Saturday, July 31, 2010

Burbank READS Jan Burke

Aunt Agatha has been missing in action this past week due to a big project in the works.  Now that the deadline has been met, you, dear readers, will be the first to know the outcome.

For the past few years the Burbank Public Library has participated in the "One Book, One City" promotion and for the first time, the committee has selected a mystery.  The book we will be encouraging all of Burbank to read is Jan Burke's debut novel, Goodnight, Irene.  Written in 1993, it features a strong-minded female protagonist, non-stop action, and spare dialogue.  All in all,  a well-crafted and entertaining read.

In between reading and talking about Goodnight, Irene, there will be a variety of mystery-related events to accompany the book.  To kick-off the fun, the library will host an after-hours murder mystery with a local acting troupe.  As a finale, Jan Burke will be the guest of honor at a Saturday afternoon tea.

Visit the library's website for further information.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Celebrate the Birth of Paperbacks

Where would we be without paperbacks?  They were the mainstay of vacationers worldwide.  Yes, it's true that the Kindles and iPads are accompanying travelers these days, but there's nothing like a paperback to get you through a long wait at the airport or train station--especially if it's a mystery!

It was 75 years ago this week that British publishing executive Allen Lane came up with that innovative idea and Penguin Books was born.  It was the darkest days of the Depression and one needed a library card or a pile of cash to get a book to read.  The creation of quality books in an easy-to-carry format was a boon to the slumping publishing industry.

 Here's how Penguin's corporate history describes Lane's brilliant idea:  "After a weekend visiting Agatha Christie in Devon, he found himself on a platform at Exeter station searching its bookstall for something to read on his journey back to London, but discovered only popular magazines and reprints of Victorian novels.

"Appalled by the selection on offer, Lane decided that good quality contemporary fiction should be made available at an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores."

Now I feel like a cup of tea and a scone to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hard Boiled Mystery Question of the Week.

Question of the week:


This writer created Lou Ford, an apparently innocuous small-town sheriff who is in reality a diabolically clever killer. Who is he?

Answer to last week's question: Matthew Scudder



Use the comment link to leave your answers. The correct answer will be posted next week along with a new question.

So did you know the answer? Use the comment link and play along!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson

Mystery author Craig Johnson has received high praise--and lots of awards--for his series featuring Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. I just completed the sixth in the series, Junkyard Dogs, and was not disappointed. Johnson is a born storyteller, and this book includes his signature blend of colorful but realistic characters, wisecracking dialogue, and page-turning plot twists. If you’re a fan of outdoor mysteries by authors like C.J. Box and Michael McGarrity, you’re definitely going to want to give this series a try. And we’ll probably be hearing a lot more about this series in the future, since I just read that a television series based on Johnson's books is currently in development with Warner Horizon Television and TNT.

Thanks to Patrice for the review!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hard Boiled Mystery Question of the Week.

Question of the week:

This private eye used to leave a tenth of his earnings in church poor boxes. Who is he?

Answer to last week's question: Carlotta Carlyle

Use the comment link to leave your answers. The correct answer will be posted next week along with a new question.

What's your favorite thriller?

NPR is compiling a list of the top 100 "Killer Thrillers" and you can have your say!   What's your favorite, heart-pounding thriller?  Is it Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code?  Or, perhaps, Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity?  Perusing the list, there were many, many of my favorites.  [hint: Gayle Lynds has TWO titles included!]

Fortunately, you are allowed ten votes.  The top 100 will be announced on August 2. Click here for more details.

Cast a vote for your favorites. 


Friday, July 16, 2010

What Aunt Agatha and you need to read....Buy Back by Brian M. Wiprud.

Last year, Brian M. Wiprud introduced me to Feelers, and "tight ones," in his criminally fun world of New York City. But one entertaining book doesn't necessarily make me a fan, so when I picked up Wiprud's latest book, Buy Back, it was with the hope of finding another fast-paced, amusing read.

My verdict is that Wiprud is the real deal. Wicked characters, twisty plots, and a great sense of place (Brooklyn New York) make this writer worth seeking out. This time around, we're dealing with "goodies" and "goofballs," within the rather shady practice of museum art thievery and recovery. Toss in a love-struck hitman, a few mafiosi, and a barber who might be as happy to cut your throat as your hair, and you have some fun reading ahead of you.

W is for Wiprud and also for wicked, warped and wonderful writing. Wiprud is now on my must-read author list!

To visit the author's website, click HERE. If you like his books, let him know and spread the word to others. Midlist authors like Wiprud need your support!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cameras Roll on Connelly's Lincoln Lawyer

Filming has begun in Los Angeles on the movie adaptation of Michael Connelly's crime novel, The Lincoln Lawyer.  The movie stars Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller, Marisa Tomei as Maggie McPherson, and co-stars Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, John Leguizamo, Michael Pena, Trace Adkins, and Katherine Moennig.  Brad Furman is directing from a screenplay by John Romano.   Lionsgate announced they've picked up the US distribution rights, and Lakeshore Entertainment's acquired international rights. The film is set for a 2011 release date.

Visit Michael Connelly's website.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Speaking of Thrillers

The International Thriller Writers's held their Thrillerfest at New York City's Grand Hyatt on Jully 10th.  Here are the winners:

Best hard Cover Novel:  The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
Best paperback Original Novel:  The Coldest Mile by Tom Piccirilli
Best First Novel:  Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti
Best Short Story:  A Stab in the Heart by Twist Phelan

Special recognition was also given to
  • Ken Follett, ThrillerMaster, in recognition of his legendary career and outstanding contributions to the thriller genre;
  • Mark Bowden, True Thriller Award
  • Linda Fairstein, Silver Bullet Award
  • US Airways, Silver Bullet Award (Corporate)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rizzoli & Isles: from book to TV series

Even if you never read one of Tess Gerritsen's exciting thrillers, the new TNT series Rizzoli & Isles will hook you and reel you in. 

The July 12 series debut was a suspenseful hour combining elements of Gerritsen's two books, The Surgeon and The Apprentice.  Angie Harmon (Women's Murder Club) stars as Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and Sacha Alexander (NCIS) portrays medical examiner Maura Isles.  The series looks to be a winner!

Not coincidentally, author Tess Gerritsen has a new Rizzoli & Isles novel out this month, Ice Cold.  It's the eighth in the series and is packed with Gerritsen's trademark plot twists and good, old-fashioned storytelling.  The UK title of the book is The Killing Place.

See what author Tess Gerritsen has to say about the new TNT series.

Hard Boiled Mystery Question of the Week.

Question of the week:
She is a 6'1" redhead, a former cop, and drives a cab in Boston when she's not working as a private detective. Who is she?

Answer to last week's question: Richard Stark [a pen name used by Donald E. Westlake.

Use the comment link to leave your answers. The correct answer will be posted next week along with a new question.

Be brave, leave us a guess!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Steig Larsson's Trilogy Continues

Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy have much to look forward to this month.  The final book in the trilogy was recently released in the US; the film version of the first book just came out on video; and the second film, The Girl Who Played with Fire will be in theaters on July 9. 

Check the film's website to see the trailer and where the film is opening.

Hollywood is jumping on "The Girl" bandwagon.  IMDB reports that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is in pre-production and it's listing Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Daniel Craig (Bond, James Bond) in the two major roles.  Steven Zillian (Gangs of New York) is writing the screenplay.  The release date is being given as 2012.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Searching for a Smart Female Sleuth?

Then look no further than Sheila Lowe's latest forensic handwriting mystery, Last Writes.  Released today, this new entry in the Claudia Rose series is a gripping  read as well as a fascinating view of a graphologist in action.  If you are new to the series, Claudia Rose is a forensic handwriting expert who uses her skills to solve crimes.  She's smart, witty, and a formidable advocate in the pursuit of truth.

A fanatic religious cult, a missing child, and a cryptic note pull you into the action of Last Writes.  Claudia's friend Kelly discovers she's an aunt when her estranged half-sister, Erin, arrives at her door in desperate need of help.  Erin and her husband are members of the Temple of Brighter Light and have been living a quiet life in the desert commune.  Now a mysterious note is the only clue to the disappearance of Erin's husband and young child.  When Claudia's skills as a handwriting analyst present her with an invitation to the temple's compound, she has only a few days to  uncover the truth about Kelly's missing niece before the unthinkable happens. 

Sheila Lowe paid attention to that adage:  write what you know.  Ms. Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert who testifies in forensic cases.  She has more than 30 years experience in the field of handwriting analysis and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.  Her analyses of celebrity handwritings have appeared in numerous magazines.  And she writes a darn good story!  Visit Sheila at her website.

Be prepared -- you won't be able to put down the book until it's stunning conclusion!  The nice thing about a holiday weekend is that I had the chance to catch up on my reading.  Well, Last Writes almost made me late to the 4th of July picnic -- I couldn't leave the house until I had read the very last page. 

Hard Boiled Mystery Question of the Week.

Question of the Week:
This prolific crime writer is known for creating the ruthless professional thief known only as Parker. Who was he?

Answer to last week's question: Jeffrey Deaver

Use the comment link to leave your answers. The correct answer will be posted next week along with a new question.