwest of Denver.

Here’s a synopsis:

While overseeing a crew of college students working the modern archaeological dig of an abandoned, century-old gold mine in the park, series protagonist Chuck Bender finds his own life threatened by sinister forces when he steps in to protect his assistant and brother-in-law, Clarence Ortega, from a false murder accusation. Long-buried secrets blaze to life among the locals of the park-gateway town of Estes Park during the searing, drought-stricken summer that has followed close on the heels of devastating floods. 

Tell us about your most recent outdoor adventure. 
I met up with a group of two dozen friends to raft the Class IV whitewater of the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon on the Colorado-Utah border. A hailstorm greeted us at the put-in, dropping the temperature to 39 degrees. Fortunately, the autumn sun popped out after the storm, and we had a great trip, floating the river past golden cottonwoods and carousing around the campfire.

Canyon Sacrifice, a National Park Mystery, hits shelves June 2014 from Torrey House Press, and is available now for pre-order.

RT Reviewers' Choice Awards


Thanks to The Rap Sheet via OmniMystery News for the results of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards.  Here are six of interest to crime fiction readers.

Amateur Sleuth: Bled & Breakfest, by Michelle Rowen (Obsidian)
Contemporary Mystery: Lost, by S.J. Bolton (Minotaur)
First Mystery: How to Be a Good Wife, by Emma Chapman
(St. Martin’s Press)
Historical Mystery: The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau (Touchstone)
Suspense/Thriller: The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)
Inspirational Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Fear Has a Name,
by Creston Mapes
(David C. Cook)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day: Reservoir Noir! Drowned Towns in Mysteries

Today is Earth Day! It's a day to reflect on what we're doing to this planet Earth! Last year Mystery Readers Journal has an issue focusing on the Environment (Volume 29:1). Reviews, articles and Author! Author! essays perfect for today and every day. Have a look at the Table of Contents.

Today I'm sitting here on another beautiful day in Northern California thinking about drowned towns. We're in another year of drought, and we were promised a late rain. It didn't materialize, unfortunately.  And, even if it did rain for the entire week,  it wouldn't make up for the deficit of so many dry years. A few years ago a reservoir nearby was so low that a small airplane was seen above the waterline. It turned out to be a small aircraft containing the pilot that had disappeared many years ago. Mystery solved. Most of the Drowned Towns I've read about in mysteries were from intentional flooding or damming.

I’m fascinated by the number of mysteries that concern Drowned Towns. I read Peter Robinson’s In a Dry Season and Reginald Hill’s On Beulah Height because they came out about the same time. Being a list maker I was thrilled to find the site Library BookLists.

Reservoir Noir
Books that deal with intentional flooding of towns and villages because of building dams and reservoirs for water supply, irrigation, power and other reasons--a sad addition to the environmental crime fiction list.

Arnaldur Indridason's The Draining Lake
Robert Byrne's The Dam
Alan Dipper's Drowning Day
Paul Doiron's The Poacher's Son
Eileen Dunlop's Valley of the Deer (YA)
Lee Harris's Christening Day Murder
Reginald Hill's On Beulah Height
Donald James' Walking the Shadows
Beth Kanell's The Darkness Under the Water (YA)
James D. Landis' The Talking (Artist of the Beautiful)
Jane Langton's Emily Dickenson is Dead
Julia Wallis Martin's A Likeness in Stone
Sharyn McCrumb's Zombies of the Gene Pool
Michael Miano's The Dead of Summer
Michael Radburn's The Crossing
Ron Rash's One Foot in Eden
Rick Riordan's The Devil Went Down to Austin
Peter Robinson's In a Dry Season
Lisa See's Dragon Bones
Paul Somers' Broken Jigsaw
Julia Spencer-Fleming's Out of the Deep I Cry
Donald Westlake's Drowned Hopes
John Morgan Wilson's Rhapsody in Blood
Stuart Woods' Under the Lake

Let me know any titles you think should be included.

Read more about Drowned Towns (fictional and real) at Library Booklists HERE.

Be kind to the Earth. It's the only one we have.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Bony Blithe Award Shortlist

Murder Is Nothing to Have Fun With...Or Is It? Light Mystery Award Announces Finalists 

The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, an annual Canadian award that celebrates traditional, feel-good mysteries has announced this year’s finalists. The award – aka the Bony Blithe – is for a “book that makes us smile,” which includes everything from laugh-out-loud to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore.

The judges came up with five books for this year’s shortlist.
The five finalists for the 2014 Bony Blithe Award are:

Finalist 1 … Gold Web by Vicki Delany (Dundurn)
Finalist 2… Framed for Murder by Cathy Spencer (Comely Press)
Finalist 3… Thread and Buried by Janet Bolin (Berkely Prime Crime)
Finalist 4… Never Laugh as a Hearse Goes By by Elizabeth Duncan (Minotaur)
Finalist 5…Miss Montreal by Howard Shrier (Vintage)

The award will be presented at the Bloody Words Mystery Conference gala banquet on Saturday, June 7, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 370 King St. W., Toronto. 

The winner will receive a cheque for $1000 plus a colourful plaque.

To register for the Bloody Words Mystery Conference (June 6 – 8), visit http://2014.bloodywords.com Registration.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

PHILIP K. DICK AWARD WINNER

The winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award was announced yesterday at Norwescon 37, and the winner for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time during 2013 in the U.S.A. is:

Countdown City by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Can't wait to read Book Three in this Science Fiction/Mystery Series! Congratulations, Ben!!!

Easter Crime Fiction

Even if you don't live in Norway where Paskekrim (Easter Crime Fiction) is a crime fiction Easter Holiday tradition, you can enjoy reading some great mysteries that take place at Easter.  

To find out more about Paskekrim, a Norwegian tradition that takes place over 5 days from Holy Thursday through Easter Monday, when the country is caught up in watching and reading murder mysteries and detective series and publishers bring out their latest crime fiction, click here.

My Easter Crime Fiction list has been expanded from last year, and, as always, I welcome any additions. I've also added some Good Friday mysteries, rounding out the weekend.

EASTER CRIME FICTION/
EASTER MYSTERIES

Antiques Bizarre by Barbara Allan
Aunt Dimity: Detective by Nancy Atherton
Death and the Easter Bunny by Linda Berry
In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
Easter Weekend by David Bottoms
The Last Enemy by Grace Brophy
Papa la-Bas by John Dickson Carr
Do You Promise Not To Tell? by Mary Jane Clark
Little Easter by Reed Farrel Coleman
Last Easter by Caroline Conklin
Murder on Good Friday by Sara Conway
Holy Terrors by Mary R. Daheim
The House of Death by Paul Doherty
Cue the Easter Bunny by Liz Evans
Deadly Sin by P.J. Grady
Precious Blood by Jane Haddam
The Good Friday Murder by Lee Harris 
Semana Santa by David Hewson
Eggsecutive Orders by Julie Hyzy
Easter Murders by Bryant Jackson & Edward Meadows
Death of a Dumb Bunny by Melanie Jackson
Do Not Exceed the Stated Dose (short stories) by Peter Lovesey
Some Like It Lethal by Nancy Martin
Easter Bunny Murder by Leslie Meier
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Easter's Lily by Judy Serrano
Prey on Patmos by Jeffrey Siger
And Four To Go includes "The Easter Parade" aka The Easter Parade Murder" by Rex Stout
The Quarry by Johan Theorin
Midnight at the Camposanto by Mari Ulmer
The Lord is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie
The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson

Short Story: "The Man on the Cross" by Bill Crider from the collection Thou Shalt Not Kill, edited by Anne Perry.

Looking for Easter Chocolate to eat while reading? Stop by my other Blog, DyingforChocolate.com for some great Chocolate Easter Recipes and History and Culture of PEEPS.

Look Magazine, April 16, 1957

Thursday, April 17, 2014

BARRY AWARD NOMINATIONS

George Easter announced Deadly Pleasures Magazine's Barry Award Nominations. Congratulations to all!


Best Novel 
A CONSPIRACY OF FAITH, Jussi Adler-Olsen
TAP ON THE WINDOW, Linwood Barclay
SANDRINE'S CASE, Thomas H. Cook
SUSPECT, Robert Crais
ORDINARY GRACE, William Kent Krueger
STANDING IN ANOTHER MAN'S GRAVE, Ian Rankin

Best First Novel
BURIAL RITES, Hannah Kent
JAPANTOWN, Barry Lancet
THE BOOKMAN'S TALE, Charlie Lovett
RAGE AGAINST THE DYING, Becky Masterman
COVER OF SNOW, Jenny Milchman
NORWEGIAN BY NIGHT, Derek B. Miller

Best Paperback Original
JOE VICTIM, Paul Cleave
DISCIPLE OF LAS VEGAS, Ian Hamilton
THE RAGE, Gene Kerrigan
I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET, Adrian McKinty
FEAR IN THE SUNLIGHT, Nicola Upson
FIXING TO DIE, Elaine Viets

Best Thriller 
DEAD LIONS, Mick Herron
GHOSTMAN, Roger Hobbs
RED SPARROW, Jason Matthews
THE SHANGHAI FACTOR, Charles McCarry
RATLINES, Stuart Neville
THE DOLL, Taylor Stevens

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Norway's Paaskekrim: Crime Reading during Easter Week

I posted about Paaskekrim several years ago, but with the increased interest in Scandinavian crime, especially the large number of Scandinavian authors now available in English, I thought I should repost about Norway's Paaskekrim (Easter Crime)! Holy Thursday through Easter Monday is a public holiday in Norway, but it's also a time when just about everyone in Norway reads crime novels. Bookstore displays are full of detective novels, television and radio stations run crime serials and newspapers publish special literary supplements.

This is a very peculiar national activity. Publishers in Norway actually time series of books known as "Easter-Thrillers" or Påskekrim, and dates of publication are moved to Spring and released at this time when the sale of mysteries goes up 50%. TV stations, radio and newspapers follow suit by running detective series based on the works of famous crime novelists such as Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Simenon and Ruth Rendell.

 Why does Norway choose Easter to delve into crime solving? According to one widely accepted theory, the tradition began in 1923 as the result of a marketing coup. Advertisements that resembled news items were published on the front pages of several newspapers, shocking readers who failed to grasp that it was a publicity stunt. This idea spread like wildfire among other publishing houses, and the crime novel became one of the few forms of entertainment available during the Easter break. Cafes, restaurants and movie theatres were closed during Easter, which was supposed to be a time of introspection and repentance. There was no radio, and of course no television either. But everyone could read, and so the Easter crime novel was born.

Norwegian Crime Writers
Karin Fossum
Jo Nesbo 
Kjersti Sceen Gunnar Staalesen Jon Michelet
Anne Holt
 
Kjell Ola Dahl Pernille Rygg K.O. Dahl
Jorn Lier Horst
Thomas Enger 
Unni Lindell

Great websites about Norwegian crime writers
Scandinavian Crime Fiction
Scandinavian Books
International Noir Fiction
Detectives without Borders
Euro Crime
 
Scandinavian issue of Mystery Readers Journal 
Hardcopy and PDF -- over 92 pages of reviews, articles and Author! Author! essays, many by and about Norwegian crime writers.

Mystery Readers Journal will have another issue on Scandinavian Crime Fiction in 2014. Subscribe to Mystery Readers Journal HERE.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Death and Taxes: Tax Day Crime Fiction/Tax Day Mysteries

A few years ago I did a post about Tax Day Mysteries. There weren't  a lot of mysteries on that list. I found several that dealt with Finance, and high finance at that, but not many about the average Joe filing his taxes on April 15. Surely it's enough to commit murder. So here are a few mysteries that deal specifically with Tax Day.. and at the end of this post, a list of several accounting/accountant mysteries. And a reminder--if you haven't filed your taxes yet, be sure and send in an extension!

The most well known Tax Day Mystery is David Dodge's Death and Taxes--an oldie but goodie (1941). It's been reissued.  Read Librarian and Editor Randal Brandt's posts on David Dodge HERE and HERE.

San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault, “with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder, if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way, Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty MacLeod, George’s widow.

Before becoming a novelist, David Dodge worked as a Certified Public Accountant. No wonder his first fictional hero was also a tax man. A notable aspect of the Whitney novels is the volume of information about taxes and finances that Dodge effortlessly weaves into his plots. To read more about David Dodge, go HERE.

Sue Dunlap's 7th Jill Smith mystery is also entitled Death and Taxes

Until someone put a poisoned needle in his bicycle seat, Phil Drem was the meanest, most nit-picking IRS agent in Berkeley, California.

But when Detective Jill Smith began searching Berkeley's backwaters for the tax man's killer, she found a different picture of Drem: a caring Drem, whose once-beautiful wife was "allergic to the world" and whose friends and enemies, old hippies and would-be entrepreneurs, enjoyed a ghoulish pastime called The Death Game. Did the Death Game KO Drem? Was someone's schedule a motive for murder? And what about a CPA who drove a red Lotus ruthlessly and guaranteed his clients they'd never be audited?


Only one thing is for sure, —somewhere in Berkeley's backwaters, a killer is still on the loose. And for a detective who loves her city, doubts her lover, and has a knack for solving the toughest of crimes, finding the truth is about as inevitable as...Death And Taxes.


A continued search revealed one other title: A Little Rebellion: April 15 Surprise by Rodney Sexton published by Writers Club Press (2000) an iUniverse book. Not having read it, I thought I'd post the Editorial Review:

After a client’s suicide and an unprecedented IRS attack on his tax practice, Certified Public Accountant Karl Mendel plans what he hopes will be the final solution to an income tax system out of control.

Assisted by close friends and professional associates, Mendel uses a personal tragedy and his belief in American freedom to fuel his war on what he refers to as the American KGB. With flying skills honed as a Marine pilot in the Vietnam War Mendel takes to the air in his planned assault on the U.S. income tax system. Help from Beatrice Gimble, a former IRS programmer and current CPA partner of his best friend, Terry Garcia, leads Karl inside the main computer facility run by the IRS. Unaware that he is being watched by powers beyond the IRS, his “forced” dealings with a Russian “mole” leads Karl and his partners into dangers they had not considered and threatens the woman he loves more than life itself.

About the Author: Rod Sexton is a practicing Certified Public Accountant living near Houston, Texas with his wife. While in Vietnam, Sexton was attached to the First Marine Air Wing. After active duty, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Taxation degrees. A Little Rebellion is his first work of fiction.

Sure sounds like this fits the bill!  Anyone read it? Any comments?

A further search for other mysteries uncovered a few other titles maybe a bit further afield but with an accounting theme, so in honor of Tax Day, I thought I'd post a few Accounting-Accountant crime fiction titles.

ACCOUNTING FOR MURDER: A List

Paul Anthony: Old Accountants Never Die
Paul Bennett: Due Diligence, Collateral Damage, False Profits, The Money Race
Ann Bridge: The Numbered Account 
David Dodge --in addition to Death and Taxes, he wrote three more novels about San Francisco tax accountant James "Whit" Whitney: Shear the Black Sheep, Bullets for the Bridegroom and It Ain't Hay.
Marjorie Eccles: Account Rendered and other Stories
Gail Farrelly: Beaned in Boston
Dick Francis: Risk
Kate Gallison: Unbalanced Accounts
John Grisham: Skipping Christmas
Ian Hamilton: The Water Rat of Wanchai
Carolyn Hart: A Settling of Accounts 
James Montgomery Jackson: Bad Policy
Marshall Jevons: Murder at the Margin, The Fatal Equilibrium, A Deadly Indifference
Emma Lathen: Accounting for Murder
Linda Lovely: Final Accounting
Peter Robinson: Final Account
Karen Hanson Stuyck: Held Accountable
William C. Whitbeck: To Account for Murder

Anyone have a favorite mystery with a Tax Day theme?

Cartoon of the Day: Taxes


Book Bags for Readers

If you're a book person like I am, you can't have enough book bags. I have a 'collection', although they're not displayed as such since they're employed 'toting' books hither and yon. I've found book bags at flea markets, gotten them at book conventions and book shows, and occasionally I've even purchased them. That, of course, cuts down on the procurement of books.

Today Maddie Crum has a great article in the Huffington Post on 17 Tote Bags Book Lovers Will Absolutely Adore. I call them Book Bags, but they do 'tote' the books around.

Here's one of interest to Mystery Readers... but do be sure and check them all out. Do you have a favorite book bag? Post in a comment.

Poe-ka Dots from Out of Print




Monday, April 14, 2014

Donna Tartt Wins Pulitzer Prize

Author Donna Tartt has won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Goldfinch. The novel also won Amazon’s Best Books of the Month “Spotlight Pick” in October 2013 and was shortlisted for 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Cartoon of the Day: Novelist





HT: Bill Crider via Doc Quatarmass

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wendy Hornsby Literary Salon: Berkeley, April 16


Join Mystery Readers NorCal in Berkeley, CA, Wednesday, April 16, at 7 p.m. for an evening Literary Salon with Edgard Award Winning Author Wendy Hornsby.

Please comment below with email to RSVP.

From Wendy Hornsby:

I can’t remember ever not knowing that I was a writer. When I was in the second grade, because I was forever writing little stories, my teacher, a lovely woman named Barbara Heath, gave me her own copy of Little Women, to keep. Hardcover, illustrated, no less. The story wasn’t so much magic for me as was the character of Jo March. Somehow I knew Jo, I pretended I was her sometimes, and knew I was going to grow up to be, as she was, a writer.

When I was in fourth grade, I turned pro. My essay, “Why I love Camp Nawakwa,” won a community contest, earning me a camp scholarship, and my future was set. Sort of. Loving Camp Nawakwa was my writing pinnacle for quite a while.

When it was time for college, I headed off to UCLA, where I tried on a large number of majors before I decided on History. History, well told, has more romance, adventure, intrigue, courage, provocative mystery than any fiction that can be imagined. Besides, the process of historical research and writing mysteries have a great deal in common. One snoops through the remnants of people’s lives – real or fictional – asking the important who, what, where, and when questions and implying insight with the hope of making sense of things. The study of History is great preparation for a writer, especially a writer of mysteries.

The afternoon that I learned I had passed my comprehensive exams for the Masters degree in History at CSULB, I was hired to teach History as an adjunct at Long Beach City College. Over the next decades I taught, went to school some more, raised two beautiful babies to adulthood, acquired a full-time tenured position at LBCC, and, somehow, between school and soccer and baseball and school plays, managed to get seven mystery novels and many, many short stories published. Amazing how that happened.

When my kids, Alyson and Christopher, were of a certain age, I took them to visit The Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, where Louisa May Alcott grew up and where she wrote Little Women. I stood in her upstairs bedroom, beside the little half-moon desk where she created Jo March, and thanked her for giving a little girl a bit of courage to believe that she, too, could be a writer.

Books by Wendy Hornsby

Maggie MacGowen mysteries 
The Color of Light, 2014
The Hanging, 2012
The Paramour’s Daughter, 2010
In the Guise of Mercy, 2009
A Hard Light, 1998
77th Street Requiem, 1996
Bad Intent, 1995
Midnight Baby, 1994
Telling Lies, 1993

Collections 
Nine Sons, 2002
Two of the Deadliest Shaken – Stories for Japan

Kate Teague series 
Half a Mind, 1991
No Harm, 1989

Cartoon of the Day: Crime Scene 1

HT: Doc Quatermass

Saturday, April 12, 2014

LA Times Book Prize Winners

2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners Announced
          
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books kicked off its weekend-long celebration of ideas, creativity and the written word with the 34th Annual Book Prizes.

2013 Book Prize Winners

Biography: Marie Arana, Bolivar: American Liberator (Simon & Schuster)

Current Interest: Sheri Fink, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown)

Fiction: Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking)

The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names (Reagan Arthur Books)

 Graphic Novel/Comics: Ulli Lust, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics)

History: Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (HarperCollins)

Mystery/Thriller: J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Company)

Poetry: Ron Padgett, Collected Poems (Coffee House Press)

Science & Technology: Alan Weisman, Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? (Little, Brown & Company)

Young Adult Literature: Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)

Innovator’s Award: John Green

Robert Kirsch Award: Susan Straight

The complete list of 2013 finalists and previous winners, as well as eligibility and judging information, can be found at latimes.com/bookprizes.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Passover Crime Fiction: Passover Mysteries

Sarajevo Haggadah
With the Jewish holiday of Passover starting at sundown Monday Night, April 14, this year, I thought I'd post my Passover Crime Fiction list. As always, let me know any titles I'm missing.

Passover Crime Fiction

Conspirators by Michael Andre Bernstein 
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks 
The Passover Murder by Lee Harris 
All Other Nights by Dara Horn
Never Nosh a Matzo Ball by Sharon Kahn
Sunday the Rabbi Stayed Home by Harry Kemelman 
The Samaritans' Secret by Matt Beynon Rees
Unleavened Dead by Ilene Schneider
The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfield 
The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
The Lord is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie (on my Easter list, too!)
The Big Nap by Ayelet Waldman 
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia

Passover Short Stories in the following collections:
Criminal Kabbalah, edited by Laurie R. King
Murder is No Mitzvah, edited by Abigail Browning
Mystery Midrash, edited byLawrence Raphael

There are several children's and YA Passover Mysteries including:
Jodie's Passover Adventure by Anna Levine

Celebrating the holiday? Check out DyingforChocolate.com for Chocolate Passover Recipes. Be sure to scroll back.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Longlist for Best Novel

Crime Writers of Canada announced the Longlist for Best Novel in the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.

2014 Arthur Ellis Awards Best Novel Longlist


John Brooke, Walls of a Mind (Signature Editions)
Gina Buonaguro & Janice Kirk, The Wolves of St. Peter's (HarperCollins Canada)
Sean Haldane, The Devil's Making (Stone Flower Press)
Lee Lamothe, Presto Variations (Dundurn Press)
Michael McCann, The Rainy Day Killer (Plaid Raccoon Press)
Robert Rotenberg, Stranglehold (Simon & Schuster Canada)
Howard Shrier, Miss Montreal (Vintage Canada)
Sean Slater, The Guilty (Simon & Schuster UK)
Simone St. James, An Inquiry into Love and Death (Penguin)
David Whellams, The Drowned Man (ECW Press)

The shortlists for all categories, including Best Novel, will be announced on Thursday, April 24, at events in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. 

For more information, visit http://crimewriterscanada.com  or contact Crime Writers of Canada Executive Director Melodie Campbell, at info@crimewriterscanada.com.

Cartoon of the Day



HT: Ken Van Durand

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Mobiles:: Bibliomotocarro

Love this!

Antonio La Cava is a retired Italian teacher who travels around the country in his "bibliomotocarro" or "librarymotorcar" to get children excited about books.


HT: Jane Fricker

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Stephen Booth: England's Peak District

Today I welcome Stephen Booth. A former newspaper journalist, Stephen Booth is the creator of two young British police detectives, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, who appear in 13 novels, all set in England’s beautiful and atmospheric Peak District. The Cooper and Fry series has won awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including two Barry Awards for Best British Crime Novel. Ben Cooper was nominated for a Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British author, and the Crime Writers’ Association presented Stephen with the Dagger in the Library award for the “author whose books have given readers most pleasure”.

STEPHEN BOOTH:
England's Peak Districk/Cooper & Fry 

"It is my belief, Watson, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside." 

The words of Sherlock Holmes to Dr Watson in ‘The Copper Beeches’ sum up what I was trying to do when I decided to set my Cooper and Fry crime series in England’s Peak District. This was the UK’s first national park – on the surface, a stunning landscape which draws millions of visitors every year. But what I’m doing is turning over that surface to look for the darkness I can sense lurking underneath, the sinister secrets behind the smiling and beautiful exterior. Tangled family relationships, ancient vendettas, the deepest mysteries of the human heart.

Most of the Peak District is located in the county of Derbyshire. My series characters, Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, are two young police detectives working for Derbyshire Constabulary, and they’re based in the heart of the national park.

For the kind of book I’m writing, the Peak District is a gift. It has a wide range of wonderful atmospheric locations in a small area, and it has thousands of years of history, from stately homes to stone circles, Iron Age hill forts to the remains of a lead mining industry, and lots of curious local customs. Much of that history is visible in the landscape for the characters to see and touch.

Also, the Peak District is said to be the second most visited national park in the world (beaten only by Mount Fuji in Japan). This is because it isn’t remote - it has large towns and cities right on the doorstep, whose inhabitants treat it as their backyard. Those millions of visitors create all kinds of pressures and conflicts, and the police have to deal with travelling criminals - it's easy to commit your murder in a city like Manchester or Sheffield and drive out into the Peak District to dispose of the body.

This allows me to explore the relationship between city and countryside, since they're right on top of each other here. From some parts of the national park, you can literally see the outskirts of a city creeping over the hill towards you. So I view the Peak District through the eyes of two very different characters - local boy Ben Cooper, and the city girl Diane Fry.

The other thing which fascinated me about this setting was the two distinct geological halves of the Peak District, known as the White Peak and the Dark Peak. The first is farming country, a land of gentle limestone hills, picturesque villages and wooded valleys. The other consists of expanses of bleak, empty moorland scattered with dark, twisted outcrops of rock. For me, the White Peak and Dark Peak symbolised darkness and light, good and evil, right there in the landscape. It’s no surprise that the setting has come to play such an important role in the books.

Over the years, the world of Cooper and Fry has become a detailed fictional version of Derbyshire, a parallel universe alongside our own. There are some areas where the two universes overlap, and others where fiction diverges from reality. The fact that this world has taken on an existence of its own is a testament to the magical connection that can be created between writer and reader.

My detectives operate from a fictional town, which I call Edendale. It bears a resemblance to several real places, which creates an air of familiarity for readers who know the area. A lady once wrote to tell me that she knew Edendale very well, although it was years since she’d been there! That was when I was struck by the ability of readers to slip back and forth between reality and fiction purely by the power of their own imagination.

Specific details of time and place help to make this happen. The locations for each book are important, and they come to me in two ways. Sometimes the landscape inspires a story – such as when I stumbled across aircraft wreckage from World War Two while walking on the moors above the Snake Pass and began to develop the themes of BLOOD ON THE TONGUE. At other times I have an idea for a story, but need to find exactly the right location.

Whenever a new book is published, I know readers will head out into the Peak District to find the places I’ve mentioned. Some travel from other countries to do this. I recall a group of Norwegians who’d been reading ONE LAST BREATH and decided to visit the central location, the town of Castleton. Not only that, but they had to book themselves into the Cheshire Cheese pub – because that was where the convicted murder stayed when he was on the run in ONE LAST BREATH.

This fascination comes down to the smallest detail. Book #6 THE DEAD PLACE opens with a threatening phone call made to the police, which turns out to have been made from a public phone box in the village of Wardlow. Many readers tell me they’ve travelled out to Wardlow – just to look at the phone box! So why is that important for readers? Well, I think it’s because they’re looking at a physical connection between the real world and the fictional world they’ve been reading about. They can go and stand in the same spot where Ben Cooper stood in THE DEAD PLACE.

One big advantage in my choice of setting is that the Peak District is full of quirky, distinctive locations, and I try to use a different one each time. For the 7th Cooper & Fry novel SCARED TO LIVE I chose a village called Matlock Bath, a former spa town where Victorians flocked for the health-giving properties of the water. Now, its atmosphere is like that of a British coastal holiday resort. Its ‘promenade’ is lined with cafes and amusement arcades, and the smell of fish and chips hangs over the village like a cloud. On weekends, bikers line the main street admiring each other’s machines. But there’s never any trouble from them, because when they remove their helmets you can see these bikers are all grey-haired or bald. They’re what we call Hell’s Granddads, the 50 and 60-somethings whose midlife crisis involves the purchase of a powerful motorbike! But Matlock Bath is about as far from the coast as you can get in the north of England, and the promenade overlooks only the River Derwent. As one of the characters in the book says, this is “like the seaside but without the sea”. Discovering a unique location like this is one of the joys of writing about the Peak District.

The story for SCARED TO LIVE came from one of those random thoughts which cross a crime writer’s mind. One day, I was musing that people seem to die when they’re least expecting it. You know the sort of thing – you might be busy planning next year’s vacation, but you get knocked down by a truck crossing the road, and the vacation never happens. Then I used the writer’s technique of ‘what if’. I asked myself “What if there was someone who expected to be killed at any moment? How would that person live their life? And what might have happened in the past to put them in that position?” Out of that thought came the reclusive Rose Shepherd, a woman who can’t sleep at night, but whose life seems to be a blank when the police are called in to investigate her death.

What I’m trying to do in these books is create credible characters who live in a believable world. I want you to feel that you could go into a police station in Derbyshire and meet Detective Constable Ben Cooper (if you ever do, please say ‘hello’ from me!). There’s something I refer to as the 'golden moment' – those few seconds when a reader isn’t quite sure whether they're in the real world or the fictional world, an instant when they’ve become so deeply engaged in a story that they forget there’s any difference between the two.

If I can create that moment for a reader, I'm achieving what I set to do. And that’s the magic of fiction...

Monday, April 7, 2014

ITW 2014 Thriller Awards Nominees

2014: ITW's (International Thriller Writers) 2014 Thriller Award Nominees

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
Linda Castillo – HER LAST BREATH (Minotaur Books)
Lee Child – NEVER GO BACK (Delacorte Press)
Lisa Gardner – TOUCH AND GO (Dutton Adult)
Stephen King – DOCTOR SLEEP (Scribner)
Owen Laukkanen – CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE (Putnam Adult)
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – WHITE FIRE (Grand Central Publishing)
Andrew Pyper – THE DEMONOLOGIST (Simon & Schuster)

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Gwen Florio – MONTANA (Permanent Press)
J.J. Hensley – RESOLVE (Permanent Press)
Becky Masterman – RAGE AGAINST THE DYING (Minotaur Books)
Jason Matthews – RED SPARROW (Scribner)
Carla Norton – THE EDGE OF NORMAL (Minotaur Books)
Hank Steinberg – OUT OF RANGE (William Morrow)
Dick Wolf – THE INTERCEPT (Harper)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Allison Brennan – COLD SNAP (Minotaur Books)
Kendra Elliot – BURIED (Montlake Romance)
Susan Elia MacNeal – HIS MAJESTY’S HOPE (Bantam)
Jennifer McMahon – THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Nele Neuhaus – SNOW WHITE MUST DIE (Minotaur Books)
Michael Stanley – DEADLY HARVEST (Harper Paperbacks)

BEST SHORT STORY
Eric Guignard – “Baggage of Eternal Night” (JournalStone)
Laura Lippman – “Waco 1982” (Grand Central)
Kevin Mims – “The Gallows Bird” (Ellery Queen)
Twist Phelan – “Footprints in the Water” (Ellery Queen)
Stephen Vessels – “Doloroso” (Ellery Queen)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Ashley Elston – THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING (Disney-Hyperion)
Mari Mancusi – SCORCHED (Sourcebooks Fire)
Elisa Nader – ESCAPE FROM EDEN (Merit Press)
Cristin Terrill – ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (Disney-Hyperion)
Allen Zadoff – BOY NOBODY (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Rebecca Cantrell – THE WORLD BENEATH (Rebecca Cantrell)
J.G. Faherty – THE BURNING TIME (JournalStone)
Joshua Graham – TERMINUS (Redhaven Books)
James Lepore and Carlos Davis – NO DAWN FOR MEN (The Story Plant)
Luke Preston – OUT OF EXILE (Momentum)

Congratulations to all. Winners will be announced at ThrillerFest on July 12.

Hitchcock: Behind the Scenes at The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock: Behind the scenes at the filming of The Birds


HT: Alexandra Sokoloff

Saturday, April 5, 2014

PRISON DINING: The Clink

Want a unique dining experience next time you're in the U.K.? The Clink Charity trains and places offenders in the hospitality industry. The charity represents an opportunity for change, offering prisoners the chance to gain food preparation, food service and cleaning qualifications as well as experience with operational business and in-depth guidance to find full-time employment within the hospitality industry upon release.

The Clink Charity operates the Clink Restaurant at HMP High Down, HMP Cardiff and HMP Brixton in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service. The Clink Charity plans to open 10 more restaurants by 2017.

HMP Brixton opened in February. The breakfast/lunch restaurant serves locally grown dishes like herb-crusted pork chops w/ wild mushroom and artichoke lasagna to around 100 diners a day. Upscale cuisine, cooked by inmates,  eaten with plastic cutlery. 

Locally grown and sourced ingredients are used whenever possible. The meats at Brixton Prison come from a local butcher, for example, while High Downs Prison supplies many of the vegetables used in the project from its own farm.

Prisoners at High Down also get to apply to work toward an NVQ in Horticulture and Gardening. Dishes are contemporary and European in provenance, and the menu changes every quarter or for special events.
 
Reservations are required and must be made 48 hours in advance. ID is required, and you can't bring your phone, camera, laptop, chewing gum, homemade shiv, or any object that could be construed/used as a weapon. To make the experience more authentic, diners are fingerprinted and photographed upon entry. 

The Clink also caters business meetings and working lunches. The menu features a seasonal selection of British dishes.

Guardian columnist and convicted murderer Erwin James supports the charity. James was released in 2004 after serving 20 years of a life sentence. "For me, there can never be enough rehabilitative initiatives in our prisons. Rehabilitation means fewer potential victims of released prisoners. It's just a shame the government relies on charities such as The Clink to provide those initiatives. The Clink restaurants vastly increase the likelihood that those who take part will discover, or rediscover, the satisfaction of having a skill to provide a service that makes them feel good about themselves."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Karen Joy Fowler wins PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Karen Joy Fowler has won the 34th PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

The PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction is given to the best work of fiction published in a given year. Each May, the four finalists and the year's winner are honored at the Folger Shakespeare Library at the PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Dinner.