Friday, September 29, 2017

The Book You Have to Read:
“LaBrava,” by Elmore Leonard

(Editor’s note: This 152nd entry in The Rap Sheet’s continuing series about great but forgotten books welcomes Craig Pittman to our league of contributors for the first time. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Pittman is an award-winning journalist who covers environmental issues for the Tampa Bay Times. His non-fiction books include Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida’s Most Famous Endangered Species [2010], The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid [2012], and Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country [Picador], which was released in paperback earlier this month.)

Elmore “Dutch” Leonard, prolific author of thrillers, Westerns, and screenplays, hailed from Detroit, Michigan, and set quite a few of his novels there. But Leonard also had a strong connection to another state—Florida. He began visiting the Sunshine State in the 1950s and lived part-time in Palm Beach County.

“I bought my mom a four-unit motel in Pompano Beach,” he once told Rolling Stone. “She lives in one unit, rents out the others. Visiting her, I found Miami a great locale. The high crime rate, the contrast in people—rich retirees, Cubans, boat-lifters—all kinds of good things are going on there for me.”

Leonard got to know Florida’s geography, its weather, and its many oddball characters pretty well, and he used that knowledge in some of his best work.

His Florida books include Pronto and Riding the Rap, the two novels that first introduced the character of Raylan Givens, the deputy U.S. marshal featured on the TV show Justified. His novel Out of Sight, later made into a Steven Soderbergh film, begins in Florida and ends in Detroit. Rum Punch was set in Florida, too, but Quentin Tarantino moved the action to Los Angeles when he turned it into the movie Jackie Brown.

But I think Leonard’s finest Florida-set novel is one that never made it to a theater, although a love of movies seeps from every page. I’m talking about LaBrava, which was published back in 1983 and won an Edgar Award in 1984.

I first read this book 20 years ago after reading a bunch of other Elmore Leonard works, and that time it didn't do much for me. All of his unusual characters and dialogue-driven storytelling had begun to blur together. However, I read LaBrava again recently while poring over a collection of novels about Florida and revised my opinion dramatically upward. This book really stands out amid the other Leonard thrillers, both for its themes and its sense of history.

The title character is Joe LaBrava, a guy in his late 30s who put in time at the IRS and the Secret Service. It sounds glamorous, but it wasn’t. The low point of his Secret Service career was serving as part of Bess Truman’s protective detail in Independence, Missouri.

LaBrava’s Secret Service experience helped train him to read people and catch details about their faces. He enjoyed hunting counterfeiters out of the Miami field office, shooting surveillance photos. Now, he’s decided that what he really wants to do is be a photographer. In seedy Miami Beach he finds a plethora of things to shoot.

LaBrava becomes friends with the old ex-bookie who owns the ancient hotel where he lives. Maurice Zola can see LaBrava’s talent. He knows talent, because Zola shot photos all over Florida in the 1930s for the Farm Security Administration.

“He’s got the eye,” Zola tells a gallery owner about LaBrava. “He’s got an instinct for it, and he’s not afraid to walk up and take the shot.” Then Zola goes off on a tangent about the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that obliterated the Overseas Railroad in the Florida Keys, and how shooting that disaster was his break as a photographer.

Throughout this book, Zola pops up repeatedly, offering rambling recollections of his life. Through him, Leonard sprinkles in references to various events in Florida history that helped make the state a magnet for outsiders, such as LaBrava, who are trying to catch a break.

Parts of the book comes across as a love letter to the Art Deco shabbiness that was early 1980s Miami Beach, before Miami Vice turned it into a neon-lit star. Here’s LaBrava looking out a window, feeling the history of the place:
What he saw from the window was timeless, a Florida post card. The strip of park across the street. The palm trees in place, the sea grape. The low wall you could sit on made of coral rock and gray cement. And the beach. What a beach. A desert full of people resting, it was so wide. People out there with blankets and umbrellas. People in the green part of the ocean, before it turned deep blue. People so small they could be from any time. Turn the view around. Sit on the coral wall and look this way at the hotels on Ocean Drive and see back into the thirties.
One night, Zola asks LaBrava to help him retrieve a woman who’s been brought in drunk to a Palm Beach County crisis center. She turns out to be Jean Shaw, a 50-ish faded star of classic noir films. LaBrava saw one of her movies when he was 12 and was instantly smitten. Now he feels protective toward her. He’s so protective, in fact, that he tangles with a security guard named Richard Nobles, “the kind of guy—LaBrava knew by sight, smell, and instinct—who hung around bars and arm-wrestled.” Nobles is after Shaw too. LaBrava takes away Nobles’ gun, sits on him and sticks the gun in Nobles’ mouth. Nobles vows revenge.

One thing I didn’t like about this book on first reading was Nobles, because he’s a Florida native, like me. There’s a similar character filling the villain role in Leonard’s novel Maximum Bob, a “Florida Man” type before we ever knew that term—a big dumb guy who thinks he’s got the world licked. (The one in Maximum Bob is part of a family of Florida lowlifes, the Crowes, who show up in several Leonard novels.)

As I was re-reading LaBrava, though, I realized Nobles is no mere redneck stereotype. His character provides Leonard with an artful way to slip in some more Florida history. We learn about Nobles’ role in a well-known DEA bust that took down a major smuggling ring in the apparently sleepy fishing village of Steinhatchee—another signal from Leonard that nothing in Florida is what it appears to be.

Leonard fills in his canvas with such off-kilter characters as Franny Kaufman, a frizzy-haired cosmetics saleswoman; Johnbull Obasanjo, a sarcastic Nigerian cab driver; and Paco Boza, who travels around in a wheelchair he stole “because he didn’t like to walk and because he thought it was cool, a way for people to identify him.”

Soon LaBrava is drawn into an extortion scheme involving Shaw, Nobles, and Cundo Rey, a Cuban killer who arrived with the Mariel boatlift and likes performing as a male stripper as a sideline. Eventually, LaBrava realizes Shaw is so caught up in her noir past, she’s confused it with her present reality. LaBrava’s ability as a photographer to see the truth about people eventually helps him pierce the cloud of artifice and nostalgia so he can unravel the scheme. When the time comes, he is definitely ready to take the shot.

In the end some of the right people get punished and some don’t, and I think that was the other thing that bothered me about this book the first time. But now it doesn’t, and I think it’s because that’s what happens in real life, especially in Florida.

A postscript: LaBrava almost became a movie—a Martin Scorsese picture, in fact. According to a 2013 story at New York magazine’s Vulture site, Dustin Hoffman wanted to star as the title character, and held a series of meetings with Leonard and movie execs—meetings that Leonard found more and more frustrating. That film was never made, but Leonard used the experience as fodder for his 1990 novel, Get Shorty, which of course did become a movie. Hoffman reportedly asked Leonard if Danny DeVito’s egotistical actor character was really based on him. “Come on, Dustin,” Leonard said. “You think you’re the only short actor in Hollywood?”

Thursday, September 28, 2017

From the Field

• Florida thriller writer Lisa Unger has come up with a way to raise money for Hurricane Irma victims in South Florida, Texas’ Houston area, and the beleaguered island of Puerto Rico. According to the Tampa Bay Times, she has collected “14 new, signed hardcover books by some of the top crime-fiction writers in the world,” and is offering them to readers through a simple drawing. To enter, one must only donate at least $10 to one of three aid organizations she specifies, and then e-mail her your contribution receipt. The books up for grabs in this contest include Ace Atkins’ The Fallen, Lisa Gardner's Right Behind You, Harlan Coben’s Don’t Let Go, Lori Roy’s Let Me Die in His Footsteps, and Michael Connelly's The Late Show. Donations must be made by this coming Monday, October 2. Unger will announce the winner the next day. (Hat tip to Craig Pittman.)

• Sadly, this coming Saturday, September 30, will be the final day of business for Seattle Mystery Bookshop, which has been a prominent feature of downtown Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square district for the last 27 years. There’s more to read about the closure here.

• Also coming to an end this week is the latest annual “Classics in September” series produced by the British blog Crime Fiction Lover. Click here to find all of the posts related to that month-long celebration. Among my favorite entries this year were Marina Sofia’s tribute to novelist Margaret Millar (the wife of Ross Macdonald), a fond recollection of Daniel Woodrell’s Tomato Red (1998), and Purity Brown’s salute to Desmond Bagley’s crime novels (among them, The Golden Keel and Running Blind). Until next year, then …

From In Reference to Murder:
The Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., … is getting a trove of cool artifacts from the world’s largest private collection of spycraft—more than 5,000 of them, to be specific: everything from a portion of the spy plane flown by pilot Gary Powers that was shot down over Russia, to the axe used to hack exiled Soviet communist Leon Trotsky to death, to a 13-foot-long spy submarine from World War II.
The Smithsonian magazine Web site reports that these numerous artifacts “will go on display when the museum moves to its new, larger location at L’Enfant Plaza in fall 2018.”

• Author-blogger Sandra Seamans brings word that “The 2018 Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Novel Competition is open for submissions. They are seeking traditional mysteries of 65,000 words (minimum). The deadline is January 12, 2018. There is no entry fee. The winner receives a $10,000 advance against royalties. You can find the details here. Scroll the page. I know it says 2017 but the entry form is for the 2018 competition. This only open to authors who have never had a novel published before.”

The President Is Missing, a June 2018 release co-authored by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and best-seller James Patterson, has already been acquired by Showtime television for adaptation as a series. New York magazine’s Vulture site says, “No writers or producers are attached at this point, let alone a creator/showrunner. Showtime also didn’t say whether the project will be a multi-year series or a one-season limited series à la Twin Peaks: The Return. Not much is known about the plot of the book, with a press release describing the Alfred A. Knopf and Little, Brown and Company joint release as a ‘gripping tale of power and betrayal, with a unique perspective on the pressures and stakes faced by a sitting president.’” Stay tuned.

• Congratulations to Ah Sweet Mystery Blog for reaching its second birthday. It’s not easy to start or maintain a vital, interesting crime fiction-oriented blog, and I feel compelled to salute anyone willing to stick with the task for the long-haul.

• And Mystery Fanfare alerts us to two soon-forthcoming California celebrations: Orange County’s Ladies of Intrigue Conference (October 1) and Mystery Week (October 14-20), which has scheduled events at a variety of venues throughout the San Francisco Bay area.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Flee the Coming Cold, Crime Yarns in Hand

OK, so we’re entering the final full week of September, and only now am I posting my overview of crime, mystery, and thriller works due out on both sides of the Atlantic during the fall and early winter months of 2017. Sorry for the delay. I would normally have published this compilation at the beginning of September, but conflicting editorial obligations hampered my efforts. I hope the finished product is interesting and useful, despite its tardiness.

There are some 350 new and forthcoming books mentioned below, gathered from various online sources, among them The Bloodstained Bookshelf, Euro Crime, and Shotsmag Confidential (all of which you can search for additional imminent releases, if these aren’t enough). The choices reflect not only my own reading preferences, but also recommendations from fellow critics whose tastes I trust. You will find here, too, a number of books penned by authors I know to be particularly popular with this blog’s followers.

The picks range from David Lagercrantz’s second Lisbeth Salander escapade to Anne Perry’s opening installment in a new series (this one starring Daniel Pitt, the recently minted barrister son of her longer-operating protagonist, Thomas Pitt); a pair of re-released thrillers by the late Marc Behm and Stark House Press’ first omnibus in its “ambitious project of reprinting all of Carter Brown’s Al Wheeler adventures in order of their original publication”; a graphic-novel adaptation of Craig McDonald’s 2007 novel, Head Games, and editor Gary Phillips’ all-star assortment of conspiracy-noir short stories; belated American debuts of two intriguing genre studies, by UK writers Mike Ripley and Barry Forshaw; a couple of science fiction/crime fiction crossovers by Andy Weir (The Martian) and Chris Brookmyre; the return of Golden Age fictionist Christopher Bush; several Christmas-oriented whodunits, including a “Railway Detective” tale by Edward Marston; Swedish wordsmith Henning Mankell’s last novel and Thomas Mullen’s excellent sophomore entry in his series set in segregated post-World War II Atlanta, Georgia; posthumous short-fiction collections by P.D. James and Ruth Rendell; and other fresh finds by Ivy Pochoda, Ragnar Jónasson, Con Lehane, Elly Griffiths, Tod Goldberg, Sophie Hannah, Robert Harris, E.S. Thomson, Peter May, Bonnie MacBird, Ray Celestin, Helene Tursten, Lou Berney, Attica Locke, John Lawton, Max Allan Collins, Laura Wilson, Peter Lovesey, Norman Green, Catriona McPherson, Joe Ide, Emily Littlejohn … well, this rundown could obviously go on and on, but it’s better to spend some time yourself looking through the reading suggestions that follow.

Non-fiction titles appear below with asterisks (*). The rest are fiction.

The Accordionist, by Fred Vargas (Random House)
All the Secret Places, by Anna Carlisle (Crooked Lane)
Best Day Ever, by Kaira Rouda (Graydon House)
The Best Kind of People, by Zoe Whittall (Ballantine)
The Blind, by A.F. Brady (Park Row)
The Blackbird Season, by Kate Moretti (Atria)
The Blood Card, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Bloody Black Flag, by Steve Goble (Seventh Street)
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Mulholland)
Body on Baker Street, by Vicki Delany (Crooked Lane)
Book of Judas, by Linda Stasi (Forge)
A Casualty of War, by Charles Todd (Morrow)
Cat Got Your Secrets, by Julie Chase (Crooked Lane)
The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld (Harper)
Close to Home, by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)
A Conspiracy in Belgravia, by Sherry Thomas (Berkley)
A Conspiracy of Ravens, by Terrence McCauley (Polis)
The Countess of Prague, by Stephen Weeks (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Cuban Affair, by Nelson DeMille (Simon & Schuster)
Dark Chapter, by Winnie M Li (Polis)
Dead Clown Blues, by R. Daniel Lester (Shotgun Honey)
Dead Woman Walking, by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur)
Death at the Seaside, by Frances Brody (Minotaur)
The Devil’s Wedding Ring, by Vidar Sundstøl (University of
Minnesota Press)
The Devouring, by James R. Benn (Soho Crime)
Dinner at the Center of the Earth, by Nathan Englander (Knopf)
Don’t Let Go, by Harlan Coben (Dutton)
An Echo of Murder, by Anne Perry (Ballantine)
An Empty Coast, by Tony Park (Pan Macmillan)
The Essence of Malice, by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur)
The Eulogist, by Jeffrey B. Burton (Permanent Press)
Eve/More Deadly Than the Male, by James Hadley Chase
(Stark House Press)
A Face to Die For, by Andrea Kane (Bonnie Meadow)
Falling Too, by Gordon Brown (Down & Out Books)
Fever, by Deon Meyer (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Final Stop, Algiers, by Mishka Ben-David (Overlook Press)
Friend Request, by Laura Marshall (Grand Central)
Gangster Nation, by Tod Goldberg (Counterpoint)
The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, by David Lagercrantz (Knopf)
Heads or Tails, by Damien Boyd
(Thomas & Mercer)
House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
Keep Her Safe, by Sophie Hannah (Morrow)
A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré (Viking)
Lies She Told, by Cate Holahan (Crooked Lane)
The Lies Within, by Jane Isaac (Legend Press)
Lie to Me, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
Lightning Men, by Thomas Mullen (Atria/37 INK)
Lost Voyage, by Pauline Rowson (Severn House)
Madness Treads Lightly, by Polina Dashkova (AmazonCrossing)
Maigret’s Revolver, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
March of Crime, by Jess Lourey (Midnight Ink)
Missing Persons, by Michael Brandman (Poisoned Pen Press)
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, by Amy Stewart
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Montana Noir, edited by James Grady and Keir Graff (Akashic)
Murderous Mistral, by Cay Rademacher (Minotaur)
The Names of Dead Girls, by Eric Rickstad (Morrow)
The Pictures, by Guy Bolton (Oneworld)
A Place in the Wind, by Suzanne Chazin (Kensington)
Reconciliation for the Dead, by Paul E. Hardisty (Orenda)
Red Earth, by Tony Park (Pan Macmillan)
Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet, by Reed Farrel
Coleman (Putnam)
The Romanov Ransom, by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell (Putnam)
The Ross Macdonald Collection, edited by Tom Nolan
(Library of America)
The Salt Marsh, by Clare Curzon (Head of Zeus)
The Scarred Woman, by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton)
The Seagull, by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
The Second Sister, by Claire Kendal (Harper)
The Shadow List, by Todd Moss (Putnam)
Sleep Like a Baby, by Charlaine Harris (Minotaur)
This Is What We Do, by Tom Hansen (Counterpoint)
This Side of Murder, by Anna Lee Huber (Kensington)
That Last Weekend, by Laura DiSilverio (Midnight Ink)
To Funk and Die in L.A., by Nelson George (Akashic)
Trace, by Archer Mayor (Minotaur)
Under a Watchful Eye, by Adam Nevill (Pan Macmillan)
The Visitors, by Catherine Burns (Gallery/Scout Press)
The Ways of Wolfe, by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press)
The Western Star, by Craig Johnson (Viking)
When They Come for You, by James W. Hall (Thomas & Mercer)
A Whispered Name, by William Brodrick (Overlook Press)
Whispers of Warning, by Jessica Estevao (Berkley)
White Bodies, by Jane Robins (Touchstone)
The World of Tomorrow, by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)
Wychwood, by George Mann (Titan)
The Year of the Gun, by Chris Nickson (History Press)

The Angel, by Katerina Diamond (Avon)
The Anthill Murders, by Hans Olav Lahlum (Mantle)
The Assassin of Verona, by Benet Brandreth (Zaffre)
Bad Guys, by Linwood Barclay (Orion)
Copycat, by Alex Lake (HarperCollins)
The Cost of Living, by Rachel Ward (Sandstone Press)
The Frozen Woman, by Jon Michelelt (No Exit Press)
The Furthest Station, by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz)
The Girl in the Green Dress, by Cath Staincliffe (Constable)
The Gospel of Mary, by Philip Freeman (Pegasus)
I Am Behind You, by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Riverrun)
The Island, by M.J. Trow (Creme de la Crime)
The Liar in the Library, by Simon Brett (Creme de la Crime)
Maria in the Moon, by Louise Beech (Orenda)
The Mitford Murders, by Jessica Fellowes (Sphere)
Munich, by Robert Harris (Hutchinson)
Open Arms, by Vince Cable (Corvus)
A Patient Fury, by Sarah Ward (Faber and Faber)
The Plumley Inheritance, by Christopher Bush (Dean Street Press)
The Pool House, by Tasmina Perry (Headline Review)
The Prime of Ms. Dolly Greene,
by E.V. Harte (Constable)
Race to the Kill, by Helen Cadbury
(Allison and Busby)
The Reluctant Contact, by Stephen Burke (Hodder & Stoughton)
Season of Blood, by Jeri Westerson (Severn House)
Sleeping Beauties, by Jo Spain (Quercus)
Stockholm Delete, by Jens Lapidus (Corvus)
Treason’s Spring, by Robert Wilton (Corvus)
Twenty-One Days, by Anne Perry (Headline)
When I Wake Up, by Jessica Jarlvi (Aria)
Worst Fear, by Matt Hilton (Severn House)
The Zealot’s Bones, by D.M. Mark (Mulholland)

Act of Betrayal, by Matthew Dunn (Morrow)
After the Fire, by Henning Mankell (Vintage)
The Apothecary’s Shop: Venice 1118 A.D., by Roberto Tiraboschi (Europa Editions)
Ash and Bones, by Mike Thomas (Bonnier Zaffre)
The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, edited by
John Sandford (Mariner)
The Best of Richard Matheson, by Richard Matheson, edited by Victor LaValle (Penguin Classics)
The Big Book of Rogues and Villains, edited by Otto Penzler
(Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Blood for Blood, by J.M. Smyth (Black & White)
Buenos Aires Noir, edited by Ernesto Mallo (Akashic)
Buzz Killer, by Tom Straw (CreateSpace)
Cast Iron, by Peter May (Quercus)
Cold Harbor, by Matthew FitzSimmons (Thomas & Mercer)
Crazy Like a Fox, by Rita Mae Brown (Ballantine)
The Dark Lake, by Sarah Bailey (Grand Central)
Dark Signal, by Shannon Baker (Forge)
Dead Stop, by Barbara Nickless (Thomas & Mercer)
Death in St. Petersburg, by Tasha Alexander (Minotaur)
Death Ship, by Jim Kelly (Severn House)
The Deep Dark Descending, by Allen Eskens (Seventh Street)
Desert Remains, by Steven Cooper (Seventh Street)
Double Barrel Bluff, by Lou Berney (Morrow)
Dying to Live, by Michael Stanley (Minotaur)
Even If It Kills Her, by Kate White (Harper)
Fear, by Dirk Kurbjuweit (Harper)
Ferocity, by Nicola Lagioia (Europa Editions)
The Four Horsemen, by Gregory Dowling (Thomas Dunne)
Friends and Traitors, by John Lawton (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Gin and Panic, by Maia Chance (Minotaur)
Give Me the Child, by Mel McGrath (HQ)
The Habit of Murder, by Susanna Gregory (Sphere)
Head Games: The Graphic Novel, by Craig McDonald and Kevin Singles (First Second)
Her Last Day, by T.R. Ragan (Thomas & Mercer)
Hide and Seek, by M.J. Arlidge (Berkley)
How the Finch Stole Christmas! by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
A Hunt in Winter, by Conor Brady (Crooked Lane)
In the Cage, by Kevin Hardcastle (Biblioasis)
The Kill Circle, by David Freed (Permanent Press)
Killing Malmon, edited by Dan and Kate Malmon (Down & Out)
The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash (Morrow)
The Last Mrs. Parrish, by Liv Constantine (Harper)
The Long Count, by J.M. Gulvin (Faber and Faber)
A Long Way Down, by Ken McCoy (Severn House)
Maigret and the Man on the Bench, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (Scribner)
Mind Game, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)
Mr. Campion’s Abdication, by Mike Ripley (Severn House)
The Naturalist, by Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer)
Next of Kin, by James Tucker (Thomas & Mercer)
Night Market, by
Daniel Pembrey (Oldcastle)
Nine Lessons,
by Nicola Upson (Crooked Lane)
The Nine-Tailed Fox, by Martin Limón (Soho Crime)
The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, edited by Gary Phillips (Three Rooms Press)
Odd Child Out, by Gilly Macmillan (Morrow)
An Old, Cold Grave, by Iona Whishaw (TouchWood Editions)
Old Scores, by Will Thomas (Minotaur)
Parting Shot, by Linwood Barclay (Doubleday Canada)
Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay (Penguin Classics)
Pulse, by Felix Francis (Putnam)
Quarry’s Climax, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime)
The Question of the Absentee Father, by E. J. Copperman and
Jeff Cohen (Midnight Ink)
Righteous, by Joe Ide (Mulholland)
The Rooster Bar, by John Grisham (Doubleday)
Storm’s Edge, by Tony Healey (Thomas & Mercer)
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels, by Joe Hill (Morrow)
The Tiger’s Prey, by Wilbur Smith (Morrow)
Two Kinds of Truth, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Unquiet Spirits, by Bonnie MacBird (Collins Crime Club)
The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers, foreword by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime)
The Wench Is Wicked/Blonde Verdict/Delilah Was Deadly, by Carter Brown (Stark House Press)
Weycombe, by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
What the Hell Did I Just Read, by David Wong (St. Martin’s Press)
What We Reckon, by Eryk Pruitt (Polis)
Where the Sun Shines Out, by Kevin Catalano (Skyhorse)
Winter Warning, by Jerome Charyn (Pegasus)
Wolf’s Revenge, by Lachlan Smith (Mysterious Press)
World Enough, by Clea Simon (Severn House)
Zero Avenue, by Dietrich Kalteis (ECW Press)

Afraid to Death, by Marc Behm (Arcadia)
All the World’s a Stage, by Boris Akunin (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
And So It Began, by Owen Mullen (Bloodhound)
Bad Luck, by Linwood Barcley (Orion)
The Book of Forgotten Authors, by Christopher Fowler (Riverrun)*
The Burnings, by Julian Lees (Constable)
The Coven, by Graham Masterson (Head of Zeus)
Date with Malice, by Julia Chapman (Pan)
Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women, edited by Sophie Hannah (Head of Zeus)
The Eye of the Beholder, by Marc Behm (Arcadia)
The Girl in the Fog, by Donato Carrisi (Abacus)
The Hit, by Anna Smith (Quercus)
The Man Who Died, by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda)
The Other Woman, by Laura Wilson (Quercus)
Rocco and the Nightingale, by Adrian Magson (Dome Press)
The Silent Companions, by Laura Purcell (Raven)
Snare, by Lilja Sigurdardottir (Orenda)
State Secrets, by Quintin Jardine (Headline)
Trust Me, by Zosia Wand (Head of Zeus)
Under Attack, by Edward Marston
(Allison & Busby)
The Well of Ice,
by Andrea Carter (Constable)
Without a Word,
by Kate McQuaile (Quercus)

Artemis, by Andy Weir (Crown)
The Ballad of Black Bart, by Loren D. Estleman (Forge)
Below the Surface, by Leena Lehtolainen (AmazonCrossing)
The Big Book of the Continental Op, edited by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Blackbird, by Michael Fiegel (Skyhorse)
Blood Run, by Jamie Freveletti (Calexia)
A Christmas Return, by Anne Perry (Ballantine)
City of Lies, by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)
Dark Asylum, by E.S. Thomson (Pegasus)
Day In, Day Out, by Héctor Aguilar Camín (Schaffner Press)
A Deadly Éclair, by Daryl Wood Gerber (Crooked Lane)
Dead of Winter, by Wendy Corsi Staub (Crooked Lane)
Death at the Emerald, by R. J. Koreto (Crooked Lane)
Death Comes to the School, by Catherine Lloyd (Kensington)
Displaced, by Stephan Abarbanell (Harper)
Double Wide, by Leo W. Banks (Brash)
Down to No Good, by Earl Javorsky (Story Plant)
Easy Errors, by Steven F. Havill (Poisoned Pen Press)
End Game, by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
Every Breath You Take, by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster)
The Extraditionist, by Todd Merer (Thomas & Mercer)
Fools’ River, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime)
The Ghost of Christmas Past, by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur)
The Ghosts of Galway, by Ken Bruen (Mysterious Press)
Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980, edited by Iain McIntyre and
Andrew Nette (PM Press)*
Hardcore Twenty-Four, by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)
Headbanger/Sad Bastard, by Hugo Hamilton (Oldcastle)
Heather, the Totality, by Matthew Weiner (Little, Brown)
Heaven’s Crooked Finger, by Hank Early (Crooked Lane)
The Honest Spy, by Andreas Kollender (AmazonCrossing)
The House of Unexpected Sisters, by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)
The Irregular, by H.B. Lyle (Quercus)
It Happened at Two in the Morning, by Alan Hruska (Prospect Park)
Killing Pace, by Douglas Schofield (Minotaur)
The Last Best Friend, by George Sims (Poisoned Pen Press)
Little Broken Things, by Nicole Baart (Atria)
Maigret Is Afraid, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
The Man in the Crooked Hat, by Harry Dolan (Putnam)
The Midnight Line, by Lee Child (Delacorte Press)
The Missing, by C.L. Taylor (Morrow)
Montreal Noir, edited by John McFetridge and
Jacques Filippi (Akashic)
Much Ado About Murder, by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Crooked Lane)
Murder in the Lincoln White House, by C.M. Gleason (Kensington)
Murder in the Manuscript Room, by Con Lehane (Minotaur)
Never Say No to a Killer, by Clifton Adams (Stark House Press)
Places in the Darkness, by Chris Brookmyre (Orbit)
Poison, by Galt Niederhoffer (St. Martin’s Press)
Protected by the Shadows, by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime)
The Quantum Spy, by David Ignatius (Norton)
Road to Paradise, by Max Allan Collins (Brash)
A Season to Lie, by Emily Littlejohn (Minotaur)
The Savage, by Frank Bill (FSG Originals)
The Shadow District, by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur)
Shadow of a Thief, by Norman Green (Witness Impulse)
Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales, by P.D. James (Knopf)
Strangers in Budapest, by Jessica Keener (Algonquin)
Tango Down, by Chris Knopf (Permanent Press)
Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
Tonight You’re Dead, by Viveca Sten (AmazonCrossing)
Trespass, by Anthony Quinn (Pegasus)
Turn on the Heat, by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as
A.A. Fair (Hard Case Crime)
Unholy City, by Carrie Smith (Crooked Lane)
The Vineyard Victims, by Ellen Crosby (Minotaur)
The Whispering Room, by Dean Koontz (Bantam)
The Woman in the Camphor Trunk, by Jennifer Kincheloe (Seventh Street)
Wonder Valley, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco)
Written in Blood, by Layton Green
(Seventh Street)

Cold Christmas, by Alastair Gunn (Penguin)
The Darkest Day, by Håkan Nesser (Mantle)
The Death Messenger,
by Mari Hannah (Pan)
The Deaths of December,
by Susi Holliday (Mulholland Books)
The Devil’s Claw, by Lara Dearman (Trapeze)
Devil’s Wolf, by Paul Doherty (Headline)
District VIII, by Adam Lebor (Head of Zeus)
The Fear Within, by J.S. Law (Headline)
Fire, by L.C. Tyler (Constable)
Freefall, by Adam Hamdy (Headline)
Going Down Slow and Other Stories, by John Harvey (Five Leaves)
The Hanged Man, by Simon Kernick (Century)
The House, by Simon Lelic (Penguin)
In Dust and Ashes, by Anne Holt (Corvus)
The Mountain, by Luca D’Andrea (MacLehose Press)
Murder at the Mill, by M.B. Shaw (Trapeze)
Now We Are Dead, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
Resort to Murder, by T.P. Fielden (HQ)
The Secret of Vesalius, by Jordi Llobregat (Riverrun)
Shadow Man, by Margaret Kirk (Orion)
The Silent Girl, by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt (Arrow)
Survivor, by Roberta Kray (Sphere)
The Vanishing Box, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Whiteout, by Ragnar Jónasson (Orenda)

A-List, by D.P. Lyle (Oceanview)
Beau Death, by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime)
Blood Truth, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview)
Bury the Past, by James L’Etoile (Crooked Lane)
Bryant & May: Wild Chamber, by Christopher Fowler (Bantam)
A Case of Syrah, Syrah, by Nancy J. Parra (Crooked Lane)
A Christmas Railway Mystery, by Edward Marston (Allison and Busby)
Close to Me, by Amanda Reynolds (Quercus)
Colorado Boulevard, by Phoef Sutton (Prospect Park)
Dark Echoes of the Past, by Ramón Díaz Eterovic (AmazonCrossing)
Dead Man’s Blues, by Ray Celestin (Pegasus)
Glass Town, by Steven Savile (St. Martin’s Press)
Havana Libre, by Robert Arellano (Akashic)
Insidious Intent, by Val McDermid (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Killman Creek, by Rachel Caine (Thomas & Mercer)
Maigret’s Mistake, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
The Mansions of Murder, by Paul Doherty (Crème de la Crime)
My Brother’s Keeper, by Donna Malane (Minotaur)
Nightblind, by Ragnar Jónasson (Minotaur)
Pen 33, by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström (Quercus)
The Perfect Victim/Winner Take All, by James McKimmey
(Stark House)
Signal Loss, by Garry Disher (Soho Crime)
Ultraluminous, by Katherine Faw (MCD)
Unnatural Causes, by Dawn Eastman (Crooked Lane)
The Vanishing Season, by Joanna Schaffhausen (Minotaur)
The Wanted, by Robert Crais (Putnam)
We’ll Sleep When We’re Old, by Pino Corrias (Atria)
You Can Run, by Steve Mosby (Pegasus)

Close to Home, by Cara Hunter (Viking)
Flesh and Blood, by Nigel McCrery (Quercus)
Games with the Dead, by James Nally (Avon)
The Lost Plot, by Genevieve Cogman (Pan)
Undertow, by Anthony J. Quinn (Head of Zeus)

Veteran Rap Sheet readers know that, as lengthy as this list is already, I’m likely to add new titles as I hear about works not currently on my radar. If you think I have missed mentioning any fall/winter releases of particular note, please let me know about them in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.