Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Up with the Scots!

Organizers of this year’s Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival, set to take place in the central Scottish town of Stirling during the weekend of September 9-11, have announced their longlist of nominees for the 2016 McIlvanney Prize, previously known as the Scottish Crime Book of the Year award. This commendation—now dedicated in honor of Glasgow writer William McIlvanney (Laidlaw), who died last year—“recognizes excellence in Scottish crime writing, [and] includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.” It will be presented to one of the following 10 books and authors on Bloody Scotland’s opening night, September 9:

Even Dogs in the Wild, by Ian Rankin (Orion)
Open Wounds, by Douglas Skelton (Luath)
The Damage Done, by James Oswald (Michael Joseph)
The Special Dead, by Lin Anderson (Macmillan)
In the Cold Dark Ground, by Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
Black Widow, by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
The Jump, by Doug Johnstone (Faber)
Splinter the Silence, by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
Beloved Poison, by E.S. Thomson (Little, Brown)
A Fine House in Trinity, by Lesley Kelly (Sandstone)

As a press release explains, “Previous winners are Craig Russell with The Ghosts of Altona in 2015, Peter May with Entry Island in 2014, Malcolm Mackay with How a Gunman Says Goodbye in 2013, and Charles Cumming with A Foreign Country in 2012.”

Bullet Points: Post-Vacation Edition

If you were wondering last week why The Rap Sheet seemed so paltry with its postings, it was because I took eight days off for a trip to Minneapolis to see my best friend, Byron. We’ve known each other since college (he was a class year ahead of me), and have since been in the habit of visiting each other during the summer months, alternating back and forth; this was my year to fly east. We’d talked in advance of my departure about doing all kinds of active things when I was in Minnesota, including taking a long drive north to the shores of Lake Superior and maybe taking a hike someplace. But once I was in the company of my friend and his wife, all such planning went out the window.

Byron and I actually wound up doing the things we so often do together: comparing observations about our lives while sampling beers at local pubs (The Lowbrow on Nicollet Avenue has become a favorite stop), checking out new-to-us eateries (among them, on this trip, the Hot Plate Diner for breakfast), going for long walks around the lakes near his suburban neighborhood, and of course, sitting out on his home’s sun-baked back patio, just reading. I’d packed along a quartet of novels, including David Fuller’s terrific Sweetsmoke and William Kittredge’s The Willow Field, and made it through all of them, while helping to keep Byron’s dog, Shiloh, exercised with occasionally thrown tennis balls. Worried that I might be without books for the return flight to Seattle, we made a trip to Once Upon a Crime, the local independent mystery bookstore that successfully changed hands earlier this year. (For evidence of our drop-in, see the photograph above: I am the dumpy, overheated guy on the left, with Byron on the right.) We also paid a call on radio legend Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books, situated along Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, which turned out to be an uncommonly handsome and appealing shop—definitely one worth revisiting sometime.

I don’t often find the time for holidays, but this one was made especially, if unexpectedly, relaxing by the fact that I couldn’t seem to recall my e-mail password. Therefore, I had no way to check my messages remotely for a week. Yes, it meant that I needed to scroll through and weed the junk mail from among 871 e-notes when I returned home. Yet for eight blissful days, all I really had to do was think about what to read next, where to eat with my friends, and what movies we all wanted to screen during the evening hours. My batteries were thus recharged for another few months.

My file of intriguing crime-fiction links was overflowing before I left, and is even larger now that I’ve been looking around to see what I missed last week. I can’t hope to mention everything of interest, but here a few items I think you will find worthy of attention.

• A very well-deserved commendation: New York City bookseller, editor, and publisher Otto Penzler, 73, has been named as the winner of this year’s David Thompson Special Service Award for his “extraordinary efforts to develop and promote the crime-fiction field.” Penzler should receive his prize during Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana (September 15-18). Previous recipients of this accolade, named for the late co-owner of Houston’s Murder by the Book, are my Rap Sheet colleague Ali Karim, Len and June Moffatt, Judy Bobalik, and Bill and Toby Gottfried.

• If you haven’t already voted for your favorite nominees in the 2016 Dead Good Reader Awards competition, you can still do so here. As I stated in an earlier post, the winners to be declared at a special event on Friday, July 22, during this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, England.

The Twenty-Three, the concluding volume in Linwood Barclay’s Promise Falls Trilogy, isn’t even due out in the States till November. But already there’s word of this Ontario author’s next novel—and it’s a work for children. As The Bookseller explains, “Chase is a middle-grade novel about a dog called Chipper who has been melded with state-of-the-art computer technology to carry out secret missions for an organization called The Institute. When Chipper’s natural instincts, such as chasing squirrels, start taking over during missions, The Institute decides to pull the plug on him.” Expect to see Chipper in bookstores sometime next year.

• While we’re on the subject of Canadian crime-fictionists (and with Canada Day fast approaching on July 1), note that Mystery Scene’s Oline H. Cogdill has put together “a quick primer” on some of that country’s finest genre writers, including Giles Blunt, Maureen Jennings, Howard Engel, and Ausma Zehanat Khan. If you’d like to learn more about the field’s history and present stars, refer to a two-part survey of Canadian mystery-makers I wrote for Kirkus Reviews back in 2013. Part I of that report is here, with Part II to be found here.

• With the sunny season having finally begun in North America, it’s totally appropriate for Janet Rudolph to have posted this list of summer-oriented mysteries in her blog.

• Just when I thought Plots with Guns was dead, buried, and eulogized, that once-popular e-zine abruptly reappears with an issue containing stories by Patricia Abbott, Rusty Barnes, Benjamin Whitmer, and others. Read them all for free here.

• Isn’t it a bit early to be writing about the best books of 2016? Well, apparently not if you’re working for BookRiot or Omnivoracious: The Amazon Book Review, both of which have weighed in recently with their initial-six-months assessments. The BookRiot rundown includes Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele and John Lawton’s The Unfortunate Englishman, as well as Skip Hollandsworth’s gripping non-fiction serial-killer yarn, The Midnight Assassin. Introducing its own list, Omnivoracious calls Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall “[one of] our universally favorite novels of the year so far,” and then goes on to applaud Stephen King’s End of Watch, John Hart’s Redemption Road, Mary Kubica’s Don’t You Cry, Bill Beverly’s Dodgers, Joyce Maynard’s Under the Influence, and 15 additional titles.

• To nobody’s surprise, Criminal Element’s Leslie Gilbert Elman—who most ably covered the opening two seasons of Endeavour on PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery!—is now writing about Season 3 of that Shaun Evans series. Click here to enjoy her write-up on “Ride,” the first of this season’s four episodes, and here to see what she had to say about last weekend’s installment, “Arcadia.” (By the way, for anyone not conversant in the classic Inspector Morse TV series, from which Endeavour derives, the English actress Abigail Thaw, to whom Elman refers in her post, and who plays newspaper editor Dorothea Frazil in Endeavour, happens to be the now 50-year-old daughter of John Thaw, who portrayed Morse in that previous, 1987-2000 series.)

• In case I failed to mention this before, once Endeavour has completed its broadcast run for the year (it has already been renewed for a fourth season—hurrah!), you can look forward to the final season of Inspector Lewis on Masterpiece Mystery! Three episodes will be shown, beginning on Sunday, August 7.

Mystery Scene celebrates yet another British TV whodunit in its new issue: Grantchester, starring James Norton and Robson Green (which recently concluded its second-season run on PBS). The brightly penned cover feature has Craig Sisterson, the New Zealander behind the annual Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, interviewing James Runcie, author of the The Grantchester Mysteries (the latest of which is Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation). Elsewhere in that same issue, Kevin Burton Smith offers a survey of fictionists famous in other fields who have tried their hand at composing private-eye yarns; Tom Nolan profiles both Naomi Hirahara (Sayonara Slam) and another California writer—one who has heretofore escaped my radar—Bart Paul (Cheatgrass); and Kate Jackson, who blogs at Cross-Examining Crime, looks back at “The Wimsey Papers,” Dorothy L. Sayers’ serialized observations on World War II through the eyes of her fictitious sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey.

• Oh, and happy first birthday to Cross-Examining Crime!

• Den of Geek! offers a new teaser trailer for Quarry, the eight-episode Cinemax TV series—based on Max Allan Collins’ novels about an itinerant Vietnam War vet turned hit man (Quarry’s Choice, Quarry in the Black), and starring Logan Marshall-Green—that’s set to premiere on September 9 at 10 p.m.

• “10 Hit Man Novels that Everyone Should Read.”

• I’ve been a fan of actress Carla Gugino ever since she starred in the 2003-2004 ABC-TV series Karen Sisco, based on the character created by Elmore Leonard, so I am pleased to hear that she’s returned to the boob tube with Roadies, a Cameron Crowe-created comedy-drama that debuted on Showtime on June 26.

• Note to Karen Sisco fans: Although that short-lived series hasn’t yet earned a DVD release (and why the hell not?), I see all 10 episodes of the show have suddenly become available on YouTube, thanks to a kind soul calling himself Oliver Martin. Check them out quickly before the copyright police come to steal them away!

• Speaking of unexpected YouTube discoveries, click here to watch a 1971 teleflick called Love Hate Love, which as far as I can tell was made from the last screenplay composed by British spy-fictionist Eric Ambler (A Coffin for Dimitrios). The plot description reads: “Ryan O’Neal plays Russ Emery, a glib engineer who steals the heart of a fashion model named Sheila Blunden [played by the lovely Lesley Ann Warren]. She in turn leaves her jet-setter fiancé, who turns out to be a psychotic who will not let go of Sheila that easily.”

• OK, I’m just stealing these next two items straight from B.V. Lawson’s In Reference to Murder. First on the docket:
Hulu announced the premiere date of Hugh Laurie's new ten-part psychological thriller Chance, set for Wednesday, October 19. Laurie will star as forensic neuropsychiatrist Dr. Eldon Chance, who is dragged against his better wishes into an extremely dangerous world of corrupt cops, mistaken identities and mental illness. The cast also includes Gretchen Mol as Jaclyn Blackstone, the abused wife of a detective (Paul Adelstein) whose possible dissociative identity disorder causes big problems for the doc. Chance was created by Desperate Housewives and Bates Motel writer/director Alexandra Cunningham and author Kem Nunn, who wrote the novel that the show is based on.
• And then there’s this reminder:
First Monday is a new monthly crime fiction/thriller night held in Central London at the College Building of City University. The upcoming July 4th event, sponsored by Killer Reads, will feature award-winning authors Andrew Taylor, Stephen Booth, Anna Mazzola, and Beth Lewis. The evening will be chaired by Claire McGowan, bestselling author of the Paula Maguire series and senior lecturer on the City University Crime Writing MA course.
• For The Strand Magazine’s Web site, author William Lashner (The Four-Night Run) has compiled a list of “ten writing tips I learned from the books of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, who together pretty much invented the modern detective story.”

What does Chandler owe to The Mary Tyler Moore Show?

• I have definitely fallen behind in recommending new installments of Nancie Clare’s excellent Speaking of Mysteries podcast. A few recent guests worth hearing from: Cara Black (Murder on the Quai), Erik Axl Sund (The Crow Girl), Steve Hamilton (The Second Life of Nick Mason), and Dan Fesperman (The Letter Writer).

• Several other author interviews worth reading: Former ThugLit editor and author (Rough Trade) Todd Robinson chats with Entropy; Joe Clifford (December Boys) goes one-on-one with S.W. Lauden; Paul Bishop posts a two-part interview with W.L. Ripley (Hail Storme)—Part I here, Part II here; Patricia Abbott (Shot in Detroit) answers 20 questions posed by fellow novelist Dana King; All Is Not Forgotten writer Wendy Walker fields queries from BOLO Books; and Double O Section grills Warren Ellis about his James Bond comic books.

• For some bizarre reason, failing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump believes he’s mentally far superior to other human beings (a real “man of the people,” eh?). Yet there are apparently no books or bookcases in his home.

• In a welcome break from all the sorry economic predictions surrounding Great Britain’s public vote to leave the European Union, Crime Fiction Lover has posted blurbs covering a dozen “great” crime novels set in as many UK cities. The list includes Ian Rankin’s Even Dogs in the Wild (Edinburgh), Belinda Bauer’s Rubbernecker (Cardiff), Adrian McKinty’s Rain Dogs (Belfast), and a book that completely escaped my notice when it was distributed last year, Shallow Waters, by Rebecca Bradley (Nottingham).

• Maybe it’s time to pay more attention to women crime writers. Both Terrence Rafferty, in The Atlantic, and Barry Forshaw, in The Independent, have recently made that argument quite convincingly.

Michael Herr wasn’t a crime novelist. The Kentucky native was instead best known for penning Dispatches, an entertaining and often moving 1977 memoir of his work as a correspondent for Esquire magazine, covering the Vietnam War during the late 1960s. When I heard the news last week that Herr had died at age 76, I recalled how Dispatches had been one of the first non-fiction works I’d really enjoyed in my early 20s, a splendid example of what was once called “new journalism,” combining serious reportage with literary storytelling techniques. It had led me to other Vietnam books, such as Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War, as well as to Herr’s memorable 1990 novel, Walter Winchell. Long ago, in a faraway life that I only barely recognize, I’d hoped one day to write a journalistic work as classic as Dispatches. That I never accomplished that goal is my own damn fault. That I can at least look back upon Dispatches and marvel at the dexterity with which its author delivered his yarn is pale succor, but succor nonetheless. Thank you, Michael Herr. (More here and here.)

• Don Winslow is writing a sequel to The Cartel.

The Seattle Times provides a guide to some of the best TV series adaptations of literary sleuths, including both Bosch and Jack Irish.

• Being among those many readers who’ve refused to make a transition from traditional print books to e-books, I was pleased to see Alexis Boncy’s recent short essay, “Why I Still Love Actual Paper Books,” in The Week. She writes, in part:
I want to be absorbed by a book in a way that actual page-turning, not pixel-moving finger flips, allows. Choosing print over e-books means separating my reading from anything else—everything else, I should say, given the enormity of what we can do and information we can access from smartphones and tablets. It means I put down one thing before I pick up another, that I allow my attention to be taken wholly and open myself to feeling the full weight of the words on the page. That they will make me laugh or cry or think a little differently or discover something new.

And I want to finish a book and slot it on the shelf according to my personal Dewey Decimal system, a complex algorithm that accounts for genre, subject, author, how much I liked it, and how much I liked it compared to everything else. The e-alternative is to finish and watch as the book’s cover, once a full-screen image, shrinks and recedes to its tiny place on my e-bookshelf. The diminishment extends to the whole experience; the story fades, the memories go unvisited.
• Someday I want to put together a feature about the numerous novels combining crime fiction with science fiction. In the meantime, though, I can appreciate David Cranmer’s reviews, in Criminal Element, of Isaac Asimov’s Elijah Baley/Daneel Olivaw yarns. He’s already commented on The Caves of Steel (1954) and The Naked Sun (1957). I hope he will soon cover The Robots of Dawn (1983), the third book in Asimov’s Robot series, as well.

This is a book I should definitely add to my shelves.

• Finally, what did Donald Hamilton think of the four 1960s Matt Helm films adapted from his novels and starring Dean Martin? A letter he wrote in 1991 gives us some clues: “[M]y philosophy is that I write to entertain and once I’ve done a book or story to my satisfaction, anybody who can use my material entertainingly, and is willing to pay me for the privilege, is welcome, even if he doesn’t stick very closely to my original vision (if I may use a fancy word for it).”

Monday, June 27, 2016

Can We “Brighton” Your Day?

In mid-June we announced the terms of entry for The Rap Sheet’s latest book-giveaway contest. (Our fourth for this year, by the way.) The prizes were three copies of Michael Harvey’s excellent new Boston-set thriller, Brighton. After a random selection among the 80 entries we received, the winners have been chosen:

Michael Carter of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Helene Androski of Madison, Wisconsin
Ryan Gilbert of Brooklyn, New York

If you are among this fortunate trio, then congratulations! Your book should soon be winging its way to your mailbox, sent directly from Harvey’s publisher, Ecco. If your name doesn’t appear here, never fret: we are already working to arrange other such drawings.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Copycat Covers: You Do Get Around, Sir

A new entry in our series about remarkably look-alike book fronts.

The Detective and the Devil, by Lloyd Shepherd (Simon & Schuster UK, 2016); and Hell Bay, by Will Thomas (Minotaur, 2016).

Interestingly, that same little man with the cane also appeared on what looks to have been an early cover design for Sam Christer’s The House of Smoke (Sphere, 2016), seen below and on the left. But that book was eventually modified as shown below and on the right.

Even with that change, though, Christer’s historical novel about a criminal employee of the notorious Professor James Moriarty (yes, Sherlock Holmes’ archrival) cannot escape charges of imitation. You’ll find the very same tophatted gent, leaning into his cane, on the jacket of Will Thomas’ 2015 mystery, Anatomy of Evil (Minotaur)—only there, the figure conceals a long knife behind his back.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Are You in the Running Yet?

Don’t forget, folks: You have only two days left to enter The Rap Sheet’s latest book-giveaway contest. Up for grabs are three copies of Michael Harvey’s new Boston-set thriller, Brighton (previewed here). To have a shot at winning one of those, the only thing you must do is e-mail your name and postal address to And be sure to type “Brighton Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight on Friday, June 24. The winners will be chosen completely at random.

Sorry, but at the publisher’s request, this drawing is open only to residents of the United States and Canada.

Isn’t it about time you hopped on this opportunity?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Another Whack at Lizzie

There’s every chance you haven’t noticed this yet, but my latest Kirkus Reviews column—this one focused around an interview with Walter Satterthwait about his second delightful Lizzie Borden whodunit, New York Nocturne—was posted this morning. You’ll find it here.

As frequently happens, the interview material I had available exceeded what I could use in Kirkus (though not by much this time). So, as a bonus for Rap Sheet readers, I am embedding my last three questions to Florida author Satterthwait below.

J. Kingston Pierce: Over the last 20 years, you’ve had to give up two different series—one starring Santa Fe, New Mexico, private eye Joshua Croft, the other featuring Pinkerton agents Philip Beaumont and Jane Tanner. Did poor sales figures doom both of those series, or were there other issues involved?

Walter Satterthwait: The Joshua Croft novels ended just about exactly where I wanted them to end—in a kind of uncertainty. As for the Pinkertons, I may see both of them again. When we saw them last, they were on their way to Greece. There was a lot of stuff going on in Athens in the early 1920s, and, so far as I know, no one’s ever written a thriller that used any of it.

JKP: Are you currently laboring over a different work of fiction? If so, can you tell me something about its storyline?

WS: It’s another story about New York at night. That’s about as much as I can say. It’s never a great idea, I think, to talk too much about the stuff that’s not finished. To some extent, talking about it can drain away the energy you might need to finish it.

JKP: Finally, if you could have written any novel that doesn’t already carry your byline, what would it be?

WS: Pale Fire, the [Vladimir] Nabokov novel that purports to be the editor’s notes to a poem of 999 lines. Like Lolita, it’s a very nearly perfect book, but the monster at the heart of Pale Fire isn’t quite as monstrous as the monster in Lolita.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Book You Have to Read:
“Epitaph for a Tramp,” by David Markson

(Editor’s note: This is the 137th installment in The Rap Sheet’s continuing series about great but forgotten books.)

By Steven Nester
What makes detective fiction fun (for me, anyway) is what happens when the detective isn’t detecting. For some writers, the form is a framework that allows them to investigate various segments of society and make comments with an outsider’s point of view. In addition, I appreciate a glimpse at the personalities of private eyes—some of them quirky, most unsentimental grinds, but the majority of them being intelligent, independent, and possessing a distinct point of view. In the case of David Markson’s Harry Fannin, one might add impulsive; but nowhere near as bad a decision-maker as the round-heeled adventuress he marries in 1959’s Epitaph for a Tramp.

In this first novel of a two-part series (the sequel, Epitaph for a Dead Beat, was published in 1961), Markson drops a situation of personal loss into Fannin’s life which could have provided sufficient motivation for a P.I. on a quest for many books thereafter. Flippant and well-read, Fannin meets his match on a Long Island beach after a midnight skinny dip. Coming upon the beautiful and brainy Catherine Hawes, Fannin finds this 24-year-old has all the requirements for a bookish man of action: studied at Barnard College, with a Greenwich Village apartment and employment in the sales department at a New York City publishing house—and a reckless sense of adventure. The two quip over T.S. Eliot, then the “meet cute” is fleshed out with some hard-boiled flirtation.
“You’re staring at me.”

“The way you stare at four aces,” I told her.

“Because you always think you misread the hand?”

“Partly. Mainly because you’re sure somebody’s going to call a misdeal before you get a chance to bet.”
Don’t say she didn’t try to tell him. Fannin should’ve asked for a new deal—and for a fresh deck of cards, too. He refuses to listen to Hawes’ advice, and the next thing he knows he’s married to a nymphomaniac with enough kinks to make the marriage bed feel like Freud’s couch. She’s as “promiscuous as a mink” and “as discriminating as a hungry hound at the town dump.” Markson pulls no punches with Cathy, and he reveals no appeal in her with which the reader might empathize either, except perhaps for her abject vulnerability. She’s a tool for the plot as much as men are a tool for her. Cathy philanders, Fannin suspects and snoops, and it’s no surprise the marriage doesn’t last a year.

Cathy is a capricious risk-taker, that’s why she married Fannin in the first place. She leaves Fannin and, “fed up enough with her Keats-spouting Village boyfriends,” ups the ante and takes kicks to the next level. With her new man, Duke Sabatini, and his “greasy” punk sidekick, she and these knock-around characters rob a factory payroll in Troy, New York. The last time Fannin sees his lost-love is in the aftermath of the heist. She staggers into his apartment, mortally wounded by a knife attack, “the stain as big as a six-dollar sirloin beneath her breast, dark and seeping.” Cathy dies in Fannin’s arms.

Nobody seems to know what Cathy has done with the $40,000 payday, not even Sabatini or his accomplice, who are quickly rounded up. So it falls to Fannin to retrace her steps in hopes of finding the money as well as her killer. That’s when Markson begins the tour of beatnik hangouts, hipster pads, and habitués of small-time criminals.

(Left) The back cover of Tramp

Homing in on the killers, Fannin and a police homicide detective named Brannigan roust some uptown hipsters. One, thinking he’s about to get busted for dope, jumps to his death. The other, a jazz musician and a master of baffling beatnik banter, leads Fannin on a merry verbal chase through the intricacies of that patois. When Fannin and Nate Brannigan lean on him for the facts plainly explained, this is what they get:
“Okay, dads, okay. But give a cat room, stand back, you’re fogging my spectacles. I’ll reconstruct, I’ll come on strong in all details. But like allow me room to stroll my thoughts, huh, man?”
Plot-wise, Epitaph for a Tramp is pretty routine. Fannin eliminates the obvious suspects, bumps heads with Manhattan detectives investigating the murder, and eliminates the red herrings. When Fannin breaks the tragic news to Cathy’s schoolmarm older sister early on (she “needed a man a lot more than she needed consolation,” opines Fannin), eyebrows might raise and readers may place her on the short-list of suspects.

Fannin has plenty of opinions on literature, too, and he isn’t shy about sharing them. He quotes English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. The Magic Mountain, he says, is “a gay little thing.” He attempts to “make sense out of something called The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot,” and finds praise for avant-garde novelist William Gaddis’ The Recognitions. Surely Fannin must have known his way around the little literary magazines of his day, but this doesn’t prevent him from getting his head into pulp-fiction gumshoe-mode and giving pulp writer Donald Honig, author of Sidewalk Caesar (1958), a shout-out. Fannin also expresses some crisp and world-weary observations—such as, when he lights a cigarette, “the smoke turned to steel wool in my mouth.”

As good as Markson is in the P.I. genre, and I think he gives as good as Raymond Chandler can dish out, Markson eventually put aside pulp in favor of experimental literature, joining the ranks of Gaddis and his ilk. For other writers, it sometimes worked the other way around. In need of quick cash to keep the dolce vita afloat in champagne, Gore Vidal wrote a pulp thriller (1953’s Thieves Fall Out) and three detective novels. The great Ezra Pound, while taking a break from nursing modern literature into being, had the audacity to attempt a detective novel with his lover Olga Rudge. Mercifully, that book (The Blue Spill) was abandoned, only to be published after their deaths.

There are some fingernail-raking-across-the-blackboard moments in Epitaph for a Tramp, such as when “Village fag” is used dismissively, and a slovenly apartment is described as “inviting as the rumpus room at Buchenwald.” I suppose these could be chalked up to a certain brash naiveté rather than callous animosity, and they are perhaps lingering evidence of an era that strove for homogeneity of thought and attitude in a less sensitive manner than is practiced today.

Harry Fannin is skeptical man, a trait that’s crucial for a detective. Without his bullshit detector, he’s out of business. But Fannin is also a hopeful man. His personal life adrift, he washes ashore one hot summer night on a lonely beach to find Catherine Hawes, half-naked and all-beautiful. She teases and taunts but Fannin hears a kindred spirit singing a siren’s song and he’s smitten. In a moment of clarity, Catherine tells him to “take another swim and wash the hayseed out of your hair.” He ignores her, and his life is soon after dashed upon the rocks. No fictional private eyes are perfect or infallible, and it is these humanizing traits, along with the characters’ dogged search for the truth, that keeps readers returning to them over and over.

Dead Good and Loving It

The UK-based crime-fiction Web site Dead Good has announced its shortlists of nominees, in six categories, for the 2016 Dead Good Reader Awards. Members of the book-loving public are invited to choose their favorites, with the winners to be declared during a special event on Friday, July 22, during this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, England.

The Dead Good Recommends Award for Most Recommended Book:
Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith (Little Brown)
Die of Shame, by Mark Billingham (Little Brown)
In Her Wake, by Amanda Jennings (Orenda)
The Missing, by C L Taylor (Avon)
Tastes Like Fear, by Sarah Hilary (Headline)
Untouchable Things, by Tara Guha (Legend Press)

The Tess Gerritsen Award for Best Series:
Jack Reacher, created by Lee Child (Transworld)
Roy Grace, created by Peter James (Macmillan)
Marnie Rome, created by Sarah Hilary (Headline)
Logan McRae, created by Stuart MacBride (Harper Collins)
Ruth Galloway, created by Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
George Mackenzie, created by Marnie Riches (Maze)

The Linwood Barclay Award for Most Surprising Twist:
Disclaimer, by Renee Knight (Transworld)
The Ice Twins, by S.K. Tremayne (Harper Collins)
I Let You Go, by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson (Faber & Faber)
Little Black Lies, by Sharon Bolton (Transworld)
When She Was Bad, by Tammy Cohen (Transworld)

The Papercut Award for Best Page Turner:
Broken Promise, by Linwood Barclay (Orion)
Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith (Little Brown)
Follow Me, by Angela Clarke (Avon)
The Girl in the Ice, by Robert Bryndza (Bookouture)
In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware (Vintage)
Splinter the Silence, by Val McDermid (Little Brown)

The Hotel Chocolat Award for Darkest Moment:
Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris (Mira)
The Darkest Secret, by Alex Marwood (Sphere)
In the Cold Dark Ground, by Stuart MacBride (Harper Collins)
Little Boy Blue, by M.J. Arlidge (Michael Joseph)
The Teacher, by Katerina Diamond (Avon)
Viral, by Helen Fitzgerald (Faber & Faber)

The Mörda Award for Captivating Crime in Translation:
Camille, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
The Crow Girl, by Erik Axl Sund (Vintage)
The Defenceless, by Kati Hiekkapelto (Orenda Books)
I’m Travelling Alone, by Samuel Bjork (Doubleday)
Nightblind, by Ragnar Jonasson (Orenda Books)
The Undesired, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (Hodder & Stoughton)

To register your favorites in each category, click here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Return of a Man Called Morse


All I can say is, it’s about damn time!

The third season of the British crime drama Endeavour, starring Shaun Evans as a young and brilliant Endeavour Morse—the Oxford police detective created by Colin Dexter—will return to PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! series beginning this coming Sunday, June 19. The four episodes featured this time around are all set in 1967, which gives the show a bit of a “groovy” aspect, as you can see in the UK trailer for Endeavour embedded above. The blog TV Series Finale provides previews of that quartet of mysteries, plus a welcome reminder that Endeavour has already been renewed for a fourth season.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Losing Lois

Just a year after being fêted (along with James Ellroy) as one of the newest Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Masters, New Mexico author Lois Duncan has passed away at age 82. In a Facebook post from earlier today, her husband of half a century, Don Arquette, said, “She died sometime early this morning. I awoke and found her collapsed in the kitchen. I will miss her so very, very much.”

The Philadelphia-born Duncan penned works of non-fiction for adults, including 1992’s Who Killed My Daughter?, about the 1989 shooting death of her youngest child, 18-year-old Kaitlyn. However, she’s best known for having produced a succession of young adult mystery and suspense novels, including Debutante Hill (1958), A Gift of Magic (1960), Down a Dark Hall (1974), Stranger with My Face (1981), and The Third Eye (1984). More biographical details can be found in this piece from Mystery Fanfare. Duncan’s Web site doesn’t yet acknowledge the author’s demise, but it offers a message board where you can register your condolences to her family.

READ MORE:Remembering Lois Duncan, the Queen of Teen Suspense,” by Petra Mayer (National Public Radio); “Lois Duncan’s Teenage Screams,” by Sarah Weinman (The New Republic).

Back to Brighton — with a Book Giveaway!

Michael Harvey’s seventh and newest novel, Brighton, was released yesterday by publisher Ecco. As I wrote in a recent Kirkus Reviews column, it offers one hell of a driving story, focusing primarily on two 40-something guys—Kevin Pearce and Bobby Scales—who spent their boyhoods together in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. Following a shooting incident, committed in the name of revenge but from which both of those then-teens sought to distance themselves, Kevin went away to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, while Bobby stayed behind and matured into an intimidating bookie. Twenty-six years after the shooting, Kevin learns that his old friend is now the principal suspect in a string of homicides; and though Kevin has successfully avoided Brighton and his remaining family there for years, he finally returns to his old stomping grounds, hoping to learn the truth about Bobby’s criminal complicity and protect the secret they share.

Although Harvey, an investigative reporter and the co-creator/executive producer of A&E-TV’s “groundbreaking forensic series,” Cold Case Files (1999-2006), currently lives in Chicago, Illinois—the setting for most of his fiction (The Governor’s Wife, The Fifth Floor, etc.)—he hails originally from Brighton. In the short piece below, written especially for The Rap Sheet, Harvey recalls that district in northwestern Boston as he knew it, and remarks on how his experiences there when he was young shaped his work on the novel Brighton (which already appears headed for film adaptation):
Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, your childhood is your childhood until you grow up. Then it becomes something else. For a writer, that something else is literature and, in my case, a backdrop for the best kind of literature … a crime novel.

I grew up in Brighton. It’s an edge neighborhood, which means it’s part of the city of Boston but right up against Newton, Brookline, Chestnut Hill, and across the river from Cambridge. Even though it’s geographically close to these towns, it was worlds away in every other respect. Things have changed now, but back then Brighton was a blue-collar working neighborhood—mostly Irish, Italians, and African-Americans, living in three-deckers, two-families, or public housing. I lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the second-floor of a three-decker on Champney Street—the same street where the novel unfolds. My parents slept in one bedroom and six of us kids slept in the other. It was like that up and down the block—lots of kids, no money. I’d play ball all day and hang out all night. If I had a picture of myself and 20 of my pals on the street corner, I’d guess half of them have gone on to have great lives—jobs, families, etc. Another third to half, also great kids, were dead or in jail by the time they hit 30. Is there some rhyme or reason to any of this? Or does it just cook down to getting into the wrong car on the wrong night and being sucked away in the undertow?

The novel
Brighton deals with many of these issues. In one sense I guess it’s an exploration of free will vs. fate. How much are we really in charge? Can we shape and reshape our lives? Or, once certain levers are pulled, is there really no stopping things, our only recourse to deal with whatever’s coming down the track and, in doing so, both reveal and define our true nature? There are several layers to the story, but that juxtaposition of free will and fate is certainly one thing that’s bubbling just below the surface.
Now that you have some impressions of Harvey’s new novel, how’d you like to add Brighton to your own library—at no cost whatsoever? His publisher has generously provided The Rap Sheet with three copies of this book, which we’re hoping to give away to loyal readers. To enter the drawing for one of these, all need do is e-mail your name and postal address to And be sure to type “Brighton Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight next Friday, June 24. The winners will be chosen completely at random.

Sorry, but at the publisher’s request, this contest is open only to residents of the United States and Canada.

Hey, time’s a-wastin’, folks. Get your entry in today!

Aussie Women in the Spotlight

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced the longlists of nominees for its 2016 Davitt Awards, named in honor of Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud (1865). These commendations are meant to honor the best in Down Under crime/mystery fiction written by women. In total, 77 titles have been longlisted this year across four prize categories: 47 adult novels, nine young adult novels, eight children’s novels, and 13 works of non-fiction. That’s “more than a 10-fold increase” since 2001, when the Davitts were first presented, according to a news release.

There are simply too many contenders to list them all here. But the Adult Novel category includes such works as Monty and Me, by Louisa Bennet (HarperCollins); Please Don’t Leave Me Here, by Tania Chandler (Scribe); The Exit, by Helen Fitzgerald (Faber/Allen & Unwin); Storm Clouds, by Bronwyn Parry (Hachette); Lethal in Love, by Michelle Somers (Penguin Random House); Hush, Little Bird, by Nicole Trope (Allen & Unwin); and Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic (Echo Publishing). You’ll find a full list of contenders in that and other categories by clicking here.

The Davitt shortlists are scheduled to be broadcast in mid-July, with a declaration of the winning books and authors to follow on August 27. Also on that latter date, recipients of awards for Best Debut Book and Readers’ Choice will be announced.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer’s Dark-Hearted Bounty

Confession time: I’m still in the midst of enjoying a variety of crime novels I highlighted as top picks for spring reading. The fact that summer officially begins in the northern hemisphere only a week from today, on June 20, is therefore rather unsettling. While I’ve already been dipping my toes into the pool of books set for publication between now and Labor Day (and writing about a bunch of those for Kirkus Reviews), I am not really prepared to leave the last season behind. Not completely. This always happens to me in June. For professional reasons, I am called upon to turn my attention forward, to write about summer releases … yet I find myself glancing back guiltily at the piles of handsome volumes (not only crime fiction, but also general fiction and history) that I promised myself I would tackle during the first half of the year, and wondering whether I’ll ever find enough free time to digest them all. It is not uncommon for me to pack handfuls of such still-to-be-reads along on summer vacation, hoping to polish them off in an obsessive rush, even if doing so costs me a bit of the relaxation a holiday is designed to deliver.

Under the best of circumstances, I can still integrate a few books from early 2016 into my next three-month reading schedule. But that will demand serious commitment, because there are more than a few crime, mystery, and thriller distractions to come in June, July, and August. Just this month, for instance, U.S. bookstores will welcome Walter Mosley’s 14th Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins novel, Charcoal Joe; Susie Steiner’s police procedural/family drama combination, Missing, Presumed; Patricia Abbott’s Shot in Detroit, her new follow-up to last year’s Concrete Angel; and End of Watch, the final entry in Stephen King’s trilogy starring retired detective Bill Hodges. Later this season, keep your eyes peeled for Daniel Silva’s The Black Widow, Amy Gentry’s Good as Gone, Richard Vine’s SoHo Sins, Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me, James Lee Burke’s The Jealous Kind, Louise Penny’s A Great Reckoning, and Andrew Gross’ The One Man. If you’re a resident of Britain, look forward to the debuts of Jill Dawson’s The Crime Writer (starring Patricia Highsmith!); Charles Cumming’s third Thomas Kell espionage adventure, A Divided Spy; Norwegian by Night author Derek B. Miller’s The Girl in Green (which isn’t due out in the States until January 2017); Stuart Neville’s second Serena Flanagan yarn, So Say the Fallen; and Craig Russell’s The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid, his fifth outing for shady Glasgow private investigator Lennox.

See what I mean about plentiful literary enticements?

Below you will find an inventory of some 300 works—primarily novels, but with a few non-fiction books about this genre tossed in (and marked with asterisks)—that should appeal to Rap Sheet followers. They’re a lot to take in at one whack, I know. So simply glance through the options, and maybe come back later to record the titles of a few releases you find particularly interesting. Remember, nobody expects you to read every one of these publications. Nor must you begin and finish all of those that appeal to you between now and the end of August. I, for one, will likely still be whittling away at my own choices deep into the fall season, and probably well beyond that.

JUNE (U.S.):
Air Time, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
All the Missing Girls, by Megan Miranda (Simon & Schuster)
As Good as Gone, by Larry Watson (Algonquin)
The Big Sheep, by Robert Kroese (Thomas Dunne)
Black Hammock, by Michael Wiley (Severn House)
Books of a Feather, by Kate Carlisle (NAL)
Brighton, by Michael Harvey (Ecco)
Brutality, by Ingrid Thoft (Putnam)
Buffalo Jump Blues, by Keith McCafferty (Viking)
Burn What Will Burn, by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur)
The Butterfly Garden, by Dot Hutchison (Thomas & Mercer)
Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)
The Charmers, by Elizabeth Adler (Minotaur)
Child Not Found, by Ray Daniel (Midnight Ink)
The Circle, by M.J. Trow (Crème de la Crime)
City of Jackals, by Parker Bilal (Bloomsbury USA)
Classic at Bay, by Amy Myers (Severn House)
Clinch, by Martin Holmén (Pushkin Vertigo)
Collecting the Dead, by Spencer Kope (Minotaur)
The Crow Girl, by Erik Axl Sund (Knopf)
The Corners of the Globe, by Robert Goddard (Mysterious Press)
The Curse of Tenth Grave, by Darynda Jones (St. Martin’s Press)
Danger Woman, by Frederick Ramsay (Poisoned Pen Press)
A Darker Sky, by Mari Jungstedt and Ruben Eliassen (AmazonCrossing)
Dark Horse, by Rory Flynn
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Dead Don’t Bleed,
by David Krugler (Pegasus)
Dead Loudmouth,
by Victoria Houston (Tyrus)
Death at the Boston Tea Party, by Deryn Lake (Severn House)
Death on the Sapphire,
by R.J. Koreto (Crooked Lane)
December Boys, by Joe Clifford (Oceanview)
Destiny’s Pawn, by D.A. Keeley (Midnight Ink)
The Devil Doesn’t Want Me, by Eric Beetner (280 Steps)
The Devil’s Cold Dish, by Eleanor Kuhns (Minotaur)
The Devils of Cardona, by Matthew Carr (Riverhead)
Die of Shame, by Mark Billingham (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, by Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
Drinking Gourd, by Barbara Hambly (Severn House)
End of Watch, by Stephen King (Scribner)
The Far Empty, by J. Todd Scott (Putnam)
Fatal Pursuit, by Martin Walker (Knopf)
Field of Graves, by J.T. Ellison (Mira)
First Strike, by Ben Coes (St. Martin’s Press)
The Girls in the Garden, by Lisa Jewell (Atria)
A Golden Cage, by Shelley Freydont (Berkley)
The Great Revolt, by Paul Doherty (Crème de la Crime)
Hard Cover, by Adrian Magson (Severn House)
Heart of Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)
Hell’s Gate, by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch (Morrow)
The House of Secrets, by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg
(Grand Central)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid (Gallery/Scout Press)
Ink and Bone, by Lisa Unger (Touchstone)
The Last Time She Saw Him, by Jane Haseldine (Kensington)
The Lie, by C.L. Taylor (Sourcebooks Landmark)
Lost Dog, by Alan Russell (Thomas & Mercer)
Marked for Life, by Emelie Schepp (Mira)
Missing, Presumed, by Susie Steiner (Random House)
Murder on the Quai, by Cara Black (Soho Crime)
New York Nocturne: The Return of Miss Lizzie, by Walter Satterthwait (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Not Dead Enough, by Warren C. Easley (Poisoned Pen Press)
Paris Spring, by James Naugtie (Head of Zeus)
Ping-Pong Heart, by Martin Limón (Soho Crime)
Play Nice, by Michael Guillebeau (Five Star)
The Pursuit, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg (Bantam)
Quick and the Dead, by Susan Moody (Severn House)
Radio Girls, by Sarah-Jane Stratford (NAL)
Riot Load, by Bryon Quertermous (Polis)
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Enigma, by Eric Van Lustbader
(Grand Central)
The Second Girl, by David Swinson (Mulholland)
The Secret of Spandau, by Peter Lovesey (Severn House)
Security, by Gina Wohlsdorf (Algonquin)
Shadowed, by Karen E. Olson (Severn House)
Shooting the Sphinx, by Avram Noble Ludwig (Forge)
Shot in Detroit, by Patricia Abbott (Polis)
Sidney Chambers and the Dangers of Temptation, by James Runcie (Bloomsbury USA)
Stealing Fire, by Win Blevins and Meredith Blevins (Forge)
Stealing People, by Robert Wilson (Europa Editions)
Think Wolf, by Michael Gregorio (Severn House)
Time Heals No Wounds, by Hendrik Falkenberg (AmazonCrossing)
The Traitor's Story, by Kevin Wignall (Thomas & Mercer)
Triggerfish, by Dietrich Kalteis (ECW Press)
We Could Be Beautiful, by Swan Huntley (Doubleday)
We Were Kings, by Thomas O’Malley and Douglas Graham Purdy (Mulholland)
What We Become, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Atria)
Widowmaker, by Paul Doiron (Minotaur)
Willnot, by James Sallis (Bloomsbury USA)
The Women of the Souk, by Michael Pearce (Severn House)
Written Off, by E.J. Cooperman
(Crooked Lane)
Yellowstone Standoff, by Scott Graham (Torrey House Press)
The Yemen Contract, by Arthur Kerns (Diversion)

Behind Dead Eyes, by Howard Linskey (Michael Joseph)
Black Water, by Louise Doughty (Faber and Faber)
Black Water Lilies, by Michel Bussi (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Burned and Broken, by Mark Hardie (Sphere)
The Crime Writer, by Jill Dawson (Sceptre)
Crisis, by Frank Gardner (Bantam Press)
Daisy in Chains, by Sharon Bolton (Bantam Press)
The Dead Woman of Deptford, by Ann Granger (Headline)
Dear Amy, by Helen Callaghan (Michael Joseph)
A Divided Spy, by Charles Cumming (HarperCollins)
The Dying Detective, by Leif G.W. Persson (Doubleday)
False Hearts, by Laura Lam (Macmillan)
The Final Word, by Liza Marklund (Corgi)
The Fire Child, by S.K. Tremayne (HarperCollins)
Last to Die, by Arlene Hunt (Bookouture)
Lost and Gone Forever, by Alex Grecian (Penguin)
The Man Who Wanted to Know, by D.A. Mishani (Quercus/Riverrun)
The Man Who Wasn’t There, by Michael Hjorth and Hans
Rosenfeldt (
The Night Book, by Richard Madeley (Simon & Schuster)
Nomad, by James Swallow (Zaffre)
A Quiet Life, by Natasha Walter (Borough Press)
The Rule of Fear, by Luke Delaney (HarperCollins)
The Salt Marsh, by Clare Carson (Head of Zeus)
Saturday Requiem, by Nicci French (Michael Joseph)
Secrets of Death, by Stephen Booth (Sphere)
The Secrets of Gaslight Lane, by M.R.C. Kasasian (Head of Zeus)
The Searcher, by Chris Morgan Jones (Mantle)
Signal for Vengeance, by Edward Marston (Allison & Busby)
The Sinking Admiral, edited by Simon Brett (Collins Crime Club)
S Is for Stranger, by Louise Stone (Carina)
Streets of Darkness, by A.A. Dhand (Bantam Press)
Treacherous Strand, by Andrea Carter (Constable)
Where Roses Never Die, by Gunnar Staalesen (Orenda)
Without Trace, by Simon Booker (Twenty7)
The Wolf Road, by Beth Lewis (Borough Press)

JULY (U.S.):
The Accidental Agent, by Andrew Rosenheim (Overlook Press)
All Is Not Forgotten, by Wendy Walker (St. Martin’s Press)
Among the Wicked, by Linda Castillo (Minotaur)
Another One Goes Tonight, by Peter Lovesey (Soho Crime)
Arsenic with Austen, by Katherine Bolger Hyde (Minotaur)
The Asset, by Shane Kuhn (Simon & Schuster)
Baby Doll, by Hollie Overton (Redhook)
The Baker Street Jurors, by Michael Robertson (Minotaur)
The Beauty of the End, by Debbie Howells (Kensington)
The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva (Harper)
The Boy in the Shadows, by Carl-Johan Vallgren (Quercus)
The Branson Beauty, by Claire Booth (Minotaur)
Breaking Cover, by Stella Rimington (Bloomsbury USA)
Bury Me When I’m Dead, by Cheryl A. Head (Bywater)
Coastal Corpse, by Marty Ambrose (Five Star)
The Coaster, by Erich Wurster (Poisoned Pen Press)
Cold, by John Sweeney (Thomas & Mercer)
Court Trouble, by Mike Befeler (Five Star)
Dancing with the Tiger, by Lili Wright (Marian Wood/Putnam)
Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch (Crown)
Dead Joker, by Anne Holt (Scribner)
Death in Rough Water, by Francine Mathews (Soho Crime)
Deep Waters, by Patricia Hall
(Severn House)
The Discourtesy of Death, by William Brodrick (Overlook Press)
Dr. Knox, by Peter Spiegelman (Knopf)
The English Boys, by Julia Thomas (Midnight Ink)
Everything I Don’t Remember, by Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Atria)
Face Blind, by Lance Hawvermale (Minotaur)
Fatal Headwind, by Leena Lehtolainen (AmazonCrossing)
Free Fall, by Rick Mofina (Mira)
Go-Between, by Lisa Brackmann (Soho Crime)
Good as Gone, by Amy Gentry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A Grave Concern, by Susanna Gregory (Sphere)
The Graveyard of the Hesperides, by Lindsey Davis (Minotaur)
Guilty Minds, by Joseph Finder (Dutton)
The Hatching, by Ezekiel Boone (Atria/Emily Bestler)
The Hemingway Thief, by Shaun Harris (Seventh Street)
Hero’s Lust/The Man I Killed/House of Evil, by Kermit Jaediker, Shel Walker, Clayre & Michel Lipman (Stark House Press)
House Revenge, by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly Press)
I Am No One, by Patrick Flanery (Tim Duggan)
The Innocents, by Ace Atkins (Putnam)
Killer Look, by Linda Fairstein (Dutton)
The Kingdom, by Fuminori Nakamura (Soho Crime)
The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva (Ballantine)
Lawless and the Flowers of Sin, by William Sutton (Titan)
Let the Devil Out, by Bill Loehfelm (Sarah Crichton)
A Maiden Weeping, by Jeri Westerson (Severn House)
Midnight Crossing, by Tricia Fields (Minotaur)
A Most Curious Murder, by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (Crooked Lane), by Haughton Murphy (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
A Murder of Crows, by Terrence McCauley (Polis)
Murder on Brittany Shores, by Jean-Luc Bannalec (Minotaur)
Night and Day, by Iris Johansen (St. Martin’s Press)
Night Talk, by George Noory (Forge)
No Good to Cry, by Andrew Lanh (Poisoned Pen Press)
Once Upon a Time in Camelot, by James Patrick Hunt (Five Star)
Outfoxed, by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur)
Rebellion’s Message, by Michael Jecks (Crème de la Crime)
Revolver, by Duane Swierczynski (Mulholland)
Salvation Lake, by G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer)
The Second Death, by Peter Tremayne (Minotaur)
SoHo Sins, by Richard Vine (Hard Case Crime)
Someone Always Knows, by Marcia Muller (Grand Central)
Tag, You’re Dead, by J.C. Lane (Poisoned Pen Press)
Threefold Death, by E.R. Dillon (Five Star)
The Trap, by Melanie Raabe (Grand Central)
Underground Airlines, by Ben H. Winters (Mulholland)
Vita Brevis, by Ruth Downie (Bloomsbury USA)
White Bone, by Ridley Pearson (Putnam)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer, by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Press)*
Wolf Lake, by John Verdon (Counterpoint)
The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press)
You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown)

As Time Goes By, by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)
Birthright, by David Hingley
(Allison & Busby)
Blackout, by Ragnar Jonasson (Orenda)
Blackwater, by James Henry (Quercus/Riverrun)
Blood Wedding, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
Broken Heart, by Tim Weaver (Penguin)
A Climate of Fear, by Fred Vargas (Harvill Secker)
Dandy Gilver and a Most Misleading Habit, by Catriona McPherson (Hodder & Stoughton)
Dark Forces, by Stephen Leather (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Dead House, by Harry Bingham (Orion)
The Girl in Green, by Derek B. Miller (Faber and Faber)
I See You, by Clare Mackintosh (Sphere)
The Kept Woman, by Karin Slaughter (Century)
Lie with Me, by Sabine Durrant (Mulholland)
The Long Drop, by Denise Mina (Little, Brown)
The Lost Swimmer, by Ann Turner (Simon & Schuster)
Lying in Wait, by Liz Nugent (Penguin Ireland)
Mister Memory, by Marcus Sedgwick (Mulholland)
Nocturne of Remembrance, by Shichiri Nakayama (Vertical)
Penance of the Damned, by Peter Tremayne (Headline)
The Secrets of Wishtide, by Kate Saunders (Bloomsbury)
Silent Scream, by Angela Marsons (Zaffre)
The Sister, by Louise Jensen (Bookouture)
So Say the Fallen, by Stuart Neville (Harvill Secker)
Thirst, by Benjamin Warner (Bloomsbury)
When the Music’s Over, by Peter Robinson (Hodder & Stoughton)

Arrowood, by Laura McHugh (Spiegel & Grau)
Beat Girls, Love Tribes, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture from the 1950s to the 1980s, edited by Iain McIntyre and Andrew Nette (Verse Chorus Press)*
Brain Storm, by Elaine Viets (Thomas & Mercer)
Brussels Noir, edited by Michel Dufranne (Akashic)
The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena (Pamela Dorman)
Crowned and Dangerous, by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
The Damascus Threat, by Matt Rees (Crooked Lane)
The Darkest Secret, by Alex Marwood (Penguin)
Die Like an Eagle, by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
Drive Time, by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels, edited by Gregg Sutter
(Library of America)
Foretold by Thunder, by E.M. Davey (Overlook Press)
A Great Reckoning, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Girl Before, by Rena Olsen (Putnam)
The Hanged Man, by Gary Inbinder (Pegasus)
Hell Fire, by Karin Fossum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Insidious, by Catherine Coulter (Gallery)
Invasive, by Chuck Wendig (Harper Voyager)
I Shot the Buddha, by Colin Cotterill
(Soho Crime)
The Jealous Kind, by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster)
Killfile, by Christopher Farnsworth (Morrow)
The Little Parachute, by J. Robert Janes (Mysterious Press/Open Road)
Miss Dimple and the Slightly Bewildered Angel, by Mignon F. Ballard (Minotaur)
Mississippi Noir, edited by Tom Franklin (Akashic)
Murder at Rough Point, by Alyssa Maxwell (Kensington)
The Night Bell, by Inger Ash Wolfe (Pegasus)
The Ninja’s Daughter, by Susan Spann (Seventh Street)
The One Man, by Andrew Gross (Minotaur)
One or the Other, by John McFetridge (ECW Press)
Only the Hunted Run, by Neely Tucker (Viking)
Paradime, by Alan Glynn (Picador)
The Paris Librarian, by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street)
Playing with Fire, by Gerald Elias (Severn House)
A Quiet Place, by Seicho Matsumoto (Bitter Lemon Press)
Rise the Dark, by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
Rage, by Zygmunt Miłoszewski (AmazonCrossing)
Red Dog, by Jason Miller (Harper)
The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald, by Hugh Merrill (Stark House Press)*
Repo Madness, by W. Bruce Cameron (Forge)
Rob Thy Neighbor, by David Thurlo (Minotaur)
Rough Trade, by Todd Robinson (Polis)
St. Louis Noir, edited by Scott Phillips (Akashic)
The Shattered Tree, by Charles Todd (Morrow)
She Got What She Wanted, by Orrie Hitt (Stark House Press)
The Sixth Idea, by P.J. Tracy (Putnam)
Sorrow Road, by Julia Keller (Minotaur)
Surrender, New York, by Caleb Carr (Random House)
Survivors Will Be Shot Again, by Bill Crider (Minotaur)
These Honored Dead, by Jonathan Putnam (Crooked Lane)
A Time of Torment, by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Watching Edie, by Camilla Way (NAL)
We Eat Our Own, by Kea Wilson (Scribner)
When Krishna Calls, by Susan Oleksiw (Five Star)
When the Music’s Over, by Peter Robinson (Morrow)
The Widower’s Wife, by Cate Holahan (Crooked Lane)
With Love from the Inside, by Angela Pisel (Putnam)

All These Perfect Strangers, by Aoife Clifford (Simon & Schuster)
Black Night Falling, by Rod Reynolds (Faber and Faber)
Blood Sister, by Dreda Say Mitchell (Hodder)
A Cold Death, by Antonio Manzini (Fourth Estate)
Cold Killers, by Lee Weeks (Simon & Schuster)
The Constant Soldier, by William Ryan (Mantle)
Dark Serpent, by Paul Doherty (Headline)
A Death at Fountains Abbey, by Antonia Hodgson
(Hodder & Stoughton)
Death Ship, by Jim Kelly (Crème de la Crime)
Deep Red, by Hisashi Nozawa (Vertical)
Kill Me Twice, by Anna Smith (Quercus)
Local Girl Missing, by Claire Douglas (Penguin)
My Husband’s Wife, by Jane Corry (Penguin)
None but the Dead, by Lin Anderson (Macmillan)
Nothing Short of Dying, by Erik Storey (Simon & Schuster)
Poison City, by Paul Crilley (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid, by Craig Russell (Quercus)
The Revenant Express, by George Mann (Titan)
Why Did You Lie?, by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir (Hodder & Stoughton)

Are you on the hunt for still more summer reading choices? Then click over to The Bloodstained Bookshelf (for coming American titles) or Euro Crime (for British releases). And if you believe that I’ve neglected to cite any must-read works for this sunny season, please don’t hesitate to drop a note about them into the Comments section at the bottom of this post. You may not have noticed in the past, but I commonly add to and update seasonal picks lists such as this one when I discover works I missed mentioning initially.