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The Rap Sheet

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:15:57 +0000


Bullet Points: Taxing Tuesday Edition

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 03:15:00 +0000

• We’re still nine months away from the centennial of Mickey Spillane’s birth (March 9, 2018). But his friend and fellow crime-fictionist, Max Allan Collins—who’s spent the last decade, ever since Spillane succumbed in 2006, editing and finishing work he left behind—is already looking at ways to celebrate this occasion. It seems he’s been holding back some of Spillane’s most interesting unpublished material, with the intention of releasing it in association with what would’ve been The Mick’s 100th birthday. As he explains in his blog, these hidden riches include an adventure yarn titled The Last Stand and another book, Killing Town. Collins says the latter “represents Mickey’s first go at doing Mike Hammer, probably circa 1945 … predating I, the Jury. I will tell more of the story behind it later, but it’s a novel that takes place in an industrial town in upstate New York with Mike Hammer running a dangerous errand for an army buddy. It could not be more typically vintage Spillane in tone and approach.”• Sink your fangs into this! With a premiere date for Season 5 of Sherlock so far uncertain (and probably not to be expected anytime soon), that program’s creative team of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat are turning to another Victorian-era work of fiction for inspiration: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Variety says, “Work on the new series has yet to begin in earnest, as Gatiss and Moffat are currently working on solo projects. But talks are already underway with the BBC—which enjoyed huge success with Sherlock—on broadcast rights in the UK. Dracula will adopt the same format as Sherlock, with a miniseries run of feature-length episodes.”• Among the best elements of Mystery Scene’s Summer 2017 issue are: Jake Hinkson’s profile of film-noir authority Eddie Muller; Craig Sisterson’s study of Michael Connelly’s new protagonist, Renée Ballard (The Late Show); Tom Nolan’s look at the socially relevant work of Denise Mina; and Kevin Burton Smith’s feature on gumshoe yarns bearing locked-room mystery components.• During the Western Writers of America Conference, held last week in Kansas City, Missouri, it was announced that Carol Potenza’s as-yet-unpublished Hearts of the Missing has won the 2017 Tony Hillerman Prize for best first mystery novel. As part of her award, Potenza—presently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at New Mexico State University—will receive a publishing contract from Minotaur Books, which has already slated Hearts of the Missing for a fall 2018 release. Previous Hillerman Prize beneficiaries include John Fortunato (Dark Reservations), C.B. McKenzie (Bad Country), and Andrew Hunt (City of Saints).• Author Ilene Schneider (that’s Rabbi Ilene Schneider to you) has captured the 2017 David Award for her novel Yom Killer (Aakenbaaken & Kent). Named in memory of David G. Sasher Sr., this commendation is given out annually by organizers of the Deadly Ink conference, which took place this last June 16 to 18 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Also nominated for the David Award were: Blonde Ice, by R.G. Belsky (Atria); Written Off, by E. J. Copperman (Crooked Lane); Death of a Toy Soldier, by Barbara Early (Crooked Lane); and Seconds to Live, by Melinda Leigh (Montlake Romance).• There will be more to read here later this week about Martin Edwards’ The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, as The Rap Sheet takes part in a blog tour for that new volume of non-fiction. Meanwhile, though, Cross-Examining Crime offers this review of the work, which includes a list of lesser-known yarns Edwards cites by way of examining “100 books which have something to say about the journey crime fiction took in the first half of the 20th century.”• In my previous “Bullet Points” post, I cited two publications producing selections of the “Best Books of 2017 … So Far.” Now comes another such rundown, this one from Mystery Tribune. Among its 20 picks: Lisa Gardner’s Right Behind You, Philip Kerr’s Prussian Blue, Peter Hel[...]

Arrested Development

Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:11:00 +0000

After hitting it big with its 1960s-set police drama, Endeavour, a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse, British broadcaster ITV decided to try mining the history of yet another familiar small-screen sleuth, London Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, who was played so memorably by Helen Mirren throughout the 1991-2006 procedural series Prime Suspect. The resulting program, titled Prime Suspect: Tennison and starring 20-something actress Stefanie Martini, is scheduled to begin a three-episode run tonight as part of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! lineup, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.Wikipedia summarizes this series—“which is set primarily in Hackney”—by saying that it “portrays a young Jane Tennison … as she begins her career as a WPC [Woman Police Constable] with the Metropolitan Police Service in 1973. The series is set at a time when women were beginning to be gradually integrated into the police force. In a workplace dominated by chauvinistic male police officers, Tennison assists in the investigation of the murder of a young prostitute. Tennison has to deal with sexism, as well as difficulties in her home life as her family disapprove of her career choice.”The story is based on Tennison, a 2015 novel by Lynda La Plante, who created the original Prime Suspect. Unfortunately, ITV’s hope that La Plante would also script its prequel drama fell through as a result of “creative differences” between the author and the television producers. That unhappy twist might now be portrayed as a forewarning of further troubles. While Prime Suspect: Tennison (called Prime Suspect 1973 in the UK) has won plaudits from some critics for its portrayal of “the dingy 1970s London milieu” and for dutifully sourcing the woes (rage, loneliness, hard drinking) that will bedevil Tennison as she rises through the ranks, others have been far less generous. When it was broadcast this last spring in Great Britain, The Guardian knocked this drama’s sometimes clunky dialogue and its cast of characters, which it called “mere ciphers compared with their counterparts” in Mirren’s Prime Suspect. More recently, The New York Times denounced replacement screenwriter Glen Laker’s decision to make “Tennison’s crime-solving instincts … consistently infallible” and “the script’s narrow focus on prequelizing. It doesn’t have any ideas beyond establishing the endemic sexism Tennison will still be facing 20 years on, and connecting dots to her later alcoholism (in three different scenes) and bad decisions about sex.” Meanwhile, Salon’s Melanie McFarland disparaged this program’s emphasis on the criminal case at hand rather than Tennison’s character. “Because of this,” she wrote, “little is illuminated about Jane Tennison’s early years, effectively negating its value as a prequel.”Even in the face of such carping, ITV insists in a statement that it is “grateful to Lynda La Plante for allowing us to adapt her brilliant book Tennison, and we were very happy with how Prime Suspect 1973 performed and the audience reaction to the series.” Yet the network announced last month that it would deny the show a second season. The existing episodes—six as shown in the UK, but three 90-minute installments in the U.S.—are all that viewers will be able to enjoy. People who want to learn more about Jane Tennison’s early years will have to search out La Plante’s novels. Since 2015’s Tennison, she has composed two sequels: Hidden Killers (2016) and Good Friday (to be released this August in the UK by Zaffre).Prime Suspect: Tennison will continue as part of Masterpiece Mystery! through the next two Sundays, July 2 and 9, following fresh installments of Grantchester. Watch a video trailer for the series here. [...]

The Book You Have to Read: “Beverly Gray in the Orient,” by Clair Blank

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:41:00 +0000

(Editor’s note: This is the 148th entry in The Rap Sheet’s continuing series about great but forgotten books. Today’s contribution comes from mystery and suspense author Carmen Amato, who writes the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco [and optioned for television]; Pacific Reaper—released in April—is the newest book in that series. Emilia Cruz is the first female detective on the Acapulco police force, confronting Mexico’s drug cartels and legendary government corruption. Amato, originally from New York, pens books that draw on her experience living in Mexico and Central America, as well as her various travels around the globe. Learn more by visiting her Web site or following her on Twitter @CarmenConnects.)It’s 1937.She’s an investigative reporter for the New York Tribune.She lives in New York City with her three best friends.She has “a knack of attracting adventure and a flair for solving mysteries.”Her name is Beverly Gray, and every girl wants to be her.Including me.Over the course of 26 novels published between 1934 and 1955, girls from all over the United States thrilled to Beverly Gray’s adventures, first as a freshman at Vernon College (a thinly disguised Bryn Mawr) and then as an intrepid reporter, novelist, and playwright. Written by Clair Blank, the pen name of Pennsylvania native Clarissa Mabel Blank Moyer (1915-1965), the Beverly Gray series galloped across the globe as Beverly and friends clashed with villains, exposed imposters, escaped kidnappings, and inherited cursed castles and haunted ranches.In Beverly Gray in the Orient (1937), the dark-haired and indomitable Beverly cruises her way through danger in India and China. Blank grouped novels within her series, making Orient the seventh book in the sequence but also the second of three set aboard the yacht Susabella. Beverly and her roommates Lenora, Shirley, and Lois—all Vernon alumni and members of the Alpha Delta sorority—are guests of yacht owner Roger Garrett. Three male friends and Roger’s aunt Miss Ernwood, their chaperone, complete the travel group.The Susabella first visited England in the preceding, 1936 novel, Beverly Gray on a World Cruise, in which another of our heroine’s touring companions, Jim Stanton, found half of a treasure map. A bogus bit of European royalty, Count Alexis, proved he would do anything to get his hands on it. A mystery man named Black Barney had possession of the map’s other half.Now, as the Susabella continues her voyage, Blank delivers another dose of her signature blend of dreamy descriptions, realistic dialogue, and campy drama. First, Beverly chases off stowaway Count Alexis with a jar of cold cream. He escapes. The yacht arrives in India. In Bombay, Beverly meets up with Larry Owens, a “government agent” boasting “reckless blue eyes and [an] engaging grin.”Wanting to experience all that India has to offer, Beverly and friends take a river boat ride. In an authentic and terrifying scene, the craft sinks. Beverly is plunged into a watery vortex of panicked people and thrashing cattle. She survives, only to then be chased through the jungle by a tiger. Luckily, she finds a famous American explorer’s camp and is reunited with her friends aboard the Susabella.Count Alexis then abducts Beverly and Jim as they buy souvenirs. But in another stroke of luck, the Count’s driver recognizes Beverly from a previous encounter in New York. Rescued again!The Susabella proceeds to Hong Kong and Canton, China. Pirates attack and hijack Beverly and Shirley. The two women are thrown into a Chinese junk and taken to a pirate camp. Who is the leader of these pirates? Why, the elusive Black Barney.Sporting a convincing disguise, agent Larry Owens has infiltrated the gang. For the next 40 pages, Beverly and Shirley spy on their captors and in the course of it discover that Count Alexis and Black Barney are in cahoots. After Beverly surreptitiously traces Black Barney’s half of the treasure map, Larry steals the Chinese ju[...]

Revue of Reviewers, 6-20-17

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 16:20:00 +0000

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more. [...]

Up with Scottish Crime

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:03:00 +0000

In advance of this year’s Bloody Scotland conference (to be held in Stirling, Scotland, from September 8 to 10), its organizers have announcedtheir longlist of nominees for the 2017 McIlvanney Prize. Formerly known as the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award, this coveted annual accolade was renamed last year in honor of the late author William McIlvanney. The contenders are:

None But the Dead, by Lin Anderson (Macmillan)
Want You Gone, by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
Cold Earth, by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan)
Perfect Remains, by Helen Fields (HarperCollins)
Out of Bounds, by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
Cross Purpose, by Claire MacLeary (Contraband)
The Long Drop, by Denise Mina (Random House)
Games People Play, by Owen Mullen (Bloodhound)
Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin (Orion)
Murderabilia, by Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid, by Craig Russell (Quercus)
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People, by Jay Stringer
(Thomas & Mercer)

Opening night festivities at Bloody Scotland, on September 8, will include the presentation of the 2017 McIlvanney Prize. That commendation comes with a £1,000 cash reward, plus nationwide promotion at Waterstones book retailers.

Previous recipients of this award for “excellence in Scottish crime writing” are Chris Brookmyre (Black Widow), Craig Russell (The Ghosts of Altona), Peter May (Entry Island), Malcolm Mackay (How a Gunman Says Goodbye), and Charles Cumming (A Foreign Country).

Hannah Takes the Dagger

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:17:00 +0000

British probation officer-turned-author Mari Hannah, perhaps best known for her Kate Daniels series of police procedurals, has won the 2017 Dagger in the Library. The prize is sponsored by the Crime Writers’ Association and celebrates “a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire.”

“To receive the Dagger in the Library is an honour so early in my career,” Hannah says in a statement posted on her Web site. “It means so much because, in the early stages, it was librarians and readers who voted me onto the longlist. I grew up in a home that had few books. Libraries were very important to me. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank librarians and their amazing staff for all the support they have given me.” Hannah received her Dagger during a reception at the British Library this last Saturday, June 17.

The longlist of this year’s Dagger in the Library nominees,
announced in early May, also featured Andrew Taylor, C.J. Sansom, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, and Tana French.

(Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.)

Latest Lammys Lineup

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:22:00 +0000

Whoops! We apparently missed spotting the announcement last week of which books and authors had won the 2016 Lambda Literary Awards—aka the Lammys—in 24 categories. The Lammys honor “excellence in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender books.”

You can find all of the prize recipients listed here. But as far as Rap Sheet readers go, there are two categories that might be of greatest interest: Speakers of the Dead, by J. Aaron Sanders (Plume), picked up the prize for Best Gay Mystery, while Pathogen, by Jessica L. Webb (Bold Strokes), walked away with the commendation for Best Lesbian Mystery. Click here to find all the nominees in both of those fields.

(Hat tip to Omnivoracious.)

A Quaint Community’s Star Turn

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:31:00 +0000

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="346" src="" width="420">Editor’s note: In anticipation of the third season debut of Grantchester—to be broadcast on PBS-TV’s Masterpiece this coming Sunday, June 18—a British public relations and marketing company called Quite Great! sent The Rap Sheet a rather charming, seven-minute video excursion through the real Cambridgeshire village used as the backdrop for that 1950s-set ITV series based on James Runcie’s books. The video, embedded above, is hosted by UK pop-rock singer Corinna Jane. It came with the following short write-up:This month brings the start of the latest series of the popular crime drama Grantchester. But what do we really know about the more than 900-year-old village that has become the stomping ground of a “crime-fighting” vicar, played by James Norton, and a war veteran turned police detective, brought to small-screen life by Robson Green?Well, Grantchester lies just a mile outside the university city of Cambridge, in eastern England, and plays host to a number of famous pastimes that contribute to its quintessential Englishness. These include a Boxing Day barrel race that brings all the local pubs together for a tradition dating back to the 1960s (and ends in a hog roast!).The village has been home to such noteworthy wordsmiths as Rupert Brooke, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf and Jeffrey Archer, and it’s said to boast the world’s highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners.To further accentuate its charm, Grantchester is home to some of the county’s most distinguished sites, which have become central to the television show’s story lines. For instance, The Orchard—tea rooms where Cambridge students were first served their traditional afternoon warmers in 1897—became a central hub for the program’s writers, as they would ride bicycles to that spot from Cambridge train station.The most romanticized and sought-after local spot, spreading itself across the marshlands of the village, is the Meadows. In the show you will often see Reverend Sidney Chambers peddling past it along the banks of the River Cam, which when the sun shines is a hotbed for punts, picnics, and swimmers. Over the decades the Meadows has not only drawn the eyes of numerous photographers, but has also inspired poetry and musical works (the latter of which include Pink Floyd’s 1969 song, appropriately titled “Grantchester Meadows.”)However, the village’s most famous attraction may be the Church of St. Mary and St. Andrew. That imposing High Street structure, part of which dates from the 14th century, features heavily in the series and does a fairly good job of summing up Grantchester as a village happy to embrace the present, but still blissfully pinned to its past. * * * The new, third season of Grantchester comprises seven hour-long episodes, which will run under the Masterpiece banner through Sunday, July 30. Episode information and previews can be found here. Grantchester begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT. [...]

All in the Family

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:19:00 +0000

Just in time for Father’s Day this coming Sunday, blogger Janet Rudolph brings back her list of crime and mystery novels featuring “Father’s Day, Fathers & Sons, [and] Fathers & Daughters.”

Bullet Points: Back in the Game Edition

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 22:04:00 +0000

Sorry for the hiatus, but my computer required a major system upgrade … and I needed a few days without the responsibilities of news gathering. So I wasn’t pushing my technology folks overmuch to get the job done. But now that things seem to be back to normal, let me highlight a few crime fiction-related developments.• I was still offline when blogger Evan Lewis posted the 18th and concluding chapter of the 1946 comic-book adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. So I couldn’t draw attention to it until now. If you missed any part of that comic, you can enjoy “the whole shebang” right here. Thanks, Even, for this rare treat.• Here’s something I didn’t know: Famous stage, screen, and radio actor John Barrymore (aka the “greatest living American tragedian”) was originally slated to play San Francisco private detective Sam Spade in the first, 1931 motion-picture adaptation of The Maltese Falcon. Blogger Steven Thompson says Warner Bros. “purchased the then recent Dashiell Hammett story as a vehicle for Barrymore.” Apparently, though, negotiations fell apart when it was announced that former child star Bebe Daniels, one of Warner’s contract players, had been signed as the female lead, and that hers “was actually a bigger part” than the screenplay gave Spade. Barrymore’s retreat from the project left room for Ricardo Cortez to step into his gumshoes, instead.• If you haven’t watched it already, click here to find the first official trailer promoting this year’s movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1934 whodunit Murder on the Orient Express. Starring a bizarrely mustachioed Kenneth Branagh as brilliant Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, and also featuring fine performers such as Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Derek Jacobi, the film is set to debut in theaters nationwide this coming November 10.• By the way, which poster do you prefer? The one on the left, touting the 1974 Orient Express (with art by Richard Amsel), or the one displayed on the right, from Branagh’s forthcoming version? Click on either image for an enlargement.• In Publishers Weekly, Elizabeth Foxwell interviews Joan Hess, who completed the last Amelia Peabody historical mystery left behind when her fellow author, Elizabeth Peters (otherwise known as Barbara Mertz), died in 2013. Hess says her biggest challenge in composing The Painted Queen—which is due out from Morrow in July—“was attempting to capture the subtlety of the somewhat stilted language of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Contractions—how I missed them!”• From B.V. Lawson’s In Reference to Murder:The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today’s romantic suspense. Presented annually by the RWA [Romance Writers of America] Kiss of Death organization, this year’s Daphne finalists were named in the category of Mainstream Mystery/Suspense and various Romantic Suspense categories. Finalists in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category include Notorious by Carey Baldwin; Death Among the Doilies (A Cora Crafts Mystery) by Mollie Cox Bryan; Elegy in Scarlet by B.V. Lawson; Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan; and In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White. For all the finalists (including those both unpublished and published divisions), follow this link.• On the heels of The Rap Sheet publishing its much longer rundown of summer crime, mystery, and thriller releases, the podcast Writer Types is out with a new episode focusing in part on what works fans of this genre should sample over the next three sunnier months. (If you think you’re too busy to listen to the episode, a list of the recommendations can be found here.) B[...]

Kiwi Competitors

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 14:28:00 +0000

Via a New Zealand news and culture Web site called The Spinoff, we now have the longlist of nominees for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. The site explains that “Two of the ten longlisted books are by the same prolific author, Finn Bell. None of the past winners are in the running this year. In fact, of the 19 different authors who’ve been finalists in the first few years, only one—Ben Sanders—is a 2017 contender.” Here’s the full lineup:

Dead Lemons, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Pancake Money, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Spare Me the Truth, by C.J. Carver (Bonnie Zaffre)
Red Herring, by Jonothan Cullinane (HarperCollins)
The Revelations of Carey Ravine, by Debra Daley (Quercus)
The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton, by Katherine Hayton (Katherine Hayton)
Presumed Guilty, by Mark McGinn (Merlot)
Marshall’s Law, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
A Straits Settlement, by Brian Stoddart (Crime Wave Press)
The Last Time We Spoke, by Fiona Sussman (Allison & Busby)

The Spinoff post provides brief plot descriptions of each book. It adds that “The longlist is currently being considered by a panel of seven crime-fiction experts from five countries. The finalists will be announced in August, along with the finalists for the best first novel and best true-crime categories. The winners will be announced at a WORD Christchurch event in October.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s contestants!

Recess Time

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Due to the need for a computer system overhaul and upgrade, The Rap Sheet will be offline for the next several days. I hope to be up and running again soon. Thanks as always for your support.

Summer Reading Forecast: Sunny with a Probability of Homicide

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 22:33:00 +0000

Stop me if you’ve heard this story before (I don’t think I have told it in print), but for most of my adult life I thought my younger brother, Matt, didn’t read books. Needless to say, this was rather frustrating to me, as I’d devoted a significant portion of my professional career to reviewing and writing books. Matt and I had been reared in the same household, with parents who read widely and bookcases plentifully stocked with volumes of fiction and non-fiction. There seemed to be no reason he should have dodged the reading bug that so infected me. Yet the shelves in his various apartments over the years, and later in his house, were sparsely occupied, and what works they did contain (including a copy of Donald Trump’s ghostwritten 1987 memoir, The Art of the Deal) hardly suggested a mind ripe for intellectual or imaginative explorations.Then came a Christmas when I was stumped for gift ideas. I finally decided to break my self-imposed prohibition against giving Matt books (thinking he would never crack them open), and presented him with a colorfully wrapped-and-bowed novel. Wonder of wonders, a couple of weeks later he phoned to say how much he’d enjoyed the story. I could hardly believe my ears! Not wanting to jinx anything, I didn’t make a big to-do of this development, but I did ask him what it was about the book he’d most enjoyed. Armed with that scant information, when his next birthday rolled around, I bought him two books—and again, he polished them off in short order. Since then, I have made it a life’s mission to fill my brother Matt’s bookcases (he now has more than one) with novels I’ve read and enjoyed. In return, he calls me periodically with playful complaints about having had to postpone chores, get-togethers with friends, and other activities in order to finish a chapter or two of whatever he’s reading.What I have realized over time is that Matt wasn’t averse to reading; he was just wary of choosing his own books, not wanting to fork over money for something he wasn’t guaranteed to enjoy. He needed a quality-control expert, and that’s what I have become—enthusiastically, I should say. He seems to trust my opinion as regards fiction (I still haven’t persuaded him to delve much into non-fiction), and will now tackle pretty much any book … provided I give it my approval beforehand.I can understand why people have trouble settling on what to read next, if only because there are so many choices. Despite concerns that escalating printing costs and the burgeoning of e-books would kill off novels in print, there are still hundreds of thousands of bound literary and genre works put into circulation every year in the United States. During just the next three months of summer, for instance, Americans can look forward to the appearance of new creations by Don Winslow (The Force), Joseph Kanon (Defectors), Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders), Laurie R. King (Lockdown), Donald E. Westlake (Forever and a Death), Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun), Benjamin Black (Wolf on a String), Ruth Ware (The Lying Game), Michael Connelly (The Late Show), Julia Keller (Fast Falls the Night), Bill Crider (Dead, to Begin With), Andrew Gross (The Saboteur), Peter Robinson (Sleeping in the Ground), and Daniel Silva (House of Spies). Residents of the UK, meanwhile, can expect to witness the debuts of David Hewson’s Sleep Baby Sleep, Abir Mukherjee’s A Necessary Evil, Kristina Ohlsson’s Buried Lies, Deon Meyer’s Fever, Stephen Booth’s Dead in the Dark, Nicci French’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, Andrew Martin’s Soot, Fred Vargas’ The Accordionist, and Peter Høeg’s The Susan Effect.Below, are listed more than 370 works—scheduled to reach bookshops on both sides[...]

The Strip Loses Another Leading Light

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 22:49:00 +0000

Good grief, haven’t we already had enough deaths lately within the crime-fiction community? Author William Hjortsberg, actors Powers Boothe and Roger Moore, and now this from Variety:
Roger Smith, who starred in the [ABC-TV] series 77 Sunset Strip and was married to actress Ann-Margret, died Sunday in Sherman Oaks. He was 84.

The handsome leading man retired from acting after being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 1980. After that, he managed his wife’s career and produced several of her TV specials. The couple had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 8.

77 Sunset Strip, Smith played detective Jeff Spencer,
who partnered with Efrem Zimbalist Jr. … The show ran from 1958 to 1964, though Smith left in 1963. His Spencer character made appearances on other detective shows of the period, including
Surfside 6 and Hawaiian Eye.
About 77 Sunset Strip, USA Today adds:
Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the series aimed to show that private investigators were well-trained, serious men, and not the movie and TV stereotype with “dangling cigarettes and large chips on their shoulders.” He was chosen for the part because “I don’t look like a detective.”
The New York Times offers still more on Smith’s career here.

Revue of Reviewers, 6-5-17

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 01:22:00 +0000

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more. [...]

Hit on a Hit Man

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 16:32:00 +0000

This is an unfortunate turn. From In Reference to Murder:
Cinemax has canceled the crime series Quarry after one season. Co-creator Michael D. Fuller announced the news on Wednesday in a blog post entitled “Goodbye Cruel World.” Fuller co-created the show (along with Graham Gordy) that’s based on the novel series by Max Allan Collins and follows a Marine who returns home from Vietnam in 1972 and is drawn into a string of nefarious actions in his hometown of Memphis.
You can read more about all of this here.

READ MORE:A Cancellation, a Nomination, and an Anniversary,”
by Max Allan Collins.

Picking the Pinckley Pair

Sun, 04 Jun 2017 17:37:00 +0000

From The Gumshoe Site comes word that Louise Penny has won the 2017 Pinckley Prize for Distinguished Body of Work. Penny—whose latest Armand Gamache novel, Glass Houses, is due out from Minotaur Books in late August—is the first Canadian crime fictionist to receive this award. The Pinckley Prize was established in 2011 by the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Meanwhile, Atlanta, Georgia’s Trudy Nan Boyce has been declared the winner of the Pinckley Prize for Debut Novel. This commendation celebrates Boyce’s 2016 police procedural, Out of the Blues (Putnam), which a Pinckley news release says is “the beginning of a series featuring Detective Sara Alt, or ‘Salt.’”

Each author will be given a $2,500 cash award, “as well as a beautiful paper rosette fashioned from the pages of their books,” during a September 8 ceremony to be held at the Academy of the Sacred Heart/Nims Fine Arts Center in New Orleans.

Congratulations to both winners!

The Falcon Has Flown

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 19:17:00 +0000

Today marks the halfway point in blogger Evan Lewis’ roll-out of pages from the 1946 comic-book adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Click here to read the ninth of 18 chapters. And if you need to catch up with the earlier entries, you’ll find them here.

Eyes on the Eyes

Wed, 31 May 2017 23:42:00 +0000

I was just heading out the door for some much-needed afternoon exercise in the Seattle sunshine, when I noticed that Mystery Fanfare has posted the 2017 Shamus Award nominees. The Private Eye Writers of America will announce the winners during this coming fall’s Bouchercon in Toronto, Ontario.

Best Private Eye Novel:
Where It Hurts, by Reed Farrel Coleman (Putnam)
The Graveyard of the Hesperides, by Lindsey Davis (Minotaur)
Fields Where They Lay, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime)
With 6 You Get Wally, by Al Lamanda (Gale Cengage)
The Stardom Affair, by Robert S. Levinson (Five Star)

Best Original Private Eye Paperback:
The Detective and the Chinese High-Fin, by Michael Craven (HarperCollins)
Hold Me, Babe, by O’Neil De Noux (Big Kiss)
The Knife Slipped, by Erle Stanley Gardner (Hard Case Crime)
The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown, by Vaseem Khan (Red Hook)
My Bad, by Manuel Ramos (Arte Publico Press)

Best First Private Eye Novel:
Fever City, by Tim Baker (Europa Editions)
IQ, by Joe Ide (Little, Brown)
Deep Six, by D.P. Lyle (Oceanview)
The Second Girl, by David Swinson (Little, Brown)
Soho Sins, by Richard Vine (Hard Case Crime)

Best Private Eye Short Story:
“Keller’s Fedora,” by Lawrence Block (LB Productions e-book)
“A Battlefield Reunion,” by Brendan DuBois (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2016)
“Stairway from Heaven,” by Ake Edwardson (from Stockholm Noir, edited by Nathan Larson and Carl-Michael Edenborg; Akashic)
“A Dangerous Cat,” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2016)
“Archie on Loan,” by Dave Zeltserman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September-October 2016)

Congratulations to all of the nominees (and that includes the very late Mr. Gardner, aka A.A. Fair)!

“This May Very Well Be the Beginning of the End for Earth as We Know It”

Tue, 30 May 2017 15:40:00 +0000

(Editor’s note: This review is submitted in association with Todd Mason’s Tuesday series of blog posts about “overlooked films and/or other A/V.” You’ll find more of this week’s picks here.) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="346" src="" width="420">A brief, weird trailer for “L.A. 2017.”Pretty much everyone nowadays is quite familiar with movie director-producer Steven Spielberg. But when he initially embarked on a Hollywood career during Richard Nixon’s scandalized presidency—years before he made Jaws (1975) or Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) or Schindler’s List (1993)—the Ohio-born Spielberg worked in television, a talented individual with scant name familiarity. He directed episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery, Marcus Welby, M.D., The Psychiatrist, Columbo, and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, in addition to a 1971 ABC-TV thriller film, Duel, that found McCloud’s Dennis Weaver being menaced by an aged oil tanker truck on a desolate stretch of California highway.Duel, however, was Spielberg’s second feature-length small-screen production. The first was a 90-minute episode of The Name of the Game, a 1968-1971 NBC mystery/adventure “wheel series” that focused on reporters and others employed by a Los Angeles-based magazine enterprise called Howard Publications, the urbane head of which was Glenn Howard, played by Gene Barry. The third-season installment of that series entrusted to Spielberg’s direction was titled “L.A. 2017.” It was a cautionary environmental-disaster tale, set in the not-too-distant future—2017, in fact, our present time—and scripted by Philip Wylie (1902-1971), a rather controversial author of science-fiction and mystery stories, who may be best remembered today for his novels When Worlds Collide (1933) and The Disappearance (1951). While The Name of the Game was famous for being “the most expensive television program in history” (up to that point), with a per-episode budget of $400,000, Spielberg is said to have shot “L.A. 2017” for a comparatively economical $375,000.“L.A. 2017” (which you can watch here, in six parts) was originally broadcast on January 15, 1971. It begins on a sunny California afternoon, with publisher Howard driving back to the City of Angels from the Sierra Pines Conference on Ecology, while at the same time dictating a memo about that gathering into a cassette tape recorder, the transcription of which is to be delivered to the president of the United States. Howard contends in the course of his spoken observations that the world’s natural resources are at a decisive tipping point, and that unless concerted political and economic leadership on environmental protections is exercised soon, “this may very well be the beginning of the end for Earth as we know it.” It may also mark the end of Howard, for as he wheels his sedan down a twisting mountain road, he grows sleepy and eventually loses consciousness, his car careening off the pavement.When Howard next awakens, it’s to the sight of a pair of men in air masks knocking on his window. Outside, things appear gloomy and unwelcoming, and his two rescuers immediately fit him with an oxygen unit of his own. He’s carried to an emergency van and taken into a complex of industrial tunnels that turn out to be at the edge of what remains of Los Angeles. Doctors there determine that his health is fine. Yet he has somehow been transported ([...]

Coming Up “Shorty”

Mon, 29 May 2017 19:44:00 +0000

Well, this sounds promising. From In Reference to Murder:
Epix has released the first trailer for Get Shorty, its 10-episode original series that is a reimagining of Elmore Leonard’s 1990 bestselling thriller comedy novel (previously adapted into the 1995 feature film starring John Travolta, Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman and Rene Russo). Get Shorty follows Miles Daly (Chris O’Dowd), a hit man from Nevada who tries to become a movie producer in Hollywood where he meets Rick Moreweather (Ray Romano), a washed-up producer of low-quality films who is desperately hanging on to the rungs of Hollywood relevancy and begrudgingly becomes Miles’ partner and guide through the maze of show business.
Watch the trailer here.

Search for Identity

Mon, 29 May 2017 16:36:00 +0000

Here’s an occasion I surely would have forgotten, had it not been for this note on the Web site Television Obscurities:
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Coronet Blue. The short-lived CBS drama premiered on May 29th, 1967—nearly two years after it went into production. Frank Converse starred as an amnesiac searching for his identity. The only thing he can remember is the phrase “coronet blue,” but he doesn’t know what it means. Taking the name Michael Alden, the man embarks on a journey filled with danger and intrigue.
You can learn much more about this show by clicking here. The opening title sequence from Coronet Blue can be enjoyed here.

By the way, actor Frank Converse—who would go on from Coronet Blue to co-star with Jack Warden in N.Y.P.D. (1967-1969) and then with Claude Akins in the 1974-1976 trucker drama Movin’ On—just celebrated his 79th birthday on May 22.

READ MORE:Sixties Spy Show Coronet Blue Coming to DVD at Last,” by Matthew Bradford, aka Tanner (Double O Section).

Revue of Reviewers, 5-27-17

Sun, 28 May 2017 02:10:00 +0000

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more. [...]

A Different Spin on Spade

Sat, 27 May 2017 16:26:00 +0000

Today marks the 123rd anniversary of author Dashiell Hammett’s birth in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. (He died back in 1961.) So it’s a perfect time to remind everyone that, as I reported previously, blogger Evan Lewis is posting all 18 chapters—one per day—of the 1946 comic-book adaptation of Hammett’s only Sam Spade private-eye novel, The Maltese Falcon. The opening section and a bit about Lewis’ history with this magazine can be found here; Chapter 2 is here.

Keep up with the whole series here.

Cheered in Canada

Fri, 26 May 2017 17:41:00 +0000

During a ceremony held last evening in Toronto, Ontario, the Crime Writers of Canada announced the winners of its 2017 Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.Best Novel: The Fortunate Brother, by Donna Morrissey (Viking Canada)Also nominated: City of the Lost, by Kelley Armstrong (Penguin Random House of Canada): After James, by Michael Helm (McClelland & Stewart); Dead Ground in Between, by Maureen Jennings (McClelland & Stewart); and Wishful Seeing, by Janet Kellough (Dundurn Press)Best First Novel: Strange Things Done, by Elle Wild (Dundurn Press)Also nominated: Rum Luck, by Ryan Aldred (Five Star); Cold Girl, by R.M. Greenaway (Dundurn Press); Where the Bodies Lie, by Mark Lisac (NeWest Press); and Still Mine, by Amy Stuart (Simon & Schuster Canada)Best Novella — The Lou Allin Memorial Award: Rundown, by Rick Blechta (Orca)Also nominated: No Trace, by Brenda Chapman (Grass Roots Press); “The Devil You Know,” by Jas. R. Petrin (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, March 2016); When Blood Lies, by Linda L. Richards (Orca); and “The Village That Lost Its Head,” by Peter Robinson (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], September/October 2016)Best Short Story: “A Death at the Parsonage,” by Susan Daly (from The Whole She-Bang 3, edited by Janet Costello; Toronto Sisters in Crime)Also nominated: “Steve’s Story,” by Cathy Ace (from The Whole She-Bang 3); “Where There’s a Will,” by Elizabeth Hosang (from The Whole She-Bang 3); “The Ascent,” by Scott Mackay (EQMM, August 2016); and “The Granite Kitchen,” by David Morrell (EQMM, July 2016)Best Book in French: Red Light: Adieu, Mignonne, by Marie-Eve Bourassa (VLB éditeur)Also nominated: Vrai ou faux, by Chrystine Brouillet (Éditions Druide); Terreur domestique, by Guillaume Morrissette (Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur); Rinzen et l’homme perdu, by Johanne Seymour (Libre Expression); and Le Blues des sacrifiés, by Richard Ste-Marie (Éditions Alire)Best Juvenile/Young Adult Book: Masterminds: Criminal Destiny, by Gordon Korman (Harper Collins)Also nominated: Trial by Fire, by Nora McClintock (Orca); The Girl in a Coma, by John Moss (The Poisoned Pencil/Poisoned Pen Press); Shooter, by Caroline Pignat (Tundra); and Another Me, by Eva Wiseman (Tundra)Best Non-fiction Book: A Daughter’s Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story, by Jeremy Grimaldi (Dundurn Press)Also nominated: Life Sentence: Stories from Four Decades of Court Reporting — or, How I Fell Out of Love with the Canadian Justice System, by Christie Blatchford (Doubleday Canada); The Ballad of Danny Wolfe: Life of a Modern Outlaw, by Joe Friesen (Signal/McClelland & Stewart); Black River Road: An Unthinkable Crime, an Unlikely Suspect, and the Question of Character, by Debra Komar (Goose Lane); and Shadow of Doubt: The Trial of Dennis Oland, by Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon (Goose Lane)Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel: The Golkonda Project, by S.J. JenningsAlso nominated: An Absence of Empathy, by Mary Fernando; Concrete Becomes Her, by Charlotte Morganti; Celtic Knot, by Ann Shortell; and The Last Dragon, by Mark ThomasIn addition, the 2017 Derrick Murdoch Award goes to Christina Jennings, founder, chairman, and CEO of Shaftesbury Films.(Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.) [...]