award nominees

Try Something New This Summer

 

Every once in a while, avid readers take a break from their favorite genre and venture into ‘summer reading,’ where the world is either a warm, happy, safe place, or the mishaps that occur are slapstick funny and somebody always has your back. No world crises, no exploding planets, just stories that bring a smile to your face.
 


A few of us indulge our curiosity about demons and witches – as long as the hero/heroines are owners of tea and herb shops, that is.


Then there are the ancient curses that awaken and wreak havoc upon those that get in the way.


If you are primarily a fan of fiction as I am, a foray into the realm of serious non-fiction most often occurs when a compelling true story crosses our paths.


Take a look at the suggestions below and try something a bit different this season.


Happily Ever After

“Sand Dollar Cove,” by Nancy Naigle, is the completely delightful story of a beach area recently hit by bad weather, with people working together to rebuild it. The town relies on tourism to stay afloat, so one of the business owners organizes a fundraising event. We must suspend our disbelief while the rapidly approaching deadline looms to get the work done, but the lead characters are so endearing that we want them to be super human, have their wishes come true, and save the pier. Just in time for summer reading, “Sand Dollar Cove” includes a budding romance between a stranger and our heroine, and the almost magical sand dollars. This could easily fit into the Hallmark Channel lineup of happily ever after stories.


P.I. for Dummies

“Choke,” by Kaye George

Imogene Duckworthy wants to become a private eye, but has no training whatsoever. She gets a book – “P.I. for Dummies,” and has business cards made. Our  hapless heroine feels that she is qualified to ‘detect’ because she found a neighbor’s missing puppy. How hard could it be?

 

This high school graduate, an unwed mother, works for her Uncle at his diner, and when he is found dead, she tries to solve the case. Duckworthy is too naïve to recognize the crooks right in front of her and swoons at the sight of long legs and a smile. Me, oh, my, this gal is in trouble. She is in and out of jail, escapes from cops who are not after her and sees disasters and threats where none exist.

 

“Choke” is a comedy read that takes nothing seriously in solving a mystery – except the lead character herself. What in the world could go wrong? (First book in the series by Agatha nominated, Kaye George) Set near the Oklahoma border, people familiar with the North Texas area will recognize a certain town with fake falls in ‘Wymee Falls.’

 

 

 

Witches, Demons, Wiccans, and ordinary folk

“Booke of the Hidden,” by award-winning author Jeri Westerson, came to Jeri in a dream. Known for her medieval mysteries, her dream was so compelling that she had to write it down, and a few paragraphs turned into this first book in a new series.

 

Kylie Strange has moved to a small Maine town to open a tea and herb shop, and during the shop renovation, she discovers a mysterious book that is older than anyone in town and is completely blank. The locals are more than they seem, there are secrets behind every door, deaths occur in her wake, and Kylie has more than one ‘Being’ interested in her. “Booke of the Hidden” is sexy and funny, with adult themes and situations, with the demons and witches, Wiccans, and assorted other supernatural sorts inhabiting the quaint village. Quick-witted, up-for-everything, crossbow wielding Kylie Strange, is a great new character in the genre.

 

 

Theological Suspense

“Aceldama,” by John Hazen

A coin from the time of Christ is passed through the centuries with dire consequences for its unwitting possessors. A present-day couple faces the wrath of its curse when the husband falls ill. The wife must uncover the reason for his illness before her husband dies – defying logic, the law, and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

International connections and supportive friends make “Aceldama” an absorbing read as we discover the identity, power, and meaning of the coin. Several surprises along the way keep the pages turning.

 

 

Non-Fiction

“Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann.

This award-winning, non-fiction account feels like a novel of suspense. Grann recounts the tragedies that unfolded as members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma were displaced, swindled, and murdered in a pattern of corruption and greed at the highest levels of government at the beginning of the twentieth century. At the source of it all? Oil fields that lay under lands given to the Osage Nation. Grann researched the court cases and news of the 1890s and early 1900s, includes photos of the stakeholders, and weaves all of the information into a compelling read. While not the only reason for the creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Osage cases made an additional convincing argument for the establishment of a national investigative agency.

 

Stretch your reading horizons and try something new this summer.  🙂

 

Macavity Awards-2018

 

 

The Macavity Awards-2018 finalists were nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends of MRI. The winners will be announced at opening ceremonies at Bouchercon in St Petersburg, Florida, in September.


Mystery Readers International, Mystery Readers Journal, and the Macavity Awards, were created by Anthony Award winner, Janet Rudolph. She reminds us that if you're a member of MRI or a subscriber to MRJ or a friend of MRI, you will receive a ballot on July 1.


Links to three of the short fiction nominees are included.

Best Mystery Novel
“The Marsh King's Daughter,” by Karen Dionne
“Magpie Murders,” by Anthony Horowitz
“Bluebird, Bluebird,” by Attica Locke
“Glass Houses,” by Louise Penny
“The Old Man,” by Thomas Perry
“The Force,” by Don Winslow

 

Best First Mystery Novel
“Hollywood Homicide,” by Kellye Garrett
“The Dry,” by Jane Harper
“She Rides Shotgun,” by Jordan Harper
“The Lost Ones,” by Sheena Kamal
“The Last Place You Look,” by Kristen Lepionka
“Lost Luggage,” by Wendall Thomas


Best Mystery Short Story
As Ye Sow,” by Craig Faustus Buck, in Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017

“The #2 Pencil,” by Matt Coyle, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

“Infinite Uticas,” by Terence Faherty (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)

Whose Wine is it Anyway?” Barb Goffman, in 50 Shades of Cabernet

“Windward,” by Paul D. Marks, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea

A Necessary Ingredient,” by Art Taylor, in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea


Sue Feder Memorial Award: Best Historical Mystery
“Dangerous to Know,” by Renee Patrick
“The Devouring,” by James R. Benn
“In Farleigh Field,” by Rhys Bowen
“Cast the First Stone,” by James W. Ziskin
“Racing the Devil,” by Charles Todd
“A Rising Man,” by Abir Mukherjee  

 

Congratulations to the Macavity Awards-2018 nominees!

 

 

Author Profile: Sherry Harris

 

 

Sherry Harris, the author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries, was a proud Air Force wife, picking up everything and relocating every three or four years – each time orders for an assignment to a new base came down. While we can joke about the horror of having to find new hairdressers and decent grocery stores with every change, the toughest part of being part of a military family was moving her daughter from school to school, and giving up her own face-to-face friendships at each re-posting.

 

From our perspective as Sherry Harris readers, there is a definite upside to all that moving. It’s difficult to start or maintain a career with frequent transfers, so Harris turned her love of tag sales (called garage or yard sales in some parts of the country) into a writing career. She answered an ad in a local newspaper for a short story contest, kept writing until it turned into a novel length piece, and later, was encouraged to look for an agent.

 

The quality of her writing ability was proven when “Tagged for Death,” the first in the series, was nominated for an Agatha Award in the Best First Novel category.

 

Sherry Harris’ favorite writing spot is in her office. Her desk faces the window and when she looks out at the trees, she can pretend she lives in the middle of nowhere. When asked whether her writing process is closer to plotter or pantser, she admitted to being more of a pantser, working toward becoming a plotter. Either way, the results are great!

 

Harris has revealed in her book bios that she is a “born bargain hunter,” and has created a fully fleshed out character in the series based on her own expertise and love for the activity. Sarah Winston makes her living organizing tag sales for her customers and Harris includes tips for successful tag sales in the books. I personally have used them in my own garage sales.

 

Harris has followed the writing advice of a favorite thriller writer/instructor (James W. Hall) who feels that people want to learn something and if they do, the books just might keep selling. She attributes the success of cozies in general, to the fact that whether about knitting or cooking or tag sales, cozies contain a mystery along with a lot of information about a specific topic. Fans of that topic will come back for more in book after book.

 

Sherry Harris’ Sarah Winston character is successful in part because Winston is completely relatable. Her emotional struggles to make her own way as a newly single woman are realistic, and her scenes detailing military life ring true. Harris’ storylines peel back the layers of Winston’s battle with feelings about her ex in each book, while delivering great mysteries. The ensemble supporting characters develop as Winston’s association with them grows naturally. I particularly like the nuanced relationships between Sarah and the men in her life, which ebb and flow as Sarah sorts through the consequences of living as an independent woman.

 

When not working on the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries, Sherry Harris blogs with the Wicked Cozies, a New England focused writing group, all talented, published authors. Read their posts at www.wickedcozyauthors.com. Harris is also the current Vice President of the international writing organization, Sisters in Crime, a group that fosters the development of women writers.

 

Sherry Harris Fun fact: Her favorite foods are pizza and popcorn.  🙂

 

 

Read the review of "Tagged for Death" here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the review of "The Longest Yard Sale" here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the review of "A Good Day to Buy" here.

 

 

 

 

 

After reading “A Good Day to Buy,” I counted the months until “I Know What You Bid Last Summer” (book #5) was published and was not disappointed. It’s a terrific entry in the series and is not to be missed. Look for the lasagna subplot, a fun counterbalance to the serious action.

 

Please visit https://sherryharrisauthor.com for information about Harris, her upcoming appearances, and more in the series.

 

 

Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction 2018

 

 

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” written by former Alabama law student, Harper Lee. For the past several years, the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal have partnered to award the prize to a published work of fiction from the previous year that best demonstrates “the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.”


This year’s finalists are:

Exposed, by Lisa Scottoline
Proof, by C.E. Tobisman
Testimony, by Scott Turow

 

Congratulations to the finalists!
The award ceremony will take place in late August during the Library of Congress National Book Festival.


A four-person panel will vote on which novel should take the prize, with the total of a public poll counting as a fifth vote. The poll will remain open through June 30.

 

It’s your chance to be part of the decision-making process for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction 2018 winner. To vote for one of the books, go here.

 

Previous winners:

 

2011 – John Grisham, “The Confession”

2012 – Michael Connelly, “The Fifth Witness”

2013 – Paul Goldstein, “Havana Requiem”

2014 – John Grisham, “Sycamore Row”

2015 – Deborah Johnson, “The Secret of Magic”  

2016 – Attica Locke, “Pleasantville”

2017 – James Grippando, “Gone Again”

 

CrimeFest 2018

 

The 10th anniversary of CrimeFest was held in Bristol, England. Attended by over 500 fans, writers, agents, and publishers this year, the 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. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red). Click on the book titles to discover more about the nominees and winners.


CRIMEFEST AWARDS

eDUNNIT AWARD

The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the British Isles in 2017.

– Chris Brookmyre, Want You Gone 
– Ken Bruen, The Ghosts of Galway 
Michael Connelly, The Late Show
– Joe Ide, IQ 
– Dennis Lehane, Since We Fell 
– Steve Mosby, You Can Run 
– Gunnar Staalesen, Wolves in the Dark 
– Sarah Stovell, Exquisite 


LAST LAUGH AWARD

The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the British Isles in 2017.

– Simon Brett, Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen 
– Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May – Wild Chamber 
Mick Herron, Spook Street 
– Vaseem Khan, The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star 
– Khurrum Rahman, East of Hounslow 
– C.J. Skuse, Sweetpea 
– Antti Tuomainen, The Man Who Died 
– L.C. Tyler, Herring in the Smoke 

 
BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS (12 – 16)

CRIMEFEST presents this award to celebrate the burgeoning interest in fiction for young adults as a whole. Eligible titles are crime novels for children (ages 12-16) first published in the British Isles in 2017. 

– Cat Clarke, Girlhood 
– Zana Fraillon, The Ones That Disappeared 
– Will Hill, After the Fire 
Patrice Lawrence, Indigo Donut
– E. Lockhart, Genuine Fraud 
– Sophie McKenzie, SweetFreak 
– Teri Terry, Dark Matter: Contagion 
– Teresa Toten, Beware That Girl 


Please visit http://www.crimefest.com/awards-cf/ for nominees and winners in the AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME, the BEST CRIME NOVEL for CHILDREN 8-12, the H.R.F. KEATING AWARD, and the PETRONA AWARD.

 

2018 Hammett Prize

 

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The Hammett Prize is bestowed each year by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). This year the award was given for a 2017 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a North American author, in July. The winner received the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights.  🙂
 

Please click on the nominated book titles to find out more about the novel.

The winner is indicated in red.

The nominees were as follows: 

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (G. P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Tragedy of Brady Sims by Ernest J. Gaines (Vintage)
August Snow, by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho Crime)
Two Days Gone, by Randall Silvis (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Congratulations to all!
 

Past winners for books published in the year indicated include:

2016:  The White Devil by Domenic Stansberry

2015: The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin

2014: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

2013: Angel Baby by Richard Lange

2012: Oregon Hill by Howard Owen

2011: The Killer is Dying by James Sallis

2010: The Nearest Exit by Olen Steinhauer

2009: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

2008: The Turnaround by George Pelecanos

 

Have you read any of the 2017 nominated books or this year's winner? Or the Hammett Prize winners from previous years? Now’s your chance.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Barry Awards – 2018

 

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Established in 1997, the Barry Awards are presented at the annual Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, this year held in Florida, in the USA. 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 – 2018, will be announced September 6, 2018 during the Bouchercon Opening Ceremonies.

Congratulations to all the nominees for the Barry Awards!
 

Best Novel 
THE LATE SHOW, Michael Connelly
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER, Karen Dionne
EXIT STRATEGY, Steve Hamilton
THE FORCE, Don Winslow
PRUSSIAN BLUE, Philip Kerr
MAGPIE MURDERS, Anthony Horowitz

 

Best First Novel 
THE DRY, Jane Harper
SHE RIDES SHOTGUN, Jordan Harper
THE LOST ONES, Sheena Kamal
THE IRREGULAR, H. P. Lyle
A RISING MAN, Abir Mukherjee
MY ABSOLUTE DARLING, Gabriel Tallent

 

Best Paperback Original 
SAFE FROM HARM, R. J. Bailey
THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING, Allen Eskens
HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, Kellye Garrett
THE DAY I DIED, Lori Rader-Day
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, Kristi Belcamino
SUPER CON, James Swain

 

Best Thriller 
GUNMETAL GRAY, Mark Greaney
SPOOK STREET, Mick Herron
THE FREEDOM BROKER, K. J. Howe
THE OLD MAN, Thomas Perry
UNSUB, Meg Gardiner
TRAP THE DEVIL,  Ben Coes

 

Happy Reading!  🙂