Barry Awards (Crime Fiction) – 2019


Established in 1997, the Barry Awards are presented at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, held this year in Dallas, Texas. 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. The winners of the Barry Awards-2019 were announced October 31 during the Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red) for the Barry Awards-2019!

Best Novel
Lou Berney: "November Road"  
Michael Connelly: "Dark Sacred Night"
Allen Eskens: "The Shadow We Hide"
Craig Johnson: "Depth of Winter"
Mindy Mejia: "Leave No Trace"
Abir Mukherjee: "A Necessary Evil"

Best First Novel
Oyinkan Braithwaite: "My Sister, the Serial Killer"
Karen Cleveland: "Need to Know" 
John Copenhaver: "Dodging and Burning"
Caz Frear: "Sweet Little Lies"
James A. McLaughlin: "Bearskin"
C. J. Tudor: "The Chalk Man"

Best Paperback Original 
Christine Carbo: "A Sharp Solitude" 
David Mark: "Dead Pretty"
Dervla McTiernan: "The Ruin" 
Sherry Thomas: "The Hollow of Fear"
Emma Viskic: "Resurrection Bay"

Best Thriller
Jack Carr: "The Terminal List"
Dan Fesperman: "Safe Houses"
Mick Herron: "London Rules"
Anthony Horowitz: "Forever and a Day"
Nick Petrie: "Light It Up"
James Swain: "The King Tides"

Did you guess the winners?  🙂




Please follow and like us:

Top Eleven Reviews – 2017


Book Cover - What She Knew

Tons of great books, soooo many talented authors, and oodles of dedicated booklovers, all combined to make 2017 a great year of reading entertainment. Whether discovering a new author, or returning to a tried and true favorite, the NBR community interest was over 30% greater than the previous most popular year.


Although not included in the 'Top Eleven Reviews – 2017' book list, the 2017 author profiles (Edith Maxwell, Liz Mugavero, Barbara Ross, Lynn C. Willis) were extremely popular and we’ll have more during 2018. Click on their names – links to books included.


Why Top Eleven? There is a debut magazine in the list, very well received by the NBR audience.  🙂


Listed in alphabetical order by author (except for the magazine and the ‘Killer Thrillers’), click on the links to read the reviews for the first time, or to enjoy them again.


“Black Cat Mystery Magazine” debut issue short mystery fiction   https://bit.ly/2yrYX5F


“Killer Thrillers for the Beach”  (seven thriller authors, ten titles)     https://bit.ly/2hNTJJX


“Cat About Town” by Cate Conte    https://bit.ly/2ilMj0K


“Grilled for Murder” by Maddie Day   https://bit.ly/2oKW36H


“The 7th Canon” by Robert Dugoni    https://bit.ly/2hCYpT0


“I like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around” by Ann Garvin   https://bit.ly/2uhL8V5


“A Good Day to Buy” by Sherry Harris   https://bit.ly/2gNFTYb


“Dry Bones” by Craig Johnson    https://bit.ly/2kVtKgu


“What She Knew” by Gilly Macmillan    https://bit.ly/2jcgbvS


“Custom Baked Murder” by Liz Mugavero    https://bit.ly/2lqSf8C


“Relic” by Fiona Quinn   https://bit.ly/2q7m1yH


Many thanks everyone! May 2018 bring you lots of love and laughter, along with some thumpin’ great new reads.  🙂


Please follow and like us:

Greatest Love Stories of All Time




It’s the time of year when bouquets of flowers fill the stores, the gift of a box of chocolates takes on new meaning, and love songs (and movies) fill the airwaves. Swoonworthy stuff, ya’ll.


Instead of creating a post about current titles that inspire hearts to flutter, I put out an open call for men and women to name their favorite Greatest Love Stories of All Time. Thanks to Mari Barnes*, Sarah Bewley, Leah Canzoneri, Kait Carson, Peggy Clayton, Joy Ross Davis, Missy Davis, Laura Di Silverio, Saword Broyles Ellis, Terri Gault, Courtney Carter Girton, Sherry Harris, Cynthia Kuhn, Joyce Laferrera, Marj Lilley, Alice Loweecy, Gary Miller, Sylvia Nickels, Debbie York Parker, Nanci Rathbun, Jeanie Smith, Ellis Vidler, and Lynn Chandler Willis for their wonderful suggestions.  *drawing winner  🙂


Books are listed in alphabetical order by title, and where available, links to the Greatest Love Stories are included.  Click on the titles and read more about them.               


At Home in Mitford” by Jan Karon

“Cinderella Story” by Wendy Logia

Come Rain or Come Shine” by Jan Karon

Dr. Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak

Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte

Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry

Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon

Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

Shadow of the Moon” by MM Kaye

Somewhere in Time” by Richard Matheson

Soulless” by Gail Carriger

The Far Pavilions” by MM Kaye

The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper 

The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks

The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Orczy

The Second Coming” by Walker Percy

The Thorn Birds” by Colleen McCullough


Are you thinking romantic, weak-at-the-knees thoughts?

Our work is done.  😉    


Photo credit:  Patti Phillips



Please follow and like us:

“Dry Bones” by Craig Johnson



Jen, a T-Rex and the center of the controversy in “Dry Bones,” is the largest specimen of its type ever found and it shows up in Sheriff Walt Longmire’s county. Longmire deals with all kinds of victims, but a dinosaur? That’s a new kind of cold case.


A skeleton of this importance would be a windfall for the local museum, but first Longmire must figure out if the High Plains Dinosaur Museum has the right to claim Jen as its own. When the Cheyenne owner of the ranch where Jen was found turns up dead, things get complicated. It’s possible that the T-Rex belongs to the Cheyenne Nation…or the federal government…or the family of the guy who died.


Tribal rights, family inheritance, federal property or just a really nice set of bones to display? An acting Deputy Attorney is out to make a name for himself and seems to feel that photo ops are more important than catching the bad guys or finding kidnap victims. But, he’s not the only one with priorities a tad off center in "Dry Bones." More people are interested in who gets the dinosaur than the circumstances behind the death of Danny Lone Elk. 


With Jen crowding Walt’s holding cells while ownership is being determined, and the interested parties holding Walt’s office hostage, the Sheriff realizes that the only way he can get back to the business for which he was elected is to solve the mystery of Danny Lone Elk’s death and find the gal (also Jen) who discovered the T-Rex to begin with.


It’s a circus.


There are helicopter forays into the back country, harrowing visits to an old mine, entertaining interactions with ever wise-cracking Lucien, Henry Standing Bear saving the day as only he can, and more near misses for Walt than our hearts can stand. Did I mention bullets flying? And the terrifying prospect of Walt taking care of his grand-daughter? He’s not afraid of many bad guys, but the little one? Waaay too funny.


We are treated to Craig Johnson’s dry wit, in several LOL scenes, with Walt’s delivery always perfectly timed. A man of few words, but good ones.


In real life, that entire region of the country is an active dinosaur bone recovery area with several universities and museums conducting legitimate digs. People love a cool dinosaur, so finding the big ones can cement the reputation – and therefore the funding – of an institution for many years.


In “Dry Bones,” Johnson explores the ethics of taking artifacts away from the people upon whose land they were found. It’s not just dino bones that are being removed from their place of origin. World-wide, governments are seeking to recover long lost treasures robbed from centuries old graves, temples, and ruins. Find the treasures? Great. Remove them from the place of origin without permission or proper compensation? These days, that’s a long jail term in the making.


Read Craig Allen Johnson’s Author Profile here.


Read the review of “The Cold Dish” here.


Read the review of “Kindness Goes Unpunished” here.


Please visit www.craigallenjohnson.com for lots of information about Mr. Johnson and his work, his future appearances, and his online store.


Please follow and like us:

Top 10: The First Four Years of Nightstand Book Reviews


Book Cover - Cold Dish

The first four years of Nightstand Book Reviews delivered a wide range of books to my doorstep and to my email inbox. Right from the beginning, I have received more than 100 requests a month (once over 400) from writers and publicists and friends of writers and publicists to review the latest book they had to offer.


It has been a fun problem to have. The strategy was (and remains) to choose great reads to chat about and share with the thousands of Nightstand Book Reviews followers around the world. The books on the site are by and large fiction, and tell a well-plotted story involving nicely developed characters. The authors are a mix of bestselling writers of longstanding, and newbies to the field when I first met them. Traditionally published or ebook only? Both happily co-exist on NBR. Occasionally I highlight biographies, great cookbooks, and helpful gardening books. A new feature in 2016 was Author Profiles. You’ll see more of those in 2017.


Below is the list of Top 10 books reviewed on Nightstand Book Reviews over the last four years, listed in ABC order by author. These were the books that garnered the most interest on NBR from the worldwide audience during the four years. Six books on the list were the debut novels from those authors. Some powerhouse writers (long, successful careers with great popularity) mixed in with newbies? A good book is a good book.


All of these authors now have multiple books out. Click on the book title to read the review.


Lee Child – “The Killing Floor”


Robert Dugoni – “My Sister’s Grave”


Robert Dugoni – “The Conviction”


Sherry Harris – “Tagged for Death”


Sue Harrison – “Mother Earth, Father Sky”


Erin Hart – “Haunted Ground”


Tami Hoag – “Alibi Man”


Craig Johnson – “The Cold Dish”


Leigh Perry – “A Skeleton in the Family”


Andy Weir – “The Martian”



Have you read any of the titles on the list? Wildly different books to be sure, with thrillers, sci-fi, traditional mysteries, and cozies in the group. 


And soooo much fun to read.  🙂


Thank you all, kind readers, for being part of the Nightstand Book Reviews community during the first four years. Your comments and participation make me smile as I search for the next great read to share with you.


Please follow and like us:

Author Profile: Craig Allen Johnson



The Walt Longmire character that Craig Allen Johnson has brought to life both in award-winning books and on TV, has come to personify the modern Western law man – rough, tough, and ready for whatever the bad guys can throw at him.


Somehow, I had not realized that the show was based on Johnson’s books until the first season was half over. Books? Well, I ran right out – really – and bought the books that my local store had in stock. I started with Cold Dish and was forever hooked.


I watched the Longmire series on A&E until somebody in the network offices lost their collective minds and cancelled the show because the demographic didn’t fit their model of the future. Say what? A successful show that millions of people watch, that is making your corporation money and you don’t like the people who are doing the watching? Hmph.


Well, we fans are not a dumb bunch and we mounted a social media campaign for another network to pick up the show. Netflix and the Johnson people were able to come to an agreement and the fans collectively smiled. It has been reported that the Netflix association may come to an end after Season 6, but we still have the fabulous bestselling books – with more to come.


Craig Johnson was born in West Virginia, but wound up in Wyoming some years after a visit while delivering horses. He built the 2,000+ square foot log cabin in which he and his wife, Judy, now live. Ucross, Wyoming is sparsely populated – a mere 25 inhabitants – and is the source for Johnson’s twitter handle: @ucrosspop25.    


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.


The books have been credited as having one of the best depictions of Native American/White Man interactions in the world of fiction – they certainly ring true in the reading. Johnson’s ranch is right next to a Cheyenne reservation, and through the years he has come to respect the challenges that Native Americans have faced and continue to face. His books explore the cultural differences and celebrate the traditions in thoughtful and meaningful ways, often including those themes in the mysteries.


When not writing the Longmire series, consulting on the TV show, or working his ranch, Johnson travels around the country (and to France) with Judy, doing book tours. I met him in Raleigh, NC at Quail Ridge Books. He’s charming and as funny in person as you would hope him to be after having read the books.


A great showman who delivers a great read.  🙂


Take a look at the reviews of:


"The Cold Dish"
Book Cover - Cold Dish











                                 "Kindness Goes Unpunished"

Book Cover - Kindness Goes Unpunished



                                                                             "Dry Bones"











Check out www.craigallenjohnson.com, where you will find details about his upcoming tours, the online fan store with lots of Longmire goodies, and photos of the cast of Longmire.



*Photo of Craig Allen Johnson taken by Patti Phillips at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.



Please follow and like us:

Authors of the Carolinas



How many of you have read about a region of the USA in a novel and wanted to travel there, in part to experience the food, in part to relax and enjoy the fabulous scenery that can only be seen in that one area of the planet? The Carolinas (both North and South) are home to fabulous shrimp & grits dishes, as well as mouth-watering other goodies. And you can’t visit either State without having a refreshing glass of world famous Sweet Tea.


The authors listed below either live in North or South Carolina, grew up here, or set their books in the region. We are treated to the cuisine of the Appalachia, the Low Country boils, the scenery of the mountains, and/or the wildlife/marshes of the coast. There is a mix of historical, paranormal, happily-ever-after, outrageous comedy, dark mysteries, and cozies – something for everyone who loves thumpin’ good fiction.


Click on the website links to find out more.  J



Suzanne Adair  “A Hostage to Heritage”  www.suzanneadair.net


JD Allen “Grasshopper” in “Murder Under the Oaks”  www.jdallenbooks.com


Maria Alonso-Sierra  “The Coin”  www.mariaelenawrites.com


Mike Axsom  “Making Memories Down South”  www.mikeaxsom.com


Jodie Bailey  “Breach of Trust”  www.jodiebailey.com


Kaye Wilkinson Barley  “Whimsey”  www.kayewilkinsonbarley.com


Cindy Blackburn   “Five Spot”   www.cueballmysteries.com


Heather Blanton  “A Promise in Defiance”  www.ladiesindefiance.com


Susan Boyer  “Low Country Book Club”  www.susanmboyerbooks.com


Felicia Bridges  “Czechmate”  www.adventuresthatinspireaction.com


Antoinette Brown  “One-Cat Woman” in “Carolina Crimes”


Ross Cavins  “Barry vs The Apocalypse”  www.rosscavins.com


Diane Chamberlain  “Pretending to Dance”  www.dianechamberlain.com 


C. Hope Clark  “Echoes of Edisto”   www.chopeclark.com


J.A. Coffey  "Double Dog Dare"  www.jacoffey.com


Cynthia Cooke  “Going All the Way”  www.cynthiacooke.com


E.B. Davis  “Ice Cream Allure” in “Carolina Crimes”  www.ebdavismysteries.com


Saword Broyles Eller    www.amazon.com/author/saywordbeller


Nora Gaskin (Esthimer)  “Time of Death” www.lystrabooks.com


Normandie Fischer  “From Fire into Fire”  www.normandiefischer.com


Beatrice Fishback  “Bethel Manor”  www.beasattitudes.net


Dorothea Benton Frank  “All Summer Long”  www.dotfrank.com


Marni K Graff  “Death Unscripted” www.auntiemwrites.com


Jordon Greene  "They'll Call It Treason"  www.jordongreene.com


Leigh Greenwood  “Forever and Always”  www.leigh-greenwood.com


Lynette Hampton  “Fiona’s Journey”  www.agnesalexander.com


Rick Helms  “Older than Goodbye”  www.richardhelms.net


Judy Hogan  “Haw”  www.judyhogan.home.mindspring.com


Tom Honea  “A Confluence of Rivers”  www.amazon.com/dp/B009LU1X8I


Ellen Hunter  "Much Ado About Murder"  www.ellenhunter.com


Polly Iyer  “Indiscretion”  www.pollyiyer.com


Regina Jeffers  "Angel Comes to the Devil's Keep"  www.rjeffers.com


Sabrina Jeffries  “Stormswept”  www.sabrinajeffries.com


Linda Johnson  “Trail of Destruction”  www.lindajohnson.us


Kieran Kramer  “Trouble When You Walked In”  www.kierankramer.com


Vicki Lane  “Under the Skin”  www.vickilanemysteries.com


Linda Lovely  “Lies”  www.lindalovely.com


Cynthia Luhrs  “First Knight”  www.cluhrs.com


Margaret Maron  “Long Upon the Land”  www.margaretmaron.com


Jamie Mason   “Monday’s Lie” www.jamie-mason.com


Karen McCullough  “Wired for Murder”  www.kmccullough.com


Heather McGovern  "A Moment of Bliss"  www.heathermcgovernnovels.com


Ruth Moose  “Wedding Bell Blues”  www.ruthmoose.com


Katy Munger  “Desolate Angel”  www.katymunger.com


Nancy Naigle  “Every Yesterday”  www.nancynaigle.com


Heather Newton  “Under the Mercy Trees”  www.heathernewton.net


Kathryn O’Sullivan  “Neighing with Fire”  www.kathrynosullivan.com


Gail Oust  “Cinnamon Toasted”   www.gailoust.com


Kate Parker  “Deadly Scandal”  www.kateparkerbooks.com


Britni Patterson  “A Thousand Deadly Kisses”  www.britnipatterson.com


Leigh Perry  “The Skeleton Haunts a House”  www.leighperryauthor.com


Ashantay Peters  “Reading Between the Lives”  www.ashantay.com


Patti Phillips  “Kerrian’s Notebook, Vol. 1”  www.pattiphillipsbooks.com


Karen Pullen  “Cold Feet”  www.karenpullen.com


Kathy Reichs  “Trace Evidence”  www.kathyreichs.com


Jennifer Riley  “Jerk Alert”  available at Amazon


Sarah Shaber  “Louise’s Chance”  www.amazon.com/Sarah-R.-Shaber/e/B001HMPB9U


Nancy Simpson  “B.O.Q.”  www.authornpsimpson.com


Regina Smeltzer  “Retribution” www.reginasmeltzer.net


Jennifer Hudson Taylor  "For Love or Liberty"  www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net


Ellis Vidler  “Prime Target”  www.ellisvidler.net


Kathryn R. Wall  “Jordan Point”  www.kathrynwall.com


Tamara Ward  “Concealed Suspicions”  www.authortamaraward.com


Lynn Chandler Willis  “Wink of an Eye”  www.lynnchandlerwillis.com


Bonnie Wisler  “Count a Hundred Stars”   available at Amazon


Caleb Wygal  "Blackbeard's Lost Treasure"  www.calebwygal.com




See any new-to-you names on the list of Authors of the Carolinas? 

Happy reading!  🙂





Please follow and like us:
Scroll to Top