Fiction

Military Fiction and Non-fiction

 

 

As we approach Memorial Day in the United States, I am reminded of the many friends and family members affected by war and its fallout, but rarely do veterans talk about their experiences. The authors below have captured the challenges and realities soldiers have faced throughout history. If you read Military Fiction and Non-fiction, these are among the best.

 

Mark Bowden: “Black Hawk Down,” true story of American forces in Somalia.
 

Philip Caputo: "A Rumor of War," the riveting true story of Philip Caputo's experience in Viet Nam.
 

Tom Clancy: “The Hunt for Red October,” based on a story rumored to be true.
 

Stephen Coonts: “Flight of the Intruder,” gripping story of Navy carrier pilot during Viet Nam, based on Coonts’ experiences.
 

Bernard Cornwell: “Sharpe’s Rifles,” part of a fictional series about Napoleonic warfare.

 

Nelson DeMille: “Up Country,” one of DeMille’s best. My review can be read here.

 

Ken Follett: “The Eye of the Needle,” Edgar Award winner.

 

Christopher Hibbert: “Red Coats and Rebels,” American Revolution told from the British perspective.

 

Laura Hillenbrand: “Unbroken,” WW2 true story of resilience, review here.

 

John Keegan: “The Face of Battle,” the story of what real soldiers go through, with information about famous battles in history.

 

Phil Klay: “Redeployment,” award-winning book contains 12 short stories centered around deployment in Afghanistan & Iraq.
 

Marcus Luttrell: “Lone Survivor: Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.”

 

Tim O'Brien: "The Things They Carried," award-winning book of the Viet Nam conflict.

 

Thank a veteran. Give him/her a job. They sacrificed much and fought to keep you free.

 

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“Circle of Influence” and “No Way Home” by Annette Dashofy

 

Book Cover - Circle of Influence2

 

“Circle of Influence” and "No Way Home" by Annette Dashofy, star Zoe Chambers as an EMT, who occasionally doubles as a coroner's assistant when she can stand the smells in the autopsy room.

 

In "Circle of Influence," a routine call to check on a car on the side of the road turns into a murder investigation. The only trouble is the dead guy is her best friend's husband, well-liked and respected in town, and he is sitting in the front seat of a city council guy’s car – a guy hated by almost everyone. Why is her friend dead and why is he sitting in that particular car? 
 

The dead guy's mother works for the police department and is arrested for borrowing a computer from the storeroom. Arrested? Why would the city council bully would do such a thing? What is on that computer? Life gets dangerous, the body count rises, and so does the list of suspects. In the “Circle of Influence” effectively layered storyline, there are secrets galore and we don't know whom to believe. Trust is tough to come by.
 

Dashofy gives us a picture of small-town country living in Pennsylvania. Vance Township is so small that everyone knows where you were and the neighbors ask you about it before you unlock your front door. Vance doesn't even have a coffee shop. The philosophy is that coffee can be brewed at home or at the office- no need to waste money when cash is tight.
 

The core characters in “Circle of Influence” are nicely developed and we really care about what happens to each. Any one of them could be your next-door neighbor, the guy at the grocery store, the cop you see on the street, the maybe boyfriend that gives you pause – in a good way. Zoe Chambers herself, is a flesh and blood gal with a love of country life and horses. Even though not making a big salary as an EMT, Zoe is able to keep a horse of her own by boarding horses for other people. She has a support system, steps on a few toes while investigating, has an eye for detail, aims to improve at her job, and is loyal to her friends.
 

Dashofy’s Zoe Chambers is a great character for a series, so I picked up Agatha nominated “No Way Home,” book #5.

Book Cover - No Way Home

 

Zoe Chambers is out for a ride on her own horse, when a horse from her boarding stable gallops toward her without its owner. You guessed it – the owner is dead. Was it an accident or something else, because the crime scene details don’t add up and the autopsy reveals an unexpected twist.

 

A tricky plot takes Zoe and her sometime best friend to New Mexico in search of more than one truth. Tensions are high as we discover that drug use is on the rise in this southwestern fictional Pennsylvania community set 30 miles from Pittsburgh. Drug paraphernalia at the crime scenes gives the story a grim authenticity.
 

Zoe’s love interest in the series returns, but love is not the central focus of “No Way Home.” Murder, drugs, and mayhem definitely are.
 

Dashofy’s central characters are engaging in "Circle of Influence" and "No Way Home," the plot lines topical, and happily, more books are in the works. “Uneasy Prey,” book #6, is out now.
 

Please visit www.annettedashofy.com to find out more about this award winning and Agatha nominated author.
 

 

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Anthony Awards 2018 – Bouchercon

 

The Anthony Awards 2018 were handed out at The World Mystery Convention (usually referred to as Bouchercon) on September 8, 2018. Bouchercon is an annual conference named after Anthony Boucher, a mystery author and critic who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. This event honors various segments of the mystery and crime fiction community.
 

The nominees for the Anthony Awards 2018 were chosen by attendees at the 2017 convention, as well as early registrants for the 2018 event. The recognized works were published during 2017 and the finalists were voted upon by the 2018 Bouchercon attendees. The winners were announced that weekend. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners! Winners indicated in red.  🙂
 

Nominees and winners for the Anthony Awards 2018 are:

BEST NOVEL

  • "The Late Show" by Michael Connelly
  • "Magpie Murders" by Anthony Horowitz
  • "Bluebird, Bluebird" by Attica Locke
  • "Glass Houses" by Louise Penny
  • "The Force" by Don Winslow

BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • "Hollywood Homicide" by Kellye Garrett
  • "She Rides Shotgun" by Jordan Harper
  • "The Dry" by Jane Harper
  • "Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All" by Christopher Irvin
  • "The Last Place You Look" by Kristen Lepionka

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • "Uncorking a Lie" by Nadine Nettmann
  • "Bad Boy Boogie" by Thomas Pluck
  • "What We Reckon" by Eryk Pruitt
  • "The Day I Died" by Lori Rader-Day
  • "Cast the First Stone" by James W. Ziskin

BILL CRIDER AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL IN A SERIES  

  • "Give Up the Dead" (Jay Porter #3) by Joe Clifford
  • "Two Kinds of Truth" (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly
  • "Y is for Yesterday" (Kinsey Millhone #25) by Sue Grafton
  • "Glass Houses" (Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny
  • "Dangerous Ends" (Pete Fernandez #3) by Alex Segura

BEST SHORT STORY

  • "The Trial of Madame Pelletier" by Susanna Calkins from Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical
  • "God’s Gonna Cut You Down" by Jen Conley from Just to Watch Them Die: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Johnny Cash
  • "My Side of the Matter" by Hilary Davidson from Killing Malmon
  • "Whose Wine Is It Anyway?" by Barb Goffman from 50 Shades of Cabernet
  • "The Night They Burned Miss Dixie’s Place" by Debra Goldstein from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017
  • "A Necessary Ingredient" by Art Taylor from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

BEST CRITICAL/NON-FICTION BOOK 

  • "From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon" by Mattias Boström
  • "The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books" by Martin Edwards
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI" by David Grann
  • "Chester B. Himes: A Biography" by Lawrence P. Jackson
  • "Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction" by Jessica Lourey

 

 

Please visit https://www.bouchercon2018.com/anthony-awards/ for nominees/winners in the Best Online Content and Best Anthology categories.

 

Happy Reading!  🙂

 

 

 

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2018 ITW Thrillerfest Awards

 

 

Thriller writers bring us thrills and chills, keep us awake long into the wee hours of the morning and leave us begging for more. You’re also likely to see many of them on top mystery writer lists all over the world. The 2018 ITW Thrillerfest Awards nominees included terrific titles once again – truly 'stay awake' reads. Take a look at this year’s finalists. The winners are indicated in red:
 

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Dan Chaon — “Ill Will”
Denise Mina — “The Long Drop”
B.A. Paris — “The Breakdown”
Gin Phillips — “Fierce Kingdom”
Riley Sager — “Final Girls”

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL

Steph Broadribb — “Deep Down Dead”
Daniel Cole — “Ragdoll”
Walt Gragg — “The Red Line”
K.J. Howe — “The Freedom Broker”
Sheena Kamal — “The Lost Ones”

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Christine Bell — “Grievance”          
Rachel Caine — “Stillhouse Lake”
Layton Green — “The Resurrector”
Adrian McKinty — “Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly”
Lori Rader-Day — “The Day I Died”

 

BEST SHORT STORY

Lee Child — “Too Much Time”
Mat Coward — “What Could Possibly Go Boing?”
Zoë  Z. Dean — “Charcoal and Cherry”  
Willy Vlautin — “The Kill Switch”                                  
Ben H. Winters — “Test Drive”

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Gregg Hurwitz — “The Rains”
Gregg Olsen — “The Boy She Left Behind”
Sheryl Scarborough — “To Catch a Killer”
Rysa Walker — “The Delphi Effect”
Diana Rodriguez Wallach — “Proof of Lies”

 

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Sean Black — “Second Chance”
Jeff Gunhus — “Resurrection America”
Alan McDermott — “Trojan” 
Caroline Mitchell — “Witness”
Kevin Wignall — “A Fragile Thing”

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

The 2018 ITW Thrillerfest Award Winners were announced at ThrillerFest XIII, July 14, 2018, in  New York City.  🙂

How many have you read?

 

Please visit www.thrillerwriters.org for more information about the International Thriller Writers and the amazing programs they have for writers.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Defending Jacob” by William Landay

 

 

“Defending Jacob,” features Andrew Barber as an Assistant DA, with a 22 year stint as part of the District Attorney’s office. A few days after his son’s classmate is stabbed to death, Barber is barred from the case and given a leave of absence from work.
 

His son is accused of the terrible crime, but Barber knows in his bones that Jacob could not have done it. When a devastating secret is uncovered during the investigation into the boy’s death, we realize that Barber may be alone in that belief. Despite incredible pressure from everyone he knows, as well as additional evidence to the contrary, he never stops declaring his son’s innocence.
 

“Defending Jacob” explores family relationships as they evolve in the aftermath of horrific events. This absorbing psychological courtroom drama deftly captures the doubts and the pointing fingers as members of the community seek to find answers for this senseless stabbing/killing. What parenting lack created this apparently crazed teenager living amongst them? Or was it a flaw in the child himself? If ‘x’ can kill, how certain can we be that someone else might not be capable of the same act? “Defending Jacob” was published in 2012, but the story could be ripped from the headlines today.
 

Landay, a former DA himself, posits a few theories to explain the multi-faceted plot lines and has several characters explore the possibility of a murder gene – that murder can be committed because of a hereditary predisposition. Modern psychological profiling indicates that the level of violence in our backgrounds most likely informs our future actions, but is there an actual gene? And, in my opinion, most disturbing of all: Does law enforcement really pick a suspect and then go after evidence to support that theory, no matter how far a stretch from the truth?
 

The ending left me stunned, contemplating which character was, in the end, most damaged. I may never resolve that in my mind. This was a riveting read from start to finish and beyond.
 

“Defending Jacob” won the Strand Critics Award, and a movie based on the book may be released this year.  Please visit www.williamlanday.com for information about Landay’s other books.

 

*Note: contains sporadic swearing/coarse language.

 

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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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“Louise’s War” and “Louise’s Dilemma” by Sarah R. Shaber

 

Book Cover - Louise's War

 

“Louise’s War,” by Sarah Shaber, introduces us to widowed Louise Pearlie, a file clerk in World War II Washington, DC. Louise is not just any file clerk. She has college training, is smart and resourceful, and is a bit of a risk taker. She works in the Office of Strategic Services (aka spy agency) where all the work is classified and government regulations dictate that she can’t even reveal where she works. Louise’s job is to look for information that will help the Allies win the war, perfect for this woman who has escaped her dead-end life on the Carolina coast.  

 

France is increasingly coming under German control at this stage of the war and it’s been a while since Louise has heard from a close college friend who lives there. Her husband is important to the war effort, and Louise searches for a way to get this Jewish family out of France before they are taken to internment camps.

 

When papers that would save her friend go missing and a murder is committed, Louise realizes that she can’t trust anyone. She must make alliances she would not have made in less desperate circumstances, and time is not her friend. Shaber creates a tension filled atmosphere of subterfuge and betrayal that keeps us guessing and swept up in the story.

 

In “Louise’s War,” Shaber demonstrates the gravity of the events of the war through her well-researched picture of life in WWII America, with its details of domestic sacrifices, and the effects of gas and food rationing. Louise’s time at a D.C. boarding house shows the reality of the jammed housing situation in wartime Washington. Massive amounts of food were needed by the troops, so the backyard gardens and chicken coops that Louise tended at the boarding house were true to the period, necessary supplements to rationed civilian food supplies.

 

Book Cover - Louise's Dilemma

 

 

In “Louise’s Dilemma,” Louise’s job focus has shifted to acquiring and cataloguing intelligence about Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic. Louise and an FBI agent travel to nearby Maryland after a suspicious postcard is forwarded to the OSS. Their investigation takes alarming twists and turns and puts Louise in danger from a surprising villain. Her clever mind and dogged determination uncover something incredible, yet completely believable, given the real-world terrain in that area. “Louise’s Dilemma,” the third book in the series, delivers an engaging historical mystery and a compelling read. I had read it first, then picked up “Louise’s War,” to see how Louise Pearlie’s journey began. I’m glad I did.

 

Please click here for more information about award-winning Mrs. Shaber and her other books.
 

 

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