Fiction

Macavity Awards – 2021

The Macavity Awards are nominated by members and friends of Mystery Readers International, and subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal. Normally presented at BoucherCon, the 2021 Macavity winners were announced prior to the virtual presentation in late August, due to Covid. BoucherCon New Orleans is being postponed until 2025.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red).

Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, the fabulous Janet Rudolph.

Best Novel 
“Before She Was Helen” by Caroline B. Cooney
“Blacktop Wasteland” by S.A. Cosby
“Blind Vigil” by Matt Coyle  
“All the Devils Are Here” by Louise Penny
“These Women” by Ivy Pochoda  
“When She Was Good” by Michael Robotham

 

Best First 
“Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line” by Deepa Anappara  
“Murder in Old Bombay” by Nev March  
“The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman  
“Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weider  
“Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel

 

Best Short Story 
“Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2020) 
“The Boy Detective & The Summer of ‘74” by Art Taylor (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2020) 
“Elysian Fields” by Gabriel Valjan (California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology, edited by Art Taylor; Wildside Press) 
“Dog Eat Dog” by Elaine Viets (The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, edited by Josh Pachter; Untreed Reads Publishing) 
“The Twenty-Five Year Engagement,” by James W. Ziskin (In League with Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon, edited by Laurie R. King; Pegasus Crime)

 

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 
“The Last Mrs. Summers” by Rhys Bowen  
“The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne” by Elsa Hart
“The Turning Tide” by Catriona McPherson
“Mortal Music” by Ann Parker  
“The Mimosa Tree Mystery” by Ovidia Yu
“Turn to Stone” by James Ziskin

Shamus Awards – 2021

The Private Eye Writers of America was founded in 1981 by Robert J. Randisi, who also created the Shamus Award. From the website: “A Private Eye is defined as a private citizen (not a member of the military, federal agency, or civic or state police force) who is paid to investigate crimes. A Private Investigator can be a traditional private eye, a TV or newspaper reporter, an insurance investigator, an employee of an investigative service or agency (think Pinkertons), or similar character.”  Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red)

 

BEST PI HARDCOVER
“What You Don’t See” by Tracy Clark
“Do No Harm” by Max Allan Collins
“Blind Vigil” by Matt Coyle
“House on Fire” by Joseph Finder
“And Now She’s Gone” by Rachel Howzell Hall

 

          BEST ORIGINAL PI PAPERBACK
          “Farewell Las Vegas” by Grant Bywaters
          “All Kinds of Ugly” by Ralph Dennis
          “Brittle Karma” by Richard Helms
          “Remember My Face” by John Lantigua
          “Damaged Goods” by Debbi Mack

 

 BEST PI SHORT STORY
 “A Dreamboat Gambol” by O’Neil De Noux in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
“Mustang Sally” by John M. Floyd in Black Cat Mystery Magazine
“Setting the Pick” by April Kelly in Mystery Weekly Magazine
“Show and Zeller” by Gordon Linzer in Black Cat Mystery Magazine
“Nashua River Floater” by Tom MacDonald in Coast to Coast Noir


BEST FIRST  PI NOVEL
 “Squatter’s Rights” by Kevin R. Doyle

 “Derailed” by Mary Keliikoa
 “I Know Where You Sleep” by Alan Orloff
 “The Missing American” by Kwei Quartey
 “Winter Counts” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Book List: The Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor

 

 

The Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor, delivers action that never stops. The highly successful twenty-one novels feature counterterrorism as the central theme, more topical with each new title.

 

Back in 2013, when I reviewed “Takedown,” Thor arranged for an entire year of “Thrills, Threats, and Thor.” He invited his fans to read each of the books (one a month) in order, starting in January, 2013, with the first, “The Lions of Lucerne.” Thor’s website has videos and extras about each of the books and of course, an opportunity to buy them.

 

Scot Harvath is well written, with depth and a sense of humanity despite the gravity of his tasks. We experience moments of his deep commitment and never question his patriotism as the books unfold. “Takedown,” first published in 2006, dealt with post September 11th terrorism action in New York City. See my review here.

If you’d like to try the Thor reading plan, here are the books in order. Click on the titles:

January’s Book: The Lions Of Lucerne
February’s Book: Path Of The Assassin
March’s Book: State Of The Union
April’s Book: Blowback
May’s Book: Takedown
June’s Book: The First Commandment
July’s Book: The Last Patriot
August’s Book: The Apostle
September’s Book: Foreign Influence
October’s Book: The Athena Project
November’s Book: Full Black
December’s Book: Black List

Additional books published since then are (in order):

Hidden Order

Act of War

Code of Conduct

Foreign Agent

Use of Force

Spymaster

Backlash     read my review here

Near Dark

Black Ice

Rising Tiger – pre-order


Please visit www.bradthor.com to read about the current books in the Scot Harvath series, as well as Thor’s new release coming in July, 2022, “Rising Tiger,” the highly anticipated #22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021 ThrillerFest Awards

Thriller writers bring us thrills and chills and keep us awake long into the wee hours of the morning. Check out the 2021 ITW Thriller Awards finalists and winners (indicated in red)!

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
S.A. Cosby – BLACKTOP WASTELAND
Joe Ide – HI FIVE
Richard Osman – THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB
Ivy Pochoda – THESE WOMEN
Lisa Unger – CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Jasmine Aimaq – THE OPIUM PRINCE
Don Bentley – WITHOUT SANCTION
Kyle Perry – THE BLUFFS
Francesca Serritella – GHOSTS OF HARVARD
David Heska Wanbli Weiden – WINTER COUNTS
 
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Alyssa Cole – WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING
Layton Green – UNKNOWN 9: GENESIS 
John Marrs – WHAT LIES BETWEEN US
Andrew Mayne – THE GIRL BENEATH THE SEA
Benjamin Stevenson – EITHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT
  
BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Sean Black – AVENUE OF THIEVES
Jeff Buick – A KILLING GAME
Diane Capri – FULL METAL JACK
Jake Needham – MONGKOK STATION
Kirk Russell – NO HESITATION

Congratulations to all!

 

2021 Left Coast Crime Awards

The pandemic continues to affect conferences. The 2021 Left Coast Crime convention was cancelled, but you’ll be happy to note that the Lefties were still awarded for the great mysteries  produced in 2020. Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners (indicated in red).

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  °  Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard
  °  Jennifer J. Chow, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue
  °  Carl Hiaasen, Squeeze Me
  °  Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets
  °  J. Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing
  °  Sung J. Woo, Skin Deep

 

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (events before 1970)
  °  Susanna Calkins, The Fate of a Flapper
  °  Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder
  °  Laurie R. King, Riviera Gold
  °  Catriona McPherson, The Turning Tide
  °  Ann Parker, Mortal Music
  °  James W. Ziskin, Turn to Stone

 

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
  °  Daisy Bateman, Murder Goes to Market
  °  Mary Keliikoa, Derailed
  °  Erica Ruth Neubauer, Murder at the Mena House
  °  Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club
  °  Halley Sutton, The Lady Upstairs
  °  David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts

 

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
  °  Tracy Clark, What You Don’t See
  °  S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland
  °  Matt Coyle, Blind Vigil
  °  Rachel Howzell Hall, And Now She’s Gone
  °  Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here

2021 – Irish Fiction & Mysteries

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 updated list of 40 Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2021  that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind


Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
Sheila Connolly: “Fatal Roots
Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn


Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller

Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Lucy Foley: “The Guest List
Tana French: “The Searcher


Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake


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
Caimh McDonnell: “A Man with One of Those Faces
Brian McGilloway: “The Last Crossing
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution

Leslie Meier: “Irish Parade Murder


Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Bookshop
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”

Helen Page: “Equal of God”
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
J.M. Poole “Case of the Shady Shamrock


Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick’s Custody
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden

Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

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

 

 

January Reviews – Four Genres

COZY

“Tilling the Truth” by Julia Henry

The feisty Garden Squad is back with a new set of projects, some aboveboard, some clandestine, and always chosen with the intent to spruce up the town and bring smiles to both residents and visitors. I opened “Tilling the Truth” to check a detail for the review, got caught up in the storyline again, and re-read the book because of its delightfully dedicated crew and their mission.

 

Small towns are a microcosm of society, with nice and not-so-nice residents living next door to one another. Everybody knows what you’re up to, or will find out as soon as the nosy neighbor texts her friends. Henry captures that perfectly with her charming mix of senior citizens and assorted helpful younger generation characters. The main characters are well-rounded, each with their own quirks and endearing qualities, and oh, my word, the unpleasant ones should be stripped of their gardening tools and run out of town in a wheelbarrow.

“Tilling the Truth” has a tightly layered plot, with our heroine, Lilly Jayne, dealing with the estate of a good friend, disgruntled beneficiaries, her best friend accused of murder, zoning laws, a bird sanctuary, and an impending lifestyle change for Lilly. Henry weaves it all together in a way that sounds just like a story you could tell to spellbound dinner guests if it happened in your own neighborhood.

 

THRILLER

“Dead Man Running” by Steve Hamilton

This is the ninth book in the top-notch Alex McKnight series. A serial killer has been arrested, but will talk to no one except retired police officer, Alex McKnight. Except that McKnight knows nothing about the man and has no idea why the killer thinks there is a connection between them.

 

What’s at stake is a missing woman that may still be alive. The FBI will do anything to save the woman and stop the murders, including hauling McKnight cross country to meet with the depraved Livermore. The story is told through McKnight’s point-of-view as well as the serial killer’s twisted mind. There are graphic discussions about the killer’s crimes, so if you’re looking for a light read, this is not for you. Instead, it will give some insight into an evil, manipulative thought process. There are surprises at every turn that keep McKnight pushing forward and the FBI in pursuit – each matching wits with Livermore. Chilling to the core, Hamilton has delivered another masterfully plotted page-turner in “Dead Man Running.”

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE

The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

“Silent Patient” is an intense read, centered around a successful artist who shoots her husband in the face and never says a word after the deed, not to explain herself, not to save herself from prosecution. The criminal psychotherapist who tells the tale is obsessed by the case and works his way onto the staff at her psychiatric institute so that he can solve the mystery of her silence. Michaelides delivers shocking revelations, clever twists in the plot, and characters so well-drawn that they could be people we know. Don’t read “The Silent Patient” before bed, because you won’t get a wink of sleep as the pages fly by.

 

NONFICTION

“The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston

I wish “The Hot Zone” was a thriller, a work of fiction, but it is completely true. An ordinary guy in 1970s Africa dies several days after spending time off trekking through a jungle. He ends life  horribly in a Nairobi hospital, infecting and killing others splattered by his blood; his companion on the outing with him doesn’t get sick. Blood samples are sent to the CDC in Atlanta, GA for testing, confirming the Ebola virus as the cause of death, and then are locked away in their secure facility. A few years later, the deadly Ebola virus arrives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. via monkeys tagged for research. The monkeys already in residence at this top-secret building set in an unsuspecting neighborhood, quickly start dying.

 

This hair-raising tale written in the 1990s, describes the rigorous protocols to keep the military personnel safe, the race to dispose of the infected monkey bodies while keeping the public from learning the truth, and the high personal cost of working in the field of infectious diseases. Preston includes a telling look at how the military and the world perceived a dedicated woman’s role in both the military and her ability to work with a killer virus in the 1980s. A television series based on “The Hot Zone” aired in 2020 and scared me silly, but the thoroughly researched book even more so.

 

 

 

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