Suspense

Writers and The Writers’ Police Academy

 

WPA Logo.jpg

The readers at www.kerriansnotebook.com have heard me chat about The Writers’ Police Academy (created by Lee Lofland) on many occasions. They have seen the photos, read the posts and remarked on the amazing experiences shared at each WPA. The questions I hear most often are:

 

  • Since a bunch of writers attend those events, what kinds of books do they write?
  • Are any of them reporters?
  • Are they all mystery/crime writers?
  • Do they write cozies or thrillers?

 

Here’s a chance to let the readers of both Kerrian’s Notebook and Nightstand Book Reviews know what the FAB writers from WPA contribute to our reading pleasure.

 

The authors are listed alphabetically, along with a photo of one of their book covers and the clickable links to their websites. Many of the writers in this terrific list have been nominated (and/or awarded) for their great writing. Their websites will reveal all! Some are debut novelists; some have several series underway. Book content ranges from PG to hot and steamy, from cozy to hard-boiled, from friendly adventure to fast-paced thriller, along with non-fiction titles that provide true crime and forensics information, so there is something for everyone. More will be added to the list each week until the middle of September (2015). Please check them out. 🙂

 

Stacy Allen  "Expedition Indigo"    

Book Cover - Expedition Indigo

 

 

 

 

www.stacyallenauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie Atkins  "Bayou Bounty Hunters Book 2: Sealing His Fate"

WPASealingHisFate - Melanie Atkinswww.melanieatkins.com

 

 

 

Allison Brennan  "Best Laid Plans"

WPA Best Laid Plans - Allison Brennan

 

 

 

 

 

www.allisonbrennan.com

 

 

 

 

Robin Burcell  "The Kill Order"

WPA The Kill Order - Robin Burcell

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.robinburcell.com

 

 

 

 

Kris Calvert  "Sex, Lies & Sweet Tea"

SexLiesSweetTeaCover1

 

 

 

 

 

www.kriscalvert.com

 

 

 

 

Kait Carson  "Death by Blue Water"

WPADeath By Blue Water - Kait Carsonwww.kaitcarson.com

 

 

Merit Clark  "Killing Streak"

WPAkilling Streak - Merit Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.meritclark.com

 

 

 

Marco Conelli  "Matthew Livingston & The Politics of Death"

WPA Politics of Death - Marco Conelli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.marcoconelli.com

 

 

 

Doug M. Cummings  "Easy Evil"

WPA Easy Evil - Doug M Cummings

 

 

 

 

 

www.dougmcummingsauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Flora  "And Grant You Peace"

WPA And Grant You Peace - Kate Flora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.kateflora.com

 

 

 

 

Kaye George/Janet Cantrell  "Fat Cat Spreads Out"

WPAFat Cat Spreads Out - Janet Cantrell-Kaye Georgewww.kayegeorge.wix.com

 

 

John Gilstrap  "Against All Enemies"

WPA Against All Enemies -John Gilstrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.johngilstrap.com

 

 

 

Stacy Green  "All Good Deeds"

WPA All Good Deeds - Stacy Green

 

 

 

 

www.stacygreen.net

 

 

 

 

Judy Hogan  "Farm Fresh and Fatal"

WPAFarm Fresh and Fatal - Judy Hogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.judyhogan.home.mindspring.com

 

 

 

Bill Hopkins  "Courting Murder"

WPACourting Murder - Bill Hopkinshttp://deadlyduo.wix.com/thedeadlyduo

 

 

Sharon Woods Hopkins "Killerwatt"

WPA Killerwatt - Sharon Woods Hopkins

 

 

 

 

 

http://deadlyduo.wix.com/thedeadlyduo

 

 

 

 

 

Polly Iyer  "Backlash"

WPABacklash - Polly Iyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.PollyIyer.com

 

 

 

Linda Johnson  "Trail of Destruction"

WPA Trail Of Destruction - Linda Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

www.LindaJohnson.us

 

 

 

 

Lee Lofland  "Police Procedure & Investigation"

WPA Police Procedure & Investigation - Lee Lofland

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.leelofland.com

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Lovely  "Dead Hunt"

WPADead Hunt - Linda Lovely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lindalovely.com

 

 

 

 

Edith Maxwell  "Farmed and Dangerous"

WPAFarmed and Dangerous - Edith Maxwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.edithmaxwell.com

 

 

 

Patricia McLinn  "Sign Off"

WPA Sign Off - Patricia McLinn

 

 

 

 

 

www.patriciamclinn.com

 

 

 

 

Donna Blanchard McNicol  "Barely a Spark"

WPA Barely a Spark - DB McNicol

 

 

 

 

 

www.dbmcnicol.com

 

 

 

 

Catriona McPherson  "The Child Garden"

WPA The Child Garden - Catriona McPherson.png

 

 

 

 

 

www.catrionamcpherson.com

 

 

 

 

Linda Mickey  "Test Scores"

WPA Test Scores - Linda Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lindamickey.com

 

 

 

 

Liz Mugavero  "Icing on the Corpse"

WPAIcing onthe Corpse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lizmugavero.com

 

 

 

Pamela Oberg  "Rogue Wave"

WPA Rogue Wave - Pamela Oberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.facebook.com/stonecreekwriting

 

 

 

Terry Odell  "Deadly Production"

WPADeadly Production - Terry Odell

 

 

 

 

 

www.terryodell.com

 

 

 

 

Alec Peche  "Death on a Green"

WPA Death on a Green - Alec Peche

 

 

 

 

 

www.alecpeche.com

 

 

 

 

Ashantay Peters  "Death Stretch"

WPADeath Stretch - Ashantay Peters

 

 

 

 

 

www.Ashantay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Patti Phillips  "Kerrian's Notebook, Volume 1"

WPA KN_Vol 1 fingerprint_cover_- copy 3

 

 

 

 

 

www.kerriansnotebook.com

 

 

 

Mar Preston  "A Very Private High School"

WPA A Very Private High School - Mar Preston

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.marpreston.com

 

 

 

 

Karen Pullen  "Cold Feet"

WPACold Feet - Karen Pullen

 

 

 

 

 

www.karenpullen.com

 

 

 

 

Fiona Quinn  "Weakest Lynx"

Book Cover - Weakest Lynx

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ThrillWriting.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

Dr. Katherine Ramsland  "The Mind of a Murderer"

WPA The Mind of a Murderer - Katherine Ramsland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.katherineramsland.com

 

 

 

 

K.T. Roberts  "Deadly Obsessions"

WPA Deadly Obsessions - KT Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

www.ktrobertsmysteries.com

 

 

 

 

Mike Roche  "The Blue Monster"

WPA The Blue Monster - Mike Roche

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.mikeroche.com

 

 

 

 

Lori Ryan  "The Billionaire's Suite Dreams"

WPAThe Billionaire's Suite Dreams - Lori Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.loriryanromance.com

 

 

 

 

Jamie Lee Scott  "Let Us Prey" – Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery, Book 1

WPA Let Us Prey - Jamie Lee Scott

 

 

 

 

 

www.jamieleescott.com

 

 

 

 

Terry Shames  "A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge"

WPAA Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge - Terry Shames

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.TerryShames.com

 

 

 

 

Sarah Levine Simon  "Winged Victory"

WPA Winged Victory - Sarah Levine Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.sandbookstudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Sokoloff  "Cold Moon" – The Huntress/FBI thrillers

WPA Cold Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

 

 

 

 

 

www.alexandrasokoloff.com

 

 

 

 

Nancy Sweetland  "The Virgin Murders"

WPA The Virgin Murders - Nancy Sweetland

 

 

 

 

 

www.NancySweetlandWrites.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ellis Vidler  "Prime Target"

WPAPrime Target - Ellis Vidler

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ellisvidler.com

 

 

 

 

Elaine Viets  "Checked Out"

WPA Checked Out - Elaine Viets

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.elaineviets.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tamara Ward  "Private Deception"

WPA Private Deception - Tamara Ward

 

 

 

 

 

www.authortamaraward.com/jade-oreilly-series/

 

 

 

 

Nancy G. West  "Smart, But Dead"

WPA SMART BUT DEAD - Nancy G West

 

 

 

 

 

www.nancygwest.com

 

 

 

 

Lynn Chandler Willis  "Wink of an Eye"

Book Cover - Wink of an Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lynnchandlerwillis.com

 

 

 

 

 

Not a novel, but several WPA presenters contributed stories to this Mystery Writers of America collection, "Vengeance."

Lee Child, Editor

WPA Vengeance Anthology

Alafair Burke

Michael Connelly

Rick McMahan

Karin Slaughter

 

http://amzn.com/0316176354

 

Happy Reading, everyone!!!  🙂

 

 

 

 

Choosing A Book by Its Cover

 

Book Cover - Rain FallBook Cover - A Clean Kill In Tokyo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I buy over 100 books a year from brick and mortar stores, and am given loads of free books at the conferences I attend, so I have piles of novels and a few weighty works of non-fiction sitting around the house. (This was the reason for the free drawings we held for subscribers at NBR)

Soooo…what draws me to pick up a particular title at the bookstore if I’m not already familiar with the author? On any given day, I preselect the genre by wandering into category areas of the brick and mortar store, whether indie or big box store. Then, I am drawn to:

 

1) The color of the spine and cover

2) The artwork and text on the cover

3) The blurb on the back cover

 

Color

Notice that #1 is not about the author or the concept of the book. The initial interaction is not about the cover text. If you don’t pick the book up, you’ll never read that part anyway. Marketing people discovered years ago that the eye is drawn to bright splashes of color when choosing a product – any product – and that reds and yellows are seen first, then blues and greens. The rest of the artwork on the covers is set off by that color. Think of it as the backdrop for showcasing the information being delivered by the artwork and the text.

 

The art on the covers

Authors and publishers alike stay up nights, hoping and praying that the colors, the design, the font, the size of every tiny piece of graphic on the cover – all go together in a way that will entice you to pick up the book. Is there a person in the artwork? How about guns? Or beaches? Or cats? Is the setting implied somehow? Is the artwork dynamic, garish, or calming? Is the artwork representative of the actual content inside the book?

 

The Blurb

The publisher’s blurb on the back cover of today’s novels reveals something about the lead character and contains just enough about the plot to make us want to know more. If the book seems a little different, inspirational or more exciting than the norm, we feel compelled to plunk down money and take that book home. If the book is even better than the blurb promised? We tell our friends.

 

The following books exceeded the promise of the back cover. My thoughts are in bold type.

 

“John Rain kills people. For a living. His specialty: making it seem like death by natural causes. But he won’t take out just anyone. The job must be an exclusive. The target must be a principal player. And he’ll never murder a woman.” – Rain Fall by Barry Eisler.

This was the debut novel for the bestselling author. Excellent hit-man thriller that was made into a movie in 2011. Eisler drew from his own time as a lawyer in Tokyo for the exotic backdrop. The Rain series continues to be successful.

 

“Former army homicide investigator Paul Brenner has just gotten used to the early retirement forced on him after the disastrous end of his last case when his old commanding officer asks him to return for one final mission: investigate a murder that took place in wartime Vietnam thirty years before. Brenner reluctantly accepts out of curiosity and loyalty…and maybe a touch of boredom. He won’t be bored for long.”

Up Country by Nelson DeMille. The book delivers far more than a chilling murder investigation. It is based on DeMille’s own experiences in Vietnam and takes a look at war and its aftermath. Haunting. Reviewed here on NBR.

 

“First a dead stranger. Now a missing police chief. Did Cade run off to elope…or has he met with foul play?” – Southern Storm by Terri Blackstock Nobody in her right mind would think that Cade had eloped. The blurb seems purposely misleading. Thank goodness for Blackstock fans that the book was better than the blurb.

 

“Times are a-changin’ in Pickax, giving Jim Qwilleran some newsworthy notes for the Qwill Pen. A new senior center is in the works as well as a frisky production of ‘Cats.’ And a local mansion…” The Cat Who Had Sixty Whiskers” by Lilian Jackson Braun.

This was the 29th book in the gentle ‘Cat Who…’ series. Fans buy the books no matter what’s on the cover. Mom bought every one.  The series is reviewed here on NBR.

 

Now for the two covers for Rain Fall. The original cover is the red one. It popped into my view at a conference, piled next to stacks of books by other authors. The more recent cover is the blue one on the right (same book, different title) designed after Eisler regained the rights to his books and changed titles and covers. If you don’t already know who Barry Eisler is, which one would cause you to buy the book?

 

Do you choose a book based on the blurb? Is it the art on the cover itself that helps you decide? Think about that the next time you visit the bookstore.

 

*note: I buy lots of ebooks as well, but that’s for another post.

 

 

Summer Shorts, 2015 – Three for the Beach

 

There are two kinds of Beach Reads:

  • Action-packed adventure/thrillers that rev up your blood pressure and provide stay-awake reading
  • Completely relaxing, low-key, fun mystery books that tweak your brain cells, but allow you to nod off on time


Action-packed Beach Reads are books that you can take with you on vacation, or allow you to immerse yourself between the pages if you can’t get away. They transport you to a place and time you will most likely never see and the heroes and heroines are super at what they do. A great action Beach Read delivers pure escapism.

 

Book Cover - Expedition Indigo

 

Stacy Allen’s debut novel, “Expedition Indigo,” introduces us to Dr. Riley Cooper, a Professor of Archeology at a renowned university, an expert in Mediterranean history, a certified diver, but not so expert in picking the right guy, or staying out of danger.

 

The Under Water Sea Adventures salvage company has discovered a sunken ship off the coast of Italy that may hold Charlemagne’s coronation cross, thought to have been lost forever. When Cooper’s boss is injured in a mysterious accident, she gets the chance of a lifetime to work in the field to verify the cross’ authenticity, but suspense and intrigue surrounding the find may be her undoing. The Vatican wants her help, a rival salvage company wants people dead, her love interest may have too many strings attached, and Riley just wants to do her job.

 

Cooper’s refreshing naiveté in the cutthroat world of treasure hunting, and the fascinating look at the world of archeology, combine to make this an entertaining (as well as educational) Beach Read, with plenty of action to boot. Nominated for the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel.

 

Visit www.stacyallenauthor.com

 

 

Book Cover - Weakest Lynx

 

 

Fiona Quinn, “Weakest Lynx” – In Quinn’s first solo novel, she delivers an absorbing spin on the thriller genre with an under-the-radar, 20 year old psychic, Lexi Sobado, at the center. When a creepy stalker threatens her life, she receives round the clock protection from the Special Ops teams she has helped in the past. 

 

Quinn’s writing style is taut, as Lexi deals with the stalker that never stops coming, a honeymoon cut short, and constant psychic and physical challenges. Not to give anything away, but Lexi’s recovery from an accident is particularly hair-raising. Her psychic sensations will give you chills and the disturbing stalker will make you think about getting a security system installed before you finish reading the book. With a forbidden love interest, and loads of action from start to finish, this is a wild Beach Read and a Kindle Scout winner. Book 2 of the series, “Missing Lynx,” is out now.

 

Visit www.fionaquinnbooks.com

 

 

For something more mellow, look to…

Book Cover - braun1

 

Lilian Jackson Braun, “The Cat Who…” series

The prolific Lilian Jackson Braun wrote the extremely popular ‘Cat Who’ series of twenty-nine books between 1966 and 2008. They starred James Qwilleran, former newspaper reporter who inherits a large fortune in the fictional small town of Pickax. In order to accept the inheritance and manage a worthy Foundation, he must move to the town. A man of simple means and a huge mustache, this grates against his nature, but the greater good changes his mind.

 

Coming from the big city, Qwilleran isn’t used to the scrutiny of small town living, but settles in with two Siamese cats, KoKo and Yum-Yum. They help him solve cases, mostly murders, by doing what cats do best, knocking over books which miraculously open to pages indicating clues, chasing each other through the Apple Barn (in which he lives for most of the books) when something happens they don’t like. They have diets of salmon and other expensive tidbits – they eat better than most people – and won’t settle for ordinary food. Delightful series, quick gentle reads for those that want to enjoy quirky characters, solve the mystery, and de-stress while on vacation.

 

As always, Happy Reading, whether at the beach or staying home with a tall glass of sweet tea and a great book.  What's your favorite Beach Read? Let us know in the comments below.  🙂

 

 

“Wink of an Eye” by Lynn Chandler Willis

 

Book Cover - Wink of an Eye

“Wink of an Eye,” written by Lynn Chandler Willis, introduces us to a hunky P.I. named Gypsy Moran. Think Gerard Butler, with a Texas drawl (IMO). Gypsy’s colorful past is catching up with him and he returns home to Wink, Texas to hide out for a while. Wink is a small town where everybody knows your name, what you did with whom and how long it took.

 

The last thing he wants to do is take on a case while laying low, but he is staying with his sister and she can push his buttons as only sisters know how to do. A former student of hers needs help proving that his dad, a deputy in the sheriff’s department, did not commit suicide. And, by the way, his death may be related to an investigation into some missing teens.

 

“Just hear him out,” sis says. Wow, do people get in trouble when they relent and get persuaded after that plea. When the boy, Tatum McCallen, keeps nagging at Gypsy to help, Gypsy’s first reaction is to say that nothing can be done. But, seriously, how can anyone refuse a 12 year old that is so persistent, or a case that reeks of cover up and injustice and maybe even human trafficking, laced with corruption in the police department?

 

Of course, we know that Gypsy will take on the case, and the way “Wink of an Eye” unfolds, Willis keeps us guessing and laughing and thoroughly engrossed all the way through.

 

Gypsy runs into old flame, Claire, who can ring his chimes and make him lose all his brains and common sense, just as she could back in high school. They have history and at first, Gypsy has selective memory for only the good parts. He meets a sexy reporter while looking into the overlapping cases and life gets more complicated.

 

Gypsy can’t catch a break with his love life, but as a P.I., he’s a phenom. He does the work, has a great brain, can stay one step ahead of his enemies – well, mostly. Snake bites, hospital stays, and a need for frozen peas slow him down a bit.

 

There are multiple story lines in “Wink of an Eye” – what happened to the missing teens, what actually happened between Gypsy and Claire back in high school, how and why did Ryce McCallen really die, why is Gypsy hiding out in his sister’s house, and more. Willis has given Michael ‘Gypsy’ Moran a complex back-story, interwoven throughout the book in bits and pieces. We are brought into his thoughts as if they were our own. We experience his ‘aha’ moments as the facts surface and clarity is revealed.

 

I lived in Texas for more than a dozen years, and Willis (a native North Carolinian) has truly captured the clothes-sticking-to-you August-in-Texas heat. The dust covers your shoes on the dry days and people will walk for a couple of blocks just to park the car in the shade. I laughed out loud when one of Gypsy’s romantic fantasies was cut short by the reality of sweat.

 

The supporting cast is an absorbing mix of innocents, nasty sorts, loyal relatives, savvy contacts, and anxious illegals. Gypsy, himself, is such a well-written character that he could easily carry a successful series for years to come.

 

“Wink of an Eye” was the winner of the Best First Private Eye Novel Competition in 2013, deservedly so. Willis was the first woman in a decade to win that award. Wahoo!

 

Interesting trivia information for fans: Which Country & Western singers does Willis listen to while she is writing?  George Strait and Garth Brooks.  🙂

 

For information about Lynn Chandler Willis, her other books, as well as the next Gypsy Moran book, please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com  

Award update:  "Wink of an Eye" has been nominated for the Shamus Award, an award that focuses on Private Investigators in the mystery field. The winner will be revealed at the international Bouchercon Convention in Raleigh, NC on October 9th.  🙂 Congratulations to Lynn for the nomination!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 100 Mysteries of All Time

 

MWA logo

I admit it. It is great fun being a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Conferences and seminars on the schedule during the year are informative and… I get to hobnob with some great writers at those events.

 

Back in the mid 90s, voting members of the MWA community selected their 100 favorite mysteries of all time and for mystery lovers, it is a marvelous list! Take a look and see how many you have read.

 

TOP 100 MYSTERY NOVELS OF ALL TIME Selected by Active MWA Members (mid 1990s)

  1.   The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle Including these individual high   vote-getters:

The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Study in Scarlet
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Sign of Four

  2.   The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

  3.   Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Edgar Allan Poe

Including these individual high vote-getters:

The Gold Bug

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

  4.  The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey

  5.  Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow

  6.  The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, John le Carré

  7.  The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

  8.  The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  9.  Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier

10. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

 

  11. Anatomy of a Murder, Robert Traver

  12. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie
  13. The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
  14. The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain
  15. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
  16. The Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris
  17. A Coffin for Dimitrios, Eric Ambler
  18. Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers
  19. Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie
  20. The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth


  21. Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler
  22. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
  23. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco
  24. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevski
  25. Eye of the Needle, Ken Follett
  26. Rumpole of the Bailey, John Mortimer
  27. Red Dragon, Thomas Harris
  28. The Nine Tailors, Dorothy L. Sayers
  29. Fletch, Gregory Mcdonald
  30. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John le Carré


  31. The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
  32. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  33. Trent’s Last Case, E.C. Bentley
  34. Double Indemnity, James M. Cain
  35. Gorky Park, Martin Cruz Smith
  36. Strong Poison, Dorothy L. Sayers
  37. Dance Hall of the Dead, Tony Hillerman
  38. The Hot Rock, Donald E. Westlake
  39. Red Harvest, Dashiell Hammett
  40. The Circular Staircase, Mary Roberts Rinehart


  41. Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie
  42. The Firm, John Grisham
  43. The Ipcress File, Len Deighton
  44. Laura, Vera Caspary
  45. I, The Jury, Mickey Spillane
  46. The Laughing Policeman, Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

  47. Bank Shot, Donald E. Westlake
  48. The Third Man, Graham Greene
  49. The Killer Inside Me, Jim Thompson
  50. Where Are The Children?, Mary Higgins Clark

 

  51. “A” is for Alibi, Sue Grafton
  52. The First Deadly Sin, Lawrence Sanders
  53. A Thief of Time, Tony Hillerman
  54. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  55. Rogue Male, Geoffrey Household
  56. Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L. Sayers
  57. The Innocence of Father Brown, G.K. Chesterton

  58. Smiley’s People, John le Carré
  59. The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
  60. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee


  61. Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
  62. The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Charles Dickens

  63. Wobble to Death, Peter Lovesey
  64. Ashenden, W. Somerset Maugham
  65. The Seven Per-Cent Solution, Nicholas Meyer

  66. The Doorbell Rang, Rex Stout
  67. Stick, Elmore Leonard
  68. The Little Drummer Girl, John le Carré
  69. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
  70. Dracula, Bram Stoker

 

  71. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  72. The Moving Toyshop, Edmund Crispin
  73. A Time to Kill, John Grisham
  74. Last Seen Wearing, Hillary Waugh
  75. Little Caesar, W.R. Burnett

   76. The Friends of Eddie Coyle, George V. Higgins

  77. Clouds of Witness, Dorothy L. Sayers
  78. From Russia, With Love, Ian Fleming
  79. Beast in View, Margaret Millar
  80. Smallbone Deceased, Michael Gilbert

        

  81. The Franchise Affair, Josephine Tey
  82. Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
  83. Shroud for a Nightingale, P.D. James
  84. The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy
  85. Chinaman’s Chance, Ross Thomas
  86. The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
  87. The Dreadful Lemon Sky, John D. MacDonald
  88. The Glass Key, Dashiell Hammett
  89. Judgment in Stone, Ruth Rendell
  90. Brat Farrar, Josephine Tey
 
  91. The Chill, Ross Macdonald
  92. Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley
  93. The Choirboys, Joseph Wambaugh
  94. God Save the Mark, Donald E. Westlake

   95. Home Sweet Homicide, Craig Rice
  96. The Three Coffins, John Dickson Carr
  97. Prizzi’s Honor, Richard Condon  
  98. The Steam Pig, James McClure
  99. Time and Again, Jack Finney
100. A Morbid Taste for Bones, Ellis Peters,
100. Rosemary’s Baby, Ira Levin (tie)


 

 

The MWA members are in the process of voting for their current faves of all time. I don’t know about you, but I wonder which older titles will pop up on the new list. There are some truly classic mysteries here, several of which went on to be made into movies and/or TV series. But the intervening twenty years have given us some remarkable writers and deliciously wicked new mysteries.
 

Save this list and compare it with the new one when it is announced later this year. In the meantime, cozy up to a great mystery and happy page-turning!
 

But, better keep the lights on.  😉


 

 

 

 

Reader Favorites – New Reviews 2014

 

Book Cover - Upstairs at the White House

It’s always fun to discover which new reviews get the most attention during the year. The most popular reviews were ReTweeted dozens of times, shared on Facebook, and Google+, and got some attention on Pinterest. There were old titles, new titles, fiction and non-fiction, seasoned authors and debut authors in the mix. Several were best sellers.

 

In case you missed the reviews, here are the 2014 favorites on NightstandBookReviews in alphabetical order by author. Click on the titles and take a look:

 

Lucy Burdette, “Appetite for Murder

 

Robert Dugoni, “My Sister’s Grave

 

Robert Dugoni, “The Conviction

 

Sarah Graves, “Triple Witch

 

Edith Maxwell, “A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

 

Leigh Perry, “A Skeleton in the Family

 

MJ Rose, “The Book of Lost Fragrances

 

Barbara Ross, “Clammed Up

 

Daniel Silva, “The English Girl

 

JB West & ML Katz, “Upstairs at the White House

 

Lynn Chandler Willis, “The Rising


Happy reading!

 

“The Rising” by Lynn Chandler Willis

 

Book Cover -The Rising

“The Rising,” by Lynn Chandler Willis, is the story of a baffling event that nobody – detectives, medical personnel, bystanders – can explain. A young child is found in an alley, apparently beaten to death. The crime scene is checked by a detective, and the lifeless, bloodied body is delivered to the hospital by ambulance.

 

After thirty minutes of testing for respiration, pulse, and brain wave activity, the ER physician pronounces the boy dead and has him moved to the morgue on a gurney. And yet, the next day, that same little boy walks into the morgue office with no bruises and no blood, wearing the toe tag on his foot, and asks to go to the bathroom.

 

Say what?

 

The Homicide Detective covering the case, Ellie Saunders, saw that the boy was dead. Everybody at the hospital saw that the boy was dead. And, now thirty hours later, he’s not.

 

Saunders and her partner are called in to investigate the (now) assault. The child does not know who he is or what happened to him and the hospital is labeling this a Lazarus Syndrome case – very rare and usually only linked to people who have ‘come-back-to-life’ after an hour or two. Unheard of after this long.

 

Saunders becomes obsessed with finding the boy’s family as well as the person that hurt him so badly. She is horrified at the fact that anyone could have done this to the child, and (without giving away the plot) wants to protect him from further insult or injury. Roadblocks are placed in Saunders way at many turns and as this unusual story unfolds, we are drawn into not only the investigation, but an exploration of faith vs science.

 

The supporting characters are fully fleshed out; a likably wacky morgue attendant, an assortment of interesting colleagues, quirky locals, caring as well as flirtatious doctors, reluctant witnesses, a supposedly lost love, an outspoken aunt, and an estranged preacher father. Saunders herself is complex, mostly in control of her actions and emotions until the case triggers memories of her troubled past. Those memories drive her to bend a few rules in her tenacious pursuit of the truth.

 

Willis’ depiction of the child is perfect. She draws on her considerable research with her own delightful family, but there’s another layer here that many writers miss when creating the children in their books. The child’s relationships and personality develop in a natural way through “The Rising,” revealing a combination of shyness, intelligence, appropriate language and reactions. Johnny Doe puts up with the adults’ questions for a bit and then his attention turns to trucks and coloring. Spot-on writing that will tug at your heart and remind you of a child you know. Willis also taps into an understanding of the unspoken messages that children reveal in their play, and makes that a part of the mystery that Saunders must solve.

 

Along the way, Saunders must come to terms with her own loss of faith and how it has impacted her decisions. Discussions with friends and family are not always welcome. Then, two parallel storylines merge nicely with the Johnny Doe case and Willis brings us home with an action packed, satisfying ending.

 

It’s easy to see whyThe Rising won the 2013 Grace Award for Excellence in Faith-based Fiction in the mystery/romantic suspense/thriller category.

 

By the way, Johnny Doe’s fictional situation is an actual medical condition – Google ‘Lazarus Syndrome’ and read the real-life case studies.

 

Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for more information about Willis’ other books and upcoming events.

 

 

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