suspense

2020 ITW ThrillerFest Awards

 

Thriller writers bring us thrills and chills and keep us awake long into the wee hours of the morning. Check out the 2020 ITW ThrillerFest Award finalists and winners (indicated in red) and enjoy the reads!

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL
David Baldacci — “One Good Deed”
Joe Clifford — “Rag and Bone”
Blake Crouch — “Recursion”
Rachel Howzell Hall — “They All Fall Down”
Adrian McKinty — “The Chain”
Denise Mina — “Conviction”

BEST FIRST NOVEL
Samantha Downing — “My Lovely Wife”
Angie Kim — “Miracle Creek”
John McMahon — “The Good Detctive”
Alex Michaelides — “The Silent Patient”
Lauren Wilkinson — “American Spy”

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Max Allan Collins — “Girl Most Likely”
Alison Gaylin — “Never Look Back”
Alastair Luft — “Jihadi Bride”
Dervla McTiernan — “The Scholar”
Lisa Sandlin — “The Bird Boys”
Kate White — “Such A Perfect Wife”

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Author Brett Battles — “Night Man”
Sean Black — “The Deep Abiding”
Brian Shea — “Murder Board”
LynDee Walker — “Leave No Stone”
Kerry Wilkinson — “Close to You”

BEST SHORT STORY
Hector Acosta — “Turistas” (Down & Out Books)
Michael Cowgill — “Call Me Chuckles” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Tara Laskowski — “The Long-Term Tenant” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Lia Matera — “Snow Job” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Twist Phelan — “Fathers-in-Law” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

 

 

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CrimeFest 2020

Covid19 has struck down yet another crime fiction convention, this time CrimeFest, held in Bristol, UK, each year. In most cases, eligible titles were submitted by publishers, and a team of British crime fiction reviewers voted to establish the shortlists and the winning titles. The winners were announced on July 6th. The authors and their books are innocent bystanders in this pandemic, and deserve to have your attention and support. Click on the links to take a look at the nominated titles. The winners are indicated in red.

 

CRIMEFEST has a new sponsor and they have instituted a new award for a crime novel by a debut author first published in the British Isles in 2019. The winning author receives a £1,000 prize as well as a Bristol Blue Glass commemorative award.

Specsavers Crime Fiction Debut Award nominees:
– Fiona Erskine for The Chemical Detective
– Katja Ivar for Evil Things
– Carolyn Kirby for The Conviction of Cora Burns
– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient
Laura Shepherd-Robinson for Blood & Sugar
– Holly Watt for To The Lions


AUDIBLE SOUNDS OF CRIME AWARD
The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the United Kingdom in 2019 in both printed and audio formats.

Audible Sounds of Crime Award nominees:
– Kate Atkinson for Big Sky, read by Jason Isaacs
– Oyinkan Braithwaite for My Sister, the Serial Killer, read by Weruche Opia
– Alex Callister for Winter Dark, read by Ell Potter
Lee Child for Blue Moon, read by Jeff Harding
– Lisa Jewell for The Family Upstairs, read by Tamaryn Payne, Bea Holland & Dominic Thorburn
– T.M. Logan for The Holiday, read by Laura Kirman
– Peter May for The Man with No Face, read by Peter Forbes
– Alex Michaelides for The Silent Patient, read by Louise Brealey & Jack Hawkins


eDUNNIT AWARD
The eDunnit Award is for the best crime fiction ebook first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format in the United Kingdom in 2019.

eDunnit Award nominees:
– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario

– Sarah Hilary for Never Be Broken
– Andrew Taylor for The King’s Evil
– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring
– Holly Watt for To The Lions
– Don Winslow for The Border


LAST LAUGH AWARD
The Last Laugh Award is for the best humorous crime novel first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Last Laugh Award nominees:
– William Boyle for A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself
– Hannah Dennison for Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall
– Helen FitzGerald for Worst Case Scenario
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – The Lonely Hour
– Antti Tuomainen for Little Siberia
– L.C. Tyler for The Maltese Herring


H.R.F. KEATING AWARD

The H.R.F. Keating Award is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

H.R.F. Keating Award nominees:
– Ursula Buchan for Beyond The Thirty-Nine Steps

– John Curran for The Hooded Gunman
– Barry Forshaw for Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR CHILDREN
This award is for the best crime novel for children (aged 8-12) first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Nominees for the CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Children (ages 8-12):
– P.G. Bell for The Great Brain Robbery
– Vivian French for The Steam Whistle Theatre Company
– Sophie Green for Potkin and Stubbs
– A.M. Howell for The Garden of Lost Secrets
– Simon Lelic for The Haven
– Thomas Taylor for Malamander


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS
This award is for the best crime novel for young adults (aged 12-16) first published in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Nominees for the CrimeFest Award for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (ages 12-16):
– Kathryn Evans for Beauty Sleep
– John Grisham for Theodore Boone: The Accomplice
– Samuel J. Halpin for The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods
– Simon Mason for Hey Sherlock!
– Tom Pollock for Heartstream
– Nikesh Shukla for The Boxer

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

 

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Jump into June with Four Books, Four Genres

 

 

The books couldn’t be more different, but each is a great read in its own genre. Each has the potential to be fodder for a TV or big screen movie, with thoroughly interesting characters and visually descriptive writing.

 

Cozy Mystery

“Kernel of Truth” by Kristi Abbott, is the first in her Popcorn Shop Mystery series set in Grand Lake, Ohio. It’s an engaging murder mystery, complete with a personable poodle and a gourmet popcorn shop.

Rebecca Anderson hesitates when she hears screams coming from outside, having to choose between taking her sauce off the stove and investigating the screaming. Her conscience and her dog’s interest prevail and she discovers that the screams are from her friend’s chocolate shop next door. Her beloved friend, Coco, is dead and Rebecca’s life is about to change in unexpected ways.

 

While coping with the shock, Rebecca’s ex works to get her back, and Coco’s niece publicly denounces Rebecca with having ulterior motives. Accused of theft, her popcorn business in peril, and her reputation besmirched, Rebecca must solve the murder of her friend in order to regain the trust of the customers and the town. The characters are well-drawn in this nicely plotted beginning to the series. Recipes included.

 

Thriller

Nick Heller is back in “House on Fire,” the fourth entry featuring the former Special Ops soldier, now Boston P.I. An Army pal dies from a drug overdose and Heller is drawn into an investigation about the death. Who’s responsible? The easy answer is to blame the buddy himself, but Heller agrees to dig deeper.

 

In typical Finder fashion, “House on Fire” combines current events with a page-turning thriller. Undercover work reveals a surprising ally and loads of twists to surprise the reader. Family politics, personal tragedy, greed, government contracts, and billions at stake drive the story. Who can be trusted? Will Heller get out of this alive? Not everyone does. Prepare to be thoroughly entertained.

 

Legal Suspense

Functioning within the limitations of sporadic donations, the overworked guardians find the evidence to exonerate the wrongly incarcerated. The ‘Guardians’ in the title refers to Centurion Ministries, an organization that Grisham learned about some years ago while conducting research for another project. The work the Centurions did and still do, stuck with Grisham and this story is based on an actual case written about in the New York Times in 2018.

 

Grisham’s writing is compelling as fictional Cullen Post, a pastor and lawyer, doggedly pursues every lead to help those with one last hope. Post is not in it for the money, only justice for those less fortunate. The process followed to uncover new evidence in the various cold cases, with some witnesses long dead, and evidence lost or buried, is grueling and sometimes dangerous. A well-written, fascinating read, one of Grisham’s best.

 

Non-Fiction

“The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston, is non-fiction, but the events described are so wildly dangerous that it reads like page-turning fiction. The search for the ancient White City begins deep in a Honduran rainforest, probably untouched for hundreds of years.

 

Preston presents a fascinating look at the tremendously complicated planning that a legitimate investigation of a major archeological site requires. Helicopters, sophisticated technology, local government with access to permits and soldiers to guard the expedition, the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent even before the explorers put boots on the ground, the right people to pull it all together, all come into play.

 

The field of archeology appears to be highly competitive and the expedition itself was surprisingly controversial, but the group of which Preston was a part, was the first to document their expedition and findings and go through official channels. The book includes photos of the search, finding the astonishing cache of artifacts, and an insane snake story, but also discusses Preston’s serious brush with death. Preston and half of his (and subsequent) expedition people contracted a potentially lethal parasitic tropical disease, one that is hundreds of years old. The interviews and research in “The Lost City of the Monkey God” are thoroughly footnoted and documented, and also reference modern epidemics and pandemics. Excavation of this extraordinary site continues today.

 

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Irish Fiction & Mysteries – 2020 List

 

View from Blarney Castle

 

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon! For those of you that focus your reading on holiday/cultural themed books, the list below features Irish writers, mysteries/suspense set in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day murders, or titles with Irish characters central to the plot. Some are modern classics, some are newbies, but all are entertaining reads. You’re sure to find a story in the updated list of 38 Irish Fiction & Mysteries–2020 List that you will want to read again and again. (Links included for bold titles)

 

Lisa Alber: “Path into Darkness
Maeve Binchy:  “Chestnut Street
S. Furlong-Bollinger: “Paddy Whacked
Declan Burke: “The Lost and the Blind
Steve Cavanagh: “Th1rt3en
Sheila Connolly: “Fatal Roots
Kathy Cranston: “Apple Seeds and Murderous Deeds
Sinead Crowley: “One Bad Turn
Kathi Daley: “Shamrock Shenanigans
Frank Delaney: “The Last Storyteller
Nelson Demille: “Cathedral
Patricia Falvey: “The Yellow House
Tana French: “Broken Harbor
Alexia Gordon: “Murder in G Major
Andrew Greeley: “The Bishop at the Lake
Jane Haddam: “A Great Day for the Deadly
Lyn Hamilton: “The Celtic Riddle
Lee Harris: “The St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Erin Hart: “The Book of Killowen
Jonathan Harrington: “A Great Day for Dying
Mary Anne Kelly: “Twillyweed
Amanda Lee: “The Long Stitch Good Night
Dan Mahoney: “Once in, Never Out
Caimh McDonnell: “A Man with One of Those Faces
Brian McGilloway: “Preserve the Dead/The Forgotten Ones
Adrian McKinty: “The Chain
Ralph M. McInerny: “The Green Revolution
Leslie Meier: “St. Patrick’s Day Murder
Stuart Neville: “So Say the Fallen
Carlene O’Connor: “Murder in an Irish Cottage
Sister Carol Anne O’Marie: “Death Takes Up a Collection”
Helen Page: “Equal of God”
Louise Phillips: “The Doll’s House
Janet Elaine Smith: “In St. Patrick’s Custody
Jo Spain: “Beneath the Surface
Patrick Taylor: “An Irish Country Family
Peter Tremayne: “Blood in Eden
Kathy Hogan Trochek: “Irish Eyes

 

 

 

If your favorite Irish Fiction & Mysteries titles are not on the list, let me know and I’ll add them! Happy choosing and reading!

 

 

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“Wheels Up – a novel of Drugs, Cartels, and Survival” by Jeanine Kitchel

 

“Wheels Up – a novel of Drugs, Cartels, and Survival” by Jeanine Kitchel, introduces us to Layla Navarro, the embattled niece of the head of a Mexican cartel. She’s been the bookkeeper for the family business, but is forced to become the public voice of El Patron when her uncle goes to jail and the heir apparent dies.
 

Layla is a woman with a tough demeanor, rough language, and a few crime worthy skills, capable of a bit more than she’s been given credit for. With millions at stake, and power shifting among the cartels in the region, she takes on her first independent project to establish credibility, only to be betrayed at every turn.

 

What motivates her? This is the world she has been raised in, and she has no romantic notions about the life or any interest in leaving it. Kitchel wisely incorporates the reality of the male dominated society in which Layla moves; Layla may have the brains, but the men do the heavy lifting in “Wheels Up,” one of whom is Cole, a Canadian narc dealer that helps her stay alive. The nicely written supporting characters lend texture to the story and a brief look at Mexican life. Not everybody is a criminal, although their lives may depend on being wary around the players who are.

 

Kitchel delivers an interesting look at a crime-based life that I can only imagine, and makes parallels to legitimate business practices. In order for any company to succeed, there has to be trust at the top between the partners that run it. In any corporate takeover, we know from watching the news that even in non-lethal exchanges, there is turmoil while power is realigned. Substitute the drug cartels for legit businesses, upper level disagreements settled with guns instead of torts and contracts, and you’ll understand the dynamics in “Wheels Up.”

 

This multi-layered book also explores human trafficking as a side business to the narcotics trade, a practice that not all the parties agree upon. Layla and the Canadian, along with trusted henchmen, deal with one aspect of the problem in a clever plot twist that also places her in more danger.

 

Kitchel happily lived in Mexico for quite a while and shares with us her love of the cuisine as well as some of the countryside. The food and the bars play like characters against the lush landscape. I had a craving to visit my local Mexican restaurant after reading about the mouthwatering dishes that Layla and her friends enjoyed. If your reading interests include take-charge women thrown into complex, no-win situations, “Wheels Up” will provide plenty of entertainment.

 

Book #2 in the trilogy, “Tulum Takedown,” is now available. For more information about Jeanine Kitchel, her time in Mexico, as well as her non-fiction work, please visit www.jeaninekitchel.com.                       

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Mysteries and Fiction

 

Are you a fan of holiday themed reading? Published between 2016 and 2020, here is a list of twenty-three novels, novellas, and short stories centered around Valentine’s Day. Be prepared to swoon, or laugh, or be delighted by the selection. Click on the titles to discover more about the books and enjoy!

 

Jennifer S. Alderson  “Death by Baguette”

 

Carolyn Arnold  “Valentine’s Day is Murder”

 

Patti Benning  “Tall, Dark, and Deadly”

 

Franky A. Brown  “What Happened to Romance?”

 

Susan Carroll “The Valentine’s Day Ball”

 

Cherry Christensen  “Secret Valentine”

 

Sylvia Damsell  “A Valentine Wish”

 

Steve Demaree “A Valentine Murder”

 

Liz Dodwell “Valentine’s Day: a Polly Parrett Pet-Sitter Cozy”

 

Jessica L. Elliott “Operation: Romance”

 

Tammy Falkner “A Valentine’s Day Miracle”

 

Deborah Garner  “A Flair for Truffles”

 

Patricia Gligor “Marnie Malone”

 

Holly Hepburn “Valentine’s Day at the Star and Sixpence”

 

Liwen Y. Ho “Romantically Ever After”

 

June McCrary Jacobs “Handmade Hearts”

 

Libby Klein  “Theater Nights Are Murder”

 

Jackie Lau  “A Big Surprise for Valentine’s Day”

 

Lia London “Love from A to Z”

 

Ava Mallory & nine more authors “Stirring Up Love & Mystery”

 

Leslie Meier  “Valentine Candy Murder”

 

Summer Prescott “A Blossom of Murder”

 

Amy M. Reade  “Be My Valencrime”

 

Happy Reading! 

 

 

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The Edgar Awards – 2020

 

Each year at this time, the Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announces the nominees for The Edgar Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, and television published or produced in the previous year. Because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, the annual MWA April conference was cancelled, but the Edgar Awards for 2020 were still voted upon by the members and the winners announced on April 30, 2020. (indicated in red)

 

BEST NOVEL
“Fake Like Me” by Barbara Bourland
“The Stranger Diaries” by Elly Griffiths
“The River” by Peter Heller
“Smoke and Ashes” by Abir Mukherjee
“Good Girl, Bad Girl” by Michael Robotham

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
“My Lovely Wife” by Samantha Downing
“Miracle Creek” by Angie Kim
“The Good Detective” by John McMahon
“The Secrets We Kept” by Lara Prescott
“Three-Fifths” by John Vercher
“American Spy” by Lauren Wilkinson

 

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
“Dread of Winter” by Susan Alice Bickford
“Freedom Road” by William Lashner
“Blood Relations” by Jonathan Moore
“February’s Son” by Alan Parks
“The Hotel Neversink” by Adam O’Fallon Price
“The Bird Boys” by Lisa Sandlin

 

BEST FACT CRIME
“The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder that Shocked Jazz-Age America” by Karen Abbott
“The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity” by Axton Betz-Hamilton
“American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century” by Maureen Callahan
“Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History” by Peter Houlahan
“Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall” by James Polchin

 

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
“The Night Visitors” by Carol Goodman
“One Night Gone” by Tara Laskowski
“Strangers at the Gate” by Catriona McPherson
“Where the Missing Go” by Emma Rowley
“The Murder List” by Hank Phillippi Ryan

 

THE G.P. PUTNAM’S SONS SUE GRAFTON MEMORIAL AWARD
“Shamed” by Linda Castillo
“Borrowed Time” by Tracy Clark
“The Missing Ones” by Edwin Hill
“The Satapur Moonstone” by Sujata Massey
“The Alchemist’s Illusion” by Gigi Pandian
“Girl Gone Missing” by Marcie R. Rendon

 

Nominees for other categories (Best Critical/Biographical, Best Short Story, Juvenile, YA, Teleplay) can be found at https://mysterywriters.org/mwa-announces-the-2020-edgar-nominations/

 

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners for the 2020 Edgar Awards!

 

 

 

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