6 New Writers to Watch
Wiley Cash’s debut, A Land More Kind Than Home, about the bond between two brothers landed on the New York Times Best Sellers List and received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut of the Year.
British author Ann Cleeves has an affinity for remote areas and how these isolated regions affect her characters.
“Anyone can play Snow White. It takes real talent to play the Wicked Witch.”
Mystery Scene MISCELLANY
FIRST USE OF FINGERPRINTS
The newest entry in my Pittsburgh set series of thrillers is called Panic Attack. It’s the sixth book featuring Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.
During the pandemic, Ian Rankin stepped away from Rebus and into the shoes of friend and literary hero, the “Godfather of Tartan Noir” William McIlvanney.
Call it The Case of Life Imitating Art.
Thomas Walsh - The Unusual Suspect
Any paternity test on the sub-genre of police procedural will identify the DNA of Ed McBain and Lawrence Treat, as well as the 1948 movie The Naked City and the radio and TV series Dragnet…and of course Thomas Walsh.
In Razorblade Tears, two aging men—one Black, one white, both with criminal pasts—join forces to seek revenge for the murders of their gay sons. The themes of fathers and sons and toxic masculinity will be familar to fans of Cosby’s 2020 breakout Blacktop Wasteland.
VIPER'S NEST OF LIES
A slip of the tongue is a dangerous thing. Not only does it expose indiscretions, it also can lead to murder. The latter especially applies to me.
THE MANY FACES OF MORIARTY
By 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle was a worldwide literary sensation. But he was also a man dogged by an unlikely enemy, and that enemy’s name was Sherlock Holmes. Frankenstein-like, the fictional detective haunted his creator, tormenting him, and would not leave him alone. For it must be said that Conan Doyle was a man of high literary aspirations, with a yearning to write books of both “serious” literature and psychical research. But the demand for new Holmes stories prevented him from realising this ambition. Speaking of this period in his career, Conan Doyle observed in an interview for Tit-Bits in December 1900 that “My low work was obscuring my higher.”
From an isolated cabin in a boggy Swedish forest, Will Dean conjures a fascinating series and now an intense standalone full of claustrophobia and creepiness.
STEPHEN MACK JONES
If the meaning of life is a puzzle awaiting assembly, then writers are purveyors of its pieces.
Madness on Campus
Helen Eustis’ The Horizontal Man
What About Murder?
Reference Books Reviewed
Sometimes, an idea needs time to incubate until it’s ready to grow. That was the case with Sujata Massey’s series about Perveen Mistry, a woman attorney practicing in India during the 1920s.
TIME TRAVEL, CATS, AND AN OLD MANUSCRIPT
Have you ever wished that you could go back in time and change something in your past or visit the future and find out what it has in store for you? Have you questioned what would happen if time travel was available to everyone? Could 9/11 have been prevented? Could the spread of COVID-19 have been eradicated before it ended so many lives?
I said my first words in a bar—“orange sody.” I eventually outgrew my love of Whistle orange soda, but I have a lifelong interest in bars.
JOHN COLLIER Fact & Fancy
Every generation or so, John Collier (1901-1980) is rediscovered. A poet, screenwriter, and novelist, Collier is best remembered for his short stories. His collection Fancies and Goodnights won an Edgar Award in 1952 for Best Story (which in MWA’s early years was occasionally awarded to a volume of stories).
It’s more than a book title. It’s an uncomfortable truth that pop culture’s most flawed yet-fascinating (and highly literate) serial predators seem to understand about their appeal, whether Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter or Caroline Kepnes’ Joe Goldberg.
WHEN BLOOD RUNS COLD
Why is spying often referred to as a game? There is nothing remotely diverting about it.
Sounds of Suspense
Very Original Paperback Originals
While Bailey Cates’s Witches and Wedding Cake(Berkley, $7.99) is the ninth in her Magical Bakery series, it was the first for me, and I appreciated that I could slide into the narrative effortlessly.
What About Murder?
Reference Books Reviewed
RAYMOND CHANDLER & THE BRASHER DOUBLOON
Sometime in 1960, a friend’s enthusiasm for coin collecting proved contagious, and I began sorting through pocket change and noting dates and mint marks.
Reviewing the Independents
LOVE ON THE RUN
LOVE, BULLETS, AND THE OPEN ROAD. CRIMINAL COUPLES ON THE RUN ARE A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE STAPLE—AND IT’S ALL DUE TO A PAIR OF DEPRESSION-ERA HELLRAISERS.
It’s that enticing-yet-elusive hook that often draws readers back to a writer’s work. Sometimes it’s characters that compel.
Before Camilla Läckberg’s debut novel was published, the Swedish author devised an ambitious, yet workable marketing plan. Among other things, she would visit, if possible, every bookstore in the country to do book events, sign stock and meet and greet as many booksellers and readers as she could.
A MARY HIGGINS CLARK ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION
It’s easiest to say she had magic. Anyone who has ever been in the room with Mary Higgins Clark understood there was some sort of aura around her, a force field of joy and delight, an authentic pleasure in being wherever she was. (If that wasn’t true, all the more brilliant. You would never have known it.)