Monday, July 29, 2013

What's New in August?

Oh dear, Louise Penny has another Inspector Gamache mystery out! That means I'll be two behind. It's a good thing I have a week of vacation coming this month so I can catch up on all the books in my "to read" pile! Good news, thriller-lovers. This month's list features a number of thrillers. I'm currently reading Douglas Corleone's debut novel, Good as Gone and I'll be sharing that here in a few days. Read on!
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong
  • A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
  • The Dying Hours [Tom Thorne] by Mark Billingham
  • Dark Waters [Cragg & Fidelis] by Robin Blake
  • Heirs and Graces [Royal Spyness] by Rhys Bowen
  • The Backs [Gary Goodhew] by Alison Bruce
  • Let Me Go [Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell] by Chelsea Cain
  • Land of The Silver Dragon [Aelf Fen] by Alys Clare
  • A Spider in the Cup [Joe Sandilands] by Barbara Cleverly
  • Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook
  • Good as Gone by Douglas Corleone
  • The Dead and the Beautiful [Nikki Harper] by Cheryl Crane
  • Compound Murder [Dan Rhodes] by Bill Crider
  • Multiple Exposure [Sophie Medina] by Ellen Crosby
  • Guilt Edged [Lina Townend] by Judith Cutler
  • Bad Blood [Intercrime] by Arne Dahl
  • The Whole Enchilada [Goldy Schulz] by Diane Mott Davidson
  • A Place of Confinement [Dido Kent] by Anna Dean 
  • A Cold White Sun [Molly Smith & John Winter] by Vicki Delany
  • Cat in an Alien X-Ray [Midnight Louie] by Carole Nelson Douglas
  • The Last Alibi [Jason Kolarich] by David Ellis
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin [Charlie Howard] by Chris Ewan
  • The Memory Key [Alec Blume] by Conor Fitzgerald
  • The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth
  • Eva’s Eye [Konrad Sejer] by Karin Fossum
  • Runaway Man by David Handler
  • Kind of Cruel [Zailer & Waterhouse] by Sophie Hannah
  • Hostage [Bishop/SCU] by Kay Hooper
  • Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz
  • Downtown Strut [Edna Ferber] by Ed Ifkovic
  • The Beast [Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus] by Faye Kellerman
  • The Web [graphic novel of Alex Delaware] by Jonathan Kellerman with Ande Parks & Michael Gaydos
  • Tamarack County [Cork O’Connor] by William Kent Krueger
  • Sunrise [John Bekker] by Al Lamanda
  • Strong Rain Falling [Caitlin Strong] by Jon Land
  • The Infatuations by Javier MarĂ­as
  • Little Black Book of Murder [Blackbird Sisters] by Nancy Martin
  • The Final Curtain [Joanna Piercy] by Priscilla Masters
  • It Happens in the Dark [Kathleen Mallory] by Carol O’Connell
  • Mistress by James Patterson
  • The Bride Box [Mamur Zapt] by Michael Pearce
  • How the Light Gets In [Armand Gamache] by Louise Penny 
  • Blind Justice [William Monk] by Anne Perry
  • You Make Me Feel So Dead [Rat Pack] by Robert J. Randisi
  • Bones of the Lost [Temperance Brennan] by Kathy Reichs
  • Devil’s Night [Kat Campbell] by Todd Ritter
  • The Last Kiss Goodbye [Charlotte Stone] by Karen Robards
  • The Hanging of Samuel Ash [Hook Runyon] by Sheldon Russell
  • Devil in the Hole by Charles Salzberg
  • A Fatal Likeness [Charles Maddox] by Lynn Shepherd
  • Shoot the Dog [Virgil Cain] by Brad Smith
  • Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler (APA: Don’t Look Back)
  • Tragic [Butch Karp & Marlene Ciampi] by Robert K. Tanenbaum
  • A Question of Honor [Bess Crawford] by Charles Todd
  • The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach
  • Compound Fractures [Alan Gregory] by Stephen White

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Cookbook conspiracy

If you're looking for a fun...and funny read this summer, pick up Kate Carlisle's latest The Cookbook Conspiracy. It features Brooklyn Wainwright, a San Francisco bookbinder and rare book restorer. Her skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery, and even murder. Read more about the book and Carlisle here.

A native Californian, New York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle worked in television for many years before turning to writing. A lifelong fascination with the art and craft of bookbinding led her to write the Brooklyn Wainwright.

Kate Carlisle will be visiting the Burbank Public Library on Thursday, August 1, for a book talk and signing. If you are in the Los Angeles area, plan to stop by for a bit of Coffee & Conversation starting at 7:00 PM at the Buena Vista Branch Library. Get all the details here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Black Country

When Alex Grecian released The Yard last year, I was captivated by this author's atmospheric and fast-paced historical thriller. It was my favorite crime novel of 2012 and it made many other "Best of..." lists as well. So it was with great anticipation that I awaited the second installment of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad series. I was not disappointed!

The constable of a small Midlands village is faced with the disappearance of three members from a prominent local family and an eyeball found in a bird's nest. He sends for help from the newly formed Murder Squad of Scotland Yard. Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith arrive in the bleak coal-mining town and immediately set to work.

At first, the two detectives can't get a straight answer from the decidedly odd inhabitants of Blackhampton. Old superstitions were still held by many in the village and everyone seemed to be keepingsecrets. And if that weren't enough, the entire village is slowly sinking into the mine tunnels running beneath it.

All in all, this dark, creepy thriller is definitely a page-turner. Every time I thought I had the mystery figured out, Alex Grecian's plot takes a 90-degree turn. I made the mistake of staying up into the wee hours in order to finish the book, making it very hard to get up for work the next morning! If you like Victorian mysteries, Alex Grecian gives a new twist to the genre. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

R.I.P Dianne Day

A little piece of San Francisco's heart was lost when mystery author Dianne Day passed away in Eureka, California on July 11. Ms. Day was the award-winning author of the Fremont Jones San Francisco mysteries.

Her books take place just prior to and following the historic 1906 earthquake. First in the series, The Strange Files of Fremont Jones (1996), introduces a spunky young woman who leaves the stuffy confines of Boston to become a "typewriter" in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.

Other books in the series are Fire and Fog (1997), The Bohemian Murders (1998), Emperor Norton's Ghost (1999), Death Train to Boston (2000), and Beacon Street Mourning (2001).

Her books brought Victorian San Francisco alive, making the city as much of a character as any of
the other inhabitants of her stories. I have always been drawn to San Francisco and her colorful history. I remember gazing at the ruins of places like the Sutro Baths and wondering what it was like to visit in 1906. Thanks to Dianne Day's marvelous storytelling, the baths and other sights of Old San Francisco were illuminated in my mind.

I highly recommend this San Francisco series to anyone interested in a good read with a historical setting. Her books were always a joy. She will be missed.
Read an interview with Dianne Day here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's in a Name? The Cuckoo's Calling!

When the British crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith was released in April, reviewers hailed it as the next big thing. Publisher Weekly raved that the novel "Combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime...A stellar debut." Library Journal gave The Cuckoo's Calling a starred review for "mystery debut of the month."

Then it was revealed over the weekend that the critically acclaimed debut novel was actually penned by J.K. Rowling. Following the April release, readers were slowly picking up on the fact that this "new author" produced a really great read. No doubt sales will rise dramatically now.

I say, good for Rowling! Following the big reveal, she maintains that she had hoped to have worn the cloak of anonymity a little longer. Writing under a pen name was a very liberating experience.

Pop culture is a fickle mistress. What's trending today may not have a very long shelf life. Following the stellar celebrity of Harry Potter, Rowling's first novel for adults (Casual Vacancy) received mixed reviews. By writing under a pen name, her new novel was praised on it's own merits, not on the author's reputation. Of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, it will be interesting to see where this all will lead.

Best to read The Cuckoo's Calling and make your own determination.  Here's the publisher's description:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Work is underway on the next Robert Galbraith mystery featuring Cormoran Strike.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Macavity Nominations 2013

The Macavity Award (named for the "mystery cat" in T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats) is given for books published in 2012. Nominations are made and voted on by members of Mystery Readers International, as well as subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal. Winners will be announced at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in September. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Mystery Novel:
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • The Black House by Peter May
  • The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
  • The Other Woman by Hank Philippi Ryan
  • The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
  • The Twenty Year Death by Ariel S. Winter
Best Mystery First Novel:
  • Low Country Boil by Susan M. Boyer
  • Yesterday's Echo by Matt Coyle
  • Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
  • Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
  • The Expats by Chris Pavone 
  • The Last Policeman: A Novel by Ben H. Winters
Best Mystery Non-Fiction:
  • Books to Die For: The World's Greatest Mystery Writers on the World's Greatest Mystery Novels, edited by John Connolly and Declan Burke
  • Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French
  • In Pursuit of Spenser: Mystery Writers on Robert B. Parker and the Creation of an American Hero, edited by Otto Penzler
Best Mystery Short Story:
  • "The Lord Is My Shamus" by Barb Goffman in Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder (Wildside)
  • "The Unremarkable Heart" by Karin Slaughter in Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance (Little, Brown - Mulholland Books)
  • "Thea's First Husband" by B.K. Stevens in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2012
  • "When Duty Calls" by Art Taylor in Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder (Wildside Press)
  • "Blind Justice" by Jim Fusilli in Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance (Little, Brown - Mulholland Books)
  • "The Sequel" (a novella) by Jeffrey Deaver in The Strand Magazine, November-February 2012-2013
Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award:
  • A City of Broken Glass by Rebecca Cantrell
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal
  • The Confession by Charles Todd
  • An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
  • Elegy For Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear