Friday, May 25, 2018

Partying It Up in Canada

During an event held last evening in Toronto, the Crime Writers of Canada announced the winners of the 2018 Arthur Ellis Awards. These prizes recognize “excellence in Canadian crime writing.”

Best Crime Novel:
Sleeping in the Ground, by Peter Robinson (McClelland & Stewart)

Also nominated: The Winners’ Circle, by Gail Bowen (McClelland & Stewart); The Party, by Robyn Harding (Gallery/Scout Press); The White Angel, by John MacLachlan Gray (Douglas and McIntyre); and The Forgotten Girl, by Rio Youers (St. Martin’s Press)

Best First Crime Novel:
Full Curl, by Dave Butler (Dundurn Press)

Also nominated: Puzzle of Pieces, by Sally Hill Brouard (FriesenPress); Ragged Lake, by Ron Corbett (ECW Press); Flush, by Sky Curtis (Inanna); and Our Little Secret, by Roz Nay (Simon & Schuster Canada)

Best Crime Novella (The Lou Allin Memorial Award):
“How Lon Pruitt Was Found Murdered in an Open Field with No Footprints Around,” by Mike Culpepper (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, September/October 2017)

Also nominated: “Snake Oil,” by M.H. Callway (from 13 Claws: The Mesdames of Mayhem; Carrick); Blood and Belonging, by Vicki Delany (Orca); “Dead Clown Blues,” by R. Daniel Lester (Shotgun Honey); and “Money Maker,” by Jas R. Petrin (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)

Best Crime Short Story:
“The Outlier,” by Catherine Astolfo (from 13 Claws)

Also nominated: “There be Dragons,” by Jane Petersen Burfield (from 13 Claws); “Jerusalem Syndrome,” by Hilary Davidson (from Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017, edited by John McFetridge; Down & Out); “The Ranchero’s Daughter,” by Sylvia Maultash Warsh (from 13 Claws); and “The Sin Eaters,” by Melissa Yi (from Montreal Noir, edited by John McFetridge and Jacques Fillippi; Akashic)

Best Non-Fiction Crime Book:
The Whisky King, by Trevor Cole (HarperCollins)

Also nominated: Murder in Plain English, by Michael Arntfield and Marcel Danesi (Prometheus); Blood, Sweat and Fear, by Eve Lazarus (Arsenal Pulp Press); The Dog Lover Unit, by Rachel Rose (St. Martin’s Press); and Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence, by Alex Roslin (Sugar Hill)

Best Juvenile/Young Adult Crime Book:
Chase, by Linwood Barclay (Puffin Canada)

Also nominated: Missing, by Kelley Armstrong (Doubleday Canada); The Disappearance, by Gillian Chan (Annick Press); Thistlewood, by Donna Chubaty (Grasmere); and The Lives of Desperate Girls, by MacKenzie Common (Penguin Teen Canada)

Best Crime Book in French:
Les Tricoteuses, by Marie Saur (Héliotrope Noir)

Also nominated: Amqui, by Éric Forbes (Héliotrope Noir); La vie rêvée de Frank Bélair, by Maxime Houde (Éditions Alire); Les clefs du silence, by Jean Lemieux (Québec Amérique); and La mort en bleu pastel, by Maryse Rouy (Éditions Druide)

Best Unpublished Manuscript:
Destruction in Paradise, by Dianne Scott

Also nominated: The Alibi Network, by Raimey Gallant; Finn Slew, by Ken MacQueen; Dig, Dug, Dead, by Sylvia Teaves; and Condemned, by Kevin Thornton

On top of all those commendations, Gail Bowen, a playwright and author currently living in Regina, Saskatchewan, was presented with the Crime Writers’ Grand Master Award. A statement from the organization reads: “Gail Bowen is being recognized by Crime Writers of Canada for her long and illustrious career as a crime-fiction author. She has almost 20 books in her long-running Joanne Kilbourn series, several of which were either nominated for or received awards, including the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in 1994, for A Colder Kind of Death. She has also written four Rapid Reads novellas and several plays. She is well established in Canada, highly respected in the writing community, and much sought after by readers. She is frequently a guest at literary events. Several of her Joanne Kilbourn books were turned into a TV series.”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Revue of Reviewers, 5-24-18

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.

Flag Waving and Felonies

As usual, I shall be working all weekend long. But for those of you who can anticipate having some free time between now and Monday—which is the Memorial Day holiday here in the United States—take a glance at Janet Rudolph’s updated rundown of “mysteries set during Memorial Day Weekend.” It’s not a long list, but does include works of interest to both adults and children, including David Baldacci’s Last Man Standing, Leslie Budewitz’s Treble at the Jam Fest, and Kathryn Kenny’s Trixie Belden: The Mystery of the Memorial Day Fire.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Mighty Dozen

For the 12th year in a row now, I am celebrating The Rap Sheet’s birthday. It was on this date, way back in 2006, that I expressed (with some trepidation) my optimism about turning what had been an irregular newsletter for January Magazine into an independent blog. As to The Rap Sheet’s future contents, I wrote:
We’ll limit our tendency to review books here, and concentrate such criticism in the well-trafficked main pages of January Magazine. However, we’ll be taking advantage of this new format to occasionally expand our field of view from books to television and film, since crime fiction isn’t confined to a single modern medium. We’ll also try to keep you apprised of any close encounters we have with members of the crime-writing fraternity, especially if those meetings are (1) educational, (2) humorous in some regard, or (3) lubricated with copious amounts of drinking. Or all of the aforementioned.
When I began The Rap Sheet, after many years of editing magazines and newspapers, I had some pretty ambitious goals for it. Those have since been minimized due to a shortage of free time, an inability to pay others for their contributions to the blog (I have become something of a past master at distributing sincere compliments to freelancers, in lieu of dollars), and the fact that this project is essentially a one-person operation—I don’t have the staff here that used to back me up on monthly or weekly publications, and that occasionally made impossible things possible after all.

Over the last dozen years, I have felt burned out now and then by the work necessary to keep a news-oriented blog like this going, and frustrated at the absence of professional recognition for what The Rap Sheet has accomplished. (Attention seems always to turn toward the newest shiny thing.) Nonetheless, I am singularly proud of the almost 7,100 posts that have appeared on this page, and the more than 5.7 million pageviews it has racked up. Other blogs and Web sites, some of them boasting the monetary and staffing resources this one lacks, have come and gone over the years, but The Rap Sheet is still here. Still very active. Still trying new things. Still interested in the world of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

I used to wonder how I could possibly keep things going on this page. Now I wonder how I could possibly end what I have begun. While The Rap Sheet has led to my meeting many fascinating authors and given me entrée to a variety of other opportunities—writing for Kirkus Reviews for six years, now penning a column for Down & Out: The Magazine and contributing to CrimeReads—I feel most of the time like a guy in a lonely garret, producing the sorts of things I most want to read and just hoping that others notice. That so many have—and continue to do—has become the best reward of all.

Thanks to everyone for supporting The Rap Sheet all this time.

Monday, May 21, 2018

From the Eclectic to the Experienced

Organizers of New Zealand’s now well-established Ngaio Marsh Awards for crime fiction have released their longlist of nominees in the 2018 Best Novel category. As judging convenor Craig Sisterson explains in his blog, Crime Watch: “This year’s longlist … includes a mix of new and experienced voices, several authors who’ve won and been shortlisted for a variety of awards in several countries, and writers ranging in age from early 20s to early 80s.” The rivals are:

Marlborough Man, by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)
Baby, by Annaleese Jochems (Victoria University Press)
See You in September, by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
The Lost Taonga, by Edmund Bohan (Lucano)
The Easter Make Believers, by Finn Bell (e-book only)
The Only Secret Left to Keep, by Katherine Hayton (e-book only)
Tess, by Kirsten McDougall (Victoria University Press)
The Sound of Her Voice, by Nathan Blackell (Mary Egan)
A Killer Harvest, by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
The Hidden Room, by Stella Duffy (Virago)

The finalists for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, as well as for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, will be announced in July. Winners will be declared as part of an event at the WORD Christchurch Festival, to be held in Christchurch, New Zealand, from August 29 to September 2.

I’ve Got You Covered

Today marks my debut on the still-new Web site CrimeReads, where I write about what any regular Rap Sheet reader knows is one of my favorite subjects: mid- to late-20th-century paperback artists.

CrimeReads senior editor Dwyer Murphy made contact with me in late November of last year. He let me know that this offshoot of the more established books site, Literary Hub, would be launching in the spring, and asked whether I’d be interested in contributing to its development. I was flattered. And it was so good to speak on the phone with an editor who seemed to know a great deal about crime fiction (as opposed to others who only hope the writers know their stuff), that I promptly agreed to drum up some story ideas for CrimeReads. Today’s piece, “12 Cover Artists Every Vintage Crime Lover Should Know,” is my first effort on the site’s behalf, but certainly not my last. I am already working on another article, which (fingers crossed!) should appear in early June.

If you haven’t already discovered the quite ambitious CrimeReads, consider this your opportunity to do so now.

Lesser Is More

Have I got a treat in store for you! Later this morning, The Rap Sheet’s companion blog, Killer Covers, will carry a lengthy interview with American artist Ron Lesser. Anyone who’s been reading Killer Covers for a while should know that Lesser, who is now in his 70s, was one of the people most responsible for giving mid- to late-20th century paperback covers their handsome and memorable appearance.

As I’ve done previously with Harry Bennett, Robert Stanley, Paul Rader, and Robert McGinnis (the last of whose work is often confused with Lesser’s—which is certainly a compliment), I shall devote the next full month to posting book fronts and other artwork by Lesser in Killer Covers. Expect at least one new series installment every day.

So I ask: Are you ready to join the celebration?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

CrimeFest Capper

Following on from today’s previous announcement of the 2018 Petrona Award winner comes news about the recipients of half a dozen other prizes, all dispensed this evening during a banquet held as part of CrimeFest in Bristol, England.

Best Unabridged Crime Audiobook:
The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney; read by Emilia Fox, Finty Williams, and Lise Aagaard Knudsen (Quercus)

Also nominated: The Child, by Fiona Barton; read by Clare Corbett, Adjoa Andoh, Finty Williams, Fenella Woolgar, and Steven Pacey (Audible Studios); The Midnight Line, by Lee Child; read by Jeff Harding (Transworld); Silent Child, by Sarah A. Denzil; read by Joanne Froggatt (Audible Studios); Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney; read by Stephanie Racine (HQ); The Girlfriend, by Michelle Frances; read by Antonia Beamish (Pan Macmillan Audio); The Word Is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz; read by Rory Kinnear (Penguin Random House Audio); and The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye, by David Lagercrantz; read by Saul
Reichlin (Quercus)

eDunnit Award (for the best crime fiction e-book): The Late Show, by Michael Connelly (Orion)

Also nominated: Want You Gone, by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown); The Ghosts of Galway, by Ken Bruen (Head of Zeus); IQ, by Joe Ide (Weidenfeld & Nicolson); Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane (Little, Brown); You Can Run, by Steve Mosby (Orion); Wolves in the Dark, by Gunnar Staalesen (Orenda); and Exquisite, by Sarah Stovell (Orenda)

The Last Laugh Award (for the best humorous crime novel):
Spook Street, by Mick Herron (John Murray)

Also nominated: Blotto, Twinks and the Stars of the Silver Screen, by Simon Brett (Little, Brown); Bryant & May: Wild Chamber, by Christopher Fowler (Doubleday); The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star, by Vaseem Khan (Mullholland); East of Hounslow, by Khurrum Rahman (HQ); Sweetpea, by C.J. Skuse, (HQ); The Man Who Died, by Antti Tuomainen (Orenda); and Herring in the Smoke, by L.C. Tyler (Allison & Busby)

The H.R.F. Keating Award (for the best biographical or critical book related to crime fiction): Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, by Mike Ripley (HarperCollins)

Also nominated: The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, by Martin Edwards (British Library); America Noir, by Barry Forshaw (No Exit Press); Sherlock Holmes in Context, by Sam Naidu (Palgrave Macmillan); Sherlock Holmes from Screen to Stage, by Benjamin Poore (Palgrave Macmillan); The Man Who Would Be Sherlock, by Christopher Sandford (The History Press); Arthur & Sherlock, by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury); and Getting Carter, by Nick Triplow (No Exit Press)

Best Crime Novel for Children (8-12):
A Place Called Perfect, by Helena Duggan (Usborne)

Also nominated: Chase, by Linwood Barclay (Orion Children’s Books); The Misfits Club, by Kieran Crowley (Macmillan Children’s Books); The Royal Rabbits of London: Escape from the Tower, by Santa and Simon Sebag Montefiore (Simon & Schuster); Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape, by Dermot O'Leary (Hodder Children’s Books); Mr. Penguin and the Lost Treasure, by Alex T. Smith (Hodder Children’s Books); and Violet and the Mummy Mystery, by Harriet Whitehorn (Simon & Schuster)

Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (12-16):
Indigo Donut, by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books)

Also nominated: Girlhood, by Cat Clarke (Quercus Children’s Books); The Ones That Disappeared, by Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s Books); After the Fire, by Will Hill (Usborne); Genuine Fraud, by E. Lockhart (Hot Key); SweetFreak, by Sophie McKenzie (Simon & Schuster); Dark Matter: Contagion, by Teri Terry (Orchard); and Beware That Girl, by Teresa Toten (Hot Key)

I’m particularly pleased to see UK columnist-author Mike Ripley pick up this year’s H.R.F. Keating Award, as he was a longtime friend of Keating (who died in 2011 at age 84). Capturing this commendation named after the creator of the Inspector Ghote mysteries can only be, for Ripley, a heart-warming reminder of their years of fellowship.

Scandi Crime Does Bristol

It was just last month that we received word of which books and authors had been chosen to compete for the coveted 2018 Petrona Award for Translated Scandinavian Crime Fiction. The winner was announced today during CrimeFest in Bristol. It’s Quicksand (Simon & Schuster), penned by Swedish author Malin Persson Giolito and translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles.

Also nominated for this year’s Petrona prize (named in honor of Maxine Clarke, one of the Web’s first online crime-fiction reviewers) were What My Body Remembers, by Agnete Friis, translated by Lindy Falk van Rooyen (Soho Press; Denmark); After the Fire, by Henning Mankell, translated by Marlaine Delargy (Vintage/Harvill Secker; Sweden); The Darkest Day, by Håkan Nesser, translated by Sarah Death (Pan Macmillan/Mantle; Sweden); The White City, by Karolina Ramqvist, translated by Saskia Vogel (Atlantic Books/Grove Press; Sweden); and The Man Who Died, by Antti Tuomainen, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books; Finland).

As Mystery Fanfare explains, “The winning author and the translator of the winning title will both receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass and guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2019.”

PaperBack: “Come Be My O.R.G.Y.”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

Come Be My O.R.G.Y., by “Ted Mark,” aka Theodore Mark Gottfried (Berkley Medallion, 1968). This is the ninth entry in a once-popular series starring Steve Victor, a lascivious secret agent known as The Man from O.R.G.Y. Cover illustration by Stanley Borack.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Are These Daggers Which I See Before Me?

Had I not been out of my office all day (taking care of a precocious 2-year-old), I would have found time earlier to post these longlists of contenders for seven Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger Awards. The nominees were announced during a Friday reception at CrimeFest, taking place this weekend in Bristol, England.

A CWA press release about the longlists notes: “Several titles appear on more than one list: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton, and Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic, both appear on the longlist for the CWA Gold Dagger and the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, while A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee, is on the Gold and the Historical longlists. Meanwhile, London Rules, by Mick Herron, appears on the Gold and the Ian Fleming Steel longlists—he won the Ian Fleming last year with Spook Street, just as Mukherjee won the Historical with A Rising Man.”

CWA Gold Dagger:
Head Case, by Ross Armstrong (HQ)
The Liar, by Steve Cavanagh (Orion)
London Rules, by Mick Herron (John Murray)
Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane (Little, Brown)
Sunburn, by Laura Lippman (Faber and Faber)
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
You Don’t Know Me, by Imran Mahmood (Michael Joseph)
A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton (Raven)
Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo)

CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger:
The Spy’s Daughter, by Adam Brookes (Sphere)
The Switch, by Joseph Finder (Head of Zeus)
London Rules, by Mick Herron (John Murray)
If I Die Before I Wake, by Emily Koch (Harvill Secker)
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail)
An Act of Silence, by Colette McBeth (Wildfire)
A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Fierce Kingdom, by Gin Phillips (Doubleday)
The Chalk Man, by C.J. Tudor (Michael Joseph)
The Force, by Don Winslow (HarperFiction)

CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger:
Gravesend, by William Boyle (No Exit Press)
IQ, by Joe Ide (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Soho Dead, by Greg Keen (Thomas & Mercer)
Girl in Snow, by Danya Kukafka (Picador)
Lola, by Melissa Scrivner Love (Point Blank)
East of Hounslow, by Khurrum Rahman (HQ)
Ravenhill, by John Steele (Silvertail)
My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent (Fourth Estate)
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton (Raven)
Resurrection Bay, by Emma Viskic (Pushkin Vertigo)

CWA International Dagger:
Zen and the Art of Murder, by Oliver Bottini,
translated by Jamie Bulloch (MacLehose Press)
The Shadow District, by Arnaldur Indridason,
translated by Victoria Cribb (Harvill Secker)
Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre,
translated by Frank Wynne (MacLehose Press)
After the Fire, by Henning Mankell,
translated by Marlaine Delargy (Harvill Secker)
The Frozen Woman, by Jon Michelet,
translated by Don Bartlett (No Exit Press)
Offering to the Storm, by Dolores Redondo,
translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garzía (HarperCollins)
Three Minutes, by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström,
translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel (Quercus/Riverrun)
Snare, by Lilja Sigurdardóttir,
translated by Quentin Bates (Orenda)
The Accordionist, by Fred Vargas,
translated by Sian Reynolds (Harvill Secker)
Can You Hear Me? by Elena Varvello,
translated by Alex Valente (Two Roads/John Murray)

CWA Historical Dagger:
A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Death in the Stars, by Frances Brody (Piatkus)
Fire, by L.C. Tyler (Constable)
Lightning Men, by Thomas Mullen (Little, Brown)
Merlin at War, by Mark Ellis (London Wall)
Money in the Morgue, by Ngaio Marsh and Stella Duffy (HarperCollins)
Nine Lessons, by Nicola Upson (Faber and Faber)
Nucleus, by Rory Clements (Zaffre)
Prussian Blue, by Philip Kerr (Quercus)
The Mitford Murders, by Jessica Fellows (Sphere)

CWA Short Story Dagger:
• “The Corpse on the Copse,” by Sharon Bolton (from Killer Women: Crime Club Anthology #2: The Body, edited by Susan Opie;
Killer Women)
• “The Last Siege of Bothwell Castle,” by Chris Brookmyre (from Bloody Scotland; Historic Environment Scotland)
• “Too Much Time,” by Lee Child (from No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Stories, by Lee Child; Bantam Press)
• “Second Son,” by Lee Child (from No Middle Name)
• “Authentic Carbon Steel Forged,” by Elizabeth Haynes (from Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women, edited by Sophie Hannah; Head of Zeus)
• “Smoking Kills,” by Erin Kelly (from Killer Women:
Crime Club Anthology #2
• “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit,” by Denise Mina (from Bloody Scotland)
• “Accounting for Murder,” by Christine Poulson (from Mystery Tour: CWA Anthology of Short Stories, edited by Martin Edwards; Orenda)
• “Faking a Murder,” by Kathy Reichs and Lee Child (from Match Up, edited by Lee Child; Sphere)
• “Trouble Is a Lonesome Town,” by Cathi Unsworth (from Deadlier: 100 of the Best Crime Stories Written by Women)

CWA Dagger in the Library:
(Selected by nominations from libraries)
• Simon Beckett
• Martina Cole
• Martin Edwards
• Nicci French
• Sophie Hannah
• Simon Kernick
• Edward Marston
• Peter May
• Rebecca Tope

Shortlists in all of these categories are anticipated by July, with winners to be declared during a Dagger Awards dinner in London on Thursday, October 25.

It was apparently also made known during today’s CrimeFest reception that Russell Day’s “The Value of Vermin Control” has won the 2018 Margery Allingham Short Story Competition. As the aforementioned press release explained, this contest “is open to published and unpublished writers alike; unusual in writing competitions. The story itself must be unpublished.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Law’s on Their Side

It’s that time again, when the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal announce their latest shortlist of contenders for the annual Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Bill Selnes, with Mysteries and More from Saskatchewan, brings us the 2018 nominees:

Exposed, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press)
Proof, by C.E. Tobisman (Thomas & Mercer)
Testimony, by Scott Turow (Grand Central)

Assessing these choices, Selnes writes: “What strikes me about the list is that all of the titles consist of a single word. As lawyers often struggle with brevity, I doubt they were chosen by lawyers.”

If the past can be relied upon to provide any guide, the winner of the 2018 commendation should be declared sometime this summer. He or she will be presented with the prize on September 1, during the 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Brief Victories

This morning brings an official announcement of the 2018 Derringer Award winners. The Derringers are presented annually by America’s Short Mystery Fiction Society, with eligible SMFS members asked to vote for their favorites among five finalists in each category.

Best Flash Fiction (up to 1,000 words):
“Fishing for an Alibi,” by Earl Staggs (Flash Bang Mysteries, Fall 2017)

Also nominated: “Cold Turkey,” by Patricia Dusenbury (Flash Bang Mysteries, edited by Brandon Bourg, Summer 2017); “Happy Birthday,” by Alan Orloff (Shotgun Honey, June 15, 2017); “Final Testimony,” by Travis Richardson (Flash Fiction Offensive, July 10, 2017); and “Flash Point,” by Elizabeth Zelvin (A Twist of Noir, March 20, 2017)

For Best Short Story (1,001-4,000 words):
“The Cop Who Liked Gilbert and Sullivan,” by Robert Lopresti (Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, October 2017)

Also nominated: “The Kids Keep Coming,” by David H. Hendrickson (from Fiction River: Tavern Tales, edited by Kerrie L. Hughes; WMG); “The New Score,” by Alison McMahan (from Fish Out of Water: A Guppy Anthology, edited by Ramona DeFelice Long; Wildside Press); “The Bank Job,” by Stephen D. Rogers (Trigger Warning: Short Fiction with Pictures, March 16, 2017); and “Every Picture Tells a Story,” by Cathi Stoler (from Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4, edited by Elizabeth Zelvin; Level Best)

For Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words):
“Death in the Serengeti,” by David H. Hendrickson (from Fiction River: Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline, edited by Kevin J. Anderson; WMG)

Also nominated: “El Asesino,” by Rusty Barnes (Bull, May 22, 2017); “The #2 Pencil,” by Matt Coyle (from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, edited by Andrew McAleer and Paul D. Marks; Down & Out); “Matricide and Ice Cream,” by William Burton McCormick (from The CWA Anthology of Short Stories: Mystery Tour, edited by Martin Edwards; Orenda); and “The Drive-By,” by Alison McMahan (from Busted: Arresting Stories from the Beat, edited by Verena Rose, Harriette Sackler, and Shawn Reilly Simmons; Level Best)

For Best Novelette (8,001-20,000 words):
“Flowing Waters,” by Brendan DuBois (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, January/February 2017)

Also nominated: “Windward,” by Paul D. Marks (from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, edited by Andrew McAleer and Paul D. Marks; Down & Out); “King's Quarter,” by Andrew McAleer (from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea); “Kill My Wife, Please,” by Robert J. Randisi (from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea); and “Trouble Like a Freight Train Coming,” by Tina Whittle (from Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas, edited by James M. Jackson and Jan Rubens; Wolf’s Echo Press)

In addition, this year’s Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement (“awarded to an outstanding living writer of short mysteries, selected by a five-member panel”) goes to Mississippi mystery-fictionist John M. Floyd.

Derringer Award recipients will be honored during this coming September’s Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, Florida.

No Pick-up for “Confidential”

Ever since last fall, when news spread of plans to produce a CBS-TV series based on L.A. Confidential, James Ellroy’s 1990 novel, I’ve assumed this project would make it past the pilot stage, and be picked for the fall 2018 small-screen schedule. But that optimism has taken a huge hit, with news that CBS has passed on the series.

There may be more to this story, however. Word is that L.A. Confidential may find a new home on a small-screen streaming service, either CBS All Access (where Star Trek: Discovery has gained a following) or Netflix. Deadline Hollywood reports:
L.A. Confidential was one of the best received pilots at CBS this season, described as beautifully shot with premium quality that could work on a streaming platform.

I hear
L.A. Confidential producer CBS Studios, which last
season was able to get its passed-on CW pilot
Insatiable picked up to series at Netflix, plans to shop it to digital platforms. I hear sibling CBS All Access has first crack because of its corporate ties.

So far, there has been a perception that, as part of CBS All Access’ effort to establish its own identity, the platform has been reluctant to take in a project that originated on CBS.

Additionally, some say that the addition of
L.A. Confidential may dilute CBS All Access’ upcoming drama series Strange Angel, which also is set in the 1950s. Others argue that both series could co-exist and could actually create stronger environment for both to do well.

Regardless of the outcome, there is a lot of good will for the pilot and a strong effort to find it a new home.
(Hat tip to The Killing Times.)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Britain Lauds Literature

This evening’s black-tie event at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, during which winners of the 2018 British Book Awards—aka the Nibbies—were announced, resulted in yet another victory for The Dry (Abacus), Australian author Jane Harper’s debut novel. It triumphed in the Crime & Thriller Book of the Year category over five other contenders:

The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney (Quercus)
The Midnight Line, by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough (HarperFiction)
Spook Street, by Mick Herron (John Murray)
He Said/She Said, by Erin Kelly (Mulholland)

There were six additional Book of the Year category winners, all of them noted here; as well as various other 2018 British Book Award recipients—including Publisher of the Year and Book Retailer of the Year—which you can learn about by clicking here.

(Hat tip to Ali Karim, one of the 2018 Nibbies judges.)

READ MORE:The Anonymity of Bayswater: British Book Awards 2018,” by Ali Karim (Shotsmag Confidential).

Sunday, May 13, 2018

PaperBack: Happy Mother’s Day!

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

Mothers and Daughters, by Evan Hunter (Cardinal, 1962).
Cover illustration by James Hill.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Revue of Reviewers, 5-10-18

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.

Learning the Lines

One of the popular intellectual exercises among folks (like me) who read more crime fiction than is probably healthy for them, is to debate the sub-genre boundaries of this sprawling literary field. What’s the definition of a thriller? Which books qualify as works of noir? How fluid are the lines between traditional mysteries and suspense yarns?

In hopes of “help[ing] guide readers to the type of book they are most likely to enjoy,” editor, critic, and New York City bookseller Otto Penzler has spent this week breaking down the most familiar categories of crime fiction in a series of posts for CrimeReads. Each of his pieces has examined a separate sub-genre in terms of its storytelling structure, its popular clichés, its history, and the writers who have been most instrumental in establishing its value—both past and present. This last Monday, Penzler looked at traditional mysteries; he followed that with studies of hard-boiled novels and thrillers. Today’s entry in the series spotlights police procedurals, with favorable mentions of fiction by Reginald Hill, Dorothy Uhnak, James McClure, Louise Penny, Georges Simenon, and others. If his introduction to these posts provides an accurate clue, then tomorrow’s installment will tackle the subject of psychological suspense novels.

Penzler’s guides aren’t likely to deter crime-fiction writers and readers bent on erudite discourse for its own sake (there’s way too much fun in that!), but they should prove useful to readers who are still getting comfortable with this genre’s broad scope.

FOLLOW-UP: OK, so I guessed wrong. Penzler’s fifth column actually deals with “the crime novel.” As he explains it, “The major element that most clearly distinguishes the crime novel from the rest of mystery fiction is that there is, in fact, no mystery. It is a depiction of criminal life, and it is told from the viewpoint of the criminal. It is not very much a ‘whodunnit’ but more of a ‘whydunnit.’”

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Setting Up Rivalries for St. Pete

Organizers of the 2018 Bouchercon, to be held in St. Petersburg, Florida, from September 9 to 12, have announced the nominees for eight Anthony Awards. These contestants are chosen by convention participants, rather than by a jury of critics and authors.

Best Novel:
The Late Show, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz (Harper)
Bluebird, Bluebird, by Attica Locke (Mulholland)
Glass Houses, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
The Force, by Don Winslow (Morrow)

Best First Novel:
Hollywood Homicide, by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
She Rides Shotgun, by Jordan Harper (Ecco)
The Dry, by Jane Harper (Flatiron)
Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All, by Christopher Irvin
(Cutlass Press)
The Last Place You Look, by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur)

Best Paperback Original:
Uncorking a Lie, by Nadine Nettmann (Midnight Ink)
Bad Boy Boogie, by Thomas Pluck (Down & Out)
What We Reckon, by Eryk Pruitt (Polis)
The Day I Died, by Lori Rader-Day (Morrow)
Cast the First Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)

Bill Crider Award for Best Novel in a Series:
Give Up the Dead (Jay Porter #3), by Joe Clifford (Oceanview)
Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch #20), by Michael Connelly
(Little, Brown)
Y Is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone #25), by Sue Grafton
(Marian Wood/Putnam)
Glass Houses (Armand Gamache #13), by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Dangerous Ends (Pete Fernandez #3), by Alex Segura (Polis)

Best Anthology:
Just to Watch Them Die: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Johnny Cash, edited by Joe Clifford (Gutter)
Killing Malmon, edited by Dan and Kate Malmon (Down & Out)
Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, edited by Andrew McAleer and Paul D. Marks (Down & Out)
Passport to Murder, Bouchercon Anthology 2017, edited by John McFetridge (Down & Out)
The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, edited by Gary Phillips (Three Rooms Press)

Best Short Story:
“The Trial of Madame Pelletier,” by Susanna Calkins (from Malice Domestic 12: Mystery Most Historical, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons; Wildside Press)
“God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” by Jen Conley (from Just to
Watch Them Die
“My Side of the Matter,” by Hilary Davidson (from Killing Malmon)
“Whose Wine Is It Anyway?” by Barb Goffman (from 50 Shades of Cabernet; Koehler)
“The Night They Burned Miss Dixie’s Place,” by Debra Goldstein (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017)
“A Necessary Ingredient,” by Art Taylor (from Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea)

Best Critical/Non-Fiction Book:
From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, by Mattias Boström (Mysterious Press)
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, by Martin Edwards
(Poisoned Pen Press)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann (Doubleday)
Chester B. Himes: A Biography, by Lawrence P. Jackson (Norton)
Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction, by Jessica Lourey (Conari Press)

Best Online Content:
Writer Types Podcast
Do Some Damage
Jungle Red Writers
Dru’s Book Musings
BOLO Books

According to the present Bouchercon St. Petersburg schedule, the winners of this year’s Anthony Awards will be declared on Saturday, September 8. Congratulations to all of the contenders!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

PaperBack: “Beacon in the Night”

Part of a series honoring the late author and blogger Bill Crider.

Beacon in the Night, by Bill S. Ballinger (Signet, 1960).
Cover illustration by Robert E. Schulz.

Original and Laudable

I evidently missed mentioning a recent announcement of the various books and authors nominated for this year’s Scribe Awards, sponsored as usual by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. There are a half-dozen categories of prizes (you will find the complete list here), but for Rap Sheet readers, the most interesting might be those novels featured under the Original General heading. They are:
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Fatal Prescription,
by Michael A. Black (Gold Eagle)
The Will to Kill,
by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Titan)
Robert B. Parker’s The Hangman’s Sonnet,
by Reed Farrel Coleman (Putnam)
Winners of all the 2018 Scribe Awards will be declared during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, July 19-22.

(Hat tip to Max Allan Collins.)

Make Room for Duties

Due to my editorial obligations elsewhere, I fear this week will be rather slow here at The Rap Sheet. I plan to put up new “PaperBack” and “Revue of Reviewers” posts. But unless something major happens in the world of crime fiction over the next few days, requiring my attention, I’ll have to focus on a couple of other projects.

Sorry for the downtime.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Getting a Jump on the Pack

While I keep a loose running tally of favorite new crime novels I have read throughout the year, I don’t start ranking and narrowing my field of choices until, say, October at the earliest. Booklist’s Bill Ott, on the other hand, is already out with his Best of 2018 rundown—though it covers only works published between May 1, 2017, and April 15, 2018. Within those limits, what trends does has he seen? “[L]ook no further,” he says, “than one word: stand-alone.
Was it Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train—the explanation du jour for everything in the genre—that prompted the explosion of stand-alone thrillers, and especially those utilizing unreliable narrators and emphasizing psychological suspense? Time will tell, of course, but for the moment there’s no doubt that stand-alones of every kind are swamping the playing field. Fortunately, many of them are very good indeed, which is why this year’s compilation of our best crime novels and best crime debuts contains more than its share.
Among Ott’s 19 picks you’ll find Walter Mosley’s Down the River unto the Sea, Laura Lippman’s Sunburn, A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window, and Christine Mangan’s Tangerine. Those are also contenders for my Best Crime Novels of 2018 slots, though I still have a lot of reading to do before my deadline at the end of this year.

(Hat tip to Randal S. Brandt.)