suspense

2018 ITW Thrillerfest Awards

 

 

Thriller writers bring us thrills and chills, keep us awake long into the wee hours of the morning and leave us begging for more. You’re also likely to see many of them on top mystery writer lists all over the world. The 2018 ITW Thrillerfest Awards nominees include terrific titles once again – truly 'stay awake' reads. Take a look at this year’s finalists:
 

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Dan Chaon — “Ill Will”
Denise Mina — “The Long Drop”
B.A. Paris — “The Breakdown”
Gin Phillips — “Fierce Kingdom”
Riley Sager — “Final Girls”

 

BEST FIRST NOVEL

Steph Broadribb — “Deep Down Dead”
Daniel Cole — “Ragdoll”
Walt Gragg — “The Red Line”
K.J. Howe — “The Freedom Broker”
Sheena Kamal — “The Lost Ones”

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Christine Bell — “Grievance”          
Rachel Caine — “Stillhouse Lake”
Layton Green — “The Resurrector”
Adrian McKinty — “Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly”
Lori Rader-Day — “The Day I Died”

 

BEST SHORT STORY

Lee Child — “Too Much Time”
Mat Coward — “What Could Possibly Go Boing?”
Zoë  Z. Dean — “Charcoal and Cherry”  
Willy Vlautin — “The Kill Switch”                                  
Ben H. Winters — “Test Drive”

 

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Gregg Hurwitz — “The Rains”
Gregg Olsen — “The Boy She Left Behind”
Sheryl Scarborough — “To Catch a Killer”
Rysa Walker — “The Delphi Effect”
Diana Rodriguez Wallach — “Proof of Lies”

 

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Sean Black — “Second Chance”
Jeff Gunhus — “Resurrection America”
Alan McDermott — “Trojan” 
Caroline Mitchell — “Witness”
Kevin Wignall — “A Fragile Thing”

 

Congratulations to all the finalists!

How many have you read? There's still plenty of time to check them out before July.
 
The 2018 ITW Thrillerfest Award Winners will be announced at ThrillerFest XIII, July 14, 2018, in  New York City. Stay tuned!  🙂

 

Please visit www.thrillerwriters.org for more information about the International Thriller Writers and the amazing programs they have for writers.

 

 

 

 

 

“Defending Jacob” by William Landay

 

 

“Defending Jacob,” features Andrew Barber as an Assistant DA, with a 22 year stint as part of the District Attorney’s office. A few days after his son’s classmate is stabbed to death, Barber is barred from the case and given a leave of absence from work.
 

His son is accused of the terrible crime, but Barber knows in his bones that Jacob could not have done it. When a devastating secret is uncovered during the investigation into the boy’s death, we realize that Barber may be alone in that belief. Despite incredible pressure from everyone he knows, as well as additional evidence to the contrary, he never stops declaring his son’s innocence.
 

“Defending Jacob” explores family relationships as they evolve in the aftermath of horrific events. This absorbing psychological courtroom drama deftly captures the doubts and the pointing fingers as members of the community seek to find answers for this senseless stabbing/killing. What parenting lack created this apparently crazed teenager living amongst them? Or was it a flaw in the child himself? If ‘x’ can kill, how certain can we be that someone else might not be capable of the same act? “Defending Jacob” was published in 2012, but the story could be ripped from the headlines today.
 

Landay, a former DA himself, posits a few theories to explain the multi-faceted plot lines and has several characters explore the possibility of a murder gene – that murder can be committed because of a hereditary predisposition. Modern psychological profiling indicates that the level of violence in our backgrounds most likely informs our future actions, but is there an actual gene? And, in my opinion, most disturbing of all: Does law enforcement really pick a suspect and then go after evidence to support that theory, no matter how far a stretch from the truth?
 

The ending left me stunned, contemplating which character was, in the end, most damaged. I may never resolve that in my mind. This was a riveting read from start to finish and beyond.
 

“Defending Jacob” won the Strand Critics Award, and a movie based on the book may be released this year.  Please visit www.williamlanday.com for information about Landay’s other books.

 

*Note: contains sporadic swearing/coarse language.

 

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 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.
 

 

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!  🙂

 

“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 www.robertdugoni.com for more information about this award winning, bestselling, gifted writer.

 

 

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.  🙂