Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ramblin’ and Readin’ on My Mind

Crime fiction is most engaging when it provides not only captivating characters and high-stakes plots suffused with emotional resonance, but also a conspicuous sense of place. Think of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles. Or Philip Kerr’s Berlin. Or Tony Hillerman’s southwestern United States. It’s a no less palpable connection with location that gives meaning and novelty to Delta Blues, a brand-new anthology of short stories--all rooted in America’s Mississippi Delta region--that’s being offered in The Rap Sheet’s latest book giveaway contest, beginning today.

Edited by Alabamian Carolyn Haines, the Harper Lee Award-winning author of the Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries (Bone Appetit), Delta Blues is a companion of sorts to Chicago Blues, a 2007 collection of mystery yarns edited by Libby Fischer Hellmann. That earlier volume was produced by Bleak House Books; Delta Blues is being brought to market by Tyrus Books, which was launched last year by publishing partners Benjamin LeRoy and Alison Janssen, after they parted ways with Bleak House.

Delta Blues features 19 yarns exploiting the history and mythology of northwestern Mississippi and the blues music with which it’s so closely associated. Such well-known wordsmiths as Ace Atkins, James Lee Burke, Charlaine Harris, Les Standiford, and John Grisham have contributed stories that deal with revenge, redemption, deception, and a whole lot of bad choices. “Like the blues,” opines Mississippi-reared actor Morgan Freeman in his introduction to this collection, “these tales move and shift over the character of human nature. They combine an element of crime or noir with the world of the blues. A partnership that is easy to understand. Both are messy, and they both tell about pain.”

Through the generosity of Tyrus Books, we have four paperback copies of Delta Blues to send--free of charge--to lucky Rap Sheet readers. To enter this contest, simply e-mail your name and mailing address to And please write “Delta Blues Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight on Wednesday, April 28. Winners will be chosen through a random drawing and announced next Thursday. (Sorry, but at the publisher’s request, this contest is open only to U.S. residents.)

Good luck, everyone!

Oh, and remember, even if you don’t win in this competition, you can still buy a copy of Delta Blues. Tyrus Books will contribute $1 from each book sale to Freeman’s Rock River Foundation, which aids education and literacy efforts in the Mississippi Delta.

1 comment:

Sara Weiss said...

I really enjoyed Chicago Blues and am looking forward to Delta Blues as well.