2018 Hammett Prize




The Hammett Prize is bestowed each year by The International Association of Crime Writers (North American Branch). This year the award will be given for a 2017 work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing by a US or Canadian author, in November. The winner receives the famous ‘Thin Man’ bronze trophy, and bragging rights.  :-)

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

The nominees are 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 the Hammett Prize winners from previous years? Now’s your chance.  :-)





“Louise’s War” and “Louise’s Dilemma” by Sarah R. Shaber


Book Cover - Louise's War


“Louise’s War,” by Sarah Shaber, introduces us to widowed Louise Pearlie, a file clerk in World War II Washington, DC. Louise is not just any file clerk. She has college training, is smart and resourceful, and is a bit of a risk taker. She works in the Office of Strategic Services (aka spy agency) where all the work is classified and government regulations dictate that she can’t even reveal where she works. Louise’s job is to look for information that will help the Allies win the war, perfect for this woman who has escaped her dead-end life on the Carolina coast.  


France is increasingly coming under German control at this stage of the war and it’s been a while since Louise has heard from a close college friend who lives there. Her husband is important to the war effort, and Louise searches for a way to get this Jewish family out of France before they are taken to internment camps.


When papers that would save her friend go missing and a murder is committed, Louise realizes that she can’t trust anyone. She must make alliances she would not have made in less desperate circumstances, and time is not her friend. Shaber creates a tension filled atmosphere of subterfuge and betrayal that keeps us guessing and swept up in the story.


In “Louise’s War,” Shaber demonstrates the gravity of the events of the war through her well-researched picture of life in WWII America, with its details of domestic sacrifices, and the effects of gas and food rationing. Louise’s time at a D.C. boarding house shows the reality of the jammed housing situation in wartime Washington. Massive amounts of food were needed by the troops, so the backyard gardens and chicken coops that Louise tended at the boarding house were true to the period, necessary supplements to rationed civilian food supplies.


Book Cover - Louise's Dilemma



In “Louise’s Dilemma,” Louise’s job focus has shifted to acquiring and cataloguing intelligence about Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic. Louise and an FBI agent travel to nearby Maryland after a suspicious postcard is forwarded to the OSS. Their investigation takes alarming twists and turns and puts Louise in danger from a surprising villain. Her clever mind and dogged determination uncover something incredible, yet completely believable, given the real-world terrain in that area. “Louise’s Dilemma,” the third book in the series, delivers an engaging historical mystery and a compelling read. I had read it first, then picked up “Louise’s War,” to see how Louise Pearlie’s journey began. I’m glad I did.


Please click here for more information about award-winning Mrs. Shaber and her other books.


“One Murder More” by Kris Calvin


Book Cover - One Murder More

As Kris Calvin’s “One Murder More” opens, Sacramento lobbyist, Maren Kane, is having a really tough day. She's driving to a breakfast meeting at the governor’s office and sees a car go over the railing into the water-filled drainage ditch beyond. She and a Good Samaritan stranger are able to rescue two children from a rapidly submerging car, but the woman at the wheel, a famous investigative journalist, is dead on impact. After the accident, Maren continues on to work, and before going home, happens upon a bloodied colleague, Tamara Barnes, in the ladies’ room. And she is decidedly dead.

Two bodies in one 24-hour cycle? Wait. There are a few hours left to this day. Maren’s former intern, Sean Verston (and friend to Barnes) shows up at Maren’s doorstep at 2am to crash on her couch. When Sean is accused of Barnes’ murder, Maren doesn’t believe he could do it and can’t rest until she uncovers evidence that will clear him. It’s not easy to do, because Sean is hiding a secret he refuses to reveal, even to save himself.

Maren’s questions take her in surprising directions as the complex plot unfolds. The people involved and the connections between them could be ripped from the headlines. Who did what to whom, and most importantly, how did they get away with it for so long?

The people in “One Murder More” are well drawn, with intriguing, powerful men, and accomplished, multi-faceted women. Details about the California countryside and its restaurants, as well as the colorful outfits the characters wear, add to this entertaining read.

Kris Calvin’s political insider knowledge of how lobbying works in Sacramento is central to the effectiveness of “One Murder More.” She was an elected public official in California and was known for her work as an advocate for children. Maren Kane is an Ecobabe lobbyist working to pass legislation that would ban the complete use of cellphones while driving- not an easy or popular bill. The cell phone bill storyline is topical in real world discussions and in some States, highly controversial.

“One Murder More” won Silver Falchion awards for Best First Novel, and Best Political Thriller.


Please visit for more information about Ms. Calvin and her work.


“Bones to Pick” by Linda Lovely


Book Cover - Bones to Pick

In Linda Lovely’s, “Bones to Pick,” mourners gather to pay their respects to goat farm owner, Aunt Eva, after the death of her twin sister, Lilly. During the ritual of sharing sweet tea and sympathy, a body is discovered by a snuffling pig. Death at a funeral?

Brie Hooker, visiting niece and a vegan chef, wanted to help her beloved aunts, but little did she suspect that murder would be served up along with the goat cheese and the farm fresh eggs. None of which is on her preferred menu. Ever.

The discovery of the corpse leads to an opportunity to re-ignite a decades old family feud, because the bones belong to Eva’s long missing husband. Eva is accused of murder. Again. The in-laws have never liked Eva, and now they have proof that she was up to no good all those years before. The plot thickens as the enemy camp seeks its own form of Carolina justice for imagined wrongdoings.

Farming is hard work and Lovely enhances “Bones to Pick” with the realities of farm life, interspersed with bodies and the dangerous in-law craziness. The goats still have to be fed, and the eggs still must be collected, even while somebody is guarding the house with rifle in hand.

The lively cast of characters includes Paint and Andy (hunky potential boyfriends), questionable law enforcement officers, Mollye (a best friend who always has Brie’s back), and a feisty aunt with an awe inspiring back story. Lovely always sprinkles a few older, intelligent folks in her books, and with “Bones to Pick,” we are treated to Brie’s parents. Brie’s lawyer mother is on speed dial for Eva and the clan, and Brie’s dad is a wannabe writer who likes to come up with ways to hide the bodies (on the page).

“Bones to Pick” is decidedly Southern, full of humor, with a down home setting, references to fleas on Blue Tick hounds, and mentions of those icons of the Carolinas: Clemson, and Wake Forest. Plus, since no well-bred Southern woman ever uses uncouth words in polite company, Brie comes up with somewhat acceptable, if surprising alternatives like: ‘you son of a salami, holy Swiss cheese! and what the Feta?’

I could never be a vegan, but some of the dishes included in the telling of the tale in “Bones to Pick,” sound mouth-watering and I could see adding them to my own repertoire of vegetable dishes. Stuffed portabella mushrooms, pumpkin brownies with coconut whipped cream, and tomato basil soup? Droolworthy food.


Lovely includes dedicated meat eaters in her well-plotted story, which makes for mostly friendly bickering around the table between the two food camps. Whether you’re on Team Meat & Cheese or Team Vegan, there’s plenty to like about “Bones to Pick.” I’m looking forward to the next installment of this new chef in the mystery world, but leave the bacon on the table for me, please.


Contains mild, adult language.


Please visit for more information about Linda Lovely and her other entertaining series.


Barry Awards – 2018



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
EXIT STRATEGY, Steve Hamilton
THE FORCE, Don Winslow
MAGPIE MURDERS, Anthony Horowitz


Best First Novel 
THE DRY, Jane Harper
THE LOST ONES, Sheena Kamal
A RISING MAN, Abir Mukherjee


Best Paperback Original 
THE DAY I DIED, Lori Rader-Day
SUPER CON, James Swain


Best Thriller 
THE OLD MAN, Thomas Perry
UNSUB, Meg Gardiner


Happy Reading!  :-)


The Edgar Awards – 2018


Edgar Statues

Each year, the Mystery Writers of America honors the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television, published or produced the previous year. This year, on the 209th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the winners of The Edgar Awards – 2018 will be announced at the Gala Banquet to be held in New York City, on April 26, 2018.


Here are the nominees for the prestigious Edgars:




“The Dime” by Kathleen Kent

“Prussian Blue” by Philip Kerr

“Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke

“A Rising Man” by Abir Mukherjee

“The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley” by Hannah Tinti




“She Rides Shotgun” by Jordan Harper

“Dark Chapter” by Winnie M. Li

“Lola” by Melissa Scrivner Love

“Tornado Weather” by Deborah E. Kennedy

“Idaho” by Emily Ruskovich




“In Farleigh Field” by Rhys Bowen

“Ragged Lake” by Ron Corbett

“Black Fall” by Andrew Mayne

“The Unseeing” by Anna Mazzola

“Penance” by Kanae Minato

“The Rules of Backyard Cricket” by Jock Serong




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

“The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” by Jeff Guinn

“American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land” by Monica Hesse

“The Man From the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery” by Bill and Rachel McCarthy James

“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case that Captivated a Nation” by Brad Ricca




“Spring Break” – New Haven Noir by John Crowley

“Hard to Get” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Jeffery Deaver

“Ace in the Hole” – Montana Noir by Eric Heidle

“A Moment of Clarity at the Waffle House” – Atlanta Noir by Kenji Jasper

“Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by S.J. Rozan




“The Cruelty” by Scott Bergstrom

“Grit” by Gillian French

“The Impossible Fortress” by Jason Rekulak

“Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas



For nominees in the categories of BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL, BEST JUVENILE, BEST TELEVISION TELEPLAY, as well as the recipients of specialty awards, please visit


MWA logo


Congratulations to all The Edgar Awards – 2018 nominees!  Happy reading.  :-)


“The Trapped Girl” by Robert Dugoni


Book Cover - The Trapped Girl

“The Trapped Girl” is the fourth book in Robert Dugoni’s engrossing Tracy Crosswhite series. A teenager, out before dawn for an illegal crab pot pickup in Puget Sound, almost tips the boat because of the pot’s weight. He sees a hand sticking up, freaks out, and returns to shore with the very dead, trapped girl.


Tracy Crosswaite and her partner, Kins, catch the call and a complicated case. The body hasn't been in the water all that long, but Jane Doe has had plastic surgery done to her face, which makes ID slower than usual. She is identified, but it seems that there is more going on than first appears.


The husband is a suspect, and seems deserving of that title. A 500K insurance policy was taken out just before the woman’s death, but why? The obvious answer may be too easy. And Dugoni never likes easy.


The characters in "The Trapped Girl" ring true, including the sleazy husband and the wife’s girlfriend. Dugoni writes each of the people with nuances and just enough good/suspicious behavior that I was certain that the deed(s) had been done by more than one person, and I kept changing my mind as Dugoni disproved my theory each time. And then tossed another ‘so-sure-this-time’ clue at us.


Tracy Crosswaite is evolving as a person and as a detective in the series and she is at the top of her game in this wildly tricky, intriguing case. Dugoni has allowed a more human side to be seen in some of the ensemble characters, and even Tracy admits to a flicker of surprise at a colleague’s actions. She remains steadfast in her support of women as cops, and we get to see more of the effect of that stance on her personal life.


The clever twists will keep you enthralled until the very last page. Jane Doe is not who she seems to be and the supposed bad guys are not the most evil in the book. Whom do we trust? Who is telling the truth? Whose story is this, really?


“The Trapped Girl” is a barnburner of a book, with a superb, multilayered storyline that never misses a beat. It was easy to place “The Trapped Girl” on my 2017 ‘Killer Thrillers for the Beach’ list. I’ve already read it twice.


“Close to Home,” fifth in the series, is next on my TBR list.


Please visit for more information about this award winning, bestselling, gifted writer.