Mystery

Shamus Awards 2020

 

 

The PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA (PWA) is an organization devoted to Private Eye fiction. A Private Eye is defined as “a private citizen (not a member of the military, federal agency, or civic or state police force) who is paid to investigate crimes. A Private Investigator can be a traditional private eye, a TV or newspaper reporter, an insurance investigator, an employee of an investigative service or agency, or similar character.”

The SHAMUS AWARDS 2020 are for works published in 2019. Winners are indicated in red.

 

Best Original Private Eye (Paperback) 

The Skin Game by JD Allen

Behind the Wall of Sleep by James DF Hannah

Paid in Spades by Richard Helms

Ration of Lies by M. Ruth Myers

The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin

 

Best Private Eye Short Story 

“The Smoking Bandit of Lakeside Terrace” by Chad Baker in EQMM May/June

“Sac-A-Lait Man” by O’Neil De Noux in EQMM Sept/Oct

“The Dunes of Saulkrasti” by William Burton McCormick in EQMM Sept/Oct

“The Fourteenth Floor” by Adam Meyer in Crime Travel anthology from Wildside Press

“Weathering the Storm” by Michael Pool in The Eyes of Texas anthology from Down & Out Books

 

 Best Private Eye Novel (Hardcover)

The Tower of Songs by Casey Barrett

Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle

The Shadows by Matt Goldman

Below the Line by Michael Gould

Cold Way by Julia Keller

 

Congratulations to all!

 

 

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Jump into June with Four Books, Four Genres

 

 

The books couldn’t be more different, but each is a great read in its own genre. Each has the potential to be fodder for a TV or big screen movie, with thoroughly interesting characters and visually descriptive writing.

 

Cozy Mystery

“Kernel of Truth” by Kristi Abbott, is the first in her Popcorn Shop Mystery series set in Grand Lake, Ohio. It’s an engaging murder mystery, complete with a personable poodle and a gourmet popcorn shop.

Rebecca Anderson hesitates when she hears screams coming from outside, having to choose between taking her sauce off the stove and investigating the screaming. Her conscience and her dog’s interest prevail and she discovers that the screams are from her friend’s chocolate shop next door. Her beloved friend, Coco, is dead and Rebecca’s life is about to change in unexpected ways.

 

While coping with the shock, Rebecca’s ex works to get her back, and Coco’s niece publicly denounces Rebecca with having ulterior motives. Accused of theft, her popcorn business in peril, and her reputation besmirched, Rebecca must solve the murder of her friend in order to regain the trust of the customers and the town. The characters are well-drawn in this nicely plotted beginning to the series. Recipes included.

 

Thriller

Nick Heller is back in “House on Fire,” the fourth entry featuring the former Special Ops soldier, now Boston P.I. An Army pal dies from a drug overdose and Heller is drawn into an investigation about the death. Who’s responsible? The easy answer is to blame the buddy himself, but Heller agrees to dig deeper.

 

In typical Finder fashion, “House on Fire” combines current events with a page-turning thriller. Undercover work reveals a surprising ally and loads of twists to surprise the reader. Family politics, personal tragedy, greed, government contracts, and billions at stake drive the story. Who can be trusted? Will Heller get out of this alive? Not everyone does. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained.

 

Legal Suspense

Functioning within the limitations of sporadic donations, the overworked guardians find the evidence to exonerate the wrongly incarcerated. The ‘Guardians’ in the title refers to Centurion Ministries, an organization that Grisham learned about some years ago while conducting research for another project. The work the Centurions did and still do, stuck with Grisham and this story is based on an actual case written about in the New York Times in 2018.

 

Grisham’s writing is compelling as fictional Cullen Post, a pastor and lawyer, doggedly pursues every lead to help those with one last hope. Post is not in it for the money, only justice for those less fortunate. The process followed to uncover new evidence in the various cold cases, with some witnesses long dead, and evidence lost or buried, is grueling and sometimes dangerous. A well-written, fascinating read, one of Grisham’s best.

 

Non-Fiction

“The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston, is non-fiction, but the events described are so wildly dangerous that it reads like page-turning fiction. The search for the ancient White City begins deep in a Honduran rainforest, probably untouched for hundreds of years.

 

Preston presents a fascinating look at the tremendously complicated planning that a legitimate investigation of a major archeological site requires. Helicopters, sophisticated technology, local government with access to permits and soldiers to guard the expedition, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent even before the explorers put boots on the ground, the right people to pull it all together, all come into play.

 

The field of archeology appears to be highly competitive and the expedition itself was surprisingly controversial, but the group of which Preston was a part, was the first to document their expedition and findings and go through official channels. The book includes photos of the search, finding the astonishing cache of artifacts, and an insane snake story, but also discusses Preston’s serious brush with death. Preston and half of his (and subsequent) expedition people contracted a potentially lethal parasitic tropical disease, one that is hundreds of years old. The interviews and research in “The Lost City of the Monkey God” are thoroughly footnoted and documented, and also reference modern epidemics and pandemics. Excavation of this extraordinary site continues today.

 

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2020 Anthony Awards

 

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 coveted Anthony Award have been announced and because of Covid19, voting will take place online in mid October. The awards will be presented as part of an online ceremony on October 17.

2020 Anthony Award Nominees

BEST NOVEL
Your House Will Pay, by Steph Cha
They All Fall Down, by Rachel Howzell Hall
Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman
The Murder List, by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Miami Midnight, by Alex Segura

BEST FIRST NOVEL
The Ninja Daughter, by Tori Eldridge
Miracle Creek, by Angie Kim
One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski
Three-Fifths, by John Vercher
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Unrepentant, by E.A. Aymar
Murder Knocks Twice, by Susanna Calkins
The Pearl Dagger, by L.A. Chandlar
Scot & Soda, by Catriona McPherson
The Alchemist’s Illusion, by Gigi Pandian
Drowned Under, by Wendall Thomas
The Naming Game, by Gabriel Valjan

BEST CRITICAL NON-FICTION WORK
Hitchcock and the Censors, by John Billheimer
The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of the Collins Crime Club, by John Curran The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women, by Mo Moulton
The Trail of Lizzie Borden: A True Story, by Cara Robertson
The Five: The Untold Stories of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold

BEST SHORT STORY

“Turistas,” by Hector Acosta (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)

“Unforgiven,” by Hilary Davidson (appearing in Murder a-Go-Gos: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos)

“The Red Zone,” by Alex Segura (appearing in ¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico)

“Better Days,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May/June 2019)

“Hard Return,” by Art Taylor (appearing in Crime Travel)

BEST ANTHOLOGY OR COLLECTION
The Eyes of Texas: Private Investigators from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods, edited by Michael Bracken
¡Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, edited by Angel Luis Colón
Crime Travel, edited by Barb Goffman
Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons
Murder A-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Gos, edited by Holly West

BEST YOUNG ADULT
Seven Ways to Get Rid of Harry
, by Jen Conley

Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer
Killing November, by Adriana Mather
Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay
The Deceivers, by Kristen Simmons
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas

Congratulations to all the nominees!!!

 

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“Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” by Sarah Graves

 

 

Sarah Graves, author of the popular Home Repair Is Homicide series, has a spinoff series out that begins with “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.” The Death by Chocolate Mysteries series features the main characters we know and love from Eastport, Maine, and gives them a chocolate shop.

 

The popular crime solving, best friend duo from Home Repair, Jacobia Tiptree and Ellie White, recently opened The Chocolate Moose. The bakers sell yummy chocolate taste treats to the delighted locals and are getting ready for the July 4th weekend, doing special orders of the forenamed cheesecake as well as their regular items. Jacobia (Jake) receives an early morning call that the shop door is standing open and arranges to have the fussy lock replaced. When she arrives at The Chocolate Moose to open for the day, the lights are out, causing her to trip over something in the dark. Which turns out to be a very dead health inspector bent over a worktable, his head leaning into a pot of chocolate. A health inspector she and Ellie have been battling with since setting up business.

 

Ellie may be the last person to see the nasty inspector alive, and not under the best circumstances. She’s the most likely person to be under suspicion, but how will she be cleared of wrongdoing? And, the practical matter question: Can a chocolate shop recover from a dead guy falling into its signature chocolate? “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” is a wonderful beginning to the new series, featuring a great mystery with clever misdirection, warm familiar friendships, relatives with complex issues, a missing son with a surprise of his own, a hurricane, and a Maine setting that is a character in itself to be reckoned with.

 

Amid the action and suspense of the central murder plot, Graves shows us that despite the challenges of work and mayhem, family always deserves care and attention. Jacobia’s loving husband has her back in ways she isn’t always aware; her father escapes from his hospital bed, arriving home in a taxi still in his paper slippers and gown; her step-mother is craggy, smart, and fiercely defends her loved ones; her son is making his way in the world despite a few worrisome years. There are touching scenes with her father that brought tears to my eyes. Graves’ marvelously written family hits all the right notes, and the mystery in “Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake” has plenty of surprises to keep the reader turning the pages.

 

Books #2 (“Death by Chocolate Malted Milkshake”) and #3 (“Death by Chocolate Frosted Doughnut”) are out now. Barnes and Noble, here I come.

 

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2020 Left Coast Crime Lefty Awards

 

Sadly, because of the Covid19 pandemic, the Left Coast Crime Conference was shut down before the first day of the conference had finished. Voting was conducted online. Please check out all the nominees for the 2020 Left Coast Crime Lefty Awards and note the winners in red.

Congratulations to all!

Best Humorous Mystery Novel

  • Ellen Byron, Fatal Cajun Festival
  • Leslie Karst, Murder from Scratch
  • Cynthia Kuhn, The Subject of Malice
  • Catriona McPherson, Scot & Soda
  • Wendall Thomas, Drowned Under  

Best Historical Mystery Novel

  • Susanna Calkins, Murder Knocks Twice
  • L.A. Chandlar, The Pearl Dagger
  • Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder
  • Jennifer Kincheloe, The Body in Griffith Park
  • Sujata Massey, The Satapur Moonstone  

Best Debut Mystery Novel

  • Tori Eldridge, The Ninja Daughter
  • Angie Kim, Miracle Creek
  • Tara Laskowski, One Night Gone
  • John Vercher, Three-Fifths
  • Carl Vonderau, Murderabilia

Best Mystery Novel

  • Steph Cha, Your House Will Pay
  • Tracy Clark, Borrowed Time
  • Matt Coyle, Lost Tomorrows
  • Rachel Howzell Hall, They All Fall Down
  • Attica Locke, Heaven, My Home 

     

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Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2020 List

 

View from Blarney Castle

 

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 updated list of 38 Irish Fiction & Mysteries–2020 List that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind
Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
Sheila Connolly: “Fatal Roots
Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn
Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller
Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Tana French: “Broken Harbor
Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake
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
Caimh McDonnell: “A Man with One of Those Faces
Brian McGilloway: “Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution
Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Cottage
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
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden
Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

 

 

 

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them! Happy choosing and reading!

 

 

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Book List: Fiona Quinn

 

Fiona Quinn writes “smart, sexy suspense with a psychic twist.” The series that started her path to becoming a USA bestselling author, the Lynx Series, is centered around a character that her readers love. Click on the titles in Fiona Quinn’s Book List to find out more about each of them.

 

In the Lynx Series, Lexi Sobado protects the greater good through her finely tuned psychic awareness and the expert operators charged with protecting her.

 

 

Weakest Lynx”  read my review here, one of the NBR ‘beach read’ choices that year.

 

 

Missing Lynx

Chain Lynx

 

 

 

Cuff Lynx”  read my review here.

 

 

Gulf Lynx

 

 

 

The FBI Joint Task Force Series Iniquus, the ex-special forces teams that Lexi works with, partners with an FBI Joint Task Force. Pulse pounding series.

Open Secret

Cold Red

Even Odds

 

 

Uncommon Enemiesfocuses on international action adventures. So much fun!

Wasp

 

 

 

 

 

Relic”   read my review here.

 

 

 

 

Deadlock

Thorn

“Survival Instinct” – coming soon.

 

Strike Forcethe members of the Iniquus strike force are highlighted in each book. With psychic suspense, romance, murder, and mystery woven into each, Quinn’s fans have loved the guys tasked to discover the truth behind various operations.
In Too Deep

Jack Be Quick

Instigator

 

The Kate Hamilton Novella SeriesA former science teacher from Boston goes to Virginia to hide out, but finds that danger follows her even to the small town where she grew up. Excellent novella series.  🙂

 

Mine

Yours

 “Ours” 

 

Fiona Quinn (as Lexi Sobado) has also been a Visiting Detective at Kerrian’s Notebook. Click on the links to take you to the individual posts.

 

Read “Visiting Detective Lexi Sobado

 

and “Everyday Carry (EDC) for Police,” one of KN’s most popular Visiting Detective pieces.

 

 

If you like strong women with unusual talent, danger, a bit of romance, and lots of action, check out Fiona Quinn’s always entertaining books.

 

 

 

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