Saturday, January 28, 2023

Revue of Reviewers: 1-28-23

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.













Should I Start Packing Yet?

OK, now I’ve gone and done it—registered for Bouchercon 2023, that is. It’s been seven years since I last attended one of these crime-fiction conventions, which took place then in New Orleans. The intervening period​ has seen the outbreak of COVID-19, the unfortunate cancellation of so many such assemblies (or, just as bad, their unsatisfying transference to Zoom), and my declining interest in attending very large business or social gatherings.

I had been all prepared to pass on this year’s Bouchercon, which is to be held in San Diego, California, from August 30 to September 3. But several back-to-back inquires from author friends such as Mark Coggins and Art Taylor made me think twice. Although I’ve made multiple trips to Los Angeles, only one time did I visit (briefly) San Diego, back when I was in college, on my way one summer to Tijuana, Mexico. My curiosity about it, though, had been piqued during the research I undertook for a CrimeReads piece about David Janssen’s Harry O TV series, which was originally set in that Pacific Coast city. Stories about the favorable architectural development of downtown San Diego have also crossed my radar in recent years. As I mused on the idea of attending this year’s Bouchercon, I figured, Why not? It helped that my wife has also voiced an interest in traveling there.

So now I’m committed. Hotel reservations have been made, and flight arrangements are in the works. My name already appears on the lengthy list of registered convention attendees. I am looking forward to reconnecting with some people I haven’t seen in years, and—despite my inclination toward introversion—possibly encountering a few new ones worth knowing. If nothing else, I know there will be plenty of free new books to be had there. I’ll just have to restrain myself.

Only 213 more days to go. Yikes!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Aiming for Agatha Admiration

We’re still three months away from the start of this year’s Malice Domestic conference in Maryland (April 28-30), but organizers of that event have already announced their nominees for the 2023 Agatha Awards, in six categories.

Best Contemporary Novel:
Bayou Book Thief, by Ellen Byron (Berkley Prime Crime)
Death by Bubble Tea, by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley)
Fatal Reunion, by Annette Dashofy (Level Best)
Dead Man’s Leap, by Tina de Bellegarde (Level Best)
A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

Best Historical Novel:
The Counterfeit Wife, by Mally Becker (Level Best)
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, by Amanda Flower (Berkley)
The Lindbergh Nanny, by Mariah Fredericks (Minotaur)
In Place of Fear, by Catriona McPherson (Mobius)
Under a Veiled Moon, by Karen Odden (Crooked Lane)

Best First Novel:
Cheddar Off Dead, by Korina Moss (St. Martin’s Press)
Death in the Aegean, by M.A. Monnin (Level Best)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, by Harini Nagendra (Constable)
Devil’s Chew Toy, by Rob Osler (Crooked Lane)
The Finalist, by Joan Long (Level Best)
The Gallery of Beauties, by Nina Wachsman (Level Best)

Best Short Story:
“Beauty and the Beyotch,” by Barb Goffman (Sherlock Holmes Magazine, February 2022)
“There Comes a Time,” by Cynthia Kuhn (from Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Diabolical, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen,
and Shawn Reilly Simmons; Wildside Press)
“Fly Me to the Morgue,” by Lisa Q Mathews (from Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Diabolical)
“The Minnesota Twins Meet Bigfoot,” by Richie Narvaez (from Land of 10,000 Thrills, Bouchercon Anthology 2022, edited by Greg
Herren; Down & Out)
“The Invisible Band,” by Art Taylor (from Edgar & Shamus Go Golden, edited by Gay Toltl Kinman and Andrew McAleer; Down & Out)

Best Non-fiction:
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins)
The Handbook to Agatha Christie: The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, by Mary Anna Evans and J.C. Bernthal
(Bloomsbury Academic)
The Science of Murder: The Forensics of Agatha Christie,
by Carla Valentine (Sourcebooks)
Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction, edited by Diane Vallere (Sisters in Crime)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Crime)

Best Children’s/YA Mystery:
Daybreak on Raven Island, by Fleur Bradley (Viking Books for
Young People)
In Myrtle Peril, by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
#shedeservedit, by Greg Herren (Bold Strokes)
Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer, by Frances
Schoonmaker (Auctus)
Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade, by Nancy Springer (Wednesday)

These prizes will be presented during a special Malice Domestic event on Saturday, April 29. Congratulations to all of the contenders!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Just a Few Things on Our Radar

• Although there’s no word yet on when the 10-episode second season of Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer will debut, we do now know—thanks to Deadline—about three actors who’ve won recurring roles. Lana Parrilla (Why Women Kill, Once Upon a Time) will play “a beloved chef and community advocate struggling to keep her restaurant afloat as a predatory real estate developer threatens the neighborhood around her.” Yaya DaCosta (Chicago Med, Our Kind of People) “will portray Andrea Freemann, a cut-throat prosecutor and Mickey Haller’s (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) undefeated courtroom rival, who is also a friend of his ex-wife Maggie (Neve Campbell).” And Matt Angel (Dave) is set to play Henry Dahl, “a cosmopolitan erudite with a hipster haircut and clothes. He is the host of a successful true crime podcast that acts the role of a good Samaritan. Distrustful of Henry’s motives, Mickey … warns him not to interfere with an ongoing case.” The sophomore season of The Lincoln Lawyer is said to be based on Michael Connelly’s 2011 novel The Fifth Witness.

• Mystery Fanfare draws our attention to a couple of British crime dramas set to debut soon in the United States. Season 12 of Vera, the series starring Brenda Blethyn and based on Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope mysteries, will show up this coming Sunday, January 29, on the BritBox streaming channel. Meanwhile, watch for the freshman season of DI Ray, a procedural starring Parminder Nagar as Detective Inspector Rachita Ray of the fictitious Birmingham, England, police force. (Birmingham actually falls under the purview of the West Midlands Police.) DI Ray’s four episodes will be available to those who subscribe to the PBS Passport on-demand service beginning on February 20, with the series’ PBS Masterpiece broadcast premiere coming on July 9. The Killing Times reports that DI Ray has already been renewed for a second season in the UK.

• Shots’ Mike Stotter charts the 20 most popular British TV detective shows, starting with Line of Duty and Unforgotten.

• Max Allan Collins’ latest blog post contains a fine half-hour interview he did with Titan editor Andrew Sumner about his 18th Nate Heller novel, The Big Bundle (Hard Case Crime), released this week.

• Peter May gives us the background on his own brand-new novel, a standalone titled A Winter’s Grave, in this piece for Shots.

• Moscow-born author Katja Ivar chats with Crime Fiction Lover’s Garrick Webster on the subject of her writing career and her third Cold War-era-set Hella Mauzer thriller, Trouble (Bitter Lemon Press), now on sale in Great Britain and due out in the States on February 21.

• And one more superior exchange to mention: Speaking of Mysteries host Nancie Clare’s discussion with debut crime novelist Iris Yamashita about the latter’s City Under One Roof (Berkley), a claustrophobic, Alaska-backdropped tale that Publishers Weekly says “heralds the arrival of a major new talent.”

• We’re going to be seeing less of Sarah Weinman in The New York Times. The January edition of her newsletter, The Crime Lady, includes mention of her “Crime & Mystery” column (which she took over from longtime critic Marilyn Stasio in early 2021) shifting from twice-a-month appearance to only monthly publication. “There are many reasons for this change,” she explains, “including scheduling and print space and making sure all the genre columns get equal play. But from my standpoint, it turns out reviewing eight books a month is hard! And having experienced column burnout in the past, I did not want it to repeat itself. A more sustainable schedule also means more time for other projects, some of which are already in the works.”

• What relationship is there between author John le Carré and serial-lying Republican U.S. congressman George Santos? From Vox:
Sean Wilentz, a Bancroft Prize-winning historian at Princeton University, told Vox that Santos was more a character out of American literature than American history, citing Herman Melville’s The Confidence-Man. “This is nothing that a historian can be much help on,” he said. “There is no example like it.” It’s not that Santos was an entirely foreign object—the huckster is an American archetype, and nothing is more clichéd than a dishonest politician. As Wilentz put it, he’s “made of materials that one can identify.” But that such a shadowy figure and compulsive liar wound up on Capitol Hill is still remarkable. “Embellishing happens a fair amount that a lot of people get away with,” Wilentz said. “This is a different order because this is a made-up life.”

He noted that “it’s one thing to be Marjorie Taylor Greene and making up all of this crazy stuff, and here you just have a cipher.” Using another literary reference, Wilentz compared Santos to the “kind of nothing man that drips all through the novels” of John le Carré.
• There were plenty of “Best Crime Fiction of 2022” lists pouring in at the end of last year, but that doesn’t mean everyone had their say. Kevin Tipple, of Kevin’s Corner fame, today delivered a rundown of his 10 favorites in the blog Lesa’s Book Critiques. They include Rick Helms’ A Kind and Savage Place, Claire Booth’s Dangerous Consequences, Lee Goldberg’s Movieland, Terry Shames’s Murder at the Jubilee Rally, and Laurie Loewenstein’s Funeral Train.

If only I could be in Britain on March 4 for Mystery Fest

• There was an intriguing, if passing, mention in The New York Timesobituary of veteran TV news correspondent Bernard Kalb earlier this month, having to do with his early journalism experience: “After graduating from the City College of New York in 1942, Mr. Kalb spent two years in the Army, mostly working on a newspaper published out of a Quonset hut in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. His editor was Sgt. Dashiell Hammett, the author of the detective novels ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘The Thin Man.’” More on The Adakian, that daily mimeographed paper Hammett created for the Adak Army Air Base, can be found here. (Hat tip to Mark Coggins.)

• For CrimeReads, Zack Budryk looks back at how the “rampant corruption and incompetency” of U.S. president Warren G. Harding’s 1920s administration “pave[d] the way for a new century of politics.”

• Other recent CrimeReads pieces I’ve enjoyed include this one by Mark Ellis (Dead in the Water), asking whether historical accuracy actually matters in historical fiction; this other one, by Janice Hallett (The Twyford Code), focused on crime yarns featuring “recently released or escaped prisoners”; Samuel Martin’s exploration of what he calls “North Atlantic noir”; and Elizabeth Held’s contemplation of why teenage detectives remain so appealing.

• Devoted Rockford Files fan Jim Suza tells the story of how “several hundred film images” from the photo shoot for that 1970s series’ memorable opening title sequence were lost, almost trashed, and eventually found their way into his possession.

• Finally, if the new Netflix historical film The Pale Blue Eye has left you curious to learn the facts about Edgar Allan Poe’s short, self-sabotaged career at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, click over to this piece from The Washington Post.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Bullet Points: It’s International Sweatpants Day!

Of course, every day is Sweatpants Day at Rap Sheet headquarters, thanks to COVID-19 and the consequent decline that pandemic caused in dress codes hereabouts. However, the cheeky political blog Wonkette informs me that International Sweatpants Day is actually a thing, celebrated every January 21 to draw attention to the soft bottoms that have now been part of our wardrobe since the 1920s.

Knowing that just makes you want to snuggle in and read news tidbits from the world of crime fiction, right? We’ve got you covered.

• Shock! Among the longlisted nominees for this year’s PEN America Literary Awards is a crime thriller: Shutter, by Native American writer Ramona Emerson, released last August by Soho Crime. Shutter is vying for both the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. PEN finalists will be announced in February, with the prizes to be give out on March 2.

• In Reference to Murder brings word that independent British publisher Joffe Books has “announced the shortlist for the Joffe Books Prize for Crime Writers of Colour 2022. This year’s pool of entries covered the gamut of gritty police procedurals to wrenching domestic suspense, evocative historical mysteries to page-turning cosies. Out of the longlist of twenty, five stood out, forming the official shortlist: The Labelled Bones by F.Q. Yeoh; Everyone Is Going to Know by Kingsley Pearson; The Smiling Mandarin by Mai Le Dinh; Red Obsession by Rose Lorimer; and Savage Territory by Sam Genever.” A winner is to be declared sometime this month.

From that same source come the recipients of this year’s Deutscher Krimi Preis, which Wikipedia says is “the oldest and most prestigious German literary prize for crime fiction.”

• Finally, the alternative history thriller Widowland, by C.J. Carey (aka Jane Thynne, the widow of Philip Kerr), is one of six finalists for the 2023 Philip K. Dick Award. That commendation is presented annually for “distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year.” New York Journal of Books describes Widowland as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets Fatherland,” a dystopian page-turner that “sound[s] alarm bells about how totalitarian regimes gradually come to power, oppressing and terrifying people forced to live in countries ruled by deranged dictators.” I enjoyed Carey/Thynne’s book immensely, and went on to order the UK hardcover edition of its follow-up, 2022’s Queen High (which is set for paperback publication in the States this coming July as Queen Wallis). Whether it can capture the Dick Award, though, is uncertain. It’s up against some stiff competition, including Rich Larson’s Ymir and Rachel Swirsky’s January Fifteenth. The winning title is to be revealed on April 7.

Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” column for January includes his remarks on Jimmy Sangster’s vintage spy novels, James Kestrel’s Five Decembers (“a wonderfully epic thriller spanning the years of WWII in the Pacific”), the Penguin Modern Classics reissuing of three Eric Ambler thrillers, and new or forthcoming works by David Brierley, C.J. Tudor, Chris Hammer, Natalie Marlow, and others.

• Why had I never heard of this 1984 film version of A Flash of Green, John D. MacDonald’s 1962 standalone novel of the same name? The story follows a small-town Florida newspaper reporter (played by Ed Harris), who finds himself conflicted over an ecological group’s efforts to stop a local real-estate development and the corrupt county commissioner supporting it. Radiator Heaven says, “A Flash of Green might be the most low-key crusading journalist film ever made.”

• Like so many other people, I have spent way too many hours recently avoiding inclement conditions outside, instead hunkering down in front of my television. This has given me the opportunity to catch up with several small-screen projects about which I had heard favorable things. Three Pines, for instance, a flawed but engaging Amazon Prime mini-series based on Louise Perry’s Inspector Armand Gamache yarns. And The Pale Blue Eye, Netflix’s grim but captivating interpretation of Louise Bayard’s 2006 historical mystery, starring Christian Bale as a retired New York City police constable called out to solve murders at the West Point Military Academy, and Henry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe, the eccentric cadet recruited to help him. Also included in my viewing: Karen Pirie, an excellent three-part BritBox crime drama based on Val McDermid’s 2003 novel, The Distant Echo, and starring Lauren Lyle as a young police sergeant in St. Andrews, Scotland, charged with re-examining the cold case murder of a barmaid. (Enjoy a preview here.) With that watched, I have now moved on to Sherwood, a tense and much-acclaimed, six-part thriller about bow-and-arrow killings in a mining village in Nottinghamshire, England. Plenty of familiar faces appear in this show, notably those of David Morrisey (Thorne, The Walking Dead), Lesley Manville (Magpie Murders), Kevin Doyle and Joanne Froggatt (both from Downton Abbey), Andrea Lowe (formerly of DCI Banks), and Clare Holman (Inspector Lewis).

• Still to come: Poker Face, a mystery comedy-drama starring Natasha Lyonne, created by Knives Out director Rian Johnson and slated to debut this coming January 26 on the TV streaming service Peacock. I haven’t seen anything more of this program than its trailer, but others have compared Poker Face with Peter Falk’s Columbo, The Columbophile blog going so far as to say, “it could be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a reboot” of that NBC Mystery Movie series.

Marlowe, the film starring Liam Neeson as Raymond Chandler’s iconic Los Angeles private eye, Philip Marlowe, won’t premiere until February 15, but already it’s being criticized as overlit and shallow, with too much emphasis on action set pieces and too old a star (Neeson turned 70 last year). I’ll withhold judgment until I see it for myself. The film was written by William Monahan, based on Benjamin Black’s 2014 Chandler pastiche, The Black-Eyed Blonde. Here’s part of my long-ago CrimeReads synopsis of that story:
Irishman John Banville, under his mystery-writing Black pseudonym, delivers us back to sun-flogged L.A. in the early 1950s, where we witness Marlowe accepting a case from curvaceous young perfume heiress Clare Cavendish. She says her paramour, Nico Peterson, a Hollywood talent agent short on talent and long on caddish impulses, vanished two months ago. She wants him back. Marlowe is skeptical, and with good reason: He learns Nico didn’t simply drop out of sight—he was the victim of a hit-and-run accident outside Pacific Palisades’s ritzy Cahuilla Club. So why, Clare counters, did she recently spot him in San Francisco? And whose corpse had been misidentified as Nico’s? Marlowe spars with cops, crooks, and club managers alike, but seems to be getting nowhere. It looks as if he’ll finally catch a break when he tracks down Nico’s sister; but she’s promptly kidnapped, and subsequently brutalized. Banville captures the bleakness, sardonic dialogue, periodic pummelings, and bent toward clever observations over tight plotting that marked Chandler’s storytelling. Although his witticisms pale beside the master’s (“The house wasn’t all that big, if you consider Buckingham Palace a modest little abode”), Banville does give us Marlowe in all his weary, determinedly hopeful, gumshoe-Galahad glory.
The film’s time period has been moved back to 1939, perhaps to recapture the allure of Chandler’s original tales. In addition to Neeson, Marlowe (not to be confused with James Garner’s 1969 picture of that same title) stars Diane Kruger, Jessica Lange, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Colm Meaney. A trailer is embedded below.



• To help celebrate this year’s “70th anniversary of ... internationally famous MI6 spy James Bond 007,” comic-book publisher Dynamite Entertainment will release a new series, 007: For King and Country, by writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Giorgio Spalletta.

• I’m looking forward to a couple of Library of America releases, Five Classic Thrillers 1961–1964 and Four Classic Thrillers 1964–1969, both due out in hardcover in September. Fredric Brown, Margaret Millar, Chester Himes, and Dan J. Marlowe are among the authors whose work will be showcased in these volumes.

• Have you ever wanted to own the Lotus Elan Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) drove in the 1960s TV spy series The Avengers? Well, now’s your chance! British auto specialist Silverstone Auctions will offer that Opalescent Blue sports car in a live auction on February 25. Just be sure you have £80,000 to £120,000 on hand to begin bidding.

• And conspiracy theories have become so ubiquitous and nutty in this modern era, it’s hard anymore to be amazed at their ridiculousness. But the contention, spread by flat-earthers, that the continent of Australia is nothing but a hoax, “a cover-up for one of the greatest mass murders in history”? Where does one even start debunking that notion? I’ve been to Australia; I spent most of a month there and drove halfway across its northern reaches. To say that the continent doesn’t exist is straight out of crazyville!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Killer Covers Hosts Juvies and Jailbat

The Rap Sheet’s younger sister blog, Killer Covers, celebrates its 14th birthday today, placing it firmly in adolescence. To celebrate, I’ve created a gallery of 50-odd paperback fronts with a juvenile-delinquent theme—very popular among authors and publishers of the mid-20th century, who seemed to think the worst about teenagers.

Click here to enjoy the full assortment of images.

The Edgars Elite

Mystery Writers of America (MWA) today announced the nominees for its 2023 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, “honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2022.”

Best Novel:
Devil House, by John Darnielle (MCD)
Like a Sister, by Kellye Garrett (Mulholland)
Gangland, by Chuck Hogan (Grand Central)
The Devil Takes You Home, by Gabino Iglesias (Mulholland)
Notes on an Execution, by Danya Kukafka (Morrow)
The Maid, by Nita Prose (Ballantine)

Best First Novel by an American Author:
Jackal, by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)
Don’t Know Tough, by Eli Cranor (Soho Crime)
Shutter, by Ramona Emerson (Soho Crime)
More Than You’ll Ever Know, by Katie Gutierrez (Morrow)
Portrait of a Thief, by Grace D. Li (Tiny Reparations)

Best Paperback Original:
Quarry’s Blood, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
On a Quiet Street, by Seraphina Nova Glass (Graydon House
Or Else, by Joe Hart (Thomas & Mercer)
Cleopatra’s Dagger, by Carole Lawrence (Thomas & Mercer)
A Familiar Stranger, by A.R. Torre (Thomas & Mercer)

Best Fact Crime:
Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls, by Kathleen Hale (Grove Press)
Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation, by Erika Krouse (Flatiron)
Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, by Kathryn Miles (Algonquin)
American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, D.C., by Shahan Mufti (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur)

Best Critical/Biographical:
The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators, by Martin Edwards (Collins Crime Club)
The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, by Mary Anna Evans and J.C. Bernthal (Bloomsbury Academic)
The Crime World of Michael Connelly: A Study of His Works and Their Adaptations, by David Geherin (McFarland)
The Woman Beyond the Attic: The V.C. Andrews Story, by Andrew Neiderman (Gallery)
Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman, by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Crime)

Best Short Story:
“Red Flag,” by Gregory Fallis (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine [AHMM], March/April)
“Backstory,” by Charles John Harper (AHMM, January/February)
“Locked-In,” by William Burton McCormick (AHMM, January/February)
“The Amnesty Box,” by Tim McLoughlin (from Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, by Tim McLoughlin; Akashic Press)
“First You Dream, Then You Die,” by Donna Moore (from Black Is the Night, edited by Maxim Jakubowski; Titan)

Best Juvenile:
The Swallowtail Legacy: Wreck at Ada’s Reef. by Michael D. Beil (Pixel+Ink)
The Area 51 Files, by Julie Buxbaum (Delacorte Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Seaside Corpse, by Marthe Jocelyn (Tundra)
Adventures on Trains: Murder on the Safari Star, by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman (Feiwel & Friends)
Chester Keene Cracks the Code, by Kekla Magoon (Wendy Lamb)

Best Young Adult:
Pretty Dead Queens, by Alexa Donne (Crown Books for Young Readers)
Frightmares, by Eva V. Gibson (Underlined)
The Black Girls Left Standing, by Juliana Goodman (Feiwel & Friends)
The Red Palace, by June Hur (Feiwel & Friends)
Lock the Doors, by Vincent Ralph (Sourcebooks Fire)

Best Television Episode Teleplay:
“One Mighty and Strong,” Under the Banner of Heaven, written by Brandon Boyce (Hulu/FX)
“Episode 1,” Magpie Murders, written by Anthony Horowitz (Masterpiece/PBS)
“Episode 1,” Karen Pirie, written by Emer Kenny (BritBox)
“When Harry Met Fergus,” Harry Wild, written by David Logan (Acorn TV)
“The Reagan Way,” Blue Bloods, written by Siobhan Byrne O’Connor (CBS)
“Eighteen Wheels a Predator,” Law & Order: SVU, written by Brianna Yellen and Monet Hurst-Mendoza (NBC Universal)

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award:
“Dogs in the Canyon,” by Mark Harrison (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, September/October)

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award:
Because I Could Not Stop for Death, by Amanda Flower (Berkley)
The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Disinvited Guest, by Carol Goodman (Morrow)
A Dreadful Splendor, by B.R. Myers (Morrow)
Never Name the Dead, by D.M. Rowell (Crooked Lane)

The G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award:
Secret Lives, by Mark de Castrique (Poisoned Pen Press)
An Unforgiving Place, by Claire Kells (Crooked Lane)
Hideout, by Louisa Luna (Doubleday)
Behind the Lie, by Emilya Naymark (Crooked Lane)
Secrets Typed in Blood, by Stephen Spotswood (Doubleday)

The Lilian Jackson Braun Memorial Award:
The Shadow of Memory, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane)
Buried in a Good Book, by Tamara Berry (Poisoned Pen Press)
Smile Beach Murder, by Alicia Bessette (Berkley)
Desert Getaway, by Michael Craft (Brash)
The Marlow Murder Club, by Robert Thorogood (Poisoned Pen Press)

SPECIAL AWARDS

MWA Grand Master:
Michael Connelly
Joanne Fluke

Raven Award:
Crime Writers of Color
Eddie Muller for Noir Alley and The Noir Foundation

Ellery Queen Award:
The Strand Magazine

Winners will be announced during the 77th annual Edgar Awards presentation, which is to be held on April 27 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

PaperBack: “The Perfect Victim”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.



The Perfect Victim, by James McKimmey (Dell, 1957).
Cover illustration by Robert K. Abbett.

First “Magpie,” Now “Moonflower”

At the same time as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) closes a deal to show last year’s acclaimed PBS-TV Masterpiece mini-series, Magpie Murders—based on Anthony Horowitz’s best-selling mystery novel of that same name—to audiences across Great Britain, the two networks have also announced they’ll be co-producing an adaptation of Magpie’s 2020 sequel, Moonflower Murders.

A PBS press release quotes Horowitz as saying, “I can’t wait to get started on the scripts of Moonflower Murders. We had a fantastic response to Magpie and, speaking personally, it was a joy bringing Susan Ryeland and Atticus Pünd to life on the screen. There are lots of surprises in the second book, including something I’ve never done before in a murder mystery. It’s going to be great fun.”

Horowitz previously wrote the screenplay for the six-part Magpie TV presentation. Actress Lesley Manville it set to return in Moonflower as editor/sleuth Susan Ryeland, while Timothy McMullan has signed on to reprise his role as famous literary detective Atticus Pünd.

You may recall, I had my doubts about Manville portraying Susan Ryeland, since she is quite a bit older than the character Horowitz described in print. However, she did a splendid job of it, and I expect she’ll be able to recapture the self-doubting depths of that character again in the sequel. (It should be noted that Manville has already had some experience with Moonflower: She read the book for the award-nominated Penguin Random House Audio version.) McMullan, who replaced Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech, Mr. Turner) as half-Greek, half-German detective Pünd, seemed made for that part, too, coming off as restrained but not lacking in self-confidence. I didn’t enjoy the book Moonflower Murders quite as much as I did its predecessor, but there’s every chance I shall think better of the small-screen translation, with Horowitz taking the helm.

The filming of Moonflower Murders should begin later this year.

The Leftys Lineup

Organizers of Left Coast Crime today announced their nominees for the 2023 Lefty Awards. Those prizes will be handed out during this year’s convention, which is to be held in Tucson, Arizona, from March 16 to 19. There are four categories of contestants.

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel:
Bayou Book Thief, by Ellen Byron (Berkley Prime Crime)
Death by Bubble Tea, by Jennifer J. Chow (Berkley Prime Crime)
Five Moves of Doom, by A.J. Devlin (NeWest Press)
A Streetcar Named Murder, by T.G. Herren (Crooked Lane)
Scot in a Trap, by Catriona McPherson (Severn House)

Bill Gottfried Memorial Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (books set before 1970):
A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder, by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
In Place of Fear, by Catriona McPherson (Severn House)
Anywhere You Run, by Wanda M. Morris (Morrow)
Under a Veiled Moon, by Karen Odden (Crooked Lane)
The Secret in the Wall, by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
Framed in Fire, by Iona Whishaw (Touchwood)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel:
Jackal, by Erin E. Adams (Bantam)
Don’t Know Tough, by Eli Cranor (Soho Crime)
Shutter, by Ramona Emerson (Soho Crime)
Other People’s Secrets, by Meredith Hambrock (Crooked Lane)
The Bangalore Detectives Club, by Harini Nagendra (Pegasus Crime)
Devil’s Chew Toy, by Rob Osler (Crooked Lane)
The Verifiers, by Jane Pek (Vintage)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories):
Like a Sister, by Kellye Garrett (Mulholland)
Back to the Garden, by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
Dead Drop, by James L’Etoile (Level Best)
Under Lock & Skeleton Key, by Gigi Pandian (Minotaur)
A World of Curiosities, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Secret Identity, by Alex Segura (Flatiron)

Convention attendees will vote on which books and authors should receive these coveted commendations. The winners will be announced during an awards banquet on Saturday, March 18. If you have not already registered for Left Coast Crime 2023, but are hoping to do so, click here to learn all of the specifics.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Revue of Reviewers: 1-16-23

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.













Sunday, January 15, 2023

When Agents Fade

Bill Koenig, managing editor of The Spy Command, identifies January 15, 1968—55 years ago today—as the beginning of the end for television’s 1960s spy craze. That was the date NBC cancelled The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which had helped kick off such “spymania,” followed by subsequent shows such as I Spy and The Wild Wild West.

Tudor Tales Coming to TV

Let’s balance out that last item with some potentially fantastic news: Deadline reports that “Disney+ is ready to give the greenlight to an adaptation of C.J. Sansom’s bestselling Shardlake novels, depicting an unlikely detective working under Henry VIII’s reign.”

As most readers of this page probably know, British solicitor-turned-author Sansom has spent much of the last 20 years concocting mystery yarns (some of them quite hefty) around a hunchbacked 16th-century lawyer named Matthew Shardlake. The character was introduced in 2003’s Dissolution, and in 2018 the series added its seventh installment, Tombland. An eighth book, Ratcliff, was once rumored to be due out at the end of 2022, but more recent suggestions are that it will appear, instead, sometime later this year.

Deadline goes on to say that Disney+’s Shardlake “will shoot in the UK this year and sources said it could comprise four episodes.”

(Hat tip to In Reference to Murder.)

Sleuth’s Sedate Shuttering

Rap Sheet contributor Kevin Burton Smith alerts me to the sad news that Toronto, Ontario’s “mighty Sleuth of Baker Street, one of the world’s great mystery bookstores, is closing.” As Marian Misters and J.D. Singh, who assumed ownership of that business in 1982, explain in the latest (and last) edition of their store newsletter,
Forty years of owing and running Sleuth has been forty years of great fun and, fortunately, the bookstore has done well enough to allow us a comfortable retirement. We are also very much aware that it’s thanks to the thousands of our loyal customers, over all these decades, who have supported us so generously that we can consider this next chapter. That our decision to close will not go over well with some of you, is something else we’re very much aware of. Spending forty years doing something we love has been a great pleasure, but the time has come for other things.
The pair make clear that they’re flexible as to when exactly they’ll shut the doors of their beloved shop for good. “We’ll stop ordering new releases and stop re-stocking backlist. Essentially, we will now work towards disposing of the inventory and, sooner or later, proceed to put the building up for sale. While we’re around, we’ll continue taking special orders for any book you might want. Feel free to ask and we’ll get it. This’ll give you a chance to use up whatever gift certificates or account credits that you might have. Of course, we’ll issue refunds for any unused balances if you’d rather.”

I’m sorry now that I never had the opportunity to visit Sleuth of Baker Street at one of its evolving locations. It sounds like it provide a wonderful, warm, and understanding environment for all who entered there. Bill Selnes, who writes the Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan blog, and has long been a regular patron of the shop, once wrote: “Walking into Sleuth is to enter a mystery lovers’ paradise. Floor displays, table displays and four walls are filled with books. Around the counter J.D. and/or Marian welcome all customers. For many years joining the greeting were the cats with Paddington the last of the group. A dog, Percy, has replaced the cats. It is a special place. When I enter the store my body relaxes and I am at home.”

I offer Misters and Singh my best wishes for their retirement—whenever it may finally begin.

READ MORE:Marian Misters, Bookseller and Award Winner,” by Bill Selnes (Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan).

Thursday, January 12, 2023

A New Year, a New Torrent of Titles



Here in Seattle, we haven’t been experiencing much of the cold that has socked—and socked in—other parts of the country this winter. Yes, we did have to deal with snow and icy conditions around Christmas, but since then the temperatures have been confined to the mid-40s and low 50s, with periods of rain (of course, this being the Pacific Northwest). That’s better than the weather in, say, Missoula, Montana (37 degrees today), or Minneapolis (even chiller at 25!).

This general dearth of gelidity, however, hasn’t stopped local bibliophiles from locating comfortable retreats where they might wait out the darkness of the season. Coffee shops are seeing a boom in business, and the bulbs in living room lamps are under strain as residents snuggle up in armchairs for hours, paging through their latest book acquisitions. Not without reason has Seattle found a place among the most well-read cities in America. Winter is only one of many excuses we use to ditch other responsibilities and seek delight in the written word. (Summer heat is no less useful in that regard.)

It’s a good thing that there are so many fresh releases waiting to entertain us. Over the last month, I have put together a list of more than 425 books—scheduled for publication between now and April Fool’s Day, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean—that I believe will be of particular interest to fans of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. They include new novels by Janice Hallett, Walter Mosley, Louise Candlish, Arnaldur Indridason, Cara Black, Kwei Quartey, Laura Joh Rowland, the late Peter Robinson, and even Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, the scandalized Duchess of York (who could forget her infamous topless-and-toe-sucking incident?).

Australian author Jane Harper is due out soon with Exiles, her third mystery featuring federal investigator Aaron Falk. The English translation of Swedish writer Niklas Natt och Dag’s The City Between the Bridges: 1794, a sequel to his grim but extraordinary The Wolf and the Watchman, is coming in late February. And Jacqueline Winspear has a World War II-backdropped standalone thriller, The White Lady, set to reach bookshops near the end of March. Also keep your eyes peeled for The Cliff’s Edge, the last Bess Crawford historical mystery Charles Todd was able to write with his mother, Caroline, before her death; a near-future climate-catastrophe gripper by Peter May titled A Winter Grave; a psychological thriller called Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton, who captured the 2013 Booker Prize for The Luminaries; Simon Mason’s The Broken Afternoon, his second outing for dissimilar Oxford detectives Ryan and Ray Wilkins (following last year’s A Killing in November); William Kotzwinkle’s Bloody Martini, his follow-up to 2021’s Felonious Monk; a surprising yarn, Natalie Marlow’s Needless Alley, set in 1930s Birmingham, England, and starring a gumshoe specializing (much to his disgust) in divorce work, who falls hard for the wife of a client—“a leading fascist with a dangerous obsession”; Simon Scarrow’s Dead of Night, which finds Criminal Inspector Horst Schenke (Blackout) untangling the puzzle of a seemingly innocuous doctor slain in wartime Berlin; Expectant, New Zealand author Vanda Symon’s story about a pregnant and deskbound police detective searching for links between the brutal slaying of another woman with child and a succession of past crimes involving mothers and their offspring; Andrew Taylor’s The Shadows of London, presenting his sixth case for part-time Restoration-era British snoops James Marwood and Cat Hakesby; and Red Queen, by Spaniard Juan Gómez-Jurado, which imagines a disgraced police officer in Bilbao trying to convince a brilliant but traumatized amateur sleuth to help him solve “a macabre, ritualistic murder.” In addition, Jeri Westerson’s Courting Dragons introduces a king’s jester in Tudor England who’s no fool when it comes to crime solving. And Edgar Award winner Art Taylor has a new collection of short fiction, The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions, being readied for publication in the middle of next month.

That’s only a taste of the deluge of original works to expect over these next three months. We can anticipate, too, the reprinting of classics by Stuart Palmer, Eric Ambler, John Dickson Carr, Vincent Starrett, and others. Among the non-fiction releases I look forward to seeing are Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction, Max Allan Collins and James L. Traylor’s “first ever” biography of “the most popular and most influential pulp writer of all time”; A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe, by Mark Dawidziak (best known for his 1989 TV retrospective, The Columbo Phile: A Casebook); Steven Powell’s Love Me Fierce In Danger: The Life of James Ellroy; and Alan Prendergast’s “gripping” Gangbuster: One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan.

There is a little something here for everyone, I hope.

Following a format I’ve used with previous quarterly rolls, books marked below with an asterisk (*) are non-fiction, while the remainder are either novels or collections of short stories.

JANUARY (U.S.):
The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions, by Arr Taylor (Crippen & Landru)
Age of Vice, by Deepti Kapoor (Riverhead)
All the Dangerous Things, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)
Bad Cree, by Jessica Johns (Doubleday)
The Bandit Queens, by Parini Shroff (Ballantine)
Better the Blood, by Michael Bennett (Atlantic Monthly Press)
The Big Bundle, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
The Blackhouse, by Carole Johnstone (Scribner)
Blaze Me a Sun, by Christoffer Carlsson (Hogarth)
The Blow-Up, by James Barry (Brash)
The Blue Bar, by Damyanti Biswas (Thomas & Mercer)
Breaking the Circle, by M.J. Trow (Severn House)
The Bullet Garden, by Stephen Hunter (Atria/Emily Bestler)
City Under One Roof, by Iris Yamashita (Berkley)
Code Name Blue Wren: The True Story of America's Most Dangerous Female Spy―And the Sister She Betrayed, by Jim Popkin
(Hanover Square)*
Code 6, by James Grippando (Harper)
Come Away from Her, by Samuel W. Gailey (Touchpoint Press)
A Courage Undimmed, by Stephanie Graves (Kensington)
Courting Dragons, by Jeri Westerson (Severn House)
Crapped Out, by John Anthony Moccia (Stark House Press)
Dark of Night, by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson)
Dark Rooms, by Lynda La Plante (Zaffre)
The Dark Waves of Winter, edited by David M. Olsen (Kelp)
Death in Heels, by Kitty Murphy (Thomas & Mercer)
Decent People, by De’Shawn Charles Winslow (Bloomsbury)
Devil’s Way, by Robert Bryndza (Raven Street)
The Devil You Know, by P.J. Tracy (Minotaur)
The Disappearance of Mr. Nobody, by Ahmed Taibaoui (Hoopoe)
The Drift, by C.J. Tudor (Ballantine)
Don’t Open the Door, by Allison Brennan (Mira)
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, by Benjamin Stevenson (Mariner)
Everybody Knows, by Jordan Harper (Mulholland)
Exiles, by Jane Harper (Flatiron)
A Fashionable Fatality, by Alyssa Maxwell (Kensington)
The Fear of Winter, by S.C. Sterling
(No Bueno!)
The Final Beat of the Drum, by Sally Spencer (Severn House)
Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun,
by Elle Cosimano (Minotaur)
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Deathly Relics,
by Sam Siciliano (Titan)
The Game Is a Footnote, by Vicki Delany (Crooked Lane)
The General of Tiananmen Square, by Ian Hamilton (Spiderline)
The Generation Killer, by Adam Simcox (Gollancz)
The Girls Are Good, by Ilaria Bernardini (HarperCollins)
The Girls Who Disappeared, by Claire Douglas (Harper)
Going Dark, by Melissa de la Cruz (Union Square)
Greenwich Mean Time, by Reed Bunzel (Coffeetown Press)
The Haunted Hotel: Annotated Edition, by Wilkie Collins
(Alma Classics)
Head Cleaner, by David James Keaton (Polis)
Hidden in the Pines, by Victoria Houston (Crooked Lane)
Hide, by Tracy Clark (Thomas & Mercer)
The House in the Pines, by Ana Reyes (Dutton)
The House of Wolves, by James Patterson and Mike Lupica
(Little, Brown)
How to Sell a Haunted House, by Grady Hendrix (Berkley)
The Hunter, by Jennifer Herrera (Putnam)
Ink, by Angela Woodward (University Press of Kentucky)
Inspector French: Found Floating, by Freeman Wills Crofts
(Collins Crime Club)
Inspector French: The End of Andrew Harrison, by Freeman Wills Crofts (Collins Crime Club)
Irish Coffee Murder, by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross (Kensington Cozies)
Jumping Jenny, by Anthony Berkeley (Poisoned Pen Press)
Just Murdered, by Katherine Kovacic (Poisoned Pen Press)
Just the Nicest Couple, by Mary Kubica (Park Row)
Killer Story, by Matt Witten (Oceanview)
Kiss the Detective, by Élmer Mendoza (Quercus)
The Last Resort, by Michael Kaufman (Crooked Lane)
Liar, Dreamer, Thief, by Maria Dong (Grand Central)
Lie to Her, by Melinda Leigh (Montlake)
Little Follies, by Carolyn Korsmeyer (Black Rose Writing)
Locust Lane, by Stephen Amidon (Celadon)
The Long Way Out, by Michael Wiley (Severn House)
The Master of Mysteries, by Gelett Burgess (Poisoned Pen Press)
Misfire, by Tammy Euliano (Oceanview)
The Mitford Secret, by Jessica Fellowes (Minotaur)
The Motion Picture Teller, by Colin Cotterill (Soho Crime)
Murder at the Royal Albert, by Gerald Elias (Level Best)
Murder Book, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)
Murder Grove, by E.V. Adamson (Scarlet)
My Father’s House, by Joseph O’Connor (Europa Editions)
Night Letter, by Sterling Watson (Akashic)
No One Knows Us Here, by Rebecca Kelley (Lake Union)
Off the Deep End, by Lucinda Berry (Thomas & Mercer)
The Penguin Pool Murder, by Stuart Palmer (American Mystery Classics)
The Pepper Peach Murder, by Meg
Benjamin (Wild Rose)
Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder, by David Bordwell (Columbia University Press)*
Picture in the Sand,
by Peter Blauner (Minotaur)
Playing Games, edited by Lawrence Block (Subterranean Press)
Queen of Thieves, by Beezy Marsh (Morrow)
Reef Road, by Deborah Goodrich Royce (Post Hill Press)
Regrets Only, by Kieran Scott (Gallery)
The Riders Come Out at Night: Brutality, Corruption, and Cover-Up in Oakland, by Ali Winston and Darwin Bondgraham (Atria)*
River of Fallen Angels, by Laura Joh Rowland (Crooked Lane)
The Saint of Thieves, by Dana Haynes (Blackstone)
Scene of the Crime, by Patrick Modiano (Yale University Press)
The Secret of the Lost Pearls, by Darcie Wilde (Kensington)
The Shards, by Bret Easton Ellis (Knopf)
A Shetland Winter Mystery, by Marsali Taylor (Headline Accent)
The Skeleton Key, by Erin Kelly (Mobius)
Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America’s Counterintelligence, by James Bamford (Twelve)*
A Stolen Memory, by David Beckler (Thomas & Mercer)
Tendrils of the Past, by Anthea Fraser (Severn House)
Tenkill, by Shannon Kirk (Polis)
The Thing in the Snow, by Sean Adams (Morrow)
The Things We Do to Our Friends, by Heather Darwent (Bantam)
The 12th Commandment, by Daniel Torday (St. Martin’s Press)
The Twyford Code, by Janice Hallett (Atria)
Undue Influence, by Priscilla Masters (Severn House)
The Villa, by Rachel Hawkins (St. Martin’s Press)
Violent Ends, by Neil Broadfoot (Constable)
Watch Me Disappear, by Ross Armstrong (Mira)
What Lies in the Woods, by Kate Alice Marshall (Flatiron)
A Winter Grave, by Peter May (Quercus)
Winter Swallows, by Maurizio de Giovanni (World Noir)
You Must Remember This, by Kat Rosenfield (Morrow)
You Should Have Told Me, by Leah Konen (Putnam)
You Will Never Be Found, by Tove Alsterdal (Harper)

JANUARY (UK):
All The Blood We Share, by Camilla Bruce (Michael Joseph)
The Askham Accusation, by Rebecca Tope (Allison & Busby)
The Birthday Party, by Laurent Mauvignier (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Blink of an Eye, by Jo Callaghan (Simon & Schuster)
The Body in the Shadows, by Nick Louth (Canelo)
The Branded, by Martina Murphy (Constable)
The Cloisters, by Katy Hays (Bantam Press)
Damascus Station, by David McCloskey (Swift Press)
A Dangerous Business, by Jane Smiley (Abacus)
Dead Man’s Creek, by Chris Hammer (Wildfire)
Death Comes to Dartmoor, by Stephanie Austin (Allison & Busby)
Death Comes to Marlow, by Robert Thorogood (HQ)
Death of an Author, by E.C.R. Lorac (British Library Crime Classics)
Dirt, by Sarah Sultoon (Orenda)
Empathy, by Antoine Renand (Welbeck)
The English Führer, by Rory Clements (Zaffre)
The Family Reunion, by Karen King (Bookouture)
Final Term, by Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
The Girl in the Pink Shoes, by Stacy Green (Bookouture)
Guns, Dames and Private Eyes: The Rivals of Philip Marlowe—Stories from the Golden Age of the American Pulp Magazines, edited by Nick Rennison (No Exit Press)
Hard to Break, by Michael Ledwidge (Headline)
Home, by Cailean Steed (Raven)
The Ideal Man, by T.J. Emerson (Boldwood)
I’ll Never Tell, by Philippa East (HQ)
In at the Kill, by Gerald Seymour
(Hodder & Stoughton)
The Innocent One, by Lisa
Ballantyne (Piatkus)
In Too Deep, by Simon McCleave (Avon)
A Kind of Anger, by Eric Ambler
(Penguin Classics)
The Last Remains, by Elly
Griffiths (Quercus)
The Library Suicides, by Fflur Dafydd (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Light of Day, by Eric Ambler (Penguin Classics)
The Marriage Act, by John Marrs (Macmillan)
Murder at the Bookstore, by Sue Minix (Avon)
My Darkest Prayer, by S.A. Cosby (Headline)
The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, by Janice Hallett (Viper)
Mystery in Santorini, by Vivian Conroy (One More Chapter)
Needless Alley, by Natalie Marlow (Baskerville)
The Neighbour, by Gemma Rogers (Boldwood)
No One Saw It Coming, by Susan Lewis (HarperCollins)
One Down, by Diana Wilkinson (Boldwood)
Only Girl Alive, by Holly S. Roberts (Bookouture)
The Other Guest, by Heidi Perks (Century)
The Other Half, by Charlotte Vassell (Faber and Faber)
Passage of Arms, by Eric Ambler (Penguin Classics)
The Resort, by Sarah Goodwin (Avon)
Resurrection, by David Gilman (Head of Zeus/Aries)
The Second Stranger, by Martin Griffin (Sphere)
She Had It Coming, by Carys Jones (Orion)
Showstopper, by Peter Lovesey (Sphere)
The Simple Truth, by James Buckler (Bantam Press)
Stay Buried, by Kate Webb (Quercus)
Still Standing, by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Weekend Alone, by Jacqueline Grima (HQ)
Welcome to the Game, by Craig Henderson (Grove Press)
What Happened on Floor 34? by Caroline Corcoran (Avon)
White Riot, by Joe Thomas (Arcadia)
The Widowmaker, by Hannah Morrisey (St. Martin’s Press)

FEBRUARY (U.S.):
The Adventure of the Second Wife, by Andrew Finkel (Cornucopia)
Alligator Alley, by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly Press)
The Ambassador, by Peter Colt (Severn House)
The Angel Maker, by Alex North (Celadon)
An Assassin in Utopia: The True Story of a Nineteenth-Century Sex Cult and a President’s Murder, by Susan Wels (Pegasus Crime)*
Before I Sleep, by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Severn House)
Black Wolf, by Kathleen Kent (Mulholland)
Blind Eye, by Aline Templeton (Allison & Busby)
The Blood of Patriots and Traitors, by James A. Scott (Oceanview)
Bloody Martini, by William Kotzwinkle (Blackstone)
The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning, by Joseph Hansen
(Soho Syndicate)
Bright and Deadly Things, by Lexie Elliott (Berkley)
Burner, by Mark Greaney (Berkley)
Chalice of Darkness, by Sarah Rayne (Severn House)
Chance, by Matthew FitzSimmons (Thomas & Mercer)
The City Between the Bridges: 1794, by Niklas Natt och Dag (Atria)
The Cliff’s Edge, by Charles Todd (Morrow)
Cold People, by Tom Rob Smith (Scribner)
The Cruise, by Catherine Cooper (HarperCollins)
The Curse of the Marquis de Sade: A Notorious Scoundrel, a Mythical Manuscript, and the Biggest Scandal in Literary History, by Joel Warner (Crown)*
Deaf Row, by Ron Franscell
(Wildblue Press)
Death of a Dancing Queen, by Kimberly G. Giarratano (Datura)
Death of a Traitor, by M.C. Beaton with R.W. Green (Grand Central)
Dempsey, by Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson (Blackstone)
Device Free Weekend, by Sean Doolittle (Grand Central)
Difficult Lives Hitching Rides, by James Sallis (Soho Syndicate)*
Don’t Fear the Reaper, by Stephen Graham Jones
(Gallery/Saga Press)
Double the Lies, by Patricia Raybon (Tyndale House)
The Dying Season, by Rachel Amphlett (Saxon)
Every Man a King, by Walter Mosley (Mulholland)
Every Missing Girl, by Leanne Kale Sparks (Crooked Lane)
Extreme Vetting, by Roxana Arama (Ooligan Press)
Fence Jumper, by Mark J. Brandenburg (Koehler)
Find Her Alive, by D.S. Butler (Thomas & Mercer)
The Fires, by Sigríður Hagalín Björnsdóttir (Amazon Crossing)
Fools Die on Friday, by Erle Stanley Gardner (Hard Case Crime)
F. Scott Fitzgerald: American Spy, by Murray Sinclair (Eclectic)
The Girl Who Took What She Wanted, by David Handler
(Mysterious Press)
A Good Day to Pie, by Misha Popp (Crooked Lane)
The House Guest, by Hank Philippi Ryan (Forge)
I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)
Inspector French: Fatal Venture, by Freeman Wills Crofts (Collins Crime Club)
Inspector French: Golden Ashes, by Freeman Wills Crofts (Collins Crime Club)
Invitation to a Killer, by G.M. Malliet (Severn House)
It Ends at Midnight, by Harriet Tyce (Sourcebooks Landmark)
It’s One of Us, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
A Killing of Innocents, by Deborah Crombie (Morrow)
The Last Grudge, by Max Seeck (Berkley)
The Last Kingdom, by Steve Berry (Grand Central)
The Last Orphan, by Gregg Hurwitz (Minotaur)
Last Seen in Lapaz, by Kwei Quartey (Soho Crime)
Lay This Body Down, by Charles Fergus (Arcade Crimewise)
Long Way Home, by J.B. Turner (Thomas & Mercer)
Love Me Fierce in Danger: The Life of James Ellroy, by Steven Powell (Bloomsbury Academic)*
Lying Beside You, by Michael Robotham (Scribner)
Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist, by Jennifer Wright (Hachette)*
The Maltese Iguana, by Tim Dorsey (Morrow)
A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe, by Mark Dawidziak (St. Martin’s Press)*
Murder at Haven’s Rock, by Kelley Armstrong (Minotaur)
Murder in Haxford, by Rick Bleiweiss (Blackstone)
Murder Your Employer: The McMaster’s Guide to Homicide, by Rupert Holmes (Avid Reader Press)
Nobody Would Listen: The Collected Mystery Stories of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (Stark House Press)
No Home for Killers, by E.A. Aymar (Thomas & Mercer)
Nothing Is Lost, by Cloé Mehdi (Europa Editions)
Object of Lust, by Charles Runyon (Stark House Press/Black Gat)
Of Manners and Mystery, by Anastasia Hastings (Minotaur)
On the Savage Side, by Tiffany McDaniel (Knopf)
Paris Requiem, by Chris Lloyd (Pegasus Crime)
A Perfect Time for Murder, by N.R. Daws (Thomas & Mercer)
Post After Post-Mortem, by E.C.R. Lorac (Poisoned Pen Press)
Rafferty / To Find a Killer, by Lionel White (Stark House Press)
The Red Window Murders, by John Dickson Carr (American Mystery Classics)
Reflections of Deviance, by A.J. Cross (Severn House)
The Sanctuary, by Katrine Engberg (Gallery/Scout Press)
Scorched Grace, by Margot Douaihy
(Gillian Flynn)
Scorned, by David Putnam (Oceanview)
Sea Castle, by Andrew Mayne
(Thomas & Mercer)
The Secrets of Hartwood Hall, by Katie Lumsden (Dutton)
Sentenced to Death, by Betty Hechtman (Severn House)
Shadow State, by Frank Sennett (Crooked Lane)
The Shamshine Blind, by Paz Pardo (Atria)
Someone Else’s Life, by Lyn Liao Butler (Thomas & Mercer)
The Sorcerer and the Assassin, by Stephen O’Shea (Brash)
Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction, by Max Allan Collins and James L. Traylor (Mysterious Press)*
Stone Cold Fox, by Rachel Koller Croft (Berkley)
Storm Watch, by C.J. Box (Putnam)
Three Can Keep a Secret, by M.E. Hilliard (Crooked Lane)
Time’s Undoing, by Cheryl A. Head (Dutton)
A Town Called Why, by Rick Lenz (Chromodroid Press)
Trouble, by Katja Ivar (Bitter Lemon Press)
Unnatural History, by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine)
Walk Me Home, by Sebastian Fitzek (Head of Zeus/Aries)
Wreck Bay, by Barbara Fradkin (Dundurn Press)
The Writing Retreat, by Julia Bartz (Atria/Emily Bestler)
The Wrong Side of the Grass, by Stephen Solomita (MysteriousPress.com/Open Road)

FEBRUARY (UK):
Agent in the Shadows, by Alex Gerlis (Canelo)
The Blood Line, by Will Shindler (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Broken Afternoon, by Simon Mason (Riverrun)
Clara & Olivia, by Lucy Ashe (Magpie)
Cut Adrift, by Jane Jesmond (Verve)
Dead of Night, by Simon Scarrow (Headline)
The Dead of Winter, by Stuart MacBride (Bantam Press)
Death of Mr. Dodsley, by John Ferguson (British Library Crime Classics)
Expectant, by Vanda Symon (Orenda)
Fatal Proof, by John Fairfax (Abacus)
A Gift of Poison, by Bella Ellis
(Hodder & Stoughton)
Gin Palace, by Tracy Whitwell (Pan)
Grey in the Dark, by John Lincoln
(No Exit Press)
The Hand That Feeds You, by Mercedes Rosende (Bitter Lemon Press)
The Hostage, by A.F. Carter (Head of Zeus/Aries)
How to Kill Men and Get Away with It, by Katy Brent (HQ)
The Hunt, by Faye Kellerman (HarperCollins)
Lady Joker, Volume 2, by Kaoru Takamura (Baskerville)
Look Both Ways, by Linwood Barclay (HQ)
Love Will Tear Us Apart, by C.K. McDonnell (Bantam Press)
Make Me Clean, by Tina Baker (Viper)
The Murder Game, by Tom Hindle (Century)
My Perfect Friend, by Sarah Clarke (HQ)
The Next to Die, by Elliot Sweeney (Wildfire)
Never Go Back, by Jessie Keane (Hodder & Stoughton)
Nothing Can Hurt You, by Simone Campos (Pushkin Press)
The Only Suspect, by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster)
The Prisoner’s Wife, by Ali Blood (Avon)
The Private Life of Spies, by Alexander McCall Smith (Abacus)
The Proof in the Pudding, by Rosemary Shrager (Constable)
Questions for a Dead Man, by Alex Gray (Sphere)
Red Dirt Road, by S.R. White (Headline)
Robert B. Parker’s Fallout, by Mike Lupica (No Exit Press)
The Self-Made Widow, by Fabian Nicieza (Titan)
Sink or Swim, by James Craig (Constable)
A Terrible Village Poisoning, by Hannah Hendy (Canelo)
What July Knew, by Emily Koch (Harvill Secker)
The Whispering Muse, by Laura Purcell (Raven)
The Younger Woman, by Mandy Byatt (Avon)
You Will Never Be Found, by Tove Alsterdal (Faber and Faber)

MARCH (U.S.):
All the Queen’s Spies, by Oliver Clements (Atria/Leopoldo & Co.)
All That Is Hidden, by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles (Minotaur)
All That Is Mine I Carry with Me, by William Landay (Bantam)
The Angel Makers: Arsenic, a Midwife, and Modern History’s Most Astonishing Murder Ring, by Patti McCracken (Morrow)*
Bert and Mamie Take a Cruise, by John Keyse-Walker (Severn House)
Birnam Wood, by Eleanor Catton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Blood on the Siberian Snow, by C.J. Farrington (Constable)
Bones Under the Ice, by Mary Ann Miller (Oceanview)
Burning Distance, by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman (Oceanview)
Conspiracy of Blood, by Katarzyna Bonda (Hodder & Stoughton)
A Crime in the Land of 7,000 Islands, by Zephaniah Sole
(Black Spring Press)
Crooked: The Roaring ’20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal, by Nathan Masters (Hachette)*
Dark Queen Wary, by Paul Doherty (Severn House)
Dead Find, by T.F. Muir (Constable)
The Deadly Weed, by Cora Harrison (Severn House)
Dead Man Inside, by Vincent Starrett (American Mystery Classics)
The Dead Will Rise, by Chris Nickson (Severn House)
Death and Croissants, by Ian Moore (Poisoned Pen Press)
A Death in Denmark, by Amulya Malladi (Morrow)
Death of a Bookseller, by Bernard J. Farmer (Poisoned Pen Press)
Death Ride, by Nick Oldham
(Severn House)
Deep Fake, by Ward Larsen (Forge)
Deliver Them from Evil, by Amanda DuBois (Girl Friday)
The Donut Legion, by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland)
The Family Bones, by Elle Marr
(Thomas & Mercer)
A Flaw in the Design, by Nathan Oates (Random House)
Force of Hate, by Graham Bartlett (Allison & Busby)
48 Clues Into the Disappearance of My Sister, by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
Gangbuster: One Man’s Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan, by Alan Prendergast (Citadel)*
A Gentle Murderer, by Dorothy Salisbury Davis (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Golden Spoon, by Jessa Maxwell (Atria)
Gone Again, by Minka Kent (Thomas & Mercer)
Good Dog, Bad Cop, by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur)
Her Deadly Game, by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)
Hiss and Tell, by Rita Mae Brown (Bantam)
How I’ll Kill You, by Ren DeStefano (Berkley)
Intrigue in Istanbul, by Erica Ruth Neubauer (Kensington)
I Will Find You, by Harlan Coben (Grand Central)
The Kind Worth Saving, by Peter Swanson (Morrow)
The London Séance Society, by Sarah Penner (Park Row)
The Lost Americans, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
Loyalty, by Lisa Scottoline (Putnam)
The Maid’s Diary, by Loreth Anne White (Montlake)
A Mansion for Murder, by Frances Brody (Crooked Lane)
The Mimicking of Known Successes, by Malka Older (Tordotcom)
Mission in Malmö, by Torquil MacLeod (McNidder and Grace)
A Most Intriguing Lady, by Sarah Ferguson (Avon)
Mothered, by Zoje Stage (Thomas & Mercer)
The Murder of Madison Garcia, by Marcy McCreary (CamCat)
Murder Under a Red Moon, by Harini Nagendra (Pegasus Crime)
Never Seen Again, by Paul Finch (Orion)
Never Sleep, by Fred Van Lente (Blackstone)
Night Flight to Paris, by Cara Black (Soho Crime)
Not So Perfect Strangers, by L.S. Stratton (Union Square)
Now You See Us, by Balli Kaur Jaswal (Morrow)
One Extra Corpse, by Barbara Hambly (Severn House)
Philanthropists: Inspector Mislan and the Executioners, by Rozlan Mohd Noor (Arcade Crimewise)
Play the Fool, by Lina Chern (Bantam)
A Praying Mantis, by R.V. Raman (Agora)
The Protégé, by Jody Gehrman (Crooked Lane)
The Raven Thief, by Gigi Pandian (Minotaur)
Red as Blood, by Lilja Sigurdardóttir (Orenda)
Red London, by Alma Katsu (Putnam)
Red Queen, by Juan Gómez-Jurado (Minotaur)
The Refusal Camp, by James R. Benn (Soho Crime)
The Running Girls, by Matt Brolly (Thomas & Mercer)
Satellite Boy: The International Manhunt for a Master Thief That Launched the Modern Communications Age, by Andrew Amelinckx (Counterpoint)*
The Schoolhouse, by Sophie Ward (Vintage)
Seventy Times Seven: A True Story of Murder and Mercy, by Alex Mar (Penguin Press)*
The Shoemaker’s Magician, by Cynthia Pelayo (Agora)
A Sinister Revenge, by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley)
So Close, by Sylvia Day (Ronin House)
So Shall You Reap, by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Speak for the Dead, by Amy Tector (Keylight)
Standing Dead, by Margaret Mizushima (Crooked Lane)
Sunset Empire, by Josh Weiss (Grand Central)
The Syndicate Spy, by Brittany Butler (Greenleaf)
A Tempest at Sea, by Sherry Thomas (Berkley)
Those Empty Eyes, by Charlie Donlea (Kensington)
Tina, Mafia Soldier, by Maria Rosa Cutrufelli (Soho Crime)
Unfinished Business, by Leye Adenle (Cassava Republic Press)
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, by Jesse Q.
Sutanto (Berkley)
What Have We Done, by Alex Finlay (Minotaur)
White Fox, by Owen Matthews (Doubleday)
The White Lady, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)
Wolf Trap, by Connor Sullivan (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Woman of the Year, by Darcey Bell (Atria/Emily Bestler)

MARCH (UK):
The Anniversary, by Stephanie Bishop (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Because She Looked Away, by Alison Bruce (Constable)
A Bitter Remedy, by Alis Hawkins (Canelo)
The Black Spectacles, by John Dickson Carr (British Library Crime Classics)
The Boys, by Kimberley Chambers (HarperCollins)
By Way of Sorrow, by Robyn Gigl (Verve)
The Close, by Jane Casey (HarperCollins)
The Company, by J.M. Varese (Baskerville)
Dirty Laundry, by Disha Bose (Viking)
The Dying Place, by Charly Cox
(Canelo Hera)
Eleven Liars, by Robert Gold (Sphere)
End of Story, by Louise Swanson (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Favour, by Nicci French (Simon & Schuster)
The Girl by the Bridge, by Arnaldur Indridason (Harvill Secker)
The Institution, by Helen Fields (Avon)
The Last Highway, by R.J. Ellory (Orion)
Mother’s Day, by Abigail Burdess (Wildfire)
Murder at Home, by David Wilson (Sphere)
On the Savage Side, by Tiffany McDaniel (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Pay the Price, by Sam Tobin (Hodder Paperbacks)
A Pen Dipped in Poison, by J.M. Hall (Avon)
Private Lessons, by Bernard O’Keeffe (Muswell Press)
Pure Evil, by Lynda La Plante (Zaffre)
The Running Club, by Ali Lowe (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Shadows of London, by Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)
Sinister Spring, by Agatha Christie (HarperCollins)
The Sins of Our Fathers, by Åsa Larsson (MacLehose Press)
The Spy Across the Water, by James Naughtie (Head of Zeus/Aries)
Standing in the Shadows, by Peter Robinson (Hodder & Stoughton)
Strange Sally Diamond, by Liz Nugent (Sandycove)
Tomás Nevinson, by Javier Marías (Hamish Hamilton)
The Translator, by Harriet Crawley (Bitter Lemon Press)
Until Proven Innocent, by Nicola Williams (Hamish Hamilton)
What the Shadows Hide, by M.J. Lee (Canelo)
Where the Guilty Hide, by Annette Dashofy (One More Chapter)

I had hoped to have this picks list out earlier than now, but vexing computer issues delayed its posting. Please let me know in the Comments section if there are other noteworthy works deserving of mention here. I shall update this inventory as necessary.

READ MORE:The Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2023,” by Molly Odintz (CrimeReads); “Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2023,” by George Easter (Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine); “Crime Novels That I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2023,” by Jeff Popple (Murder, Mayhem and Long Dogs).