Author archive

Damage Claims

Because it’s likely you have not yet come across my latest Mysteries & Thrillers column on the Kirkus Reviews Web site, let me now direct your attention to it. My subject this time out is Hilary Davidson’s brand-new thriller, Blood Always Tells. Although I mention a few minor criticisms of the book, I found it interesting in intent and generally successful in execution. As I remark at one point, “People accustomed to easing slowing into a story will probably want to get a firm grip on their socks before cracking open Blood Always Tells.”

Click here to find the full review.

READ MORE:Q&A with Hilary Davidson” (MysteryPeople).

“I Did Not Kill My Wife”

The film version of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel, Gone Girl, won’t debut in U.S. theaters till early October of this year. But a trailer for the picture is available now in The Dissolve.

Bullet Points: Passover Edition

• Here’s a book I very much look forward to adding to my library: The Art of Robert E. McGinnis. Slated for release by publisher Titan in October, and put together by McGinnis and co-author Art Scott, it will trace the career of this Ohio-born artist “best known for his book cover and movie poster work”--someone whose illustrations I have frequently highlighted in my Killer Covers blog. I can’t tell, by reading the brief Amazon write-up, whether this is an expansion of a 2001 book McGinnis and Scott put together, or a wholly new volume; I hope it’s the latter. By the way, the cover art decorating this Titan book appeared originally on the 1960 novel Kill Now, Pay Later, by Robert Kyle.

• I was sorry to hear that Minnesota businessman-turned-novelist Harold Adams died on April 4 at 91 years of age. He was the author of 17 novels featuring Carl Wilcox, an itinerant sign painter and “happenstance private eye” who operated in the small South Dakota town of Corden during the Great Depression. That Shamus Award-winning series began with Murder (1981) and concluded with Lead, So I Can Follow (1999). Adams also penned two novels (1987’s When Rich Men Die and 2003’s The Fourth of July Wake) about a wise-ass contemporary TV news anchor, Kyle Champion, who winds up taking on P.I. work himself. “I consider Harold Adams to be one of the major voices of his generation of crime fiction writers,” Ed Gorman wrote in the Minnesota mystery anthology Writes of Spring (2012). “His unique voice, his strong sense of story and structure, and his rich, wry depictions of the Depression-era Midwest have stayed with me long after the works of flashier writers have faded. There’s music in his books, a melancholy prairie song that you carry with you for life … I consider him to be a master.” Learn more about Adams here.

• Good-bye, as well, to a couple of other famous figures: Peter Matthiessen, whose National Book Award-winning works The Snow Leopard (1978) and Shadow Country (2008) sit prominently on the bookcase just in front of my office desk; and Mickey Rooney, the child actor who grew up to wed the lovely Ava Gardner, appear in such films as Drive a Crooked Road (1953), It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), and The Black Stallion (1979), and headlined the 1982 TV series One of the Boys. Matthiessen was 86 when he passed away on April 5; Rooney succumbed a day later, at age 93.

• The 2014 Edgar Allan Poe Awards won’t be given out until May 1. (Here are the contenders.) But publisher Open Road Integrated Media is already endeavoring to build up excitement with this infographic, which looks back at the breakdown between male and female winners, the occupations of the protagonists in those books, the two U.S. presidents who’ve been given Edgars, and much more.

• Speaking of Open Road, one of its digital marketing associates, Emma Pulitzer, asked me to pass along word that the publisher is “looking for someone to join our mystery team in marketing. … The job is called ‘Digital Marketing Manager – Fiction,’ although it’s specifically for mysteries.” Learn more here.

• I’ve previously featured, on this page, the trailer for Frank Sinatra’s 1967 detective film, Tony Rome. But I have to confess, that I have never taken the time to read Marvin Albert’s novels featuring Rome, the Miami police detective turned gumshoe who lives on a boat called The Straight Pass. In fact, I was only reminded of the protagonist because William Patrick Maynard wrote about him last week in the blog Black Gate. As he explains: “The first book in the series, Miami Mayhem (1960), plays like an update of Chandler’s The Big Sleep (1939), with its exposure of the dirty secrets wealthy families can afford to hide most of the time. The second title, Lady in Cement (1961), sees Tony stumble into the middle of a sordid mob connection after discovering the corpse of a nude woman in a block of cement while snorkeling in the deep blue sea. The third and final book, My Kind of Game (1962), sees Tony on a mission of revenge when the surrogate father figure who mentored him in the private eye business is worked over while investigating big crime in a small town.” If anyone out there has read the Rome novels, let us all know what you thought of them in the Comments section below.

• In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Chris Walsh revisits the largely forgotten TV movie The Execution of Private Slovik, which starred Martin Sheen, was written by Columbo creators William Link and Richard Levinson, was based on a tragic episode from World War II, and aired 40 years ago last month. Walsh’s piece is here.

• Belated congratulations to Reed Farrel Coleman, who has been tapped to compose four new novels in Robert B. Parker’s series about small-town Massachusetts police chief Jesse Stone. Commenting on this assignment in his blog, Coleman said, “Jesse Stone is a character with enormous appeal for me. I’d written an essay about Jesse entitled ‘Go East, Young Man: Robert B. Parker, Jesse Stone, and Spenser’ for the book In Pursuit of Spenser, edited by Otto Penzler. In doing the research for the essay, I found a rare and magical thing that only master writers like Mr. Parker could create: the perfectly flawed hero. Easy for writers to create heroes. Easy for writers to create characters with flaws. Not so easy to do both. But Robert B. Parker was an alchemist who turned simple concepts into enduring characters.” Coleman’s first Stone book, Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot, is due for release in September by Putnam.

• Laura Lippman (After I’m Gone) picks her 10 favorite books about missing persons for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Her most unexpected choice may be Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

Dashiell Hammett--Sherlockian parodist?

Darkness, Darkness, John Harvey’s 12th and last Detective Charlie Resnick novel, isn’t due out until September. In the meantime, though, UK readers can appreciate--this month!--an e-book short-story prequel to that release, Going Down Slow. Harvey offers background to the brief tale in his own blog.

• Editor Steven Powell, who wrote on this page two years ago about Theodora Keogh’s forgotten 1962 novel, The Other Girl, notes in The Venetian Vase that “Pharos Editions, a Seattle-based press, has just reissued Keogh’s novels The Tattooed Heart (1953) and My Name Is Rose (1956) in a single volume featuring an introduction by Lidia Yuknavitch. Apparently, this is the first time these novels have been reissued since the 1970s, although Olympia Press did reissue Keogh’s other novels between 2002 and 2007.” Go to the Pharos Editions Web site for more information.

• Speaking of forgotten thingsLongstreet!

• Double O Section has the trailer for A Most Wanted Man, a forthcoming film adapted from John le Carré’s 2008 novel of the same name, and featuring “one of the final lead performances from the brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman.” Watch it here.

• And the Pierce Brosnan espionage film November Man (based on the late Bill Granger’s 1987 novel, There Are No Spies) has finally, at long last, been given a U.S. release date of August 27.

Rowling Adds Another Prize to Her Shelf

And the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for a mystery or thriller novel goes to … Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling for The Cuckoo’s Calling (Mulholland), the first private-eye novel she’s penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Cuckoo’s beat out four rivals in that same category: Hour of the Red God, by Richard Crompton (Sarah Crichton); Sycamore Row, by John Grisham (Doubleday); The Rage, by Gene Kerrigan (Europa Editions); and The Collini Case, by Ferdinand von Schirach (Viking). The announcement was made tonight to help kick off the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Mystery/Thriller, of course, was just one of the 10 categories of prizes this year. You can see all of the winners and runners-up here.

READ MORE:L.A. Times Festival of Books Pre-Party,” by Jeri Westerson (Getting Medieval).

Ellis Leaves Us Hanging

You’ll have to wait until Thursday, April 24, to see the complete list of authors and novels shortlisted--in seven categories--for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards. But the Crime Writers of Canada has announced the longlist for one of those categories, Best Novel. They are:

Walls of a Mind, by John Brooke (Signature Editions)
The Wolves of St. Peter’s, by Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk (HarperCollins Canada)
The Devil’s Making, by Sean Haldane (Stone Flower Press)
Presto Variations, by Lee Lamothe (Dundurn Press)
The Rainy Day Killer, by Michael McCann (Plaid Raccoon Press)
Stranglehold, by Robert Rotenberg (Simon & Schuster Canada)
Miss Montreal, by Howard Shrier (Vintage Canada)
The Guilty, by Sean Slater (Simon & Schuster UK)
An Inquiry into Love and Death, by Simone St. James (Penguin)
The Drowned Man, by David Whellams (ECW Press)

These 10 titles were culled from a collection of more than 70 books entered for consideration in the Best Novel category. You will find the complete list of titles, plus the rundown of contenders in this year’s half-dozen other Arthur Ellis Award categories, here.

Winners of the 2014 awards will be announced during an event in Toronto, Ontario, scheduled for Thursday, June 5.