J. Kingston Pierce

Mar 042015

By now you have probably already seen my latest Kirkus Revews column, which showcases half a dozen new crime, mystery, and thriller novels due out in the States this spring. But as I note in that piece, there are oodles more genre works worth anticipating between now and the close of May. I recently pulled together the titles of spring crime-fiction releases that interest me most, and counted more than 275 works slated for publication on both sides of the Atlantic.

You can look over that lengthy compilation below. Although most of the March works were mentioned in my early January post about crime fiction to come, I have made so many additions to that month’s offerings, they need posting again.

Among the selections here are David Morrell’s Inspector of the Dead, his sequel to the Thomas De Quincey mystery Murder As a Fine Art; Adrian McKinty’s fourth novel featuring Irish detective Sean Duffy, Gun Street Girl; Jacqueline Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs novel, A Dangerous Place; Max Allan Collins’ most recent posthumous collaboration with Mickey Spillane, Kill Me, Darling; a fresh Bruno, Chief of Police, novel from Martin Walker, The Children Return (published in the UK as Children of War); Cara Black’s new case for Parisian sleuth Aimée Leduc, Murder on the Champ de Mars; a long-awaited re-release of Ted Lewis’ 1980 “masterpiece,” GBH; Bruce DeSilva’s fourth Liam Mulligan outing, A Scourge of Vipers; The Ghost Fields. the seventh Ruth Galloway mystery from Elly Griffiths (aka Domenica de Rosa); another promising yarn from David Corbett, The Mercy of the Night; the comeback of maverick Scottish ex-cop Quint Dalrymple in Paul Johnston’s Head or Hearts; John Connolly’s new Charlie Parker thriller, A Song of Shadows; Lyndsay Faye’s The Fatal Flame, her third investigation for mid-19th-century New York City “copper star,” Timothy Wilde; Ace Atkins’ latest continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser private-eye series, Kickback; the unexpected but welcome reappearance of Canadian author John Farrow’s self-righteous Detective-Sergeant Emile Cinq-Mars in The Storm Murders; and a “terrifying” new novella from Minette Walters, The Cellar. Also worth mentioning, though it isn’t a novel, is The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White, which features recipes from such notables as Sue Grafton, Bill Pronzini, Scott Turow, S.J. Rozan, Raymond Benson, Gayle Lynds, Laura Lippman, and Felix Francis.

Undoubtedly, as your pour through the list below, you will discover other imminent releases worth watching for.

Aftershock, by Philip Donlay (Oceanview)
All the Old Knives, by Olen Steinhauer (Minotaur)
All the Wrong Places, by Lisa Lieberman (Five Star)
An Anecdotal Death, by Kinley Roby (Five Star)
The Angel Court Affair, by Anne Perry (Ballantine)
Archie in the Crosshairs, by Robert Goldsborough (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Asylum, by Jeannette de Beauvoir (Minotaur)
Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby (Balzer & Bray)
The Cheapside Corpse, by Susanna Gregory (Little, Brown)
Cry Wolf, by Michael Gregorio (Severn House)
Cuba Straits, by Randy Wayne White (Putnam)
A Dangerous Place, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper)
Dark Rooms, by Lili Anolik (Morrow)
The Dead Key, by D.M. Pulley (Thomas & Mercer)
The Devil’s Detective, by Simon Kurt Unsworth (Doubleday)
Down Don’t Bother Me, by Jason Miller (Bourbon Street)
Due for Discard, by Sharon St. George (Camel Press)
Edge, by Nick Oldham (Severn House)
The Edge of Dreams, by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur)
Endangered, by C.J. Box (Putnam)
The Fifth Heart, by Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
The Figaro Murders, by Laura Lebow (Minotaur)
Firebreak, by Tricia Fields (Minotaur)
Fractured, by Kate Watterson (Forge)
The Friendship of Criminals, by Robert Glinski (Minotaur)
Gun Street Girl, by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street)
The Harder They Come, by T.C. Boyle (Ecco)
The Hidden Man, by Robin Blake (Minotaur)
The House of Wolfe, by James Carlos Blake (Mysterious Press)
Impasse, by Royce Scott Buckingham (Thomas Dunne)
Inspector of the Dead, by David Morrell (Mulholland)
Kill Me, Darling, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
Lacy Eye, by Jessica Treadway (Grand Central)
Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon (Atria)
Life or Death, by Michael Robotham (Mulholland)
Love’s Alchemy, by Bryan Crockett (Five Star)
The Lost and the Blind, by Declan Burke (Severn House)
A Man’s Word, by Martin Jensen (AmazonCrossing)
Meadowlands, by Elizabeth Jeffrey (Severn House)
The Mouth of the Crocodile, by Michael Pearce (Severn House)
Murder Boy, by Bryon Quertermous (Polis)
Murder in Hindsight, by Anne Cleeland (Kensington)
Murder on the Champ de Mars, by Cara Black (Soho Crime)
The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White (Quirk)
Night Night, Sleep Tight, by Hallie Ephron (Morrow)
Past Crimes, by Glen Erik Hamilton (Morrow)
The Patriot Threat, by Steve Berry (Minotaur)
The Perfect Game, by Leslie Kirby (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford (Morrow)
The Prince, by Vito Bruschini (Atria)
Pursuit in Provence, by Phyllis Gobbell (Five Star)
Season of Fear, by Brian Freeman (Quercus)
Shadow Ritual, by Éric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne (Le French)
Side Trip to Kathmandu, by Marie Moore (Camel Press)
Signature Kill, by David Levien (Doubleday)
Soil, by Jamie Kornegay (Simon & Schuster)
Spring Remains, by Mons Kallentoft (Atria/Emily Bestler)
The Stolen Ones, by Owen Laukkanen (Putnam)
The Stranger, by Harlan Coben (Dutton)
The Strangler Vine, by M.J. Carter (Putnam)
Suitcase City, by Sterling Watson (Akashic)
The Tapestry, by Nancy Bilyeau (Touchstone)
The Tomb in Turkey, by Simon Brett (Crème de la Crime)
Too Bad to Die, by Francine Mathews (Riverhead)
12 Rose Street, by Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart)
Under the Channel, by Gilles Petel (Gallic)
The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, by Keija Parssinen (Harper)
Viper, by Maurizio de Giovanni (Europa Editions)
The Washington Lawyer, by Allan Topol (SelectBooks)
Werewolf Cop, by Andrew Klavan (Pegasus)
What the Fly Saw, by Frankie Y. Bailey (Minotaur)
Who Buries the Dead, by C.S. Harris (NAL)
The World Before Us, by Aislinn Hunter (Hogarth)
World Gone By, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)

After the Crash, by Michel Bussi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
A Bed of Scorpions, by Judith Flanders (Allison & Busby)
Black Wood, by S.J.I. Holliday (Black and White)
Bryant & May: The Burning Man, by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday)
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards (British Library Crime Classics)
The Case of the “Hail Mary” Celeste, by Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury)
A Cold Killing, by Anna Smith (Quercus)
Cold Revenge, by Alex Howard (Head of Zeus)
Death in Devon, by Ian Sansom (4th Estate)
Death Under a Tuscan Sun, by Michele Giuttari (Little, Brown)
The Defence, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
The Dove’s Necklace, Raja Alem (Overlook Press)
Fixer, by P.F. Lennon (Hodder
& Stoughton)
The Ghost Fields, by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Into the Night, by Jake Woodhouse (Penguin)
The Jackdaw, by Luke Delaney (HarperCollins)
Keep the Midnight Out, by Alex Gray (Sphere)
A Line of Blood, by Ben McPherson (HarperCollins)
The Missing and the Dead, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
The Raven’s Head, by Karen Maitland (Headline Review)
The Scrivener, by Robin Blake (Constable)
The Shut Eye, by Belinda Bauer (Bantam Press)
The Tears of Dark Water, by Corban Addison (Quercus)
Toxic, by Jamie Doward (Constable)
Walking by Night, by Kate Ellis (Creme de la Crime)
The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, by Julie Wassmer (Constable)
You Belong to Me, by Samantha Hayes (Century)

The Alchemist’s Daughter, by Mary Lawrence (Kensington)
Antiques Swap, by Barbara Allan (Kensington)
The A26, by Pascal Garnier (Gallic)
Aunt Dimity and the Summer King, by Nancy Atherton (Viking)
Basic Law, by J. Sydney Jones (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Black Run, by Antonio Manzini (Harper)
Blood on Snow, by Jo Nesbø (Knopf)
Blood Sweep, by Steven Havill (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Bone Tree, by Greg Iles (Morrow)
Bye, Bye Love, by K.J. Larsen (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Children Return, by Martin Walker (Knopf)
Circling the Runway, by J.L. Abramo (Down & Out -- e-book)
Compulsion, by Allison Brennan (Minotaur)
The Dead Lands, by Benjamin Percy (Grand Central)
A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, by Terry Shames (Seventh Street)
The Doll Maker, by Richard Montanari (Mulholland)
Duet in Beirut, by Mishka Ben-David (Overlook)
Every Fifteen Minutes, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press)
Falling in Love, by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Fallout, by Paul Thomas (Bitter Lemon Press)
False Tongues, by Kate Charles (Poisoned Pen Press)
Fox Is Framed, by Lachlan Smith (Mysterious Press)
Gathering Prey, by John Sandford (Putnam)
GBH, by Ted Lewis (Soho Crime)
Ghost Image, by Ellen Crosby (Scribner)
Grave Consequences, by David and Aimée Thurlo (Minotaur)
Grave on Grand Avenue, by Naomi Hirahara (Berkley)
Hot Pursuit, by Stuart Woods (Putnam)
House of Echoes, by Brendan Duffy (Ballantine)
Innocent Damage, by Robert K. Lewis (Midnight Ink)
The Invention of Fire, by Bruce Holsinger (Morrow)
The Lady from Zagreb, by Philip Kerr (Putnam)
The Language of the Dead, by Stephen Kelly (Pegasus)
The Legend of Caleb York, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Kensington)
Lincoln’s Bodyguard, by T.J. Turner (Oceanview)
Losing Faith, by Adam Mitzner (Gallery)
The Masque of a Murderer, by Susanna Calkins (Minotaur)
Memory Man, by David Baldacci (Grand Central)
The Mercy of the Night, by David Corbett (Thomas & Mercer)
Normal, by Graeme Cameron (Mira)
One Mile Under, by Andrew Gross (Morrow)
Painted Black, by Greg Kihn (Open Road)
A Palette for Murder, by Vanessa A. Ryan (Five Star)
Pleasantville, by Attica Locke (Harper)
The Ravens, by Vidar Sundstøl (University of Minnesota Press)
Revenge of the Kremlin, by Gérard de Villiers (Vintage)
Reykjavik Nights, by Arnaldur Indridason (Minotaur)
The Russian Bride, by Ed Kovacs (Minotaur)
A Scourge of Vipers, by Bruce DeSilva (Forge)
Slow Burn, by Andrew Welsh-Huggins (Swallow Press)
Snake Pass, by Colin Campbell (Midnight Ink)
Snared, by Ed James (Thomas & Mercer)
Solitude Creek, by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central)
A Stitch in Crime, by Ann Yost (Five Star)
Swansong, by Damien Boyd (Thomas & Mercer)
Tattered Legacy, by Shannon Baker (Midnight Ink)
Thanksgiving Angels, by Alice Duncan (Five Star)
Thieves Fall Out, by Gore Vidal (Hard Case Crime)
Ties That Blind, by Zachary Klein (Polis)
Threshold, by G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer)
Twisted, by Andrew E. Kaufman (Thomas & Mercer)
What You Left Behind, by Samantha Hayes (Crown)
Whispering Shadows, by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Atria)
You Can Trust Me, by Sophie McKenzie (St. Martin’s Press)
You Will Never Find Me, by Robert Wilson (Europa Editions)
Your Next Breath, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)

Corridors of the Night, by Anne Perry (Headline)
Cuckold Point, by Patrick Easter (Quercus)
Dead and Gone, by Bill Kitson (Robert Hale)
Deadly Election, by Lindsey Davis (Hodder & Stoughton)
Death in the Rainy Season, by Anna Jaquiery (Mantle)
The Detective’s Secret, by Lesley Thomson (Head of Zeus)
Double Mortice, by Bill Daly (Old Street)
Head or Hearts, by Paul Johnston (Severn House)
Hidden, by Emma Kavanagh (Century)
The Infidel Stain, by M.J. Carter (Fig Tree)
The Invisible Guardian, by Dolores Redondo (HarperCollins)
Last Resort, by Quintin Jardine (Headline)
Mrs. Pargeter’s Principle, by Simon Brett (Creme de la Crime)
The Novel Habits of Happiness, by Alexander McCall Smith (Little, Brown)
Orkney Twilight, by Clare Carson
(Head of Zeus)
Red Icon, by Sam Eastland (Faber & Faber)
The Serpentine Road, by Paul Mendelson (Constable)
Silver Bullets, by Élmer Mendoza (MacLehose Press)
Sleeping Dogs, by Thomas Mogford (Bloomsbury)
A Song of Shadows, by John Connolly (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Third Sin, by Aline Templeton (Allison & Busby)
22 Dead Little Bodies, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
What She Left, by T.R. Richmond (Michael Joseph)

The Altar Girl, by Orest Stelmach (Thomas & Mercer)
Anatomy of Evil, by Will Thomas (Minotaur)
And Sometimes I Wonder About You, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)
Benefit of the Doubt, by Neal Griffin (Forge)
Blood Ties, by Nicholas Guild (Forge)
The Book of Stone, by Jonathan Papernick (Fig Tree)
The Border, by Robert McCammon (Subterranean)
Bubba Done It, by Maggie Toussaint (Five Star)
Burnt River, by Karin Salvalaggio (Minotaur)
Camille, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, by Cathy Ace (TouchWood)
Dead Girl Walking, by Christopher Brookmyre (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Death Ex Machina, by Gary Corby (Soho Crime)
Death of a Bride and Groom, by Allan J. Emerson (Five Star)
The Devil’s Making, by Seán Haldane (Minotaur)
Disclaimer, by Renée Knight (Harper)
Dry Bones, by Craig Johnson (Viking)
The Enemy Inside, by Steve Martini (Morrow)
The Fatal Flame, by Lyndsay Faye (Putnam)
Flame Out, by M.P. Cooley (Morrow)
The Forgotten Room, by Lincoln Child (Doubleday)
The Ghost Fields, by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Harvest Man, by Alex Grecian (Putnam)
Housebreaking, by Dan Pope (Simon & Schuster)
The Ice Twins, by S.K. Tremayne (Grand Central)
Independence Day, by Ben Coes (St. Martin’s Press)
Innocent Blood, by Michael Lister (Pulpwood Press)
I, Ripper, by Stephen Hunter (Simon & Schuster)
Jack of Spades, by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
Killing Frost, by Ron Tierney (Severn House)
The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley, by Jeremy Massey (Riverhead)
Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur)
Little Men, Big World /Vanity Row, by W.R. Burnett
(Stark House Press)
Liz/Syndicate Girl, by Frank Kane (Stark House Press)
Mañana, by William Hjortsberg (Open Road)
A Man of Some Repute, by Elizabeth Edmondson (Thomas & Mercer)
Missing, by Sam Hawken (Serpent’s Tail)
Murder with a Twist, by Tracy Kiely (Midnight Ink)
The Night Game, by Frank Golden (Salmon Poetry)
Only the Brave, by Mel Sherratt (Thomas & Mercer)
The Organ Broker, by Stu Strumwasser (Arcade)
Orient, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
Paris Ransom, by Charles Rosenberg (Thomas & Mercer)
Pinnacle Event, by Richard A. Clarke (Thomas Dunne)
A Promise to Die For, by Jacqueline Pelham (Five Star)
Radiant Angel, by Nelson DeMille (Grand Central)
The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, by R. Franklin James (Camel Press)
Robert B. Parker’s Kickback, by Ace Atkins (Putnam)
Rock with Wings, by Anne Hillerman (Harper)
Ruins of War, by John A. Connell (Berkley)
The Scarlet Gospels, by Clive Barker (St. Martin’s Press)
Secrets of State, by Matthew Palmer (Putnam)
Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins, by James Runcie (Bloomsbury)
Six and a Half Deadly Sins, by Colin Cotterill (Soho Crime)
Solitude Creek, by Jeffery Deaver (Grand Central)
Stone Cold Dead, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)
The Storm Murders, by John Farrow (Minotaur)
The Teller, by Jonathan Stone (Thomas & Mercer)
Thin Air, by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur)
Tin Sky, by Ben Pastor (Bitter Lemon Press)
Traitor’s Gate, by Charlie Newton (Thomas & Mercer)
Trident Code, by Thomas Waite (47North)
The Underwriting, by Michelle Miller (Putnam)
Vanishing, by Gerard Woodward (Pegasus)
The Water Knife, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf)
What Lies Behind, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
When Somebody Kills You, by Robert J. Randisi (Severn House)

Boxes, by Pascal Garnier (Gallic)
The Cellar, by Minette Walters (Hammer)
Cocaine, by Massimo Carlotto, Gianrico Carofiglio (Author), and Giancarlo De Cataldo (MacLehose Press)
Fall of Man in Wilmslow, by David Lagercrantz (MacLehose Press)
Going to the Dogs, by Dan Kavanagh (Orion)
Hunted, by Paul Finch (Avon)
The Invisible Man from Salem, by Christoffer Carlsson (Scribe)
Killer Plan, by Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
The Killing Lessons, by Saul Black (Orion)
The Killing of Bobbi Lomax, by Cal Moriarty (Faber and Faber)
Lives Lost, by Britta Bolt (Mulholland)
Mockingbird Songs, by R.J. Ellory (Orion)
The Seeker, by S.G. MacLean (Quercus)
The Slaughter Man, by Tony Parsons (Century)
The Storm, by Neil Broadfoot (Saraband)
Time of Death, by Mark Billingham (Little, Brown)
You Are Dead, by Peter James (Macmillan)

As I generally do when presenting one of these seasonal book-expectation lists, I ask all of you to let me know what I have missed highlighting. Do you know of other promising works in this genre, due out over the next three months, that should also be mentioned? If so, please drop a note about them into the Comments section at the end of this post. It’d be to our mutual benefit.
Mar 032015
We still have a couple more months to go before The Rap Sheet celebrates its ninth anniversary, but this last weekend brought the blog a different sort of milestone. My short item about the 82nd anniversary of attorney Perry Mason’s debut in Erle Stanley Gardner’s 1933 novel The Case of the Velvet Claws was apparently this site’s 6,000th post. Wow! It’s hard to imagine, looking back at my modest goals for the blog in 2006, that its contributors should have been so prolific. Or that, according to Blogger’s statistics-keeping software, the site has already exceeded 3 million pageviews.

Allow me to extend my fervent thanks to all Rap Sheet readers. This blog, though sometimes challenging to keep up, has brought me abundant satisfactions and been a source of numerous rewards at a point in my career where too many other outlets for my work have dried up. It seems I’m destined to be a blogger for years to come. There could certainly be worse fates …
Mar 012015
The Short Mystery Fiction Society today announced its nominees for the 2015 Derringer Awards, as follows.

Best Flash Fiction (up to 1,000 words):
“Because,” by Melissa Yuan-Innes (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
“Sweet Smells,” by Jed Power (Shotgun Honey)
“How Lil Jimmie Beat the Big C,” by Joseph D’Agnese (Shotgun Honey)
“Foodies,” by Rob Hart (Shotgun Honey)
“Knockout,” by Eryk Pruitt (Out of the Gutter)
“Because,” by Travis Richardson (Out of the Gutter)

Best Short Story (1,001-4,000 words):
“The Least of These,” by B.V. Lawson (Plan B Magazine, Vol. III)
“Killing Sam Clemens,” by William Burton McCormick (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine)
“A Friend in Brown,” by Mary E. Stiba (from Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave, edited by Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross, and Leslie Wheeler; Level Best)
“The Bad Son,” by Britni Patterson (from Carolina Crimes: Nineteen Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing, edited by Karen Pullen; Wildside Press)
“The Kaluki Kings of Queens,” by Cathi Stoler (from Murder New York Style: Family Matters, edited by Anita Page; Glenmere Press)

Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words):
“A Hopeless Case,” by Hilary Davidson (from All Due Respect, Issue #4, edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson)
“Separation Anxiety,” by Angel Luis Colón (from All Due Respect, Issue #5, edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson)
“The Ultimate Mystery,” by M.H. Callway (World Enough and Crime, edited by Donna and Alex Carrick; Carrick Publishing)
“The Missing Money,” by James T. Shannon (from Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave)
“Dead Men Tell No Tales,” by Cathy Wiley (from Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, edited by Barb Goffman and Marcia Talley; Wildside Press)

Best Novelette (8,001-20,000 words):
“Hitler’s Dogs,” by Doug Allyn (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
“Infernal,” by Trey Dowell (Untreed Reads)
“Busting Red Heads,” by Richard Helms (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March 2014)
“The Monster in Our Midst,” by Kris Nelscott (Fiction River Special Edition: Crime)
Juba Good, by Vicki Delany (Orca Books Rapid Reads)

Congratulations to all of the contenders!

(Hat tip to My Little Corner.)
Mar 012015
A good reminder, from Today in Mystery History:
March 1, 1933. On this date The Case of the Velvet Claws was published. Erle Stanley Gardner had been writing stories and novellas at an amazing rate, mostly for Black Mask Magazine, trying to earn enough money to drop being a lawyer and go full-time as an author. It took another lawyer to help him out: the fictional but wildly successful Perry Mason, who premiered in this book. 75 novels and a hit TV show followed.
READ MORE:The Best TV Crime Drama Openers, #9: Perry Mason,” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet).

Just for Openers

 TV Themes  Comments Off
Feb 272015

I was contacted in mid-January of this year by Adam Thompson, “an editor and writer at The Wall Street Journal,” who told me via e-mail that he was “pondering doing a piece on people who are able to find the most obscure intros to TV shows and put them online.” He was referring to The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page. “I found you after a search for the Scarecrow & Mrs. King intro,” Thompson explained, “and was kind of amazed at the number of intros you’d posted. Would you have a few moments to tell me about this? How many you’ve posted, how long it takes to find these things, whether there’s a missing intro out there that you’re trying especially hard to find, etc.?”

Although I thought this was a rather odd subject for the Journal to tackle. I was glad to answer his questions. A month and a half have passed now, though, since I did that, and there’s been no sign of the article Thompson proposed. So I figure his interest has waned. Nonetheless, I put some effort into responding to Thompson’s query; and since I have indeed tried to develop The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page over time, I thought you might be interested in what I told him.
I created that YouTube “channel” you came across as an entertaining supplement to my award-winning crime-fiction blog, The Rap Sheet (http://therapsheet.blogspot.com/). I have long been a fan of vintage TV mystery and crime dramas, and every once in a while I’d come across the main title sequence from one of those shows on YouTube. Finally, in 2010, I decided to collect a few of them. That enterprise grew and grew, until now I have more than 300 such opening sequences posted.

I don’t spend a lot of time trying to expand the offerings on that page, but I have accumulated more than 600 subscribers over the years, so I guess I’m doing enough to please some people. Probably folks much like me, who remember these old shows and get a kick out of seeing at least some portion of them resurrected. I’m not in the questionable business of uploading whole episodes of classic programs onto YouTube; that would seem to be an obvious violation of copyrights. I see what I do as a small tribute to some older shows that many viewers have never heard of, but would do well to investigate further. Use of these clips is for historical and entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to establish ownership of such materials.

As I said, it has taken me years to accumulate all these series intros, but I don’t devote a lot of energy to the game. I check in regularly on YouTube and use Google alerts, looking for the TV intros I remember best and would like to showcase for Rap Sheet readers. By that means I have located most of the entries on my wish list, including the hard-to-find openings from the 1976 private-eye series City of Angels (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGcaFtxJH8A), the 1982-1983 comedy-drama Tucker’s Witch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7buWx-U_-so), the 2001 cop show Big Apple (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPA-HBkE2g4), and the 1974-1975 historical crime series, The Manhunter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fEorRm_90c).

There are still a number of main title sequences I’d like to add to my collection. For instance, I haven’t yet managed to dig up the original, 1972-1973 opening from The NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie “wheel series” (with theme music by Quincy Jones) -- though I have posted a later version of that opening (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9IGmzsX8ek). I’m also still on the hunt for the introductions from Dog and Cat (1977, starring Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger), Chase (1973-1974, starring Mitchell Ryan), Caribe (1975, starring Stacy Keach), Dellaventura (1997-1998, starring Danny Aiello), and Michael Hayes (1997-1998, starring David Caruso). But give me time. I’m patient, and these intros have a tendency to pop up on the Web when you least expect to see them. There always seems to be someone out there with access to old shows and the time to upload them to YouTube.

Thank goodness.
Since I wrote to Thompson, I have managed to locate those hard-to-find openings to Dog and Cat and Dellaventura, but I’m still searching for the rest. Let me know if you spot them.
Feb 272015

READ MORE:Leonard Nimoy, Spock of Star Trek, Dies at 83,” by Virginia Heffernan (The New York Times); “Star Trek Is Great, and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock Was the Greatest Thing About It,” by Matthew Yglesias (Vox); “Leonard Nimoy, R.I.P.,” by Michael Hadley (It’s About TV!); “Mort: Mr. Spock,” by Don Herron (Up and Down These Mean Streets); “A Word About Leonard Nimoy,” by Jeri Westerson (Getting Medieval); “Leonard Nimoy Dies at 83, Dabbled in Spy Entertainment,” by Bill Koenig (The Spy Command); “The Iconic ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Gesture Was Originally a Jewish Sign,” by Daven Hiskey (Today I Found Out); “How Leonard Nimoy Made Spock an American Jewish Icon,” by Matthew Rozsa (Salon); “Leonard Nimoy, You Will Be Sorely Missed,” by Paul Morris (Little Things); “‘I Have Been--and Always Shall Be--Your Friend,’” by Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo); “Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015” (StarTrek.com).
Feb 262015
Bouchercon board member-at-large John Purcell contacted me the other day, asking if I could alert folks who were on hand for 2014’s “world mystery convention” in Long Beach, California, or have registered for this coming October’s event in Raleigh, North Carolina, to the imminent distribution of Anthony Award ballots. Those ballots will be sent via e-mail this year, and convention organizers want to be sure recipients keep their eyes open for them. Here’s the press release explaining how things will work:
To all Bouchercon attendees:

If you were registered for the Long Beach Bouchercon last year, or the one upcoming in Raleigh, you will be receiving ballots in a day or so (Saturday, Feb. 28) to nominate books and stories for the 2015 Anthonys to be awarded in Raleigh in October.

They are trying something new, and testing the process for future Bouchercons, using a survey site called SurveyMonkey to send and collate the nominations. Those who have attended past Bouchercons may be familiar with the surveys you received afterwards. (Some of you may have opted out of surveys, and if so, you won’t receive the ballot unless you opt back in.)

However, the links to the ballots are being sent via e-mail, and e-mails being what they are, it will be inevitable that many won’t receive them because of spam filters, firewalls, and other reasons. So if you can set your e-mail [preferences] and servers to allow mail from SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) or Bouchercon or Anthony Ballots, or just check your spam traps, that will hopefully cut down on undelivered ballots.

If you want some further info, and a sneak peak at the ballot worksheet, check out http://www.bouchercon.info/process.html.

Remember, you are all members of Bouchercon, and the related success of the Anthonys, being fan-based awards, are directly related to your participation.

Happy nominating, and thank you!
One final bit of information, picked up from the main Bouchercon site: “If you do not receive your e-mail from SurveyMonkey by 6:00 p.m., Sunday, March 1, please e-mail B.G. Ritts with your name and whether you were at Long Beach or are registered for Raleigh. If registered at both, you will only receive one ballot.”
Feb 252015

Seven long years ago, I wrote in The Rap Sheet about British artist Michael Gillette’s outstanding illustrations for Penguin UK’s re-releases of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. In 2012, I followed that up with this post in my other blog, Killer Covers, showcasing all of those Gillette fronts. I’ve since purchased several of the books in that line, but thought my writing about them was over.

However, The Book Bond--John Cox’s fine Agent 007-obsessed blog--today alerted me to the existence of still more work Gillette has accomplished for James Bond novels, this time for German editions of John Gardner’s 14 original Bond continuation tales. You may recall that Gardner’s Bond works began with License Renewed (1981) and concluded with COLD (1996, published in the States as Cold Fall). Thus far, Gillette has created original artwork for five of those, all being published by Cross Cult: Icebreaker (Eisbrecher in German), License Renewed (Kernschmelze), For Special Services (Der Kunstsammler), Role of Honor (Ein Frage der Ehre), and Nobody Lives for Ever (Nieman Lebt Ewig). I’m embedding the façades here, for your delight.

Additionally, Gillette produced a new front for Cross Cult’s 2014 release of Colonel Sun, the very first James Bond continuation novel, published in 1968 and written by English fictionist-critic Kingsley Amis (the father of modern author Martin Amis) under a pseudonym, Robert Markham. For that same publisher, he redesigned his own cover for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which I considered beautiful to begin with, but which the artist ultimately thought depicted a woman, the Contessa Teresa “Tracy” di Vicenzo, who seemed “a little too demure to be the one to take [Bond’s] heart all the way to the altar.” The reimagined version--displayed on the right, below--“has more allure.” (Note that this is the second shot Gillette took at this revision; a previous version showed Tracy as a brunette, rather than a blonde. He must have been imagining the character as played by Diana Rigg in the 1969 big-screen version of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.)

Count on me to keep my eyes open for what could be nine more tantalizing Gillette covers of Gardner’s Bond books in the future. I only wish these were all available in the States, in English.
Feb 212015

• It has been far too long since I last put up a “copycat covers” post here in The Rap Sheet; I hope to resurrect that series in the near future. Meanwhile, though, I can’t help but mention the pair of book fronts shown above. The one on the left comes from the 1999 Orion UK edition of Dead Souls, Ian Rankin’s 10th John Rebus novel and one of those that was current at the time I interviewed him back in 1999. The façade on the right appears on Tell Tale (Avon UK), the new, fourth Detective Inspector Charlotte Savage novel by Mark Sennen. It seems that lowly, windblown tree on both is much in demand. But then, tree fronts have always been very popular in the crime-fiction field.

Peter James, the UK author best known for penning a series of novels about Brighton-based Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (Want You Dead, You Are Dead, etc.) is “the best crime author of all time”? Yes, according to a recent poll conducted by bookseller W.H. Smith. A post in that British retailer’s blog reports the 66-year-old James “has effortlessly stolen the crown with an incredible number of votes.” Effortlessly? Really? That seems unusual, given the caliber of his rivals for this honor. Here’s the top-20 list of vote-getters:

1. Peter James
2. James Patterson
3. Val McDermid
4. Ian Rankin
5. Agatha Christie
6. Martina Cole
7. Sheila Quigley
8. R.C. Bridgestock
9. Karin Slaughter
10. Tess Gerritsen
11. Mark Billingham
12. Patricia Cornwell
13. Ruth Rendell
14. Karen Rose
15. Chris Carter
16. Lee Child
17. Simon Kernick
18. P.D. James
19. Thomas Harris
20. Stuart MacBride

Obviously, this wasn’t a scientific survey, but a popularity contest--and a British-centric one at that. Still, I’m rather shocked to spot a couple of the names featured among these 20 (remind me who they are again?), and to see how many writers well deserving of reader approbation didn’t make the cut. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came in at No. 21, while others find places even further down in the roster: Dennis Lehane (24), Michael Connelly (39), Raymond Chandler (47), Louise Penny (58), Dorothy L. Sayers (61), Stieg Larsson (68), John le Carré (87), Ellis Peters (89), John Harvey (103), and James Lee Burke (104). What of Ross Macdonald, though? Or Dashiell Hammett and Georges Simenon? Or Rex Stout and Philip Kerr? Or Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, or Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö?

• Next week will offer the “Classic TV Blogathon” (February 24-26), comprising retrospectives on series ranging from The Avengers and Ellery Queen to Moonlighting and Blacke’s Magic. You’ll find the schedule of posts and essential links here.

• Dynamite Entertainment’s new line of Shaft comic books, by writer David F. Walker and artist Bilquis Evely, is among five finalists for the first Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity. As the blog Hero Complex explains, “The honor is named after ... a prolific writer who co-founded Milestone Media and its popular menagerie of heroes. … He died in 2011 at age 49 of complications after undergoing emergency heart surgery.” The winner will be announced on February 28 during the Long Beach Comics Expo in Southern California.

• Speaking of Shaft, did you know that New Line Cinema has acquired the movie rights to Ernest Tidyman’s black private eye, John Shaft, and is planning to reboot that blaxploitation series begun in the 1970s? Sigh … Why can’t we simply be happy with Richard Roundtree’s original three Shaft films or, better yet, Tidyman’s seven Shaft novels? Must Hollywood try to squeeze another ounce of blood from the character once hailed as “hotter than Bond, cooler than Bullitt”? Samuel L. Jackson’s effort to reinvigorate the franchise in 2000 was painful to watch. Do Shaft fans (myself included) have to cringe again at whatever New Line might present?

• In a BBC Radio documentary, novelist William Boyd (Restless, Solo) investigates the case of Helen MacInnes, a renowned author of mid-20th-century espionage fiction. Unfortunately, this segment will be available for only the next three weeks, so click here to listen. Now!

• The opening sequence from Dog and Cat, a short-lived 1977 ABC-TV crime drama starring Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger--embedded
on the right--is just one of several new additions to The Rap Sheet’s YouTube page.

• A year and a half ago, the blog Criminal Element brought to readers an e-book collection of abbreviated crime stories called Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble. The M.O., as its editors called it, was supposed to be a thrice-yearly publication, but after that initial issue, it dropped off the map. Now, though, it’s back--sort of. Rather than trying to assemble short-story anthologies, it sounds as if the blog’s editors want to solicit short fiction several times annually and ask Criminal Element readers to choose their favorites among each set of submissions. The first deadline for stories under this new arrangement is Friday, March 6. Entries should run no more than 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and be built around the theme “Long Gone.” If you’re interested in contributing a story, read the guidelines here. A tally of finalists should be announced on March 20, at which time online voting will begin. The tale receiving the most votes will be known by April 3, and posted on April 17 for free reading. After which this submission/review/voting process will begin again.

• Congratulations to The Thrilling Detective Web Site! It’s creator and editor, Kevin Burton Smith, claims that almost 17-year-old invaluable online resource for crime-fiction enthusiasts now has “over 3,000 fictional private eyes” in its listings.

• I was sorry to read, on The Gumshoe Site, that 58-year-old author Tony Hays “died on January 25 in Luxor, Egypt, where he fell ill on vacation.” Blogger Jiro Kimura goes on to explain that
He was working in Saudi Arabia teaching English. He [had] published two Who’s-Who-Dunit novels featuring known literary characters: Murder on the Twelfth Night (with William Shakespeare) and Murder in the Latin Quarter (with Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce; both from Iris Press in 1993). After the standalone novel The Trouble with Patriots (Bridgeworks, 2002), which features a Tennessee-native journalist like the author, he launched the four-book Arthurian series featuring Malgwyn ap Cuneglas, counselor to King Arthur, starting with The Killing Way (2009) and ending with The Stolen Bride (2012; all four from Forge). His last novel, Shakespeare No More, will be published in September by Perseverance Press. It was supposed to be the first of a projected series featuring Shakespeare’s friend, a Stratford constable.
Hays was kind enough to contribute a “forgotten books” essay to The Rap Sheet in 2011, looking back at Ellery Queen’s The Egyptian Cross Mystery (1932). He will be missed.

• A belated R.I.P. to Lizabeth Scott, the Pennsylvania-born actress heralded by novelist and movie historian Eddie Muller as “one of film noir’s most indelible dames.” According to Wikipedia, Scott starred in more pictures of that sort than any other female performer, including Dead Reckoning (1947) with Humphrey Bogart and Too Late for Tears (1949) with Don DeFore. Later, she took roles in such TV series as Burke’s Law and Adventures in Paradise. Scott is said to have died of congestive heart failure on January 31. She was 92 years old.

• Brash Books’ recent reissuing of Mark Smith’s 1973 novel, The Death of the Detective, a National Book Award finalist, has prompted the Los Angeles Review of Books to publish a lengthy and very interesting reconsideration of Smith’s best-known work. Michael Barry concludes, “The Death of the Detective is a disturbing, challenging, sometimes demented novel, but it is a gloriously ambitious one. It won’t be to every taste, but it clearly doesn’t expect to be.”

• If you’re planning (or just hoping) to attend next month’s Left Coast Crime convention in Portland, Oregon (March 12-15), note that a fuller schedule of panel events has been posted.

• Meanwhile, life appears to have stirred once more in the Bouchercon 2015 blog, after a year-and-a-half-long silence. Stacy Cochran, chair of that convention set to take place in Raleigh, North Carolina, from October 8 to 11, has posted a panel request deadline, info about hotel reservations, and news that “We’re presently at 660 registered attendees, and so we are on target to hit our window of 1,300-1,500 attendees by our convention dates.” If you haven’t already signed up to attend, you can do so here.

This trailer for Guy Ritchie’s big-screen version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. suggests the film, scheduled for release on August 14, may not be precisely what fans of the original Robert Vaughn/David McCallum series had in mind. But it still looks like a stylish, lighthearted flick. Let’s hope all the best parts aren’t in the trailer.

• And it’s too bad neither Vaughn nor McCallum was asked to take on a cameo role in the picture. It would have been a respectful touch.

• It’s good to see that Loren D. Estleman’s ambitious 2013 standalone novel, The Confessions of Al Capone--one of my favorite crime novels of that year--is finally due out in paperback next week. As I remarked in Kirkus Reviews, “Confessions [is] something special among historical crime yarns.” Check it out.

• Given the plethora of Star Trek fans in the world, this book seems destined to become a best-seller in early September.

• The pop-culture site Buzzfeed hails15 TV Shows You Should Totally Be Watching But Probably Aren’t.” That list includes 12 Monkeys, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Forever, and Man Seeking Woman, none of which I’ve seen. However, it also champions ABC’s Agent Carter, an eight-episode action-adventure series, set right after the conclusion of World War II, that I have so far watched all the way through, with pleasure. Inspired by a character in Marvel Comics’ Captain America series, this program stars British-American actress Hayley Atwell (Any Human Heart, Falcón, Restless) as uncommonly capable U.S. government agent Peggy Carter. But it is also made highly watchable by James D’Arcy, playing a butler with a hidden well of talents, Lyndsy Fonseca as a fast-talking waitress who befriends Peggy, and Shea Whigham as Peggy’s sexist boss. The final episode of this debut season for Agent Carter will be broadcast next Tuesday, February 24. If you haven’t been watching, but appreciate entertaining historical espionage series with comic edges, it may be time to binge-watch this show online in anticipation of next week’s finale. I only hope Agent Carter will return for additional seasons.

• By the way, Jake Hinkson has written some good posts about Agent Carter for Criminal Element, one per episode. You’ll find them here.

• Hinkson has also posted, in that same blog, the opening entry in what’s supposed to be “a series celebrating the career of one of mystery fiction’s true giants,” Margaret Millar, who was born 100 years ago this month. Click here to read his look back at Do Evil in Return, which Millar first saw published in 1950.

• Following up on his announcement earlier in the week of nominees for New Zealand’s 2015 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, Craig Sisterson points me at this piece from Wellington’s Dominion Post that recounts the confusion Marsh’s moniker provoked in readers, especially in America. “Had I guessed the trouble my name was going to cause a lot of people on the other side of the world,” said the author--who died 33 years ago this week--“I would have changed it to something easier when I began writing books.”

• As a young boy, I would have loved to own this lunchbox. Heck, I wouldn’t mind having it now, either.

• You probably didn’t notice, but Bill Koenig’s The HMSS Weblog--which embarked on its own course last September, after its associated Web site, Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, ceased publication--was recently renamed The Spy Command. And earlier today it posted a terrific short piece about the failed 1967 pilot for a Dick Tracy series. That pilot’s producer, William Dozier, had already had already hit it big with Batman and The Green Hornet.

• As the blog TV Obscurities noted previously, Eve Plumb, the child actress who would go on to fame in The Brady Bunch, was to have played detective Tracy’s daughter, Bonnie Braids. She was “shown in the opening credits but otherwise never appear[ed].”

• Britain’s ITV Network is preparing “a new adaptation of George Simenon’s novels about Parisian sleuth Jules Maigret,” reports Euro Crime. Rowen “Mr. Bean” Atkinson is “set to play Maigret in two stand-alone, 120-minute films for the channel. Both dramas will be set in 1950s Paris, with screenwriter Stewart Harcourt adapting the books Maigret Sets a Trap and Maigret’s Dead Man.” Frankly, I can’t imagine Atkinson’s portrayal surpassing that of Michael Gambon in the 1972-1973 series Maigret(opening titles shown here).

• Finally, Ruth and Jon Jordan, the familiarly energetic and convivial editors of Crimespree Magazine, won some favorable attention this week in their hometown newspaper, Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, linked to the Raven Award they are set to receive during the Edgar Awards presentation on April 29.

Pro “Choice”

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Feb 182015
My Kirkus Reviews column today is devoted to the subject of hit-man novels. I make special mention of Max Allan Collins’ new book, Quarry’s Choice, which I say “reads like one of those pulpish Gold Medal paperback thrillers of the 1950s or ’60s, densely plotted and dynamically paced, with plenty of nefarious twists, explosive turns and shady characters who live to surprise.” You’ll find the full piece here.

READ MORE:Quarry Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” by Max Allan Collins; “It’s All About the Books,” by Ky Cochran (Muscatine Journal).