Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hammett Prize Nominees


The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers is pleased to announce nominees for their annual HAMMETT PRIZE for a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author.  The  nominees are as follows:           
Wayfaring Stranger: A Novel, by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Smoke River, by Krista Foss (McClelland & Stewart)
Gangsterland: A Novel, by Tod Goldberg (Counterpoint)

Mr. Mercedes: A Novel, by Stephen King (Scribner)
Goodhouse: A Novel, by Peyton Marshall (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

The organization will name the HAMMETT PRIZE  winner, during  the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association’s (NAIBA) Fall Conference, in Somerset, New Jersey, October 2-4.


Malice Domestic announced the 2014 Agatha Nominees are:

Best Contemporary Novel

The Good, The Bad and The Emus by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

Best Historical Novel

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
Wouldn't it Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland (Minotaur Books)
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

Best First Novel

Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris (Kensington Publishing)
Finding Sky by Susan O'Brien (Henery Press)
Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime)
Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)

Best Nonfiction

400 Things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman by Adam Plantinga (Quill Driver Books)
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey by Hank Phillippi Ryan (ed) (Henery Press)
Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice by Kate Flora (New Horizon Press)
The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books)
The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England's Most Notorious Doctor by Stephen Bates (Overlook Hardcover)

Best Short Story

"The Odds are Against Us" by Art Taylor (EQMM)
"Premonition" (Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays) by Art Taylor (Wildside Press)
"The Shadow Knows" (Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays) by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
"Just Desserts for Johnny" by Edith Maxwell (Kings River Life Magazine)
"The Blessing Witch" (Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave) by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Level Best Books)

Best Children's/Young Adult

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory by Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
The Code Buster's Club, Case #4, The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Found by Harlen Coben (Putnam Juvenile)

The winners will be announced at the Agatha Awards Banquet at Malice Domestic on May 2, 2015. Congratulations to all of the nominees!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Colleen McCullough: R.I.P.

Australian author Colleen McCullough died today at the age of 77.

From SkyNews:

Ms McCullough worked as a neuroscientist in the United States before turning to writing full-time. The Thorn Birds, a romantic Australian saga published in 1977, became a worldwide bestseller and a popular mini-series in 1983. 

For nearly 40 years Colleen McCullough was one of Australia's top-selling novelists. The literary establishment may have been sniffy about her work, but McCullough laughed all the way to the bank as her tales of forbidden love, her historical series covering the fall of republican Rome and her body-filled police procedurals made her a wealthy woman. Germaine Greer once said her early and fabulously successful work, The Thorn Birds, was the best bad book she'd ever read and compared it to Barbara Cartland's bodice-rippers. 

McCullough, who died on Thursday aged 77 was born in Wellington in the central west of NSW, on June 1 1937. As a child she buried herself in books to try to escape her 'jockstrap' family. A bright girl, she topped the NSW Leaving Certificate in English and would have been a doctor if she hadn't been allergic to the antiseptic soap that surgeons used to scrub. She turned to neuroscience, working in the Royal North Shore Hospital and the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London before moving to the United States as a teacher and researcher in neurology at the Yale Medical School. 

Towards the end of her 10 years at Yale she wrote her first two novels. The first, Tim (1974), about a middle-aged women's romance with a good-looking, intellectually disabled handyman, did well and was made into a film starring Piper Laurie and Mel Gibson. The second, The Thorn Birds (1977), about a priest's agonising choice of church career over love, enabled her to live where she wanted and to write full-time. Its American paperback rights alone were worth $1.9 million and it was made into a miniseries with Richard Chamberlain, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward. 

She lived for a time in the US and London before settling on Norfolk Island, the former penal colony. In 1983, aged 46, she married Ric Robinson, a 33-year-old islander and descendant of a Bounty mutineer. 

During the 1980s she wrote love stories like An Indecent Obsession and The Ladies of Missalonghi, with the latter owing a great debt to The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame. 

In a genre change, she also wrote the post-apocalyptic A Creed for the Third Millennium. McCullough's 1990s output was dominated by her seven-novel Masters of Rome series, published between 1990 and 2007. 

Read More Here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Timothy Williams Literary Salon February 5

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for a Literary Salon with CWA Award winning author Timothy Williams on Thursday, February 5, at 7 p.m. in Berkeley (CA). In 2011, the Observer placed Timothy Williams among the ten best modern European crime novelists. Please make a comment below with email to RSVP and for directions to this special evening event.

Timothy Williams is a bilingual British author. Born in Walthamstow (Essex, now London) Williams attended Woodford Green Preparatory SchoolChigwell School and St Andrews University. He has previously lived in France, Italy, and in Romania, where he worked for the British Council.

Tim Williams has written five novels in English featuring Commissario Piero Trotti, a character critics have referred to as a personification of modern Italy. Williams’ books include Black August, which won a Crime Writers’ Association award.

Williams’ first French novel, Un autre soleil, set in Guadaloupe, was published in Paris by Rivages in March 2011 and in English as Another Sun in New York by Soho Press in April 2013.
Un Autre Soleil (Another Sun) features Anne Marie Laveaud as French-Algerian judge who has relocated to this beautiful Caribbean island confident that she could make it her new home. But her day-to-day life is rife with frustration. When she is assigned a murder case, she quickly becomes certain that the chief suspect, an elderly ex-con named Hégésippe Bray, is a political scapegoat. Her superiors are dismissive of her efforts to prove Bray innocent, and to add insult to injury, Bray himself won’t even speak to her because she’s a woman. But she won’t give up, and Anne Marie’s investigations lead her into a complex tangle of injustice, domestic terrorists, broken hearts, and maybe even voodoo. The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe (Soho) is his latest novel in translation.

Monday, January 26, 2015



2015 Left Coast Crime Award Nominations. Congratulations to all!

Left Coast Crime 2015, “Crimelandia,” will be giving four awards at the 25th annual LCC convention, to be held in Portland. The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 14, at the Doubletree by Hilton Portland. The award nominees have been selected by convention registrants. The nomination period has just concluded, and LCC is delighted to announce the nominees for books published in 2014:

The Lefty has been awarded for the best humorous mystery novel since 1996.
The nominees are:
    • Donna Andrews, The Good, the Bad, and the Emus (Minotaur Books)
    • Timothy Hallinan, Herbie’s Game (Soho Crime)
    • Jess Lourey, January Thaw (Midnight Ink)
    • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Dude (Cindy Sample Books)
    • Diane Vallere, Suede to Rest (Berkley Prime Crime)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award (first awarded in 2004) is given to mystery novels covering events before 1960.
The nominees are:
    • Rhys Bowen, Queen of Hearts (Berkley Prime Crime)
    • Susanna Calkins, From the Charred Remains (Minotaur Books)
    • Catriona McPherson, A Deadly Measure of Brimstone (Minotaur Books)
    • Kelli Stanley, City of Ghosts (Minotaur Books)
    • Jeri Westerson, Cup of Blood (Old London Press)

The Rose, commemorating our Portland location, is for the best mystery novel set in the LCC region.
The nominees are:
    • Chelsea Cain, One Kick (Simon & Schuster)
    • Terri Nolan, Glass Houses (Midnight Ink)
    • Gigi Pandian, Pirate Vishnu (Henery Press)
    • L.J. Sellers, Deadly Bonds (Thomas & Mercer)
    • Johnny Shaw, Plaster City (Thomas & Mercer)

The Rosebud, for the best first mystery novel set anywhere in the world.
The nominees are:
    • Lisa Alber, Kilmoon (Muskrat Press)
    • M.P. Cooley, Ice Shear (William Morrow)
    • Allen Eskens, The Life We Bury (Seventh Street Books)
    • Lori Rader-Day, The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books)
    • Holly West, Mistress of Fortune (Carina Press ebook)

The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by fans of mystery literature for fans of mystery literature, including both readers and authors. Usually held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to provide an event where mystery fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests.

The 25th annual Left Coast Crime Convention will take place in Portland, OR, March 12–15, 2015. This year’s Guests of Honor are authors Chelsea Cain and Timothy Hallinan. Phillip Margolin is a Special Guest. Friends of Mystery are the Fan Guests of Honor. Author Gar Anthony Haywood will serve as Toastmaster.

For more information on Left Coast Crime 2015, please visit

Lucinda Surber & Stan Ulrich, Left Coast Crime Awards Committee Co-Chairs

# # #

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Reference Shelf: Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories reviewed by John E. Simpson

I collect secondary material, so when this 'older' review came to my attention, I asked John E. Simpson if I could reprint it here on Mystery Fanfare. Books are never out of fashion, nor are reviews of good reference books. And, anything about Edgar Allan Poe: The Father of Detective Fiction, has hallowed space on my reference shelf. Thanks, John, for this great review. John E. Simpson is a writer living in Florida. He blogs occasionally at Running After My Hat.

John E. Simpson:
Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories by Harry Lee Poe

It's an ungainly thing, this Illustrated Companion: hardbound, eleven inches wide by eight-and-a-half tall, 160 heavyweight pages. Awkward to read in bed, say, and in narrow quarters like an airplane seat. It's purple, ye gods, purple! Impossible to read without drawing attention: conspicuous.

And (at least for a certain sort of Poe aficionado) pure pleasure.

Despite the subtitle's implication, the Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories does not include the stories themselves. The pictures, for the most part, illustrate people and scenes from Poe's life; the text is a compressed biography, with brief forays into how the life informed the poetry and fiction (and sometimes vice-versa).

I thought I knew a lot about Poe's life but this book brought a good number of surprises. I didn't know, for instance, that the familiar haunted-mustachioed stereotype was an image which Poe didn't cultivate until the last couple years of his life. (Below, an oval miniature of Poe in his 20s or 30s.)

Of course, all the familiar stuff is here, too: the fractious relationship with his adoptive father, John Allan; the deaths of various beloved women, most often to consumption; his sister, her mind frozen in childhood throughout her long life; his term at West Point and subsequent expulsion for dissipation; his battles with alcohol, his nearly constant desperation over money, and his fights with other authors and editors; and the mean-spirited scheming of his literary executor/executioner, Rufus Griswold, who came close to ensuring that we today would be asking, "Edgar Allan who? Oh, you mean the drunk?"

It's all as sad as it is familiar. The book's author, one-time director of the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, is Harry Lee Poe, a distant cousin of Edgar. And except for that minor twist, because it is so familiar you might wonder how he managed to convince a publisher to undertake yet another bio, however "illustrated."

I don't know the route he took to publication, but I know what makes reading -- handling -- his book an exceptional experience. Take a look:

Scattered throughout the book, five translucent envelopes. In each envelope, facsimiles -- "copies" doesn't do them justice -- of archival Poe materials. For instance:

(a) In envelope #1, the "marriage bond" -- a certificate of payment -- for the marriage in 1806 of David Poe, Jr., to the widow of Charles D. Hopkins. (Little Edgar would come along three years later.)

(b) In the second envelope, a four-page letter from Edgar to John Allan, dated 1831, tearing into his "father" for ensuring yet again that he'd fail at something (in this case, West Point). (Allan had sent him off to West Point with just enough money to enter, but despite Poe's pleading didn't provide enough to continue.) The letter ends, "From the time of this writing I shall neglect my studies and duties at the institution -- if I do not receive your answer in 10 days -- I will leave the point without -- for otherwise I should subject myself to dismission." Scrawled along one tiny side of the folded letter is a note from John Allan:

I recd this on the 10th and did not from it [sic]conclusion deem it necessary to reply... I do not think the Boy has one good quality. He may do or act as he pleases, tho I wd. have saved him but on his own terms & conditions since I cannot believe a word he writes. 

Poe did indeed leave "the point" shortly thereafter -- broken in spirit as well as in funds.

(c) An entire page, folded, of the New York Daily Tribune from October 9, 1849. All of column 3 and most of 4 is taken up by an item which begins, "Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore the day before yesterday. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by it." This "scathing obituary," as the book's text refers to it, bears the pseudonymous byline LUDWIG; the author's real name: Rufus Griswold.

The contents of these documents fascinate. And if all you care about is those contents, you can satisfy yourself with their transcriptions -- in what looks to be sub-8-point type in the back of the book. Yet it's not what they say, but their presentation, which really sets them apart.

The pages have ragged edges. Stains blot their surfaces. Folds and creases are worn, as though from many months' abrasion against pocket or purse. In spots, some of the documents even have holes in them, where the aged, brittle paper has simply fallen away. (Below, Poe's 1829 army enlistment. Note that at the time he was calling himself Edgar A. Perry.)

Now, from their description here as aged, brittle, and so on, do not assume these inserts are really aged (etc.). No, the paper on which they're reproduced is just as new and strong as that on which the text itself appears. The edges are truly ragged, you can (if you want) put your finger through the holes, but the pages are simply reproduced to appear as old as the originals, in the same sizes, even with the same folds.

(Like many gadget geeks, I looked forward to my first e-book reader, an Amazon Kindle or whatever. I'm now on my second one of those. But the experience of reading the Poe Illustrated Companion is the sort which no e-book reader anywhere on the horizon will be able to duplicate. On the other hand, its shelf life in a busy public library is probably a matter of months, if that long. And you might want to reconsider if you're thinking of buying a used copy!)

Not interested at all in Poe? Bored by his stories, confused by his poems, confounded by his criticism, and maybe feeling -- with Griswold -- that, honestly, the world is a better place for having lost Poe at age 40? You might want to give this one a pass.

But if:
(a) you've an open mind about Poe's work, his life, his reputation, or
(b) you like handling books as well as reading them, or
(c) you're even remotely curious about how people (especially authors) lived and interacted with others 200+ years ago

-- in any of those cases, you will love it.

[NOTE: This review originally appeared, in slightly different format, at The Book Book and on Good Reads.] 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MWA Edgar Award Nominations

Mystery Writers of America announced the Nominees for the 2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2014. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 69th Gala Banquet, Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown)
Coptown by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse – Ballantine Books)


Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)


The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Albani (Penguin Randomhouse – Penguin Books)
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)
The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)


Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)
The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation by Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing – New Harvest)


The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)
James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Jim Mancall (Oxford University Press)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noir by Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)
Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)


"The Snow Angel" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
"200 Feet" – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)
"What Do You Do?” – Rogues by Gillian Flynn (Penguin Randomhouse Publishing – Ballantine Books)
"Red Eye" – Faceoff  by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)
"Teddy" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)


Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla’s Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith  (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)


The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books - Amistad)
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


“The Empty Hearse” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
“Unfinished Business” – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
“Episode 1” – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
“Dream Baby Dream” – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)
“Episode 6” – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)


"Getaway Girl" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine By Zoë Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)


Lois Duncan
James Ellroy


Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine
Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder


Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime

* * * * * *


(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Tuesday, April 28, 2015)

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur Books)
The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

PBS MASTERPIECE adds new programs to 2015

PBS MASTERPIECE announced yesterday that it is brings two new series into its Sunday night lineup. Arthur & George, starring Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), and Home Fires will join the MASTERPIECE schedule later in 2015.

Arthur & George: Starring Martin Clunes as world-famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ novel follows the separate but intersecting lives of two very different men: a half-Indian son of a vicar who is framed for a crime he may or may not have committed, and Doyle, who investigates the case. “How perfect that Arthur & George will air on PBS, as public television has been such a wonderful home to Doc Martin,” says Martin Clunes. “I’m sure that our new series will be a treat for Doc Martin fans, and for everyone who enjoys a terrific drama."

Home Fires: Starring MASTERPIECE favorites Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey) and Francesca Annis (Reckless) as part of a remarkable group of women living in a small rural village during World War II. Separated from husbands, fathers, sons and brothers for years at a time—some permanently—they find themselves under extraordinary pressures in a rapidly fragmenting world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Left Coast Crime New Authors Breakfast: Mike Befeler

Gigi Pandian & Mike Befeler
Left Coast Crime is right around the corner, and I hope you're planning to attend. This great convention will be held in Portland this year, March 12-15, 2015. One of my favorite events at LCC is the New Authors Breakfast. It's free to all attendees, and it's a great time to learn about new authors! I asked Mike Befeler, the organizer of this special event, to do a guest post! Hope to see you there! Register for LCC here.


Mike Befeler:
Meet the New Authors Breakfast at the Left Coast Crime (LCC) Conference

One of the favorite events at the Left Coast Crime Conference is the Meet the New Authors Breakfast. Since this breakfast event started in 2008, there have been between twelve and forty-four new authors introduced to readers each year. The format is simple. Each new author has one minute to tell the most important thing that fans should know about his or her debut mystery/crime/suspense/thriller novel. I have been privileged to moderate this event every year except in 2014 when I was unable to attend the conference and Donnell Ann Bell graciously took my place.

The event started because I was a new author at the 2007 Left Coast Crime Conference in Seattle, and I found no events for debut authors. Since I was on the committee for the 2008 Left Coast Crime Conference in Denver, I volunteered to put an event together, and this breakfast program is what resulted. Subsequent LCC committees have decided to keep the tradition going.

We had confusion the first year because we called it the New Authors Breakfast, and some people thought it was only open for new authors to come to breakfast. Once we changed the name to the Meet the New Authors Breakfast, this cleared up some of the confusion, although I still get questions about who can attend. The answer: this event is open to all LCC attendees to have breakfast and listen to the presenters. The presenters are authors with a first published crime novel from the year before up through the date of the conference.

Some of the award-nominated, award-winning and bestselling authors who have been introduced at this event over its seven year history include J. T. Ellison, Michelle Gagnon, Beth Groundwater, Rosemary Harris, C. J. Lyons, Rebecca Cantrell, Sophie Littlefield, G. M. Malliet, Kelli Stanley, Jeri Westerson, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Darrell James, Rochelle Staab, Chuck Greaves and Terry Shames.

What I particularly enjoy about this event is having the opportunity to introduce new authors and then watch as their careers unfold.

I invite everyone to attend the Left Coast Crime Conference in Portland, March 12-15, 2015, and join the Meet the New Authors Breakfast from 7 until 8:30 on Friday morning. Rochelle Staab will be joining me as the official timer and does an excellent job of holding people to the one minute allotted for each presentation. So far we have a list of twenty-eight outstanding new authors, and I expect the list to expand by the time of the conference. I always provide a summary sheet of the new authors so that readers can make notes and take this with them as a reading list.



Are you a new author coming to LCC? Be sure and contact the organizers and sign up for the New Author Breakfast.

Lovey Award Nominees

Love is Murder XVI 
Mystery Writers & Readers Conference in Chicago 
February 6-7-8, 2015 

Nominees will be attending the Conference

Honor Above All / J. Bard-Collins
Stinking Rich / Rob Brunet
The Black Hour / Lori Rader-Day
Death Stalks Door County / Patricia Skalka

Dangerous Threads / David Ciambrone
Implications / Richard Davidson
Tradition of Deceit / Kathleen Ernst
Bean in Love / Annie Hansen
Wolf Pack / Jeanne Meeks
Sex Change / T'Gracie Reese and Joe Reese
Fatal Reaction / Jennie Spallone
Dead Between the Lines / Denise Swanson

Black Stiletto: Secrets and Lies / Raymond Benson
Once Upon a Crime / Evelyn Cullet
The Conan Doyle Notes / Diane Gilbert Madsen
Titania's Suitor / C.L. Shore
The House on the Dunes / Nancy Sweetland
Murder Across the Ocean / Charlene Wexler

Mercy / B.J. Daniels
Murder in the Ballpark / Robert Goldsborough
Nobody's Child / Libby Fischer Hellmann
Retribution / Annie Rose Alexander

The Counterfeit Heiress / Tasha Alexander
From the Charred Remains / Susanna Calkins
Death at Chinatown / Frances McNamara
Shall We Not Revenge /D. M. Pirrone

Black Stiletto: Endings & Beginnings / R. Benson
Run / Andrew Grant
Death and White Diamonds / Jeffery Markowitz

Unmasked / EM Kaplan
Plagued by Quilt / Molly MacRae
Buried Innocence / Terri Reid

The Black Stiletto Mysteries / Raymond Benson
The Miller Sisters Series / Gale Borger
The Nero Wolfe Mysteries / Robert Goldsborough
The Leigh Girard Series / Gail Lukasik
Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries / Molly MacRae
The Emily Cabot Mysteries / Frances McNamara
The Nina Bannister Mysteries / T'Gracie Reese and Joe Reese
The Charlie Fox Series / Zoe Sharp
The Scumble River Mysteries / Denise Swanson

Death of a Sad Face / A Serafina Florio Short Story / Susan Russo Anderson
Ghost / MWA  Anthology/ Raymond Benson
Perko's Farm /Down, Out and Dead/ Rob Brunet
What We Do For Love / Kiddieland & Other Misfortunes / Tim Chapman
Dr. Watson's Casebook  / In the Company of Sherlock Holmes / Andrew Grant
No Good Deed / Fiction River Crime Edition / Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Inheritance / Romancing the Lakes of Minnesota -Autumn / Kathleen Nordstrom
Ghost Light / Romancing the Lakes of Minnesota -Autumn / Rachael Passan
Tales Around the Jack O'Lantern / A Mary O'Reilly Short Story / Terri Reid

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Plagiarism

What's new at Crimelandia! Left Coast Crime 25!!

Only 52 more days until Left Coast Crime: Crimelandia! There's still time to sign-up, so don't hesitate. Left Coast Crime, March 12-15, 2015! Portland, Oregon! Register Now.

Who's Attending? Check it out HERE.

What's New?

Author/Reader Connections
One of the best things about Left Coast Crime is the chance to get to know your fellow readers and writers. But sometimes, during the excitement and flurry of activities, it’s not always easy to find time to meet your favorite writer. At Crimelandia, a number of authors want to make it easy to connect with readers. With that in mind, LCC has created Author/Reader Connections. It might be lunch or dinner, a quiet drink, or a walk together through town. All you need to do is click the link for the writer you’d like to connect with and sign-up. Then, during the conference, you’ll connect at the scheduled time and place. These connections are free, and in some cases may include some special benefits from the authors. Visit the Author/Reader Connection page to sign up.

Portland Area Side Trips
In addition to a great conference full of fellow mystery readers and writers, there are a number of fascinating side trips to enrich your time in the City of Roses.

Tour of the FBI’s Regional Crime Forensics Lab — Second Tour Added! A close look at the high tech ways the bureau uses digital evidence to solve crimes. The 7:45 AM tour filled up quickly, and luckily we were able to add an additional tour. 9:15–10:30 AM, Friday, March 13; FREE - 25 total spaces

Shanghai Tunnel Underground Tour of Old Portland
Join host Bill Sullivan for an exploration of Portland's underground tunnels, learning about Shanghai abductions, Chinese opium dens, brothels, and bootlegging in Portland's history. 1:00-3:00 PM, Saturday, March 14 (includes travel time to and from the tour location) $20 per person, Limit 40 (minimum 30)

River Tour of Portland 
Enjoy scenic views of Portland along the Willamette River from the Spirit Cruise Ship. Champagne brunch and live music included for $46, $43 for ages 60+. Noon to 2:00 PM, Sunday, March 15 (meet in the lobby to take the MAX line)

Writing Workshop 
Left Coast Crime 2015 is excited to offer a day of instruction on writing mystery, suspense, and thrillers. We thank April Henry and Bob Dugoni for joining us and for sharing their bestselling craft wisdom. Whether you’re a published or aspiring novelist, you won’t want to miss out on the chance to learn from two of the best. When: Wednesday, March 11, 2015, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Where: Doubletree by Hilton Portland, the location of LCC 2015 Price: $70 for LCC registrants, $120 for non-LCC registrants.
More information and registration

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fortitude: Starting January 29

Nordic Noir: Coming to Sky Atlantic on Thursday 29th January 2015 at 9pmFortitude.

A small and remote research outpost in the Arctic is theoretically one of the safest places on earth, so murder shakes the community to its core. The local sheriff is forced to work alongside a british detective to find the killer before the winter closes in.

Starring Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofie Gråbø , and Christopher Eccleston, Fortitude starts on Sky Atlantic HD on January 29th 2015 at 9pm.

Bosch Series Streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video

From Michael Connelly's newsletter:

Based on Michael Connelly's best-selling novels, Harry Bosch (Titus Williver), an LAPD homicide detective, stands trial for the fatal shooting of a serial murder suspect. A cold case involving the remains of a missing boy forces Bosch to confront his past. As daring recruit, Julia Brasher (Annie Wersching), catches his eye, and departmental politics heat up, Bosch will pursue justice at all costs.
All ten episodes of the Bosch series will begin streaming on February 13 on Amazon Prime Instant Video in the USA, the UK, and Germany. 

From Mike: 
The Bosch television show being available in all its 10-episode glory. Starting today, Amazon is putting up the new and improved pilot for viewing. You may be asking, do I really need to watch it again? Well, that of course is your choice but I thought I’d tell you a little bit about some of the changes we put into the pilot after we got the green light to film a whole season. The main changes are in regard to the court case. Bosch is being sued for killing a man during the investigation of a serial killer case. If you remember the original pilot, the trial started at the beginning of the case with opening statements from the attorneys and Harry in the defendant’s chair watching. When we got the go ahead on the first season we decided we should come into the trial after it is already underway and Harry Bosch is on the witness stand. We wanted Harry more active in the courtroom and this did the trick. We also had to bring in a few new actors because some actors in the pilot had schedule conflicts once we set our shooting schedule. One of the new ones is Mimi Rogers, who plays Money Chandler, the attorney suing Harry. She’s really good and just like the Money in the book. There are a couple of other added scenes as well. But I think the new courtroom scenes are very important because Harry is now a participant. He is testifying and revealing himself, and the information that comes out is important to his character and the rest of the episodes in the season. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Today I welcome award winning crime fiction critic Charles Rzepka. Charles Rzepka  is Professor of English at Boston University, where he teaches courses and seminars in British Romantic writers and crime and detective fiction. He’s the author of two books on the first topic and two on the second, as well as numerous articles on both.  His most recent book was Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard (2013).


As a graduate student at U. C. Berkeley in the 1970s I was trained in British Romanticism—Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Byron, that lot—and during my first fifteen years as a professor at Boston University, this was my area of specialization. When a colleague opted out of continuing to teach the course on detective fiction in 1995, I was asked to take over for no other reason, I suspect, than my reputation (or notoriety) as a fan of the genre. It’s been a steep learning curve ever since.

My mother was an avid detective fiction reader when I was growing up, and I got the reading bug from her. But she considered her Book-of-the-Month Club thrillers a bit too racy for me and forbade me to read them to the point where I outgrew any interest in doing so—which is to say, I became a teenager, with a teenager’s aversion to anything so “square” as the books my mom liked. I did, however, read Sherlock Holmes. Every boy I knew who enjoyed reading (and there were one or two of us in East Detroit in 1962) read Sherlock Holmes, at least until they were told (on what evidence I still can’t say) that he was just for kids.

It wasn’t until my wife and I spent a few weeks camping and hitchhiking around Hawaii in 1976 (she was several months pregnant with our first child, which helped with the hitchhiking) that I discovered just what I’d been missing. Jane and I were (and are) voracious readers, but we weren’t about to lug several pounds of books around in our backpacks. So we started frequenting community libraries. The librarians were surprisingly generous, considering that our local address was invariably a campsite. But again, Jane’s pregnancy may have helped: how far could two absconding borrowers get without a car, especially when one of them could only waddle?

Since we had just a couple of days to read our selections on the beach before hitting the road, we had to choose carefully: nothing too long (Proust was out), nothing too deep (Sartre was out), nothing too high (Faulkner was out), but something intellectually challenging nonetheless. In short, we discovered the joys of detective fiction. We were particularly taken by the works of Ross Macdonald, who is famous for his literariness: his symbolism, his interest in psychology, the intricacy of his plots and allusions. But you don’t have to pore over his prose. The books move right along.

Our tour of Hawaiian libraries made us life-long Macdonald fans, but it also made us fans of detective and crime fiction in general, and not just noir or hard-boiled, either. Christie, Sayers, and P. D. James soon became companions as tried and true as Hammett, Chandler, Cain, and Highsmith. Thus, when the offer came to teach BU’s detective fiction course, I jumped at the chance.

To my surprise, I landed in a vast sea of writers, critics, languages, and traditions.

It may not come as news to most readers of Mystery Fanfare that crime fiction is a sprawling topic, spanning eras and nations and overlapping many other genres, both “high” and “low.” Batman and Kojak are in there along with Sophocles and Dostoevsky. But it certainly did surprise me in 1995. How difficult to master could beach reading be?

It took me five years to publish my first article on crime fiction, an essay on chivalric motifs in Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and another seven before the next appeared, on Biggers’s Charlie Chan and Asian American identity. By that time, I had written a cultural history of detective fiction—helpfully entitled, by my publisher, Detective Fiction (2005)—and along with Lee Horsley had begun to line up contributors to a collection of essays for Wiley-Blackwell’s A Companion to Crime Fiction (2010). I learned much more from these projects than I thought I knew going into them.

For the Wiley-Blackwell volume I wrote a chapter on Elmore Leonard. I’d been reading him off and on for about three decades, and was drawn to his writing in part because I found it compelling and unique, and in part because his settings evoked vivid memories of growing up in Detroit, where most of his early crime novels take place. The chapter led to plans for a book, which led to more than a dozen hours of interviews, in person and by phone. These are available in edited form at Leonard’s generosity and personal interest in the project left me forever grateful and in his debt. Being Cool: the Work of Elmore Leonard was published by Johns Hopkins in August 2013, just days before the author’s death at the age of 87. The book won the House of Crime & Mysteries Reader’s Choice Award for Non-Fiction in 2014, and was a Macavity finalist. 

I have an article on Leonard’s first crime novel, The Big Bounce, coming out in Clues early this year and another, about the influence of the Odyssey on Leonard’s early crime fiction, in a collection of essays to be published by the University of Georgia Press. I’ve also contributed a chapter on the oldest Sherlock Holmes fan club in the world, the Baker Street Irregulars, to Oxford University Press’s forthcoming anthology, Transatlantic Author-Love: Inventing ‘English Literature’ in the Nineteenth Century. Currently, I’m researching non-white detectives and crime fiction authors of color between the two world wars, and have been asked to write an essay on Todd Downing, a best-selling Choctaw writer of the 1930s, for a volume on gay crime writers edited by Curtis Evans.

In 2006 my mother died and left her detective books to me. They are all lined up in a glass case in my study. I keep them there because I have a granddaughter just learning to read, and while they aren’t for children (Mom was right), I hope that someday—much sooner than I did—she’ll come to appreciate them.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Robert Stone: R.I.P.

From Yahoo News:

Robert Stone, the award-winning novelist who spun out tales worldwide of seekers, frauds and other misbegotten American dreamers in such works as A Flag for Sunrise and Dog Soldiers, died Saturday at age 77.

Stone died at his home in Key West, Florida, his literary agent, Neil Olson, told The Associated Press. The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A lifelong adventurer who in his 20s befriended Ken Kesey, Neal Cassady and what he called "all those crazies" of the counterculture, Stone had a fateful affinity for outsiders, especially those who brought hard times on themselves. Starting with the 1966 novel A Hall of Mirrors, Stone set his stories everywhere from the American South to the Far East and was a master of making art out of his character's follies, whether the adulterous teacher in Death of the Black-Haired Girl, the fraudulent seafarer in Outerbridge Reach, or the besieged journalist in Dog Soldiers, winner of the National Book Award in 1975. A Flag for Sunrise, published in 1981, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner award and had the unusual honor of being nominated twice for a National Book Award, as a hardcover and paperback. In 1992, Outerbridge Reach was a National Book Award finalist.

HT: Doc Quatermass

California Crime Writers Conference: June 6 & 7, 2015

Saturday & Sunday, June 6 & 7, 2015
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles - Westside
6161 West Centinela Avenue, Culver City, California



The California Crime Writers Conference welcomes aspiring writers and established authors to mingle with agents and editors, to get inside information on the publishing industry, to hone skills and revitalize your creativity.

2015 keynote speakers international bestselling authors Charlaine Harris and Anne Perry. 

Early-bird registration fee is $265, which includes:

Two days of workshops, panels and breakout sessions
Two breakfasts, two luncheons, two afternoon snacks
Unlimited walnut & chocolate chip cookies
Hors d’oeuvres at the Agents and Editors cocktail party on Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Screening of noir film The Blue Gardenia
A goody bag full of books, brochures and other items

Visit the website for details. Book your hotel room at the newly remodeled DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Westside - Los Angeles, using THE Personalized Online Group Webpage. The conference room rate is only $129 per night for a standard room. Book early while space is available. Working on a special Noir at the Bar on Friday Night before the conference, so consider getting a room for both nights. Special rates are in effect for both nights.

Sign up to get the first five pages of your manuscript critiqued by an agent, editor, or published author. You may purchase one critique, 5 double-spaced pages for $50.
Sessions are approximately 20 minutes.
Sign up when you register. 

Co-chairs: Craig Faustus Buck and Diane Vallere



Show attendees, faculty, staff, and agents about your books or business! A national mystery writers' conference is just the place to advertise your product. Everyone at the California Crime Writers Conference will receive a beautiful, high-quality program in their goody bag to carry with them throughout the weekend.

Contact to reserve your ad space. Payment can be made via PayPal to:, or check mailed to CCWC/Sisters in Crime/LA, 1107 Fair Oaks Avenue, PMB 338, South Pasadena, CA 91030.

Cost is $30 per item to be included in every goody bag. 200 pieces minimum. Examples:
bookmarks, postcards, flyers.

Contact one of the co-chairs to discuss sponsoring Conference items such as badge holders or events such as cocktail parties.

For more info on advertising opportunities, visit the advertising page at Still have questions? Email

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sharon Zukowski: R.I.P.

Sharon Zukowski & Wendy Hornsby
With sadness, I post the passing of mystery author Sharon Zukowski at the age of 60, on January 9.  Sharon was the author of the private investigator Blaine Stewart series. Jungleland, The Hour of the Knife, Prelude to Death, Dancing in the Dark, Leap of Faith, and The Price.

Link to Obituary.

Condolences to her family, friends, and readers.

Rod Taylor: R.I.P.

Rod Taylor, the film and TV actor, died January 7. Remembered for many roles, I remember him best as Mitch Brenner in Alfred Hitchcock's The BirdsRead more here on The Rap Sheet.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mystery Readers NorCal Winter Reading List: Foreign Lands

The Mystery Readers NorCal Mystery Book Group meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Berkeley, CA. The present session is now closed to new participants, but you might want to read along with us and send comments.

Foreign Lands

January 6 Ghana: Kwei Quartey Wife of the Gods

January 13 Egypt Elizabeth Peters Tomb of the Golden Bird

January 20 West Indies Timothy Williams Another Sun

February 3 Cuba: Leonardo Padura Fuentes Adios Hemingway

February 10 France: Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen Treachery in Bordeaux

February 17 Greece: Jeffrey Siger Sons of Sparta

February 24 Denmark Sara Blaedel Only One Life

March 3 Italy Timothy Williams Black August

Winter Literary Salons: Open to all. Also held in Berkeley. Please make a comment with email address to be added to notification list.

January 9: 2 p.m. Charles Todd (Charles and Caroline Todd)

February 5:  Timothy Williams

February 23: Possibly Sara Blaedel

Future Salons: Libby Fischer Hellmann, Cara Black

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bob Adey: R.I.P.

Robert (Bob) Adey, fan, collector, and scholar, passed away just before Christmas. Born in 1941, Bob was the author of the 1979 Locked Room Murders. He published a second revised and enlarged edition in 1991. He also published several anthologies: Death Locked In (with Doug Greene), Murder Impossible (with Jack Adrian), 20 defis a l'impossible (with Roland Lacourbe) and 18 Locked Room Puzzles (with Idetoshi Mori). Bob was a real mystery fan and contributed to many fanzines including CADS over the years. He was Fan Guest of Honor at the 1990 London Bouchercon.

Read Martin Edwards tribute here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Write What You Know About: Guest Post by Mark Sullivan

Mark Sullivan is the author of THIEF, the third novel in his Robin Monarch series, which launched Dec. 16. 2014. He’s also the author of thirteen additional thrillers, including three in the PRIVATE series, which he co-writes with James Patterson. He was an Edgar Award finalist, winner of the W.H. Smith award for “Best New Talent,” and his debut novel, THE FALL LINE, was named New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a rare honor for a debut. He currently resides in Montana with his family.


Write what you know about. 

It’s old advice to would-be writers, but nearly twenty-five years into my novel-writing career those words of wisdom are as valid and helpful as ever.

When you write what you really know about, your language gets better, as do your abilities to improvise grammatically and to think long-term, all of which are critical to a successful novel.

When you write about skills you have mastered, the words crackle and spark on the page because they are authentic. They are informed and accurate and the reader reacts by trusting the writer. When you write authentically, you not only build belief in your story, you create a pleasing electrical current in the reader’s mind that is similar to a dream state.

Don’t think that’s true? Consider what happens when you’re reading along, fully immersed in a novel, and you come across something inauthentic or maybe flat out wrong in a text or story. It’s as if a plug has been pulled from the socket.

The dream state—that pleasing current of trust in the storyteller—has been broken. Sadly, that disconnect creates suspicion in the reader’s mind. It stops paying attention to the story and looks for other incorrect moments. Find a second, or worse, a third inaccuracy and the suspicion becomes conviction that the writer doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Trust is broken. The current quieted. The book is closed and tossed.

All this is a roundabout way of explaining why my hobbies and personal interests inform so much of my writing. Every fight scene in every one of my books has been choreographed based on my twenty years of training in Aikido, and my nearly fifty years of practice with rifles, shotguns, pistols, and bows.

Nothing breaks the dream of an action sequence in a book or movie quicker than a martial arts move that is impossible—the only person who seems to get away with it is Quentin Tarantino. I tend to avoid the barely possible. I want something that by nature the reader understands even if they have no fighting background. So I’ll have a character perform a joint lock on an opponent--the wrist, say, turning the hand over and to the outside so fast that the bones of the wrist and forearm break spirally. Got it?

The same familiarity creates snappy, vivid language no matter what the activity a writer might be describing. Skiing, another one of my passions, can be found in at least two of my novels. To write The Fall Line, I went and hung out with extreme skiers who ended up populating the book. Skiing took me inside the Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, and led me to imagine my novel Triple Cross.

I didn’t know much about caves before I wrote Labyrinth, so I learned. A lot. I even took an advanced level course in cave and karst geology at the University of Western Kentucky, as well as a week-long seminar in speleology, or cave exploration. On one of our trips we were underground for a full day. When I sat down to write the book, it was all there. I didn’t have to research much because I knew my subject, which allowed me to play and be creative on the page.

The same has been true of the Robin Monarch series. To write Thief, I went to Brazil for three weeks and hired guides to give me crash courses in everything from research universities in Rio to the upper Amazon rain forest. I relied on my early days as a financial reporter as well as friends on Wall Street to devise the despicable tycoon Beau Arsenault. And after nearly fifty years handling rifles, I was able to come up with an authentic scenario for the final big “shot” of the book.

Do I make mistakes? Sure. And the great thing is readers are quick to point them out.

But on the whole I think I get it right. With Monarch, I’ve tried to go everywhere he goes and see everything he sees, and I try to grasp his skills and tools at a personal level.

As a result, my readers have a gut feeling that what they’re reading about is authentic. They get that electrical current humming in their brains, and they lose themselves in the dream state I’ve created.

And when that happens, I’ve done my job.