Tuesday, April 23, 2024


The Los Angeles Times announced the winners of the 44th annual Book Prizes in a ceremony at USC’s Bovard Auditorium. The Times’ Book Prizes recognize outstanding literary achievements and celebrate the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.

Winners were announced in 13 categories for works published last year, including the new prize for achievement in audiobook production, presented by Audible. Additionally, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement and Access Books received the Innovator’s Award for its work renovating school libraries and ensuring that underserved students and communities have access to quality literacy resources. 


Winner: Ivy Pochoda, Sing Her Down: A Novel

Lou Berney, Dark Ride
S. A. Cosby, All the Sinners Bleed
Jordan Harper, Everybody Knows
Cheryl A. Head, Time’s Undoing

Monday, April 22, 2024


Alafair Burke, Margot Douaihy, and Sascha Rothchild
are the recipients of the Pinckley Prizes in Crime Fiction for 2022 and 2023. The prizes, named to honor the memory of Diana Pinckley, were presented on March 22nd in New Orleans. 
The Pinckley Prizes partner with the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, of which Diana Pinckley was a founding member.

Alafair Burke is the winner of the 2023 Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. 

Burke is the New York Times, Edgar Award nominated author of twenty crime novels. Published in more than twenty languages, her books have been featured on “Best Book” lists from the Today Show, Entertainment Weekly, People, O (Oprah Magazine), The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Sun Sentinel, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and numerous other outlets. She has been called “a genius for plot” and “one of our greatest contemporary mystery writers.” She is the current President of Mystery Writers of America and the first woman of color to be elected to that position. In addition to the standalone novels that have earned her a reputation as “a virtuoso” of domestic suspense, she authors “two power house series” featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid. In addition to her own work, Alafair also co-authored the "Under Suspicion” series with Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark. Alafair traces a lifelong fascination with crime to the fact that she grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where a serial killer was active during her formative years. In a world where the killer could be anyone, Alafair found comfort in crime fiction. Her mother, a school librarian, helped her navigate from Encyclopedia Brown to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and eventually to Sue Grafton.

Margot Douaihy is the winner of the 2023 Pinckley Prize for Debut Fiction for her lyrical crime novel Scorched Grace. The second book in the Sister Holiday Mystery series, Blessed Water, will be released March 12, 2024.

The judges selected Scorched Grace for the novel’s delightful new vision of the noir sleuth: Sister Holiday is lavishly tattooed and plays lead guitar in her punk band Original Sin. She also happens to be a novitiate in the order of the Sisters of the Sublime Blood. She came to New Orleans to make amends for her past transgressions and solves crimes along the way. Douaihy’s writing is playful, the language as luscious as the setting, while the true heart of the story emerges with blazing warmth and compassion for troubled souls.

Sascha Rothchild is the winner of the 2022 Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel for her first book Blood Sugar.

The 2023 judges were impressed with the smart plotting and distinctive voice of Sascha Rothchild's Blood Sugar. Its protagonist, Ruby Simon, is one of the most seductive of psychopaths—clever, self-justifying, and so inventive that the reader can't wait to see what she does next. Rothchild's screenwriting skills translate beautifully to this novel, which also rises to its Miami setting, from Ruby's South Beach days of clubbing to her practice as a therapist. And who wouldn't love a serial killer who meets her best friend when he leaves a note in her Abnormal Psych textbook? Fast, funny, and sharp, Blood Sugar is filled with memorable moments and characters.


Sunday, April 21, 2024

EARTH DAY: Environmental/Ecological Mysteries

Earth Day: Climate change, environmental issues, and how we can save our planet. A few years ago I started posting a list of environmental/ecological mysteries. The list has grown. Crime fiction is an excellent way to make readers aware of issues.

Mystery Readers Journal (Volume 36:1) focuses on Environmental Mysteries. This issue is available as a PDF download and hardcopy. Take a look at the Table of Contents and order here. 

For Earth Day 2023, I updated my Earth Day/Environmental Mysteries list. There are many more authors, and certainly more books by many of the authors on the list. As always, I welcome additions of your favorites. I took a few liberties on the list, too, but I think they all fall under the umbrella of environmental/ecological mysteries. Scroll down for a second list that deals exclusively with Drowned Towns aka Reservoir Noir.

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


Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang
P.D. Abbey's H2Glo
Liz Adair's Snakewater Affair
Glyyn Marsh Alam's Cold Water Corpse; Bilge Water Bones

Grace Alexander's Hegemon 
Lou Allin's Northern Winters Are Murder; Blackflies Are Murder: Memories Are Murder
Roberto Ampuero's El aleman de Atacama (only in German)

Christine Andreae's A Small Target
Suzanne Arruda's Stalking Ivory
Sarah Andrews' Em Hansen Mystery series
Lindsay Arthur's The Litigators
Anna Ashwood-Collins' Deadly Resolution; Red Roses for a Dead Trucker
Sandi Ault's Wild Inferno; Wild Indigo; Wild Penance; Wild Sorrow
Shannon Baker's Tainted Mountain; Broken Trust; Tattered Legacy; Skies of Fire
J. G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise
Michael Barbour's The Kenai Catastrophe; Blue Water, Blue Island
Nevada Barr's Track of the Cat; Ill Wind; Borderline; and others
Lee Barwood's A Dream of Drowned Hollow?
Pamela Beason's Sam Westin wildlife biologist series
Matt Bell's Appleseed

Robert P. Bennett's Blind Traveler's Blues
William Bernhardt's Silent Justice
David Riley Bertsch's Death Canyon
Donald J Bingle's GreensWord
Michael Black's A Killing Frost 
Jennifer Blake's Shameless
Claire Booth's Another Man's Ground
C J Box's Winterkill; Open Season; Below Zero; Savage Run; Out of Range; Trophy Hunt; Free Fire; In Plain Sight; Dark Sky
Lisa Brackmann's Hour of the Rat
Alex Brett's Dead Water Creek
Lisa Brideau's Drift; Amid Rage; Drink to Every Beast
Tobias S. Buckell's Artic Rising
Joe Burcat's Drink to Every Beast
James Lee Burke's Creole Belle
Rex Burns' Endangered Species
Steve Burrow's A Siege of Bitterns
David Butler Full Curl; No Place for Wolverines; In Rhino We Trust
Chester Campbell's The Surest Poison
Christine Carbo The Wild Inside, Mortal Fall, The Weight of Night, A Sharp Solitude
Ann Cleeves' Another Man's Poison; Wild Fire; Blue Lightning; The Crow Trap
Eileen Charbonneau's Waltzing in Ragtime

Rajat Chaudhuri: The Butterfly Effect
Cassandra Clark: Dark Waters Rising
Margaret Coel's The Dream Stalker
Anna Ashwood Collins's Metamorphis for Murder; Deadly Resolutions
Kathleen Concannon's A Deadly Bluff
Shawn Connors' Chain Reaction
Robin Cook's Fever
Dawn Corrigan's Mitigating Circumstances
Peter Corris's Deep Water
Donna Cousin's Landscape
Michael Crichton's State of Fear
James Crumley's Dancing Bear
Rich Curtin's Final Arrangements; Deadly Games
Christine D'Avanzo Cold Blood, Hot Sea; Devil Sea; Secrets Haunt the Lobsters' Sea; Glass Eels, Shattered Sea
Cecil Dawkins' Rare Earth
Janet Dawson's Don't Turn Your Back on the Ocean

Mark de Castrique's Fatal Scores
Barbara Delinsky's Looking for Peyton Place
Lionel Derrick's Death Ray Terror
William Deverell's April Fool
Karen Dionne's Boiling Point; Freezing Point; The Marsh King's Daughter, The Wicked Sister
Paul Doiron's The Poacher's Son; Trespasser; Bad Little Falls; The Bone Orchard; One Last Lie, Almost Midnight, Dead by Dawn, and others
David Michael Donovan's Evil Down in the Alley
Mark Douglas-Home's The Sea Detective
Rubin Douglas' The Wise Pelican: From the Cradle to the Grave
Jack Du Brul's Vulcan's Forge; River of Ruin; and others
Robert Dugoni & Joseph Hilldorfer's Cyanide Canary
Toni Dwiggins' Badwater; Quicksilver
Kerstin Ekman's Blackwater
Aaron J Elkins' The Dark Place; Unnatural Selection
Howard Engel's Dead and Buried
Kathleen Ernst's High Stakes in a Great Lake
Eric C. Evans' Endangered

Nicholas Evans' The Divide
Nancy Fairbanks's Acid Bath; Hunting Game; and others
Kate Fellowes' Thunder in the Night
Cher Fischer's Falling into Green
Bill Fitzhugh's Pest Control; The Exterminators
Michael J. Fitzgerald's The Fracking War
Mary Flodin's The Death of the Gecko
G M Ford's Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca?
Clare Francis's The Killing Winds (Requiem)
Jamie Freveletti's Dead Asleep 
Sara Hoskinson Frommer's Death Climbs a Tree

Abby Geni's The Lightkeepers
Jean Craighead George's The Missing 'Gator of Gumbo Limbo; Who Really Killed Cock Robin?; The Case of the Missing Cutthroats; The Fire Bug Connection (young readers)
Matthew Glass's Ultimatum
Kenneth Goddard's Double Blind; Prey; Wildfire
Chris Goff's A Rant of Ravens; Death of a Songbird; A Nest in the Ashes
Jean Craighead George's The Case of the Missing Cutthroats

Steven Gould and Laura J. Mixon's Greenwar
Alexander M. Grace's Hegemon
Scott Graham's Mountain Rampage, Yellowstone Standoff; Mesa Verde Victim
Robert O. Greer's The Devil's Hatband
John Grisham's The Pelican Brief; The Appeal; The Litigators; Gray Mountain
Beth Groundwater's Deadly Currents; Wicked Eddies
Elizabeth Gunn's Eleven Little Piggies
Jean Hager's Ravenmocker
William Hagard's The Vendettists
James W. Hall's Bones of Coral
Patricia Hall's The Poison Pool
Joseph Hall's Nightwork
Karen Hall's Unreasonable Risk, Through Dark Spaces

A.M. Halvorssen's The Dirty Network
Matt Hammond's Milkshake
Vinnie Hansen's Fruit of the Devil 
Jane Harper's The Dry; The Lost Man
Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action
Alice Henderson's A Solitude of Wolverines, A Blizzard of Polar Bears, and more.
Sue Henry's Termination Dust
Robert Herring's McCampbell's War
Joseph Heywood's Blue Wolf in Green Fire, Ice Hunter, Chasing a Blond Moon; Buckular Dystrophy; Bad Optics
Carl Hiaasen's Skinny Dip; Stormy Weather; Sick Puppy; Strip Tease; Scat; Star Island

Anne Hillerman's Song of the Lion
Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way
Tami Hoag's Lucky's Lady
John Hockenberry's A River out of Eden
Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow
John Holt's Hunted
Dave Hugelschaffer's Day into Night, One Careless Moment
Judy Hughes' The Snowmobile Kidnapping
Mary Ellen Hughes's A Taste of Death
R.J. Jacobs's Always the First to Die

Dana Andrew Jennings' Lonesome Standard Time
Liz Jensen's The Rapture
Craig Johnson's Hell is Empty; Dry Bones
Sylvia Kelso's The Solitaire Ghost; The Time Seam
Emily Kimelman's Unleashed
Thomas King's Cold Skies
M.T. Kingsley's With Malicious Intent

Henry Kisor's Hang Fire
Linda Kistler's Cause for Concern
Lisa Kleinholz's Dancing with Mr. D. 
Bill Knox's The Scavengers, Devilweed, and others in the Webb Carrick series
Dean Koontz's Icebound
William Kent Krueger's "Cork O'Connor" series, including Manitou Canyon, Sulfur Springs
Janice Law's Infected Be the Air

P.J. Lazos' Oil and Water
Leena Lehtolainen's Fatat Headwind
Stephen Legault's The Cardinal Divide, The Glacier Gallows, The Vanishing Track, The Darkening Archipelago
Donna Leon's Death in a Strange Country; About Face; Earthly Remains; Acqua Alta
David Liss' The Ethical Assassin
Sam Llewellyn's Deadeye
Charles & Lidia LoPinto's Countdown in Alaska; Nukes
Robert Lopresti's Greenfellas
Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide
John D MacDonald's Barrier Island (and other titles)
Ross Macdonald's Sleeping Beauty
Jassy Mackenzie's The Fallen
Larry Maness' A Once a Perfect Place
Elizabeth Manz's Wasted Space
John Marsden's A Killing Frost
Margaret Maron's High Country Fall, Shooting at Loons, Up Jumps the Devil, Hard Row
John Martel's Partners
Steve Martini's Critical Mass

Jean Matthews' Bet Your Bones
Keith McCafferty's The Royal Wulff Murders; Dead Man's Fance; A Death in Eden; The Bangtail Ghost; Buffalo Jump Blues
Charlotte McConaghy's Once There Were Wolves
M.J. McGrath's The Boy in the Snow
John McGoran's Drift; Deadout; Dust Up
Karin McQuillan's Deadly Safari; Cheetah Chase; Elephant's Graveyard
Mindy Meija's Leave No Trace
Anne Metikosh's Undercurrent 
Deon Meyer's Blood Safari, Thirteen Hours; Fever
Shannon Michaud's Still Water
Penny Mickelbury's What Could Be More Than Dead? 
Susan Cummins Miller's Chasm
Kirk Mitchell's High Desert Malice; Deep Valley Malice
Laura J. Mixon & Steven Gould's Greenwar

Margaret Mizushima's Killing Trail; Stalking Ground
Skye Kathleen Moody's Blue Poppy; and other Venus Diamond mysteries
C. George Muller's Echoes in the Blue
Marcia Muller's Cape Perdido
Sandy Neill's Deadly Turn; Deadly Trespass

Judith Newton's Oink
Michael Norman's Skeleton Picnic; On Deadly Ground
Dan O'Brien's Brendan Prairie
Michael Palmer's Fatal
Sara Paretsky's Blood Shot
Brad Parks' The Player
T. Jefferson's Parker's Pacific Beat

James Patterson's Zoo

Ridley Pearson's Killer View
Louise Penny's A Better Man

Cathy Pickens' Southern Fried
Carl Posey's Bushmaster Fall
David Poyer's As the Wolf Loves Winter, Winter in the Heart
Katherine Prairie's Thirst
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's Reliquary
Kwei Quartey's Murder at Cape Three Points; Gold of our Fathers
Peter Ralph's Dirty Fracking Business

Ben Rehder's Bum Steer; Holy Moly; Hog Heaven; Fat Crazy, and more
Bob Reiss's Purgatory Road
Ruth Rendell's Road Rage 
Geoffrey Robert's The Alo Release
Carolyn Rose's An Uncertain Refuge
Leonard Rosen's The Tenth Witness
Simon Rosser's Tipping Point

Rebecca Rothenberg's The Shy Tulip Murders; The Bulrush Murder
Patricia Rushford's Red Sky in the Mourning
Alan Russell's The Forest Prime Evil 
Kirk Russell's Shell Games
Nick Russell's Big Lake Blizzard

Louis Sachar's Fuzzy Mud
Brenda Seabrook's The Dragon That Slurped the Green Slime Swamp (Children's)
Frank Sch├Ątzing's The Swarm
L.J. Seller's Crimes of Memory
Paige Shelton's Cold Wind
Patricia Skalka's Death Stalks Door County

Barry Siegel's Actual Innocence
Sheila Simonson's An Old Chaos 
Jessica Speart's Bird Brained, Blue Twilight, Gator Aide, Tortoise Soup
Dana Stabenow's A Cold Day for Murder, A Deeper Sleep, A Fine and Bitter Snow, Midnight Come Again, A Taint in the Blood, and many others
John Stanley's The Woman Who Married a Bear, The Curious Eat Themselves, 
Neal Stephenson's Zodiac
Mark Stevens' Buried by the Roan; Antler Dust; Lake of Fire 
David Sundstrand's Shadow of the Raven
William Tapply's Cutter's Run
Peter Temple's The Broken Shore

Ngugi wa Thiong'o's Petals of Blood
Craig Thomas's A Wild Justice
Olga Tokarczuk's Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Antti Tuomainen's The Healer
Judith Van Gleson's "Neil Hamel" series, including The Wolf Path & Parrot Blues
David Rains Wallace's The Turquoise Dragon
Lee Wallingford's Clear-Cut Murder; Cold Tracks
Joseph Wambaugh's Finnegan's Week
Sterling Watson's Deadly Sweet
Betty Webb's Desert Wind; The Anteater of Death 
Randy Wayne White's White Captiva
Robert Wilson's Blood is Dirt

K.J.A. Wishnia's The Glass Factory; 23 Shades of Black; Red House Soft Money
Qiu Xialolong's Don't Cry, Tai Lake
Brooks Birdwell Yeager's Chilly Winds
John Yunker's The Tourist Trail; Where Oceans Hide Their Dead
Greg Zeigler's Rare as Earth; Some Say Fire; The Straw That Broke

Reservoir Noir

Crime Fiction that deals 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.

Mabel Esther Allan: Pendron Under the Water  (YA)
Stephen Bacon's Murmured in Dreams; "The Summer of Bradbury" in Terror Tales of Yorkshire, edited by Paul Finch 
Andrea Barrett: The Forms of Water
John Blackburn: Bury Him Darkly
Scott Carson's The Chill
Matthew J. Costello's Beneath Still Waters (horror)

Alan Dipper's Drowning Day
Eileen Dunlop's Valley of the Deer (YA)

Lee Harris's The Christening Day Murder
Reginald Hill's On Beulah Height
Donald James' Walking the Shadows

James D. Landis' The Taking (Artist of the Beautiful)
Jane Langton's Emily Dickenson is Dead
Tim Lebbon's "The Flow" in Terror Tales of Wales, ed. by Paul Finch

Julia Wallis Martin's A Likeness in Stone
Sharyn McCrumb's Zombies of the Gene Pool
Michael Miano's The Dead of Summer
Nicholas Olde's "The Monstrous Laugh" in The Incredible Adventures of Rowland Hern

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
Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls (YA)

Paul Somers' Broken Jigsaw
Julia Spencer-Fleming's Out of the Deep I Cry
Jonathan Thomas's The Color Over Occum

John Milliken Thompson's The Reservoir Reservoir 13
Donald Westlake's Drowned Hopes
John Morgan Wilson's Rhapsody in Blood
Robert Wilson's Blood is Dirt
Stuart Woods's Under the Lake


Non-Fiction about Drowned Towns

Thomas Conuel: Quabbin: The accidental Wilderness
James L. Douthat: Cherokee Reservoir Grave Removals by T.V.A.
David and Joan Hay: Mardale, The Drowned Village: Being a Lakeland Journey into Yesterday
Allen Holt: Watergrove: A History of the Valley and Its Drowned Village
David Howarth: The Shadow of the Dam
Elizabeth Peirce: Quabbin Valley: People and Places
Joyce Hunsinger Pogany: Austintown
Les Ross, Editor: Before the Lake: Memories of the Chew Valley

Let me know any other author/titles that should be included. Make a comment below.

Saturday, April 20, 2024


Sister Boniface, Season 3 will premiere on BritBox on April 24 with two episodes. Then one episode a week for 8 episodes total. Be sure and watch the Christmas Special that dropped in December.  It's considered part of Season 3, so 9 episodes (but 8 regular ones). Sister Boniface is a spin-off of the Father Brown series. Check out the first two seasons of this British cozy featuring a crime-solving, Vespa-driving nun who solves crimes in this cozy British mystery series.  

Thursday, April 18, 2024


starts Monday night and lasts for eight days. That should give you plenty of time to read these mysteries set during the holiday. This is an updated list, but, as always, let me know any missing titles/authors.

Passover Crime Fiction

Passover by Aphrodite Anagnost
Conspirators by Michael Andre Bernstein
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks   
The Passover Commando by Irving R. Cohen
The Passover Protocols by Ellen Frankel
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 Fixer by Bernard Malamud
The Empty Hours by Ed McBain
The Wolf and the Lamb by Frederick Ramsay
The Samaritans' Secret by Matt Beynon Rees
Mrs Kaplan and the Matzo Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger
Unleavened Dead by Ilene Schneider
The Passover Plot by Hugh J. Schonfield 
The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra

Poisoned Passover: Book 2 Torah Mystery Series by Susan Van Dusen
The Lord is My Shepherd by Debbie Viguie (on my Easter list, too!)
The Big Nap by Ayelet Waldman 

Passover by Frances Williams
The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia
Passover by Jeff Yocum

Passover Short Stories in the following collections:

Dying for Chametz & Other Mystery Stories for Passover by Libby Astaire
Criminal Kabbalah, edited by Laurie R. King
Murder Is No Mitzvah, edited by Abigail Browning
Mystery Midrash, edited by Rabbi Lawrence Raphael
Jewish Noir, edited by Kenneth Wishing
"Catching Elijah" by Jeri Westerson

There are several Children's and YA Passover Mysteries including:

Sherlock Mendelson and the Missing Afikomen by David Shawn Klein, Illustrated by Bridge Starr Taylor
Jodie's Passover Adventure by Anna Levine
Shira Detective: Chametz Detective by Galia Sabbag, Illustrated by Erin Taylor

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Check out Molly Odintz's 10 Reasons Why Passover is the Noirest Holiday on CrimeReads.

Celebrating the holiday? Check out DyingforChocolate.com for Chocolate Passover Recipes.