Legal

“Dry Bones” by Craig Johnson

 

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Jen, a T-Rex and the center of the controversy in “Dry Bones,” is the largest specimen of its type ever found and it shows up in Sheriff Walt Longmire’s county. Longmire deals with all kinds of victims, but a dinosaur? That’s a new kind of cold case.

 

A skeleton of this importance would be a windfall for the local museum, but first Longmire must figure out if the High Plains Dinosaur Museum has the right to claim Jen as its own. When the Cheyenne owner of the ranch where Jen was found turns up dead, things get complicated. It’s possible that the T-Rex belongs to the Cheyenne Nation…or the federal government…or the family of the guy who died.

 

Tribal rights, family inheritance, federal property or just a really nice set of bones to display? An acting Deputy Attorney is out to make a name for himself and seems to feel that photo ops are more important than catching the bad guys or finding kidnap victims. But, he’s not the only one with priorities a tad off center in "Dry Bones." More people are interested in who gets the dinosaur than the circumstances behind the death of Danny Lone Elk. 

 

With Jen crowding Walt’s holding cells while ownership is being determined, and the interested parties holding Walt’s office hostage, the Sheriff realizes that the only way he can get back to the business for which he was elected is to solve the mystery of Danny Lone Elk’s death and find the gal (also Jen) who discovered the T-Rex to begin with.

 

It’s a circus.

 

There are helicopter forays into the back country, harrowing visits to an old mine, entertaining interactions with ever wise-cracking Lucien, Henry Standing Bear saving the day as only he can, and more near misses for Walt than our hearts can stand. Did I mention bullets flying? And the terrifying prospect of Walt taking care of his grand-daughter? He’s not afraid of many bad guys, but the little one? Waaay too funny.

 

We are treated to Craig Johnson’s dry wit, in several LOL scenes, with Walt’s delivery always perfectly timed. A man of few words, but good ones.

 

In real life, that entire region of the country is an active dinosaur bone recovery area with several universities and museums conducting legitimate digs. People love a cool dinosaur, so finding the big ones can cement the reputation – and therefore the funding – of an institution for many years.

 

In “Dry Bones,” Johnson explores the ethics of taking artifacts away from the people upon whose land they were found. It’s not just dino bones that are being removed from their place of origin. World-wide, governments are seeking to recover long lost treasures robbed from centuries old graves, temples, and ruins. Find the treasures? Great. Remove them from the place of origin without permission or proper compensation? These days, that’s a long jail term in the making.

 

Read Craig Allen Johnson’s Author Profile here.

 

Read the review of “The Cold Dish” here.

 

Read the review of “Kindness Goes Unpunished” here.

 

Please visit www.craigallenjohnson.com for lots of information about Mr. Johnson and his work, his future appearances, and his online store.

 

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Top 10: The First Four Years of Nightstand Book Reviews

 

Book Cover - Cold Dish

The first four years of Nightstand Book Reviews delivered a wide range of books to my doorstep and to my email inbox. Right from the beginning, I have received more than 100 requests a month (once over 400) from writers and publicists and friends of writers and publicists to review the latest book they had to offer.

 

It has been a fun problem to have. The strategy was (and remains) to choose great reads to chat about and share with the thousands of Nightstand Book Reviews followers around the world. The books on the site are by and large fiction, and tell a well-plotted story involving nicely developed characters. The authors are a mix of bestselling writers of longstanding, and newbies to the field when I first met them. Traditionally published or ebook only? Both happily co-exist on NBR. Occasionally I highlight biographies, great cookbooks, and helpful gardening books. A new feature in 2016 was Author Profiles. You’ll see more of those in 2017.

 

Below is the list of Top 10 books reviewed on Nightstand Book Reviews over the last four years, listed in ABC order by author. These were the books that garnered the most interest on NBR from the worldwide audience during the four years. Six books on the list were the debut novels from those authors. Some powerhouse writers (long, successful careers with great popularity) mixed in with newbies? A good book is a good book.

 

All of these authors now have multiple books out. Click on the book title to read the review.

 

Lee Child – “The Killing Floor”

 

Robert Dugoni – “My Sister’s Grave”

 

Robert Dugoni – “The Conviction”

 

Sherry Harris – “Tagged for Death”

 

Sue Harrison – “Mother Earth, Father Sky”

 

Erin Hart – “Haunted Ground”

 

Tami Hoag – “Alibi Man”

 

Craig Johnson – “The Cold Dish”

 

Leigh Perry – “A Skeleton in the Family”

 

Andy Weir – “The Martian”

 

 

Have you read any of the titles on the list? Wildly different books to be sure, with thrillers, sci-fi, traditional mysteries, and cozies in the group. 

 

And soooo much fun to read.  :-)

 

Thank you all, kind readers, for being part of the Nightstand Book Reviews community during the first four years. Your comments and participation make me smile as I search for the next great read to share with you.

 

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Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction-2016

 

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Attica Locke's “Pleasantville” won the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

Other nominees were:
Chuck Greaves' “Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo”
Kermit Roosevelt's “Allegiance”

 

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird," written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past six years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

 

The 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was awarded in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, and Locke received a signed copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird," as well as $3,000 and a feature article in the ABA Journal.

 

Locke joins previous winners:

 

2011 – John Grisham, “The Confession”

 

2012 – Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

 

2013 – Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

 

2014 – John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

 

2015 – Deborah Johnson, “The Secret of Magic”  

 

Congratulations to all!  :-)

 

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CrimeFest 2016

 

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CRIMEFEST had its beginnings in 2008 as a convention for fans of crime novels and  has become one of the biggest crime fiction events in Europe. Its reputation is such that  top crime novelists, publishers and reviewers now attend from around the world.

 

This year the CRIMEFEST awards dinner was held on May 21st in Bristol, England. Take a look at all the great nominees. The winners are indicated in red.
 


The eDunnit Award is for the best ebook published in both hardcopy and ebook.

Eligible titles submitted by publishers, then British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title.


Linwood Barclay: “Broken Promise”
Michael Connelly: “The Crossing”

Judith Flanders: “A Bed of Scorpions”
Suzette A. Hill: “A Southwold Mystery”
Laurie R. King: “Dreaming Spies”
Jax Miller: “Freedom’s Child”
Denise Mina: “Blood, Salt, Water”  

Andrew Taylor: “The Silent Boy”

 

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2015. Eligible titles were submitted by the publishers, then voted on by British crime fiction reviewers.


Sascha Arango: “The Truth and Other Lies”
Alan Bradley: “As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust”
Simon Brett: “Mrs Pargeter’s Principle”

Christopher Fowler: “Bryant & May and the Burning Man”
Elly Griffiths: “Smoke and Mirrors”
Malcolm Pryce: “The Case of the ‘Hail Mary’ Celeste”
Mike Ripley: “Mr Campion’s Fox”
Jason Starr: “Savage Lane”

 

 

Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best audio book.


Rachel Abbott: “Sleep Tight,” read by Melody Grove & Andrew Wincott

Lee Child: “Make Me,” read by Jeff Harding
Harlan Coben: “The Stranger,” read by Eric Meyers
Robert Galbraith: “Career of Evil,” read by Robert Glenister
Paula Hawkins: “The Girl on the Train,” read by Clare Corbett, India Fisher & Louise Brealey
Stephen King: “Finders Keepers,” read by Will Patton
David Lagercrantz: “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” translated by George Goulding, read by Saul Reichlin
Clare Mackintosh: “I Let You Go,” read by David Thorpe & Julia Barrie

Ian Rankin: “Even Dogs in the Wild,” read by James Macpherson
 


The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biography or critical book in crime fiction.


David Stuart Davies & Barry Forshaw: “The Sherlock Holmes Book”

Martin Edwards: “The Golden Age of Murder”
Fergus Fleming: “The Man With the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters”
Barry Forshaw: “Crime Uncovered: Detective”
Julius Green: “Curtains Up: Agatha Christie A Life in Theatre”
Maysam Hasam Jaber: “Criminal Femmes Fatales in American Hardboiled Crime Fiction”
Fiona Peters & Rebecca Stewart: “Crime Uncovered: Anti-hero”
Adam Sisman: “John le Carré: The Biography”

 


The Petrona Award celebrates the best in Scandinavian fiction.


Karin Fossum: “The Drowned Boy” translated by Kari Dickson
Kati Hiekkapelto: “The Defenceless” translated by David Hackston
Jørn Lier Horst: “The Caveman” translated by Anne Bruce
David Lagercrantz: “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” translated by George Goulding
Hans Olav Lahlum: “Satellite People” translated by Kari Dickson

Antti Tuomainen: “Dark As My Heart” translated by Lola Rogers

 

Congratulations to all! :-)

 

For more information about CrimeFest, please visit www.crimefest.com

 

 

 

 

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Killer Nashville’s 2015 Silver Falchion Award

 

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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 Silver Falchion Award is given to outstanding books published in the previous year. This year, the awards were presented on October 31st. Here is a partial list of 2015 finalists and winners for their 2014 titles:

 

Best Novel: Romantic Suspense

Judgment – Carey Baldwin
The Lost Key – Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
Top Secret Twenty-One – Janet Evanovich
Sweet Damage – Rebecca James
*Truth Be Told – Hank Phillippi Ryan received the award

 

Best Novel: Cozy/Traditional
Angelica’s Smile – Andrea Camilleri
The Question of the Missing Head – E. J. Copperman and Jeff Cohen
The Alpine Yeoman – Mary Daheim
Designated Daughters – Margaret Maron
*Hunting Shadows – Charles Todd received the award

 

Best Novel: Literary Suspense

The Dead Will Tell – Linda Castillo
Red 1-2-3 – John Katzenbach
Mr. Mercedes – Stephen King
*The Day She Died – Catriona McPherson received the award
The Farm – Tom Rob Smith

 

Best Novel: Political Thriller/Adventure

Night Heron – Adam Brookes
Dark Spies: A Spycatcher Novel – Matthew Dunn
The Hilltop – Assaf Gavron
End Game – John Gilstrap
*I am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes received the award
Assassin’s Game – Ward Larsen

 

Best Novel: Crime Thriller

The Bone Orchard – Paul Doiron
Dakota – Gwen Florio
Gangsterland – Tod Goldberg
The Keeper – John Lescroart
*In the Blood – Lisa Unger  received the award

 

Best First Novel: Cozy/Traditional/Historical

Honor Above All – J. Bard-Collins
To Fudge or Not to Fudge – Nancy Coco
Murder at Honeychurch Hall – Hannah Dennison
*The Life We Bury – Allen Eskens  received the award
Dying to Know – TJ O’Connor

 

Best First Novel: Mystery/Thriller:

Someone Else’s Skin – Sarah Hilary
Hotlanta – Mark Neilson
The American Mission – Matthew Palmer
*The Black Hour – Lori Rader-Day received the award
The Hawley Book of the Dead – Chrysler Szarlan
The Ways of the Dead – Neely Tucker
The Martian – Andy Weir

 

 

Please visit www.killernashville.com/2015-silver-falchion-finalists/  for the rest of the categories.

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! 

 

 

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Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction 2015

 

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The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird, written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past five years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”

 

This year’s finalists were:

 

“My Sister’s Grave,” by Robert Dugoni   (reviewed here)

“Terminal City,” by Linda Fairstein  

“The Secret of Magic,” by Deborah Johnson  

The winner was Deborah Johnson's "The Secret of Magic."

Congratulations to all the finalists!

 

Previous winners:

 

2011

John Grisham, “The Confession”

 

2012

Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

 

2013

Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

 

2014

John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

 

 

The 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was awarded in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 3, and the winner received a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

 

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Top 100 Mysteries of All Time

 

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I admit it. It is great fun being a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Conferences and seminars on the schedule during the year are informative and… I get to hobnob with some great writers at those events.

 

Back in the mid 90s, voting members of the MWA community selected their 100 favorite mysteries of all time and for mystery lovers, it is a marvelous list! Take a look and see how many you have read.

 

TOP 100 MYSTERY NOVELS OF ALL TIME Selected by Active MWA Members (mid 1990s)

  1.   The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle Including these individual high   vote-getters:

The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Study in Scarlet
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Sign of Four

  2.   The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

  3.   Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allan Poe

Including these individual high vote-getters:

The Gold Bug

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

  4.  The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey

  5.  Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow

  6.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré

  7.  The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

  8.  The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  9.  Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

 

  11. Anatomy of a Murder, Robert Traver

  12. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
  13. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
  14. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain
  15. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  16. The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
  17. A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler
  18. Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
  19. Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie
  20. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth


  21. Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
  22. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
  23. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  24. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevski
  25. Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett
  26. Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer
  27. Red Dragon, Thomas Harris
  28. The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L. Sayers
  29. Fletch, Gregory Mcdonald
  30. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carré


  31. The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
  32. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  33. Trent’s Last Case, E.C. Bentley
  34. Double Indemnity, James M. Cain
  35. Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith
  36. Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
  37. Dance Hall of the Dead, Tony Hillerman
  38. The Hot Rock, Donald E. Westlake
  39. Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
  40. The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart


  41. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  42. The Firm, John Grisham
  43. The Ipcress File, Len Deighton
  44. Laura, Vera Caspary
  45. I, The Jury, Mickey Spillane
  46. The Laughing Policeman, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

  47. Bank Shot, Donald E. Westlake
  48. The Third Man, Graham Greene
  49. The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
  50. Where Are The Children?, Mary Higgins Clark

 

  51. “A” is for Alibi, Sue Grafton
  52. The First Deadly Sin, Lawrence Sanders
  53. A Thief of Time, Tony Hillerman
  54. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  55. Rogue Male, Geoffrey Household
  56. Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L. Sayers
  57. The Innocence of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton

  58. Smiley’s People, John le Carré
  59. The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
  60. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee


  61. Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
  62. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens

  63. Wobble to Death, Peter Lovesey
  64. Ashenden, W. Somerset Maugham
  65. The Seven Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer

  66. The Doorbell Rang, Rex Stout
  67. Stick, Elmore Leonard
  68. The Little Drummer Girl, John le Carré
  69. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
  70. Dracula, Bram Stoker

 

  71. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  72. The Moving Toyshop, Edmund Crispin
  73. A Time to Kill, John Grisham
  74. Last Seen Wearing, Hillary Waugh
  75. Little Caesar, W.R. Burnett

   76. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins

  77. Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L. Sayers
  78. From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming
  79. Beast in View, Margaret Millar
  80. Smallbone Deceased, Michael Gilbert

        

  81. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey
  82. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
  83. Shroud for a Nightingale, P.D. James
  84. The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy
  85. Chinaman’s Chance, Ross Thomas
  86. The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
  87. The Dreadful Lemon Sky, John D. MacDonald
  88. The Glass Key, Dashiell Hammett
  89. Judgment in Stone, Ruth Rendell
  90. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
 
  91. The Chill, Ross Macdonald
  92. Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
  93. The Choirboys, Joseph Wambaugh
  94. God Save the Mark, Donald E. Westlake

   95. Home Sweet Homicide, Craig Rice
  96. The Three Coffins, John Dickson Carr
  97. Prizzi’s Honor, Richard Condon  
  98. The Steam Pig, James McClure
  99. Time and Again, Jack Finney
100. A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters,
100. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin (tie)

 

The MWA members are in the process of voting for their current faves of all time. I don’t know about you, but I wonder which older titles will pop up on the new list. There are some truly classic mysteries here, several of which went on to be made into movies and/or TV series. But the intervening twenty years have given us some remarkable writers and deliciously wicked new mysteries.
 

Save this list and compare it with the new one when it is announced later this year. In the meantime, cozy up to a great mystery and happy page-turning!
 

But, better keep the lights on.  😉

 

 

 

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