Dec 19, 2007
I’ll let Jon give you the blow by blow on all things Christmas but guys? Five days to go and all gifts but 2 are purchased and wrapped, decorating, baking, candy making and dipping scratched off except for Jon’s chocolate covered potato chips. We’re going into true holiday mode. Company is coming and going, we’re to-ing and fro-ing and all is well in our own little corner of mystery. As I hope it is in yours.
This next bit is fairly close to what is known as B.S.P. but really it’s meant as an observation from the sidelines. I got a call from Jen4 last Saturday, my name was in a book review. I was declared “notable” in the Chicago Tribune. I have to say the warm fuzzies are staying with me (and for those of you who know Jon, yes he bought up every print copy left on the newsstand and no, I don’t scrapbook). EXPLETIVE DELETED was an ambitious project edited by my very own JEN4 and she included a story I wrote, took one look at, and knew had no publishing possibilities. That’s my own personal F@#K. I thought she was pretty darned kind to include it and worried over calls of the “N”(epotism) word. For that alone, “notable” was cool. But to see my name mentioned with the other contributors? Mind blowing. And now I know a little of the feeling writers must feel when mentioned and/or compared with others. And it’s way cool. Especially in a year where any mail I’ve gotten on things jotted down (print or net) have been on obituaries. Is this my forte? I guess we’ll all find out together.
I see best of lists beginning to appear on the internet and I confess, I’m a peeker. So I’m not sure where I’ll end up and thought I’d mention just a few books that inspired before I’m tainted by others opinions.
Ruth’s OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD…..
I can’t mention Laura Lippman who continues to be even better with every book but whom about I cannot be objective anymore. Read everything. Enjoy it all. Watch her growth. So…
First , that dreaded last week of Dec. release date made a truly great Crime Fiction book go not unheralded, but strangely unremembered last year and out of real competition this year. FIND ME by Carol O’Connell is a wonderful book. I’ve been mostly hot on the Mallory character since her inception but FIND ME brought us back to the sociopath Mallory is and took us all on a roadtrip that won’t be forgotten soon.
The long delayed American release of the GRAVE TATTOO by Val McDermid took a bit of wind out of all the hype but all the hype was well deserved and 2007 was when it came out. Outside of her Jordan/Hill series this is a book that takes place in several different locations, in several different timelines, with several different P.O.V. And yet GRAVE is an effortless read. Not many could do this but it is unsurprising that McDermid can. She is an unstoppable force.
March saw a fellow Scotsman’s book come out stateside as well. It was on my list last year and will remain on the list forever. THE NAMING OF THE DEAD by Ian Rankin is a must read in any year. EXIT MUSIC (U.K. 2007) is a great note for Rebus to go out on but every note is in play while reading NAMING.
THE WATCHMAN. Robert Crais has married his highly successful thrillers with the Elvis and Joe we all fell in love with. Combining all of his skills, this may be my favorite Crais read of all time. I suspect he’ll make me eat these words at some future point in time.
In the names I cannot understand missing files I’ll include:
Colin Cotterill(ANARCHY & OLD DOGS), Greg Rucka (PATRIOT ACTS), Michael Koryta (A WELCOME GRAVE),Mike Harrison (RUBY TUESDAY) & Vicki Hendricks(CRUEL POETRY).
THE “WOO” has legs, versatility, and depth file:
Could two books be more unalike then John Connolly’s THE UNQUIET and Charlaine Harris’s ALL TOGETHER DEAD? Not Really. Connolly’s thoughtfully drawn out story of decades of secrets and Harris’s seemingly “lite” story of a gal on an adventure may both get the woo label but THE UNQUIET is so literary in themes it cries for the author to be the next Jonathan Lethem inductee into the hallowed halls of literature that appeals to the masses and the other? Harris proves it is possible to laugh your way through a well crafted mystery until it is time to cry. Two very credible scribes writing beyond labels in very different ways.
Denis Mina’s Paddy series ( THE LAST BREATH) is still my favorite series of this decade. Several months after reading Greg Hurwitz’s THE CRIMEWRITER I can still quote passages. Declan Hughes(THE COLOR OF BLOOD) is huge in this house. Likewise fellow Irishman Ken Bruen. PRIEST is a book to break the heart. Bruen is a writer who makes that okay.
In the new kids category…. coming in early and giving “Killer Year” credibility are Sean Chercover (BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD) and Marcus Sakey (THE BLADE ITSELF). The joy of reading WHEN ONE MAN DIES by Dave White, a truly outstanding first mystery, after pub date was a highlight of my reading year. From Bleak House, two stood tall this year. Craig MacDonald’s HEAD GAMES & Bill Bryant’s KEEP IT REEL. Neither are new writers, but they are new to print and both delivered the goods. The folks at Bleak House continue to find talent. My other fav first has to be LAST RITUALS by Yrsa Siurardottir, although a translation it is my first experience with the author and I say it counts. (I didn’t read the Hart book yet).
Three stand tallest for me (well four really but see the second part of this long winded blog) Hellman’s CHICAGO BLUES, Penzler’s THE BIG BOOK OF PULPS and Akashic’s WALL STREET NOIR.
okay, so the book about the serial killer guy who worked in L.A. and his home town that everyone is talking about? I threw it across the room when the author started to get clever, moving back and forth between timelines and adding too many point of view. It is a fascinating tale, but it did not sing out in execution the way two others did for me. First up is THE DAUGHTERS OF JUAREZ. The horror of it is awe inspiring. The culpability we all share when we buy a car or baby powder is horrific. Theresa Rodriguez deserves a lot of recognition for telling a story no one wants to hear. And my second selection? Published in 2006 (okay I was late finding it) THE PHILOSOPHY OF NEO NOIR is a must read for all who’ve ever taken part in the debate “what is noir?”. And for giggles, from the same press (University of Kentucky Press), I recommend THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE X-FILES (and yes the “N” (epotism) word applies here.
And with that I’ll leave you all with the words you can never go wrong with Bill James…
Dec 3, 2007
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Nov 18, 2007
So what I want to know is why don't the powers that be want to share some of it with the writers? Only a fool would think that these wonderful shows and movies get made with out great scripts.
Of course Time Warner's Entertainment Weekly is covering the strike. And they should. It will have a major impact on a lot of what they cover. But why is it that in the article about the strike all they show are the stars? And mostly good looking women at that. And Jay Leno, who is not a good looking woman.
I heard some numbers about how much the writers get from DVD sales compared to what the designer of the DVD gets and I think it's a crime. i also beleive that there will be big money in internet viewing of show and they deserve a piece of that, and a damn fair piece at that.
I don't understand the attraction to watching on a computer or a cell phone or some other small device all the kids have, I want to watch in a comfy chair on a big tv, but that's a different rant.
So what will television do? I've heard rumors of more reality television coming our way.
Why not just go ioff the air now? Haven't these people dameged the brains of Americans enough with this damn Big Brother and Survivor and American Idol? How much less do they want us to think? I'm guessing not at all. Reality TV isn't even reality any more. Now it's a bunch of disfunctional losers trying to get on TV by eithe rbeing the most whiney or the bitchiest or the cruelest. The way these people behave is not the way people should conduct themselves. And yet there is a whole genreationthinking it's ok to be an asshole because thes lame networks don't want to pay for writers to write real programing when they can just film people behaving badly.
TV viewing is down? No surprise. Give us back our well written prgramming. And while you're at it maybe cut back on the damn commercials? Why do so many people watch on DVD or TiVO or DVR? Because they are sick to death of comercials!
And the film industry is putting out it's share of stinkers too. They want to remake Death Wish with Stallone? Are you f*&king kidding me?!!?? Hey studio heads! Pay the writers what they want and let them write something new for you. Remember the remake of Psycho? That worked out real well didn't it?
This is getting away from me.
I support the writers in their strike. One hundered percent. My television will be tuning in to nothing but DVDs tll the strike is over.
And hey! Entertainment Weekly!?!?? How about a shot of Lee Goldberg picketing! He's a real working writer, not an actor showing support.
I suggest everone stop watching TV. Watch DVDs instead, or better yet, read a book!
For up tp date coverage read Lee Goldberg’s Blog
Nov 15, 2007
I can’t believe it’s over. The third annual Murder and Mayhem in Muskego is done and so now are Crimespree Magazine’s mystery commitments for 2007. But what a Saturday we had. This year was a glorious year when it came to cons, both the national and regional. But while I love the conventions, my heart truly belongs now to the one day event in Southern Wisconsin that Jon, Jennifer and myself have been lucky enough to be involved in from the beginning. The Friends of the Muskego Library are fantastic and Penny and Jane continue to rock my world.
What makes the one day so special? The caliber of the speakers and the attention from the audience. You see there’s only one track of speaking, so all 223 signed registrants and the dozens of people who walked in just to hear certain speakers shared a singular experience. In Muskego and Milwaukee we’ll be talking about this Saturday until next year.
For us, the event started this year as the Library’s guests began to arrive on Thursday. This meant a little extra time with the wonderful Maggie Griffin, Sean Chercover and Gregg Hurwitz (who by the way is married to an absolutely amazing woman). Friday brought the T.V. spot and we were all up early to watch Richard Katz, Sean and our own Sis, Jen Jordan talk mystery with the T.V. host, cheering them on with p.j.’s and coffee.
Then the airport runs began. While “our drivers” Tim, Mike & Jon ferried folks to and from the airport to the hotel and Casa Jordan , the library staff and volunteers were busy and getting a little sore. They borrowed chairs from City Hall, built platforms, and I kid you not here, made enough cookies and bars to feed 300 people during Saturday’s afternoon break. Final prep day was frantic, organized, and energizing.
On Friday evening we held two signings. Collector’s Edge Comics hosted Brian Azzarello, Gregg Hurwitz and Greg Rucka from 5:00 to 6:30 and then we had a full house at Mystery One. So full, many sought refuge in the bar next door. After the signing everyone came back to our house for lasagna and “bathtub full o’ beer”.
And Saturday was magic. Murder and Mayhem in Muskego has been magic all three years but as people continue to hear of the event and the attendee list gets larger and larger the magic grows. There’s an energy when 300 people gather to see their favorite writers and the writers get to see fans. Many in Muskego have never been to a mystery con, most of those will never go to one, but in one day they are converted. Mystery fan through and through. They buy the books, they read the books, and in much the same way that Crimespree tries to, they spread the word one reader at a time.
Morning is panel style and what panels we had. First up was “Chicago Blues” led by Libby Hellmann, and featuring Marcus Sakey, Barb D’Amato, D.C. Brod, Jack Fredrickson, and J.A. Konrath. The Anthology is going gang busters and the collection of short stories in Chicago Blues will hold up to any collection out this year. These Chicago writers talked about the collection but mainly talked about setting. Chicago is different for them all, an their novels reflect that. For Chicago as character can be effective in many ways. These folks have the bases covered. Something they all wish the Cubs will be able to do one day.
Second up was the Minnesota Crime Wave + Two. Carl Brookins, Kent Krueger, and Ellen Hart were joined by Mary Louge. Tom Schreck who is not from Minnesota but whose publisher is, moderated the four from the north. We heard stories about all of their books and the characters that live within them and Tom ran with his panelists.
Lunch was followed by the last panel of the day. Maggie Griffin moderated a panel that featured writers who are making the mystery genre accessible to a new generation . Sean Doolittle, Chris Mooney, Gregg Hurwitz, and Brian Azzarello (of 100 Bullets fame) talked with Maggie about “voice”. For an hour they discussed the different emotions they project in their work and the voices of other writers who have spoken to them.
Conversations came after that. First up, myself and Greg Rucka. For those of you unaware, I’m a huge Rucka fan and therefore had no spit after 11:00 Saturday morning. Still, it’s easy to talk in front of people with Greg about his work. His Atticus Kodiak series and extraordinary female characters alone would have allowed me to speak for hours, the comic books I read to prepare for our chat open up the possibility of many future conversations. I’m looking forward to seeing Carrie Siesko hit the big screen next year. With the atmosphere of Antarctica, a locked island murder mystery, and a kick ass femme, Whiteout promises to have everything I love about the movies.
Gary Warren Niehbur interviewed Laura Lippman. Hearing Laura talk about writing and her experiences both as a reporter and an author of fiction is always a joy. I have to say though, this conversation was unique. Conducted by someone who knows both her and her work, Laura was able to tell stories that hadn’t been heard before. She had everyone hushed and laughing out loud in turn. Gary is one of the people I want to grow up to be. Laura is one too. To get that out of a forty five minute chat is amazing.
The day wrapped up with two of Crimespree’s favorite people. Sean Chercover’s debut novel, Big City, Bad Blood has put him on the map. One of the people who inspired him to write is Robert Crais. To pair them up in Muskego was a dream come true. Robert Crais is one of mystery’s finest storytellers. We heard of Elvis and Joe and the stand-alones, we heard tales of woe from the road, and we heard Crais’s background, what brought him to writing and why he’ll never go anywhere else. It was a fine note to leave the day on.
Dinner was provided for the authors by the library afterwards and it’s here that we learned who the true stars of the day were, Penny Halle walked into dinner to a round of very loud applause, the loudest of the day perhaps. And it was from the writers who had given up their weekends for a trip to Muskego, Wisconsin. Pretty amazing when you think about it. Jane Genzel, the applause was for you and your efforts as well and I hope that next year you will join us all. God loves the Librarians, no doubt about it.
Random Thoughts of the Weekend
Side notes from Muskego:
I am a fan and like everyone in Muskego I had some decidedly “pinch me moments”.
My conversation in a moving vehicle with Chris Mooney about “our next steps” in this wacky world of mystery is one I’ll hang onto for a very long time. Thanks Chris.
This was closely followed by Robert Crais’s affirmation that you have to be a little insane to give up security to write but it’s a happy madness.
Seeing my Dad revel while sitting between Laura Lippman and Robert Crais while they caught up with one another on Friday night. His head was bopping like a fan at a tennis match soaking it all in. Priceless.
Jack Fredrickson saying he was so happy to be with us and he had had no idea what to expect but it was great. (I was thinking when you’re with the Jordans you never know what to expect). Yarmphf.
Seeing Barb D’Amato again. We hoped to even talk , but every time I tracked her down visually she was surrounded by people.
Dana and Allison being with us. I cannot imagine my life without these two ladies.
Kent Krueger’s “You were right, this is great.”
Listening to Azzarello and Rucka talk about the differences between the “comic” and “book” worlds.
Seeing Gregg, Joe, Libby and Michael Dymmoch there at any time not to mention good friends David and Annie C. They were there for the first Muskego and keep coming back.
Jeremy, Jill and Neil, Crimespreer’s who came from great distances to share with us. Mary R. next year we will kidnap you.
A customer from my day job. “Ruth, what are you doing here? Why do you get to interview an author?” I felt like Clark Kent. Busted.
The Wisconsin mystery community out in force to support this day. These are folks I’ve admired for a decade and to share this with them, especially because without the Bouchercon in Milwaukee in 99 that they organized it wouldn’t have happened….. mind blowing.
Jennifer’s short story collection Expletive Deleted officially launches this week. I have a short story in the collection. So I signed books, surreal enough …. but to do this while sitting next to Laura and being followed up by Libby. Geekiness ensued.
The Muskego Readers, the ratio of fans to writers on Saturday was 20 to 1, eat your heart out Thriller Fest.
Making the cover of the Shepherd Express & a spot on Channel 6. Murder and Mystery in Muskego has arrived.
Each and every author in attendance. All I read, and all I love for coming to spend the day with the good people of Muskego.
I’ll wrap this up. On Saturday morning the Muskego Police Department got a phone call.
“I think you’d better see what’s going on at the library?”
“Why sir, what’s wrong?”
“The parking lot is full of cars!”
Here’s to filling Library parking lots across the country, it can be done with “The Friends of the Library“ backing you.
Nov 14, 2007
For he had a voice from the beginning. Plot twists and observations on society that became genuine gems when presented with his singular and sometimes sincere but often comical cynicism. The best case in point for this may be THE STEPFORD WIVES. Presented by Hollywood two times, Levin’s novel never got the screenplay it deserved. In fact, the second adaptation was in reality closer to his book than the first. For The Stepford Wives was surely a commentary on fear. The mundane fear of the average suburbanite for the then new movement called “Woman’s Lib”. How strange it was to sit down and read this book for the first time in 2003. I saw all the elements I’ve come to recognize in my own generation of books. There was “tuckerizing” (where characters are given the names of people from the mystery community and friends who’ve come to matter to a writer). There were shout outs (to bookstores, restaurants, books), and there was this gem of a plot, which is the part that Hollywood tried to get. And did in both movies but the book is where it’s at for me. Written not to be a big book, but to tell a story he wanted to tell.
Nov 7, 2007
Most noir characters get pretty fucked. Betrayal. Abuse problems. Violence. Lots of violence. No thanks.
Take me to the river. Drop in the water.
I don't don't want no noir lifestyle.
A cat I know just died. Dude was only a year older than me. We weren't great freinds or anything, but we saw each other around the neighborhood. Doctor told Mark a year ago to stop drinking. It was a real Scudder moment, stop drinking or you're going to die.
Mark started his mornings with Seagrams seven crown whiskey. maintained it with beer.
Dropped dead in a lawyers office. Anyurism, autopsy showed that all the organs were failing. Why was he at the lawyers office? To avoid using an inheritance to pay the ten years of back child support he owed.
What a dumbass. But wow, he sure was a noir dude. And now he's a dead noir dude.
I love watching noir. I love reading hardboiled. But I don't want to live it.
Send lawyers guns and money.
I wonder how the lawyer is going to bill Mark's family for having to wait for the body to get picked up. A billable hour is a billable hour.
Another guy I know, one year younger I think. Doctor won't let him eat almost anything any more. Why? Because he spent thirty years eating garbage like McDonalds and Burger King.
Moderation baby. That's the key word.
At least with thing you put into your body.
No such thing as too many friends. Or too many hours watching good movies, or too many good books.
This weekend we'll be hanging with a bunch of good friends and people we love.
I may even over do the caffine.
But no noir lifestyle for me.
Oct 28, 2007
I was not the typical Veronica viewer. I’m in my forties. I have grey hair & the middle aged middle. I viewed the program entirely with the DVD format (translation: as each season became available, my husband and I set aside a week to watch that season from beginning to end). I read books; a lot of books, and almost all of those books fall into the crimefiction category. And I have to agree with the fans who say it’s a shame that it’s gone. This 72 hours of television is amongst the most engaging of the first decade of the 21st century. From beginning to end. As a teen drama it’s far better than anything Brenda and Dylan offered my generation and at time superior to that other kick ass femme, Buffy.
From a reader’s point of view, my favorite season was certainly the first. The entire season played like a witty, contemporary P.I. novel. The P.I. was a high school junior whose entire life had been changed by the murder of her best friend. There were twists to the central crime aplenty. The clews lead in any manner of directions. And we all knew, as we watched, that Veronica Mars was going to get to the center of the story.
Along the way she did what she thought was right, what her teenage heart led her to do, and what the plot dictated.
The second season was in many ways stronger on an episodic level. The good, the bad and the ugly showing up in each chapter. The main “mystery” of the season, who killed Veronica’s classmates, took a back seat to the weekly play. Veronica’s relationships with her friends, classmates, clients, and father were explored more deeply. Recovering from Lily’s death was a shared experience, and the complications from the first year’s plot were allowed airtime while Veronica dealt with the knowledge that she was inherently good at her job and it was something she wanted to do with her life. At times she fought it, at times her Dad fought it and at times it even seemed as if she, her father, and we, the viewing audience might be mistaken about her. Perhaps this wasn’t Veronica’s calling after all. Still, as a reader I was a little disappointed. Much in the same way I was disappointed when Murder One decided to split season 2 into different story arcs. But I know I’m in the minority on this one.
Season 3 was snappy and well written on almost all levels. All of our favorite characters showed their “fatal flaws”. Keith Mars detecting radar failed him in the very first episode and he caused a death. He allowed his emotions to overcome his “moral code”. Logan Eccles continued to struggle with his heritage. In the end losing the girl despite their love. A surface of Logan appeared just after mid season. The charming knight that came to the fore in seasons one and two was on display. But underneath….. Veronica became more defined. Stubborn, obstinate, making unpopular plays because they were “right”. Asking her friends to do things she knew could hurt them (What was Eli thinking?). With all the audacity of smart college freshman, she knew that her way was the right way, even when it wasn’t. There were new characters (Pez, Parker, Dean O’Dell). Unlike the first two seasons, there were flaws in the individual cases. I’m still not satisfied with the conclusion of the rape story, the timeline still doesn’t work for me. It’s as if the editor forgot to tell the writer to outline. The Dean O’Dell story works but any reader of mysteries knew who done it as soon as the means was revealed. And yes I’m that snotty. I expect a smart show to remain smart on all levels. I’ll suspend my disbelief enough to cheer on the girl who keeps stumbling across major violence in a safe community but don’t give me a lazy mystery plot, dammit.
There were other pesky flaws. The dangling Fitzgerald plot seemed unnecessary except for jump-starting some of the minor sub-plots. And I’m sorry, we all know that Vinny is the sleazy P.I. but at the warehouse?
“Vinny wouldn’t do this.” I proclaimed. I was right.. that time. But the whole Sheriff race angle, he wouldn’t have done that either. And yet he did. Mac was a brilliant misstep during season three. After season 2 it was nice to see her overcome and share light hearted moments. She came into her own on a lot of fronts. But Mac as the girl who “gets the groove on”. Kinda weird. A lotta weird. The redeeming of Wallace was a good thing, not that he needed much. After a rather strange storyline in season 2 it was enjoyable to see him make the right choice time after time. He was and is a great best friend.
Perhaps my favorite surprise in the whole season was Dick Cassevettes. I didn’t see his struggle coming and of all the characters on the show it’s his development I’ll miss seeing. More so than Logan’s and Veronica’s.
Which brings me to the end of the series. I’m giving it a B+. I have a feeling that the whole “Castle” storyline was intended to go longer. But because of or despite the cancellation of the show it was a shining example of what Veronica Mars, the “teen cult favorite” was capable of doing. Wallace figuring out what was going on with the sex tape and agreeing to go in harms way so his friend could get the answers she needed was entirely in character and brought us back to the first few episodes of season one. Logan’s rage coming to the surface brought shudders, reminding me of “dear old Dad”. The possible ramifications of his last fight (given the bit of back story we were given) and his apology to Pez assured that this is a character I wish I could see more of no matter what is going on in his love life. Keith Mars making the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter is as it should be. Mac working with the Super Computer to get Veronica the blackmail material she needs and the answers she wants? Let’s just say “Girl Power Activate.”
But the true end is Veronica. A gutsy and smart teenage girl. Getting to the bottom of it, damned the consequences. And if she made a mistake by not taking Dad’s phone call? It was because she thought she could fix it. She almost did. Some things are beyond the capabilities of any one person to fix and when you cross that line of Moral ambiguity, not to mention indulging in petty theft… sometimes there are repercussions. If you’re Veronica Mars you take them as a life lesson, allow yourself to process, and know that somehow the future will come, no matter what’s going on now. Dad will always be there for you and you’ll always be there for him.
It’s the note the viewers came in on and it’s a fine one to leave Neptune on. So thank you to all involved with the production of this teleplay, you engaged a forty something for seventy two hours that she’s very glad she gave up.
Oct 23, 2007
Which means Baltimore is next.
This past weekend we sat down and started laying out some ideas and plans. To that end I have a couple questions for anyone reading this.
What was the best panel at a convention you ever saw?
What panel was the most fun?
What panels are the most over done?
Thanks for your input!
Oct 7, 2007
Oct 5, 2007
I just binged through Boston Legal Season 3. Thumbs up, great show, wonderful season.
The Unit Season two. Another great show, i bit improved over season 1 with a great cliff hanger.
Numbers Season 3. I like this show, but compared to a lot of crime drama it seems a bit tame, in a good way. Kind of the Diagnosis Murder of our generation. Solid acting, though some of the stuff bugs me. FBI Agents, even hot women, don't wear tops that show their tummy.
My Name Is Earl season 2. Love this show a lot. Jason Lee is great and the rest of the cast is a hoot.
next up, Criminal Minds Season 2
Oct 1, 2007
This year I spent Bouchercon at home. My wife and sister and mother all went to Alaska, I stayed home and worked watched tv and walked around the apartment alot.
I missed Ruth a lot. And I also missed the fun of exploring a new city with her, having breakfast out with her every morning, and getting back to the hotel roomlate at night and talking about our days. But most of all I missed Ruth.
No more solo conventions.
Sep 30, 2007
BEST NOVEL: Laura Lippman, NO GOOD DEEDS (William Morrow)
BEST FIRST NOVEL: Louise Penny, STILL LIFE (St. Martin's Minotaur)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL: Dana Cameron, ASHES AND BONES (Avon)
BEST SHORT STORY: Simon Wood, "My Father's Secret" (Crimespree Magazine, B'con Special Issue 2006)
BEST CRITICAL NONFICTION: Jim Huang & Austin Lugar, ed. MYSTERY MUSES (Crum Creek Press)
SPECIAL SERVICES AWARD: Jim Huang
We are especially proud of Simon Wood winning with a short story we ran in Crimespree. Simon is an amazing writer and it's great to see people noticing!
Also, Congrats to Jim Huang, he one the award we were up for, but let me assure you losing to Jim Huang is just fine by us. Jim rocks!
BEST NOVEL: Ken Bruen, The Dramatist (St. Martin's Minotaur)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL: P.J. Parrish, An Unquiet Grave (Pinnacle)
BEST FIRST NOVEL: Declan Hughes, The Wrong Kind of Blood (William Morrow)
BEST SHORT STORY: O'Neil DeNoux, "The Heart Has Reasons" (AHMM, September 2006)
THE EYE FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Stuart Kaminsky
THE HAMMER FOR BEST PI SERIES CHARACTER: Shell Scott (created by Richard Prather)
The MacCavity Awards:
Best Novel: THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS, Nancy Pickard (Ballantine)
Best First Novel: MR. CLARINET, Nick Stone (Penguin/Michael Joseph)
Best Nonfiction: Mystery Muses: 100 Classics That Inspire Today's Mystery Writers edited by Jim Huang and Austin Lugar (Crum Creek)
Best Short Story: "Til Death Do Us Part" by Tim Maleeny (MWA Presents Death Do Us Part: New Stories about Love, Lust, and Murder, edited by Harlan Coben; Little, Brown)
Sue Feder Historical Mystery: Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen (Minotaur)
And The Barry Awards:
Best Novel - The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Best First Novel - Still Life by Louise Penny
Best British Mystery Novel - Priest by Ken Bruen
Best Thriller - The Messenger by Daniel Silva
Best Paperback Original - The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle
Best Short Story - "The Right Call" by Brendan DuBois
The Don Sandstrom Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mystery Fandom was presented to Beth Fedyn
Everbody who won is truly great at what they do and congrats to them all.
Sep 9, 2007
SENTENCES: The Life of M.F. Grimm
Percy Carey (aka MF Grimm, aka Jet Jaguar) begins the story of his life in the middle of its most intense moment: the day a bullet left him paralyzed from the waist down. It's a scene of incredible violence and chaos that leaves our narrator lying on the snow, bleeding out. And from there we naturally cut to... Sesame Street, where young Percy has an
The jump from bloody murder to such innocent surroundings creates a nice bit of cognitive dissonance that sets the tone for the rest of the book. Throughout the rest of Carey's childhood, we see him constantly pulled between "good kid" and
"bad kid". It seems like he could fall either way at any time, and he often does.
It's here I should mention the art by Ronald Wimberly. The stark black/white/grey color scheme perfectly highlights Wimberly's fluid drawings. His people are full of life, whether sitting having a conversation or in the middle of a fist fight.
At the same time we see him growing up, Carey provides snapshots of the growth of hip-hop. One of the finest bits of writing comes when he describes the genre's early days, evoking a sense of time and place where something new and wild was being born.
But he also acknowledges the serpent in the garden, the seed of violence which would become entwined with hip-hop culture. And there are occasional flashes of sadness over that. The fact that something that had started out devoted to unity, celebration and joyous human expression had become so dark.
And other times, he revels in it. He's not always a nice person, or even a sympathetic character. But there's also the part that wants to see a better world. It's the hope that ends up resonating most strongly, tempered by the knowledge
that anyone can do the wrong thing.
Carey ends the book on a cautionary note, but the most powerful moment comes when he uses his fictional counterpart to do something he can't in real life. It's at that point where it changes from "this is what I've been through" to "this is what I've been through, AND I'M STILL HERE!"
Neal Bohl for Crimespree Magazine
Aug 28, 2007
For the few of you who may not know what I’m speaking of, The desert of Juárez holds a secret. For the last 15 years it has become the de facto graveyard for hundreds of dead girls. Ranging in age from very young into their early twenties these feminine corpses are screaming to be heard but few are listening. 15 years later the danger to any female who finds herself alone in the desert is just as great as it was when the first bodies were discovered in 1993.
There are theories of the crime and there have been investigations into the crime. People have been convicted of the crimes. The crimes continue.
When I received a copy of the new true crime tale THE DAUGHTERS OF JUÁREZ I dove right in. Written by Univision reporter Teresa Rodriguez, I expected a thoughtful and fact checked accounting of the history of El Paso’s sister city. What I got was much more. It is rare to read a true crime book that doesn’t rely on the writer’s supposition of facts. Rodriguez avoids this at all costs. She introduces us to the victims families, frustrated authorities and neighborhoods where people living in abstract poverty are doing their best to look out for one another. She relays interviews she’s conducted with people convicted of some of these crimes. She reports on forensics and government policies. She speaks of the socio-economical environment. Reports of traditional values held by the residents of Juárez . What she does with fact is BRING HOME THE HORROR OF THESE CRIMES.
By avoiding theory of the crime in her presentation Rodriguez maintains a credibility in this book that I rarely find in “true crime” novels. Instead she gives those of us living on this side of the border an insight into one of the most terrifying stories of our age. If a body falls in the desert will anyone hear it cry?
It is my hope that Rodriguez’s book will command the attention of two nations. For we need to listen to the cries. With the official death toll at over 450, continued silence is unacceptable.
I recommend this book to all who care about the state of our world.
Aug 25, 2007
E-mail invites have gone out but just in case Crimespree missed you or your E-mail doesn't care for invitations sent out en masse here it is. We've scheduled the event so that everyone can attend the Bouchercon Guest of Honor event at eight p.m.
Speaking of Guests of Honor, we will be giving out the annual Crimespree Awards at the party and we're pleased to say that all but one of our award winners will be in attendance. This years award winners are
Best Book of 2006
Sean Doolittle - THE CLEANUP
Best Ken Bruen Book of the Year
Ken Bruen-AMERICAN SKIN
Best Continuing Series
Lee Child-Jack Reacher Series
Crimespree Contributor of the Year- Anthony Rainone
& with a drum roll
THE JACK REACHER AWARD WINNER
when Crimespree created the Reacher Award it's intent was to honor an author who seemed to proportionately give back to the community more and more even as their sales increased. Whether Ms. Harris is giving advice to a new writer, encouraging a first time author, catching up with folks she's known for the twenty years she's been in this business, signing an autograph, or through the books themselves enriching the life of a single reader there is no doubt she gives back many times every day. We are happy to add Charlaine's name to the two who have gone before (Lee Child & Michael Connelly). In mystery there are many special people and Charlaine Harris is and individual who teaches the rest of us through her actions and words every day.
Open the invite in a seperate window or tab to see it full size.
Aug 23, 2007
After the con I read Barbados Heat. I loved it. A great book featuring music journalist Mike Seaver looking into the death of a murdered Senator who has become a crusader against certain musciians and thier lyrics. Pure fun.
Don followed this up with Jamaica Blue, another St Martins book with Mike Seaver. This time Mike is in Jamaica and gets caught up in a true mystery steeped in Reggae. Another truly great book which I reviewed when it came out.
Book three in the series came out from Oceanview Publishing, a really nice independant publishing house. South Beach Shakedown was another terrific book and Don kept getting better and better.
Don has now just sarted a new series and the first books is a real knockout. Stuff To Die For sees two slackers named James Lessor and Skip Moore trying to improve their lot in life. After a surprise windfall James buys a truck and they go in to business for themselves moving people and their stuff. As fate would have it their luck holds true and they get caught up in a real nightmare when they discover a bloody finger in with the stuff they are moving on their first job. The peolple who removed said finger aren't too far behind.
Bruns writing has a very smooth natural flow and is a real pleasure to read.
Don's website has all sorts of fun stuff for his readers and you can go there from here:Official Don Bruns Website
Aug 21, 2007
Last year at Bouchercon, The World Mystery Convention I moderated a panel of mystery writers who also write comics. David Morrell, Denise Mina, Gary Phillips and Max Allan Collins.
During the course of the panel the question of who else might do comics and I said that DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI would be perfect.
Moon Knight Annual #1
Written by DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI
Pencils by JEFTE PAOLO
Cover by DAVE WILKINS
Some people come to New York City looking for a knight in shining armor. Or just a warm body who can help you through the lonely hours. Be careful what you look for. Hot crime novelist Duane Swierczynski (“The Blonde”) and Jefte Paolo bring you the story of three women whose lives intersect in strange and deadly ways, two predators who stalk the city streets at night, and one shock ending you won’t see coming. No matter how many bad dates you’ve had.
Duane also has a few other things coming down the line from Marvel as well.
Duane is an incredible writer and I think he is going to be a huge name. Any one who has not read him yet should check out THE BLONDE coming out in paperback. or his first two books SECRET DEAD MEN or WHEELMAN.
Duane talks about it on his very own blog: Secret Dead Blog
Aug 19, 2007
August 28th, 2007
Greg Rucka’s seminal hero, Atticus Kodiak has been THE action hero in thrillers for over a decade. Kodiak took the mantle from such characters as Smiley and Bourne at the pen of one of fiction’s finest storytellers with stunning detachment. He moved the traditional intelligent thriller nonchalantly from the government clutches to the private sector while preserving all the traditional thriller hero’s internal conflict, natural abilities and stealthy resolve.
With PATRIOT ACTS Rucka returns to a world where the clandestine meets up in a web of private business and big government. The novel begins in Upstate New York, a deadly situation that soon goes terribly wrong for Kodiak and his team. An insider gives them up and Kodiak and the formidable “Drama” wait and train patiently to exact their revenge. The op, when begun, is “must read book”. Set throughout the world and in many different U.S. locations, PATRIOT ACTS is a Global thriller. Rucka is so grounded in presention of place, that you will travel with Kodiak from Washington state to Washington D.C. wishing you'd packed a suitcase.
What Rucka continues to do with Kodiak is present top notch plots with a flawed character you cannot dislike. The very fact that Kodiak questions his own motivations and wonders where the line between right and wrong is drawn makes this character highly sympathetic. The fact that Rucka builds all of his characters without taking many breaks in the action of the story and even fewer in the dialog makes PATRIOT ACTS one of the year’s most visual books.
Living in a world of paid assassins and financial privilege, being in love, and demanding vengeance for the doomed are classic thriller points that Rucka and Kodiak stoke with new flames. Intelligent, frightening and written in many shades of gray, PATRIOT GAMES will have you wondering where the moral line and public good meet. Rucka will leave you waiting for the next chapter in his epic and smart tale.
Rarely does Crimespree post reviews of new books on our website before they make the magazine. The strength of this novel inspired me to do so. Rucka is a compelling writer whose work in prose benefits greatly from his work with the graphic novel and visa-versa. No one writing today has quite the same style or visual awareness of how words can paint the story and propel it forward with a breathtaking pace. Descriptive paragraphs can indeed be hidden in action. Characters can be refined with a simple task and defined within dialog. When Rucka writes he uses all of the tools a writer has at his disposal; that he does it with the equivalent of an illusionist's slight of hand makes his books a form of magic. Sparse and lean and full of muscle mass, Rucka's work is Novel on steroids. On Sale everywhere August 28th!
Aug 16, 2007
Here's a link to my rite up on the weekend: Central Comic Zone
A really nice crew of folks and they are also publishing some really cool stuff. They are doing some comics of some of the great pup characters, they are doing Kolchak novels and comics and Buckaroo Banzai as well.
Here's a press release for the latest anthology from Moonstone featuring Zorro. They've got some great people in here.
Tales of Zorro
Edited by Richard Dean Starr
Written by: Isabel Allende, Max Allan Collins, Peter David, Loren D. Estleman
Interior Art: Ruben Procopio
Cover Art: Douglas Klauba
288pgs, b/w, Squarebound, 6”x9”, $16.95
LTD ed. HC = $129.99
10 digit: 1-933076-31-3
13 digit: 978-1-933076-31-7
Moonstone Books is proud to present Tales of Zorro, a brand-new anthology featuring eighteen tales of the fox--the first collection of original Zorro short fiction ever published!
Including the work of: Isabel Allende, Max Allan Collins, Greg Cox, A.C. Crispin, Peter David, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman Nancy Holder, Guy Williams, Jr., Jan Adkins, Robin Wayne Bailey, Mike Bullock, Robert Greenberger Tim Lasiuta, Jeff Mariotte, Elizabeth Massie, Robert Morrish, Kathleen O’Malley, Andy Mangels, Michael A. Martin, and Jean Schanberger.
With stunning cover artwork by Spectrum award-winner Douglas Klauba and original interior illustrations by legendary Disney animator and sculptor Ruben Procopio!
With the success of the recent Antonio Banderas films, the bestselling Isabel Allende novel, and the hit television series on Telemundo, Zorro continues to be one of the most popular and enduring heroes of the twentieth-century.
**Available in both a trade paperback and special numbered hardcover limited edition signed by the contributors AND with a new cover by legendary Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan illustrator Sergio Martinez!
Moonstone can be found on line here: Moonstone
Aug 14, 2007
Aug 10, 2007
The latest trade collection is out, volume 11 called ONCE UPON A CRIME. The minutemen are all back and the members of The Trust is in a scramble to take charge. Agent Graves has been putting together the plan for this confrontation for a while and it's all coming to a head. People are picking sides and watching thier backs gearing up for what coming. This volume has a lot of action and almost all the players are here. Loose ends are being tied up, and the minutemen are getting ready for a full blown war.
Azzarello has created such a wealth of characters and done such a great job developing them that it's hard not to feel invested in each and everyone. But this being the kind of tale that it is, people will die, and I'm sure some unexpected things will happen. This is addictive and once you start reading 100 Bullets it's impossible not to keep reading.
Eduardo Risso has created a real signature look for the books and his work here is spectacular. You feel the heat in the desert, the bleakness inthe warehouses.
If you haven't read this series, you should really pick it up. All the trade collections are available and I suggest you pick up #1 and get into it now.
Aug 7, 2007
I believe that humans are capable of many things, great things, things no one would expect. Bill Willingham’s series for Vertigo, FABLES, proves that we as humans can achieve great things. I also believe with motivation we can be better, faster, more productive.
This is why I would like to introduce Bill Willingham to RED BULL energy Drink and Rock Star Energy drink. I believe that with enough of these Bill could achieve what my wife suggested and that I would love, FABLES as a weekly series. Having the JACK OF TRADES Spinn off series is a damn good start. It's every bit as fun as the parent series.
Fables: Legends in Exile Trade
There’s a nice rundown here about the series:
Also. look for a nice piece about it in issue #20 of Crimespree written by my wonderful bride.
Fables is without a doubt my very favorite comic to read right now. I want more more more.
So please Bill, Mr. Willingham, I beg you, please drink more coffee, or tea, or red bull. If you need more let me know, we’ll send some. I’m sure there are other fans out there willing to help as well.
Aug 3, 2007
bought a bookstore. Sir Stillwell, one of mysteryland’s favored knights was happy that two such wonderful people would
run the store he started. Prince Gary and Princess Pat loved running the bookstore. People came from all around to buy
books, and to sign books and to just spend time with the happy booksellers. After a few years an evil wizard called
leukemia cast a spell on Prince Gary. But the valiant prince fought back, and with the help of his brother who gave Gary
some of his magic bone marrow our hero triumphed. All in the land were happy. To celebrate the Prince and Princess
waited till the fifth anniversary of their buying the book shoppe and got married. Minister Jim who was there to help
Gary fight the plague sent by the evil wizard was on hand to perform this joyous ceremony. And where did it take place?
In the book shoppe of course! And true to their second love, an hour later they hosted a signing event!
Congratulations to two of our favorite people in the world. May all your days be happy and mysterious!
Jul 27, 2007
The Anthony Award Nominations have been announced:
Anthony Award Nominations
Burke, Jan. KIDNAPPED, Simon & Schuster
Lippman, Laura. NO GOOD DEEDS, Harper
Minda, Denise. THE DEAD HOUR, Little Brown & Co.
Pickard, Nancy. THE VIRGIN OF SMALL PLAINS, Ballantine
Spencer-Fleming, Julia. ALL MORTAL FLESH, St. Martins
BEST FIRST NOVEL
Hart, John. THE KING OF LIES, St. Martins
Hockensmith, Steve. HOLMES ON THE RANGE, St. Martins
Penny, Louise. STILL LIFE, St. Martins
Read, Cornelia. A FIELD OF DARKNESS, Mysterious Press
Sokoloff, Alexandra. THE HARROWING, St. Martins
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Cameron, Dana. ASHES AND BONES, Avon
Cook, Troy. 47 RULES OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE BANK ROBBERS, Capital Crime Press
Doolittle, Sean. THE CLEANUP, Dell
Fate, Robert. BABY SHARK, Capital Crime Press
Gischler, Victor. SHOTGUN OPERA, Dell
Hirahara, Naomi. SNAKESKIN SHAMISEN, Bantam Dell - Delta
Huston, Charlie. A DANGEROUS MAN, Ballantine
BEST SHORT STORY ???
Abbott, Megan. “Policy,” DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
Cameron, Dana. “The Lords of Misrule,” SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL, Avon
Crider, Bill. “Cranked,” DAMN NEAR DEAD, Busted Flush Press
Kelner, Toni. “Sleeping with the Plush,” Alfred Hitchcock Mag
Viets, Elaine. “After the Fall,” Alfred Hitchcock Mag
Wood, Simon. “My Father’s Secret,” Crime Spree Magazine, Bcon Spec Issue ’06
BEST CRITICAL NONFICTION ???
Huang, Jim and Austin Lugar, Editors. MYSTERY MUSES, Crum Creek Press
Niebuhr, Gary Warren. READ ‘EM THEIR WRITES, Libraries Unlimited
Roerden, Chris. DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY, Bella Rosa Books
Stashower, Daniel. THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL, Dutton
Wagoner, E.J., THE SCIENCE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, John Wiley & Sons
SPECIAL SERVICES AWARD
Ardal, Charles. Hard Case Crime
Easter, George. Deadly Pleasures
Huang, Jim. Crum Creek Press and The Mystery Company
Jordan, Jon and Ruth. CrimeSpree Magazine
Kaczmarek, Lynn and Chris Aldrich. Mystery News
Karim, Ali. Shots Magazine
Wheeler, Franchi & Sharon. reviewingtheevidence.com
Van Hertbruggen, Maddy. 4 Mystery Addicts
BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
Due to a lack of nominations, we regret that there will be no award given for Best Young Adult Novel this year.
Congrats to all.
Jon and I are very excited to be on the same list as the other nominees in the Special Service Award Catagory. They are an inspirational group of people. All have an astounding passion and energy for the world of mystery. We hope we can live up to even the nod. Ali was there at the very beginning of Crimespree, in fact helped us come up with the name for the magazine. There's a smile on my face just looking at his name here.
Crimespree did high fives over the nomination of "My Father's Secret" by Simon Wood. Mr. Wood's story is truly remarkable. I feel a bit like the boys from Plots with Guns must have, an untraditional Short-Story outlet being given recognition for "their " work.The quality of the short stories in our magazine is astounding and recognition of that is a pat on the back for the magazine, a gift to the many who have contributed stories over our first three years. Steven Torres recently won a Derringer for a story that appeared in our magazine, and last year David Case was nominated for an Award for his.
The "their" when it comes to short story fiction in Crimespree comes down to the one. Jennifer Jordan is a remarkable woman. She's worked hard making this facet of Crimespree work. So Simon "Whoo!" and Jen4? Thank you and "Whoo, Whoo!"
I am so happy to be a Jordan, I keep the most excellent company.