2018 Hammett Prize




The Hammett Prize is bestowed each year by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). This year the award will be given for a 2017 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author, in November. The winner receives the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights.  🙂

Please click on the nominated book title to find out more about the novel.

The nominees are as follows: 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Tragedy of Brady Sims by Ernest J. Gaines (Vintage)
August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho Crime)
Two Days Gone, by Randall Silvis (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Congratulations to all!

Past winners for books published in the year indicated include:

2016:  The White Devil by Domenic Stansberry

2015: The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin

2014: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

2013: Angel Baby by Richard Lange

2012: Oregon Hill by Howard Owen

2011: The Killer is Dying by James Sallis

2010: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

2009: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

2008: The Turnaround by George Pelecanos


Have you read any of the 2017 nominated books? Or the Hammett Prize winners from previous years? Now’s your chance.  🙂





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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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“One Murder More” by Kris Calvin


Book Cover - One Murder More

As Kris Calvin’s “One Murder More” opens, Sacramento lobbyist, Maren Kane, is having a really tough day. She's driving to a breakfast meeting at the governor’s office and sees a car go over the railing into the water-filled drainage ditch beyond. She and a Good Samaritan stranger are able to rescue two children from a rapidly submerging car, but the woman at the wheel, a famous investigative journalist, is dead on impact. After the accident, Maren continues on to work, and before going home, happens upon a bloodied colleague, Tamara Barnes, in the ladies’ room. And she is decidedly dead.

Two bodies in one 24-hour cycle? Wait. There are a few hours left to this day. Maren’s former intern, Sean Verston (and friend to Barnes) shows up at Maren’s doorstep at 2am to crash on her couch. When Sean is accused of Barnes’ murder, Maren doesn’t believe he could do it and can’t rest until she uncovers evidence that will clear him. It’s not easy to do, because Sean is hiding a secret he refuses to reveal, even to save himself.

Maren’s questions take her in surprising directions as the complex plot unfolds. The people involved and the connections between them could be ripped from the headlines. Who did what to whom, and most importantly, how did they get away with it for so long?

The people in “One Murder More” are well drawn, with intriguing, powerful men, and accomplished, multi-faceted women. Details about the California countryside and its restaurants, as well as the colorful outfits the characters wear, add to this entertaining read.

Kris Calvin’s political insider knowledge of how lobbying works in Sacramento is central to the effectiveness of “One Murder More.” She was an elected public official in California and was known for her work as an advocate for children. Maren Kane is an Ecobabe lobbyist working to pass legislation that would ban the complete use of cellphones while driving- not an easy or popular bill. The cell phone bill storyline is topical in real world discussions and in some States, highly controversial.

“One Murder More” won Silver Falchion awards for Best First Novel, and Best Political Thriller.


Please visit for more information about Ms. Calvin and her work.


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Squeaky Clean Romances – 2018



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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“Bones to Pick” by Linda Lovely


Book Cover - Bones to Pick

In Linda Lovely’s, “Bones to Pick,” mourners gather to pay their respects to goat farm owner, Aunt Eva, after the death of her twin sister, Lilly. During the ritual of sharing sweet tea and sympathy, a body is discovered by a snuffling pig. Death at a funeral?

Brie Hooker, visiting niece and a vegan chef, wanted to help her beloved aunts, but little did she suspect that murder would be served up along with the goat cheese and the farm fresh eggs. None of which is on her preferred menu. Ever.

The discovery of the corpse leads to an opportunity to re-ignite a decades old family feud, because the bones belong to Eva’s long missing husband. Eva is accused of murder. Again. The in-laws have never liked Eva, and now they have proof that she was up to no good all those years before. The plot thickens as the enemy camp seeks its own form of Carolina justice for imagined wrongdoings.

Farming is hard work and Lovely enhances “Bones to Pick” with the realities of farm life, interspersed with bodies and the dangerous in-law craziness. The goats still have to be fed, and the eggs still must be collected, even while somebody is guarding the house with rifle in hand.

The lively cast of characters includes Paint and Andy (hunky potential boyfriends), questionable law enforcement officers, Mollye (a best friend who always has Brie’s back), and a feisty aunt with an awe inspiring back story. Lovely always sprinkles a few older, intelligent folks in her books, and with “Bones to Pick,” we are treated to Brie’s parents. Brie’s lawyer mother is on speed dial for Eva and the clan, and Brie’s dad is a wannabe writer who likes to come up with ways to hide the bodies (on the page).

“Bones to Pick” is decidedly Southern, full of humor, with a down home setting, references to fleas on Blue Tick hounds, and mentions of those icons of the Carolinas: Clemson, and Wake Forest. Plus, since no well-bred Southern woman ever uses uncouth words in polite company, Brie comes up with somewhat acceptable, if surprising alternatives like: ‘you son of a salami, holy Swiss cheese! and what the Feta?’

I could never be a vegan, but some of the dishes included in the telling of the tale in “Bones to Pick,” sound mouth-watering and I could see adding them to my own repertoire of vegetable dishes. Stuffed portabella mushrooms, pumpkin brownies with coconut whipped cream, and tomato basil soup? Droolworthy food.


Lovely includes dedicated meat eaters in her well-plotted story, which makes for mostly friendly bickering around the table between the two food camps. Whether you’re on Team Meat & Cheese or Team Vegan, there’s plenty to like about “Bones to Pick.” I’m looking forward to the next installment of this new chef in the mystery world, but leave the bacon on the table for me, please.


Contains mild, adult language.


Please visit for more information about Linda Lovely and her other entertaining series.


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Barry Awards – 2018



Established in 1997, the Barry Awards are presented at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, this year held in Florida, in the USA. Voted on by readers of the Deadly Pleasures mystery magazine, the award was named in honor of Barry Gardner, an American critic and lover of great crime fiction. The winners of the Barry Awards – 2018, will be announced September 6, 2018 during the Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Barry Awards!

Best Novel 
THE LATE SHOW, Michael Connelly
EXIT STRATEGY, Steve Hamilton
THE FORCE, Don Winslow
MAGPIE MURDERS, Anthony Horowitz


Best First Novel 
THE DRY, Jane Harper
THE LOST ONES, Sheena Kamal
A RISING MAN, Abir Mukherjee


Best Paperback Original 
THE DAY I DIED, Lori Rader-Day
SUPER CON, James Swain


Best Thriller 
THE OLD MAN, Thomas Perry
UNSUB, Meg Gardiner


Happy Reading!  🙂


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