J. Kingston Pierce

Nov 262014

It’s that time of year again, when we start pulling together our longlist of nominees for The Rap Sheet’s Best Crime Fiction Covers competition. 2013 saw a particularly tight race for that honor, with David Middleton’s fine design for the front of Death Was in the Blood, by Linda L. Richards, finally coming out on top. We’ve spent the last few months collecting possible contenders for the 2014 honor, but would like to solicit reader suggestions as well.

You’re all well read and observant, right? So which crime, mystery, and thriller book fronts--first released in 2014, in either hardcover of paperback--do you think really stood out from the crowd? Which have demonstrated remarkable use of typography, photography, and/or original illustrations? If you’d like to see the jackets that have drawn our attention in the past, click here. Then drop us an e-mail note with your best-cover picks for the present year. Be sure to include the name and author of any novel you suggest, plus--if at all possible--a link to where we might view the cover artwork online. Working from your choices as well as our own finds, we’ll collect 12 to 15 covers we think are deserving of recognition, and post them in early December, inviting everyone to vote for their favorites.

Let us know soon which covers you think merit special recognition.
Nov 252014
I’ve taken a first crack at putting together a list of my favorite crime novels of 2014; you’ll find it in my Kirkus Reviews column today. Among my 10 choices are works by Laura Lippmann, Peter May, Joseph Koenig, and Antonia Hodgson.

With the help of some other Rap Sheet contributors, I am also working on a larger feature about the year’s best crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. That should appear on this page within the next couple of weeks, and be much broader in scope. Please stay tuned.
Nov 252014
Having finally come down from all the excitement at Bouchercon in Long Beach, and after putting the last touches on a couple of unexpectedly challenging editorial assignments, I am ready for a wrap-up of recent crime-fiction news. How about you?

Publishers Weekly has posted a list of its critics’ 12 favorite mystery and thriller novels from 2014. They are:

-- The Black-Eyed Blonde, by Benjamin Black (Holt)
-- Memory of Flames, by Armand Cabasson (Gallic)
-- Sting of the Drone, by Richard A. Clarke (St. Martin’s/Dunne)
-- The Sweetness of Life, by Paulus Hochgatterer (MacLehose Press)
-- The Devil in the Marshalsea, by Antonia Hodgson (Mariner)
-- The Good Girl, by Mary Kubica (Mira)
-- The Iron Sickle, by Martin Limón (Soho Crime)
-- The Forgers, by Bradford Morrow (Mysterious Press)
-- Desperate, by Daniel Palmer (Kensington)
-- Soul of the Fire, by Eliot Pattison (Minotaur)
-- The Farm, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
-- The Martian, by Andy Weir (Crown)

• Crime Fiction Lover chooses its “Top 10 Crime Debuts of 2014,” including Someone Else’s Skin, by Sarah Hilary; Spring Tide, by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind; and The Lying Down Room, by Anna Jaquiery.

• With the American version of Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, check out this list in Mystery Fanfare of crime fiction related to the occasion. Who knows, you might like to pick up a copy of Kate Borden’s Death of a Turkey or Rex Stout’s Too Many Cooks to while away the time as you wait for your holiday feast to be done.

• Former Norwegian police investigator-turned-author Jǿrn Lier Horst has won the 2014 Martin Beck Award for The Hunting Dogs (Sandstone Press), his third English-translated police procedural starring William Wisting. The Martin Beck Award is presented annually by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy (Svenska Deckarakademin) for the best crime novel in translation. Last year, The Hunting Dogs won the Glass Key Award
from the Crime Writers of Scandinavia. Maybe it’s time I actually found a copy of that novel and sat down to read it.

• Several additions have been made in recent days to The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page, including the video embedded above: the opening title sequence from Tropical Heat, a 1991-1993 Canadian action-adventure series starring Rob Stewart as an ex-DEA agent turned Florida gumshoe. Other new clips include the introductions from Cool Million, Shell Game, and Jigsaw John.

• Can you dig it? Author and sometime Rap Sheet writer Gary Phillips dropped me a note over the weekend, saying that he and David Walker--the latter of whom is writing the new Shaft comic-book series for Dynamite Entertainment--“are putting together the first-ever anthology of [John] Shaft short stories … set in the ’70s of course.” As somebody who, over the years, has developed an unexpected fondness for Ernest Tidyman’s Shaft series, I look forward to seeing that black private eye’s return in any form possible.

• A recent interview with David Walker can be heard here.

• Jake Hinkson, author of The Big Ugly and a regular contributor to Criminal Element, has kicked off a new succession of posts for that blog about “standalone novels by mystery writers who are better known for their big-time franchise characters.” Hinkson begins his series with a look back at I’d Know You Anywhere, Laura Lippman’s noirish thriller, published in 2010.

• Are you in the mood for an “oddball detective book”? Jeff Somers showcases five such works--by Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Asimov, and others--in this piece for the B&N Book Blog.

• This qualifies as good news: Despite doubts voiced by many people, the TV series Longmire--inspired by Craig Johnson’s acclaimed series of novels and starring Robert Taylor as Wyoming county sheriff Walt Longmire--will return for a fourth season. This, after A&E cancelled the show in August. ComingSoon.net reports that Netflix has ordered “ten new episodes of the series [to] premiere exclusively in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2015.” It adds: “Season four of Longmire picks up moments after season three’s exciting finale. Longmire, having found out who was behind the murder of his wife, succumbs to his darker impulses and takes off in pursuit of the killer with murder on his mind. Meanwhile, Branch Connally ([played by Bailey] Chase), the deputy who Walt fired for erratic, violent behavior, believes he has already figured out who the real culprit is. But during his confrontation with this suspected killer, a gun goes off. Now the audience will finally learn what happened, and whether Walt can be stopped before he makes a fatal choice.”

• Did you know that independent bookstores across the United States will celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 29 by hosting author and illustrator appearances--just in time for holiday gift-buying? A state-by-state listing of participating shops can be found here. I’m pleased to see that my local bookseller, Phinney Books, is among those taking part. (Hat tip to Life, Death and Fog.)

Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad spin-off series starring Bob Odenkirk, will be given a two-night debut on February 8 and 9 of next year, after which it will settle into its Monday time slot on AMC-TV.

What’s your favorite John Dickson Carr mystery?

• A couple of interviews worth reading: Clinton Greaves talks with Roger Smith, South African author of Man Down, while Omnimystery News chats with Les Roberts about his new novel, Wet Work.

• If the short-lived, 1972-1973 TV series Madigan, starring Richard Widmark (an early element of The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie “wheel series”), is available in a DVD set from Amazon France, why is it still not for sale in the States?

• Winners of the 2014 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards are to be declared this coming Wednesday, November 26. Among the nominees are six works competing for Irish Crime Novel of the Year. Declan Burke reacquaints us with those contenders here, and then suggests eight other “tremendous novels published that didn’t, for various reasons, feature on the shortlist”--among them Adrian McKinty’s The Sun Is God and Conor Fitzgerald’s Bitter Remedy.

• This last weekend’s Iceland Noir conference in Reykjavik received some important coverage from the blog Crime Fiction Lover. An overview can be found here, but look also for CFL’s post about new authors who took part in the event and this item about “a tour guided by Iceland’s own queen of crime, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, to the west of the island and out onto the Snaefellsnes peninsula.” You’ll find links to all of CFL’s Iceland Noir articles here.

Are you ready for Cozy Crime Week, December 8-13?

• And “after about ten years of work, and a year-and-a-half online serialization,” the Webcomic Gravedigger is done--“at least for now,” says its writer, Christopher Mills. “‘Digger’ McCrae will probably be back, though. He’s a tough sonuvabitch. I’m already talking to publishers about print editions and digital download versions of both ‘The Predators’ and ‘The Scavengers,’ and I’m hopeful that we’ll be seeing said versions sometime soon.” In the meantime, if you missed any of the 49 chapters of “The Predators,” put together by Mills and illustrator Rick Burchett, you can still find them online, beginning here. “The Scavengers” is still available, too, beginning here.
Nov 212014
Kirkus Reviews this week unveiled lengthy and often overlapping lists of what its critics believe are the Best Books of 2014. Within that inventory, you will find 12 categories of fiction--everything from Best Literary Fiction to Best Fiction with a Touch of Magic. Under the heading Best Mysteries and Thrillers are these 16 titles:

Bird Box, by Josh Malerman (Ecco/HarperCollins)
The Bones Beneath, by Mark Billingham (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Broadchurch, by Erin Kelly (Minotaur)
Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes (Mulholland)
Children of the Revolution, by Peter Robinson (Morrow)
The Killer Next Door, by Alex Marwood (Penguin)
The Long Way Home, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Night Heron, by Adam Brookes (Redhook/Orbit)
One Kick, by Chelsea Cain (Simon & Schuster)
Reckless Disregard, by Robert Rotstein (Seventh Street)
The Red Road, by Denise Mina (Little, Brown)
The Secret Place, by Tana French (Viking)
The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith (Mulholland)
The Son, by Jo Nesbø (Knopf)
Those Who Wish Me Dead. by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, by David Shafer (Mulholland)

In addition, Megan Abbott’s The Fever and C.J. Sansom’s Dominion appear within the Best Popular Fiction category.

Most of the selections here are not very surprising, but I was interested to see both Bird Box and Night Heron make the cut, as neither of those debut novels had been on my radar during the last dozen months. (Which just goes to show that none of us is perfect.) What do the rest of you think of Kirkus’ picks?
Nov 192014
Now let me turn the spotlight over to Ali Karim, who spent much of this last Bouchercon photographing authors, critics, and readers alike. Many of those shots wound up on Facebook, where his family in England could follow his escapades without having to suffer any jet lag. I’ve pulled together some of Ali’s images and posted them below, for everybody else who couldn’t make it to Long Beach.

The day before Bouchercon began, Ali Karim and his cohorts visited the studio where the police procedural Bosch, based on Michael Connelly’s series of novels, was being filmed. Left to right: Deadly Pleasures critic Larry Gandle; author Roger Ellory; Connelly; Bosch star Titus Welliver; our man Karim; and Shots editor Mike Stotter.

Edward Marston embraces his wife, Judith Cutler.

Ali with author Reed Farrel Coleman.

Fan Guest of Honor Al Abramson.

A study in contrasts: Ali beside Charles Todd, who with his mother, Caroline, composes the Inspector Ian Rutledge series.

Left to right: The ubiquitous Ali Karim with author Bob Truluck and Rap Sheet blogger J. Kingston Pierce.

Anthony Award finalist Sara J. Henry nursing her basketball injury with Bouchercon board member-at-large John Purcell.

Author Jeffery Deaver with You-Know-Who.

Left to right: Mike Stotter, Linda L. Richards, and J. Kingston Pierce with legendary editor-bookseller Otto Penzler.

Mystery writer Brendan DuBois and critic Oline Cogdill.

The Hat Squad: Ali with author David Morrell.

Left to right: The bass-voiced Gary Phillips, an unusually dressed-down Ali, and Stephen Jay Schwartz.

Bouchercon 2014 chair Ingrid Willis with Indiana bookseller Mike Bursaw, aka “Mystery Mike.”

Thrilling Detective Web Site editor Kevin Burton Smith with his wife, Diana Killian, and that strange dude in the white hat again.

J. Robert Janes signing some of his World War II thrillers.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em: Ali Karim, Lee Child. ’Nuff said.

Ali with “Medieval Noir” novelist Jeri Westerson, president of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, at a Librarian Tea/panel discussion about audiobooks.

J. Kingston Pierce (yes, the one in that slick Rockford Files T-shirt) together with fellow bloggers Jacques Filippi and Ali Karim.

Mike Stotter, Max Allan Collins, and J. Kingston Pierce mug for the camera before the Shamus Awards dinner commences.

Author Cara Black and Ali rest between panel talks.

Michael Connelly being interviewed before an audience by another journalist-turned-author, Sebastian Rotella.

The Guests of Honor Panel closed out Bouchercon 2014. Left to right: moderator Tammy Kaehler; American Guest of Honor J.A. Jance; Toastmaster Simon Wood; Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jeffery Deaver; Young Adult Guest of Honor Eoin Colfer; International Guest of Honor Edward Marston; and again, Fan Guest of Honor Al Abramson. A good time was indeed had by all.

With the festivities over, Mike Stotter, Roger Ellory, Peter Rozovsky, and J. Kingston Pierce take a leisurely afternoon stroll down to The Pike at Rainbow Harbor. And look, there in the distance--could it be the Queen Mary?

Before all of the Bouchercon stragglers depart, one last dinner. Front row, left to right: Diana Killian, Jodi Pierce, Linda L. Richards, Heather Graham Pozzessere, and Connie Perry. Middle row: Rob Brunet, Kevin Burton Smith, J. Kingston Pierce, Peter Rozovsky, Scott Montgomery, Roger Ellory, and Tanis Mallow. Back row: Mike Stotter and yes, one final time, Ali Karim.

(Click here to find Part I of our post-Bouchercon coverage.)
Nov 192014
Yours truly with Ali Karim, outside the Hyatt Regency.

My first visit to Long Beach, California, came during the early 1970s. My father had been stationed in Great Britain during World War II, and had worked there as some sort of wheeling-and-dealing army supply officer (picture James Garner’s “Scrounger” from The Great Escape). But after the fighting ended, he returned to the States aboard the RMS Queen Mary, which had been painted gray for service as a troop transport vessel. When that ocean liner was finally retired from service in 1967 and subsequently repurposed in Long Beach as a tourist attraction, my father decided he wanted to see her once more. So he packed up our family, and we drove from Portland, Oregon, all the way down to the so-called Aquatic Capital of America to see what had become of the old girl. I was pretty young at the time and don’t recall much of that trip, but I do remember standing on the dock below the Queen Mary and staring up in awe at how mammoth the ship appeared (she was, after all, some 200 feet longer than the ill-fated RMS Titanic).

Last week marked my only other journey to Long Beach, and while I could see the Queen Mary from my hotel window high above Ocean Boulevard, I never did reach her moorage across Rainbow Harbor. Instead, I spent almost all of my time partaking of this year’s Bouchercon (“Murder at the Beach,” November 13-16), held at the Hyatt Regency hotel and adjacent Long Beach Convention Center. It was my fifth Bouchercon, after the 2011 convention in St. Louis, so I knew pretty much what to expect. Yet every one of these World Mystery Conventions offers a little something new, even if it’s only a novel panel-discussion topic (not easy to come by), a happenstance encounter with an author previously unknown to you, or learning about a book that had eluded your radar.

For me, the best part of this whole shindig was reconnecting with good friends I don’t see nearly often enough, especially The Rap Sheet’s ever-energetic UK correspondent, Ali Karim. He and I got to know each other during the early days of the 21st century, when he volunteered to write reviews for January Magazine (for which I still serve as crime fiction editor), and we have traveled back and forth across the Atlantic to drink together and swap reading recommendations ever since. Ali likes to say we could have been brothers in another lifetime, or perhaps in an alternative universe, and I won’t disagree with that. I value his friendship tremendously. And I’m pleased that he usually makes these Bouchercon forays in the company of two other pals of his, Shots editor Mike Stotter and author R.J. “Roger” Ellory. Between them, their fine humor and equally fine stories leave me laughing for weeks after the conventions conclude.

Other highlights of Bouchercon 2014, though, included: dining out with Canadian-American author David Morrell (whose novel Murder as a Fine Art won the Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award); sitting through Art Scott’s slide presentation of artist Robert McGinnis’ gorgeous paperback covers and paintings (during which I learned that McGinnis had imagined both James Coburn and Goldie Hawn as models for his players on the front of the 1971 paperback, As Old As Cain); two panel talks moderated by Peter Rozovsky--“Belfast Noir,” which included Stuart Neville and Gerard Brennan as speakers, and “Beyond Hammett, Chandler and Spillane,” during which Gary Phillips, Max Allan Collins, Sarah Weinman and others swapped stories about “forgotten” crime writers of the mid-20th-century pulp era (Joseph Nazel, Dolores Hitchens, and Ennis Willie among them); attending the Private Eye Writers of America’s Shamus Awards banquet with The Thrilling Detective Web Site’s Kevin Burton Smith and his wife, author Diana Killian, as well as writers such as Brad Parks, Sue Grafton, and Richard Helms; Poisoned Pen Press publisher Barbara Peters’ interview with International Guest of Honor Edward Marston, who proved to be a wellspring of entertaining stories (and was later kind enough to remember me, when I went seeking his autograph on a book); J. Robert Janes’ generosity in gifting me with an out-of-print hardcover copy of his 1991 thriller, The Alice Factor; Sebastian Rotella’s onstage interview with Michael Connelly; and a reminiscence-filled post-Bouchercon dinner featuring Ali Karim, Mike Stotter, January editor and author Linda L. Richards, and several others who had booked Monday flights home. In addition, my wife and I sat down for dinner one evening with my cousin Scott and his wife, Lori, at a Long Beach restaurant (and classy converted former bank) called The Federal Bar. I don’t have nearly as many chances as I would like to get together with members of my mother’s sister’s family. Since Scott and Lori live in the Los Angeles area, I wasn’t about to miss seeing them on this trip.

In addition to all of that, I spent some time with writer friends such as Lee Goldberg (who shares my passion for old TV detective series), Keith Raffel, Kelli Stanley, Mystery Fanfare’s Janet Rudolph, and the aforementioned Gary Phillips and Max Allan Collins (the latter of whom, with his wife, fellow fictionist Barbara Collins, hosted the Shamus Awards party). I was only sorry that I didn’t have more contact on this occasion with Mark Billingham, Sarah Weinman, and Otto Penzler, and never so much as clapped eyes on a few people I had hoped to meet--Lyndsay Faye, Owen Laukkanen, and Bruce DeSilva among them--but maybe I shall bump into them during a near-future Bouchercon. I’ll call it compensation that I returned to Seattle with a few goodies, prominent among those being two additions to my modest collection of Robert McGinnis-illustrated paperbacks: 24 Hours to Kill (1961) and Murder Me for Nickels (1960). I would surely have purchased more, except that the Book Room at this event was conspicuously short of sales tables offering classic paperbacks (and, sadly, didn’t feature a British bookseller at all).

As it happens, my friend Ali is responsible for the programming at Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina, so there’s every chance I’ll swing by those festivities next October. I shall use the intervening months to rest my liver and catch up on sleep in preparation.

(Part II of our post-Bouchercon coverage, filled with photographs from the event, will be posted this afternoon.)
Nov 162014
My wife and I spent this evening enjoying a wonderful dinner elsewhere in Long Beach with my cousin and his wife. But Rap Sheet correspondent Ali Karim was on hand at the 2014 Anthony Awards presentation to record the winners. A vote by conference attendees determined who should receive these commendations.

Best Novel: Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)

Also nominated: Suspect, by Robert Crais (Putnam); A Cold and Lonely Place, by Sara J. Henry (Crown); The Wrong Girl, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge); and Through the Evil Days, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur)

Best First Novel: Yesterday’s Echo, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview)

Also nominated: Ghostman, by Roger Hobbs (Knopf); Rage Against the Dying, by Becky Masterman (Minotaur); Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins); and The Hard Bounce, by Todd Robinson (Tyrus)

Best Paperback Original Novel: As She Left It, by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)

Also nominated: The Big Reap, by Chris F. Holm (Angry Robot); Purgatory Key, by Darrell James (Midnight Ink); Joyland, by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime); and The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood (Penguin)

Best Short Story: “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository,” by John Connolly (The Mysterious Press)

Also nominated: “Dead End,” by Craig Faustus Buck (Untreed Reads); “Annie and the Grateful Dead,” by Denise Dietz (from The Sound and the Furry, edited by Denise Dietz and Lillian Stewart Carl; Amazon Digital); “Incident on the 405,” by Travis Richardson (from The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, edited by Clare Toohey; St. Martin’s Press); and “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013)

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work: The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur)

Also nominated: Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova (Viking); The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines, by Cate Lineberry (Little, Brown); All the Wild Children, by Josh Stallings (Snubnose Press); and Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, edited by Sarah Weinman (Penguin)

Best Children’s or Young Adult Novel: The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau (Houghton Mifflin)

Also nominated: Escape Theory, by Margaux Froley (Soho Teen); Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein (Random House); Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy, by Elizabeth Kiem (Soho Teen); and The Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate’s Treasure, by Penny Warner (Edgmont USA)

Best Television Episode Teleplay (First Aired in 2013): The Blacklist, “Pilot,” teleplay by Jon Bokenkamp (Davis Entertainment, NBC)

Also nominated: The Fall, “Dark Descent,” teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix Original); Breaking Bad, “Felina,” teleplay by Vince Gilligan (AMC); The Following, “Pilot,” teleplay by Kevin Williamson (Fox/Warner Bros. Television); and Justified, “Hole in the Wall,” teleplay by Graham Yost (Fox/Warner Bros. Television)

Best Audiobook: The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister (Hachette)

Also nominated: Crescendo, by Deborah J, Ledford, read by Christina Cox (Audible); Man in the Empty Suit, by Sean Ferrell, read by Mauro Hantman (AudioGO); Death and the Lit Chick, by G.M. Malliet, read by Davina Porter (Dreamscape); and Hour of the Rat, by Lisa Brackmann, read by Tracy Sallows (Audible)

In addition, this year’s David S. Thompson Special Service Award was presented to Judy Bobalik.

Congratulations to all of the winners as well as the other nominees.
Nov 162014
In a weird coincidence, I happen to be in Long Beach, California, attending Bouchercon 2014, as I learn that legendary TV executive Glen A. Larson--who was born in this very town back in 1937--has passed away. From the Associated Press:
Glen A. Larson, the writer and producer behind a series of hit television shows in the 1970s and ’80s, including the original “Battlestar Galactica,” “Knight Rider,” “Magnum, P.I.” and “Quincy, M.E.,” died on Friday in Los Angeles. He was 77.

The cause was complications of esophageal cancer, his son James said.

Mr. Larson, who was also a singer and a composer, helped write the theme songs for some of his hits, including the frequently sampled tune from “Knight Rider” and the orchestral music behind “Battlestar Galactica,” his son said.

He was nominated three times for an Emmy and once for a Grammy, for the original score of “Battlestar Galactica.” He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1985.
In addition to the TV series mentioned above, Larson worked over the years on The Fugitive, Alias Smith and Jones, McCloud, The Six Million Dollar Man, Switch, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and The Fall Guy. He also served as executive producer of the 1968-70 Robert Wagner spy series It Takes a Thief. A full rundown of Larson’s TV credits can be found here.

“Although Larson was notorious,” says blogger Christopher Mills, “for ripping off popular movies with his shows (he was even sued by 20th Century Fox and George Lucas over Galactica’s similarities to Star Wars), his programs were undeniably entertaining, filled with action, humor and glamour, aimed solidly at family audiences.”

READ MORE:Glen A. Larson, Creator of TV’s Quincy, M.E., Magnum, P.I. and Battlestar Galactica, Dies at 77,” by Mike Barnes (The Hollywood Reporter).
Nov 152014
Last night, during a banquet ceremony held in Long Beach, California, Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins played masters of ceremonies for the presentation of this year’s Shamus Awards, given out by the Private Eye Writers of America. The winners were:

Best Hardcover P.I. Novel: The Good Cop, by Brad Parks (Minotaur)

Also nominated: Little Elvises, by Timothy Hallinan (Soho Crime); The Mojito Coast, by Richard Helms (Five Star); W Is for Wasted, by Sue Grafton (Marian Wood/Putnam); and Nemesis, by Bill Pronzini (Forge)

Best First P.I. Novel: Bear Is Broken, by Lachlan Smith (Mysterious Press)

Also nominated: A Good Death, by Christopher R. Cox (Minotaur); Montana, by Gwen Florio (Permanent Press); Blood Orange, by Karen Keskinen (Minotaur); and Loyalty, by Ingrid Thoft (Putnam)

Best Original Paperback P.I. Novel: Heart of Ice, by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)

Also nominated: Seduction of the Innocent, by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime); Into the Dark, by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins); Purgatory Key, by Darrell James (Midnight Ink); and The Honky Tonk Big Hoss Boogie, by Robert J. Randisi (Perfect Crime)

Best P.I. Short Story: “So Long, Chief,” by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2013)

Also nominated: “The Ace I,” by Jack Fredrickson (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], June 2013); “What We Do,” by Mick Herron (EQMM, September-October 2013); “Extra Fries,” by Michael Z. Lewin (EQMM, May 2013): and “The Lethal Leeteg,” by Hayford Peirce (EQMM, August 2013)

Best Indie P.I. Novel: Don’t Dare a Dame, by M. Ruth Myers (Tuesday House)

Also nominated: Murder Take Three, by April Kelly and Marsha Lyons (Flight Risk); A Small Sacrifice, by Dana King (Amazon Digital); No Pat Hands, by J.J. Lamb (Two Black Sheep); and State vs. Lassiter, by Paul Levine (CreateSpace)

In addition, fictional private eye Kinsey Millhone (the star of Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries) was given the Hammer Award, and Grant Bywater won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin’s Press First Novel Award for The Red Storm.
Nov 142014
Having overcome a pretty serious technical issue that prevented my posting from the site of Bouchercon 2014, in Long Beach, California (I forgot my password--yeah, I know, I should have written it down somewhere), I can finally deliver to all you loyal Rap Sheet readers the results of last night’s awards presentations.

(Presented by Mystery Readers International)

Best Mystery Novel: Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)

Also nominated: Sandrine’s Case, by Thomas H. Cook (Mysterious Press); Dead Lions, by Mick Herron (Soho Crime); The Wicked Girls, by Alex Marwood (Penguin); How the Light Gets In, by Louise Penny (Minotaur); and Standing in Another Man’s Grave, by Ian Rankin (Reagan Arthur)

Best First Mystery: A Killing at Cotton Hill, by Terry Shames (Seventh Street)

Also nominated: Yesterday’s Echo, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview); Rage Against the Dying, by Becky Masterman (Minotaur); Cover of Snow, by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine); and Norwegian by Night, by Derek Miller (Faber and Faber)

Best Mystery Short Story: “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013)

Also nominated: “The Terminal,” by Reed Farrel Coleman (from Kwik Krimes, edited by Otto Penzler; Thomas & Mercer); “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository,” by John Connolly (Bibliomysteries: Short Tales About Deadly Books, edited by Otto Penzler; Bookspan); “The Dragon’s Tail,” by Martin Limon (from Nightmare Range: The Collected Sueno and Bascom Short Stories; Soho Books); “The Hindi Houdini,” by Gigi Pandian (from Fish Nets: The Second Guppy Anthology, edited by Ramona DeFelice Long; Wildside Press); and “Incident on the 405,” by Travis Richardson (from The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, edited by Clare Toohey; Macmillan)

Best Non-fiction: The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War, by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur)

Also nominated: The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece, by Roseanne Montillo (Morrow); and Being Cool: The Work of Elmore Leonard, by Charles J. Rzepka (Johns Hopkins University Press)

Sue Feder Historical Mystery Award: Murder as a Fine Art, by David Morrell (Little, Brown)

Also nominated: A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur); Saving Lincoln, by Robert Kresge (ABQ Press); Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses, by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur); and Ratlines, by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)

(Presented by Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine)

Best Novel: Ordinary Grace, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)

Also nominated: A Conspiracy of Faith, by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Dutton); A Tap on the Window, by Linwood Barclay (New American Library); Sandrine’s Case, by Thomas H. Cook (Mysterious Press); Suspect, by Robert Crais (Putnam); and Standing in Another Man’s Grave, by Ian Rankin (Reagan Arthur)

Best First Novel: Japantown, by Barry Lancet (Simon & Schuster)

Also nominated: Burial Rites, by Hannah Kent (Little, Brown); The Bookman’s Tale, by Charlie Lovett (Viking); Rage Against the Dying, by Becky Masterman (Minotaur); Cover of Snow, by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine; and Norwegian by Night, by Derek B. Miller (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Best Paperback Original: I Hear the Sirens in the Street, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)

Also nominated: Joe Victim, by Paul Cleave (Atria); Disciple of Las Vegas, by Ian Hamilton (Picador); The Rage, by Gene Kerrigan (Europa Editions); Fear in the Sunlight, by Nicola Upson (Harper); and Fixing to Die, by Elaine Viets (Signet)

Best Thriller: The Doll, by Taylor Stevens (Crown)

Also nominated: Dead Lions, by Mick Herron (Soho Crime); Ghostman, by Roger Hobbs (Knopf); Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews (Scribner); The Shanghai Factor, by Charles McCarry (Mysterious Press); and Ratlines, by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime)

The Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in mystery fandom Went to Ted Hertel.

In addition, The Short Mystery Fiction Society celebrated the winners of its 2014 Derringer Awards, previously announced here. The SMFS also gave its Edward D. Hoch Lifetime Achievement Award to Ed Gorman, who was unfortunately not on hand to accept that prize.

Tonight will bring news about the winners of this year’s Shamus Awards for private-eye fiction. If I can remember my damn password long enough, I shall let you know as soon as I can who won.