Suspense

2021 Left Coast Crime Awards

The pandemic continues to affect conferences. The 2021 Left Coast Crime convention was cancelled, but you’ll be happy to note that the Lefties were still awarded for the great mysteries  produced in 2020. Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners (indicated in red).

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  °  Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard
  °  Jennifer J. Chow, Mimi Lee Gets a Clue
  °  Carl Hiaasen, Squeeze Me
  °  Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets
  °  J. Michael Orenduff, The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing
  °  Sung J. Woo, Skin Deep

 

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (events before 1970)
  °  Susanna Calkins, The Fate of a Flapper
  °  Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder
  °  Laurie R. King, Riviera Gold
  °  Catriona McPherson, The Turning Tide
  °  Ann Parker, Mortal Music
  °  James W. Ziskin, Turn to Stone

 

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
  °  Daisy Bateman, Murder Goes to Market
  °  Mary Keliikoa, Derailed
  °  Erica Ruth Neubauer, Murder at the Mena House
  °  Richard Osman, The Thursday Murder Club
  °  Halley Sutton, The Lady Upstairs
  °  David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Winter Counts

 

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
  °  Tracy Clark, What You Don’t See
  °  S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland
  °  Matt Coyle, Blind Vigil
  °  Rachel Howzell Hall, And Now She’s Gone
  °  Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here

2021 Hammett Prize

The Hammett Prize is bestowed by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). The award will be given later this year for a 2020 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by an American or Canadian author. The prize is the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights. 🙂

Congratulations to all the nominees:

 

MURDER IN OLD BOMBAY by Nev March
Based on a true story that occurred in colonial India, a hospitalized soldier investigates a murder.

 

THE MOUNTAINS WILD by Sarah Stewart Taylor
A New York detective returns to Dublin to investigate the disappearance of her cousin after new evidence appears 20 years later.

 

THREE HOURS IN PARIS by Cara Black
In World War II, a female sniper out for revenge, is sent to Paris to assassinate the Fűhrer, but misses. Told in real time.

 

WHEN THESE MOUNTAINS BURN by David Joy
Set in Appalachia, an addict, a frustrated father, and a lawman converge around the circumstances of the opioid epidemic.

 

WINTER COUNTS by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
A vigilante on a Native American reservation searches for the source of a heroin supply.

 

 

The Agatha Awards – 2020 Books

The nominees for the Agatha Awards for 2020 Books (named for Agatha Christie) have been announced. The awards will be given to mystery and crime writers during the virtual More than Malice conference in July, 2021. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2020.

 

The Agatha Awards recognize the “traditional mystery,” meaning that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the writing. Thrillers or hard-boiled detectives cannot be found here, but instead, picture Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot at work.

 

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Contemporary Novel
Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron
From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny
The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day

 

Best Historical Novel
The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen

Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman
Taken Too Soon by Edith Maxwell
The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson

 

Best First Novel
A Spell for Trouble by Esme Addison

Winter Witness by Tina deBelgarde
Derailed by Mary Keliikoa
Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer
Murder Most Sweet by Laura Jensen Walker

 

Best Short Story
“Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mag)

“The Red Herrings at Killington Inn” by Shawn Reilly Simmons Masthead: Best New England Crime Stories (Level Best Books)
“The Boy Detective & The Summer of ‘74” by Art Taylor (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb)
“Elysian Fields” by Gabriel Valjan California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology (Wildside Press)
“The 25 Year Engagement” by James Ziskin In League with Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon (Pegasus Crime)
 
Best Children’s/YA Mystery
Midnight at the Barclay Hotel
by Fleur Bradley

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Saltwater Secrets by Cindy Callaghan
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco by Richard Narvaez

 

Book List: Author Craig Johnson

Craig Allen Johnson’s writing career has centered around his iconic lead character, Walt Longmire, a modern American sheriff from Wyoming. What makes Sheriff Walt Longmire so immediately likable? Middle-aged, experienced at his job, widower of a woman he loved more than life itself, an attorney daughter of whom he is so very proud, and a Cheyenne best friend/sidekick whom he has known since childhood. Longmire mostly follows the rules, but when justice is in question, the rules are sometimes open to interpretation.

 

The stories are full of wonderful dialogue, intriguing mysteries, life and death situations, and a core set of characters with whom you’d like to spend as much time as possible. Johnson’s obvious love of the wide-open spaces of Wyoming spills onto the pages when the landscape becomes a character, as suddenly dangerous as any killer could be or as mesmerizing as a beautiful painting.


Read the first in the series, “The Cold Dish,” and you’ll want to follow this lawman throughout the rugged Wyoming hills.
Here is the list of the Longmire books, in order of publication.

 

“The Cold Dish”  review here

“Death Without Company”

“Kindness Goes Unpunished” review here

 “Another Man’s Moccasins”

“The Dark Horse”

“Junkyard Dogs”

“Hell Is Empty”

“As the Crow Flies”

“A Serpent’s Tooth”

“Any Other Name”

“Dry Bones”  review here

“An Obvious Fact”

“The Western Star”

“Depth of Winter”

“Land of Wolves”

“Next to Last Stand”

Please visit https://www.craigallenjohnson.com for the ‘buy’ links for each of the books and to see the list of novellas that fill the gaps between the novels. Discover what he is doing virtually and in a few months, in person. There is a goodies store on the site, as well as a portal for ordering the DVDs from the TV series. Enjoy!

 

 

*Photos of Craig Johnson taken at Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh, NC, by Patti Phillips.

 

2021 – Irish Fiction & Mysteries

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 40 Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2021  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
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
Lucy Foley: “The Guest List
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: “Irish Parade Murder


Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Bookshop
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
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!

 

 

January Reviews – Four Genres

COZY

“Tilling the Truth” by Julia Henry

The feisty Garden Squad is back with a new set of projects, some aboveboard, some clandestine, and always chosen with the intent to spruce up the town and bring smiles to both residents and visitors. I opened “Tilling the Truth” to check a detail for the review, got caught up in the storyline again, and re-read the book because of its delightfully dedicated crew and their mission.

 

Small towns are a microcosm of society, with nice and not-so-nice residents living next door to one another. Everybody knows what you’re up to, or will find out as soon as the nosy neighbor texts her friends. Henry captures that perfectly with her charming mix of senior citizens and assorted helpful younger generation characters. The main characters are well-rounded, each with their own quirks and endearing qualities, and oh, my word, the unpleasant ones should be stripped of their gardening tools and run out of town in a wheelbarrow.

“Tilling the Truth” has a tightly layered plot, with our heroine, Lilly Jayne, dealing with the estate of a good friend, disgruntled beneficiaries, her best friend accused of murder, zoning laws, a bird sanctuary, and an impending lifestyle change for Lilly. Henry weaves it all together in a way that sounds just like a story you could tell to spellbound dinner guests if it happened in your own neighborhood.

 

THRILLER

“Dead Man Running” by Steve Hamilton

This is the ninth book in the top-notch Alex McKnight series. A serial killer has been arrested, but will talk to no one except retired police officer, Alex McKnight. Except that McKnight knows nothing about the man and has no idea why the killer thinks there is a connection between them.

 

What’s at stake is a missing woman that may still be alive. The FBI will do anything to save the woman and stop the murders, including hauling McKnight cross country to meet with the depraved Livermore. The story is told through McKnight’s point-of-view as well as the serial killer’s twisted mind. There are graphic discussions about the killer’s crimes, so if you’re looking for a light read, this is not for you. Instead, it will give some insight into an evil, manipulative thought process. There are surprises at every turn that keep McKnight pushing forward and the FBI in pursuit – each matching wits with Livermore. Chilling to the core, Hamilton has delivered another masterfully plotted page-turner in “Dead Man Running.”

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE

The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

“Silent Patient” is an intense read, centered around a successful artist who shoots her husband in the face and never says a word after the deed, not to explain herself, not to save herself from prosecution. The criminal psychotherapist who tells the tale is obsessed by the case and works his way onto the staff at her psychiatric institute so that he can solve the mystery of her silence. Michaelides delivers shocking revelations, clever twists in the plot, and characters so well-drawn that they could be people we know. Don’t read “The Silent Patient” before bed, because you won’t get a wink of sleep as the pages fly by.

 

NONFICTION

“The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston

I wish “The Hot Zone” was a thriller, a work of fiction, but it is completely true. An ordinary guy in 1970s Africa dies several days after spending time off trekking through a jungle. He ends life  horribly in a Nairobi hospital, infecting and killing others splattered by his blood; his companion on the outing with him doesn’t get sick. Blood samples are sent to the CDC in Atlanta, GA for testing, confirming the Ebola virus as the cause of death, and then are locked away in their secure facility. A few years later, the deadly Ebola virus arrives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. via monkeys tagged for research. The monkeys already in residence at this top-secret building set in an unsuspecting neighborhood, quickly start dying.

 

This hair-raising tale written in the 1990s, describes the rigorous protocols to keep the military personnel safe, the race to dispose of the infected monkey bodies while keeping the public from learning the truth, and the high personal cost of working in the field of infectious diseases. Preston includes a telling look at how the military and the world perceived a dedicated woman’s role in both the military and her ability to work with a killer virus in the 1980s. A television series based on “The Hot Zone” aired in 2020 and scared me silly, but the thoroughly researched book even more so.

 

 

 

The Edgar Awards – 2021

Mystery Writers of America has announced the nominees for the 2021 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2020. A diverse group of judges has selected the nominees and from among those lists, will select the winners to be revealed on April 29, 2021.

 

BEST NOVEL

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney
Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
These Women by Ivy Pochoda
The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
The Distant Dead by Heather Young

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March
Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole
The Deep, Deep Snow by Brian Freeman
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey
The Keeper by Jessica Moor
East of Hounslow by Khurrum Rahman

 

BEST FACT CRIME

Blood Runs Coal: The Yablonski Murders and the Battle for the United Mine Workers of America by Mark A. Bradley

The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg

Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies that Delivered the Opioid Epidemic by Eric Eyre

Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country by Sierra Crane Murdoch

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife by Ariel Sabar

  

BEST JUVENILE

Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Me and Banksy by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor
Nessie Quest by Melissa Savage
Coop Knows the Scoop by Taryn Souders

  
THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD

Death of an American Beauty by Mariah Fredericks
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart
The Lucky One by Lori Rader-Day
The First to Lie by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Cold Wind by Paige Shelton

 

THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD

The Burn by Kathleen Kent
Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King
Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht
Dead Land by Sara Paretsky
The Sleeping Nymph by Ilaria Tuti
Turn to Stone by James W. Ziskin

 

The GRAND MASTERS:

Jeffery Deaver
Charlaine Harris

 

The RAVEN AWARD:

Malice Domestic

 

Please visit https://mysterywriters.org/mwa-announces-2021-edgar-allan-poe-award-nominations/ for the recipient of The Ellery Queen Award, as well as the nominees in the categories of Best Critical/Biographical, Best Short Story, Best YA, and Best Television Episode Teleplay.

Congratulations to all the nominees and recipients of the special awards!

 

 

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