Archive for the ‘Mystery & Detective’ Category

Holds Alert: THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.18.52 PMAuthor Chelsea Cain reviews The Hand That Feeds You in this week’s The New York Times Sunday Book Review.

The story follows a student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who comes home to find her fiancé mauled to death by her three dogs . As she tries to piece together what happened, she discovers her fiancé was not the person he claimed to be.

As we reported, booksellers are behind it and so is Cain, who says it is “a tense, intriguing psychological mystery … [with] a clearheaded, character-driven style… [filled with] the sort of celebration of simple moments more often seen in short stories.”

As Cain points out, the creation of the novel is as interesting as its plot. A.J. Rich is the pen name for two authors, Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment, who collaborated on the project begun by their dying friend, Katherine Russell Rich.

Holds are outpacing copies across the country.

GOTT Moves to New York for Film

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

The Girl on the TrainAccording the the Sunday Times of London, the film version of The Girl on the Train will be set in upstate New York

The book, set in London, was inspired by author Paula Hawkins’ own commute. She tells the Times, “I’m not really concerned about the repositioning as I think it is the type of story that could take place in any commuter town.” She adds that she will not be work on the movie, saying, “I don’t want to be involved … let them get on with it.”

British actress Emily Blunt is in talks to star in the DreamWorks film directed by The Help’s Tate Taylor. There’s no word on whether she will adopt an American accent for the role. No word yet on when it will begin filming, Blunt is currently at work on another movie, The Huntsman, scheduled for release in April, 2016.

NPR Offers RA Assistance

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Author and NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan, who last month offered a summer reading book list came back to Fresh Air yesterday with four more suggestions, this time suspense novels she says are all “deadly accurate in their aim to entertain.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.58.49 PMFirst up is Innocence; Or, Murder on Steep Street (Soho; OverDrive Sample) by Heda Margolius Kovaly, translated by Alex Zucker. Kovaly is a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps and communist rule in Czechoslovakia. She died in 2010, leaving behind a number of works including this novel set in 1950s Prague, just a few years after the close of WWII. It centers on a movie theater usher trying desperately to save her husband who has been imprisoned and accused of espionage. Corrigan says “the great draw is the menacing view it gives us of communist Prague.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.00.29 PMS.J. Watson’s Second Life (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), also featured in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review, is Corrigan’s second pick. She calls it a “nuanced” and “erotic psychological thriller.” The story follows a woman who falls down the rabbit hole of the “online demimonde.” Corrigan promises readers will never see the end coming.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.20 PMThe third pick is Run You Down (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Julia Dahl, (following Dahl’s Edgar-nominated debut, Invisible City). It again features the reporter Rebekah Roberts as the central character, who is once again drawn into the world of Hasidic Jews – this time when she starts poking into the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. where a woman has been found dead in a bathtub. Corrigan ends her summary with this useful take: “Though the plot becomes a bit formulaic at the end, Dahl is an evocative writer, never more so than when she’s describing the nascent yearnings of those younger members of that religious community — gay, vaguely feminist, simply different — who can’t quite fit in, but can’t quite leave.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 1.02.52 PMClosing out her picks is The Last Taxi Ride (Macmillan/Minotaur; OverDrive Sample) by A.X. Ahmad, the follow-up to The Caretaker. Here Ranjit Singh, an ex-army captain and Sikh immigrant from India, has become a taxi driver and is accused of murdering a Bollywood film icon. In her summary of what it feels like to read the book Corrigan offers the very high praise, that in a period when “we’ve lost both P.D. James and Ruth Rendell, it’s cheering to stumble upon an emerging detective like Ranjit, who feels utterly authentic and original.”

Crime Report

Monday, July 6th, 2015

9781476795553_70309This week’s NYT Sunday Book Review offers a rundown of crime stories starting with Joseph Finder’s review of Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies (S&S/Atria; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). It is an antihero novel about a man pretending to write the very successful crime novels his wife actually pens.

After pointing out that “we’re in something of a golden age of the sociopathic antihero, on the page and on screen, from Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter to the passionate borderlines of Gillian ­Flynn and Paula Hawkins,” Finder calls this a strong example of the genre:

Arango, a German television writer, has constructed a clever plot that always surprises, told with dark humor and dry wit and bustling with aperçus that show no signs of jet lag from Imogen Taylor’s clean translation.

Trade reviews are very strong and it is a July Indie Next pick.

Reviewer Marilyn Stasio’s crime roundup column in the same issue highlights four further titles.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.44.57 PMLeah Stewart returns to her suspense roots in The New Neighbor (S&S/Touchstone; Dreamscape; OverDrive Sample). The secret-filled novel centers on two reclusive women who begin a fraught relationship after they exchange grudging waves from the decks of their isolated houses. As the story unfolds, Margaret, an abrasive 90-year-old, decides to play detective, prying into the past of Jennifer, a much younger woman with a 4-year-old son.

Stasio tantalizingly ends her review with “Stewart never relaxes her tight focus on these complex characters…but even as they begin to break through each other’s defenses, you can’t help thinking it might have been better for Jennifer if she’d never returned that first wave.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.45.31 PMS.J. Watson’s sophomore novel, Second Life (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which follows his breakout debut Before I Go To Sleep, is the story of middle-aged and bored Julia who discovers her murdered sister was involved in cybersex. As she investigates further a man who could well be her sister’s killer pulls her into his thrall.

Stasio describes it as “a discreetly sexy novel [that] should have a “Beach Candy” sticker on its cover… [the] romantic suspense story pairs high concept with low literary value. But the plot is a pip.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.46.25 PM Clearly a fan of David Mark, Stasio calls him a “craft-conscious author” and his Det. Sgt. Aector McAvoy mysteries “robust police procedurals.” Her review of the newest, Taking Pity (Penguin/Blue Rider Press; OverDrive Sample), in which McAvoy is involved in two cases, a mass murder from 1966 and a present day crime ring, offers a strong pitch to start the series now and keep reading until caught up.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.47.12 PMNot so well received is Tom Wright’s Blackbird (Europa; OverDrive Sample). While praising the style, “Wright is one of those regional authors who can out-sing the birds with his lyrical descriptions of his home place,” Stasio has issues with the plotting, “he keeps running away from his own story.” Still, it is getting great trade reviews and is the follow-up to his well-received debut What Dies In Summer.

Silva Summer: THE ENGLISH SPY

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 11.05.17 AMSeveral things happen around this time of year: the heat intensifies, humidity blooms, and Daniel Silva releases another Gabriel Allon thriller.

This time it is The English Spy (Harper; HarperAudio) which comes out tomorrow.

In this new title, Silva’s character, Israel’s super spy Allon, finds himself torn between the past and future as he is forced to leave his pregnant wife to fulfill a longstanding vendetta. It is a quest that will ensnare his British cohort Christopher Keller (who first appeared in The English Assassin) and a number of other old friends and enemies.

Making the book tour rounds, Silva appeared this morning on the Today Show to talk about how he borrows from the headlines, politics, and current events to create the background for his plots.

He was also on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday where he offered brief comments on politics and writing. While there are a number of complications in writing a political series (and his series  is very political, with a conservative point of view about Israel and Middle Eastern and Russian politics) he says it is those complications that give his Allon books their edge. He also discussed the burdens of writing a successful franchise, revealing that he has numerous blue note cards full of stories that do not feature Allon, but feels that his fans would revolt if his next book didn’t continue the series.

For now, Allon reigns supreme but fans might one day meet a new Silva character.

DARK PLACES, U.S. Trailer

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

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The second adaptation of a Gillian Flynn novel, after Gone Girl, is arrives in theaters on  August 7. Based on Dark Places, tit was filmed at the same time as Gone Girl and both films were originally scheduled to to be released last fall.

Premiering in France earlier this year, it has a lot going for it, including the major success of Gone Girl, and an A-list cast featuring Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Chloe Grace Moretz as well as Christina Hendricks, on screen for the first time since the ending of Mad Men.

However, trade reviews were not kind (The Hollywood Reporter was mixed but Variety was decidedly negative).

A second, U.S. trailer has just been released:

Flynn’s first novel, Sharp Objects, is being adapted as a TV series. The author, who has a developed a career in Hollywood, is now at work on an original script with 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen

Tie-in:

Dark Places (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Gillian Flynn
RH/Broadway: June 2, 2015
9780553418484, 0553418483
Trade Paperback
$14.00 USD, $17.00 CAD

RA Alert: ORIENT

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 12.36.25 PMChristopher Bollen’s second novel,  Orient (Harper; HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) “might well be this summer’s most ambitious thriller or this summer’s most thrilling work of literary fiction” according to author Ivy Pachoda in her glowing LA Times review of Bollen’s second novel.

It is a review with plenty of juicy quotable lines for readers’ advisors to reference – especially when working with patrons who like their crime novels filled with high body counts and a thrumming sense of place.

And Pachoda knows a thing or two about capturing a strong sense of locale — she did it in her book Visitation Street (HarperCollins/Ecco; OverDrive Sample), set in Red Hook, Brooklyn. In her review of Orient she clearly appreciates a fellow author who is able to create a similar vibrant evocation of place, saying:

The Orient of Bollen’s novel is of course Orient Point, the town at the eastern-most tip of Long Island’s less fashionable North Fork — think Gatsby’s West Egg to Daisy’s East Egg — which has so far resisted the Ralph Lauren and McMansion uprising of the Hamptons to the south. But the artists are coming, scooping up pricy shorefront properties, gutting the charming homes, bringing their cavalier city ways and transforming the quaint town as they see fit.

Her quotes just get better, ending with this summary:

There’s a smorgasbord of delights in Orient, from its murderous plot to the cheeky fun Bollen has at the expense of the art world. And there is ample room in this expansive novel for surprisingly soulful descriptions of everything from the intricacies of beekeeping to the beauty of deer hunting. Most impressive is how Bollen’s book is rich in literary diversions, moments of keen sociological and emotional insight — often into personal isolation — that transcend the conventions of its story.

Pachoda is not alone in her admiration. USA Today offers another quotable line:

… a gorgeously written book whose literary chops are beyond doubt. Come for the prose, and stay for the murders.

Ruth Rendell Dies at 85

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.04.40 AMAuthor Ruth Rendell, who also wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine, has died at age 85, after suffering a stroke in January.

Known for her skill in crafting dark, pointed, and intellectual psychological thrillers, Rendell is one of the pioneers of crime fiction.

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.45.54 AMShe is the author of the Inspector Reginald Wexford mysteries, beginning in 1964 with From Doon with Death (RH/Ballantine, 2007; OverDrive Sample). She went on to write 23 more over a career that spanned fifty years (the most recent is No Man’s Nightingale, S&S/Scribner, 2013; OverDrive Sample).

Rendell also wrote successful standalones. The newest is The Girl Next Door (S&S/Scribner, 2014; OverDrive Sample).

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 11.05.54 AMHer next book, also a standalone, is scheduled for December, Dark Corners (S&S/Scribner, 12/1/15; 9781501119422, 1501119427).

As Barbara Vine, Rendell wrote hits such as A Dark-Adapted Eye (currently out of stock in print; available digitally from Open Road Media; OverDrive Sample) and The Birthday Present (RH/Broadway; OverDrive Sample).

The Guardian suggests five key works for new readers to try and for established fans to revisit.

Edgar Honors Go To King and Flynn Among Others

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.48.39 AMA relative newcomer to the hardboiled detective genre, Stephen King, wins the Edgar award for Best Novel with Mr. Mercedes (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The book, a cat-and-mouse game between an ex-detective and a killer who turns a car into a weapon, is the first in an expected trilogy. As we reported, the second book, Finders Keepers, comes out in early June.

This is King’s first individual Edgar Award. He was named a Grand Master in 2007 and was nominated for an Edgar in 2014 for Joyland, although The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood took the prize that year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.51.34 AMGillian Flynn won the Best Short Story category with “What Do You Do?” published in Rogues (Penguin/Bantam Books; OverDrive Sample) which was a LibraryReads pick last June.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.52.26 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.53.31 AMAdditional Edgars, which are widely considered the premier awards for the mystery genre, were also awarded to Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton; OverDrive Sample) for Best First Novel (it was a LibraryReads pick last July) and The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (Penguin; OverDrive Sample) for Best Paperback Original.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.55.10 AMScreen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.54.11 AMThe two top nonfiction picks went to Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann (Harper; OverDrive Sample) for Best Fact Crime and to Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton/Countryman Press) for Best Critical/Biographical.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 8.58.01 AMThe Mary Higgins Clark Award went to Jane Casey for The Stranger You Know (Macmillan/Minotaur Books; OverDrive Sample) and two new Grand Masters were named, Lois Duncan and James Ellroy.

A complete list of winners and nominees is available on the Edgar site.

Next CORMORAN STRIKE On The Way

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.55.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.55.33 AMThe third Cormoran Strike novel, Career of Evil, is coming this fall.

Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) announced that the novel is finished via a Twitter post:

That was followed by a tweet by Little, Brown UK stating the title:

Details on the U.S. edition (ISBN, pub date) are still being worked out, according to the publisher. We will let you know when that information is available.

Nancy Pearl Loves Historical Mysteries

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.38.21 AMLibrarian Nancy Pearl picks a title from one her favorite genres, historical mysteries, for her weekly radio show.

The Strangler Vine (Penguin/Putnam; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample, 3/31/15) by M.J. Carter is a debut set in 1837 India. Nancy calls it “an old-fashioned adventure novel.”

Carter is the author of two nonfiction works and uses her skills in research to create a vividly set historical thriller tracing the adventures of William Avery, a newly arrived British solider, and Jeremiah Blake, a seasoned spy gone native.

In praise any publisher would kill for, Nancy says it is “wonderful reading, I just couldn’t put it down.”

The New York Post agrees, making it one of their “This week’s must-read books” and calling it a “yarn reminiscent of adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”

Nancy appears every Tuesday on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW and an archive of her appearances is also available.

More Than JUSTIFIED:
Elmore Leonard

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 10.36.48 AM

The final episode of FX’s Justified ran on Tuesday night, bringing renewed attention to Elmore Leonard via subtle homages to the author that were not lost on fans, the switching of the iconic Stetson hat to a version closer to the one Leonard lobbied for and a cameo of the book Leonard said he often re-read for inspiration, The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins (Macmillan/Picador, 1972; OverDrive Sample).

9780062120342_927acThe series, originally based on Leonard’s short story “Fire in the Hole” (from the collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, re-released in trade paperback as Fire in the HoleHarperCollins/Morrow; OverDrive Sample) and featuring the central character who also appeared in the novels Pronto, Riding the Rap, and Raylan, the last novel Leonard published before his death in 2013, has been a powerhouse show for the network and brought more fans to Leonard.

Both Fire in the Hold and The Friends of Eddie Coyle are currently rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Glowing reviews of the series’ end all laud Leonard as well, from New York Magazine’s in-depth conversation with executive producer Graham Yost to a consideration of Leonard’s character in Word & Film.

The renewed attention makes this a good time to promote Leonard’s extensive backlist and many adaptations through virtual and in-house displays.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.07.50 AM  Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.08.01 AM  Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.08.24 AM

The three Justified novels. as well as the collection featuring the original short story, have been reprinted with bursts on the covers to make the connection, “Featuring RAYLAN GIVENS, from the new FX Series, JUSTIFIED.”

Beyond the series, classic examples of Leonard’s style include Hombre, Rum Punch, Be Cool, and Killshot. The Morrow imprint of HarperCollins recently re-released those titles as well several others in new trade paperback editions.

Many of Leonard’s books have been made into movies such as 3:10 To Yuma, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, and the recent Life of Crime (based on The Switch). The first five seasons of Justified are available on DVD and the final is on its way.

Don’t forget the audio versions. Favorite narrators Frank Muller and George Guidall served as narrators for many of his titles.

Tana French, TRUE DETECTIVE?

Sunday, March 8th, 2015


9780670038602  9780143115625  9780670021871_01b1b

Likening Tana French’s novels to the successful HBO series True Detective, a production company has acquired the adaptation rights to In The WoodsThe Likeness and Faithful Place (all Penguin/Viking) with plans to turn it ino a series of its own (one of the comments notes what many librarians will second, “They’re being modest. This series is SO much better than True Detective“).

The announcement in Deadline notes that the book feature interconnecting characters. Coincidentally, The Millions explores that subject in depth, but their comparisons are more literary, from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, novels which, “generate vertiginous thrills as they dramatize the difficulties of understanding ourselves, other people, and the world at large.”

Richard Price Attempts a New Brand

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

9780805093995_a6d5dIf you’re going to use a pseudonym, why reveal it on the book’s cover? In an interview in today’s NYT, Richard Price explains why the cover of his new book The Whites (Macmillan/Holt; Macmillan Audio), coming on Tuesday, carries the awkward attribution, “Richard Price Writing as Harry Brandt.”

He set out to write in a different style, a “stripped-down, heavily plotted best seller.” The only problem was that he couldn’t pull it off and ended up writing a Richard Price novel. Bowing to his publisher and editor who convinced him that if he didn’t make the pseudonym transparent, he would commit “commercial suicide,” he wound up with the two names on the cover. He says it “seemed like a good idea in the beginning, and now I wish I hadn’t done it,”

In an advance review, also in today’s NYT,  Michiko Kakutani says it has all the hallmarks of a Richard Price novel, “an ear for street language … kinetic energy … hard-boiled verve … [characters] who become as vivid to us as real-life relatives or friends.”

The title refers to the white whale that haunts Ahab in Moby Dick. Similarly, the cops and former cops in Price’s novel are all haunted by previous cases. Kakutani praises it  as ” a gripping police procedural and an affecting study in character and fate.

Prepub trade reviews are also strong. In a starred review, Booklist calls it ” a strong contender for best crime novel of 2015.”

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY Nominated for An Edgar

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

9780062088253_d693eAmong the six nominees for an Edgar in the Best Novel category, one stands out as a pleasant surprise. Although it contains elements of suspense, Wiley Cash’s This Dark Road to Mercy (HarperCollins/ Morrow; HarperLuxe).  is not primarily a mystery.

It was a LibraryReads pick last year, with the following recommendation,

“Cash’s second novel is as good as his first [A Land More Kind than Home]. In this story, we meet Easter and her sister Ruby, who have been shuffled around the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina. Then their ne’er-do-well father whisks them away in the middle of the night. I was on the edge of my seat as I followed the girls’ tale and hoping for a safe outcome.” — Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH

The full list of nominees in the Best Novel category:

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins/ Morrow; HarperLuxe)

Wolf  by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic; Thorndike)

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike)

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)

Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette/Little, Brown; Thorndike)

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (RH/ Delacorte)

Several LibraryReads picks were nominated in other categories:

Dry Bones in the Valley, Tom Bouman, Norton; Thorndike) — Best First Novel

“A body has been found in an elderly recluse’s field, neighbors are fighting over fracking, and meth labs and heroin dealers have settled deep in the woods of Officer Henry Farrell’s Wild Thyme Township. Bouman’s prose reveals not only the beauty of northeastern Pennsylvania, but also abject poverty and despair. A startling debut rich in setting and character with an intricate plot that will stay with readers after the last page.” — Jennifer Winberry, Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ

The Life We Bury, Allen Eskens, (Prometheus/Seventh Street Books) — Best First Novel

“In this well-crafted debut novel, Joe Talbert has finally left home, but not without guilt over leaving his autistic brother in the care of his unreliable mother. A college assignment gets the young man entangled in a cold case, racing to clear the name of a Vietnam veteran. Characters with layers of suppressed memories and emotions only add to the suspenseful plot. Looking forward to more from this Minnesotan author!” — Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III, Ben H. Winters, (Quirk Books)  — Best Paperback

“Still the last policeman, Detective Hank Palace tirelessly pulls together clues from crime scenes and interrogates witnesses to find his missing sister. Winters paints a believable picture of a world awaiting its end thanks to an asteroid on a collision course. A great series for mystery and science fiction lovers, as well as anyone looking for a pre-apocalyptic tale without a single zombie.” — Jenna Persick, Chester County Library, Exton, PA

The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day, (Prometheus/Seventh Street Books) — Mary Higgins Clark Award

“This first novel about two broken people is a psychological thriller like the best of Alfred Hitchcock. Amelia Emmet is a professor desperately trying to recover from a gunshot wound, and Nathaniel Barber is a student struggling to come to grips with his mother’s death and a lost love. Their journey, told in alternating chapters, is riveting and full of surprising discoveries. Highly recommended.” —Mattie Gustafson, Newport Public Library, Newport, RI