2014 Edgar Award Nominees Announced

MWA

The Mystery Writers of America have announced the Nominees for the 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2013.  The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at their 68th Gala Banquet, May 1, 2014, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

BEST NOVEL

  • Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic – The Mysterious Press)
  • The Humans by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster)
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
  • Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Reagan Arthur Books)
  • Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy (Penguin Group USA – Dutton Books)

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

  • The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton)
  • Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books)
  • Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins Publishers)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

  • The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks)
  • Almost Criminal by E. R. Brown (Dundurn)
  • Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books)
  • Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime)
  • The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books)
  • Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)

BEST FACT CRIME

  • Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul Collins (Crown Trade Group)
  • Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal by Michael D’Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books)
  • The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder by Charles Graeber (Grand Central Publishing – Twelve)
  • The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and the Medics Behind Nazi Lines by Cate Lineberry (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
  • The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

  • Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories by Bill Alder (McFarland & Company)
  • America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture by Erik Dussere (Oxford University Press)
  • Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing by Justin Gifford (Temple University Press)
  • Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett (St.
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Author Tim Hall joins us to answer a few questions about his his new mystery DEAD STOCK

In the new cozy mystery, DEAD STOCK, author Tim Hall introduces us to Bert Shambles, an unique and extremely likable protagonist.  I found myself hooked on Bert fairly early on and was pleased to learn that this is indeed book number one in the Bert Shambles Mystery Series.  In fact, book number two in the series is nearly finished.  I had the opportunity to submit a few questions to Tim for the blog tour he’s doing to support the launch of this entertaining book.

Thanks for being with us to today Tim.  You’re written for a number of well-known publications.  What was the genesis for you deciding to try your hand at writing mysteries?

I started out trying to write mysteries, back in my early 20s. I first wrote about the character of Bert Shambles in 1989, but didn’t have the skills to write genre yet. I always intended to get back to it but was too interested in trying everything else: journalism, poetry, experimental fiction, comics. I found that early fragment in a box at my mom’s house a few years back, and that was how DEAD STOCK finally came into being.

You describe your writing style as ‘screwball tragedy, and your protagonist, Bert Shambles, certainly fits that description.  Can you give our readers a brief overview of Bert?

When the story begins Bert is stuck back in his small suburban Long Island town, having been sentenced to three years’ probation for a foolish act of chivalry that went horribly wrong.… Read more

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Kindle Matchbook is up and running

Kindle Matchbook Logo

Kindle Matchbook has launched. in an under the radar fashion.  (They’re blasting it out on the home page now.)  Have you heard of it?  It’s a new service from Amazon that allows you to buy discounted digital books to compliment physical books that you’ve previously purchased from them.

It’s an interesting concept and one that has promise for people who occasionally re-read books that they enjoy.

Since I’ve purchased hundreds of books from Amazon over the years I was particularly interested in seeing what books are available through Matchbook to me.   I kept my fingers crossed when clicking the link, but it didn’t take long for the results to appear.   Of the hundred of physical books I’ve purchased from Amazon over the years a grand total of  13 books were available to me through Kindle Matchbook.

Amazon claims that over 75,000 books are in the program, some from the major publishing houses, but others are reporting that while some publishers are participating they are doing so with an extremely limited number of titles.

As I understand the program, the author, and or the publishers, have to opt in. From what I could see the books available to me under Kindle Matchbook are probably all books whose rights have reverted back to the authors from their publishers.  But hey – it’s a start.

Click the Matchbook link will take you to Amazon where you can see what books are available to you.

If you’re an author, Gigaom is reporting that publishers and authors will be able to include titles in the program just for limited periods — so they could do a promotion, for instance, where a discounted or free ebook is bundled with a print book for just a short time.… Read more

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Guest Post by Author Mike Martin: What Makes a Good Mystery?

We are delighted to welcome Mike Martin, the author of the Windflower Mystery Series, to Mysteries and Mayhem today.

So here goes. We may all have our particular settings or styles or the love of blood or lack thereof in our mysteries I think we can all unite on one thing. A good mystery requires a good story.

Maybe that is the basic element of any book in any genre, even in non-fiction. The story has to get our attention and make us want to read more. For mystery books there has to be some element of the unknown that we are promised will be revealed if only we hang around long enough. Or even if we know ‘who dun it’ how the perpetrators are brought to justice or not may be enough to hold us fast to our seats and keep us turning the pages.

But how the story is told and the definition of the main characters are close behind in terms of factors that make up a good mystery. Style, pace and plot development are keys to ensuring that the reader is not just entertained, but engaged along the way. The sub-genres of mystery start diverging here, particularly around style which tends to involve detailed and sometimes flowery descriptions in cozies or technically detailed forensic talk in police procedurals. But they all come back together when it comes to the flow of the story. Good mysteries in all forms have a rhythm that somehow just seems right. Great mystery writers have the ‘Goldilocks’ touch: not too fast, not too slow, just right!… Read more

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Sherlock Returns to PBS on January 19th

I’m a serious Sherlock Holmes geek, and there’s no better version of Sherlock Holmes than the one being offered by the BBC.    Their version, staring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as his partner Dr. Watson, has finally announced a U.S. air date for season three.  The big night is Sunday, January 19th at 10:00 ET.

Full details are available on the Entertainment Weekly website.… Read more

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If you’re an author you NEED an email subscription list

email marketingI read a lot of books and the list of authors I enjoy reading is constantly growing.  Let’s take that as background for this cautionary tale.

Amazon recommended a book, written by an indie author, to me last week that looked interesting.  I downloaded the free sample, read a few pages, and was convinced that I’d enjoy reading the book so I clicked the “Buy Now” button.   That night I read about a third of the book, enjoying the experience.

The next day I went back to Amazon to see if the author had written others, in what was clearly intended to be a series.   She had not.  Nor did she have an Amazon author’s page.  So, being the book hunter that I am I began a search for her website, which I found, with little trouble.  Her most recent update was in March, the month the book I’d purchased was released.

Ok, so she doesn’t update her site very often  That seems like bad practice, but what the heck.  I went in search of her email list sign up form.  That way she could let me, a fan who liked her work enough to purchase, and has tracked down her website, know via email when the next book in the series is coming out.   But there was no email sign up form.  There was however a link to her Twitter account, so I went there next.

I posted a message, naming the book and letting her (and everyone else) know how much I was enjoying it.  … Read more

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Fresh Reading – The Survivors Club

Title:  The SURVIVORS CLUB
Release Date: October 15th
Pages:  364

In the SURVIVORS CLUB by J. Carson Black Detective Tess McCrae investigates a grisly crime scene in the ghost town of Credo, Arizona.

To an ordinary investigator, the evidence suggests a cartel drug hit. But Tess, with a nearly faultless photographic memory, is far from ordinary, and she sees what others might miss: this is no drug killing. Someone went to gruesome lengths to cover up this crime.

The killer’s trail leads Tess from Tucson to California; from anti-government squatters in the Arizona mountains to the heights of wealthy society, including the rich and powerful DeKoven family, who’ve dominated Arizona commerce and politics since the 1800s. But as Tess follows the trail of gore and betrayal, perfect and indelible in her memory, she uncovers far more than one man’s murder, and solves much more than one isolated crime.

 … Read more

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The Mystery of Mystery Genres

Reading

A mystery is a mystery, right? Well, no. Try to get several people together who claim to like mysteries and you’ll find a great deal of disparity in what they actually like. The mystery genre has so many different sub-genres right now that it’s difficult to keep them all straight.

As a way of getting started, I’ll outline what I see as a high-level list of mystery sub-genres, with examples.

1. The Classic Mystery – This is the classic ‘whodunnit’ type mystery where the emphasis is on the clues and the puzzle. Think Sherlock Holmes, or Nero Wolfe.

2. The Cozy Mystery – This shares many of the characteristics of the Classic Mystery, but Cozy’s tend to have domestic settings, amateur detectives and a high degree of character focus. These novels usually don’t contain much, if any swearing, or any ‘on screen’ violence. Think Agatha Christi, or Jessica Fletcher.

3) The Hard-Boiled Mystery – These stories may or may not include a puzzle, but there’s always a problem to be solved. The central character is often a cynical, ‘tough guy’ type private eye or, or maybe even a criminal. Someone who has seen it all and is not surprised by the bad things that people do to one another. Hardboiled mysteries feature protagonists who confront violence on a regular basis, which leads to burnout and cynicism. Think Sam Spade or Travis McGee.

4) The Police Procedural – These stories focus on the police themselves and the procedures they go through to solve crimes.… Read more

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Review: Rasputin’s Shadow by Raymond Khoury

Rasputin's Shadow Book Cover Rasputin’s Shadow
Raymond Khoury
Thriller
October 8th
416

RASPUTIN’S SHADOW is a well written and exciting thriller that takes the reader through two different story lines. One takes place in the present time, and one takes place during the time of Rasputin.

The current storyline takes place through the eyes of FBI Agent Sean Rielly as he and his partner investigate the death of a Russian diplomat who plunges to his death from a fourth floor window of an apartment building in New York. The apartment is empty, and the search begins for it’s occupants, a retired teacher from Russia and his wife.

Rielly and his partner, Nick Aparo, are joined in the search by Russian Federal Security Service agent Larisa Tchoumitcheva. Both sides are working towards to goal of finding the retired teacher, but for different purposes.

The historical storyline of the book begins during the rise to power of Grigori Rasputin in the early 1900s, and his associate, who happens to be the grandfather of the retired teacher who has gone missing.

The two storylines are exciting in their own right and help to increase tension throughout the book.

For readers of any of Mr. Khoury’s previous Sean Rielly books there is a third story line in the book that continues from previous books.  That story line is completely explained for new readers and is deftly handled by the author.  New readers to Mr. Khoury’s work will enjoy reading this as a stand-alone thriller.

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