Historical

The National Park Mystery Series by Scott Graham

 

The National Park Mystery Series, by Scott Graham, features contract archaeologist Chuck Bender, Chuck’s paramedic wife, Janelle Ortega, and Chuck’s new stepdaughters. The contract archeological work moves Chuck Bender and the family to different parks each summer vacation, setting the scene for stories dealing with environmental, political, and social justice issues. Janelle lends her objective suggestions to help solve the mysteries, sometimes uses her paramedic expertise, and always displays a steadying influence on Chuck and the girls.

 

The series began in the Grand Canyon with “Canyon Sacrifice,” a resounding success as a debut novel. A kidnapping and a murder place the family in harm’s way on the Bender honeymoon camping trip as Chuck navigates parenthood and spousal responsibilities for the first time. Readers will be mesmerized by Graham’s imageries of the Grand Canyon and the achievements/artifacts of the ancient Anasazi Indians that Bender discovered on an earlier contract dig. Prepare to be swept into the world of outdoor recreation and the wonders of archeology in the West.

 

Book #2, “Mountain Rampage,” moves Bender and the family to Rocky Mountain National Park where he runs a college archeology field school. The book takes place over a three-day period, with murder and mayhem that involves his brother-in-law and false accusations, and plenty of adventure to go around.

 

“Yellowstone Standoff,” set in Yellowstone National Park, has a hair-raising premise involving rogue wolves, grizzlies, and a murdered researcher. As always, Graham delivers breathtaking descriptions of the wild and puts the reader in the middle of the terrifying action. An exciting page-turner, and the Bender family is smack dab in the middle of it all.

 

Book #4, “Yosemite Fall,” brings Janelle and the older daughter more to the forefront of the multi-layered storylines, with a rock-climbing competition, a deadly reunion, and a contract to solve a 150-year-old mystery as the backdrop. Janelle and Chuck are the suspects in a present-day murder, and once again, the national park is a character in the book.

 

“Arches Enemy” is the fifth entry in the National Park Mystery Series. It’s set in Utah, not too far from Graham’s home in southwest Colorado. What seems like a straight forward accidental death turns into something much more. An astounding archeological find that disrupts the known timeline of interaction between several Native American tribes, is threatened by a fracking operation, and the locals are being manipulated by an unlikely source.

 

The core characters have developed naturally with each book as Chuck and his immediate family respond to the unfolding narratives and explore their evolving relationships. The mother subplot in “Arches Enemy” feels like Chuck is trying to herd cats – words have no influence and she is going to do what she wants to anyway. Her effect on the plot will curl your hair and remind you how nice your own mother is.

 

Chuck is still learning his role as a step-dad in “Arches Enemy” – what works and what doesn’t. He’s been used to making decisions without regard for the impact on others, sometimes being unnecessarily hot-headed. Janelle reigns in well-meaning Chuck when she can in their personal life and supports his fascinating professional endeavors, as long as the family remains safe.

 

Graham’s books are especially topical given our real-world loss of national park acreage to recent administration policy, which has been chipping away at the protected lands, potentially losing ancient sites, all for the search for oil and other energy sources.


The official launch date for “Arches Enemy” is June 11th. Look for it.  🙂
 

Please visit www.scottfranklingraham.com for more information about Graham and his work.
 

 

 

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Book List: Edith Maxwell

 

Edith Maxwell is a prolific writer of absorbing, wonderful mysteries. Each of her series feature strong, independent women, with true-to-life intelligent, sometimes challenging, families and an always intriguing boyfriend. The stories are layered, the characters are complex, and the mysteries are well drawn. Click on the book titles and fall into a great read.      


as Edith Maxwell:

Quaker Midwife Mysteries  The Agatha-nominated historical series features unconventional Quaker midwife Rose Carroll in late 1880s Amesbury, Massachusetts.
 

Delivering the Truth”   review here

Called to Justice

Turning the Tide” 

Charity’s Burden

 

The Local Foods Mysteries feature novice organic farmer Cameron Flaherty and take place in the town of Westbury, Massachusetts.

 

A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die”  review here

’Til Dirt Do Us Part

Farmed and Dangerous

Murder Most Fowl

Mulch Ado About Murder

 

as Maddie Day:

The Country Store Mysteries feature Robbie Jordan and Pans ‘N Pancakes, her country store/ restaurant in fictional South Lick, Indiana.
 

Flipped for Murder

Grilled for Murder”    review here

When the Grits Hit the Fan

Biscuits and Slashed Browns

Death over Easy

“Strangled Eggs and Ham” – coming 6/19

 

Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries are set on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and feature Mackenzie Almeida and her sleuthing book club members.

 

Murder on Cape Cod”  review here – recently released.

 

 

as Tace Baker: 

The Lauren Rousseau Mysteries feature Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau, a self-reliant, multi-talented woman who finds herself involved in college politics, local Massachusetts intrigue, and bodies.

Speaking of Murder”  review here

Bluffing is Murder”  review here

 

Short Fiction

The following stories of "murderous revenge and other crimes" were originally published in anthologies or magazines. Many have been republished as standalone short stories.

“An Ominous Silence” appears in Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories

“The Unfortunate Death of Mrs. Edna Fogg” in Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical 

 “Murder in the Summer Kitchen” in Murder Among Friends: Mysteries Inspired by the Life and Works of John Greenleaf Whittier. 

“The Mayor and the Midwife” in Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016 

“Adam and Eva,” – free read on Kings River Life Magazine

“A Questionable Death” was originally published in the History and Mystery, Oh My! anthology and is a free read over at Kings River Life Magazine.

“Just Desserts for Johnny”

“Pickled” in That Mysterious Woman

“A Fire in Carriagetown” first appeared as “Breaking the Silence” in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold 

“The Stonecutter,” first appeared in Fish Nets: the Second Guppy Anthology

“Reduction in Force” was first published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers 

“Yatsuhashi for Lance” was originally published as “Obake for Lance” in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers.

“An Idea for Murder,” first appeared (written as Tace Baker) in the Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology.

“The Importance of Blood”

“A Divination of Death” appears in Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical.

“Sushi Lessons” appears in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible.

“An Intolerable Intrusion” appears in Edgar Allen Cozy.

 

For more information about Edith and her writing life, read the Author Profile (first published two years ago this week)  here.

 

Happy Reading!  🙂

 

 

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Lefty Awards – 2019 (Left Coast Crime)

 

The annual Left Coast Crime Conference has provided authors, readers, reviewers, librarians, and publishers, a great place to gather and share their love of mysteries since 1991. The Lefty Awards are chosen by attendees at the conference from titles (either paper or ebook format) that were published for the first time the previous year in the United States or Canada.


The nominees and winners are listed below in alphabetical order by author, with winners indicated in red.


Best Humorous Mystery Novel
Ellen Byron – Mardi Gras Murder 
Kellye Garrett – Hollywood Ending
Timothy Hallinan – Nighttown
Leslie Karst – Death al Fresco 
Cynthia Kuhn – The Spirit in Question
*Catriona McPherson – Scot Free 


Best Historical Mystery Novel (events before 1960)
Rhys Bowen – Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding 
David Corbett – The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday 
Laurie R. King – Island of the Mad
*Sujata Massey – The Widows of Malabar Hill 
Ann Parker – A Dying Note
Iona Whishaw – It Begins in Betrayal 


Best Debut Mystery Novel
Tracy Clark – Broken Places 
A.J. Devlin – Cobra Clutch
A.J. Finn – The Woman in the Window 
*Dianne Freeman – A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder 
Aimee Hix – What Doesn’t Kill You
Keenan Powell – Deadly Solution
J.G. Toews – Give Out Creek


Best Mystery Novel
*Lou Berney – November Road 
Matt Coyle – Wrong Light 
Louise Penny – Kingdom of the Blind 
Lori Rader-Day – Under a Dark Sky 
Terry Shames – A Reckoning in the Back Country 
James W. Ziskin – A Stone’s Throw 


Congratulations to all!   🙂
 

 

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The Agatha Awards for 2018 books

 

The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2018 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The awards were given to mystery and crime writers at the annual Malice Domestic Awards Banquet on May 4, 2019. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2018.


The Agatha Awards recognize the "traditional mystery," meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.


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


Best Contemporary Novel 
“Mardi Gras Murder” by Ellen Byron
“Beyond the Truth” by Bruce Robert Coffin
“Cry Wolf” by Annette Dashofy
“Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny
“Trust Me” by Hank Phillippi Ryan


Best Historical Novel 
“Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding” by Rhys Bowen
“The Gold Pawn” by LA Chandlar
“The Widows of Malabar Hill” by Sujata Massey
“Turning the Tide” by Edith Maxwell
“Murder on Union Square” by Victoria Thompson


Best First Novel (Tied for the win)
“A Ladies Guide to Etiquette and Murder” by Dianne Freeman
“Little Comfort” by Edwin Hill
“What Doesn't Kill You” by Aimee Hix
“Deadly Solution” by Keenan Powell
“Curses Boiled Again” by Shari Randall


Best Short Story (Tied for the win)
"All God's Sparrows" by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"A Postcard for the Dead" by Susanna Calkins (in Florida Happens)
"Bug Appetit" by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
"The Case of the Vanishing Professor" by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

"English 398: Fiction Workshop" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)


Best Young Adult Mystery 
“Potion Problems” by Cindy Callaghan
“Winterhouse” by Ben Guterson
“A Side of Sabotage” by C.M. Surrisi


Best Nonfiction 
Mastering Plot Twists” by Jane Cleland
“Writing the Cozy Mystery” by Nancy J Cohen
“Conan Doyle for the Defense” by Margalit Fox
“Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life” by Laura Thompson
“Wicked Women of Ohio” by Jane Ann Turzillo

Happy Reading!!!  🙂

 

 

 

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New York Times Notable Non-fiction – 2018

 

The New York Times Notable Non-fiction of 2018 list consists of books selected by the editors of the NYT Book Review. It contains a mix of biographies, insights into historical American subjects, along with books that deal with contemporary societal issues. Here are ten of the NYT Notable Non-fiction Book Review editors’ selections for 2018. Click on the book titles to read the reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arthur Ashe: A Life”  by Raymond Arsenault.  

 

 

“Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City” by Sam Anderson

 

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment”  by Shane Bauer

 

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”  by John Carreyrou

 

Ali: A Life”  by Jonathan Eig

 

American Dialogue: The Founders and Us”  by Joseph J. Ellis

 

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America”  by Eliza Griswold

 

Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War”  by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple

 

“American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic” by Victoria Johnson

 

Churchill: Walking With Destiny” by Andrew Roberts

 

Calypso”  by David Sedaris                                   

 

 

 

 

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New York Times Notable Fiction – 2018

 

The New York Times Notable Fiction of 2018 list has been posted. It’s always interesting to see which books the Book Review editors will choose for their “Best of…” lists for the year. The titles are sometimes bestsellers, sometimes from debut authors, several from international writers, but more importantly, the NYT Book Review editors have fallen in love with the story (or the writing) and ta-da! the book makes the list.

 

Check out ten of their notable fiction choices from 2018. Click on the book titles to read their reviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"An American Marriage"  by Tayari Jones

 

"Cherry"  by Nico Walker

 

"Eternal Life"  by Dara Horn

 

"The Friend"  by Sigrid Nunez

 

"The House of Broken Angels"  by Luis Alberto Urrea

 

"Macbeth"  by Jo Nesbø. Translated by Don Bartlett

 

"Mirror, Shoulder, Signal"  by Dorthe Nors

 

"My Year of Rest and Relaxation"  by Ottessa Moshfegh

 

"There There"  by Tommy Orange

 

"Warlight"  by Michael Ondaatje

 

Happy reading!   🙂

 

 

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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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