Suspense

2023 ThrillerFest Awards

Thriller writers bring us thrills and chills and keep us turning the pages long into the wee hours of the morning. We love those stay-awake reads! Check out the 2023 International Thriller Writer ThrillerFest Awards finalists. The winners will be announced in NYC on June 3rd. Congratulations to all!

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
Delilah S. Dawson – THE VIOLENCE
Jennifer Hillier – THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK
Alma Katsu – THE FERVOR
Jennifer McMahon – THE CHILDREN ON THE HILL
Chris Pavone – TWO NIGHTS IN LISBON
Catriona Ward – SUNDIAL

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Lauren Nossett – THE RESEMBLANCE
Sascha Rothchild – BLOOD SUGAR
Hayley Scrivenor – DIRT TOWN
Stacy Willingham – A FLICKER IN THE DARK
Erin Young – THE FIELDS

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Mary Burton – THE LIES I TOLD
Mark Edwards – NO PLACE TO RUN
Minka Kent – UNMISSING
Freida McFadden – THE HOUSEMAID
Wanda Morris – ANYWHERE YOU RUN
Holly Wainwright – THE COUPLE UPSTAIRS
Loreth Anne White – THE PATIENT’S SECRET

BEST SHORT STORY
Dominique Bibeau – RUSSIAN FOR BEGINNERS (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Barb Goffman – THE GIFT (Down & Out Books)
Smita Harish Jain – PUBLISH OR PERISH (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Joyce Carol Oates – 33 CLUES INTO THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY SISTER (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Anna Scotti – SCHRÖDINGER, CAT (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Catherine Steadman – STOCKHOLM (Amazon Original Stories)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Melissa Albert – OUR CROOKED HEARTS
Gillian French – SUGARING OFF
Kate McLaughlin – DAUGHTER
Francesca Padilla – WHAT’S COMING TO ME
Courtney Summers – I’M THE GIRL

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Bill Byrnes – EVASIVE SPECIES (Self-published)
Diane Jeffrey – THE COUPLE AT CAUSEWAY COTTAGE (HarperCollins)
Grant McKenzie – THE SEVEN TRUTHS OF HANNAH BAXTER (Self-published)
Rick Mofina – THE HOLLOW PLACE (Self-published)
Carrie Rubin – FATAL ROUNDS (Self-published)

 

Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2023 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 47 Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2023  that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness

Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Ellie Brannigan “Murder at an Irish Castle
Verity Bright “Murder in an Irish Castle
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
Maddie Day: “Four Leaf Cleaver
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller

Nelson Demille: “Cathedral

Peggy Ehrhart: “Irish Knit Murder

Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Mike Faricy: “Jewels to Kill For
Tana French: “The Searcher

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: “The Last Crossing
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross: “Irish Coffee Murder
Catie Murphy “Dead in Dublin

Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen

Carlene O’Connor: “Murder at an Irish Bakery
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”


Helen Page: “Equal of God”
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
J.M. Poole “Case of the Shady Shamrock

Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick’s Custody
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface

Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Charles Todd: “An Irish Hostage
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden

Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes
Traci Wilton “Mrs. Morris and the Pot of Gold

 

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

 

 

2023 Barry Awards (Crime Fiction)

Established in 1997, the Barry Awards are presented at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, to be held this year in San Diego. The winners will be announced at the Opening Ceremonies on August 31st. 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. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Mystery or Crime Novel
THE ACCOMPLICE, Steve Cavanagh
DESERT STAR, Michael Connelly
THE DARK FLOOD, Deon Meyer
SHIFTY’S BOYS, Chris Offutt
SECRET IDENTITY, Alex Segura
CITY ON FIRE, Don Winslow

Best First Mystery or Crime Novel
BEFORE YOU KNEW MY NAME, Jacqueline Bublitz
DON’T KNOW TOUGH, Eli Cranor
SHUTTER, Ramona Emerson
THE MAID, Nita Prose
BLOOD SUGAR, Sascha Rothchild
DIRT CREEK, Hayley Scrivenor

Best Thriller
IN THE BLOOD, Jack Carr
WINTER WORK, Dan Fesperman
SIERRA SIX, Mark Greaney
BAD ACTORS, Mick Herron
KILLERS OF A CERTAIN AGE, Deanna Raybourn
GOERING’S GOLD, Richard O’Rawe

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 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,” the fifth entry in the National Park Mystery Series, is 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.

In “Mesa Verde Victim,” Bender tracks down a murderer in an area of the park with burial sites and artifacts abandoned long before by ancient Pueblo peoples. The stakes are high and the landscape descriptions marvelous.

Canyonlands Carnage” opens with thrilling white-water rafting and introduces the reader and nature enthusiasts to the spectacular world of one of the nation’s best loved parks. Mystery, murder, and mayhem mix with history to provide another great read.

Book #8 in the series, “Saguaro Sanction,” thrusts the murder of a cousin squarely into the lives of the Bender family. Graham explores the southern Arizona National Park and its archeological mysteries while addressing the cultural impact of the U.S.-Mexico border hostility.

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

The official launch date for “Saguaro Sanction” is March 7th. Look for it.  🙂
Please visit www.scottfranklingraham.com for more information about Graham and his work.
 

 

2023 Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Fiction

Are you a fan of holiday themed reading? Published between 2016 and 2023, here is an updated  list of thirty-one novels, novellas, and short stories centered around Valentine’s Day. Be prepared to sigh, or giggle, or be entranced by the selection. Click on the titles to discover more about the books and enjoy!

 

Jennifer S. Alderson  Death by Baguette

Carolyn Arnold  Valentine’s Day is Murder

 

Belle Bailey  A Sugar Maple Valentine

Patti Benning  Tall, Dark, and Deadly

Bellamy Bloom & Addison Moore  Murder Bites

Franky A. Brown  What Happened to Romance?

 

Susan Carroll The Valentine’s Day Ball

Cherry Christensen  Secret Valentine

Colleen Cross  Witching for Love on Valentine’s Day

 

Sylvia Damsell  A Valentine Wish

Steve Demaree A Valentine Murder

Liz Dodwell Valentine’s Day: a Polly Parrett Pet-Sitter Cozy

Jessica L. Elliott Operation: Romance

 

Tammy Falkner A Valentine’s Day Miracle

Amanda Flower Honeymoons Can Be Hazardous

Deborah Garner  A Flair for Truffles

Patricia Gligor Marnie Malone

Donna Grant  My Fiery Valentine

 

Holly Hepburn Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence

Liwen Y. Ho Romantically Ever After

June McCrary Jacobs Handmade Hearts

 

Libby Klein  Theater Nights Are Murder

Jackie Lau  A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day

Lia London Love from A to Z

 

Ava Mallory & nine more authors Stirring Up Love & Mystery

Jenn McKinlay  Royal Valentine

Leslie Meier  Valentine Candy Murder

Mobile Writers Guild Valentine’s Day Pieces (Anthology)

Addison Moore & Bellamy Bloom  Sealed with a Hiss

 

Summer Prescott A Blossom of Murder

Amy M. Reade  Be My Valencrime

 

Happy Reading!

 

Book List: Lynn Chandler Willis

Have you read all of Lynn Chandler Willis’ books? Are you sure? Read on and click on the links to find out more about her terrific work.

North Carolina author, Lynn Chandler Willis, has been a professional in the writing business for quite a while, first as a newspaper owner/publisher/reporter. During that experience, she developed a keen eye for detail and for what makes people tick. She could sniff out a great story and her first book dealt with the real-life murder of the wife of a preacher’s son, committed by the preacher’s son himself in small town North Carolina. Willis attended the trial every day and did meticulous research into everything that surrounded that case. Twenty years later, the book is still being sold, a rarity in the publishing world. That book is “Unholy Covenant” (also known as “The Preacher’s Son”) and was the subject of a TV documentary about the case.

 

The Rising” won a Grace Award (review here)

 

 

 

“Wink of an Eye” A private investigator tries to lay low in Texas and still gets involved in a case.   (review here)  It won Minotaur’s PWA Best First Private Eye novel competition. Well deserved!

 

The Ava Logan Series is a romantic suspense trilogy featuring newspaper publisher/reporter Ava Logan.

Tell Me No Lies” is the first in the series  (review here)

Tell Me No Secrets” 

Tell Me You Love Me”  third book in the Ava Logan trilogy (review here)

 

Periodically, Nightstand Book Reviews has a crossover post with www.kerriansnotebook.com. Ava Logan was a Visiting Detective with “Crime in Appalachia.” Take a look here.

New Series: January, 2023, brings us the highly anticipated “What the Monkey Saw.” I read it and can tell you it’s got a fantastic lead character, and taut action scenes. You’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the fray! You can order it here.

The Second New Series: Introducing Raynor Beck, a detective who operates on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Coming in May 2023, The Devil to Pay: Raynor Beck, Book 1.

The setup: “Private Investigator Raynor Beck has been hired by the victim of a crime more than once. But he’s never been hired by a murder victim. Until now.”

How long is it until May?  🙂

 

Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for details about Ms. Willis’ appearances as well as news about Finn and the events in her life.

Facebook Author Page

*Book Covers and banner from Ms. Willis’ website and Facebook page.

 

Book List: Author C. Hope Clark

Award winning mystery writer, C. Hope Clark, is the author of three series based in the American South.

The Carolina Slade Mysteries introduced me to this always engaging author. You’ll enjoy reading about Carolina Slade, a special projects officer with the US Department of Agriculture, and the well-developed, conniving characters in the books. Set in steamy South Carolina, Clark captures the atmosphere and the landscape so perfectly that you’ll be spooked right along with Slade as she conducts some of her investigations in the deep groves and low country coastline. The relationship between Slade and her love interest, loosely based upon Ms. Clark’s own experiences, adds to the fun of the solid mystery series. Click on the links for the ‘buy’ information and/or to learn more about the books.

 

 

 

Book One: Read review here

Tidewater Murder”  (Book Two)

 

 


Book Three: Read review here

Newberry Sin”  (Book Four)

Salkehatchie Secret”  (Book Five)

 

The Edisto Island Mysteries take place for the most part on Edisto Island, a real geographical location in South Carolina. Law enforcement officer Callie Jean Morgan is the complex, lead protagonist who becomes the Police Chief of Edisto Beach, while battling inner demons related to her Boston ties.

Murder on Edisto”  (Book One)

Edisto Jinx”  (Book Two)

 

 

 

 

Book Three: Read review here

Edisto Stranger”  (Book Four)

 

 

 

Book Five: Read review here

 

Edisto Tidings”  (Book Six)

Reunion on Edisto” (Book Seven)

Edisto Heat”  (Book Eight)

Badge of Edisto”  (Book Nine)


Never one to rest on her successes, Clark launched a series featuring a new protagonist, Quinn Sterling, a private detective in the Carolina low country. The first two titles, “Murder in Craven,” and “Burned in Craven,” are out now. Click on the titles for more information.

On occasion, Nightstand Book Reviews has a crossover post with Kerrian’s Notebook. Clark (in the personae of Quinn Sterling) was a Visiting Detective on KN. Please read “Murder in Craven County,” for more about this great new character/series.

In the meantime, please visit https://chopeclark.com/ for more information about Clark’s books and public events.

*Banner and head shot courtesy of C. Hope Clark.

 

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