Historical

Try Something New This Summer

 

Every once in a while, avid readers take a break from their favorite genre and venture into ‘summer reading,’ where the world is either a warm, happy, safe place, or the mishaps that occur are slapstick funny and somebody always has your back. No world crises, no exploding planets, just stories that bring a smile to your face.
 


A few of us indulge our curiosity about demons and witches – as long as the hero/heroines are owners of tea and herb shops, that is.


Then there are the ancient curses that awaken and wreak havoc upon those that get in the way.


If you are primarily a fan of fiction as I am, a foray into the realm of serious non-fiction most often occurs when a compelling true story crosses our paths.


Take a look at the suggestions below and try something a bit different this season.


Happily Ever After

“Sand Dollar Cove,” by Nancy Naigle, is the completely delightful story of a beach area recently hit by bad weather, with people working together to rebuild it. The town relies on tourism to stay afloat, so one of the business owners organizes a fundraising event. We must suspend our disbelief while the rapidly approaching deadline looms to get the work done, but the lead characters are so endearing that we want them to be super human, have their wishes come true, and save the pier. Just in time for summer reading, “Sand Dollar Cove” includes a budding romance between a stranger and our heroine, and the almost magical sand dollars. This could easily fit into the Hallmark Channel lineup of happily ever after stories.


P.I. for Dummies

“Choke,” by Kaye George

Imogene Duckworthy wants to become a private eye, but has no training whatsoever. She gets a book – “P.I. for Dummies,” and has business cards made. Our  hapless heroine feels that she is qualified to ‘detect’ because she found a neighbor’s missing puppy. How hard could it be?

 

This high school graduate, an unwed mother, works for her Uncle at his diner, and when he is found dead, she tries to solve the case. Duckworthy is too naïve to recognize the crooks right in front of her and swoons at the sight of long legs and a smile. Me, oh, my, this gal is in trouble. She is in and out of jail, escapes from cops who are not after her and sees disasters and threats where none exist.

 

“Choke” is a comedy read that takes nothing seriously in solving a mystery – except the lead character herself. What in the world could go wrong? (First book in the series by Agatha nominated, Kaye George) Set near the Oklahoma border, people familiar with the North Texas area will recognize a certain town with fake falls in ‘Wymee Falls.’

 

 

 

Witches, Demons, Wiccans, and ordinary folk

“Booke of the Hidden,” by award-winning author Jeri Westerson, came to Jeri in a dream. Known for her medieval mysteries, her dream was so compelling that she had to write it down, and a few paragraphs turned into this first book in a new series.

 

Kylie Strange has moved to a small Maine town to open a tea and herb shop, and during the shop renovation, she discovers a mysterious book that is older than anyone in town and is completely blank. The locals are more than they seem, there are secrets behind every door, deaths occur in her wake, and Kylie has more than one ‘Being’ interested in her. “Booke of the Hidden” is sexy and funny, with adult themes and situations, with the demons and witches, Wiccans, and assorted other supernatural sorts inhabiting the quaint village. Quick-witted, up-for-everything, crossbow wielding Kylie Strange, is a great new character in the genre.

 

 

Theological Suspense

“Aceldama,” by John Hazen

A coin from the time of Christ is passed through the centuries with dire consequences for its unwitting possessors. A present-day couple faces the wrath of its curse when the husband falls ill. The wife must uncover the reason for his illness before her husband dies – defying logic, the law, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

International connections and supportive friends make “Aceldama” an absorbing read as we discover the identity, power, and meaning of the coin. Several surprises along the way keep the pages turning.

 

 

Non-Fiction

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann.

This award-winning, non-fiction account feels like a novel of suspense. Grann recounts the tragedies that unfolded as members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were displaced, swindled, and murdered in a pattern of corruption and greed at the highest levels of government at the beginning of the twentieth century. At the source of it all? Oil fields that lay under lands given to the Osage Nation. Grann researched the court cases and news of the 1890s and early 1900s, includes photos of the stakeholders, and weaves all of the information into a compelling read. While not the only reason for the creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Osage cases made an additional convincing argument for the establishment of a national investigative agency.

 

Stretch your reading horizons and try something new this summer.  🙂

 

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Macavity Awards-2018

 

 

The Macavity Awards-2018 finalists were nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI. The winners will be announced at opening ceremonies at Bouchercon in St Petersburg, Florida, in September.


Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, Janet Rudolph. She reminds us that if you're a member of MRI or a subscriber to MRJ or a friend of MRI, you will receive a ballot on July 1.


Links to three of the short fiction nominees are included.

Best Mystery Novel
“The Marsh King's Daughter,” by Karen Dionne
“Magpie Murders,” by Anthony Horowitz
“Bluebird, Bluebird,” by Attica Locke
“Glass Houses,” by Louise Penny
“The Old Man,” by Thomas Perry
“The Force,” by Don Winslow

 

Best First Mystery Novel
“Hollywood Homicide,” by Kellye Garrett
“The Dry,” by Jane Harper
“She Rides Shotgun,” by Jordan Harper
“The Lost Ones,” by Sheena Kamal
“The Last Place You Look,” by Kristen Lepionka
“Lost Luggage,” by Wendall Thomas


Best Mystery Short Story
As Ye Sow,” by Craig Faustus Buck, in Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017

“The #2 Pencil,” by Matt Coyle, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

“Infinite Uticas,” by Terence Faherty (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)

Whose Wine is it Anyway?” Barb Goffman, in 50 Shades of Cabernet

“Windward,” by Paul D. Marks, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

A Necessary Ingredient,” by Art Taylor, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea


Sue Feder Memorial Award: Best Historical Mystery
“Dangerous to Know,” by Renee Patrick
“The Devouring,” by James R. Benn
“In Farleigh Field,” by Rhys Bowen
“Cast the First Stone,” by James W. Ziskin
“Racing the Devil,” by Charles Todd
“A Rising Man,” by Abir Mukherjee  

 

Congratulations to the Macavity Awards-2018 nominees!

 

 

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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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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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Squeaky Clean Romances – 2018

 

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Valentine’s Day will be here soon! Love is in the air, with bouquets of flowers, tasty chocolates, and romantic gestures melting our hearts. The Season of Sighs is upon us.
 

This year, I put out an open call for writers to tell me about their squeaky clean romance novels, novellas, and short stories. There are mysteries with a touch of romance, historical romance, inspirational romance, and more, with links to all the books. Click on the 35 titles to find the 'buy' pages, with information about each story. You will find bestselling authors as well as debut authors.


Isabella Louise Anderson  “Cards from Khloe’s Flower Shop


Ines Bautista-Yao  “When Sparks Fly


Jennifer McCoy Blaske  “Out of My League


Faith Blum  All the Way My Savior Leads


Franky A Brown  What Happened to Romance?”


Bridget Burnett  “U R Missing: Andrea’s Story


Linda Covella  “Yakimali’s Gift


Tamie Dearen   “Best Intentions


Cindy Dorminy  “Left Hanging


Donna Getzinger Driver  “Passing Notes


Marianne Evans  “Bella Natale


Aileen Fish   “Charmed at Christmas: Collection of Sweet Regency Novellas


Beatrice Fishback  “Winter Writerland


Kellie Coates Gilbert  “Sisters


Jennifer Griffith  “My Fair Aussie


Tammy James Hesler  “Mountains of Love


Liwen Ho “Straight to You” part of ‘Taking Chances’ series


Rachel John  “The Start of Us


Stacy Juba  “Fooling Around with Cinderella


Nadine C. Keels  “Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads


Christine Kersey  “Illegal Procedure” (Fair Catch Series – sports series)


Nerys Leigh  “The Blacksmith’s Heart


Christina Lorenzen  “The Silvershell Beach Inn


Kay Lyons  “This Little Light: Stone River series
 

Edith Maxwell  "Called to Justice"


Michelle Pennington  “The Trouble with Billionaires


Audrey Rich  “Thinking About Love, Part 2


Christina Rich  “The Negotiated Marriage


C.J. Samuels  “Christmas in Trace Hollow


Margaret Lynette Sharp  “Uncertain Love


Rachel Skatvold  “Guardian of Her Heart


Christy Smith  “Forever and Always


Melanie Snitker  “Finding Grace


Rebecca Talley  “Speak to My Heart


Denitta Ward  “Somewhere Still

 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and as always, Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

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The Edgar Awards – 2018

 

Edgar Statues

Each year, the Mystery Writers of America honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, published or produced the previous year. This year, on the 209th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the winners of The Edgar Awards – 2018 were announced at the Gala Banquet held in New York City, on April 26, 2018.

 

Here are the nominees (and winners indicated in red) for the prestigious Edgars:

 

 

BEST NOVEL

“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent

“Prussian Blue” by Philip Kerr

“Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke

“A Rising Man” by Abir Mukherjee

“The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti

 

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

“She Rides Shotgun” by Jordan Harper

“Dark Chapter” by Winnie M. Li

“Lola” by Melissa Scrivner Love

“Tornado Weather” by Deborah E. Kennedy

“Idaho” by Emily Ruskovich

 

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

“Ragged Lake” by Ron Corbett

“Black Fall” by Andrew Mayne

“The Unseeing” by Anna Mazzola

“Penance” by Kanae Minato

“The Rules of Backyard Cricket” by Jock Serong

 

 

BEST FACT CRIME

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann

“The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” by Jeff Guinn

“American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land” by Monica Hesse

“The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery” by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James

“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation” by Brad Ricca

 

 

BEST SHORT STORY

“Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley

“Hard to Get” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Jeffery Deaver

“Ace in the Hole” – Montana Noir by Eric Heidle

“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” – Atlanta Noir by Kenji Jasper

“Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by S.J. Rozan

 

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT

“The Cruelty” by Scott Bergstrom

“Grit” by Gillian French

“The Impossible Fortress” by Jason Rekulak

“Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

 

 

For nominees and winners in the categories of BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL, BEST JUVENILE, BEST TELEVISION TELEPLAY, as well as the recipients of specialty awards, please visit www.theedgars.com/nominees

 

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Congratulations to all The Edgar Awards – 2018 nominees and winners!  Happy reading.  🙂

 

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