Nominees announced for 2015 Agatha Awards Feb05

Nominees announced for 2015 Agatha Awards

The folks behind Malice Domestic have announced the nominees for the 2015 Agatha Awards. Best Contemporary Novel: BURNED BRIDGES, Annette Dashofy (Henery Press) LONG UPON THE LAND, Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing) THE CHILD GARDEN, Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink) NATURE OF THE BEAST, Louise Penny (Minotaur Books) WHAT YOU SEE, Hank Phillipi Ryan (Forge Books) Best Historical Novel: MALICE AT THE PALACE, Rhys Bowen (Berkley) THE MASQUE OF A MURDERER, Susanna Calkins (Minotaur Books) DREAMING SPIES, Laurie R. King (Bantam) MRS. ROOSEVELT’S CONFIDANTE, Susan Elia Macneal (Banntam) MURDER ON AMSTERDAM AVENUE, Victoria Thompson (Berkley) Best First Novel: DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, Tessa Arlen (Minotaur Books) MACDEATH, Cindy Brown (Henery Press) PLANTATION SHUDDERS, Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books) JUST KILLING TIME, Julianne Holmes (Berkley) ON THE ROAD WITH DEL AND LOUISE, Art Taylor (Henery Press) Best Nonfiction: THE GREAT DETECTIVE: THE AMAZING RISE AND IMMORTAL LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, Zack Dundas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER: THE MYSTERY OF THE WRITERS WHO INVENTED THE MODERN DETECTIVE STORY, Martin Edwards (HarperCollins) A IS FOR ARSENIC: THE POISONS OF AGATHA CHRISTIE, Kathryn Harkup (Bloomsbury USA) UNSOLVED MURDERS AND DISAPPEARANCES IN NORTHEAST OHIO, Jane Ann Turzillo (Arcadia Publishing) THE MYSTERY WRITERS OF AMERICA COOKBOOK: WICKEDLY GOOD MEALS AND DESSERTS TO DIE FOR, Kate White (Editor), Harlan Coben (Contributor) and Gillian Flynn (Contributor) (Quirk Books) Best Short Story: “A Year Without Santa Claus?” by Barb Goffman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2015) “A Questionable Death” by Edith Maxwell, History & Mystery, Oh My (Mystery & Horror, LLC) “A Killing at the Beausoleil” by Terrie Farley Moran (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2015) “Suffer the Poor” by Harriette Sackler, History & Mystery, Oh My (Mystery & Horror, LLC) “A Joy Forever” by B.K. Stevens (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, March 2015) Best Children’s/Young Adult: PIECES AND PLAYERS, Blue Balliett (Scholastic Press) NEED, Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers) ANDI UNSTOPPABLE, Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz) WOOF, Spencer Quinn (Scholastic Press) FIGHTING CHANCE: A MARTIAL ARTS MYSTERY, B.K. Stevens (Poisoned Pen Press)vens (Poisoned Pen Press) A ballot listing each category’s nominees will be given to all attendees of Malice Domestic 28, which will be held April 29-May 1, 2016. Attendees will vote by secret ballot, the ballots will be tabulated and the winners will be announced at the 2015 Agatha Awards banquet to be held on Saturday, April 30,...

Genre Fiction Nominees For 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards Feb02

Genre Fiction Nominees For 28th annual Minnesota Book Awards...

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library announced the nominees for the 28th annual  Minnesota Book Awards. Below are the nominees for Genre fiction: Genre Fiction (sponsored by Macalester College) THE DEVEREAUX DECISION by Steve McEllistrem (Calumet Editions) THE GRAVE SOUL by Ellen Hart (Minotaur Books) HE’S EITHER DEAD OR IN ST. PAUL by D.B. Moon (Three Waters Publishing, LLC) SEASON OF FEAR by Brian Freeman (Quercus) The finalists for the Awards were selected by  24 judges from around the state – writers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and others from the literary community. The winners will be announced on Saturday, April 16, at St. Paul’s historic Union Depot, 214 Fourth Street...

Alafair Burke: THE EX Interview

The plot of the ex has one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers, Olivia Randall, representing her ex- fiancé, Jack Harris. He has been arrested for a triple homicide that includes a victim connected to his wife’s murder three years earlier. Burke takes the reader on a journey with Randall as she goes from vehemently believing his innocence to questioning if he is indeed guilty. Part of the reason she agrees to represent Jack is to absolve herself of the guilt, feeling somewhat responsible for his state of mind. Her past regrets are based on the way she chose to end the relationship twenty years ago when she broke his heart in an unimaginable way. Elise Cooper: Does your professional background help in writing these stories? Alafair Burke: As a former prosecutor and now a professor of criminal law and procedure I wanted to show how the law allows them to do certain things to get a conviction, but prosecutors also have a lot of responsibility. I did not set out to write the book and make the point that the legal system favors the prosecution. I think prosecutors do have a lot of power in the legal justice system. Olivia certainly felt she did not have a level playing field. Hopefully readers see that the ADA Scott Temple is a good guy and just played the cards he had. EC: What did you want to explore with the Jack and Olivia relationship? AB: People who were in your past life, did you ever wonder about them? How did someone in Olivia’s former life turn out? She was never able to close the book with Jack. Then he suddenly appears in her life in a very shocking way. She remembers the relationship in a certain way, making herself to be the bad person. Feeling guilty about the way she ended it her memories are that she was bad and he was good. But as the book progresses you see not everything is black and white. EC: How would you define Jack? AB: Gullible and naïve, someone who gets under Olivia’s skin. He was a preppy nerd that Olivia initially took for granted. Because he was dealt some hard blows she ended up in a relationship with him, which started as a friendship. I can understand why Olivia did not want to be with him. Jack would not be my kind of guy. EC: You explore how technology is used for social interaction. Correct? AB: Yes. “The Room” is based on the “gothamist” website that is New York centrist. I also explore “Catfishing” where someone pretends to be a certain person. My friend is single and does online dating. Someone sent him a message and asked him if he was the person she was conversing with online, because she wanted to meet him in person. She thinks it was my friend because she Googled the image sent to her. Some guy had basically used my friend’s picture to give himself a different identity. The prosecutor in me was worried about the anonymity of the Internet. I told my friend to be very careful, trust but verify times ten. EC: It was interesting how you made Jack’s profession a writer. Did you do it so he had plausible explanations? AB: When I have to choose a profession of a character I have to be aware of a reader’s pre-existing ideas of what they will be like. Something about certain jobs invokes a certain personality, such as a cop or accountant. By making Jack a writer there is a blank slate. People know his job is to make things up so they might wonder did he weave this whole story in case he got caught. Remember every book he wrote is a fictional account of something in his life. EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book...

Q&A with Benjamin Black

EVEN THE DEAD is the seventh novel in Benjamin Black’s Quirke series, which features a pathologist in 1950s Dublin. Black is also the author of the Philip Marlowe novel THE BLACK-EYED BLONDE. Benjamin Black is the pen name of John Banville, who is the author of fifteen novels and the recipient of awards including the Man Booker Prize. 1. Why did you choose to write about 1950s Ireland? What freedoms does setting your crime novel in the past give you as a writer? The Dublin of the 1950s is the perfect setting for a noir novel. All that deprivation, alcohol, cigarette smoke; all those secret crimes and misdemeanours; all that guilt: what more could a mystery writer ask for? Of course, it was a challenge to try to recreate what is, after all, a vanished world, but it was a joy, as well, to trawl through my memories of those far-off days and see what I would come up with—a great deal, as it turned out, somewhat to my surprise. 2. Quirke is a pathologist with a penchant for playing detective. Why did you give him this particular day job? I didn’t want to have a detective as my protagonist. Also, I liked the idea of a man who works ‘down among the dead men’, a sort of lost soul striving to rise up into the light but always failing. Although his new lady-love, the redoubtable Dr Evelyn Blake, may succeed in rescuing him from the underworld. 3. In your crime fiction you explore the corruption of the state, specifically the notorious mother and baby homes and Irish babies being sent to America for adoption. Why did you choose to delve into this dark side of politics? Well, it’s just material. I should like to be able to say that I had a crusading social purpose when I set out in the first book, Christine Falls, but the truth is I just wanted to write a novel, and the scandals that had just begun to be revealed at that time seemed ideal for my purpose, as they have continued to be. 4. Quirke’s daughter, Phoebe, is a fiercely independent character who becomes her father’s sidekick in solving the crime. Quirke seems at once in admiration of her independence and wary of it. Why did you make this such an uneasy father/daughter relationship? And what do you think it adds to your crime novel? I’m fascinated by Phoebe—sometimes I think she is the most interesting character in these books. My agent suggests I’m in love with her, but I think that she is me, in some way that I can’t explain. I admire her spirit and her integrity, and I find the relation between father and daughter and daughter and father very interesting and stimulating. I also wanted to portray that rarest of things, an independent-minded young woman in 1950s Ireland. 5. Who are the crime writers you particularly admire? Georges Simenon above all; Raymond Chandler; James M. Cain; the great Richard Stark; Patricia Highsmith. I don’t any longer read the women writers of earlier years, such as Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh, but I really should return to them, as I suspect I would find neglected treasures there. 6. Why did you choose to write under a pseudonym? There are quite a lot of literary writers who have switched to crime who use a pseudonym. Why do you think that might be? Well, I can’t speak for others. For myself, I decided to use a pen-name simply to let my Banville readers understand that this was not a postmodernist literary trick I was playing, and that the Quirke novels are what they say they are: crime fiction. 7. Your Quirke novels have been adapted by the BBC for TV. What was your experience of seeing your characters come quite literally to life? I love cinema and television drama—when it’s good—so...

Peter James awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger Jan23

Peter James awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger

Crime Writers’ Association has announced that the Diamond Dagger will be bestowed upon Peter James. While James is best known for his DSI Roy Grace novels, he has published 31 novels overall (12 of which feature DSI Grace). The CWA Diamond Dagger is awarded each year to a writer who has a career marked by sustained excellence. Past winners have included literary giants such as Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, P.D. James,  Val McDermid and Elmore Leonard. Part of the CWA Dagger Awards, the CWA Diamond Dagger is the most prestigious prize the Association can bestow. “I’ve always felt that the CWA Diamond Dagger stands head and shoulders above all the myriad awards in the world for crime and thriller writing,” says Peter James. “It is, without doubt, the most coveted of all, partly because of its history, partly because of who actually decides it, but more important than either of these, is the list of past winners – a veritable roll call of the giants of our genre. I remember attending the ceremonies in my earliest days as young, struggling writer, watching the annual presentations, listening to the acceptance speeches, and dreaming that one that this could be me – which I always dismissed as no more than fantasy. Now to find that I am actually to be this year’s recipient is, without doubt, one of the greatest moments of my career. And it is proof that sometimes, our dreams really can come...

Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan

How would I describe Hank Phillippi Ryan? Hank is a storyteller. She is also one of the smartest people I’m lucky enough to know, glamorous as all get-out, and tough as heck. Much to the delight of readers everywhere, she writes the Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan novels, and she’s also the real-life TV investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC channel. You might think that someone who has won 33 Emmy and 13 Edward R. Murrow Awards, five Agathas, two Macavitys, three Anthonys, the Daphne, and the Mary Higgins Clark award might not have time for us readers, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Hank is one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. And you probably will meet her, because she does events all over the country! When you do, you might be surprised at how funny Hank is…I can think of only one other author who so consistently has us all in stitches at events. Before her Jane Ryland thrillers hit the shelves, Hank wrote the hip and witty Charlotte McNally mysteries. And now they’re back in print. Hank’s first series starring investigative reporter Charlotte McNally is being re-issued, starting with PRIME TIME in February, then with FACE TIME, AIR TIME, and DRIVE TIME coming every other month in 2016. So if you’re a fan of Hank’s Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series, you will also love meeting Charlie, the savvy, determined, and hilarious TV reporter who’s always on the hunt for the story that will save her career. Hank was good enough to answer some questions for me (and not answer one!)… So, Charlotte McNally is you. Right? Ah. Thank you. Well, yes, she is me. And no, she absolutely is not. The cool part about writing Charlotte is that I get to take all the insider stuff I’ve learned and experienced after all these years on the street and show, in a way I can’t reveal in real life, what it’s really like to be a reporter. It’s a cutthroat, relentless, high-pressure, high-stakes career. Lives, real lives and real reputations, are at stake. Sounds highfalutin’, but what reporters do is document history. The way I see Charlotte—she’s smart and savvy and funny—but also tough, relentless, and dedicated to the truth. She’s forty-six, (old in TV years), and begins to wonder what happens to a woman in TV who is married to her job—when the camera doesn’t love her anymore. She wonders—“If I’m not Charlie McNally from Channel 3, who will I be?” So she always needs a big story to survive in the relentlessly cutthroat and age-conscious world of TV. (Have I been there, done that? Yes, indeed. And still doing it.) Where did the inspiration for PRIME TIME (the first book in the series) come from? The beginning? When I was about seven years old, reading Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew in the hayloft of the barn behind our house in rural Indiana. That’s when I knew I wanted to be either a mystery writer or a detective. Turned out, as an investigative reporter and crime fiction author, I’m a little of each. It just took a while. The spark for PRIME TIME came 45 years later. Seriously. I remember it perfectly. I was at my office at Channel 7, deleting junk mails, and in my haste, opened one. It was so intriguing and mysterious, and I thought—well, no. No spoilers. But I knew it could be the key to a terrific mystery. (I get goosebumps remembering that moment—I knew it was a great idea.) I went home, and told my husband—I’ve got it! I’ve got my plot for a mystery novel. And he said—“Honey, do you know how to write a novel?” And newbie me, I said “How hard can it be? It as a million times more difficult than I’d predicted, but I loved the story. I was 55 years old! The poster child for late bloomers. And that became, PRIME TIME which won the Agatha for Best First...