Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018


BunrattyCastlefarmhouse copy

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the list of 33 Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018 that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)


Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness

Maeve Binchy:  “A Week in Winter

S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked

Steve Cavanagh: “The Plea

Sheila Connolly: "Many a Twist"

Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds

Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans

Frank Delaney: "Shannon"

Nelson Demille: “Cathedral”

Tana French: “Broken Harbor

Patricia Gligor: "Marnie Malone"

Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major

Andrew Greeley: “Irish Tweed”

Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly

Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle

Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick's Day Murder

Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen

Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying

Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed

Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night

Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out

Brian McGilloway: “Little Girl Lost

Ralph M. McInerny: “Lack of the Irish”

Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick's Day Murder

Stuart Neville: "Ghosts of Belfast”

Carlene O'Connor: "Murder in an Irish Churchyard"

Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”

Helen Page: "Equal of God"

Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House

Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick's Custody”

Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Practice

Peter Tremayne: “The Devil’s Seal”

Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2018 titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them!

Happy choosing and reading!


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Top Eleven Reviews – 2017


Book Cover - What She Knew

Tons of great books, soooo many talented authors, and oodles of dedicated booklovers, all combined to make 2017 a great year of reading entertainment. Whether discovering a new author, or returning to a tried and true favorite, the NBR community interest was over 30% greater than the previous most popular year.


Although not included in the 'Top Eleven Reviews – 2017' book list, the 2017 author profiles (Edith Maxwell, Liz Mugavero, Barbara Ross, Lynn C. Willis) were extremely popular and we’ll have more during 2018. Click on their names – links to books included.


Why Top Eleven? There is a debut magazine in the list, very well received by the NBR audience.  :-)


Listed in alphabetical order by author (except for the magazine and the ‘Killer Thrillers’), click on the links to read the reviews for the first time, or to enjoy them again.


“Black Cat Mystery Magazine” debut issue short mystery fiction


“Killer Thrillers for the Beach”  (seven thriller authors, ten titles)


“Cat About Town” by Cate Conte


“Grilled for Murder” by Maddie Day


“The 7th Canon” by Robert Dugoni


“I like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around” by Ann Garvin


“A Good Day to Buy” by Sherry Harris


“Dry Bones” by Craig Johnson


“What She Knew” by Gilly Macmillan


“Custom Baked Murder” by Liz Mugavero


“Relic” by Fiona Quinn


Many thanks everyone! May 2018 bring you lots of love and laughter, along with some thumpin’ great new reads.  :-)


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Goodreads Choice Awards – 2017





Most of the winners of major book awards are selected by members of the groups that give the award – much like the film industry’s Academy Awards are selected each year. Mystery writers vote on the major mystery awards; romance writers vote on the Rita Award, etc.




Goodreads, the popular readers/authors site, has a slightly different model for the Goodreads Choice Awards. During the year, readers chat about books they’re reading and make lists of their favorites for their friends and followers to see. They also rank books they’ve read with stars, indicating how much they liked (or disliked) the titles published that year. There are thousands of books listed on the site, with thousands of comments, giving anyone who’s interested a way to see how a book (published in the U.S. in English) is viewed by the Goodreads group. Amazon acquired Goodreads, so these reviews and stars probably have an impact on book sales.



During October each year, the Goodreads staff looks at the stats and does the math, then nominates 15 books for each of 20 categories that have an average rating of 3.5 stars or more.



The members of the Goodreads community vote in elimination rounds. They are allowed to vote in all twenty categories, giving a broader view of a book’s popularity. If you sign up to become a member of Goodreads, you can vote as well.



Opening round now closed  (voting on the selected 15 in each category, write-ins accepted) : Oct. 31st thru Nov. 5th




Semifinal Round now closed: Nov. 7th thru Nov. 12th  (voting on the original 15 along with the top 5 write-ins in each category – voters can change their minds about the original vote):



Final Round now closed: Nov. 14th thru Nov. 27th  (voting on final top 10 books in each category)


It's December 5th and the winners have been announced. Click on the links and see how close the voting in some categories was.



Here are the 2017 links for eight of the categories (once there, the other twelve categories are an easy click away):


Mystery & Thriller

Historical Fiction



Science Fiction


YA Fantasy & Science Fiction





The 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Liane Moriarty “Truly Madly Guilty”

Mystery & Thriller: Stephen King  “End of Watch”

Historical Fiction: Colson Whitehead “The Underground Railroad”

Fantasy: J.K. Rowling “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

Romance: Colleen Hoover  “It Ends With Us”

Science Fiction: Pierce Brown  “Morning Star”

Non-Fiction: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy Carter “Hamilton: The Revolution”

YA Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sarah J. Maas  “Court of Mist and Fury”



Did you read any of the winning choices from 2016? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comment section.



The 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman”

Mystery & Thriller:  Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”

Historical Fiction:  Kristin Hannah’s “The Nightingale”

Fantasy:  Neil Gaiman’s “Trigger Warning”

Romance:  Colleen Hoover’s “Confess”

Science Fiction: Pierce Brown’s “Golden Son”




The 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards went to:

Fiction: Rainbow Rowell's "Landline"

Mystery & Thriller:  Stephen King's "Mr. Mercedes" 

Historical Fiction:  Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See"

History & Biography:  Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra"

Romance:  Diana Gabaldon's "Written in My Own Heart's Blood"

Science Fiction:  Andy Weir's "The Martian"



The 12 additional categories include cookbooks, horror, non-fiction, children’s books and more.



It’s interesting to note that in 2013, 1,953,770 total votes were cast for the Goodreads Choice Awards.

The final tabulation for 2015 was 3,007,748 votes.

In 2016?  3,550,346 votes.    :-)

This year's final total was 3,887,698!


Happy reading! You're in for a treat.  :-)




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Scotland Crime Book of the Year – 2017



The Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award, now called The McIlvanney Prize, is given at Bloody Scotland, a premier conference for crime writers. Eligible authors must be born in Scotland, live there, or set their books there. The winner receives 1,000 pounds and the book is promoted for a year at Waterstone’s, a major book chain in the UK. This year The McIlvanney Prize was awarded on September 8th. The long list, chosen by an independent panel of readers, is below, with the five finalists noted with ‘*’. The winner was chosen by Susan Calman, Craig Sisterson, and Lee Randall.


The winner is indicated in red.

Lin Anderson – “None But the Dead”

Chris Brookmyre – “Want You Gone”

Ann Cleeves – “Cold Earth”

Helen Fields – “Perfect Remains”

*Val McDermid – “Out of Bounds”

Claire MacLeary – “Cross Purpose”

*Denise Mina – “The Long Drop”

Owen Mullen – “Games People Play”

Ian Rankin – “Rather Be the Devil”

*Craig Robertson – “Murderabilia”

*Craig Russell – “The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid”

*Jay Stringer – “How to Kill Friends & Implicate People”


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!  :-)


Previous winners are noted below:

2016: Chris Brookmyre – “Black Widow”

2015: Craig Russell – “The Ghosts of Altona”

2014: Peter May – “Entry Island”



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10 of the Best Books of the Past Year-2017 Update



…and the prize goes to…


Readers all over the world choose their next book based on the award winners announced by various organizations during the recent year. Here is a list of ten popular awards for recent novels in the adult category to receive applause and/or rave reviews from colleagues in the genre or from readers who loved the books.


Have you read any books on the list? If so, let us know what you enjoyed about them in the comment section. 


Agatha Award given to mystery writers, in 2016 best contemporary novel:

“A Great Reckoning” by Louise Penny


Bram Stoker Award for 2016 best in horror or dark fantasy:

“The Fisherman” by John Langan


Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction 2016:

“The Five Times I Met Myself” by James L. Rubart


Edgar Allen Poe Award awarded by Mystery Writers of America 2017:

“Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley


Goodreads Choice Awards chosen by readers 2016 (Fiction):

“Truly Madly Guilty” by Liane Moriarty


Hugo Awards awarded for the best Science Fiction or Fantasy 2017:

“The Obelisk Gate” by N.K. Jemisin


Macavity Award given to favorite 2016 mystery by Mystery Readers International:

“The Long and Faraway Gone” by Lou Berney


Man Booker Prize literary prize for best 2016 novel: 

“The Sellout” by Paul Beatty


National Book Award for fiction given to U.S. authors 2016:

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead


Nebula Awards presented by Science Fiction Writers for 2016 work:

“All the Birds in the Sky” by Charlie Jane Anders



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Killer Thrillers for the Beach – 2017


There are two kinds of Beach Reads:


  • Action-packed adventure/thrillers that rev up your blood pressure and provide stay-awake reading (killer thrillers)
  • Completely relaxing, low-key, fun mystery books that tweak your brain cells, but allow you to nod off on time

None of the killer thriller titles below are relaxing or low-key. I defy you to nod off while reading any of them. Charge your e-reader, ‘cause you won’t want to take a break – except maybe to eat. Or, you might want to eat while reading.   :-)

Warning: most deal with adult topics and/or contain sporadic adult language.

(Listed in alphabetical order by author)


"The 7th Canon" by Robert Dugoni

Book Cover - The 7th Canon - Robert Dugoni




Standalone. Priest accused of terrible crimes.
Read review here.




"The Trapped Girl"  by Robert Dugoni

Book Cover - The Trapped Girl



Engrossing entry in the Tracy Crosswhite series. Fascinating case. Twists and turns galore. Read my review here.







"The Fixer" by Joseph Finder

Book Cover - The Fixer



Set in Boston. What a premise!
Read review here.





"The Switch" by Joseph Finder

Book Cover - The Switch - Joseph Finder



Michael Tanner picks up the wrong laptop computer in the airport. After he finds out who the owner is, does he do the right thing? HA!!! Great story!






"Phantom Instinct"  by Meg Gardiner

Book Cover - Phantom Instinct - Meg Gardiner


Gardiner always delivers edgy, complex plots. The lead character should have her own series.
Read review here.





"UnSub"  by Meg Gardiner

Book Cover - UnSub - Meg Gardiner



Stay awake reading at its best. Serial killer topic. Keep the lights on!









"The Second Life of Nick Mason"  by Steve Hamilton

Book Cover - The Second Life of Nick Mason



Astonishing new series. Adult topics. Pages fly by.








"Orphan X"  by Gregg Hurwitz

Book Cover - Orphan X




Excellent read. Adult topics. Another page-turner.









"Signal"  by Patrick Lee

Book Cover - Signal



Where does the signal originate? Slam dunk great!
Read review here.






"The Heist"  by Daniel Silva

Book Cover - The Heist by Daniel Silva



Intriguing international art heist. Spies included.
Read review here.






If you have a favorite thriller not listed above, let us know in the comments below.  :-)  Happy reading the killer thrillers for the beach!




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Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards – 2017




Killer Nashville is one of the most popular conferences in the country for writers and readers and is held each year in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Established by writer and filmmaker Clay Stafford in 2006, the conference assists authors in the craft of mystery, thriller, suspense and crime fiction writing. Stafford and American Blackguard, Inc. also work to further various literacy programs throughout the year.


As a part of both encouraging and rewarding writers in their varied fields, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards are given to authors and their outstanding books published in the previous year. This year, the awards were presented on August 26th at the Killer Nashville Awards Banquet. The winners are indicated in red.
Take a look at the 2017 finalists for their 2016 titles:



• Michael Byars Lewis, “Veil of Deception”

• Gigi Pandian, “Michelangelo's Ghost”

• Randall Reneau, “The Medinandi License”

• Carrie Smith, “Forgotten City”



• Traci Andrighetti, “Amaretto Amber”

• Allen Eskens, “The Heavens May Fall”

• Pamela Fagan Hutchins, “Fighting for Anna”

• Peter James, “Love You Dead”

• Kelly Oliver, “Coyote”

• Howard Owen, “Grace”

• Twist Phelan, “Exit”

• L. A. Toth, “Dead Secrets”

• Robin Yocum, “A Brilliant Death”



• Christina Hoag, “Skin of Tattoos”

• Kathryn Lane, “Waking Up in Medellin”

• Ray Peden, “Prime Cut”

• Gay Yellen, “The Body Next Door”



• R.G. Belsky, “Blonde Ice”

• Diane Capri, “Blood Trails”

• Rodd Clark, “Ash and Cinders”

• Robert Dugoni, “The 7th Canon”

• J.A. Jance, “Clawback”

• Ward Larsen, “Assassin's Silence”

• Catherine Lea, “Child of the State”

• Pierre LeMaitre, “Blood Wedding”

• Jim Nesbitt, “The Last Second Chance”

• Lynn Sholes, “Brain Trust”



• P. A. De Voe, “Trapped”

• James Hannibal, “The Lost Property Office”

• Gabriela Naumnik, “Dream Crimes”

• Sheila Sobel, “Color Blind”

• Jane Suen, “Children of the Future”


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!  :-)

(Check out the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award 2017 nominees and winners for anthology, non-fiction, horror/fantasy, and for children at





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