Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ITW Announces 2010 Nominees

Here is the lineup of nominees for the International Thriller Writers' 2010 Thriller Awards.  The  winners will be announced at ThrillerFest V on July 10th, Grand Hyatt in New York City.

Best Hard Cover Novel:
Vanished by Joseph Finder
Long Lost by Harlan Coben
Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
The Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker

Best Paperback Original:
Shadow Season by Tom Piccirilli
Urge to Kill by John Lutz
Vengeance Road by Rick Mofina
The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli
No Mercy by John Gilstrap

Best First Novel:
Fragment by Warren Fahy
Dead Men's Dust by Matt Hilton
Collision of Evil by John J. Le Beau
Dracula:  The Un-dead by Dacre Stoker
Running From the Devil by Jamie Freveletti

Best Short Story:
The Desert Here and the Desert Far Away by Marcus Sakey
A Stab in the Heart by Twist Phelan
Aftershock & Others by  F. Paul Wilson
Iced by Harry Hunsicker
Boldt's Broken Angel by Ridley Pearson

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gayle Lynds Delivers a Power Punch of a Thriller!

If you are a book lover, you're really going to enjoy the latest thriller from bestselling author Gayle Lynds.  From the first sentence," A library could be a dangerous place," The Book of Spies takes you on a thrilling E-ride to adventure. Every so often a book comes along that makes the reader want to speed nonstop to the heart-thumping conclusion and, at the same time, slow down to savor every word.  The Book of Spies is just that book!

For centuries there have been rumors of a long-lost archive containing gold-covered, jewel encrusted books collected by Ivan the Terrible.  His magnificent Library of Gold has enticed treasure hunters from around the world, but no one had been successful in locating it.  Now one of the fabled volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced.

The CIA has found a link between the highly secret "book club" who owns the library and a bank account linked to terrorism.  Composed of the world's power brokers, the book club will do anythng to protect their own interests and further their goals.

Enter rare books curator Eva Blake and former intelligence agent Judd Ryder.  They each have their own agenda and troubled past.  When Eva barely escapes an attempt on her life, she teams up with Judd to discover the truth about the Library of Gold -- and stay alive in the process.  They set off on a whirlwind adventure from London to Rome, Istanbul to Athens as they search for The Book of Spies and the legendary archive of treasures.  This is the first in a new spy series by Gayle Lynds and I'm sure fans will be looking forward to more escapades with these fascinating, multi-faceted characters. 

The Burbank Public Library was extremely fortunate to host Gayle and her husband Dennis at a "Meet the Author" event back in 2001. What a treat!  Recently I had an opportunity to catch up with Gayle again at the  Left Coast Crime convention in Los Angeles.  As an attendee, I was able to snag a copy of The Book of Spies before the official release date and have been enjoying it ever since.

Here's a bit of trivia...if you think the name of the villain in The Book of Spies sounds familiar, find out why on Gayle's website.  Gayle Lynds is a bestselling, award-winning author of several international espionage thrillers including Masquerade, The Coil, and The Last Spymaster (which has just been optioned by Vigorous Pictures).  She is a member of the Association for Intelligence officers and the cofounder (along with David Morrell) of ITW -- International Thriller Writers.

Read what the reviewers are saying:
The Library Journal's *starred review says "A master of the espionage thriller...a thrilling, spy-laden, history-rich page-turner."

Publisher's Weekly says "Complicated, appealing characters complement the satisfying, conspiracy-laden plot that smoothly moves throughout Europe at breakneck speed."

Aunt Agatha says "READ IT...READ IT NOW!"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Michael Connelly Sues Paramount Pictures

According to the Hollywood Reporter,  a complaint was filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court by bestselling author Michael Connelly who is suing Paramount Pictures over a 1992 option deal for his first two books, The Black Ice and The Black Echo.

Paramount picked up the option in 1995 and during the 15 years of the deal, they failed to get the Harry Bosch film projects off the ground.  Connelly's lawyers alledge that when they contacted the studio as a first step in buying back his rights, Paramount representatives submitted an inflated cost analysis. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- the Movie

If you are one of the millions worldwide who devoured Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and waited anxiously for the film adaptation, the wait is over.  European fans had the opportunity to see this movie last year, but it's just opened in the Los Angeles area and I was at Sunday's first showing. It was 1:00 in the afternoon and every single seat in the house was filled.

Films can sometimes be a major disappointment, but in this case, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is every bit as gripping as the book.  Danish director Niels Arden Oplev's brilliant achievement was casting relatively unknown actress Noomi Rapace as the brilliant, though flawed, computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.  Rapace seems to jump off the pages of the novel! Actor Michael Nyqvist as journalist Mikael Blomkvist is also well-cast.

The good news is that the The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest  have both been made into movies and we can assume they will eventually make it to America.  According to Box Office Mojo, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo opened at #23 with a weekend gross of $335,502 -- and that's from only 34 theatres.

In the meantime, The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the third book in the Millenium trilogy, is due to be released here on May 25th.  Sony Pictures is said to be in final negotiations for an American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Whether Hollywood can handle the disturbing elements of the story with a star-studded cast is questionable.  If you want to see a compelling thriller with all its European edginess, do make the effort to find the film in one of the art house theatres.  Believe me, it's well worth the trip.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Ah, the smell of spring is in the air and nothing says Irish spring quite like finding dead bodies in the misty bogs...  To get in the proper green mood, here is a selected list of mysteries set in the Emerald Isle.  Enjoy!

The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black
In Dublin’s Fair City by Rhys Bowen
Sanctuary by Ken Bruen
Laced: a Regan Reilly Mystery by Carol Higgins Clark
The Irish Village Murder by Dicey Deere
Death & the Jubilee: a Lord Francis Powercourt Mystery by David Dickinson
The Likeness by Tana French
Death in Dublin by Bartholomew Gill
The Celtic Riddle by Lyn Hamilton
Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart
All the Dead Voices by Declan Hughes
The Angel by Carla Neggers
The Psalm Killer by Christopher Petit
The Book Stops Here by Ian Sansom
Malarky by Sheila Simonson
Three Bags Full: a Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann
Dancing with Demons: a Mystery of Ancient Ireland by Peter Tremayne

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Great Time at Left Coast Crime 2010

As a newbie at my first mystery convention, I had a fabulous time.  It was fun putting faces to the names on all those book jackets!  Of course, now I'm on sensory  overload after three days of fascinating panel discussions and being bombarded with so much information.  It's going to take a little while for things to percolate.

In the meantime, I've got enough fodder for this blog to last for the next week or so.  The convention was a great opportunity to meet some of my favorite authors such as Gayle Lynds, Rhys Bowen, Robert Crais, Jan Burke and Michael Connelly (seen here).  Here's a bit of news for all you Jan Burke fans -- her next Irene Kelly book is a sequel to Bones and will be out next spring.  The conference also gave me the chance to discover many new authors -- and to add more books to that "TO READ" list that keeps growing by the day!

A number of awards were handed out at the banquet on Saturday night.  Here is the list of nominees and winners:

THE LEFTY - The Lefty is an award for the most humorous mystery published in a particular year.
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
Living with your Kids is Murder by Mike Befeler
Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread by Denise Dietz
Getting Old Is a Disaster by Rita Lakin [WINNER]
High Crimes on the Magical Plane by Kris Neri

THE BRUCE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL HISTORICAL MYSTERY - A historical mystery, covering events before 1950.
Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander
In a Gilded Cage by Rhys Bowen
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell [WINNER]
Freedom's Fight by Gary Phillips
Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson

THE PANIK - The Panik award will be given in honor of the late Paul Anik, Chairman of Left Coast Crime 2010 for the best Los Angeles Noir book published in 2009.
Cemetery Road by Gar Anthony Haywood
Trust No One by Gregg Hurwitz
Death Was in the Picture by Linda Richards [WINNER]
Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz

THE DILYS AWARD is given annually by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association to the mystery titles of the year that the member booksellers have most enjoyed selling. The Dilys Award is named in honor of Dilys Winn, the founder of the first specialty bookseller of mystery books in the United States, and is presented at the Left Coast Crime mystery convention.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley [WINNER]
A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellroy
The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville
The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Aunt Agatha is Reading

Come March and Aunt Agatha’s roots are glowing green for St. Patrick’s Day. Other than visiting the old sod itself, where better to get your Irish on than in the windy city of Chicago, one of the bastions of Irish American culture. Think St. Paddy’s Day parades and a green-tinted river.  Think cozy saloons filled with the scent of a peat fire and a foaming pint of Guinness.

So it was with great pleasure that I discovered a new author, Michael Harvey, and his latest crime novel, The Third Rail. It’s the third in a series featuring Michael Kelly, a tough-talking Irish cop turned private investigator.  Chicago finds itself under siege when a sniper takes out two women --one while waiting for a train, the second riding the elevated train through the Loop. Then a Catholic church becomes the target of a chemical weapons attack.

As Kelly gets closer to the truth, it becomes clear that the killings are somehow linked to an incident in his own past. When his girlfriend is abducted by the killer, Kelly has to race against time to locate her, only to find that she’s a pawn in a much larger game. And somewhere in the bowels of the city, a ticking time bomb waits to kill millions.

The Third Rail is a “stylish, sophisticated, edge-of-your-seat suspense from a new modern master.” Michael Harvey credentials are impressive -- he’s the creator, writer and executive producer of A & E’s Cold Case Files; Academy Award-nominee for his documentary Eyewitness; and a former CBS investigative reporter. To top it all off, Harvey is a Chicago saloonkeeper, the proud owner of The Hidden Shamrock, “home of a great pint of Guinness and a place Michael Kelly likes to frequent.”

Visit his website at The book will be published in April. In the meantime, check out the first two in the series: The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor. Harvey does for Chicago what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles. He’s created a gritty, atmospheric portrayal of a great city and a wisecracking detective who reads Homer and Aeschylus in Greek.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You've Got to Have Friends!

The Buena Vista Branch of the Burbank Public Library hosted a panel discussion with members of the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime on Saturday, March 6.  Bruce Cook, Robert Fate, Sheila Lowe and Gwen Freeman shared their experiences with writers' critique groups. The panelists all have different writing styles and backgrounds, but each agreed that the support and critical perspective they receive in their critique group has furthered their success in getting published.

Bruce and Robert share a film background, both writing and behind the camera.  They are now gaining success with their mystery novels.  Robert's Baby Shark series has garnered praise across the country; his latest is High Plains Redemption.  Bruce Cook's most recent novel is Tommy Gun Tango.

Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert who testifies in forensic cases.  Coincidentally, her Claudia Rose series features a handwrting expert who uses her expertise to solve crimes; Poison Pen is the first in that series. Gwen Freeman is a practicing attorney in Los Angeles.  Her most recent book is Crazy Fool Kills Five.

The Burbank Public Library is a lucky recipient of Sisters in Crime/LA  visits with their lively and informative discussions that interest mystery readers and aspiring writers alike.  Check the library's calendar to see when the group returns for another fascinating event.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Only 7 Days until Left Coast Crime!

I am especially  excited about Left Coast Crime: Booked in L.A. because for the very first time, I will be attending one of these great mystery fan conventions.  It will be mystery, mystery, mystery for four whole days! 

So many of our favorite authors will be speaking and signing books.  Michael Connelly is hosting a luncheon at the top of Angel's Flight (courtesy of the historic Cole's Restuarant); Lee Child is the guest host for a wine and cheese social; and much, much more!

Interestingly enough, when I checked the list of registrants, nearly three dozen of the authors attending had visited the Burbank Public Library at one time or another.  Lots of familiar faces!  We've been honored to host quite a number of mystery authors, from Gayle Lynds to Lee Child to Jan Burke to all the wonderful people in the Sisters in Crime/LA chapter.

It's not too late to consider attending Left Coast Crime.  Day passes are available at the door.  Check out their website here.