Monday, May 26, 2014

Reading right now:

            “The Skin Collector” by Jeffery Deaver. This is the 11th book in the Lincoln Rhyme series which has Rhyme’s group of special investigators for the NYPD searching for a murderous tattoo artist who is using poison instead of ink. I like this series, but it was really depressing when Lincoln was thinking of killing himself and now “The Skin Collector” is very reminiscent of “The Bone Collector” which was the first book in the series. I’m hoping that it picks up, but so far I’m not thrilled.

On hold right now:

            “The Red Chameleon” by Erica Wright. I am really looking forward to reading this debut mystery from poet Wright. Private Investigator Kat Stone is following an unfaithful husband who ends up shoot to death. As a former NYPD undercover detective, she has friends in the department who bring her into the investigation. This novel is supposed to be funny and engaging. I love the idea that Stone is great with disguises and gets help from her best friends, a drag queen and a gifted wig maker, to make the disguises even better. It sounds like fun.
Never hide from a good book

Other Mysterious Things:

            It’s time to start thinking about fun summer reading--maybe picking up a cozy for a change. If you’re not a cozy reader, perhaps one of the following coming out in June might change your mind. If you like mysteries, sometimes it’s nice to get away from blood and gore and look for something set in a nice small town with the blood to a minimum and the humor in the forefront. The second Miracolo mystery series, which started with “You Cannoli Die Once,” is coming out by Shelley Costa called “Basil Instincts.” Set in an Italian restaurant, a chef and her cousins investigate the death of a new sous chef. Isis Crawford is coming out with her 10th book in the Mystery with Recipes series called “A Catered Fourth of July” which continues the series about two sisters who run a catering business in New York. Another Fourth of July mystery coming out is “Independence Slay” by Shelley Freydont which will be the third in the Celebration Bay mystery series. If you love chocolate, the “Hot Fudge Frame-Up” by Christine DeSmet is coming out (it’s the second Fudge Shop mystery). Want a little dog in your mystery? Try “Paw Enforcement” by Diane Kelly which is the start of the new Megan Luz mystery series.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Reading right now:

            “Midnight Crossroad” by Charlaine Harris. I am trying to start this book, but I already miss the Sookie Stackhouse series so it isn’t easy. I’m hoping to love the first book in this three part series which is once more supposed to combine the idiosyncrasies of a small town with magical elements. The new series revolves around the secrets the residents of Midnight, Texas are keeping. The residents of Midnight include: Fiji (a witch and New Age shop owner), Bobo (a pawnshop owner who loves books), Lemuel (Vampire who runs the pawnshop at night), and Manfred (psychic who solves murders on the side). Manfred is a crossover character from the Harper Connelly series. I have my fingers crossed as I open this book.

On hold right now:

            “Wild People” by Ewart Hutton. Hutton was born in Glasgow and now lives on the Welsh Marches which gives you a hint that this is one of those mystery writers who is going to give Americans an exotic locale. He has also written award winning radio plays and his first book in this series (“Good People”) got a lot of positive attention. In this third book in the Glyn Capaldi series, Capaldi finds himself in a hospital recovering from a car crash in which his passenger died. The question finally becomes was the accident actually a murder?

Other Mysterious Things:

On May 3, 2014, the 2013 Agatha Award winners were announced.  The Agatha Awards are given to works first published in the United States by a living author.  Nominated mysteries must be traditional mysteries that contain no explicit sex or gratuitous violence.

Agatha Award Nominees:
Best Contemporary Novel:
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Clammed Up by Barbara Ross
Winner: The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best Historical Novel:
Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen
Death in the Time of Ice by Kaye George
A Friendly Game of Murder by JJ Murphy
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson
Winner:  A Question of Honor by Charles Todd

Best First Novel:
Winner:  Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz
You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa
Board Stiff  by Kendel Lynn
Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero
Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker

Monday, May 12, 2014

Without warning

Reading right now:

            “Without Warning” by David Rosenfelt. I found that this book really grabbed my attention and I have quickly gotten over halfway through it. So far I would say that this is Rosenfelt’s best standalone novel. I I have enjoyed his others, but with reservations. I truly love his Andy Carpenter series (“Hounded” the 12th book in the series comes out in July). At the start of this new novel, a hurricane collapses a dam above the small town of Wilton, Maine which unearths a time capsule. When the capsule is checked for water leaks, a set of predictions are found that are disturbingly violent and several of them have come true. It is up to Police Chief Jake Robbins to try to stop what is quickly becoming a killing spree.

On hold right now:

               “Field of Prey” by John Sandford. Once a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, now an author of almost 40 books, John Sandford’s latest just came out. It is the 24th Lucas Davenport novel and finds Davenport facing a serial killer that seems almost impossible to catch. I can’t wait to get my copy.

Other Mysterious Things:

               There is a glut of mystery authors already, but there seems to be no end to readers who desire new and ever more interesting mysteries. Mysteries have for years been the number one requested and checked out books in most libraries. I have talked before about trends in mysteries and mentioned Nordic mysteries and paranormal mysteries. John Sandford recently told the Huffington Post: “The novels have become more sophisticated and far more violent.” They have also become full of female heroes, exotic locals, animal crime solving partners, and mired in the past. Currently several publishers are planning on reprinting some famous old crime novels that they feel people would be interested in finding again including books by Georges Simenon, Margery Allingham, and Agatha Christie.
A good novel takes you away!

            In addition to Nordic authors, authors from all over the world including France and Germany are being translated into English and gaining an audience. “Singapore Noir” by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, Nele Neuhaus’ “Snow White Must Die,” Bernard Minier’s “Frozen Dead,” and Ursula Archer’s “Five,” are all getting a lot of attention on the international scene. French Archaeologist Fred Vargas has several books available in America. Claude Izner’s Victor Legris series started with “Murder On the Eiffel Tower.” Greek author Petros Markaris series stars Inspector Costas Haritos. German author Jakob Arjouni writes a series featuring Kemal Kayankaya a Private Investigator born in Turkey, raised in Germany. I should be mentioning several upcoming books by foreign authors in future posts and want to talk about Western Mysteries very soon. Something to look forward to!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Reading right now:

            “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger. I have to admit that I’ve never read one of William Kent Krueger’s books. It seems way past time to do so since on May 1 he won the Edgar Award for best mystery novel of the year from the Mystery Writers of America. Krueger has lived in many different states, but says on his website that he spent some of the best years of his life in Oregon. The setting for “Ordinary Grace” is the small town of New Bremen, Minnesota in 1961, where murder changes everything for 13-year-old Frank Drum. From what I’ve read, this is really a coming-of-age-story within a mystery. While this is a stand-along mystery, Krueger is known for his Cork O’Connor series. The 14th book in the series comes out in August (“Windigo Island”). Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!

Other Mysterious Things: 
On May 1, 2014, the Mystery Writers of America announced the winners of the 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, recognizing the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2013.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War
by Daniel Stashower

America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture
by Erik Dussere

"The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” – Bibliomysteries
by John Connolly

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

“Episode 1” – The Fall, Teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix)

"The Wentworth Letter" – Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional
By Jeff Soloway

Robert Crais
Carolyn Hart

Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan
* * * * * *
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 30, 2014)

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman