Archive for the ‘Mystery & Detective’ Category

More Noir TV

Monday, June 27th, 2016

9781783298839_2aedaAdding to the wave of crime series on cable, such as True Detective, comes Quarry, Cinemax‘s dark and moody adaptation of Max Allan Collins’s noir 1970s era series about a hit man. The eight-episode run will premiere on September 9th and star Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus) as a Marine who comes home to Memphis after the Vietnam War and gets caught in a world of violence and corruption.

Also scheduled for release is a tie-in, Quarry – TV Tie-In Edition, Max Allan Collins (RH/Hard Case Crime, Sept. 27; OverDrive Sample).

9781783298143_ff767Publisher Hard Case Crime has recently re-issued the original Quarry novels with their signature retro covers. According to GraphicNovelReporter, the publisher revived the series in 2006 (after a 20-year gap) and Collins has written seven new titles thus far. The latest is Quarry in the Black (RH/Hard Case Crime; October 4, 2016).

Collins’s graphic novel Road to Perdition was adapted as the critically acclaimed 2002 film starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.

Readers’ Advisory: Killer Women

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

9780316231077_fef1f  9780143110514_be119  9781598534313_e4d52

The currently hyper-popular psychological suspense genre is examined in depth by film critic Terrence Rafferty in the new issue of The Atlantic, declaring in the headline, “Women Are Writing the Best Crime Novels,”  

Among upcoming titles, Rafferty is particularly keen on The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood (PRH/Penguin, Aug. 30) and You Will Know Me, Megan Abbott (Hachette/Little, Brown, July 26), calling the first “brilliant” and the second “superb.”

The genre was created by women authors, amply proved he says by the Library of America’s two-volume collection, Women Crime Writers (2015) and it now has “many more daughters than sons,” running down a global roster:

America — Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin, Laura Lippman

England — Alex Marwood, Paula Hawkins, Sophie Hannah

Scotland — Val McDermid, Denise Mina

Ireland — Tana French

Norway — Karin Fossum

Japan — Natsuo Kirino

These authors have ushered in a new order, that, says Rafferty, “is not a world Raymond Chandler would have recognized … The female writers, for whatever reason (men?), don’t much believe in heroes, which makes their kind of storytelling perhaps a better fit for these cynical times. Their books are light on gunplay, heavy on emotional violence … pure noir, velvety and pitiless.”

MURDER SHE BAKED, New Movie

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The fourth in the Hallmark Murder She Baked series based on JoAnne Fluke’s novels, this one titled A Deadly Recipe, premieres this Sunday.

Series star Alison Sweeney appeared on the Ellen Show yesterday to talk about the movies, working with a difficult co-star, and her own novel, Opportunity Knocks (Hachette Books. 4/5/16).

Preview the Hallmark movie here.

Tie-in:

9781496711526_92eafFudge Cupcake Murder
Joanne Fluke
Kensington: May 31, 2016
9781496711526, 1496711521
Mass Market
$7.99 USD, $8.99 CAD

All Aboard: Jolie And Branagh
Take On Christie

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

9780062073495_0_CoverAgatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) looks like it is preparing to leave the station once again. According to Deadline Hollywood, Angelina Jolie is in talks to join the Kenneth Branagh film production.

Branagh is reportedly gathering an all-star cast and plans to play detective Hercule Poirot himself. He will also serve as producer, along side Ridley Scott and others. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) is on board as screenwriter.

The Guardian reports that Jolie will fill the role of Mrs. Hubbard, one of the novel’s many suspects, most famously played by Lauren Bacall in Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version of the mystery.

No further news on the rest of the cast. Currently plans are to release the film on Nov. 22, 2017, well timed for the award season as Deadline points out.

The classic mystery’s most recent adaptation is the PBS Masterpiece episode starring David Suchet, Hugh Bonneville, and Jessica Chastain.

The most acclaimed film adaptation is Lumet’s production for Paramount. Albert Finney starred as Poirot, alongside Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Lauren Bacall, and Sean Connery.

On the Rise: Alan Furst’s
Espionage Series

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

9780812996494_fc7daReviewed in Sunday’s NYT Book Review, Alan Furst’s latest historical spy thriller, A Hero of France (PRH/Random House; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Novelist Sara Paretsky notes that Furst is “known for his detailed research into both cat-and-mouse sides of occupied Europe” and offers this plot summary:

“[the thriller] which follows five months in the life of a particular Resistance cell, begins in March 1941, nine months into the German occupation. The hero of the novel’s title, code-named Mathieu, is escorting a downed R.A.F. airman from the countryside to Paris so that he can be smuggled back to England.”

The Washington Post calls it “emotionally gripping and hugely satisfying” and pointing out that it  makes an excellent entry point into Furst’s oeuvre, as it is “the first one to deal directly with the occupation. And it is the first to feature the deeply appealing protagonist … Mathieu.”

NPR praises Furst’s ability to create setting and character.

Furst’s popularity is growing. His last three titles landed in the top ten on the NYT bestseller list. He has also been gaining media attention (interviews in the NYT, NewsweekThe Wall Street Journal, among others).

Furst publishes a new title every two years, around Fathers Day, making it appear that his audience is mostly male, but the Newsweek interview notes that many of his fans are women.

Holds are strong across the board with several libraries showing reserve lists well above a 3:1 ratio.  Check your standing order quantities, it may be time to increase them.

Walter Mosley Makes Edgar History

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780393028546_300Walter Mosley became the first African-American Grand Master in history during last week’s Edgar Awards ceremony.

The Grand Master is the highest honor the Mystery Writers of America bestows, one that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and an impressive quality of work. Agatha Christie, P.D. James, and Stephen King have won in past years but never an African-American author.

On learning the news Mosley said in a statement, “Receiving the Grand Master Award is the apex of my career as a crime writer; as a writer. It is, joyfully, one of the seminal events of my life.”

Literary Hub has posted his acceptance speech as well as a rundown of the award’s night.

9780385539203_55590Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins series, beginning with Devil in a Blue Dress (Norton, 1990).

His newest book, coming this June, is part of that series, Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (PRH/Doubleday, Random House Audio; BOT).

An Edgar for THE SYMPATHIZER

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

9780802123459_c9befIt was a banner week for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (Grove Press, April 2015).

On Thursday night, it took home the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and shortly after, debuted on the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction Best Seller list, landing in the #9 spot, the first time it’s appeared on a NYT list (in hardcover, it was on the ABA IndieBound best seller list for six weeks, hitting a high of #24, and the L.A. Times best seller list for 2 weeks, but did not crack any other list).

Both of these events come just weeks after it won the Pulitzer in Fiction.. At that time the Guardian‘s headline described it as having done “from overlooked to Pulitzer winner,“ a bit of an overstatement. Although it had not won many prizes until the Pulitzer, it was a critical success (see Ron Charles’s review from the Washington Post), appeared on many end-of-the year best books lists and won ALA’s 2016 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

What makes this Pulitzer Prize winner, described by Library Journal as “a meditation on war, political movements, America’s imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one’s personal identity,” an Edgar contender? The main character is a double agent, a communist sympathizer who is an aide to a South Vietnamese general, so, while it is literary, it counts as a literary thriller. As Kirkus commented, “Think Alan Furst meets Elmore Leonard, and you’ll capture Nguyen at his most surreal,” further saying that the result is “Both chilling and funny.”

UPDATE: New York magazine declares something librarians have observed for some times, that genres are converging, under the headline, “The Sympathizer Won a Pulitzer and an Edgar, and May Herald the Great Literary Convergence.” The article verifies that this is the first time a book has won both a major literary prize and a genre prize.

9780525955078_9a434In other Edgar news, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, Lori Roy (PRH/Dutton, June 2015) took home the honors for Best Novel while The Long and Faraway Gone, Lou Berney (HC/William Morrow, Feb. 2015) won for Best Paperback Original.

9781481422765_d3246Footer Davis Probably is Crazy, Susan Vaught (S&S/Paula Wiseman, March 2015) won for Best Juvenile and A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HC/Katherine Tegan, Oct. 2015) took the Young Adult prize.

A full listing of all winners and nominees is online, a great resource for both RA and creating displays.

LIVE BY NIGHT Gets Release Date

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Live by NightThe film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night, directed by Ben Affleck, has been set for release on Oct. 20, 2017. Affleck also stars, along with Sienna Miller, Zoe Saldana and Chris Messina. Deadline calls the date a “prime fall spot.

This is Affleck’s fourth time directing. His first effort as a director was also an adaptation of a Lehane novel, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone.

Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow) is a crime novel set in the Prohibition era about the rise of an Irish-American gangster. Prophetically, when it came out, Entertainment Weekly, called it a “ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.

Lehane is no stranger to Hollywood. In addition to Gone Baby Gone, films have been made of his novels Mystic River (2003) and Shutter Island (2010). He has also written for the TV series The Wire and Boardwalk Empire.

Affleck appears in theaters this week as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Kakutani Likes THE GIRL
IN THE RED COAT

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

You may not expect the NYT’s literary-focused Michiko Kakutani to begin a review with references to Gone Girl or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, although, as a fan of the Millennium series, she has shown an appreciation for psychological thrillers.

9781612195001_a2c4eYet, her take on Kate Hamer’s indie press debut, The Girl in the Red Coat (Melville House; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample), begins with references to both titles and goes on to applaud Harner’s character development, saying she has a “keen understanding of her two central characters … Both emerge as individuals depicted with sympathy but also with unsparing emotional precision.”

Those keeping track will remember that was Kakutani’s key praise of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as well.

It’s receiving appreciation from other quarters as well.  Amazon picked it as one of their Best Books of February and as their Featured Debut of the month. It is a LibraryReads selection, with Kim Dorman of the Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ observing:

“There is not much more terrifying than losing your child. There’s the terror, the guilt, and then the relentless and unending chasm left behind by your child. I am grateful to not know that pain, and yet what Beth, the main character of this book, went through, resonated with me. I have had so many things on my to-do list, and yet I found myself delaying laundry and dusting and research so that I could find out how this story would unfold.”

It is showing solid holds in libraries we checked, performing strongly enough to be pushing against a 3:1 ratio.

BIG LITTLE LIES Cast Developments

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

big little liesNews recently leaked that Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley were being courted for the HBO series based on Australian author Liane Moriarty’s best seller Big Little Lies (Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn).

Deadline now confirms that Dern has signed to play Renata Klein, one of the three mothers at the center of the story. Woodley is expected to play Jane, a single mother whose son is accused of bullying, but that has not yet been confirmed, but seems certain since producer Nicole Kidman announced it last week.

The show runner is David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal), with Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) set to direct several of the episodes.

Moriarty is scheduled to publish an untitled new novel in July (Macmillan/Flatiron Books).

The Husband's Secret  What Alice Forgot

Two of Moriarty’s other novels are in development, as feature films. The Husband’s Secret, (Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn, 2013), with CBS Films and  What Alice Forgot(Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn, 2011)  with TriStar. At the end of October, it was reported that Jennifer Aniston is in talks to star in the latter.

Closer to Screen: BIG LITTLE LIES

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

big little liesThe HBO series based on Liane Moriarty’s best seller Big Little Lies (Penguin/Putnam/Einhorn), now has another big name attached. Shailene Woodley is set to join Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in the production, reports Variety, but the news seems to have been broken via a tweet from the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Variety notes the deal is not completed. Since the source of the news is Kidman and she is a producer, it seems it is likely it will be confirmed shortly.

Kenneth Branagh, Meet
Hercule Poirot

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

y648Fans of Agatha Christie have a treat heading their way. Variety reports Fox’s long delayed reboot of Murder on the Orient Express finally looks like it is leaving the station.

Kenneth Branagh will play Poirot as well as direct the film. Branagh and Ridley Scott (The Martian) are producers as is Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan), while Michael Green, who is working on Blade Runner 2, is writing the screenplay.

Branagh follows in the footsteps of Peter Ustinov and David Suchet, both of whom made the role famous. Branagh is no stranger to on-screen detection himself, proving his skills playing Wallander for PBS.

According to Box Office Mojo, the film currently has a Nov 10, 2017 release date. Eager moviegoers might be watching that date with a weather eye, however. The movie has been in the works for years. As CinemaBlend wrote several months ago, wondering if the movie would ever appear, “there’s been such little movement on the film that most people probably forgot that it was even planned.”

In 2011, HarperCollins became Christie’s global publisher, reports the UK newspaper Independent. We will keep our eye out for a tie-in.

JK Rowling Drops Hints

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

In news that might overshadow her PR push for the newest Cormoran Strike novel, JK Rowing said during an interview on BBC Radio 2 Book Club that she is going to write another children’s book:

“I’m not going to give you an absolute date because things are busy and I’ve been writing a screenplay as well. But I will definitely write more novels under JK Rowling. I’ve written part of a children’s book, which I really love. I will definitely finish that. I have ideas for other adult books.”

Let the watch begin.

UPDATE: The U.K. trade publication, The Bookseller, followed up with Rowling’s agent. You can almost hear the sigh in his voice as he replies, “J K Rowling has talked previously about writing a children’s book and, as she said to Simon Mayo in the interview, it is on-going, with no plans to publish as yet.”

9780316349932_bd4feShe is also gamely promoting her latest adult title, Career of Evil (Hachette/Mulholland), the third in the Cormoran Strike mystery series.

She has much to say on that same BBC interview but she also talked with David Greene for NPR’s Morning Edition, discussing how her research into the feelings and motivations of killers gave her nightmares and why she chose to disguise herself as a male author.

“… there was a phenomenal amount of pressure that went with being the writer of Harry Potter, and that aspect of publishing those books I do not particularly miss. So you can probably understand the appeal of going away and creating something very different, and just letting it stand or fall on its own merits.”

Catching Up With Nancy Pearl

Monday, October 26th, 2015

In her recent weekly book chats airing on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW librarian Nancy Pearl talks Mystery and Fantasy.

9781608197088_acf81Last week she discussed Tabula Rasa (Bloomsbury USA; Tantor audio; OverDrive Sample) by Ruth Downie, the newest in Downie’s Ruso mysteries set in Roman Britain. Just released in paperback, the sixth in the series takes place while the Romans are building Hadrian’s Wall and involves the case of a missing British boy.

Nancy says that Downie “give such a picture of the time and the place” that she feels she is taking a wonderful Roman history class as she reads them.

9780763681845_f6f18On October 6, Nancy addressed Fantasy with the last book written by the late Mal Peet, The Murdstone Trilogy: A Novel (Candlewick; Candlewick on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Peet, who passed away in March, might have been best known for his YA novels, but Nancy loved this adult send-up of writing in general and Fantasy in particular.

Calling it “sui generis” she says it’s like nothing she has ever read before.

The story is about a writer urged by his agent to change his focus from YA realistic fiction to Fantasy so he can start to sell books again. Knowing nothing of the genre he makes a deal with a strange creature – the creature will write the novel in exchange for a mysterious amulet.

Nancy says the story “totally charmed” her and is full of word play, satire, and wonderfully humorous set pieces.

It is also an open question as to what the novel actually is, not a trilogy at all as the subtitle makes clear and perhaps not a Fantasy either, making it a challenge for catalogers.

Wallander Retires

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Unlike James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Lisbeth Salander, who lived on after their creators’s deaths, Kurt Wallander will not be featured in future novels.

As reported by the global news agency AFP and picked up by Yahoo! News, Henning Mankell’s publishing partner Dan Israel, who co-founded Leopard publishing with Mankell, stated that now that the writer has died, “It is out of the question that there would be other books featuring Wallander.”

Neither are there any manuscripts hiding in a vault. While Israel says Mankell was working on a book before he died, but it “is just a draft and unpublishable.”

He vowed to protect the literary property of Mankell, stressing “Nothing can be approved without my agreement.”

However, Mankell’s final book has not yet been released in the U.S. The Guardian reports that Quicksand: What It Means to be a Human Being, is about his experience dealing with his cancer diagnosis. Scheduled for release in the U.K. this coming February, the U.S. release date has not yet been announced.

In an interviews in 2012, Mankell explains that he is not interested in crime itself, but “To use the mirror of crime to look at contradictions in society, that is what interests me.”