Suspense

Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards – 2019

 

 

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 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards are given to authors and their outstanding books published in the previous year. This year, the awards will be presented on August 24th at the Killer Nashville Awards Banquet. The finalists are:

 

Best Action Adventure
Baron Birtcher  “Fistful of Rain”
Linda Sands  “Precious Cargo”
Robert Slayton  “Running to Graceland”
Mary Ting  “ISAN”
Jill Wallace  “War Serenade”


Best Cozy Mystery
Traci Andrighetti  “Campari Crimson”
L.A. Chandler  “The Gold Pawn”
Phyllis Gobbell  “Treachery in Tuscany”
Morgan James  “Quiet Fury”
Jill Orr  “The Bad Break”


Best Mystery
Delphine Boswell  “Unholy Secret”
Larry Enmon  “The Burial Place”
Allan Eskens  “The Shadows We Hide”
Mike Faricy  “Star Struck”
Alexia Gordon  “Killing in C Sharp”
Bradley Harper  “A Knife in the Fog”
Roger Johns  “River of Secrets”
Ann Parker  “A Dying Note”
Keenan Powell  “Deadly Solution”
Cindy Sample  “Dying for a Deal”


Best Procedural
Bruce Robert Coffin “Beyond the Truth”
James Doherty  “An Obscure Grave”
Amanda Feyerbend  “Girls of Summer”
Margaret Mizushima  “Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery”
Saralyn Richard  “Murder in the One Percent”


Best Thriller
R.G. Belsky  “Yesterday’s News”
Timothy S. Johnston  “The War Beneath”
Thomas Kelso “Fractured”
Michael Niemann “Illegal Holdings”
T.J. O’Conner  “The Consultant”
Rick Outzen  “City of Grudges”
Eliot Parker  “A Knife’s Edge”
Charley Pearson  “Scourge”
Rick Pullen  “Naked Truth”
Dana J. Summers  “The Dark and the Dead”

 

Please visit https://killernashville.com/awards/silver-falchion-award/ for finalists in the YA, SciFi/Fantasy/Horror, Non-fiction, Suspense, and Short Story categories.   Congratulations to all!

 

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The “Tell Me…” series by Lynn Chandler Willis

 

North Carolina author, Lynn Chandler Willis, has written an engrossing three book “Tell Me…” series set in Appalachia. “Tell Me No Lies,” the first in the series, introduces us to Ava Logan, newspaper owner/publisher/editor/reporter, as the lead protagonist. Willis’ personal background as a former newspaper owner that did everything except print the Pleasant Garden Post, lends wonderful authenticity to the newspaper life both in and out of Ava’s office.

 

“Tell Me No Lies” deals with ginseng poaching, betrayal, a love lost and found, and of course, a murder. Ava’s complex relationship with Sheriff Grayson Ridge makes for gasp-out-loud reading as their astonishing secrets are revealed little by little in the middle of the murder and ginseng poaching investigations. How far can Ava go in crossing the line to ‘get the story’ without getting into trouble with the law herself? Will she put her family at risk with her decisions? Can she protect the baby she rescued from the murder scene? With a diverse cast of characters and a well-developed, layered plot, “TMNL” is a solid beginning to the Ava Logan stories.

 


“Tell Me You Love Me,” the third in the series, opens with rich descriptions of a shivering hike through the winter gloom of leafless woods and surroundings. Ava is there to do a feature story about a local legend and his rabbit-hunting beagles, but one of the dogs finds bones. What follows is an absorbing search for the identity of the remains. An anthropologist is called in to help with the cold case, but Ava has deep roots in Jackson Creek, a nose for a big story, and has her own methods of uncovering old connections.

 

Willis’ core people are gradually developed through the three books, and Doretha, a recurring character, takes on a bigger role in “Tell Me You Love Me.” As Ava’s former foster mother, Doretha protects and advises Ava. But Doretha has a secret or two of her own, one of which could drive the two women apart for good. Ridge has a larger personal role in Ava’s life, but they continue to have trouble with boundaries between the needs of the newspaper and the restrictions that murder investigations place on Ava’s need to know. Willis has a special knack for writing about the children in the series and anyone with teenagers of their own will laugh and moan while reading about the trials the son puts Ava through. Priceless.

 

In a fascinating subplot, Willis’ page-turner explores an Appalachian tradition of using a granny witch for healing. Locals rely on her for medical treatment since traditional medicine is too far away and too expensive for people in need without insurance. Differences between Appalachia and the world outside the misty hills, in both cultural beliefs and traditional practices, drive the sometimes tragic motives in “Tell Me You Love Me.”

 

Fall in love with Ava as she balances family, work, and love, while solving crimes in Appalachia.

 

Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for information about Willis’ appearances and her award-winning books.

 

 

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Take Something Different to the Beach

 

Every once in a while, we should stretch our reading horizons and try something completely different. Just for fun. You may think that straying out of your tried and true and thoroughly enjoyed genre is a bad idea, but here is a batch of books that may change your mind. Go ahead. Take a peek.  🙂

 

Adventure/Sci-Fi

 

 

James Rollins writes the exceptional Sigma Force adventure series, which incorporates archeology, historical events, science, a bit of technology, and always a dash of romance. Rollins’ research is so thorough and his writing so skilled that the readers often wonder which parts are true and which are a figment of his incredible imagination. He always includes sections in the books to answer the questions that might arise. Spanning 50,000 years, “The Bone Labyrinth” focuses on the discovery of a subterranean Catholic chapel holding the bones of a Neanderthal woman, as well as revealing a brutal attack on a primate research center. The Sigma Force teams are tasked with finding a connection between the two, taking them to three continents, while being tested as never before by unexpected enemies. The action never stops, with twists and turns until the very last page in this search for the explanations of human intelligence development. “The Bone Labyrinth” is the 11th full length book in the Sigma Force Series, with #14, “Crucible,” out this year.

 

Amish Fiction

 

Laura Bradford writes the wonderful, bestselling Amish Mysteries. “Just Plain Murder” is the sixth installment, with “A Killer Carol” due out in September. In “Just Plain Murder,” Claire Weatherly and Jakob Fisher grow closer and Jakob’s relationship with the family that shunned him shows signs of warming a bit. Jakob’s mentor and retired police chief, Russ Granger, has returned to town, but soon Claire must help Jakob solve the mystery of Russ’ death and so much more. Shocking secrets and lies are uncovered and long-standing relationships are questioned in this marvelous entry in the series. Read them all.
 

 

Christian Fiction

 

 

Terri Blackstock writes entertaining fiction that has wowed her fans for decades. The If I Run Series finishes with book #3, “If I Live.” Casey Cox is still running for her life after being wrongfully indicted for murder. She teams with the investigator on her case to help find the real killers, with consequences for each of them. Blackstock creates a sense of urgency that will keep you spellbound with surprises throughout.

 


 

Non-Fiction

 

 

Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project” is an uplifting way to look at your life and change it for the better. If you’re not happy with the way things are going and want to make some adjustments, this book is for you. Ms. Rubin talks about her own life and how she came to believe that she could be happier. She took a year to experiment with advice given by experts and came up with some ideas of her own, including strategies for each month of the year. It’s a personal plan that can easily be applied to anyone willing to ‘be more present’ in their own life.
 

 

Thriller

 

Internationally bestselling author, Jamie Freveletti, writes the multi-award winning Emma Caldridge Series. Emma Caldridge is a brilliant biochemist who enjoys extreme distance running. She uses both skills while undertaking missions around the world that would reduce the ordinary person to a puddle of fear and mumbling. In “Blood Run,” Caldridge is tasked with delivering vaccines to villages in Africa, but the big pharma CEO accompanying her and providing the financial and logistical support for the operation, is holding out on her. They find themselves in the middle of a war zone between brutal African factions with no way out except through even more dangerous territory. If that weren’t enough, an extra challenge involves an international terrorist who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, complete with a target on Emma’s back. This pulse-pounding story will keep you turning the pages and wondering how in the world Caldridge will make it out alive.

 

Happy reading!  🙂

 

 

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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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2019 Anthony Awards

 

The 2019 Anthony Awards will be handed out at The World Mystery Convention (usually referred to as Bouchercon) in November, 2019. 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 2019 Anthony Awards were chosen by attendees at the 2018 convention, as well as early registrants for the 2019 event. The recognized works were published during 2018 and the finalists will be voted upon by the 2019 Bouchercon attendees. The winners will be announced that weekend. Congratulations to all the nominees! (Links included to highlighted short story titles.)

BEST NOVEL

  • Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
  • November Road by Lou Berney
  • Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
  • Sunburn by Laura Lippman
  • Blackout by Alex Segura


BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Broken Places by Tracy Clark
  • Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver
  • What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix
  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin


BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

  • Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett
  • If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin
  • Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara
  • Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
  • A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin


BEST SHORT STORY


BEST CRITICAL OR NONFICTION WORK

  • Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin
  • Mastering Plot Twists: How To Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure To Captivate Your Readers by Jane K. Cleland
  • Pulp According to David Goodis by Jay A. Gertzman
  • Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger
  •  I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman


Plenty of time to get your read on and choose your favorites.  🙂

 

 

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CrimeFest 2019

 

CrimeFest Awards began as a variation of the USA’s Left Coast Crime Awards and has become one of the best crime fiction conferences in Europe. In most cases, eligible titles for the various awards were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlist and the winning title. The 2019 awards for 2018 books/titles were presented at a dinner held on Saturday, May 11th.


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red). Click on the book titles to discover more about the nominees and winners.


The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2018 in both printed and audio formats.
– Ben Aaronovitch for Lies Sleeping, read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
– Louise Candlish for Our House, read by Deni Francis & Paul Panting
– Bill Clinton & James Patterson for The President Is Missing, read by Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson, Mozhan Marnò and Bill Clinton
– Robert Galbraith for Lethal White, read by Robert Glenister
– Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen for The Wife Between Us, read by Julia Whelan
– Stephen King for The Outsider, read by Will Patton
– Clare Mackintosh for Let Me Lie, read by Gemma Whelan & Clare Mackintosh
– Peter May for I’ll Keep You Safe, read by Anna Murray & Peter Forbes
– Ian Rankin for In a House of Lies, read by James MacPherson
– Sarah Vaughan for Anatomy of a Scandal, read by Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane and Sarah Feathers


eDUNNIT AWARD is for the best crime fiction ebook published in both hardcopy and in electronic format.
– Leye Adenle for When Trouble Sleeps
– Steve Cavanagh for Thirteen
– Martin Edwards for Gallows Court
– Laura Lippman for Sunburn
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Andrew Taylor for The Fire Court
– Sarah Ward for The Shrouded Path


LAST LAUGH AWARD is for the best humorous crime novel.
– Simon Brett for A Deadly Habit
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – Hall of Mirrors
– Mario Giordano for Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord
– Mick Herron for London Rules
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Lynne Truss for A Shot in the Dark
– Antti Tuomainen for Palm Beach Finland
– Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar


H.R.F. KEATING AWARD is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction.
– Nils Clausson for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Art of Fiction
– Brian Cliff for Irish Crime Fiction
– Glen S. Close for Female Corpses in Crime Fiction
– Laura Joyce & Henry Sutton for Domestic Noir
– Barry Forshaw for Historical Noir
– Steven Powell for The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World
– James Sallis for Difficult Lives – Hitching Rides


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR CHILDREN nominees:
– P.G. Bell for The Train to Impossible Places
– Fleur Hitchcock for Murder At Twilight
– S.A. Patrick for A Darkness of Dragons
– Dave Shelton for The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery
– Lauren St. John for Kat Wolfe Investigates
– Nicki Thornton for The Last Chance Hotel


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS nominees:
– David Almond for The Colour of the Sun
– Mel Darbon for Rosie Loves Jack
– Julia Gray for Little Liar
– Tom Pollock for White Rabbit, Red Wolf
– Nikesh Shukla for Run, Riot
– Neal & Jarrod Shusterman for Dry


THE PETRONA AWARD celebrates the best of Scandinavian crime fiction. The winner this year is Norwegian writer, Jorn Lier Horst, for “The Katharina Code.”
 

Happy Reading!

 

 

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“Dying on Edisto” by C. Hope Clark

 

Carolina Slade trips over a body while checking out seagrass for a hat-making class and her vacation suddenly gets interesting. Slade and Largo are a few hours from home, staying at a beach cottage near Indigo Plantation on Edisto Island. Largo, a federal agent and Slade’s significant other, has been known to assist Slade on a case or two. This time, in “Dying on Edisto,” she unhappily babysits the body while he reports the death.

 

But, this is Edisto Island, Callie Morgan’s neighborhood. Callie is the Police Chief in Edisto Beach, just a few minutes down the road. Morgan just happens to be at Indigo, the new resort/B&B on the island, doing a meet and greet with the manager. But the meet and greet is interrupted before it really gets underway when Largo reports the body and Morgan and her deputy have to check it out. And we wonder…whose book is this – Slade’s or Morgan’s?

 

What ensues is an entertaining mashup between C. Hope Clark’s two successful mystery series, Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries. The backgrounds of both women tie the two series together as Clark skillfully compares their stories and personalities through dialogue and internal thoughts. 

 

Morgan is inexplicably assigned to run the murder investigation (which is outside her own jurisdiction), raising eyebrows in the Edisto Beach town council and causing her problems all around. The reason? That would be telling. 😉

 

The colorful cast of characters in “Dying on Edisto” includes a self-proclaimed pirate, an unpleasant travel blogger, an overbearing officer from the Sheriff’s department, a protective family, and Callie’s yoga teacher pal, but Callie Morgan’s efficient staff is also on hand at the Edisto Beach station, with her deputy supportive/protective as always. Clark takes time to develop intriguing subplots, so when we discover the reasons behind the behavior of some of the main characters, the pieces of the story fall neatly into place. 

 

The setting itself, the coastal South Carolina hot weather environment surrounding the Indigo Plantation, is an additional, fully fleshed out, vivid character in “Dying on Edisto.” Between the sudden storms, the treks through the mud and dark water, the bugs in the woods, and the sticky humidity, the book will give you an authentic insider’s look at life in the South during the summer.

 

With an interesting storyline, two strong women at the helm, and a surprise ending, “Dying on Edisto” will more than satisfy fans of both series.

 

For more information about C. Hope Clark’s award-winning work in fiction and non-fiction, please visit www.chopeclark.com    

 

             

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