Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Bullet Points: World Cup Edition

• We’ve now entered the final round of voting in this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards competition. The original collection of 20 books vying for “Best Mystery & Thriller” honors has now been chopped in half, with the following candidates remaining:

All Good People Here, by Ashley Flowers (Bantam)
The It Girl, by Ruth Ware (Scout Press)
Daisy Darker, by Alice Feeney (Flatiron)
The Maid, by Nita Prose (Ballantine)
Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn (Berkley)
A Flicker in the Dark, by Stacy Willingham (Minotaur)
Wrong Place, Wrong Time, by Gillian McAllister (Morrow)
The Paris Apartment, by Lucy Foley (Morrow)
The Book of Cold Cases, by Simone St. James (Berkley)
The Bullet That Missed, by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman/Viking)

Click here to select your favorite from among those, but tarry not—voting in this round will end on December 4, with winners in this and other categories to be announced on Thursday, December 8.

• Just when you thought you had heard the last of Lisbeth Salander, she’s back. The antisocial and troubled computer hacker, who made her initial appearance in Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2007) and was last spotted in David Lagercrantz’s third series continuation novel, The Girl Who Lived Twice (2019), returned earlier this month in Swedish author Karin Smirnoff’s Havsörnens Skrik, a thriller that’s set to be published in English next August 29 as The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons. The Guardian reported recently that “Smirnoff’s book moves Salander’s story from Stockholm to northern Sweden, which [the yarn’s] UK publisher MacLehose Press said was ‘an area vast and beautiful, but also dealing with economic and social problems and the effects of climate change and environmental exploitation,’” American readers should be pleased to learn that The Girl in the Eagle’s Talons will be brought out simultaneously on this side of the Atlantic under the Alfred A. Knopf imprint.

• English author Stuart Turton has won Germany’s 2022 Viktor Crime Award for The Devil and Dark Water, a standalone historical thriller first released in English in 2020—and one of my favorite books of that year. This announcement was made earlier in November at Mord am Hellweg, described as “Europe’s largest international crime film festival.” Also shortlisted for the 2022 Viktor Award were Kazltes Herz (Cold Heart), by Henri Faber, and Horvath und die verschwundenen Schüler (Horvath and the Missing Students), by Marc Hofmann. The Viktor Crime Award has been presented ever since 2018, when Michaela Kastel won it for her thriller So Dark the Forest.

Double or Nothing, Kim Sherwood’s first (of three) Double 0 agents thrillers, hit the shelves in Britain early this last September; it won’t see print in the United States until April 2023. However, the author says she has already completed work on her second installment, which runs 101,042 words in length (before editing). That sequel’s title—if it even has one yet—has not been publicly circulated.

• Entries in next year’s Glencairn Glass Crime Short Story Competition are due by Saturday, December 31. Those stories should not exceed 2,000 words in length, and must not have been published previously in any format. The theme for this year’s brief yarns is “A Crime Story Set in Scotland.” Writers from anywhere in the world are eligible to take part in this contest, but all must be over 16 years old. Prizes of £1,000 and £500 will go, respectively, to the First Place winner and a Runner-up. “The overall winning entry,” says the Glencairn Glass Web site, “will be published in Scottish Field Magazine and online at www.whiskyglass.com.” Click here to enter.

• Well, this is unfortunate TV news. From Variety:
ABC has reversed course on the drama series “Avalon,” opting not to move forward with the show despite giving it a straight-to-series order in February.

“Avalon” hailed from David E. Kelley and executive producer Michael Connelly, with the show based on a short story that Connelly wrote. Neve Campbell was set to star in the lead role. Other cast members included Demetrius Grosse, Alexa Mansour, Steven Pasquale, and Roslyn Ruff.

Per the official logline, the show “takes place in the main city of Avalon on Catalina Island, where LA Sheriff Department Detective Nicole “Nic” Searcy (Campbell) heads up a small office. Catalina has a local population that serves more than 1 million tourists a year, and each day when the ferries arrive, hundreds of potential new stories enter the island. Detective Searcy is pulled into a career-defining mystery that will challenge everything she knows about herself and the island.”

According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, ABC opted not to move forward with the series order for “Avalon” after screening the pilot. A+E Studios is said to still be bullish about the project and are weighing options on how to proceed.
• Adam Graham, host of The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio, shares his authoritative opinions about “The Top Ten Police Foils In Old Time Radio” (click here and here), and “The Four Worst Old Time Radio Detective Police Characters.”

• The mid-November edition of Mike Ripley’s “Getting Away with Murder” column for Shots includes observations on the annual Richard Lancelyn Green lecture; Francis Clifford’s 1976 novel, Drummer in the Dark; this year’s “ultimate Christmas mystery,” Alexandra Benedict’s Murder on the Christmas Express; a quartet of Czechoslovakian thrillers; plus fresh releases from Louise Penny, Ant Middleton, and B.A. Paris. Read about all of that and more here.

• Congratulations to The Bunburyist for having clocked its one-millionth pageview! As I wrote in a brief comment attached to blogger Elizabeth Foxwell’s post yesterday about this achievement, “I check The Bunburyist regularly, and consider it a great source of both information and enjoyment.”

• Max Allan Collins’ 18th Nate Heller novel, The Big Bundle, isn’t due out until January (a month later than expected, because of shipping issues). But he says he’s already completed the writing of his 19th series entry, Too Many Bullets, which finds private eye Heller investigating Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination. “It’s a big book,” he writes in his blog, “on the lines of [1983’s] True Detective, and in a sense it’s the bookend to that first Heller memoir. It’s been very difficult, in part because of my health issues (doing better, thanks) but also because it’s one of the most complicated cases I’ve dealt with.” The 74-year-old author says his next Heller tale for publisher Hard Case Crime will tackle the mysterious 1975 disappearance of labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa. After that? Collins admits he’s “wrestling with … how long I should to stay at it with Heller. The degree of difficulty ... is tough at this age. Right now I am considering a kind of coda novel (much like Skim Deep for Nolan and Quarry’s Blood for Quarry) that would wrap things up. … Should I go that direction, and should my health and degree of interest continue on a positive course, I might do an occasional Heller in a somewhat shorter format. Of course, the problem with that is these crimes are always more complex than I think they’re going to be.”

• On the subject of forthcoming works, English professor and author Art Taylor mentions in his blog that he has a new short-story collection, The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions, due out from Crippen & Landru in February 2023 (though I see no Amazon ordering link yet). Packing in 14 abbreviated yarns, plus an introduction by the esteemed Martin Edwards, Castle Thief will be Taylor’s second book from Crippen, following 2020’s The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense. Taylor was generous enough to send me an advanced readers copy of his new collection, but I’ve had to hold off opening it until after I get The Rap Sheet’s end-of-the-year features organized.

• Seriously, Universal Pictures is going to shoot a big-screen flick based on the 1981-1986 Lee Majors TV series The Fall Guy? Deadline reports Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt, and Teresa Palmer are all in the cast, and that this movie will premiere in March 2024. The original series was about Hollywood stunt people who moonlight as bounty hunters. Click here to watch that show’s opening title sequence.

• Crime by the Book’s Abby Endler attended this month’s Iceland Noir festival in Reykjavik, and she wants to tell us all about it.

• Having greatly enjoyed the six-part, 2016 BBC One/AMC TV drama The Night Manager, based on John le Carré’s 1993 novel of that same name, I look forward to seeing how this project from the same producer turns out. As stated In Reference to Murder:
The Night Manager producer, The Ink Factory, is creating a TV version of John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man almost a decade after making a feature film version, with Snabba Cash writer, Oskar Söderlund, serving as showrunner. No broadcaster is attached as of yet, although Söderlund’s version is said to be updated to a modern-day European context. One of le Carré’s best known works, A Most Wanted Man follows a young Chechen ex-prisoner who arrives illegally in Germany with a claim to a fortune held in a private bank. It was written against the backdrop of George W. Bush’s policy of “extraordinary rendition” and inspired by the real-life story of Murat Kurnaz.
• In The New Yorker, Jill Lepore asks that immortal question, “Is Mick Herron the Best Spy Novelist of His Generation?

• There’s no topping George Easter when it comes to tracking down lists of 2022’s best crime, mystery, and thriller works. Just over the last few days, the Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine editor has pointed us toward collections in The Financial Times (by both Barry Forshaw and Adam LeBor), Crime Time (by columnist Maxim Jakubowski), The Irish Times (by author Jane Casey), New Zealand Listener magazine, and a couple of Web sites that are new to me: The List and Lifehacker AU. He has also helpfully edited National Public Radio’s original list of what it calls this year’s 46 best mysteries to remove horror fiction, young-adult works, non-fiction books, and others that exceed the limits of the genre.

• The only picks I don’t think Easter has mentioned yet are those from British blogger Rekha Rao, at The Book Decoder. She’s assembled a long post of book covers that lead to reviews written over the last 12 months. Her many categories of choices include Best Cozy Mystery (Series Debut), Best Crime and Mystery (in a Series), and Best Standalone Mysteries and Thrillers. There are also selections in the fields of general fiction and romance, if you swing that way.

• Although The New York Times hasn’t yet revealed its crime, mystery, and thriller “bests” of this year, it did recently come out with a rundown of “100 Notable Books of 2022.” Featured there are Harini Nagendra’s The Bangalore Detectives Club, Percival Everett’s Dr. No, and Elizabeth Hand’s Hokuloa Road.

• Mere days after announcing that Scottish actress Ashley Jensen will assume the helm of BBC One’s Shetland, now that Douglas Henshall has left his role on that TV series as Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, The Killing Times asks: Was this new hire really a good idea? After all, it’s noted, viewers expected Perez’s number two, Detective Sergeant Alison “Tosh” McIntosh (played by Alison O’Donnell) to step into the breach. Editor Paul Hirons writes that “it felt like she was primed for a promotion—she had just become a mum, had come through a sticky moment after surviving a bomb attack in series seven, and had seemed to have accrued and soaked up all the knowledge and expertise from Jimmy she needed. Many will be disappointed that Tosh is not the show lead.” We’ll have to wait until Shetland’s eighth-season debut to see how Tosh herself views this surprising turn of events.

• This seems right: Dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster’s 2022 Word of the Year is … gaslighting. “In our age of misinformation—‘fake news,’ conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes—gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time,” explains M-W editor at large Peter Sokolowski. “From politics to pop culture to relationships, it has become a favored word for the perception of deception.” Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman reflects here on the recent history of gaslighting in politics.

• And Mystery Fanfare notes the death, on November 10, of Shelley Singer. It goes on to say that she was “the author of 12 novels, including the Jake Samson mystery series. She taught fiction writing and worked one-on-one with writers as a manuscript consultant on non-fiction, literary novels, and in every genre from memoir to mystery to science fiction to horror.” A resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Singer was 83 when she died of “heart failure and other complications.”

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