Monday, July 30, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: The Hold-Up


Epic Reads: Secrets to Crafting Historical Fiction 
Author Lunch
Mechanics Institute Library
Friday, August 17, 2018, 12:00 Noon
57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94104 Floor 4
(Free to Public, refreshments available)

The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is thrilled to present member writers who have authored highly successful historical (and prehistorical!) novels that readers and reviewers rave about. Learn what role research plays and how to make your scenes, settings, and characters realistic and compulsively readable. Epic Reads will be moderated by WNBA-SF President Brenda Knight. There will be Q&A followed by book signings; bring your notebooks and plenty of questions!

Mary Mackey, New York Times Bestselling author of The Village of Bones, will discuss how she brings the Goddess-worshiping cultures of Prehistoric Europe to life by drawing on extensive archaeological research, the surviving art of the epoch, and her own imagination. Mackey’s novels take us on an epic journey to the past that has vital importance for the present.

Novelist Mary Volmer will discuss research strategies that will help you unearth, organize, and effectively utilize historical information in any creative project. Learn the difference between static and living details, how to avoid superfluous detail, and how to use objects as windows into a character’s heart and mind.

WNBA is a broad-based non-profit organization with some 800 members across the country, three distinguished national awards, and a history of lively events in chapter cities and elsewhere. The Women’s National Book Association was established in 1917, and have been advocating for women writers for 101 years, before women could vote, the WNBA was helping "women in the world of books.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Patrick Williams: R.I.P.

From FilmMusicReporter and Variety:

Patrick Williams (1939-2018)

Patrick Williams, who was best-known for his Emmy-winning television music but who was also a renowned and Grammy-winning big-band jazz leader and arranger, died Wednesday morning of complications from cancer at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 79.

The composer scored numerous features, TV shows, and television movies over a five decade-spanning career. Among his feature film credits are John Water’s 1990 comedy Cry-Baby, the 1992 drama The Cutting Edge, Robert Zemeckis’ Used Cars, Richard Donner’s 1982 film The Toy,  and Richard Lester’s Cuba. He received an Academy Award nomination for his music adaptation for Peter Yates’ 1979 movie Breaking Away. His TV scoring credits include The Streets of San Francisco, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and ColumboWilliams received 4 Emmy Awards (for Lou GrantThe Princess and the Cabbie, 1992’s Jewels and a song for 2000’s Yesterday’s Children) and 22 Emmy nominations. He also was honored with two Grammy Awards (and 19 Grammy nomination) and BMI’s Richard Kirk Award.

HT: J. Kingston Pierce

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CWA Dagger Shortlists

The CWA (Crime Writers Association) Dagger Shortlists were announced tonight. Congratulations to all! Lots of great reading!

CWA Gold Dagger:
• The Liar, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
• London Rules, by Mick Herron (John Murray)
• Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane (Little, Brown)
• Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
• A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
• Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo)

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
• London Rules, by Mick Herron (John Murray)
• If I Die Before I Wake, by Emily Koch (Harvill Secker)
• Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
• An Act of Silence, by Colette McBeth (Wildfire)
• The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor (Michael Joseph)
• The Force, by Don Winslow (HarperFiction)

CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger: 
• Gravesend, by William Boyle (No Exit Press)
• IQ, by Joe Ide (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
• Girl in Snow, by Danya Kukafka (Picador)
• Lola, by Melissa Scrivner Love (Point Blank)
• East of Hounslow, by Khurrum Rahman (HQ)
• Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo)

 CWA International Dagger: 
• Zen and the Art of Murder, by Oliver Bottini, translated by Jamie Bulloch (MacLehose Press)
• Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
• After the Fire, by Henning Mankell, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Harvill Secker)
• The Frozen Woman, by Jon Michelet, translated by Don Bartlett (No Exit Press)
• Offering to the Storm, by Dolores Redondo, translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garzía (HarperCollins)
• The Accordionist, by Fred Vargas, translated by Sian Reynolds (Harvill Secker)

CWA Historical Dagger: 
• A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
• Fire, by L.C. Tyler (Constable)
• Lightning Men, by Thomas Mullen (Little, Brown)
• Money in the Morgue, by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy (HarperCollins)
• Nine Lessons, by Nicola Upson (Faber and Faber)
• Nucleus, by Rory Clements (Zaffre)

CWA Short Story Dagger:
• “The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle,” by Chris Brookmyre (from Bloody Scotland; Historic Environment Scotland)
• “Second Son,” by Lee Child (from No Middle Name)
• “Smoking Kills,” by Erin Kelly (from Killer Women: Crime Club Anthology #2)
• “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,” by Denise Mina (from Bloody Scotland)
• “Accounting for Murder,” by Christine Poulson (from Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Martin Edwards; Orenda)

CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction:
Black Dahlia Rose by Piu Eatwell (Coronet)
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (Simon & Schuster)
Blood on the Page by Thomas Harding (Heinemann)
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Mariano-Lesnevich (Macmillan)
A False Report by T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong (Hutchinson)
Rex V Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson (Head of Zeus)

CWA Dagger in the Library: (Selected by nominations from libraries)
• Martin Edwards
• Nicci French
Simon Kernick
• Edward Marston
• Peter May
• Rebecca Tope

Winners will be announced during the CWA Dagger Awards dinner in London on Thursday, October 25.
HT: Ali Karim

Cartoon of the Day: Tea Cozy

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

C. E. Tobisman’s legal thriller, Proof, was named the winner of the 2018 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Book 2 in the Caroline Auden series, Proof was published in summer 2017 by Thomas & Mercer, the mystery, thriller, and true crime imprint of Amazon Publishing.

Founded eight years ago by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, and to honor former law student and author Harper Lee, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction is given to a book-length work of fiction that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.

Tobisman is the eighth winner of the prize, and will be honored with a signed special edition of To Kill a Mockingbird at the 2018 prize ceremony at the Library of Congress, in conjunction with the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored, humbled, and frankly, totally stunned,” Tobisman said. “The spirit of To Kill a Mockingbird is the spirit of one person’s ability to make the world a little more fair. That the selection committee saw that spirit in my book is something that I will treasure forever.”

Proof follows hacker-turned-lawyer Caroline Auden, and is the second book in the Caroline Auden series. The first book in the series, Doubt, was published in 2016 by Thomas & Mercer. C. E. Tobisman is an appellate attorney, handling cases in the California courts of appeal and Supreme Court. After graduating from UC Berkeley and attending law school there, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives with her wife and their three children.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Specialized Obituaries

LEARNING TO LOVE MY SOUTHERN VOICE: Guest post by Dorothy St. James

Learning to Love My Southern Voice 

When I talk I might not sound Southern, but trust me, I have pluff mud in my veins. That’s how closely I associate with the area where I was raised. It’s in my blood. It’s who I am.

My parents, bless them, are from north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Daddy’s work brought the family to Charleston, South Carolina decades ago. I don’t remember the move. I was less than a year old at the time. My flat accent comes from living in their house during my formative years. But the voice I hear in my head is as Southern as peach pie and as colorful as a rainbow after a hurricane. It simply doesn’t come out my mouth that way.

When I first sat down to write novels way back in 2001, I struggled to find my voice. My family’s voice and history pulled me in one direction and the land that had fed my spirit pulled me in another. As a result, it took years (and I mean years) for the words that spilled onto the page to sound natural. My first success came when I started writing Regency romances. You may think the genres of Southern fiction and Regency romance are worlds apart. In a way, they are. But my dear Charleston had its heyday during what was considered Regency times in England. It was the Georgian time period over here in the colonies. My research into that time-period reintroduced me to my modern-day Charleston area. I toured local historic homes and talked with local historians. And for the first time in my life, I embraced my Southerness.

I may not have been born to it, but the stories and the history of the people who built the area are the stories that come to life for me. Once I recognized that, my writing blossomed. My writing voice felt strong and confident. From that newfound confidence, the White House Gardener Mystery series featuring a spunky Charleston gardener sprang to life.

After my daughter was born, I took a break from writing. But when I was ready to come back, the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series, which is set on a fictional beach town that is very much like the beach town where I lived for twenty-years, spilled onto the page like a pot of melted chocolate. It felt good. And tasted good.

Others seemed to agree that I was moving in the right direction with my writing. Much to my surprise, only a week after my agent offered to represent the series the proposal went to auction. That’s never happened for me before. The Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series is a series that seems to resonate with almost everyone who reads it. After years of writing, I’ve finally found my voice. Who knew that it was waiting for me all this time in my own backyard?

Experts have long said, “Write what you know.” And I’d long scoffed at that because I didn’t think I knew anything. I grew up in the suburbs with a normal family. Only people with insomnia would want to read about anything I knew.

Despite my background in urban planning, which is all about telling the stories of the places where we live, I was too dense to realize that I knew quite a bit about the magic of Southern living. And anytime I need a refresher course on Southern life, all I need to do is go outside and listen. My Southern roots feed my writing in a way that constantly inspires and surprises me. My voice was waiting for me in the song of the cicadas, the whoosh of the wind, the crash of the waves, and in the sweet scent of sweetgrass on the air. I’m so glad I finally started to hear it.


Former beach bum and Southern author, Dorothy St. James loves thinking about, writing about, and especially eating chocolate. She’s the author of a dozen books, many award winning. The third book in the Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery series, IN COLD CHOCOLATE (Sept 2018) combines sea turtles, chocolate turtles, and murder. Night Owl Reviews has already called it a top pick. For more information, visit Dorothy’s website:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bookstore Sign of the Day: Wanted

2018 Dead Good Awards

The 2018 Dead Good Reader Awards were announced during the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival this weekend. These awards are sponsored annually by the British crime-fiction book site Dead Good. Congratulations to all!

The Holmes and Watson Award for Best Detective Duo:
Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson, created by Elly Griffiths

The Whodunnit Award for the Book That Keeps You Guessing:
Let Me Lie, by Clare Mackintosh

The Cabot Cove Award for Best Small-Town Mystery:
The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor

The Wringer Award for the Character Who’s Been Put Through It All: Jack Reacher, created by Lee Child

The House of Horrors Award for Most Dysfunctional Family:
Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book:
The Dark Angel, by Elly Griffiths


Hat Tip: J. Kingston Pierce at The Rap Sheet

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

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.