Thursday, July 19, 2018

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year was awarded to The Intrusions by Stav Sherez.

The winner was announced tonight at an award ceremony during opening ceremonies of the 16th Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. Sherez will receive a £3,000 cash prize, as well as a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakston Old Peculier. The awards night will also feature the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award.

John Grisham was declared the winner of the Theakston Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction.

HT: Erin Mitchell

Bookstore Sign of the Day

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hollywood Ending Location Scout: Guest Post by Kellye Garrett

Kellye Garrett:
Hollywood Ending Location Scout

I always love when I start a new book and see a disclaimer from the author explaining that although their book takes place in a real place, they took liberties with exactly where things are located. As someone who writes a series set in a Los Angeles, I completely get it.

My series is about the entertainment industry so it was essential I set it in Los Angeles and I wanted to make it feel like my main character, Dayna, actually lived there. When I started the first book, Hollywood Homicide, I actually lived in L.A. It was easy for me to name-drop real life streets like La Brea and Vermont. Much like Dayna, these were the streets I drove—or rather sat in traffic in—every day.

I’ve since moved to the East Coast, which made it trickier to nail the geography when I was writing the second book, Hollywood Ending. It’s not as easy to remember how to get from Beverly Hills to downtown if you want to avoid the 10 freeway at all costs.

And since I’m a reader who loves when I recognize a place I’ve actually been in a book, I knew that I couldn’t just cop out and make up a bunch of places Day and her cohorts needed to keep taking actual streets to actual places.

As much as I would have loved to make weekend jaunts to L.A. for research, I couldn’t. (Blame my job and my bank account!) Instead, I relied on two things: my friends and Google Maps! So if you’re reading Hollywood Ending and think, “Day shouldn’t have used that exit off the 405,” don’t write me, write Google! Or write my friends Stephanie and Linda. I’ll be happy to give you their contact info.

I was able to pack a few of my favorite places and things in Hollywood Ending. Here’s a few of them:

Runyon Canyon 

Runyon Canyon can probably best be described from this excerpt from Hollywood Ending: Aubrey wanted to meet at Runyon Canyon, which was technically a park situated in the Santa Monica Mountains. Key word: technically. It was Hollywood’s outdoor workout of choice. On a good day, you could find more celebs than on NBC’s primetime lineup. Even on a bad day, you might catch a news anchor. If you entered from the southern end at the bottom of the hill on Fuller Ave., it wasn’t uncommon to pass outdoor yoga classes before making your way up a hiking trail that ended way up on Mulholland Drive. At least that’s what I’d heard. I’ve never made it that far. Haven’t even tried.

Fun Fact: I once was a complete smart aleck to Jake Gyllenhaal while hiking there. You can read about it over at my Chicks on the Case multi-author blog:

Shrine Auditorium 

The granddaddy of all the fancy venues is an LA landmark across the street from the University of Southern California campus. The Shrine has been around since the 1920s and has had more movie icons in its seats than you’d find on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At one time or another, the Shrine has hosted the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, American Music Awards, BET Awards, MTV Movie Awards, NAACP Image Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the Soul Train Music Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Miss Universe Pageant. That’s a lot of acceptance speeches and people being played off by the orchestra.

Fun Fact: I actually was a seat-filler for the Emmy Awards in 2005 at the Shrine! It was also where we had my graduation from film school at USC.

Food Trucks 

I know food trucks are everywhere now but I’d like to think Los Angeles was where it first became a “thing.” The portable food trend boom began about ten years ago, when a truck with an on-board kitchen pulled up outside of a nightclub and started hawking Korean tacos during the let out. Though Kogi may have been the first gourmet food truck, it certainly wasn't the last. In the ensuing decade, hundreds have popped up, each more creative than the one before it.

Like everything in Hollywood, they’d gone from hot to passé, but they hadn’t gone away. Every day, trucks hit different locations in the city, using Twitter and the like to let LA’s hungry know exactly where'd they’d be during the lunch and dinner rush. It wasn't uncommon for five or six trucks to line up back to back on the same busy street.

Fun Fact: I used to be a hard-core Kogi addict when I was in L.A. And every time I went, I got the short rib tacos. I still dreams about them and I’ve been gone for 7 years!


Kellye Garrett writes the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the Agatha, Lefty, and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novel and is nominated for Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards. The second, Hollywood Ending, will be released on August 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. She now works for a leading media company and serves on the Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime as the organization’s Publicity Liaison. You can learn more at and

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Head Wounds: Guest Post by Dennis Palumbo


Nietzsche once wrote, “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”

Perhaps. Then again, Nietzsche never met Sebastian Maddox, the villain in my latest suspense thriller, Head Wounds. It’s the fifth in my series about Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh police.

What makes the brilliant, tech-savvy Maddox so relentlessly dangerous is that he’s in the grip of a rare delusion called erotomania, also known as De Clerambault’s Syndrome.

Simply put, erotomania is a disorder in which a person—in this case, Maddox—falsely believes that another person is in love with him, deeply, unconditionally, and usually secretly. The latter because this imaginary relationship must be hidden due to some social, personal, or professional circumstances. Perhaps the object of this romantic obsession is married, or a superior at work. Often it’s a famous athlete or media celebrity.

Not that these seeming roadblocks diminish the delusion. They can even provide a titillating excitement. Often, a person with erotomania believes his or her secret admirer is sending covert signals of their mutual love: wearing certain colors whenever a situation puts them together in public, or doing certain gestures whose meaning is only known to the two of them. Some even believe they’re receiving telepathic messages from their imagined beloved.

What makes the delusion even more insidious is that the object of this romantic obsession, once he or she learns of it, is helpless to do anything about it. They can strenuously and repeatedly rebuff the delusional lover, denying that there’s anything going on between them, but nothing dissuades the other’s ardent devotion.

I know of one case wherein the recipient of these unwanted declarations of love was finally forced to call the police and obtain a restraining order. Even then, her obsessed lover said he understood that this action was a test of his love. A challenge from her to prove the constancy and sincerity of his feelings.

As psychoanalyst George Atwood once said of any delusion, “it’s a belief whose validity is not open to discussion.”

This is especially true of erotomania. People exhibiting its implacable symptoms can rarely be shaken from their beliefs.

Like Parsifal in his quest for the Holy Grail, nothing dissuades them from their mission.

In Head Wounds, Sebastian Maddox’s crusade—when thwarted in his desires— turns quite deadly, and requires all of Rinaldi’s resourcefulness to save someone he cares about. In real life, the treatment options for the condition are limited to a combination of therapy and medication, usually antipsychotics like pimozide. If the symptoms appear to stem from an underlying cause, such as bipolar disorder, the therapeutic approach would also involve medication, typically lithium.

What makes erotomania so intriguing as a psychological condition, and so compelling in an antagonist in a thriller, is the delusional person’s ironclad conviction—the unshakeable certainty of his or her belief.

Nonetheless, as philosopher Charles Renouvier reminds us, “Plainly speaking, there is no such thing as certainty. There are only people who are certain.”

This post originally appeared on the Mystery Scene blog and is reprinted with permission of Mystery Scene.

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year, Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand, and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime. His series of crime novels (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb, and Head Wounds) feature psychologist Daniel Rinaldi, a trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police. All are from Poisoned Pen Press. For more info, visit

Monday, July 16, 2018


The Australian Crime Writers Association announced its long list for the 2018 Ned Kelly Awards, in three categories. The winners will be announced at the Ned Kelly Awards to be held during the Melbourne Writers Festival.

2018 Ned Kelly Awards Long Lists

Best Crime
  • Marlborough Man by Alan Carter
  • Under the Cold Bright Lights by Garry Disher
  • Redemption Point by Candice Fox
  • The Lone Child by Anna George
  • Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill
  • Class Act by Ged Gillmore
  • Pachyderm by Hugh McGinlay
  • Big Red Rock by David Owen
  • The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
  • The Student by Iain Ryan
  • Clear to the Horizon by Dave Warner
Best First Crime
  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
  • Wimmera by Mark Brandi
  • The Girl in Keller's Way by Megan Goldin
  • All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane
  • The Echo of Others by SD Rowell
  • See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
  • She be Damned by MJ Tija
Best True Crime
  • The Contractor by Mark Abernethy
  • Unmaking A Murder: The Mysterious Death of Anna Jane Cheney by Graham Archer
  • The Suitcase Baby by Tanya Bretherton
  • Whitely on Trial by Gabriella Coslovich
  • Last King of the Cross by John Ibrahim
  • The Last Escape by John Killick
  • The Fatalist by Campbell McConachie
  • Once a Copper: The Life and Times of Brian ‘The Skull’ Murphy by Vikki Petraitis


This great event will take place in Albany, CA, this Thursday, July 19. Don't miss it!

Cartoon of the Day: Perry Mason

Sunday, July 15, 2018


The International Thriller Writers (ITW) announced the winners of the 2018 Thriller Awards last night during ThrillerFest in New York City. Congratulations to all.

Best Hardcover Novel:
Final Girls, by Riley Sager (Dutton)

Best First Novel:
The Freedom Broker, by K.J. Howe (Quercus)

Best Paperback Original Novel:
Grievance, by Christine Bell (Lake Union)

Best Short Story:
“Charcoal and Cherry,” by Zoë Z. Dean (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)

Best Young Adult Novel:
The Rains, by Gregg Hurwitz (Tor Teen)

Best E-Book Original Novel:
Second Chance, by Sean Black (Sean Black)


Silver Bullet Award for Service:
James Rollins 

Thriller Master Award: 
G.R.R. Martin

Thriller Legend Awards:
Pat Gussin & Bob Gussin (Oceanview Publishing)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Bastille Day

2018 Pinckley Prizes

Ellen Hart and Marcie Rendon are the recipients of the 2018 Pinckley Prizes for Crime Fiction, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley.

The prizes will be presented October 6, 2018 at The George and Joyce Wein New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Center, 1225 N. Rampart St., New Orleans.

The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.

Read more here. 

Friday, July 13, 2018


The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers announced that August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho Crime), has been named the winner of the organization's annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing.

The winning title was chosen by a group of three distinguished outside judges: Vera Marowitz, owner of the Bookworm in Bernardsville, New Jersey; Robert Sutherland-Cohen, author of Tesla for Beginners; John Timpane, Media and Fine Arts Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The judges selected from among four finalists nominated from the hundreds of crime books published in 2017. These four titles were selected by the organization's nominations committee headed by Del Staecker.

Other books nominated for the 2017 HAMMETT PRIZE were The Marsh King’s Daughter: A Novel, by Karen Dionne (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), The Tragedy of Brady Sims: A Novel, by Ernest J. Gaines, and Two Days Gone: A Novel, by Randall Silvis (Sourcebooks Landmark).

Mr. Jones was awarded a bronze trophy, designed by West Coast sculptor Peter Boiger. The award was announced during a lunch for the finalists at New York’s Algonquin Hotel on July 13.

2018 DAVITT AWARDS SHORT LIST: Sisters in Crime Australia

Sisters in Crime Australia announced the shortlist for its 2018 Davitt Awards, celebrating “the best crime books by Australian women.” Winners will be announced during a ceremony at Swinburne University on August 11.

2018 Davitt Award Short List

Adult crime novels
Sarah Bailey, The Dark Lake (Allen & Unwin) Debut
Sara Foster, The Hidden Hours (Simon & Schuster)
Candice Fox, Crimson Lake (Penguin Random House)
Sulari Gentill, Crossing the Lines (Pantera Press)
Jane Harper, Force of Nature (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Emma Viskic, And Fire Came Down (Bonnier Publishing Australia)

Young Adult crime novels
Ellie Marney, No Limits (Bearded Lady Press)
Sophie Masson, Jack of Spades (Eagle Books)
Vikki Wakefield, Ballad for a Mad Girl (Text Publishing)

Children’s crime novel
Rebecca Johnson, Welcome to Willowvale (Vet Cadets #1) (Penguin Random House)
Rebecca McRitchie, Whimsy and Woe (HarperCollins Australia)
Allison Rushby, The Turnkey (Walker Books Australia)
Ailsa Wild, Squishy Taylor and the Silver Suitcase (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Non-fiction books
Carol Baxter, The Fabulous Flying Mrs Miller: An Australian’s true story of adventure, danger, romance and murder (Allen & Unwin)
Gabriella Coslovich, Whiteley on Trial (Melbourne University Press)
Sarah Krasnostein, The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster (Text Publishing)
Louise Milligan, Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell (Melbourne University Press)

Sarah Bailey, The Dark Lake (Allen & Unwin)
Gabriella Coslovich, Whiteley on Trial (Melbourne University Press)
Megan Goldin, The Girl from Keller’s Way (Penguin Random House)
Rebecca Johnson, Welcome to Willowvale (Vet Cadets #1) (Penguin Random House)
Sarah Krasnostein, The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster (Text Publishing)  
Rebecca McRitchie, Whimsy and Woe (HarperCollins Australia)
Louise Milligan, Cardinal: The rise and fall of George Pell (Melbourne University Press)  
Sarah Schmidt, See What I Have Done (Hachette Australia)  
Pip Smith, Half Wild (Allen & Unwin)
Vikki Wakefield, Ballad for a Mad Girl (Text Publishing) 

HT: BV Lawson's In Reference to Murder via The Rap Sheet


The Strand Magazine announced the winners for the 2018 Strand Critics Awards. Winners were announced on July 11 during “an invitation-only cocktail party in New York City, hosted by The Strand Magazine.” Congratulations to All!

 Best Novel:
Wonder Valley, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)

Best First Novel:
The Lost Ones, by Sheena Kamal (Morrow)

Lifetime Achievement Awards:  
Jonathan Gash (aka John Grant), British creator of the antiques-focused Lovejoy mysteries
J.A. Jance, best known for her J.P. Beaumont series and her Joanna Brady series. Both of those authors will receive their commendations during that same July 11 fête. 

Publisher of the Year Award: Tom Doherty of Tor/Forge books

To see all the nominees, go here.

HT: The Rap Sheet

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Sad news. Martin Edwards reported on his blog Do You Write Under Your Own Name that Jessica Mann, crime writer and reviewer passed away yesterday. Read his tribute here.

Jessica Mann's first crime novel, A Charitable End, appeared in 1971; her penultimate book Dead Woman Walking took her career full circle, as it reintroduced one of the characters from her debut, as well as the psychiatrist Dr Fidelis Berlin, who appeared in a handful of earlier novels, perhaps most memorably the superb A Private Enquiry, which was shortlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger. Her final novel, The Stroke of Death, saw the reappearance of perhaps her most popular character, the archaeologist Tamara Hoyland, after an absence, regretted by many readers, of a quarter of a century. 

Jessica’s non-fiction included Deadlier than the Male, an excellent study of female crime writing, and she was in much demand as a journalist and broadcaster from the time she first appeared on Radio 4’s Any Questions in the 1970s; she also featured on Question Time, Start the Week, Stop the Week, and the Round Britain Quiz . For many years, she reviewed crime for the Literary Review. 

Bio from her website:


Her novels aren’t autobiographical but they are set in the world she knew and places she lived in (Cornwall, Edinburgh, Leicester (which I called Ferriby) and London) or visited, such as Egypt or the Isles of Scilly. Some books have domestic settings, some archaeological, and some books combine mystery plots with with political themes or historical sections. There’s no running hero or heroine, except for the six books featuring the archaeologist Tamara Hoyland, first encountered in Funeral Sites and The Stroke of Death. Other characters reappear, including Professor Thea Crawford and the psychiatrist Dr Fidelis Berlin, first met in A Private Inquiry. You can catch up with her in The Voice From The Grave, and Dead Woman Walking.

She was also a journalist, broadcaster and author of non-fiction. She contributed features, columns, think-pieces, travel articles and book reviews to many magazines and newspapers including the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian, The Western Morning News, House & Garden, The Oldie, Standpoint etc. She was the crime fiction reviewer for The Literary Review.

She was born in London, my parents Jewish (though non-practising) refugees from Nazi Germany. During the war, she and her big brother, aged 4 and 2, were sent as evacuees to Canada and America, returning to London in 1943. She went to St.Paul’s Girls’ School, before studying Archaeology at Newnham College, Cambridge and Law at Leicester University.

The story of the overseas evacuation of children in WW2 is told in her book Out of Harm’s Way. Growing up in the forties and fifties, and what life was like before the liberating reforms that began in the late 1960s, is described in The Fifties Mystique. In Deadlier Than The Male, she discussed the question: why are respectable English women so good at crime? She and her late husband collected works of art throughout their married lives and celebrated their Golden Wedding by producing together a book about Godrevy Lighthouse in Cornwall, illustrated with pictures from their own collection. Godrevy Light by Charles Thomas and Jessica Mann was published in 2009.

As JESSICA THOMAS,  she was Planning Inspector, chaired public committees, served on Employment Tribunals and on many NHS committees.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


I'LL COP TO IT: Guest post by Jim Doherty


When a policeman writes a police procedural novel, people are bound to wonder if the main character is a self-portrait.

So I’ll cop to it.

Dan Sullivan, the hero of my first novel, An Obscure Grave (available in both trade paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon), is basically me. I mean, after all, he’s a third generation Irish-American cop, a devout Catholic, grew up in the Bay Area, went to Catholic schools for twelve years until he entered Cal. Of course he’s me. With, y’know, improvements.

Which is to say he’s handsomer, braver, stronger, wittier, does better with the ladies (not that much better, but still). And, lately, lighter. More to the point, he, like me, started his career as a part-time reserve cop in Berkeley, CA. And a lot of his experiences grew out of actual experiences I’ve had in more than twenty years of law enforcement.

I developed him in a series of short stories (some of which, those set in and around Berkeley, I hope will be collected in the next Sullivan book) that’ve appeared in various magazines and anthologies (the two most recent in the Fall 2017 issue of Mystery Tribune and the July 2018 issue of Mystery Weekly), and told myself I’d write a novel about him “when I thought the time was right.”

Which meant it inevitably became fairly easy to find excuses for putting off the daunting task of writing a book-length piece of fiction. After all, I was pursuing a real-life crimefighting career, and also pursuing Miss Katy Kozlowski, the lovely lady who eventually became my wife. And when I finally caught her, we had a house we had to fix up into a home, and two careers to juggle, and a mortgage to pay off, and so on, and etc. No, really. A whole lot of so on, and scads of et cetera.

The impetus behind my finally writing the book was learning about the CWA’s Debut Dagger competition during a presentation given by Mike Jecks, then the CWA Chairman, at Magna Cum Murder one year. The Debut Dagger is given to the most promising unpublished first novel. Unlike the MWA’s First Novel Edgar, or the CWA’s own John Creasey Dagger, actual published novels are ineligible for the Debut Dagger. But novels that win the Debut Dagger usually wind up being published.

I realized that all the horror stories I’d heard about trying to get a novel published without an agent, or trying to get an agent without being published, were intimidating me, but this competition was a way to get around that. So I worked up an entry, and sent it off, and,, against all odds, it was one of the finalists, which gave me an excuse to go to London for the CWA Daggers ceremony. I lost, but all those folks who say it’s an honor just be nominated are right. It is. More importantly, I now had a manuscript with a pretty impressive pedigree. Not that it sold immediately. But it did sell eventually. Pro Se Press, a small publisher specializing in genre fiction, finally picked it up.

By the way, I’d like to give a shout-out to Mike Jecks (author of the Puttock and Furnshill medieval mysteries), who was, as I said, the CWA chairman, and to Kay Mitchell (author of the Inspector Morrissey novels), who was the Debut Dagger Coordinator that year. Thanks, guys! Without you I might still be finding excuses to put the damned thing off.

Like Hillary Waugh’s classic Last Seen Wearing . . . , An Obscure Grave is about a missing persons case in a college town, a missing persons case that turns into a murder investigation. Dan Sullivan’s a pretty square peg in the round hole that is Berkeley, CA, being devoutly religious, politically conservative, and working his way through school as, of all things, a part-time cop. He’s pulled into the periphery of the investigation to take care of some of the scut work, so the full-time detectives can do the actual investigating. Taking phone calls on the tip line. Following up on some of the less promising leads, stuff like that.

But when one of those unpromising tips seems to bear fruit, Dan becomes more deeply involved in the case, now convinced that the missing person, DeeDee Merryweather, a girl Dan knew personally and even crushed on a little, has been murdered, and that another student, also an acquaintance of Dan’s was her murderer, But a part-time semi-amateur volunteer’s not in a position to turn seasoned homicide investigators from the prevailing theory of the case, that DeeDee was kidnapped. The only way he can prove his theory is to find her “obscure grave” in the massive expanses of the Berkeley Hills.

That title, by the way, derives from Shakespeare. Specifically from The Merchant of Venice (Act II, scene vii, “It were too gross to rib her cerecloth in the obscure grave”). Y’ever notice how all the best titles seem to derive from either Shakespeare or the Bible? I was pretty proud of it, but, just as the book was about to come out, I found that I wasn’t the first one to use it. Back in 1985, Sara Woods adopted the same title for the 43rd novel in her series about crime-solving barrister Anthony Maitland.

Well, nothing’s new under the sun.


An Obscure Grave is available for $2.99 on Kindle (or free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited) here:

And in trade paperback for $15.00 here:

Or, if you just have to have it in hard cover, and Lord knows I certainly won’t try to talk you out of that, it’s yours for a mere $29.00 here:

Make sure to give it rave reviews.

Even if you hated it.

Just pretend you wrote it yourself and say what you’d want me to say about it if I was the one reviewing it.


“This is a well-researched, addictive collection of true case studies, some sensational, others little known, all intensely interesting. And one, ‘The Mad Doctor and the Untouchable,’ will no doubt become a terrific movie.” 
Detective Sergeant Joseph Wambaugh, LAPD (retired), MWA Grand Master, author of The New Centurions, The Blue Knight, The Onion Field, and Hollywood Station, on Jim’s true-crime collection Just the Facts 

An Obscure Grave hits with the power and fury of a twister racing across a trailer park. Jim Doherty has created a complex mystery in his first full-length novel to feature his hero, part-time cop Dan Sullivan. More please!” 
Detective Paul Bishop, LAPD (retired), author of the Fey Croaker series, the “Felony” Flynn series, and Pulp Factory Award-winning novel Lie Catchers 

“Gritty, realistic story by someone who knows the heartbeat of an officer in trouble.” 
Detective O’Neil DeNoux, Jefferson Parish, LA, Sheriff’s Homicide (retired), Police Book Award and Derringer Award recipient, author of the Dino LaStanza series, the John Raven Beau series, and the Jacques Dugas series 

“Police and FBI are stumped by the disappearance of a U. Cal. Berkeley campus beauty. Has she been kidnapped? Is she alive or is she dead? Working only on the fringes of the case, Officer Dan Sullivan ferrets out all the answers with the help of a local clairvoyant. Great story. Great writing. Great read.” 
Sergeant John Mackie, NYPD (retired), author of the Sergeant Thorn Savage, Manhattan South Homicide, series 

“Doherty’s first novel, An Obscure Grave, takes Officer Dan Sullivan back to his early days as a reserve officer working his way through college at Berkeley, and treats us to a deep and satisfying dive into homicide police procedure with added forays into film noir and detective fiction. We should all look forward to more from Jim Doherty and Officer Sullivan.” 
Commissioner Louisa Dixon, Mississippi Dept. of Public Safety (retired), author of Next to Last Chance and Outside Chance. 

Monday, July 9, 2018


The Shortlists for the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards. The Ngaio Marsh Award represents the very best in Kiwi Crime.

Best Crime Novel
Marlborough Man by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)
See You In September by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
Tess by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press)
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackell (Mary Egan Publishing)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy (Virago)

Best First Novel
The Floating Basin by Carolyn Hawes
Broken Silence by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (HVF Publishing)
All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane (Rosa Mira Books)
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan Publishing)
Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley (Oak House Press)  

The finalists will be celebrated and the winners announced at WORD Christchurch (August 29-September 2). 

Craig Sisterson, organizer of the Ngaio Marsh Award, is a lapsed Lawyer, and major Crime Fiction Fan and Writer who writes for magazines and newspapers in several countries. He also blogs at Crime Watch.

Cartoon of the Day: Stages of the Reader

From Grant Snider:

Sunday, July 8, 2018


The David Award nominees for the best mystery published in 2017:

THE CASE OF THE ABSENTEE FATHER by E. J. Copperman/Jeff Cohen 

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner 



BLIND TO SIN by Dave White

Deadly Ink conference attendees vote every year for the best mystery novel of the year before. Voting will take place during the Deadly Ink Conference in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Winner will be announced at the Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 11, 2018. Congratulations to all!

Cartoon of the Day: Cats


HBO has a new series (8 episodes) starting tonight -- Sharp Objects -- adapted from Gillian Flynn's 2006 psychological thriller. Sharp Objects follows the self-destructive journalist Camille Preaker as she returns to her small hometown to report on the unsolved murders of two girls.

Gillian Flynn is the executive producer of the series and wrote several of the episodes. Jean Marc Vallée  (Big Little Lies) directs. Sharp Objects stars Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.

Read the NYT review here

Read the LA Times review here

I haven't seen it yet, but will update this post when I do. Be sure and leave comments with your opinion.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: One Great Novel


Lesa Holstine is the recipient the 2018 David Thompson Memorial Special Service Award by the Bouchercon Board

The World Mystery Convention, Bouchercon, is pleased to announce that Lesa Holstine is the recipient of the 2018 David Thompson Memorial Special Service Award for her contributions to the mystery community. The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention attended by readers, writers, publishers, editors, agents, booksellers and other lovers of crime fiction.  The David Thompson Award will be presented during the Anthony Awards ceremony on September 8 at Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The David Thompson Memorial Special Service Award is given by the Bouchercon Board to honor the memory and contributions to the crime fiction community of David Thompson, a beloved Houston bookseller who passed away in 2010. Winners are recognized for their “extraordinary efforts to develop and promote the crime fiction field.”

Lesa Holstine has been sharing her passion for books—especially mysteries—with readers since 2005. Her blog, Lesa’s Book Critiques, is a go-to destination for readers. Her reviews now appear in Mystery Readers Journal,, and in Library Journal. Lesa is also the blogger for Poisoned Pen Bookstore, and she started the Authors @ The Teague program in the Glendale, Arizona Library System.

Lesa is the author of the “Mystery Fiction” chapter in Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (7th ed.) and has been a panelist for Sisters in Crime at the Public Library Association’s conference and has served on panels at Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon. She has also moderated crime fiction panels at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Lesa is beloved by readers and acclaimed authors alike.

Louise Penny, author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, said: “Lesa has championed crime writing with intelligence, passion, warmth and insight. This meaningful award, named for a wonderful man, could not go to a better recipient than Lesa Holstine!” 

Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Series, said: “When you write for a living you’ve always got that one reader that you’re shooting for, the one that will get what you’re trying to do, and for me that reader is Lesa Holstine.” 

Hank Phillippi Ryan, author of the Jane Ryand series and the forthcoming TRUST ME, said: “Lesa’s unabashed enthusiasm, unflagging support and astonishing knowledge of crime fiction continues to change lives and change careers. Her incredibly hard work as a librarian, blogger, reviewer and cheerleader enriches our community and brightens our days.” 

Cara Black, author of the Aimée Leduc series, said: “Lesa began a visiting author series and welcomed every mystery author in town with open arms to her library. I remember Lesa sitting in the back and writing away, supporting me and the authors who felt privileged to be invited. This honor is so deserved!” 

Lori Rader-Day, award-winning author, said: “Lesa Holstine is joy personified. I love her enthusiasm for mystery reading.” 

Jane Cleland, Author of the Josie Prescott series, said: “Lesa is a doll, a complete peach! She's also a terrific writer, clear and insightful.” 

For additional information, please visit or Bouchercon is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: July 4th

An Evening in France with Cara Black and Susan Shea: July 11

Celebrate Bastille Day with a Francofile Literary Salon with Authors Cara Black and Susan Shea. Drink and eat and enjoy the discussion  and readings about France, books, people, and more!

When: Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m.
Where: RSVP for venue address (Berkeley, CA)
This is a free event, but YOU MUST RSVP to attend.
RSVP required. Address of venue sent with acceptance.
RSVP: janet @

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 18 books in the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series, which is set in Paris. Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture—and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. Murder on the Left Bank is her latest Aimée Leduc mystery.

Susan Shea spent more than two decades as a non-profit executive before beginning her critically praised mystery series featuring a professional fundraiser for a fictional museum. Dressed for Death in Burgundy is the latest in her French Village series. She’s a regular on the 7 Criminal Minds blog, is secretary of the national Sisters in Crime board, on the board of the Northern California chapter of Sisters in Crime, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America. 

Fourth of July Vintage Postcards - Children with Fireworks

Happy Fourth of July! Fireworks have been a part of Independence Day celebrations for more than 200 years. Fireworks, though, can be dangerous, especially for children. That's why I find these Vintage Postcards so odd. Today this would be considered "child endangerment." Have a safe Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Inspiration for The Night Visitor: Guest Post by Lucy Atkins

Lucy Atkins:
Inspiration for The Night Visitor

When I was growing up in a picture-postcard village in the south of England, I had a friend whose home was nothing like my own. It was huge, for a start—a Victorian Gothic Manor House with ten bedrooms, a sweeping staircase, a ballroom, and a minstrel’s gallery. To get to the house you had to pass through tall iron gates and travel down a long, tree-lined driveway, at the end of which loomed the grey flint house, magnificent but also kind of terrifying.

The interior was in a state of creeping dilapidation. There were cobwebs in the corners, damp shadows on the plasterwork, rattling casement windows with cracked panes, and a pervasive smell of mildew in the air. It was always cold and dark inside, even in summertime. It turned out that my friend’s father, a gambling man, had won the house in a bet some time in the 1970s and, with no money for repairs, upkeep, or modernization, it was stuck in time, a flinty Miss Havisham, hell bent on decay.

I remember crazy teenage parties where we’d run screaming across the tattered lawns, sure that we were being pursued by something ghoulish. I remember everyone cramming into the kitchen because a ghost had been spotted in the minstrel’s gallery. My friend, a tall, blonde, loyal girl, told me that she would often wake in the night to find an old lady sitting on her chest, pinning her to the mattress. My friend was paralyzed when this happened, unable to move or cry out for help.

When I began to research The Night Visitor, two elements of my childhood memory resurfaced: the malevolent old lady “night visitor,” and the Manor. That house became “Ileford Manor” in my novel, a grand place that is stuck in time, hiding complicated secrets. I updated things a little: my housekeeper, Vivian Tester, is proud and competent; she lives alone in the manor with her rescue dog, Bertie, and works hard to keep the damp at bay, dealing with spiders and dust and falling roof slates. What I did recreate though, was that “unheimlich” feeling in the house, the sense of uncanny unease, the knowledge that things are just not right there.

The Night Visitor is about two very different women: Olivia, a glamorous British historian in her forties who makes TV shows about Victorian women, and Vivian, the housekeeper, in her sixties and definitely not glamorous. When Vivian finds a Victorian diary in the house, she takes it to Olivia and the two women begin to work together on a book about the diary’s author. As the novel unfolds, and events move between the manor house and a glorious vacation rental in the South of France, it becomes clear that Vivian is not what she seems.

In my novels, settings are crucial for building tension. I loved the contrast I could draw between the sunny French villa and my threatening, Gothic English house. I have no idea what made the Manor (and its unsettling old lady) resurface in my mind after so many years, but I’m so grateful that it did. I don’t know if I could have written The Night Visitor without it.


Lucy Atkins is an award winning British author and journalist. Her novels The Night Visitor (2017), The Other Child (2015), and The Missing One (2014) are all published by Quercus. She has also written seven non-fiction books, two of which have won national awards.