Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Thriller Award Nominees

The 2015 Thriller Award Nominees from the International Thriller Writers organization. Winners will be named at ThrillerFest X in July.

Best Hardcover Novel:
• The Fever, by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)
• Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)
• Suspicion, by Joseph Finder (Dutton)
• Natchez Burning, by Greg Iles (Morrow)
• That Night, by Chevy Stevens (St. Martin’s Press)

Best First Novel:
• The Axeman’s Jazz, by Ray Celestin (Mantle UK)
• Invisible City, by Julia Dahl (Minotaur)
• The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street)
• The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh (Spiegel & Grau)
• The Martian, by Andy Weir (Crown)

Best Paperback Original Novel:
• The Buried, by Shelley Coriell (Forever)
• My Sister’s Grave, by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)
• Shadow Maker, by James R. Hannibal (Berkley)
• Whirlwind, by Rick Mofina (Harlequin Mira)
• Moonlight Weeps, by Vincent Zandri (Down & Out)

Best Short Story:
• “Busting Red Heads,” by Richard Helms (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], March 2014)
• “Pussycat, Pussycat,” by Stephen Ross (EQMM, September/October 2014)
• “Show Stopper,” by Gigi Vernon (from Mystery Writers of America Presents Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War, edited by Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson; Grand Central)
• “The Honey Trap,” by Bev Vincent (from Mystery Writers of America Presents Ice Cold: Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War)
• “The Last Wrestling Bear in West Kentucky,” by Tim L. Williams (EQMM, September/October 2014)

Best Young Adult Novel:
• Nearly Gone, by Elle Cosimano (Kathy Dawson)
• Tabula Rasa, by Kristen Lippert-Martin (EgmontUSA)
• The Eighth Guardian, by Meredith McCardle (Skyscape)
• The Unbound, by Victoria Schwab (Disney-Hyperion)
• Wicked Little Secrets, by Kara Taylor (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Best E-book Original Novel:
• Post, by Sean Black (Sean Black Digital)
• The Metaxy Project, by Layton Green (Sixth Street Press)
• Wannabes, by Michael Logan (Michael Logan)
• Hard Fall, by C.J. Lyons (Legacy)
• 13 Hollywood Apes, by Gil Reavill (Alibi)

HT: The Rap Sheet!

J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy on HBO

From Deadline Hollywood:

HBO’s miniseries/BBC adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s bestseller The Casual Vacancy unfolds in a deceptively cozy British village thrown into an uproar by the sudden death of the Parish Councillor. Michael Gambon stars with Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear, Monica Dolan and Julia McKenzie and Abigail Lawrie. Jonny Campbell directed from a script by Sarah Phelps. The adaptation of the Harry Potter author’s first novel for adults was produced by Rowling and Neil Blair’s Bronte Film and Television. The three-parter premieres April 29 and 30.

Read more from The Guardian here.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Norway's Paaskekrim: Crime Reading during Easter Week

I posted about Paaskekrim last year, but with the increased interest in Scandinavian crime, especially the large number of Scandinavian authors now available in English, I thought I should repost about Norway's Paaskekrim (Easter Crime)! Holy Thursday through Easter Monday is a public holiday in Norway, but it's also a time when just about everyone in Norway reads crime novels. Bookstore displays are full of detective novels, television and radio stations run crime serials and newspapers publish special literary supplements.

This is a very peculiar national activity. Publishers in Norway actually time series of books known as "Easter-Thrillers" or Påskekrim, and dates of publication are moved to Spring and released at this time when the sale of mysteries goes up 50%. TV stations, radio and newspapers follow suit by running detective series based on the works of famous crime novelists such as Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Simenon and Ruth Rendell.

Why does Norway choose Easter to delve into crime solving? According to one widely accepted theory, the tradition began in 1923 as the result of a marketing coup. Advertisements that resembled news items were published on the front pages of several newspapers, shocking readers who failed to grasp that it was a publicity stunt. This idea spread like wildfire among other publishing houses, and the crime novel became one of the few forms of entertainment available during the Easter break. Cafes, restaurants and movie theatres were closed during Easter, which was supposed to be a time of introspection and repentance. There was no radio, and of course no television either. But everyone could read, and so the Easter crime novel was born.

Norwegian Crime Writers
Karin Fossum
Jo Nesbo 
Kjersti Sceen  
Gunnar Staalesen  
Jon Michelet
Anne Holt
Kjell Ola Dahl  
Pernille Rygg 
K.O. Dahl
Jorn Lier Horst
Thomas Enger 
Unni Lindell

Great websites about Norwegian crime writers
Scandinavian Crime Fiction
Scandinavian Books
International Noir Fiction
Detectives without Borders
Euro Crime
2 Scandinavian issues of Mystery Readers Journal 
Volume 30: 4 (Winter 2014-15)
Volume 23:3 (Fall 2007)
Hardcopy and PDF -- Reviews, articles and Author! Author! essays, many by and about Norwegian crime writers.

Subscribe to Mystery Readers Journal HERE.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: The Scribe

From Rhymes with Orange:

Petrona Award Shortlist: Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Crime fiction from across Scandinavia shortlisted for the 2015 Petrona Award. Crime novels from Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden made the shortlist for the 2015 Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

THE HUMMINGBIRD by Kati Hiekkapelto tr. David Hackston (Arcadia Books; Finland)

THE HUNTING DOGS by Jørn Lier Horst tr. Anne Bruce (Sandstone Press; Norway)

REYKJAVIK NIGHTS by Arnaldur Indriðason tr. Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker; Iceland)

THE HUMAN FLIES by Hans Olav Lahlum tr. Kari Dickson (Mantle; Norway)

FALLING FREELY, AS IF IN A DREAM by Leif G W Persson tr. Paul Norlen (Doubleday; Sweden)

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir tr. Victoria Cribb (Hodder & Stoughton; Iceland)

The winning title will be announced at the annual international crime fiction event CrimeFest, held in Bristol 14-17 May 2015. The award will be presented by the Godmother of modern Scandinavian crime fiction, Maj Sjöwall, co-author with Per Wahlöö of the Martin Beck series.

The award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia and published in the UK in the previous calendar year.

Leading Scandinavian crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw said “The Petrona Award goes from strength to strength, with both winners and shortlisted authors representing the very finest in the Nordic Noir genre; I’m pleased to be involved.”

The judges’ comments on the shortlist:

THE HUMMINGBIRD: Kati Hiekkapelto’s accomplished debut introduces young police investigator Anna Fekete, whose family fled to Finland during the Yugoslavian wars. Paired with an intolerant colleague, she must solve a complex set of murders and the suspicious disappearance of a young Kurdish girl. Engrossing and confidently written, THE HUMMINGBIRD is a police procedural that explores contemporary themes in a nuanced and thought-provoking way.

THE HUNTING DOGS: The third of the William Wisting series to appear in English sees Chief Inspector Wisting suspended from duty when evidence from an old murder case is found to have been falsified. Hounded by the media, Wisting must now work under cover to solve the case and clear his name, with the help of journalist daughter Line. Expertly constructed and beautifully written, this police procedural showcases the talents of one of the most accomplished authors of contemporary Nordic Noir.

REYKJAVIK NIGHTS: A prequel to the series featuring detective Erlendur Sveinsson, REYKJAVIK NIGHTS gives a snapshot of 1970s Iceland, with traditional culture making way for American influences. Young police officer Erlendur takes on the ‘cold’ case of a dead vagrant, identifying with a man’s traumatic past. Indriðason’s legion of fans will be delighted to see the gestation of the mature Erlendur; the novel is also the perfect starting point for new readers of the series.

THE HUMAN FLIES: Hans Olav Lahlum successfully uses elements from Golden Age detective stories to provide a 1960s locked-room mystery that avoids feeling like a pastiche of the genre. The writing is crisp and the story intricately plotted. With a small cast of suspects, the reader delights in following the investigations of Lahlum's ambitious detective Kolbjørn Kristiansen, who relies on the intellectual rigour of infirm teenager Patricia Borchmann.

FALLING FREELY, AS IF IN A DREAM: It’s 2007 and the chair of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Lars Martin Johansson, has reopened the investigation into the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme. But can he and his dedicated team really solve this baffling case? The final part of Persson’s ‘The Story of a Crime’ trilogy presents the broadest national perspective using a variety of different techniques - from detailed, gritty police narrative to cool documentary perspective - to create a novel that is both idiosyncratic and highly compelling.

THE SILENCE OF THE SEA: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir has said ‘I really love making people’s flesh creep!’, and she is the supreme practitioner when it comes to drawing on the heritage of Icelandic literature, and channelling ancient folk tales and ghost stories into a vision of modern Icelandic society. In SILENCE OF THE SEA, an empty yacht crashes into Reykjavik’s harbour wall: its Icelandic crew and passengers have vanished. Thóra Gudmundsdóttir investigates this puzzling and deeply unsettling case, in a narrative that skilfully orchestrates fear and tension in the reader.


The Petrona Award was established to celebrate the work of Maxine Clarke, one of the first online crime fiction reviewers and bloggers, who died in December 2012. Maxine, whose online persona and blog was called PETRONA, was passionate about translated crime fiction but in particular that from the Scandinavian countries.

The winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at the 2016 CrimeFest event.

HT: Karen Meek

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Making of a Monster: Guest Post by Simon Wood

Today I welcome back one of my favorite friends and writers, Simon Wood. Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His latest thriller is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY that came out on March '15. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at http://www.simonwood.net

SIMON WOOD: Making of a Monster

Marshal Beck is the villain is THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. He's a monster—he abducts and kills women—but he's not a traditional monster. He's not a rampaging nutcase. He's thoughtful and lives by a manifesto—that just happens to involve murder.

For me that’s the crux of a villain or a monster. They can’t be megalomaniacs or indiscriminate psychopaths. There has to be something more to them than that. Moustache twirling villains just don’t do it. They need to have an added dimension not only to be interesting but in order to be scary. So I put a lot of thought into an antagonist.

So how was Marshall Beck made?

I have to be careful about what I say here, as he's inspired by a couple of acquaintances. While neither of these two people have ever met, they both have a tendency to view the world in black and white terms which lead to them to make sweeping and harsh judgments that would likely result in some form of capital punishment for large sections of society for failing to live up to their ideals if they were in charge. I should mention that the guilty have ranged from terrorists to jaywalkers. It’s kind of amusing because it’s nothing more than hyperbole.

But what if it wasn’t? What if they were serious? What if they thought the laws in place failed to punish people for certain crimes, so they personally exacted the punishment society chose to ignore? It’s an exaggeration, but one I wanted to explore.

To add more flavor to the character, I turned to an urban legend from my childhood. As a child of the 70’s, things that happened within the family home stayed within the family home whereas today child services would have been called in to investigate. I grew up around a couple of brothers that I can’t say I particularly liked. They were always mean, but they were their father’s sons. Their father was mean-spirited. The rumor was that when the sons stepped out of line, the father beat them with a switch made from a thorned blackberry vine that grew all around their house. Whether it was true or not, just the idea of a barbed switch is scary. It’s been something that’s stayed with me, so when it came to the weapon Marshall Beck would use on his victims, I took that switch and made it bigger and badder.

Marshall Beck is a man who deals out punishments. Marshall Beck isn't hidden from the reader. You get to see the world as he sees it through his distortion. To him, what he's doing is just and not out of bounds. He doesn’t see the distortion, even if we do. The reason for this is simple. No one sees themselves as the villain. They're the heroes of their stories. It may be a conscious or unconscious delusion. Delusion or not, they don’t see themselves as the bad guy.

So that’s Marshall Beck—part exaggeration, part bogeyman and part manifesto. I hope you'll read THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY and ride his dark highway until he selects the wrong woman and it all comes to an end.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Janet La Pierre: A Tribute by Meredith Phillips

Janet La Pierre was a wonderful writer and friend who passed away this past November. Meredith Phillips, book publisher and author, gave a tribute to Janet LaPierre at the Menlo Park Library last week. Thanks, Meredith, for permission to post your talk.

A Tribute to Janet LaPierre 
(Menlo Park Library Mystery Readers Group, 3/18/15) 
by Meredith Phillips 

Janet LaPierre died on Thanksgiving Day last year (as did P.D. James). On Nov. 27, 2014, Janet was nearly eighty-one years old and had suffered a stroke two weeks before. This is a tragic loss to the mystery field in general, and to the small company of American women writers who can be spoken of in the same breath as the English greats. Janet wrote about half as many books as James, in many fewer years.

It’s also a personal loss of a friend to our small publishing partnership, whose first book was by Janet. Sixteen years ago she gave us credibility and put us on the map. It was a generous gesture of faith, perhaps partially motivated by our common residence in and love for Northern California. She had long been one of my favorite writers, and we’d met on a few occasions at mystery events when she would forgo her usual reclusive tendency.

Digging through my files for the five books by Janet LaPierre that Perseverance Press published, from 1999 to 2009, I was struck by several things. One was the multitude of review sources and reviews in those earlier days, which unanimously acclaimed Janet’s books and writing ability in the most glowing terms. Another was the big names who endorsed the books with cover blurbs: Laurie King, Deborah Crombie, Ayelet Waldman, Marcia Muller, Cara Black, Susan Dunlap, Nancy Pickard, and so on. This was a writer’s writer, one who was truly respected by her peers.

I don’t know much about Janet’s early life. She wrote the following as a possible biographical entry for one of the books: “I learned to read at age four (from highway signs, according to my mother) and have rarely been seen since without a book in my hand—except, that is, when I’m writing.” I know she grew up and was educated in the Midwest and Arizona. She has said that “when I got to Northern California I knew I was home.” She was an English teacher, married a computer scientist and raised 2 daughters, and began writing once they were in school. She lived in Berkeley for many years, and when she was freer from family duties and constraints, began exploring the north coast: Mendocino and Trinity counties, and the Lost Coast. Sometimes with her husband and always with a succession of dogs, she traveled by a 25-foot fifth-wheel trailer.

She wrote in an author questionnaire: “I tend to wander around Northern Calif., particularly its smaller and more distant places, and just—lurk. Watch the people wherever I’m staying, the things that happen, the conversation in shops and restaurants. I read the local newspaper, visit the library. Shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants and chat with the waitresses. I am quiet and very ordinary-looking, which is a great benefit for a lurker. My stories seem to start from place, and then deal with events that have happened there, or might, and how they are or would be dealt with by the people there.”

Those unfamiliar with the books might be wondering now what Janet wrote about specifically. Her series’ setting was Port Silva, her version of Ft. Bragg, with some Mendocino and Santa Cruz thrown in. As well as the landscape and feeling of the area, described evocatively in much detail, I’d say that her main subject matter was families. Notice how many of her titles contain words pertinent to that: mother, grandmother, baby, children, and family itself. She had an unsentimental, clear-eyed view of that institution. She once wrote, in another biographical sketch: “I was a student, a high-school teacher, always a reader. A wife, and a mother, which taught me a lot: Children are humanity unshaped and unbuttoned, and a playground is a microcosm of the human world without its acquired façade.” Most of her books do contain a youthful major character or two.

In my view, Janet was excellent at plotting the mystery, and didn’t shrink from describing murder and other instances of man’s inhumanity to man. In our first book with her, Baby Mine, there are about five major crimes. When I was editing it, I felt I had to make a chart of them to make sure they happened logically and were all sorted out at the end. It turned out that there was no need—she had an impeccable grasp of the details. About that one, she said it was Vince’s book. Pt. Silva police chief Vince Gutierrez was in all the previous books, but his wife, teacher Meg Halloran, had had more of the main focus. Baby Mine is almost a police procedural, and we get to know all the cops.

In the next book, Keepers, Janet introduced compelling new characters: private investigators Patience and Verity Mackellar, who are mother and daughter. For its time this was an unusual and daring departure, and it won Janet a Shamus nomination from the PWA for Best Paperback Private Eye novel. The Mackellars continued investigating in the next two books, Death Duties and Family Business. The latter, set around the beginning of the Iraq War, contained an infusion of Janet’s own leftish political beliefs (as do all the books in more muted form).

In Janet’s last book she moved to a new stage: Trinity County and the real-life town of Weaverville, and also new protagonists: Rosemary Mendes and her dog, Tank. The golden retriever had been owned by the dead woman whose fate Rosemary is drawn into investigating, although not a PI or cop herself. Run A Crooked Mile and these characters were embraced by Janet’s fans, who hoped as we did that it presaged a new series. Alas, it was not to be. In response to our repeated queries on whether there would be another book, Janet indicated that she was working on several possible projects, but didn’t seem to be able to finish any of them.

Ironically, Hollywood was calling by then, with interest from the Hallmark Channel in Janet’s entire opus. This was complicated by a confusing rights situation for the first five books, which were from two different New York publishers. We at Perseverance were all in favor, owning the rights to the latter five books, but it was difficult to get answers from the editors and agents who had retired years before about the second-through-fifth books. Also, we recently heard from Janet’s German publisher, who’d translated the second-through-fourth books and want to reprint them.

At any rate Janet said, in our last conversation, about the TV possibility, that she didn’t much like the idea of some other entity controlling the rights to her characters and messing around with them. Sue Grafton would agree that she might have been right about that—although watchers of quality television are the poorer for it.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Timothy Williams Literary Salon 3/26

Join Mystery Readers NorCal for an evening Literary Salon for Award Winning Crime Fiction Author Timothy Williams. Berkeley (CA). Thursday, March 26, 7 p.m. RSVP for directions. Make a comment below (with email address) to RSVP.

Timothy Williams is a bilingual British author. Born in Walthamstow (Essex, now London) Williams attended Woodford Green Preparatory School, Chigwell 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. His novels have been translated into French, Italian, Danish, Russian, Bulgarian, Polish, and Japanese.

Williams’ first French novel, Un autre soleil, set in the Caribbean, 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. The second in the series in English is just out from Soho: The Honest Folk of Guadeloupe.

Mr. Williams, who holds dual British/French citizenship, currently lives on the island of Guadeloupe. The Observer chose Timothy Williams as one of the ten best European crime novelists.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Noir City: Hollywood

The 17th Annual Los Angeles Film Noir Festival (aka NOIR CITY: Hollywood), running April 3–19, 2015 at the Egyptian Theatre, presented by the American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation, promises a one-two punch of revered classics and undiscovered gems.

Rarities include the Foundation's new 35mm restorations of The Guilty (1947) and Woman on the Run (1950), as well as new prints of The Underworld Story (1950), and English-subtitled versions (a first!) of three awesome Argentine films noir from the early '50s.

This year's program also includes tributes to Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck, as well as novelists Dorothy B. Hughes and Cornell Woolrich. The Bogart tribute is a double bill of the classic noir Dark Passage (1947), co-starring wife Lauren Bacall, and the neo-noir This Last Lonely Place (2014) on which their son, Stephen Bogart, served as executive producer. The screening features a discussion between films with Stephen Bogart, Lonely Place writer-director Steve Anderson, and festival host Eddie Muller. A cocktail reception follows, courtesy of Bogart's Real English Gin, a festival sponsor.

Visit the Egyptian website for the full schedule, special events, and ticket information. FNF cohorts Eddie Muller and Alan K. Rode will be alternating hosting duties throughout the festival.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Mysteries//St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction

Erin - Go- bragh! St. Patrick's Day figures in several mysteries, so here's my updated St. Patrick's Day Crime Fiction list. Irish aka Emerald Noir is very popular right now, so you can always add titles to your TBR pile from the many Irish crime writers available, although they may not take place specifically during St. Patrick's Day. Declan Burke has a great post on his blog CrimeAlwaysPays Overview: The St. Patrick's Day Rewind. Be sure and spend some time on his blog! Mystery Readers Journal had an issue that focused on Irish Mysteries. It's available as PDF or hardcopy.

As always, I welcome comments and additions to this list. 


S. Furlong-Bollinger: Paddy Whacked
Isis Crawford: A Catered St. Patrick's Day
Nelson Demille: Cathedral
Andrew Greeley: Irish Gold
Jane Haddam: A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: The St. Patrick's Day Murder
Jonathan Harrington: A Great Day for Dying
Amanda Lee: The Long Stitch Good Night
Wendi Lee: The Good Daughter
Dan Mahoney: Once in, Never Out
Leslie Meier: St. Patrick's Day Murder
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: Death Takes Up A Collection
Ralph M. McInerny: Lack of the Irish
Janet Elaine Smith: In St. Patrick's Custody
JJ Toner: St. Patrick's Day Special
Kathy Hogan Trochek: Irish Eyes
Noreen Wald: Death Never Takes a Holiday

Check out Dublin Noir, a collection of short stories edited by Ken Bruen, published by Akashic Books in the US and Brandon in Ireland and the UK.

Read Val McDermid's take on the Popularity of Irish Crime Fiction.

Read Lisa Alber's guest post on Travels to Ireland, or, Bah, I Scoff at "Write What You Know"

Some Irish crime writers you might want to read: Tana French, Erin Hart, Benjamin Black, Declan Hughes, Jane Casey, Brian McGilloway, Alan Glynn, John Brady, Stuart Neville, Adrian McKinty.

Who are your favorite Irish authors?

And, if you want something CHOCOLATE to go along with your stout, have a look at my DyingforChocolate blog for some Killer St. Patrick's Day Recipes including:

Guinness Chocolate Silk Pie
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Guinness Chocolate Stout Brownies
Chocolate Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Ice Cream
Bailey's Chocolate Trifle
You Make Me Want to Stout Cupcakes (Scharffen Berger)
Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cara Black & Libby Fischer Hellmann: March 18 Literary Salon

LITERARY SALON: Cara Black & Libby Fischer Hellmann 
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 2 p.m. Berkeley, CA 
RSVP for Directions.
Space Limited Potluck sweets and hors d'oeuvres
(email: janet@mysteryreaders.org)

Cara Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 14 books set in different arrondisement in Paris featuring the Private Investigator Aimée Leduc series. Cara has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, a Washington Post Book World Book of the Year citation, the Médaille de la Ville de Paris—the Paris City Medal, which is awarded in recognition of contribution to international culture—and invitations to be the Guest of Honor at conferences such as the Paris Polar Crime Festival and Left Coast Crime. With more than 400,000 books in print, the Aimée Leduc series has been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew.

Libby Fischer Hellmann writes Compulsively Readable Thrillers. Her 11th novel, Nobody’s Child, the 4th entry in her Georgia Davis series, was released in September, 2014. The year prior, Havana Lost, a stand-alone literary thriller and love story set in Cuba, was released. A Bitter Veil, set in revolutionary Iran during the late ’70s was released in 2012. Along with Set The Night On Fire (2010), which goes back to the late Sixties in Chicago, these stand-alone thrillers are what Libby calls her “Revolution Trilogy.” She also writes two crime fiction series: The Ellie Foreman series, a four volume set which Libby describes as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24.” Chicago P.I. Georgia Davis first appeared in one of those novels, but now has her own series, which has grown to four volumes as well. She has just finished The Incidental Spy, a novella set during the early years of the Manhattan Project in Chicago, and she’s currently working on the 5th Ellie Foreman novel.


March 26: Award winning author Timothy Williams, 7 p.m. Tim lives in Guadaloupe. He writes two series: one written in English set in Italy and a second written in French set in Guadaloupe.

3rd Annual Hitchcock Film Fest: Bodega Bay

3rd Annual Hitchcock Film Fest 
March 20-21, 2015
Tickets Available Online! 

Friday, March 20
Party with Live Music, Red Carpet & Paparazzi, hosted at the Bodega Harbour Yacht Club, 6:30-Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres. Tickets: $50 each

Saturday, March 21 
Movie Screenings at the Bodega Bay Grange Hall
12:00PM - Rebecca
3:30PM -  Rope
7:00PM - Vertigo
Tickets - $10 per movie
All Access Pass for 3 movies - $25 (Youth 12 and under, Half Price)
Dan Sneed, local resident and Hitchcock enthusiast will introduce and provide commentary on each movie.  Display of Hitchcock memorabilia provided by the Bodega Country Store

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Left Coast Crime Awards


2015 Left Coast Crime Awards. Congratulations to all!

Left Coast Crime 2015, “Crimelandia,” gave out four awards tonight at the 25th annual LCC convention, this year in Portland. 

The Lefty for best humorous mystery novel 
Timothy Hallinan, Herbie’s Game (Soho Crime)

The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award 
Catriona McPherson, A Deadly Measure of Brimstone (Minotaur Books)

The Rose for best mystery novel set in the LCC region
Gigi Pandian, Pirate Vishnu (Henery Press)
The Rosebud for best first mystery novel set anywhere in the world.
Allen Eskens, The Life We Bury (Seventh Street Books)
Left Coast Crime is an annual convention 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.

Cartoon of the Day: Prehistoric Googling

Friday, March 13, 2015

Barry Award Nominations

Barry Awards Nominations 2015 

Best Novel 
THE MARCO EFFECT, Jussi Adler-Olsen
HOLLOW GIRL, Reed Farrel Coleman
STRANGE SHORES, Arnaldur Indridason

Best First Novel 
NIGHT HERON, Adam Brookes
ICE SHEAR, M. P. Cooley
DEAR DAUGHTER, Elizabeth Little

Best Paperback Original 
THE LIFE WE BURY, Allen Eskens
THE BLACK HOUR, Lori Rader-Day
ELEVEN DAYS, Stav Sherez

Best Thriller 
I AM PILGRIM, Terry Hayes

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What is Your Favorite Flower? Guest post by Eric Giacometti

Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne are bestselling French thriller writers, with a nine-book series that has sold 2 million copies worldwide and is translated into 17 languages. On March 25 the series makes its debut in English with Shadow Ritual, an electrifying thriller about the rise of extremism. Shadow Ritual is available for pre-order. Eric is an investigative report and has covered a number of high-profile Freemason scandals, and Jacques, himself a Freemason, is a literary scholar who has written a biography of the Marquis de Sade and edited his letters. Together they have created this very successful series about a French Freemason cop. Douglas Preston calls Shadow Ritual “phenomenal.” Here, Eric talks about giving readers a very cold chill running up the spine.

Eric Giacometti:
What is your favorite flower? 

In many thrillers, the feeling of fear is “produced” by the antagonist. The more the bad guy is twisted, perverted, sadistic, calculating, strategic or tactical, the more his actions send shivers up the readers’ spine. Whether the antagonist is someone unknown to the victims or someone familiar to them, his or her monstrosity will lead to terror. It’s mechanical. It’s no wonder then that serial killers appear so frequently in crime fiction. However, in Shadow Ritual, we deliberately avoided that particular archetypal bogeyman. We wanted a character that would embody an implacable killer, a professional sadist who looked like a nice guy. We wanted to play with contrasts. This character is nicknamed the Gardener. He’s a handyman who seems easygoing enough, but has a terrible habit of cutting off the toes of his victims with garden sheers. He collects the blood to feed his flowers. But first, he asks his victims, “What is your favorite flower?” And no matter what they answer, he cuts off a toe, without giving any explanation whatsoever, and then he starts over again with the same absurd question, plunging the victim (and the reader) into mental confusion. The Gardener is not frightening at first sight. He’s sixtyish, has a mustache and the blotchy skin of a bon vivant. He’s the kind of man you’d give your house keys to so he could prune the garden. He smokes a pipe and discusses gardening as he carries out his atrocities.

The idea for this killer came to me when I was shopping at a local nursery. One of the salespeople looked like a grandfather and was demonstrating a brand new pair of pocket pruners. He handled the tool with dexterity. As he twirled it in the air, producing a steady click-clacking, he joked about how the blades were so sharp they could cut off a finger just like that. Right then, I thought the fellow would make an excellent killer. But that wasn’t enough. The Gardener also needed to distill fear in his victims in a way that appeared to be incoherent. For that, the movie Marathan Man, and particularly the character of the Nazi dentist played by Laurence Olivier, inspired me. He kept asking, “Is it safe?” with a drill in poor Dustin Hoffman’s mouth, and the latter didn’t know what was happening to him. This scene terrorized me when I saw it. I still think about it when I go see the dentist. Some readers have told us that buying plants is never quite the same after reading those Gardener scenes.

From the authors: What's real and what's not in Shadow Ritual

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad coming to TV

From Deadline:

Euston Films’ Kate Harwood has joined forces with Alan Gasmer and Peter Jaysen of Veritas Entertainment to bring a series of Tana French-penned murder mysteries to the international television market. The Dublin-based French won several literary prizes for her first novel, 2007’s In The Woods, and followed that up with The Likeness and Faithful Place, among others. The partners have optioned the three books which they liken to True Detective.

The novels each follow a different case and include overlapping characters who are alternately in the forefront or the background of the main story. They are set in the fictional Dublin Murder Squad and have sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.

Read more here.

Hope we'll see this made and that we'll get it in the U.S.!

HT: The Rap Sheet via In Reference to Murder

Sam Simon: R.I.P.

Sam Simon, a prolific television writer and producer who worked on iconic television series like Cheers, Taxi, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, and helped bring The Simpsons to television with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, passed away from colon cancer at his home in Los Angeles.

After receiving his diagnosis, Simon spent the rest of his life giving away much of his fortune to charitable causes.
I am getting buildings named after me and awards and stuff. The truth is, I have more money than I’m interested in spending. Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this.
He was 59 years old.

Monday, March 9, 2015

AppleWatch: Dick Tracy in 2015

I love watches and bracelets, and I've been waiting a long time for Dick Tracy's smart wrist watch! Apple, my favorite tech company, is about to launch the AppleWatch. Apple is not the first company to enter the wrist watch race, as you can see from this fab commercial from Samsung! The most popular brand so far is Pebble.  But I'm an Apple junkie, so a Smart Watch that connects to all my Apple devices is my choice.

Can't wait for the AppleWatch. Get Smart!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: James Bond

From Rhymes with Orange:


Finalists for the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards–the “Lammys.” The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on Monday evening, June 1, 2015 in New York City.

Each year, the Lammys bring national attention to the best LGBTQ books, which are often overlooked by the mainstream media and might otherwise be forgotten,” said Lambda Literary Board President, S. Chris Shirley. “This critical program of Lambda Literary not only recognizes the outstanding work of these talented authors, but also underscores the importance of LGBTQ stories, which are fundamental to the preservation of our culture.” 

For the entire list, go HERE.

Blackmail, My Love: A Murder Mystery, Katie Gilmartin, Cleis Press
Boystown 6: From the Ashes, Marshall Thornton, MLR
Calvin’s Head, David Swatling, Bold Strokes Books
DeadFall, David Lennon, BlueSpike Publishing
Fair Game, Josh Lanyon, Carina Press
A Gathering Storm, Jameson Currier, Chelsea Station Editions
Moon Over Tangier, Janice Law, Open Road Media
The Next, Rafe Haze, Wilde City Press

The Acquittal, Anne Laughlin, Bold Strokes Books
Done to Death, Charles Atkins, Severn House Publishers
The Old Deep and Dark-A Jane Lawless Mystery, Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books
Slash and Burn, Valerie Bronwen, Bold Strokes Books
UnCatholic Conduct, Stevie Mikayne, Bold Strokes Books

See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/news/03/04/the-27th-annual-lambda-literary-award-finalists/#sthash.ddyCfuLN.dpuf

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Skeleton Socks

Skeleton Socks! I have several pairs with small dancing skeletons, skulls and the like, but I don't have these--yet!  Here's a link to order.

HT: Toxel.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reparations: WWII in Scandinavian Crime Fiction by Barbara Fister

The following article by Barbara Fister appeared in the most recent issue of Mystery Readers Journal: Scandinavian Mysteries (Volume 30:4). This issue is available in Hardcopy or PDF.

Barbara Fister is an academic librarian, columnist, and author of the Anni Koskinen mystery series. She maintains a website and blog devoted to Scandinavian crime fiction in English translation.

Barbara Fister: 
Reparations: The Second World War in Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Many readers’ perceptions of Scandinavia as a peaceful, socially-progressive region have been shaped by childhood history lessons. Sweden was neutral during World War II. Norwegians bravely resisted German occupation. Finland fought for its independence both from the Soviets and the Nazis. Danes followed their king’s example and wore yellow stars of David to show solidarity with Danish Jews. In fact, these stories are at best half-truths, patriotic narratives that helped Scandinavian countries recover their dignity as they established strong post-war societies.

The reality was messier. Sweden’s iron ore supported German munitions factories and enriched Swedes. Thousands of Norwegians fought for Germany on the Eastern Front. Finland maintained a democratically-elected government throughout the war, but was allied with Germany against the Soviet Union, which had attacked Finland and seized territory. Danes took heroic efforts to help Danish Jews escape deportation to German camps, but neither Jews nor gentiles wore the yellow star in Denmark.

Crime writers have been drawn to debunking these patriotic myths while interrogating national identities, an urgent issue as immigration increased following the end of the Cold War. Neo-Nazi nationalist movements developed strength in the 1990s. Extremist nationalism showed its most horrific face when a white supremacist systematically murdered 77 Norwegians, most of them children, in July 2011. These perturbations have led writers to probe their nations’ historic relationships with Nazism.

Kerstin Bergman writes, in her excellent critical survey, Swedish Crime Fiction: The Making of Nordic Noir that many Swedish writers have undertaken this task, but their historical reckoning only goes so far.  Nazi sympathizers in fiction are never viewed as truly Swedish but rather as aberrations that need to be acknowledged and rejected. In Henning Mankell’s Return of the Dancing Master, a colleague of Kurt Wallander on sick leave investigates a case that reveals an extensive Nazi network hidden beneath the placid Swedish surface. Yet the reader doesn’t conclude that Swedish culture accommodates hateful beliefs; rather, the message is that racism is something foreign that needs to be diagnosed and rooted out, just like the detective’s potentially silencing illness – cancer of the tongue.

Stieg Larsson, who mashed together practically every popular culture trope in his crowd-pleasing Millennium Trilogy, was a left-wing journalist who exposed the doings of the neo-Nazi movement and was the subject of death threats as a result. It’s not surprising that he added to the general misogyny and warped sexual appetites of his wealthy industrialist antagonists in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo a Nazi past.

More recently, Camilla Läckberg addressed the legacy of the war in The Hidden Child. Läckberg’s highly traditional and romantic series features extraordinary murders committed on a picturesque island. The murderers motives are often traced to bad parenting. Läckberg’s happily married protagonists uphold traditional family values and gender roles as they solve crimes. Though The Hidden Child addresses Sweden’s involvement in World War II, it’s sugar-coated. Decent Swedes secretly supported the Norwegian resistance while only horrid people took the side of the Germans. The mystery revolves around a diary and a Nazi medal that one of the series protagonists finds among her mother’s effects which may unlock the mystery of why she was so unloving. The story layers the present investigation and the past, depicting the war experience as if Sweden was an occupied country that bravely resisted the Nazis, not a neutral state that took in Jewish refugees while it provided significant and profitable material support to Germany. Though it’s an effective page-turner that attempts to depict the lasting trauma of war, it paints a rosy picture of Swedish patriotism in wartime.

Åsa Larsson creates a more complex story in Until Thy Wrath Be Past, which also has a layered chronology. In the present, police in northern Sweden are investigating the death of two divers who were searching for a plane that went down in a lake during the war. A dysfunctional family, ruled by an odious old man and his greedy wife had made their wealth during the war when ore mined in the north was shipped to Germany. In this case, the motivations of the Swedes who worked with Germans are more thoroughly explored and the extent of the country’s involvement with the German war machine is exposed, but those involved are depicted as greedy and monstrous outliers who don’t reflect Swedish values.

Perhaps the most intriguing exploration of a Scandinavian nation’s denial of the past is found in Jo Nesbø’s The Redbreast, which also has extensive passages set in the past following the fate of a group of Norwegians who fought the Soviets alongside the Germans during the occupation. After being wounded, one of them ends up in Austria where he falls in love with a nurse and schemes to smuggle her to safety as the world around them burns. In the present, the police are wondering if neo-Nazis will disrupt the celebration of Norwegian Independence day. Detective Harry Hole tries to connect the purchase of an illegal long-range rifle with a series of murders and discovers that the killer they seek likely fought on the Eastern Front, is an excellent sharpshooter, and quite possibly is suffering from multiple personality disorder.

At one point in the novel, a reporter asking a public official about Norway’s occupation likens it the Austrian Anschluss, a notion that the official strongly denies and finds completely puzzling. Yet throughout the novel, the patriotic notion that Norwegians generally supported the resistance is put to the test. In the world of the novel, many Norwegians joined with the Nazis and took their punishment when the war ended. Most were content to support the Nazis until it was clear they were losing the war, at which point, when it was a safe bet, they denounced the occupiers. In this analysis, the rise of neo-Nazism is not simply an aberrant response to immigration but an outgrowth of suppressed history. Eventually the killer does turn out to be two people in one body: a flamboyant Eastern Front sharpshooter coexisting with an elderly man who convinced others he had been a loyal member of the resistance. Nesbø suggests the nation itself is suffering from a split personality – a public persona that is peaceful and tolerant concealing a national identity that is too close to Nazism for comfort.

This historical reexamination of race and identity is extending into new areas. Two recent Danish novels, The Purity of Vengeance by Jussi Adler-Olsen and The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel take a fresh look at punitive ways the Danish state treated women who were deemed defective and locked away, justifying their treatment with eugenic theories as recently as the 1970s. The Nina Borg series by Leena Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis tackles the difficulties immigrants encounter in contemporary Denmark. Arne Dahl and Jens Lapidus have written ground-breaking series that explore the entanglement of Swedish society with a globalized Europe. Scandinavian writers who have challenged the accepted narrative of the wartime past have contributed to this work by exposing the historic roots of a contemporary challenge: redefining Scandinavian national identities in a multicultural world.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Derringer Award Nominees

The Short Mystery Fiction Society nominees for the Derringer Awards for 2015. 
For Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words)
  • Joseph D'Agnese, "How Lil' Jimmie Beat the Big C" (Shotgun Honey, May 12, 2014)
  • Rob Hart, "Foodies" (Shotgun Honey, May 2, 2014)
  • Jed Power, "Sweet Smells" (Shotgun Honey, July 28, 2014)
  • Eryk Pruitt, "Knockout" (Out of the Gutter Online, August 31, 2014)
  • Travis Richardson, "Because" (Out of the Gutter Online, May 15, 2014)*
  • Melissa Yuan-Innes, "Because" (Fiction River: Crime, March 2014)*
*To offset any judging confusion this rare case of two stories with the same title may have caused, both stories were included as finalists.

For Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words)
  • B.V. Lawson, "The Least of These" (Plan B Magazine, June 6, 2014))
  • William Burton McCormick, "Killing Sam Clemens" (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #13, July 2014)
  • Britni Patterson, "The Bad Son" (Carolina Crimes: 19 Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing, March 2014)
  • Mary E. Stibal, "A Friend in Brown" (Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, November 2014)
  • Cathi Stoler, "The Kaluki King of Queens" (Murder New York Style: Family Matters, August 2014)
For Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words)
  • M.H. Callway, "The Ultimate Mystery" (World Enough and Crime, October 2014)
  • Angel Luis Colon, "Separation Anxiety" (All Due Respect #3, May 2014)
  • Hilary Davidson, "A Hopeless Case" (All Due Respect #4, September 2014)
  • James T. Shannon, "The Missing Money" (Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, November 2014)
  • Cathy Wiley, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" (Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, October 2014)
For Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words)
  • Doug Allyn, "Hitler's Dogs" (Fiction River: Crime, March 2014)
  • Vicki Delany, "Juba Good" (Orca Books Rapid Reads, April 2014)
  • Trey Dowell, "Infernal" (Untreed Reads, June 2014)
  • Richard Helms, "Busting Red Heads" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2014)
  • Kris Nelscott, "The Monster in Our Midst" (Fiction River: Crime, March 2014)
   HT: Gerald So       

Cartoon of the Day: Pizza