suspense

“Four Books, Four Genres for Fall”

 

Can't quite decide what to read this Fall? Here are four absorbing suggestions for your reading pleasure.

 

Racing
"Kiss the Bricks" by Tammy Kaehler

“Kiss the Bricks” is the 5th in the Kate Reilly Racing Mystery series, each set at a different major race track. This title refers to the tradition of the winner of the Indianapolis 500 kneeling down to kiss the yard of bricks at the finish line.

 

Kate puts in the fastest time at the first practice session at Indy, a feat done only once before by a woman (PJ) dead thirty years before, supposedly by suicide because of the stress of race week. But as the press would have it, Kate and the other woman become linked for all the wrong reasons. As if competing in the Indy 500 wasn’t enough of a challenge, Kate must fight against gender bias in one of the most male dominated sports events on the planet, prove that PJ didn’t commit suicide, and that she (Kate) is capable of holding her own on the track. PLUS, take care of her sponsor responsibilities, and deal with harsh realizations about her own team.

 

Except for actually being there, I have never felt so close to the track as when reading Tammy Kaehler’s mystery series. I was in the car with Kate as she strategically shifted through the turns, assessed the responsiveness of the car, and tested her limits as a driver. Kaehler gives us an intimate look inside the world of competitive racing, as well as the rivalries on and off the oval. If you love fast cars and have ever wondered what it would be like to do a few laps on the big tracks, read all five books and enjoy the mysteries as the pages fly by.

 

Kidnapping
"Say Nothing"  by Brad Parks

Books centered around kidnapping often involve important people with boatloads of money (or kidnapping insurance) who will spend anything to get their loved ones back. They become targets for extortion and blackmail, because of all that money or power. In “Say Nothing,” Judge Sampson’s twins are kidnapped and he jumps through hoops to keep his integrity, yet meet the never-ending demands of the kidnapper. In court, Sampson is compelled to rule in the kidnapper’s favor, but even that ruling results in an unexpected outcome. He and his wife despair of there ever being a positive outcome.

 

“Say Nothing” is a departure from the average kidnapping tome, with its jaw-dropping twists and turns, deceptions and lies timed so perfectly that Parks dares you to put the book down before finding out what happens on the next page. Spouses and relatives turn on each other in tragic ways, while colleagues are left in the dark about the judge’s erratic behavior on the bench. Can he save his children? Will he be able to continue to say nothing? “Say Nothing” is a barnburner of a book.

 

Senior Sleuth Cozy Mystery

"Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody" by Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross’ new series begins with a glorious look behind the scenes at a dysfunctional adult community with all its squabbles, jealousies, and competitions. Jane Darrowfield is hired to analyze the problems that plague the manager of Walden Spring. She is tasked to make suggestions to improve the toxic atmosphere before word gets out and sales completely stop at this gated housing area for the over 60 crowd. Jane’s observation right away: “Just like high school, with the cool kids at one table.”
 

Can the place be rescued from its unruly residents? More than one mystery is discovered, and when accusations are made, secrets are unveiled with tragic consequences. Real-life baby boomers will laugh at the shenanigans because after all, that stuff doesn’t really happen, does it? As a visitor to a few senior communities around the country, I can tell you (except for the murder) Ross’ descriptions and observations are spot on.  lolol  

 

Jane Darrowfield is a refreshing new protagonist, a little surprised that anyone would pay $800 a day for her guidance, but she has solid sleuthing skills and no-nonsense advice. She makes a rather good busybody. Toss in an unexpected romance for Jane along with great friends, and we have a terrific launch to the series. I can’t wait for the next book.

 

True Crime

"Unholy Covenant" by Lynn Chandler Willis

“Unholy Covenant” is a fascinating fictional (some names and details have been changed to protect the innocent) account of Patricia Kimble’s real-life murder in small town North Carolina. Willis, former newspaper owner/reporter, followed the Kimble case throughout the investigations and during the trial, and had access to all the major players. I was thoroughly engaged as Willis described what led up to the murder of this inconvenient wife.

 

Friends and neighbors of the victim knew that Patricia was madly in love with her husband well before they married, but Ted Kimble was a player. The marriage may have been the result of a wish to own a local business. “Marry the right girl, get the business" – Kimble’s friend and mentor promised.

 

But, there is more to the story and Willis skillfully lays out all the drama in absorbing detail, giving us a chilling look at the ways Kimble manipulated those in his life. He ruled his corner of the world by fear, lies, intimidation, and a bit of charm, taking advantage of the weaknesses he saw in the people around him. Investigations into the murder, arson, and burglary ring associated with the case revealed a greedy side to Ted Kimble, a preacher’s son, that was his eventual undoing.

 

Kimble’s bizarre behavior after the murder, including accusations, confessions, and hit lists, did nothing to help his standing in the community. After a break in the case, Ted and his brother, Ron, were finally convicted of the grisly murder of Ted’s wife, Patricia, and are now in prison serving their life sentences for murder, burglary, and arson.

 

 

Book List: Lynn Chandler Willis

 

Have you read all of Lynn Chandler Willis’ books? Are you sure? Read on and click on the links to find out more about her terrific work.
 

North Carolina author, Lynn Chandler Willis, has been a professional in the writing business for quite a while, first as a newspaper owner/publisher/reporter. During that experience, she developed a keen eye for detail and for what makes people tick. She could sniff out a great story and her first book dealt with the real-life murder of the wife of a preacher’s son, committed by the preacher’s son himself in small town North Carolina. Willis attended the trial every day and did meticulous research into everything that surrounded that case. Twenty years later, the book is still being sold, a rarity in the publishing world. That book is “Unholy Covenant” (also known as “The Preacher’s Son”) and is the subject of an upcoming TV documentary about the case.

 

The Rising” won a Grace Award (review here)

 

 

 

Wink of an Eye” A private investigator tries to lay low in Texas and still gets involved in a case.   (review here)  It won Minotaur's PWA Best First Private Eye novel competition.

 

 

 

 


Tell Me No Lies” first in the romantic suspense trilogy featuring newspaper publisher/reporter Ava Logan  (review here)

 

 

Tell Me No Secrets” 

 

 

 

Tell Me You Love Me”  third book in the Ava Logan trilogy (review here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Periodically, Nightstand Book Reviews has a crossover post with www.kerriansnotebook.com. Ava Logan was a Visiting Detective with “Crime in Appalachia.” Take a look here.

 

Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for details about Ms. Willis’ appearances and updates on the books.

 

Facebook Author Page

 

*Book Covers and banner from Ms. Willis’ website and Facebook page.

 

2019 Anthony Awards

 

The 2019 Anthony Awards were handed out at The World Mystery Convention (usually referred to as Bouchercon) on November 2, 2019. Bouchercon is an annual conference named after Anthony Boucher, a mystery author and critic who helped found the Mystery Writers of America. This event honors various segments of the mystery and crime fiction community.
 

The nominees for the 2019 Anthony Awards were chosen by attendees at the 2018 convention, as well as early registrants for the 2019 event. The recognized works were published during 2018 and the finalists were voted upon by the 2019 Bouchercon attendees.

 

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red)! (Links included to highlighted short story titles.)
 

BEST NOVEL

  • Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
  • November Road by Lou Berney
  • Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
  • Sunburn by Laura Lippman
  • Blackout by Alex Segura


BEST FIRST NOVEL

  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  • Broken Places by Tracy Clark
  • Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver
  • What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix
  • Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin


BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

  • Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett
  • If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin
  • Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara
  • Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day
  • A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin


BEST SHORT STORY

  • The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough
  • Bug Appétit” by Barb Goffman, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  • “Cold Beer No Flies” by Greg Herren, in Florida Happens
  • English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
  • The Best Laid Plans” by Holly West, in Florida Happens


BEST CRITICAL OR NONFICTION WORK

  • Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin
  • Mastering Plot Twists: How To Use Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure To Captivate Your Readers by Jane K. Cleland
  • Pulp According to David Goodis by Jay A. Gertzman
  • Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s by Leslie S. Klinger
  •  I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman


Have fun reading them all!

 

 

 

 

CrimeFest 2019

 

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. The 2019 awards for 2018 books/titles were presented at a dinner held on Saturday, May 11th.


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners (indicated in red). Click on the book titles to discover more about the nominees and winners.


The Audible Sounds of Crime Award is for the best unabridged crime audiobook first published in the UK in 2018 in both printed and audio formats.
– Ben Aaronovitch for Lies Sleeping, read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
– Louise Candlish for Our House, read by Deni Francis & Paul Panting
– Bill Clinton & James Patterson for The President Is Missing, read by Dennis Quaid, January LaVoy, Peter Ganim, Jeremy Davidson, Mozhan Marnò and Bill Clinton
– Robert Galbraith for Lethal White, read by Robert Glenister
– Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen for The Wife Between Us, read by Julia Whelan
– Stephen King for The Outsider, read by Will Patton
– Clare Mackintosh for Let Me Lie, read by Gemma Whelan & Clare Mackintosh
– Peter May for I’ll Keep You Safe, read by Anna Murray & Peter Forbes
– Ian Rankin for In a House of Lies, read by James MacPherson
– Sarah Vaughan for Anatomy of a Scandal, read by Julie Teal, Luke Thompson, Esther Wane and Sarah Feathers


eDUNNIT AWARD is for the best crime fiction ebook published in both hardcopy and in electronic format.
– Leye Adenle for When Trouble Sleeps
– Steve Cavanagh for Thirteen
– Martin Edwards for Gallows Court
– Laura Lippman for Sunburn
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Andrew Taylor for The Fire Court
– Sarah Ward for The Shrouded Path


LAST LAUGH AWARD is for the best humorous crime novel.
– Simon Brett for A Deadly Habit
– Christopher Fowler for Bryant & May – Hall of Mirrors
– Mario Giordano for Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord
– Mick Herron for London Rules
– Khurrum Rahman for Homegrown Hero
– Lynne Truss for A Shot in the Dark
– Antti Tuomainen for Palm Beach Finland
– Olga Wojtas for Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar


H.R.F. KEATING AWARD is for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction.
– Nils Clausson for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Art of Fiction
– Brian Cliff for Irish Crime Fiction
– Glen S. Close for Female Corpses in Crime Fiction
– Laura Joyce & Henry Sutton for Domestic Noir
– Barry Forshaw for Historical Noir
– Steven Powell for The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World
– James Sallis for Difficult Lives – Hitching Rides


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR CHILDREN nominees:
– P.G. Bell for The Train to Impossible Places
– Fleur Hitchcock for Murder At Twilight
– S.A. Patrick for A Darkness of Dragons
– Dave Shelton for The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery
– Lauren St. John for Kat Wolfe Investigates
– Nicki Thornton for The Last Chance Hotel


BEST CRIME NOVEL FOR YOUNG ADULTS nominees:
– David Almond for The Colour of the Sun
– Mel Darbon for Rosie Loves Jack
– Julia Gray for Little Liar
– Tom Pollock for White Rabbit, Red Wolf
– Nikesh Shukla for Run, Riot
– Neal & Jarrod Shusterman for Dry


THE PETRONA AWARD celebrates the best of Scandinavian crime fiction. The winner this year is Norwegian writer, Jorn Lier Horst, for “The Katharina Code.”
 

Happy Reading!

 

 

“Dying on Edisto” by C. Hope Clark

 

Carolina Slade trips over a body while checking out seagrass for a hat-making class and her vacation suddenly gets interesting. Slade and Largo are a few hours from home, staying at a beach cottage near Indigo Plantation on Edisto Island. Largo, a federal agent and Slade’s significant other, has been known to assist Slade on a case or two. This time, in “Dying on Edisto,” she unhappily babysits the body while he reports the death.

 

But, this is Edisto Island, Callie Morgan’s neighborhood. Callie is the Police Chief in Edisto Beach, just a few minutes down the road. Morgan just happens to be at Indigo, the new resort/B&B on the island, doing a meet and greet with the manager. But the meet and greet is interrupted before it really gets underway when Largo reports the body and Morgan and her deputy have to check it out. And we wonder…whose book is this – Slade’s or Morgan’s?

 

What ensues is an entertaining mashup between C. Hope Clark’s two successful mystery series, Carolina Slade Mysteries and Edisto Island Mysteries. The backgrounds of both women tie the two series together as Clark skillfully compares their stories and personalities through dialogue and internal thoughts. 

 

Morgan is inexplicably assigned to run the murder investigation (which is outside her own jurisdiction), raising eyebrows in the Edisto Beach town council and causing her problems all around. The reason? That would be telling. 😉

 

The colorful cast of characters in “Dying on Edisto” includes a self-proclaimed pirate, an unpleasant travel blogger, an overbearing officer from the Sheriff’s department, a protective family, and Callie’s yoga teacher pal, but Callie Morgan’s efficient staff is also on hand at the Edisto Beach station, with her deputy supportive/protective as always. Clark takes time to develop intriguing subplots, so when we discover the reasons behind the behavior of some of the main characters, the pieces of the story fall neatly into place. 

 

The setting itself, the coastal South Carolina hot weather environment surrounding the Indigo Plantation, is an additional, fully fleshed out, vivid character in “Dying on Edisto.” Between the sudden storms, the treks through the mud and dark water, the bugs in the woods, and the sticky humidity, the book will give you an authentic insider’s look at life in the South during the summer.

 

With an interesting storyline, two strong women at the helm, and a surprise ending, “Dying on Edisto” will more than satisfy fans of both series.

 

For more information about C. Hope Clark’s award-winning work in fiction and non-fiction, please visit www.chopeclark.com    

 

             

Top Ten Reviews – 2018

 

Lots of great books, talented authors, and legions of dedicated booklovers, combined to make 2018 another amazing year of reading. Whether discovering a new author, or returning to a tried and true favorite, the NBR interest was more than double that of last year. Our NBR international community of readers made their choices known for the 'Top Ten Reviews of 2018' in the list shown below.

 

Although not included in the ‘Top Ten Reviews’ list, the response to the 2018 author profiles (Sherry Harris and Jeri Westerson) proved that readers want more of this feature and we will happily provide as many new profiles as the schedule allows. Click on their names – links to books included.

 

Listed in alphabetical order by author (except for ‘Try Something New This Summer’), click on the links to read the reviews for the first time, or to enjoy them again.

 

“Try Something New This Summer” (5 different genres and authors) https://bit.ly/2IZIhU1 

 

“43 Missing” by Carmen Amato   https://wp.me/p2YVin-15v

 

“Circle of Influence” & “No Way Home” by Annette Dashofy https://wp.me/p2YVin-10Y

 

“The Trapped Girl” by Robert Dugoni  https://bit.ly/2DmiRia

 

“A Christmas Peril” by J.A. Hennrikus     https://wp.me/p2YVin-178

 

 “The Code” & “Black Ace” by G.B. Joyce   https://wp.me/p2YVin-14M

 

“Defending Jacob” by William Landay  https://bit.ly/2pJh5C6

 

“Bones to Pick” by Linda Lovely  https://wp.me/p2YVin-Z6

 

“Louise’s War” & “Louise’s Dilemma” by Sarah Shaber  https://bit.ly/2F73Pkx

 

“Scot Harvath Series” by Brad Thor  https://bit.ly/2IzvqYt

 

 

Warm thanks, everyone! May 2019 bring you many page-turning, great new reads.  🙂

 

 

“The Code” and “The Black Ace” by G.B. Joyce

 

“The Code” and “The Black Ace” written by award-winning Canadian sportswriter G. B. Joyce, are set in the world of professional hockey. Former pro hockey player, Brad Shade, worked as an investigator for four years post-hockey, but is now an assessor scout for a hockey team based in the States. He interviews junior league prospects and their families, watches them play, and analyzes why they would or would not fit into the franchise. Millions of dollars are at stake and kids that do well in junior hockey might not have what it takes mentally or physically to make a career of it.
 

 

During a scouting trip, Shade has trouble arranging a meet with one of the prospects. In the course of tracking him down, Shade uncovers some disturbing information, a major coverup seems likely, the prospect’s teammate goes missing, and people wind up dead. And Shade gets a chance to apply his P.I. investigative skills to his present scouting gig.

 

“The Code” shows the underbelly of the junior hockey leagues, highlighting the greed and money to be made. Sadly, in any big money sport with youth being fed into the majors, there are parents that chase the dream without regard for what the kids want. And as G.B. Joyce points out, unless there is a real hunger/enthusiasm for the game (not for the fame or money alone), it’s unlikely that even a talented player will have much staying power.

 

A Canadian TV show, “Private Eyes,” is currently being broadcast in the USA. The show is fun and when I discovered that it was based on Joyce’s books, I picked up “The Code,” and soon after, “The Black Ace.” The similarity between the books and the TV show end with the game of hockey and Shade’s stint as a P.I.  Even our hero’s name has been changed to Matt in the TV show. Both versions are good; Shade’s investigations are dogged in both, but on TV he's a full time P.I. and in “The Code” any investigation is tied to the game and his job as a scout.

 

I love the game of hockey in its purest form, so while there is a mystery to be solved in “The Code,” reading this as a sports book was a distinct pleasure. I saw several episodes of the show before picking up the books, and each brings something new to my understanding of both P.I. work and the game of hockey.
 

 

“The Black Ace” is the second book in this hockey/detective series.

Shade is now the official scouting director for the L.A. team, but still spends a lot of time on the road checking out prospects in the junior leagues. 
 

He learns that former teammate and roommate, Martin Mars, has died and that his death has been classified as a suicide. Shade and "Whisper" played together in a history making, five overtime game. On behalf of the franchise, he and a colleague, Chief, attend the funeral. When Shade and Chief pay their respects, the widow shares her doubts that her husband could have committed suicide and asks Shade to look into it. 
 

Shade can’t say no, but Chief has a bad feeling about the situation. Before long, they are beaten up, jailed, threatened, and no closer to the truth. The mystery is why anybody would care enough about their presence to harass them. Shade is not intimidated, won’t leave town because of his promise to the widow, and the threats blow back on the bad guys. He and Chief do some digging, uncover Mars’ shocking past, as well as a mega bucks deal that may be the reason Mars is dead.
 

Shade had attitude on the ice and his off-ice personality hasn't changed. His view of the world is a tad snarky, but he’s entitled. Shade’s manager blew his millions on a shady real estate deal and Shade’s ACL was shredded by an opponent he never liked. But that snarky veneer shows cracks when faced with a good person who needs help and when guilt for his own actions in the past come skating into the present.
 

As Joyce walks us through the process of choosing the next Wayne Gretzky or Martin Brodeur, we learn what kinds of deals need to be made to protect the players and/or the front office. Both books contain lots of tidbits about the life of a hockey player. Did you know that the players fly first class because the seats are bigger/wider? Most of the players have well developed thighs and shoulders and they simply can’t fit into the seats in economy. And here I thought they were just after the special drinks and snacks only available up front.
 

Shade is a complex character, nicely layered with references to the impact life on the road has on his personal relationships. He’s upfront about the career ending injuries he and other players have sustained and knows full well that he was not a gifted player, just a very smart one with a genuine love of the game.

 

According to the online booksellers, “The Code” and “The Black Ace” are followed by “The Third Man In,” rounding out the Brad Shade series. It’s on my ’to buy’ list.

 

Please visit    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/14875/gare-joyce   to learn more about G.B. Joyce (Gare Joyce for non-fiction) and his books.

 

 

 

 

 

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