Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Treasures from the Genre’s Past

Two rather ambitious blog series have been launched of late, and promise to be with us for some while to come. If you have not already noticed these, you really should start paying attention.

Criminal Element is looking back at the last 64 years worth of books that have received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. Its series opened with Joe Brosnan revisiting the competition’s very first winner, in 1954: Beat Not the Bones, by Charlotte Jay, which he says is “surprisingly modern” and “undeniably a mystery novel, but … also doubles as an early example of anticolonial literature.” In the series’ second installment, Adam Wagner—who’d apparently never read one of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe detective novels before now—considers the virtues and weaknesses of The Long Goodbye, which captured the Edgar in 1955. Among the books still to be considered are (in order of their Edgar victories) Margaret Millar’s Beast in View, Charlotte Armstrong’s A Dram of Poison, Ed Lacy’s Room to Swing, and one of my favorite private-eye novels, Stanley Ellin’s The Eighth Circle. You should be able to keep track of all Criminal Element’s Edgar posts here.

Concurrently, New York City bookstore owner, anthologist, and critic Otto Penzler is re-examining—for CrimeReads—what he maintains are the 107 “Greatest Crime Films of All-Time.” First up was Sleuth (1972), followed shortly by A Shot in the Dark (1964), Seven (1995), Dead End (1937), No Country for Old Men (2007), and Foreign Correspondent (1940). Only 101 selections to go, and I’m expecting to read about—and be enticed to see—more movies I haven’t already watched. Click here to find all of Penzler’s picks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Leftys Honor Writing

Organizers of Left Coast Crime 2019, “Whale of a Crime,” the convention scheduled to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, from March 28 to 31, today announced their nominees in four different categories of Lefty Awards. They are:

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel:
Mardi Gras Murder, by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane)
Hollywood Ending, by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
Nighttown, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime)
Death al Fresco, by Leslie Karst (Crooked Lane)
The Spirit in Question, by Cynthia Kuhn (Henery Press)
Scot Free, by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial), for books covering events before 1960:
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, by Rhys Bowen
(Berkeley Prime Crime)
The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday,
by David Corbett (Black Opal)
Island of the Mad, by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
A Dying Note, by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press)
It Begins in Betrayal, by Iona Whishaw (Touchwood Editions)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel:
Broken Places, by Tracy Clark (Kensington)
Cobra Clutch, by A.J. Devlin (NeWest Press)
The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn (Morrow)
A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder,
by Dianne Freeman (Kensington)
What Doesn’t Kill You, by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Deadly Solution, by Keenan Powell (Level Best)
Give Out Creek, by J.G. Toews (Mosaic Press)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories):
November Road, by Lou Berney (Morrow)
Wrong Light, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview)
Kingdom of the Blind, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Under a Dark Sky, by Lori Rader-Day (Morrow)
A Reckoning in the Back Country, by Terry Shames (Seventh Street)
A Stone’s Throw, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)

According to a press release, “The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday, March 30 …” This year’s Guests of Honor are authors C.J. Box and Maureen Jennings, with William Deverell to be honored as the Local Legend.

Still a Source of Macabre Curiosity

It was 72 years ago today, on January 15, 1947, that the victim of one of the most notorious unsolved murders in the long history of Los Angeles, California, was discovered. She was a 22-year-old New England-born waitress, Elizabeth Short, who is best remembered by a nickname of disputed provenance: the Black Dahlia.

I wrote about her slaying and the subsequent decades of its mythologizing two years ago on this page, in association with the 70th anniversary of the crime. More recently, though, retired Los Angeles Times reporter Larry Harnisch has been revisiting Short’s case and the all-too-frequently flawed record of its details in his L.A. history blog, The Daily Mirror. Here, for instance, Harnisch cites “five obvious errors” made by modern writers attempting to recall that case. In two other posts—here and here—he considers the question, “Are There Any Good Books on the Black Dahlia Case?” His conclusion: “No. But there are a lot of really, really bad ones and you should avoid them all or you will just have to unlearn everything. And your head may explode from all the nonsense.” Meanwhile, in a couple of other blog posts—accessible here and here—Harnisch considers a parallel query: “Are There Any Good Black Dahlia Sites on the Internet?” Again, it’s probably best to lower your expectations. And in this post, Harnisch debunks talk of Short having met her death at the hands of physician George H. Hodel, a theory promulgated by Hodel’s own son, Steve, in his 2003 book, Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder.

Harnisch is said to be working on his own history of the Black Dahlia. We can only to see it before too much more time has passed.

READ MORE:January 15, 1947: A Werewolf on the Loose,” by Joan Renner (Deranged L.A. Crimes).

Monday, January 14, 2019

Perry, P.I.?

It seems that 44-year-old Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, who starred in the period spy drama The Americans, is in line to become television’s next Perry Mason. The Hollywood Reporter says he’ll step into the polished shoes originally reserved for Robert Downey Jr., who had long hoped to portray Erle Stanley Gardner’s phenomenally successful Los Angeles defense attorney on the small screen, but had to bow out of the opportunity due to a packed schedule of conflicting obligations. Downey will, nonetheless, “remain on board as an executive producer on the [HBO] series,” according to the Reporter.

Now for the bad news: HBO plans to turn Mason into a figure more akin to Philip Marlowe, or Paul Drake, than to Gardner’s famously sly and savvy counselor-at-law. Again, from the Reporter:
... HBO’s Perry Mason will follow the character at a time in his life when he is living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator. Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and is suffering the effects of a broken marriage. …

Here's the official logline, from HBO: “1932, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.”
Well, it’s true that Mason was more physical, fast-fisted, and daring in his younger days, more of a pulp hero than he became in Gardner’s later books. He wasn’t above punching a guy who dared to threaten his clever secretary, Della Street, and in one story leapt from window sill to window sill of a tall building in an effort to advance his defense of a client. “And, in a supreme moment of confidence,” Otto Penzler wrote in his 1977 history, The Private Lives of Private Eyes, Spies, Crime Fighters and Other Good Guys, “he stands his ground and stares down a gorilla which has just attacked him.” (The reference there is to 1952’s The Case of the Grinning Gorilla.)

But is it really necessary to turn Mason into a gumshoe in order to reintroduce him to modern TV audiences? I object!

READ MORE:Matthew Rhys Will Star in HBO’s Perry Mason Remake,” by Josef Adalian (Vulture/New York).

Death in Alaska’s Jewish Sanctuary

Since I greatly enjoyed the 2007 detective novel that serves as this coming program’s inspiration, I look forward to seeing the results of CBS’ efforts. From In Reference to Murder:
CBS TV Studios is developing a TV series project based on Michael Chabon’s alternative history book, [The] Yiddish Policemen’s Union. The story follows Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Europe who found unlikely refuge on the Alaskan panhandle. In the present day of this world, Homicide Detective Meyer Landsman must overcome the shambles of his broken life and marriage to solve a mysterious murder with profound political and religious ramifications.
Deadline Hollywood says Chabon will executive produce the series, along with his wife, Ayelet Waldman. It adds: “The project will be taken out shortly to premium cable and streaming networks.”

Sunday, January 13, 2019

PaperBack: “Congo Song”

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

Congo Song, by Stuart Cloete (Monarch Giants, 1958).
Cover illustration by Harry Schaare.

Delight or Disappointment?

Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, HBO will premiere the third season of its Nic Pizzolatto-created anthology crime series, True Detective, and reviews have been rather mixed. Vox, for instance, has this to say:
In many ways, season three feels like season one with the latter’s more idiosyncratic edges sanded off. There are hints of some terrible horror lurking in the heart of Southern rural America (in this case via the form of strange dolls that keep turning up at the scenes of children’s murders and disappearances). There's a fascination with how systemic corruption approaches the level of Lovecraftian horror. There are long, philosophical ramblings in cop cars. …

But season three is bolstered by centralizing just one character instead of a duo. As Wayne Hays, Mahershala Ali commands the story’s center—he’s the one character who is consistently presented across all three timelines—and creates a mesmerizing portrait of a man cracking apart under his glimpses at true inhumanity.
Meanwhile, the entertainment Web site Collider opines:
Each episode ends with a very fine cliffhanger, but the overall pace is slow and rich, building an interesting, layered, and very personal story. The turning points of the case aren’t dragged out—there’s no time, so the narrative dolls things out at a reasonable pace—and T Bone Burnett’s soundtrack is again a perfect, twangy accompaniment that sets a gloomy, uneasy mood. It may not be as arresting or iconic as the first season, but time is a flat circle. True Detective has come back around with a true return to form.
(Collider has also posted a good interview with series creator Nic Pizzolatto and star Mahershala Ali, which you can enjoy here.)

Finally, Salon’s Melanie McFarland serves up some contrary views:
Laced throughout these new “True Detective” episodes are replays of first season details, down to the creepy sculptures left by crime scenes; this time it’s corn husk dolls instead of sticks held together with mud and hair and who knows what else.

The plot’s framework may be a retread, but those who kept the faith through the three-and-a-half-year gap between the disastrous season 2 and this new story may be heartened by its intentional recall to the [Matthew] McConaughey-[Woody] Harrelson chapter. If this is Pizzolatto asking for a do-over, Ali’s smolder lends the writer enough currency to buy at least a few hours of patience.

But from there it’s hard to definitively characterize this season as more of a success than the season it resembles most.

Mind you, one lesson Pizzolatto seems to have learned (somewhat) is that he’s given the piece at least one woman who is a fully realized human being and not simply a cipher waiting to be completed or broken by a male hero, or a female character who might as well be a guy, as Rachel McAdams played her role in season 2.

Ali and [Carmen] Ejogo [who plays his school teacher wife] have stronger chemistry here than Ali and [Stephen] Dorff [who appears as his partner, Roland West], and that seems to be a purposeful choice and, given Dorff’s more limited dramatic range, the right one.

But this is still Nic Pizzolatto after all, which means the other significant female role, that of Mamie Gummer’s Lucy Purcell, is a screaming harpy who, in one scene, declares that she knows she has the “soul of a whore.” And maybe that wouldn’t be so vexing from another auteur creator. A better one wouldn’t make Ali sell a recollection’s permanence by explaining he remembers the date the kids went missing because it happened on the same day Steve McQueen died. I’m not saying that note is implausible, but that regardless of how smoothly Ali delivers that line it might as well be spilling out of Pizzolatto’s mouth; in the context of the series, it's a too-obvious flourish of ersatz cool.

At the very least Ali’s muscular performance, and that of Scoot McNairy as the bereaved father of the missing kids, earn the show a little more rope at the end of each episode.

Nevertheless it’s tough to shake the sense that the third outing for “True Detective” could leave us with as much of a contentment gap as the close of the Rusty and Marty chronicles. Circling back is a fine plan, especially given the amount of time that has gone by. But if the action spins off into nothing again at the end of this Lazarus act, and after so much hype, I suspect fewer people will be jonesing to re-open the case again.
Let us know what you think of the new True Detective after you’ve had a chance to screen and consider Episode 1.

READ MORE:True Detective: The Crucial Literary Allusions You Might Have Missed in the Premiere,” by Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair); “Review: True Detective (S3 E1&2),” by Andy D. (The Killing Times).

Friday, January 11, 2019

Puzzling Out Mysteries

Back in early December of last year, I submitted to CrimeReads an assigned piece about Dell Books’ Murder Ink/Scene of the Crime series from the 1980s. Thanks to the subsequent holiday hoopla, however, it’s only today that the piece has finally been posted.

What, you don’t remember Dell’s series? It consisted of mystery-fiction paperback reprints, and was launched in the fall of 1980. As I explain in my piece, the project was steered by a pair of then-well-known bookstore proprietors: “Carol Brener, who owned the landmark Murder Ink bookshop, established in 1972 on New York City’s Upper West Side, and Ruth Windfeldt, the proprietor of Scene of the Crime, another popular haunt for mystery-fiction enthusiasts, opened in 1975 in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles. Each of those women was asked to pick half a dozen titles every year—all of which had previously appeared in hardcover—that they believed deserved reprinting.”

Although the line lasted only a few years, it drew considerable attention with the quality of its cozy-ish selections, which included Sheila Radley’s Death in the Morning, A.A. Milne’s The Red House Mystery, Mignon Warner’s The Tarot Murders, and Robert Barnard’s Death on the High C’s. But the books were also recognized for their distinctive, uniform design. “[T]he fronts of these works were principally white,” I write, “with single jigsaw puzzle pieces positioned below the author’s byline and the book’s title. The gimmick was that those oddly configured fragments fit into fuller illustrations on the backsides of the books (though they were usually enlarged for easier readability). So you had to flip each volume over not only to read the plot précis, but to appreciate the complete artwork.”

My shelves still contain a few dozen of the Murder Ink/Scene of the Crime titles, and while researching this piece, I managed to speak with several people who were involved on the editorial and art side of the project. Again, you’ll find my full CrimeReads piece here.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Revue of Reviewers, 1-10-19

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

Turton Collects a Costa

Here’s a news item I missed, but which B.V. Lawson has thankfully incorporated into her latest “Mystery Melange” post:
Stuart Turton has won the [2018] Costa First Novel Award for
his debut,
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. The crime novel has been sold in 20 territories to date and has been optioned for TV. The Costa Book Awards honor some of the most outstanding books of the year written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.
British writer Turton’s novel was retitled The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle in the States. It’s due out in paperback come May.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have a quite late entry in the “best crime fiction of 2018” series that’s been rolling out online since October. Gravetapping’s Ben Boulden has finally announced his picks. They include Joe Ide’s Wrecked, Helene Tursten’s An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, and the reprint of Ralph Dennis’ The Charleston Knife Is Back in Town, “the second outing for former disgraced Atlanta police officer and unlicensed P.I. Jim Hardman.” Meanwhile, Richard Robinson applauds a variety of books—not all of them crime and mystery fiction, or even new. Among his selections: Louise Penny’s Kingdom of the Blind, Matt Goldman’s Broken Ice, and Reavis Z. Wortham’s Hawke’s Prey.

Moving past 2018, CrimeReads editors have compiled a lengthy list of the crime, mystery, and thriller works they believe we should all be hankering to read over the next 12 months. Click here to find Part I, which includes mentions of Un-Su Kim’s The Plotters, Peter Robinson’s Careless Love, Craig Russell’s The Devil Aspect, Philip Kerr’s Metropolis, Alice Feeney’s I Know Who You Are, James Ellroy’s This Storm, Denise Mina’s Conviction, and Laura Lippman’s Lady in the Lake. Part II has yet to be published.

The Millions offers its own list of early 2019 must-reads, featuring a handful of works with appeal to crime-fiction fans. Mentioned are Lauren Wilkinson’s American Spy, Miriam Toews’ Women Talking, and Furious Hours, by Casey Cep, about Harper Lee’s long-ago efforts to “write her own true-crime story à la In Cold Blood.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Favorite Crime Fiction of 2018,
Part IV: Ali Karim

Ali Karim is The Rap Sheet’s longtime British correspondent, a contributing editor of January Magazine, and the assistant editor of Shots. In addition, he writes for Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine, Crimespree, and Mystery Readers International.

Gallows Court, by Martin Edwards (Head of Zeus):
Don’t let the early 20th-century backdrop fool you: this yarn from Crime Writers Association (CWA) chair Martin Edwards isn’t the comforting historical novel suggested by its cover. In fact, Gallows Court is a thriller that explores—with a contemporary eye—the darkest elements of human nature. Its narrative starts with a terse diary entry from 1919, written by a girl living on a remote island in the Irish Sea, recording the loss of her parents, allegedly killed by the Spanish flu. But little is as it seems in the journal excerpts peppered throughout this novel—and that includes Rachel Savernake, a brilliantly enigmatic figure who becomes central to the diarist’s continuing entries. Now jump ahead to London in 1930, where we are introduced to young and ambitious reporter Jacob Flint. He works for the Clarion newspaper, and has been promoted to head the crime desk after his chief is—much to Flint’s shock, though also to his career benefit—hurt in a Pall Mall-area automobile accident. There has recently been a series of murders in the city, terrible crimes delivering sometimes karmic justice, and Flint leaps upon that story. Integral to it may be the aforementioned Rachel Savernake, the well-heeled daughter of a notorious hanging judge (“Savernake of the Scaffold”), who’s established herself as an altogether sagacious amateur crime solver—though she’s often found a little too near her chosen quarry. Flint’s trajectory soon leads him into close contact with Savernake, like a moth drawn to the luminosity of a flame. His investigation links him as well to an innocent-seeming illusionist, who has attracted his eye and may be in need of his protection, and to a mysterious gentlemen’s club housed in the Gallows Court of Edwards’ title. Although this author (known for his Harry Devlin legal thrillers, as well as his Lake District mysteries) has long delivered thought-provoking, evocative fiction, little prepares the reader for the suspense or grim revelations this story features. I am delighted to hear from publisher Head of Zeus that Edwards is at work on a follow-up to Gallows Court, which may again find Rachel Savernake at large.

A Noise Downstairs, by Linwood Barclay (Morrow):
Barclay’s work grows more intriguing with each novel, and A Noise Downstairs is decidedly strange. Protagonist Paul Davis is a college professor with a relatively normal life. One night, though, while he’s wheeling home, he spots a colleague, Kenneth Hoffman, driving erratically, and decides to follow him. When Hoffman finally stops, Davis gets out to lend assistance—only to discover his fellow academic extracting the bodies of two deceased women from his trunk. A struggle ensues, during which Davis is struck in the head with a shovel. Hoffman is subsequently apprehended and incarcerated, while Davis ends up in the hospital. Even after his release, Davis isn’t OK. He battles post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and memory problems, and has trouble at work. In an effort to exorcise his memories of that awful evening, and with his therapist’s acquiescence, Davis decides to research Hoffman’s background as a serial killer. His real-estate agent wife, Charlotte, even buys him an antique Underwood typewriter to encourage his efforts. But things don’t go well. Davis is convinced he hears the typewriter keys clacking away at odd hours of the night, as if the old black machine is possessed. But only he can hear it, and fears he’s losing his mind. He fears, too, that the Underwood may once have belonged to a murderer who forced his victims to type apologies to him before he took their lives. As in all of Barclay’s stories, it’s the characters—Hoffman, Davis’ ex-wife, and his therapist, among them—who bring the mystery to life in A Noise Downstairs. You cannot trust all you see, or in this case hear, as this story rushes toward its truly unexpected denouement.

Skyjack, by K.J. Howe (Quercus):
Kimberly Howe’s full-throttle follow-up to 2017’s The Freedom Broker finds the resourceful Thea Paris, a kidnap and ransom expert with Quantum Security International, on her way back to London. With her are her colleague, Rif Asker, and a couple of traumatized orphan brothers turned child-soldiers, who are scheduled to be placed with adoptive parents. Despite her issues with heights, Thea and her team think they have everything pretty much in hand—until the charter jet they’re riding in is hijacked by the pilot (who locks his cockpit) and rerouted to the Libyan desert. Howe—who’s the executive director of International Thriller Writers (ITW), in addition to being a novelist—offers little baggage here in the way of back story, instead crafting this adventure as if it were a standalone. Only after the plane touches down does Thea realize who’s behind their detour: Prospero Salvatore, a character without whom she’s had previous dealings. He tells Thea that before he will turn the plane and its passengers loose, the Quantum team must go to Budapest and engage in a deeply troubling mission to nab a truckload of Syrian refugees. The reason for this demand is not initially clear, but it apparently relates to a secret society in Austria, led by the father of one Johann Dietrich, that is determined to rid the world of anyone with a Middle Eastern heritage. In terms of theme, Skyjack reminds me of another sophomore work, Frederick Forsyth’s The Odessa File (1972), in which secret societies that date from our past hide in the shadows of contemporary times. Anxiety and action are Skyjack’s driving forces, but Howe also introduces engaging characters, especially Johann Dietrich, who is torn between his girlfriend, Fatima Abboud, and his hate-filled father. Howe has crafted an excellent read for anyone, except perhaps passengers looking to relax on Middle East-bound flights.

Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion):
This fourth and latest of Cavanagh’s legal thrillers (following 2017’s The Lair)—once more starring con man-turned-attorney Eddie Flynn—may also be his most surreal, boasting the most intriguing premise for a courtroom drama that I’ve read in some while. The tale commences with Flynn becoming involved in the defense of Bobby Solomon, a young Hollywood star accused of killing his wife, Ariella Bloom, and his security man, Carl Tozier. The pair were found naked on a bed in Solomon’s New York City apartment, and evidence seems to single out Solomon as their slayer. At first, Flynn is skeptical about taking part in this case; but a piece of evidence makes him wonder whether Solomon is in fact innocent. The yarn’s point of view alternates between Flynn, who works his contacts in the courtroom and local law enforcement, and the actual murderer … who contrives to win a place for himself on Solomon’s jury of 12. How he achieves that is remarkably imaginative and elegantly woven into the narrative. There are abundant tense and suspenseful moments in Thirteen that will have readers reaching for the Xanax, but also some welcome dark wit. And Cavanagh’s exploration of the mind of a psychopath brings out human dimensions that lesser fictionists might never have found. By all rights, this should be Irish lawyer-turned-crime writer Steve Cavanaugh’s breakthrough novel, a blindingly fast read that I guarantee will linger in memory longer than most thrillers. A U.S. edition of Thirteen is due for release this coming August.

Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Mulholland):
Yes, I know most people enjoyed this novel when it was first published last year, but I didn’t get around to it until 2018. Locke’s extraordinary book, her fourth after Pleasantville (2015), follows Ian Fleming’s recipe for a best-seller: “you simply have to turn the page.” Yet it also forces the reader to think deeply about the world—what’s changed, and what demonstrably has not. The story’s pivot is Darren Matthews, a Texas Ranger and law-school dropout who’s battling demons both in his marriage and at the bottom of liquor bottles. While on suspension from his job—the result of irregularities in a case involving a murdered member of the racist group ABT (Aryan Brotherhood of Texas)—he’s convinced to help investigate a couple of slayings in the small East Texas town of Lark (population 178). The corpses of Chicago attorney Michael Wright and a local waitress, Missy Dale, have been pulled free from a bayou. Wright was African American, while Dale was white, immediately raising suspicions that these atrocities were racially motivated. Matthews comes to the aid of Wright’s estranged wife, placing him on the wrong side of some influential people in Lark and forcing him to examine the bigotry that still simmers under some corners of American society and today claims a voice in the Oval Office. Locke employs the familiar trappings of thriller fiction to offer social commentary, but she takes care not to turn Bluebird, Bluebird into a diatribe against modern racism. Like Sidney Poitier in the big-screen version of John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night, Darren Matthews’ presence in Lark is far from welcome. Local ranks close tightly against him as long-concealed secrets threaten to reveal themselves. The story’s pace is measured, as powers-that-be seek to avoid accepting a racial motive for the killings. In the end, Bluebird, Bluebird disturbs at the same time it entertains. That combination has proved to be more than a little powerful, winning Locke’s book the CWA’s 2018 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger as well as the Anthony Award and Edgar Award for Best Novel of the Year.

Bagging a Fresh Bagley

In the latest edition of his column for Shots, “Getting Away with Murder,” Mike Ripley reports that this coming May will bring forth a new novel by British journalist and thriller writer Desmond Bagley. More than 35 years since his death in 1983, writes Ripley,
a previously unpublished novel will finally see the light of day. It was a novel which started out as a “classic whodunit” under the working title Because Salton Died, and its long journey to publication involved a fair amount of detective work by researcher Philip Eastwood who runs, editor Michael Davies and publisher David Brawn, all of whom, needless to say, are Bagley fans.

Philip Eastwood discovered the first draft manuscript of
Because Salton Died among the Bagley papers deposited in the Howard Gotlieb Archive at Boston University in America and, on the title page, a plea from the author: “if you can think of a better [title], please do.”

It was written in 1971 following a period of “writer’s block” not helped by a brief, but salutary experience in Hollywood where he was invited to write a screenplay of one of his most popular thrillers,
Running Blind. He was to say later that “Everything you have read about Hollywood is true” and that it had been “a poor experience.” Possibly to exorcise his Hollywood demons, Bagley opted to write a whodunit rather than one of his trademark adventure thrillers, but thankfully you cannot keep a good thriller-writer down and the basic mystery plot of how and why property magnate David Salton died on the formerly British Caribbean island of Campanilla develops into a vintage Bagley scenario of siege, jeopardy and explosive action.
Ripley says Domino Island—which can be “pre-ordered” here—“will not disappoint hard-core Bagley fans. It will bring new readers who appreciate straightforward, honest story-telling, to his backlist.”

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Enlarging My Reading Circle

While this hardly seems possible, it has now been a full decade since I began keeping a record of the authors whose work I read for the first time each year. In the past, the number of such “discoveries” has varied with each 12-month period, from a high of 47 in 2015, down to a low of 30 in 2009. But never has it been as meager as my count for 2018: just 29 works by new wordsmiths to add to my lifetime inventory.

The cause of this decline is easy to pinpoint, and nothing to trigger alarm bells. For business reasons as well as by capricious personal preference, I tackled an abnormally large number of books this year by authors I’d previously enjoyed. One example: In order to compose a (forthcoming) column for Down & Out: The Magazine, I pored through all nine of the novels in Erle Stanley Gardner’s frequently overlooked series starring Douglas Selby, the scrappy district attorney for fictional Madison County, California, who was introduced in 1937’s The D.A. Calls It Murder. On behalf of CrimeReads, I re-read a variety of books featuring Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe, but written by authors other than his creator, Raymond Chandler. And again for Down & Out, I relished Stanley Ellin’s four gumshoe narratives, from 1958’s The Eighth Circle (which I’d savored before) and The Bind (a sometimes grim but remarkable yarn from 1970) to his two cases for John Anthony Milano: Star Light, Star Bright (1979) and The Dark Fantastic (1983).

In addition, this year found me wading back into the familiar oeuvres of John O’Hara (Butterfield 8), Frank Tallis (Mephisto Waltz), Walter Mosley (Down the River Unto the Sea), Laura Lippman (Sunburn), Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Killing Town), Tana French (The Witch Elm), Charles Frazier (Varina), Sujata Massey (The Widows of a Malabar Hill), Peter May (I’ll Keep You Safe), Jim Kelly (The Great Darkness), and … well, this list could go on and on; I read more than 75 books this year, and hope to up that tally over the next twelvemonth, as I shall have cause to critique a greater-than-normal quantity of shorter, vintage crime-fiction paperbacks in 2019.

So which authors were new to me in 2018? Let’s begin with the novelists, listed below. Debut works are boldfaced. Asterisks denote works of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

• Suzanne Arruda (Mark of the Lion)*
• Alex Beer (The Second Rider)*
Edna Buchanan (Contents Under Pressure)*
Rory Clements (Corpus)*
• Ralph Dennis (Atlanta Deathwatch)*
• Dominick Donald (Breathe)*
• Christopher Huang
(A Gentleman’s Murder)*

Marie Belloc Lowndes (The Lodger)*
Mike Lupica
(Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud)*
David Mamet (Chicago)
Richard Matheson
(The Best of Richard Matheson)
William P. McGivern (Night Extra)*
• Dervla McTiernan (The Ruin)*
William F. Nolan (The Marble Orchard)*
Lawrence Osbourne (Only to Sleep)*
Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews (The Misadventures of
Ellery Queen
• Thomas Polsky (Curtains for the Editor)*
• Elizabeth Speller (The Return of Captain John Emmett)*
• Scott Von Doviak (Charlesgate Confidential)*
James W. Ziskin (A Stone’s Throw)*

If I were reading purely for pleasure and enlightenment every year, I would find myself absorbed in a greater array of non-fiction books—especially history—than I do at present. However, my 2018 record of fact-based volumes by writers with whom I was previously unacquainted at least exceeds 2017’s count of five.

• Kate Winkler Dawson (Death in the Air: The True Story of a Serial Killer, the Great London Smog, and the Strangling of a City)
Margalit Fox (Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer)
Walter Isaacson (Leonardo da Vinci)
Noah Isenberg (We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie)
Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James (The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery)
Jon Meacham (The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels)
• William Oldfield and Victoria Bruce (Inspector Oldfield and the Black Hand Society: America's Original Gangsters and the U.S. Postal Detective who Brought Them to Justice)
• A. Brad Schwartz (Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News)
Pete Souza (Obama: An Intimate Portrait)

Those, then, are my author discoveries for last year. How about you? Which writers did you have the privilege of sampling for the first time in 2018? I hope you’ll let everyone know by dropping a note into the Comments section at the end of this post.

Who’d Be Invited to His Party?

Although Arthur Conan Doyle never announced Sherlock Holmes’ birthdate in his stories about him, scholars have since reasoned—not without dispute—that he was born on January 6, 1854. Were he still alive (presuming he ever actually existed), he would be blowing out 165 birthday candles today—perhaps too challenging an endeavor, even for a consulting detective so durable and distinguished.

We’re Not Yet Done with 2018

New Year’s Day has come and gone, but the critical choices for “best crime fiction of 2018” continue to roll in.

MysteryPeople’s Scott Montgomery reveals his 10 favorites, which include Martin Limón’s The Line, William Boyle’s The Lonely Witness, and Ken Bruen’s In the Galway Silence. David Nemeth, author of the blog Unlawful Acts, names Chris Offut’s Country Dark as his “Book of the Year,” but also gives thumbs-up to J.J. Hensley’s Bolt Action Remedy, Joe Clifford’s Broken Ground, Patricia Abbott’s I Bring Sorrow, and other works. On their resource site, Stop, You’re Killing Me!, Lucinda Surber and Stan Ulrich select their 30 preferred crime- and mystery-fiction debut novels from last year. Author-blogger Dana King sings the praises of works new and old, including Tom Pitts’ 101, Johnny Shaw’s Plaster City, and Joseph Wambaugh’s 1975 novel, The Choirboys. Aussie blogger Kerrie Smith picks 25 books as her “best reads in 2018.” Of the 101 (!) books Rob Kitchin consumed last year, he offers particular applause to 10 of them. In order to develop his “Best in Print” rundown,. C.J. Bunce of the Borg blog draws largely from the fields of science fiction and comic books, but he names Killing Town, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins, as “Best Retro Read” of 2018, and Hard Case Crime’s reprint of Donald E. Westlake’s Help, I Am Being Held Prisoner as his “Most Fun Read of the Year.”

Meanwhile, Gravetapping’s Ben Boulden identifies his favorite mystery short stories of 2018; and Will Errickson names his top eight horror-fiction reads of last year. Sandra Seamans rounds up the state of crime-fiction short-story markets over the last 12 months. And check out Art of the Title’s list of what it says were the top 10 movie and TV main title sequences in 2018, which features the “exhilarating” opening from the German boob-tube series Babylon Berlin.

READ MORE:2018: It’s a Wrap,” by Guy Savage (His Futile His
Futile Preoccupations …).

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Dame Nation

Today brings a conclusion to Killer Covers’ latest iteration of its “Twelve Dames of Christmas” celebration, tied to the annual Twelve Days of Christmas (December 25-January 5). It’s been more than a bit of fun rolling out all dozen distinctive book fronts. You can catch up on any you missed simply by clicking here.

Friday, January 04, 2019

PaperBack: “Kill the Beloved”

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

Kill the Beloved, by Lane Kauffmann (Lion, 1956). This novel was originally published in 1954 under the title The Perfectionist, and in 1956 won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Cover illustration by Charles Copeland.

Remembering Garfield and Langton

Much to my chagrin, the recent holiday rush caused a delay in my observing the deaths of two people prominent in the world of mystery and crime fiction. First off, of course, was Brian Garfield, who passed away on December 29 at age 79 “after a battle with Parkinson's disease,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Although he produced a wide variety of books, including crime novels, Westerns, and volumes of non-fiction, he may still be best remembered for giving the world 1972’s Death Wish, which was made into a film two years later starring Charles Bronson. The Reporter explains:
Garfield was the author of more than 70 books that sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, and 19 of his works were made into films or TV shows. …

Brian Francis Wynne Garfield was born in New York City on Jan. 26, 1939. He was the son of Frances O’Brien, a protégé of Georgia O
Keeffe; the famed artist introduced his mother to her future husband, George Garfield.

He grew up in Arizona “accustomed to having writers around the house,” he said, and wrote his first book, a Western titled
Range Justice, when he was 18.

In the 1950s, Garfield toured with The Palisades, a group that recorded the doo-wop song “I Can’t Quit.” He also attended the University of Arizona and served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserves from 1957-65.

Garfield's 1969 non-fiction book
The Thousand-Mile War: World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction. And according to his literary agency, John Grisham credited Garfield’s article “Ten Rules for Suspense Fiction” with “giving him the tools” to create The Firm.

He also served as president of the Western Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.
I confess to never having read Death Wish or Garfield’s 1975 sequel, Death Sentence. However, there are several other of this author’s works on my bookshelves, thoroughly enjoyable fare such as Hopscotch (1975), The Paladin, (1979), and Manifest Destiny (1989). If you aren’t yet familiar with Garfield’s storytelling, check out some of The Mysterious Press’ brief plot synopses here.

* * *

Jane Langton is gone, as well. While she wrote a number of children’s books over the years, it was for her crime fiction that Rap Sheet readers are most likely to recognize this prolific Boston-born author. As Mystery Scene’s Brian Skupin recalled, “For over 40 years, Jane Langton’s mysteries about Homer Kelly, a homicide detective turned Harvard professor, have delighted fans with their wide-ranging erudition, intriguing characters, gentle humor, acute sense of place, social conscience, and charming illustrations.”

The first of Langton’s 18 Kelly novels was 1964’s The Transcendental Murder (aka The Minuteman Murder); the last was Steeplechase (2005). The series’ fifth entry, Emily Dickinson Is Dead, captured the 1984 Nero Wolfe Award (given out by the New York-based Nero Wolfe Society) and was nominated for an Edgar Award. Just last year, Langton received the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award. Mystery Fanfare offers a bit more information about her career here.

The New York Times reports that Langton “died on [December 22] in hospice care near her home in Lincoln, Mass. She was 95.”

READ MORE:Metaphysical Coincidence: Brian Garfield, 1939-2018,” by Fred Fitch (The Westlake Review).

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Early Rivals for Our Reading Attention

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore, primarily because I have so often failed to keep them. Like the many times I’ve sworn to drop 10 or 15 pounds—major progress toward recapturing my youthful physique—only to recognize 12 months later that nary an ounce has been shed toward my goal. Or the year I promised myself that I’d finally buckle down and write a substantive chunk of the crime novel I had been thinking about for so long … only to determine after a few months that, while I had penned some terrific scenes, the central plot line wasn’t yet strong enough to hold them all together.

If I were of a mind to declare a resolution for 2019, though, it would definitely be to make some hard choices regarding my book collection. I’ve already moved houses once in order to accommodate my expanding library; I don’t want to have to do that again. But I am seriously behind in finding space for books. I have already had to transfer my vintage crime and mystery volumes, as well as my respectable assortment of science-fiction works, to boxes in my ever-warm furnace room, and have relocated most of my non-fiction books from my office-library to my bedroom and sitting room to make space for new crime novels. Theoretically, I could install more bookcases in my hallways, or dispense with the dishes cluttering up my kitchen cupboards in order to accommodate more books … but I fear that might not go over so well with my wife. So I shall refrain from anything so drastic. At least for the present.

The problem is that not only do the public mails bring me piles of new, free books each week, sent by publishers (and occasionally authors themselves) hoping for favorable reviews, but I am willing to purchase additional works simply for personal entertainment. If I were more brutal about letting go of books after I’ve savored their riches, this arrangement might be OK. But I have a history of keeping everything I read and enjoy. Overcoming that tendency is by no means easy, but as I find my freedom to move about my office inhibited by minor mountain ranges of hardcover and paperback texts, my determination to act is growing. I often donate boxes of advance reading copies and finished books to the Seattle Public Library system, but those are usually publications I didn’t request in the first place. Any effort to open up significant real estate on my shelves will require my culling out works that I once valued, but that don’t mean as much to me as some others, and that I am not as likely to reread or find the need to reference in the future. Does that mean I should dispense with books that I’ve held onto for some time, thinking they might be up my alley, but haven’t yet read? Or should I give up complete collections of works by certain authors, satisfied with the memory of having once delighted in their company, but doubtful of my need to pick them up again?

And even when I resolve how to deal with books already in my possession, I am left with the quandary of what to do with new works flying through my mail slot every day.

Recently, I sat down to make a list of potentially interesting crime, mystery, and thriller novels set to be ushered into print over the next three months—and came up with more than 325 titles! Obviously, I cannot hope to digest all of those, but a considerable number will find their way into my hands, begging for attention.

In January, alone, we can expect to welcome works by Charles Todd, Lyndsay Faye, Thomas Perry, Fiona Barton, Lawrence Block (a new Matt Scudder novella!), Emma Kavanagh, James Lee Burke, C.J. Sansom, Steph Broadribb, and Gerald Seymour. By the time they’ve become comfortable on bookstore shelves, they will be joined by the third volume in Don Winslow’s Cartel series, The Border (February); an Australia-set standalone by Jane Harper, The Lost Man (February); Bill Crider’s final Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery, That Old Scoundrel Death (Febuary); The Mathematical Bridge (February), Jim Kelly’s second World War II-era novel starring light-sensitive Detective Inspector Eden Brooke; Jacqueline Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs novel, The American Agent (March); a new thriller from Brad Parks, The Last Act (March); the third case for Captain Sam Wyndham and his Indian sidekick Surrender-Not Banerjee, in Abir Mukherjee’s Smoke and Ashes (March); Alex Gray’s The Stalker (March), bringing back Glasgow-based Detective Superintendent William Lorimer; another adventure for Mike Hammer—Murder, My Love (March), by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; a debut psychological thriller by Vanessa Savage, The Woman in the Dark (March); one more Hap and Leonard novel from Joe R. Lansdale, The Elephant of Surprise (March); James Runcie’s prequel to his Sidney Chambers series, The Road to Grantchester (March); and half a dozen not-quite-forgotten works (by Ellery Queen, Charlotte Armstrong, Erle Stanley Gardner, and others) being resurrected as part of Otto Penzler’s American Mystery Classics series. Search the list below, as well, for coming yarns by Charles Cumming, Steph Post, Stephen Mack Jones, Peter May, Elizabeth Elo, Guy Bolton, Elly Griffiths, Rory Clements, Peter Robinson, Donna Leon, and Hideo Yokoyama.

Maybe moving into yet another new house, with more room for bookshelves, is my only hope, after all …

The following books are due out on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean between now and April Fool’s Day. Those marked with an asterisk (*) are non-fiction, but should appeal to Rap Sheet readers; the remainder are novels and collections of short stories. If you still need help choosing what to read in this new year, click on over to Euro Crime or The Bloodstained Bookshelf.

Amsterdam Noir, edited by René Appel and Josh Pachter (Akashic)
An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
(St. Martin’s Press)
As Long As We Both Shall Live, by JoAnn Chaney (Flatiron)
The Au Pair, by Emma Rous (Berkley)
The Belting Inheritance, by Julian Symons (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Black Ascot, by Charles Todd (Morrow)
Bones Behind the Wheel, by E.J. Cooperman (Crooked Lane)
The Break Line, by James Brabazon (Berkley)
The Burglar, by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)
The Crooked Street, by Brian Freeman (Thomas & Mercer)
The Current, by Tim Johnston (Algonquin)
Dark Streets, Cold Suburbs, by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Daughter of War, by Brad Taylor (Dutton)
The Death Messenger, by Mari Hannah (Minotaur)
Down Among the Jocks, by Ralph Dennis (Brash)
The Drowning, by J.P. Smith (Sourcebooks Landmark)
The Fire Court, by Andrew Taylor (HarperCollins)
The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch (Flatiron)*
First, Kill the Lawyers, by David Housewright (Minotaur)
The Frangipani Tree Mystery, by Ovidia Yu (Constable)
Freedom Road, by William Lashner (Thomas & Mercer)
Freefall, by Jessica Barry (Harper)
Girls of Glass, by Brianna Labuskes (Thomas & Mercer)
Golden State, by Ben H. Winters (Mulholland)
The Golden Tresses of the Dead, by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press)
Gone by Midnight, by Candice Fox (Century)
The Guilt We Carry, by Samuel W. Gailey (Oceanview)
The Hanging Psalm, by Chris Nickson (Severn House)
The Hangman’s Secret, by Laura Joh Rowland (Crooked Lane)
Heat Wave, by Maureen Jennings (DCB)
Her One Mistake, by Heidi Perks (Gallery)
In a House of Lies, by Ian Rankin (Little, Brown)
Invisible, by Andrew Grant (Ballantine)
Judgment, by Joseph Finder (Dutton)
The Killer Collective, by Barry Eisler (Thomas & Mercer)
Last Woman Standing, by Amy Gentry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Late in the Day, by Tessa Hadley (Harper)
The Line Between, by Tosca Lee (Howard)
Lives Laid Away, by Stephen Mack Jones (Soho Crime)
Looker, by Laura Sims (Scribner)
The Lost Girls of Paris, by Pam Jenoff (Park Row)
The Lost Traveller, by Sheila Connolly (Crooked Lane)
Maigret in Court, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
McGlue, by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin)
Millennium: The Girl Who Danced with Death, by Sylvain Runberg (Hard Case Crime)
Miraculum, by Steph Post (Polis)
Murder a la Mocha, by Sandra Balzo (Severn House)
Murder at the Queen’s Old Castle,
by Cora Harrison (Severn House)
My Darkest Prayer, by S.A. Cosby (Intrigue)
The New Iberia Blues,
by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
The Night Agent, by Matthew
Quirk (Morrow)
No Exit, by Taylor Adams (Morrow)
No Mercy, by Joanna Schaffhausen (Minotaur)
No Sunscreen for the Dead, by Tim Dorsey (Morrow)
The Nowhere Child, by Christian White (Minotaur)
The Only Woman in the Room, by Marie Benedict
(Sourcebooks Landmark)
Out of the Dark, by Gregg Hurwitz (Minotaur)
The Paragon Hotel, by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam)
The Perfect Liar, by Thomas Christopher Greene (St. Martin’s Press)
The Plotters, by Un-Su Kim (Doubleday)
Receptor, by Alan Glynn (Picador)
Restoration Heights, by Wil Medearis (Hanover Square Press)
The Rule of Law, by John Lescroart (Atria)
Rupture, by Ragnar Jónasson (Minotaur)
Scrublands, by Christopher Hammer (Touchstone)
She Lies in Wait, by Gytha Lodge (Random House)
The Smiling Man, by Joseph Knox (Crown)
The Suspect, by Fiona Barton (Berkley)
Sydney Noir, edited by John Dale (Akashic)
Tear It Down, by Nick Petrie (Putnam)
Ten-Seven, by Dana King (Down & Out)
Texas Sicario, by Harry Hunsicker (Thomas & Mercer)
A Time to Scatter Stones, by Lawrence Block (Subterranean)
Tombland, by C.J. Sansom (Mulholland)
Wheel of Fire, by Hilary Bonner (Severn House)
Where Have All the Young Girls Gone, by Leena Lehtolainen (AmazonCrossing)
The Widows, by Jess Montgomery (Minotaur)
The Woman Inside, by E.G. Scott (Dutton)
The Woman Who Fed the Dogs, by Kristien Hemmerechts
(World Editions)
The Wrong Boy, by Cathy Ace (Four Tails)

The Angry Sea, by James Deegan (HQ)
Battle Sight Zero, by Gerald Seymour (Hodder & Stoughton)
Blood & Sugar, by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Mantle)
Catch Me If Yukon, by Maddy Hunter (Midnight Ink)
Changeling, by Matt Wesolowski (Orenda)
The Chestnut Man, by Søren Sveistrup (Michael Joseph)
City Without Stars, by Tim Baker (Faber and Faber)
A Clean Canvas, by Elizabeth Mundy (Constable)
Clearing the Dark, by Hania Allen (Constable)
The Coldest Blood, by J.S. Law (Headline)
Curtain Call, by Graham Hurley (Severn House)
Deep Dirty Truth, by Steph Broadribb (Orenda)
Don’t Turn Around, by Amanda Brooke (HarperCollins)
The Edge, by Jessie Keane (Macmillan)
Fatal, by Jacqui Rose (Avon)
The Flower Girls, by Alice Clark-Platts (Raven)
Fog Island, by Mariette Lindstein (HQ)
Her Pretty Bones, by Carla Kovach (Bookouture)
Hunted, by Arne Dahl (Harvill Secker)
It Should Have Been Me, by Susan Wilkins (Pan)
Keep Your Friends Close, by June Taylor (Killer Reads)
The Last, by Hanna Jameson (Viking)
The Liar’s Girl, by Catherine Ryan
Howard (Corvus)
A Long Night in Paris, by Dov Alfon (MacLehose Press)
Maigret Defends Himself, by Georges Simenon (Penguin Classics)
Murder in the Crooked House, by Soji Shimada (Pushkin Vertigo)
My Name Is Anna, by Lizzy Barber (Century)
Nemesis, by Rory Clements (Zaffre)
Red Snow, by Will Dean (Point Blank)
Schoolgirl Missing, by Sue Fortin (HarperCollins)
Severed, by Peter Laws (Allison and Busby)
She Was the Quiet One, by Michele Campbell (HQ)
Slow Motion Ghosts, by Jeff Noon (Doubleday)
Smallbone Deceased, by Michael Gilbert (British Library)
To Catch a Killer, by Emma Kavanagh (Orion)
Village of the Lost Girls, by Agustín Martínez (Quercus)

After She’s Gone, by Camilla Grebe (Ballantine)
American Heroin, by Melissa Scrivner Love (Crown)
American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
Bellini and the Sphinx, by Tony Bellotto (Akashic)
The Big Crush, by David J. Schow (Subterranean)
Blood Echo, by Christopher Rice (Thomas & Mercer)
Blood for Blood, by Victoria Selman (Thomas & Mercer)
Blood Orange, by Harriet Tyce (Grand Central)
The Bone Keeper, by Luca Veste (Sourcebooks Landmark)
The Book Artist, by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street)
The Border, by Don Winslow (Morrow)
Bridge of Sighs, by Priscilla Masters (Severn House)
Brothers Keepers, by Donald E. Westlake (Hard Case Crime)
The Burning Island, by Hester Young (Putnam)
Careless Love, by Peter Robinson (Morrow)
The Cassandra, by Sharma Shields (Henry Holt)
Cherokee America, by Margaret Verble (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Coronation, by Boris Akunin (Mysterious Press)
Court of Lies, by Gerry Spence (Forge)
The Dead Ex, by Jane Corry (Pamela Dorman)
A Deadly Divide, by Ausma Zehanat Khan (Minotaur)
Dead of Winter, by Annelise Ryan (Kensington)
Death in Provence, by Serena Kent (Harper)
Don’t Wake Up, by Liz Lawler (Harper)
Early Riser, by Jasper Fforde (Viking)
The Elegant Lie, by Sam Eastland (Faber and Faber)
Evil Things, by Katja Ivar (Bitter Lemon Press)
Fate: The Lost Decades of Uncle Chow Tung, by Ian Hamilton (Spiderline)
February’s Son, by Alan Parks (World Noir)
A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder, by Victoria Hamilton (Midnight Ink)
The Girl in the Glass Box,
by James Grippando (Harper)
The Glovemaker,
by Ann Weisgarber (Skyhorse)
Goldstein, by Volker Kutscher (Picador)
Guillotine, by Paul Heatley
(All Due Respect)
Heir Apparent, by James Terry (Skyhorse)
Hell Chose Me, by Angel Luis Colón (Down & Out)
House Arrest, by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly Press)
House of Beauty, by Melba Escobar (Fourth Estate)
Hunting Game, by Helene Tursten (Soho Crime)
The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley (Morrow)
The Huntress, by Kate Quinn (Morrow)
The Inglorious Arts, by Alan Hruska (Prospect Park)
In the Dark, by Cara Hunter (Penguin)
Justice Gone, by N. Lombardi Jr. (Roundfire)
A Killer’s Alibi, by William L. Myers Jr. (Thomas & Mercer)
Killer Thriller, by Lee Goldberg (Thomas & Mercer)
Last Night, by Karen Ellis (Mulholland)
Lizzie’s Lullaby, by Lono Waiwaiole (Down & Out)
The Lost Man, by Jane Harper (Flatiron)
The Lost Night, by Andrea Bartz (Crown)
Maigret and the Old People, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
Missing Daughter, by Rick Mofina (Mira)
The Moroccan Girl, by Charles Cumming (St. Martin’s Press)
Murder-A-Go-Go’s, edited by Holly West (Down & Out)
The Murder Book, by Lissa Marie Redmond (Midnight Ink)
The Murder Pit, by Mick Finlay (Mira)
Murder Theory, by Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer)
A Murder Unmentioned, by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press)
Never Tell, by Lisa Gardner (Dutton)
The Next to Die, by Sophie Hannah (Morrow)
One Fatal Mistake, by Tom Hunt (Berkley)
Out, by John Smolens (Michigan State University Press)
Outcry Witness, by Thomas Zigal (Texas Christian University Press)
The Overnight Kidnapper, by Andrea Camilleri (Penguin)
The Perfect Child, by Lucinda Berry (Thomas & Mercer)
The Reckless, by David Putnam (Oceanview)
The Reckoning, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (Minotaur)
The Secretary, by Renée Knight (Harper)
The Shaker Murders, by Eleanor Kuhns (Severn House)
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides (Celadon)
Skin Game, by J.D. Allen (Midnight Ink)
A Spy in Exile, by Jonathan de Shalit (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Stalker, by Lars Kepler (Knopf)
The Stranger Inside, by Laura Benedict (Mulholland)
Sweet Taste of Revenge, by Mary Ellis (Severn House)
The Syndicate, by Guy Bolton (Oneworld)
That Old Scoundrel Death, by Bill Crider (Minotaur)
Trigger, by David Swinson (Mulholland)
USS Powderkeg, by Max Allan Collins (Brash)
The Vanishing Man, by Charles Finch (Minotaur)
Watcher in the Woods, by Kelley Armstrong (Minotaur)
What We Did, by Christobel Kent (Sarah Crichton)
Who Killed the Fonz? by James Boice (Simon & Schuster)
Widows-in-Law, by Michele W. Miller (Blackstone)
Widows: Revenge, by Lynda La Plante (Zaffre)
The Winter Sister, by Megan Collins (Atria)

Any Means Necessary, by Jenny Rogneby (Other Press)
Begging to Die, by Graham Masterson (Head of Zeus)
Beton Rouge, by Simone Buchholz (Orenda)
The Capital, by Robert Menasse (MacLehose Press)
Cold as the Grave, by James Oswald (Wildfire)
Day of the Accident, by Nuala Ellwood (Penguin)
Dead Catch, by Frank Muir (Constable)
Dead Man’s Lane, by Kate Ellis (Piatkus)
Devil’s Fjord, by David Hewson (Creme de la Crime)
Dirty Little Secrets, by Jo Spain (Quercus)
Dying Days, by James Craig (Constable)
The Far Side of the Night, by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Polygon)
Flowers Over the Inferno, by Ilaria Tuti (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Gallowstree Lane, by Kate London (Corvus)
The Girl Next Door, by Phoebe Morgan (HQ)
The Glass Woman, by Caroline Lea
(Michael Joseph)
Inborn, by Thomas Enger (Orenda)
Kill, by Anthony Good (Atlantic)
Last Instructions, by Nir Hezroni (Point Blank)
Life Ruins, by Danuta Kot (Simon & Schuster)
Maigret’s Patience, by Georges Simenon (Penguin Classics)
Marked for Death, by Tony Kent (Elliott & Thompson)
The Mathematical Bridge, by Jim Kelly (Allison and Busby)
The Mausoleum, by David Mark (Severn House)
Muscle, by Alan Trotter (Faber and Faber)
One False Move, by Robert Goddard (Bantam Press)
Perfect Liars, by Rebecca Reid (Corgi)
The Secrets You Hide, by Kate Helm (Zaffre)
The Sting, by Kimberley Chambers (HarperCollins)
The Stone Circle, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
The Taking of Annie Thorne, by C.J. Tudor (Michael Joseph)
Tell the Truth, by Amanda Brittany (HQ)
To Kill the Truth, by Sam Bourne (Quercus)
To the Lions, by Holly Watt (Raven)

All the Wrong Places, by Joy Fielding (Ballantine)
The American Agent, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)
Beautiful Bad, by Annie Ward (Park Row)
A Beautiful Corpse, by Christi Daugherty (Minotaur)
Before She Knew Him, by Peter Swanson (Morrow)
The Big Kahuna, by Janet Evanovich and Peter Evanovich (Putnam)
Black and Blue, by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur)
Bones of the Earth, by Eliot Pattison (Minotaur)
The Case of the Careless Kitten, by Erle Stanley Gardner
(American Mystery Classics)
Cemetery Road, by Greg Iles (Morrow)
The Club, by Takis Würger (Grove Press)
A Dangerous Collaboration, by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley)
Dark Tribute, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)
Dead in a Week, by Andrea Kane (Bonnie Meadow)
Death Blow, by Isabella Maldonado (Midnight Ink)
A Death in Rembrandt Square, by Anja de Jager (Constable)
Death on the Aisle, by Frances and Richard Lockridge
(American Mystery Classics)
The Devil Aspect, by Craig Russell (Doubleday)
Double Exposure, by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Grand Central)
The Dutch Shoe Mystery, by Ellery Queen (American Mystery Classics)
The Elephant of Surprise, by Joe R. Lansdale (Mulholland)
Finding Katarina M., by Elisabeth Elo (Polis)
Forgotten Murder, by Dolores Gordon-Smith (Severn House)
A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, by William Boyle (Pegasus)
The Gardener of Eden, by David Downie (Pegasus)
The Good Detective, by John McMahon (Putnam)
Her Father’s Secret, by Sara Blaedel (Grand Central)
Hipster Death Rattle, by Richie Narvaez (Down & Out)
The Horseman’s Song, by Ben Pastor (Bitter Lemon Press)
House on Fire, by Bonnie Kistler (Atria)
If She Wakes, by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
The Last Act, by Brad Parks (Dutton)
The Last Woman in the Forest. by Diane Les Becquets (Berkley)
The Liar’s Child, by Carla Buckley (Ballantine)
Maigret and the Lazy Burglar, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
The Marrow of Tradition, by Charles W. Chesnutt (Belt)
The Malta Exchange, by Steve Berry (Minotaur)
The Man With No Face, by Peter May (Quercus)
Mercy River, by Glen Erik Hamilton (Morrow)
The Mobster’s Lament, by Ray Celestin (Mantle)
Murder in Belgravia,
by Lynn Brittney (Crooked Lane)
Murder, My Love, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
My Lovely Wife,
by Samantha Downing (Berkley)
The Never Game,
by Jeffery Deaver (Putnam)
The Night Visitors,
by Carol Goodman (Morrow)
The Other Americans,
by Laila Lalami (Pantheon)
The Perfect Alibi, by Phillip Margolin (Minotaur)
The Persian Gamble, by Joel C. Rosenberg (Tyndale House)
A Puzzle for Fools, by Patrick Quentin (American Mystery Classics)
Redheads Die Quickly and Other Stories, by Gil Brewer
(Stark House Press)
RED Hotel, by Gary Grossman and Ed Fuller (Beaufort)
The River, by Peter Heller (Knopf)
Rose City, by Michael Pool (Down & Out)
Run Away, by Harlan Coben (Grand Central)
Silent Remains, by Jerry Kennealy (Down & Out)
Smoke and Ashes, by Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus)
The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A Stranger Here Below, by Charles Fergus (Skyhorse)
A Taste for Honey, by H.F. Heard (American Mystery Classics)
The Trial of Lizzie Borden, by Cara Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
Tyler Cross: Angola, by Fabian Nury (Titan Comics)
Until the Day I Die, by Emily Carpenter (Lake Union)
Unto Us a Son Is Given, by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press)
The Unsuspected, by Charlotte Armstrong (American
Mystery Classics)
The War Heist, by Ralph Dennis (Brash)
What Would Maisie Do?: Inspiration from the Pages of Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper Perennial)*
While You Sleep, by Stephanie Merritt (Pegasus)
The Wolf and the Watchman, by Niklas Natt och Dag (Atria)
Wolf Pack, by C.J. Box (Putnam)
The Woman in the Dark, by Vanessa Savage (Grand Central)
Woman 99, by Greer Macallister (Sourcebooks Landmark)
You Fit the Pattern, by Jane Haseldine (Kensington)

Accidental Agent, by Alan Judd (Simon & Schuster)
After She’s Gone, by Camilla Grebe (Zaffre)
The Boy in the Headlights, by Samuel Bjork (Doubleday)
Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour, by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday)
The Burning House, by Neil Spring (Quercus)
The Courier, by Kjell Ola Dahl (Orenda)
A Deadly Lesson, by Paul Gitsham (HQ)
The Friend, by Joakim Zander (Head of Zeus)
A Gift for Dying, by M.J. Arlidge (Michael Joseph)
The Grasmere Grudge, by Rebecca Tope (Allison and Busby)
The Inquiry, by Will Caine (HQ)
I Thought I Knew You, by Penny Hancock (Mantle)
Keep Her Close, by M.J. Ford (Avon)
The Last Thing She Told Me, by Linda Green (Quercus)
Maigret and the Nahour Case, by Georges Simenon (Penguin Classics)
Never Go There, by Rebecca Tinnelly (Hodder)
Past Life, by Dominic Nolan (Headline)
Prefecture D, by Hideo Yokoyama (Riverrun)
The Road to Grantchester, by James Runcie (Bloomsbury)
The Scandal, by Mari Hannah (Orion)
The Silver Road, by Stina Jackson (Corvus)
The Stalker, by Alex Gray (Sphere)
Surgeons’ Hall, by E.S. Thomson (Constable)
A Suspicion of Silver, by P.F. Chisholm (Head of Zeus)
Three Bullets, by R.J. Ellory (Orion)
The Unmourned, by Meg and Tom Keneally (Point Blank)

So what books do you most look forward to getting lost in during the next three months? Let us all know by dropping a note into the Comments section at the bottom of this post.