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Monday, June 26, 2017

Home - Harlan Coben

Home by Harlan Coben


First Paragraph:

The boy who has been missing for ten years steps into the light.
     I am not one for hysterics or even feeling much of what might be labeled astonishment.  I have seen much in my forty-plus years.  I have nearly been killed--and I have killed.  I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend--and some would argue that I have administered the same.  I have learned over the years to control my emotions and, more important, my reactions during stressful, volatile situations.  I may strike quickly and violently, but I do nothing without a certain level of deliberation and purpose.


My Thoughts:

I really, really liked this book.  Having been a big fan of this author's Myron and Win series, I was delighted to find a new book featuring these characters - after 5 years.  All the usual gang is around.  Two boys went missing, presumed kidnapped, 10 years ago.  One of them is related to Win, Myron's best friend.  Win has never given up looking.  Finally, one of the boys is located - or is he?  This was a listen/read combo for me.  Steven Weber does an excellent job with the narration.  The tension is high and the thrills non-stop.  Fans of the Bolitar family will be pleased to revisit New Jersey and New York with them.  I'm thinking this may be the last of this series, but I'm satisfied with it.  Highly recommended.


Blurb:

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The To-Hell-And-Back Club - Jill Hannah Anderson

The To-Hell-And-Back-Club by Jill Hannah Anderson


First Paragraph:

I took a step back after knocking on my husband's bedroom door.
  'What?' Jerry opened his door, golf cap in hand, at 6:20 a.m.
  'When's your tee time?'
  'Soon.'
  'Josh called.  He left his spikes here.  Can you take them to him?'  The round trip to our son's campus would take over an hour--one I didn't have.  I was meeting my friends for the day.


My Thoughts:

What a great book! Really enjoyed this! Isn't it true that all of us have had hard times - difficult times - traumatic times? It might be illness or death or money problems or marital difficulties. It might even be a situation that seems unendurable. Peyton Brooks loses her 3 best friends in a car accident. After a time, she is referred to a club for women - the To-Hell-And-Back Club. The club exists to support women who need a little help. It's for fun and for tears and for sharing and for caring and the women are there for each other for as long as it takes. The club encourages the women to eventually begin to reach out and 'pay it forward', supporting others in whatever way they can. An inspiring story. I'm not sure if the author based this on a real 'club', but the idea has a lot of merit. I look forward to Jill Hannah Anderson's next book, which I understand will feature another character from this one. This one is recommended for some hope and encouragement and good feelings!


Blurb:

In this inspiring debut from Jill Hannah Anderson~ Peyton Brooks, a newly-empty nester with a comatose marriage, loses her three best friends in a car crash, and reaches out to women in the To-Hell-And-Back Club, hoping they’ll help resuscitate her life.

Through the “Hell Club”, Peyton learns that it’s never too late to begin again. These been-there-felt-that women use their sense of humor, strength, and support to help pull her off the couch and back to living her life.

She puts an end to her troubled marriage and rebuilds the life she’d put aside two decades ago. But when Peyton digs up time capsules she and her friends buried years ago and uncovers secrets about those she loved, she struggles to keep her own life-changing secret buried.

The “Hell Club” women help remind Peyton of the strength within her. She finds a renewed hope in life and love when she faces the mistakes and guilt that have troubled her for years. When Peyton’s secret is discovered, she’s going to need the “Hell Club” women more than ever.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday - Fast Falls the Night



Waiting on Wednesday was a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Although Jill is no longer hosting this event, I'll continuing to post one soon to be released title on occasional Wednesdays.

This week's book is Fast Falls the Night, the 6th book in the Bell Elkins mystery series, set in West Virginia.  I love this series!  Love the characters and the setting and get really caught up in everything about Bell, her family, her colleagues, the crimes she investigates.  I've actually already read this book, an advance copy, and since it won't be published until late August, I won't share a review in this post.  If you want my reactions, take a look at my review on Goodreads here.  Julia Keller writes a great series, and I'd love to encourage people to try it.




Publication Date:  August 22nd

The first drug overdose comes just after midnight, when a young woman dies on the dirty floor of a gas station bathroom. To the people of the small town of Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, it is just another tragedy. It is sad—but these days, depressingly familiar.

But then there is another overdose. And another. And another.

Prosecutor Bell Elkins soon realizes that her Appalachian hometown is facing its starkest challenge yet: a day of constant heroin overdoses from a batch tainted with a lethal tranquilizer. While the clock ticks and the bodies fall, Bell and her colleagues desperately track the source of the deadly drug—and engage in fierce debates over the wisdom of expending precious resources to save the lives of self-destructive addicts.

Based on a real-life event, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Keller’s latest Bell Elkins novel “Fast Falls the Night” takes place in a single 24-hour period, unfurling against the backdrop of a shattering personal revelation that will change Bell’s life forever.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

One Perfect Lie - Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline


First Paragraph:

Chris Brennan was applying for a teaching job at Central Valley High School, but he was a fraud.  His resume was fake, and his identity completely phony.  So far he'd fooled the personnel director, the assistant principal, and the Chairperson of the Social Studies Department.  This morning was his final interview, with the principal, Dr. Wendy McElroy.  It was make-or-break.


My Thoughts:

I've read many of Lisa Scottoline's books over the years, mostly her legal series. ONE PERFECT LIE was a standalone book and it was quite suspenseful. I can't say much about the story without spoilers, but let me assure any reader that there are surprises and twists. Some of them were a little convenient, as were some of the characterizations. As the tension ramped up though, I was forgiving and caught up in the tale. Though I don't think this will be a favorite for me, I still think it's worth a read. It has a timely story line. I listened to the book on audio and George Newbern was a good narrator. I'll continue to watch for the latest Lisa Scottoline book.


Blurb:

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He's applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he's ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he's being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Jordan's baseball games. But Jordan is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon's wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them.

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Monday, June 19, 2017

Little Black Lies - Sharon Bolton

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton


First Paragraph:

I believe just about anyone can kill in the right circumstances, given enough motivation.  The question is, am I there yet?  I think I must be.  Because lately, it seems, I've been thinking of little else.
     It is a minute after midnight.  In two days' time it will be the third of November.  Two more days.  Am I there yet?


My Thoughts:

Sharon Bolton is one of my favorite authors. I have read each of her Lacey Flint books and loved them. LITTLE BLACK LIES is a standalone and quite different from the Flint series. Set in the Falkland Islands, this is the tale of missing children, friends who are no longer friends, sorrow, secrets - so many secrets. Told from the viewpoints of three main characters, Catrin, Callum, and Rachel, I was completely caught up in the story. While I tried to put together the puzzle in my mind and had some success, I was also captivated by the descriptions of the Falklands - the people, the land and sea, the creatures that live there - and the history. Such a sad story, but completely fascinating to me. I have not yet read this author's other standalone books. I'm planning on reading them soon. Highly recommended.


Blurb:

In such a small community as the Falkland Islands, a missing child is unheard of. In such a dangerous landscape it can only be a terrible tragedy, surely...

When another child goes missing, and then a third, it's no longer possible to believe that their deaths were accidental, and the villagers must admit that there is a murderer among them. Even Catrin Quinn, a damaged woman living a reclusive life after the accidental deaths of her own two sons a few years ago, gets involved in the searches and the speculation.

And suddenly, in this wild and beautiful place that generations have called home, no one feels safe and the hysteria begins to rise.

But three islanders—Catrin, her childhood best friend, Rachel, and her ex-lover Callum—are hiding terrible secrets. And they have two things in common: all three of them are grieving, and none of them trust anyone, not even themselves.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

In the Land of Milk and Honey - Jane Jensen

In the Land of Milk and Honey by Jane Jensen


First Paragraph:

'Mama!  Mama!'
     The strained cry pulled Leah from a fevered dream in which she'd been sewing and sewing.  The stitches fell apart, disintegrating as she frantically worked.  It was something important and she had to finish it...a bridal dress.
     No. A shroud.


My Thoughts:

This second book in Jane Jensen's series starring Detective Elizabeth Harris was quite enjoyable. Set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the story starts with a very sick Amish family. Elizabeth is assigned to the case when the illness becomes fatal and it's suspected that more people will die soon. The CDC is brought in and the press and protesters descend upon the area. Tainted raw milk is the source of the sickness, but how are the cows acquiring the toxin? Detective Harris was successful in solving the crimes in the first book and she has made good friends among the Amish. Now, she and the other investigators are working against time and a clever opponent to save lives. I was glad to visit Lancaster County again and learn what new crimes Elizabeth Harris would be called upon to solve. Though the mystery was not terribly hard to figure out, the characters are interesting and the changes in Elizabeth's life since the first book were fun to read about. I look forward to #3!


Blurb:

By solving the murders of two local girls, Elizabeth has gained some trust in the Amish community. So, she’s the first person its members turn to when a fast and fatal illness takes hold, though many believe that the sickness stems from a hexerei—a curse placed by a practitioner of old-world folk magic. Elizabeth doesn’t believe in curses, and when an entire Amish family is found dead, she begins to suspect something far more sinister...

As the CDC is called in to investigate, customers of a Philadelphia farmers market selling Amish raw milk start dying. Amid rapidly escalating panic, Elizabeth must peel away layers of superstition and fear to save the livelihood—and lives—of an entire community. Because what has happened isn’t an accident of nature or an act of God, it’s the handiwork of someone who has only just begun to kill...

Friday, June 16, 2017

One Of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


First Paragraph:

A sex tape.  A pregnancy scare.  Two cheating scandals.  And that's just this week's update.  If all you knew of Bayview High was Simon Kelleher's gossip app, you'd wonder how anyone found time to go to class.


My Thoughts:

What a fun book! Karen M. McManus's debut YA novel is quite addictive to read or rather, listen to. The audio was narrated by four different voices and all of them were well done. If you're a fan of The Breakfast Club and you like your stories to include some murder accusations and secrets, you'll probably enjoy this 'darker' version of...The Brain, The Athlete, The Criminal, The Outcast, and The Beauty. All of the characters are in detention for having a cell phone in class. All of them claim that the phones don't belong to them and were planted in their backpacks. After just a few minutes, one of them is dead and the other four are drawn into a police investigation. Everyone has secrets - lots of secrets. Yes, the characters are bit trite, but it's all good. Can't wait to see what this author writes next!


Blurb:

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Graves - Pamela Wechsler

The Graves by Pamela Wechsler


First Paragraph:

Ten years in the district attorney's office has taught me to never let down my guard, even here on Beacon Hill.  Walking on West Cedar Street, I detect the first signs of danger--footsteps and cigarette smoke.  No one from this neighborhood smokes anymore, at least not in public.  It could be a stray tourist checking out the gas lanterns and cobblestone streets, but I reach in my tote and search for my canister of pepper spray--just in case.  A gloved hand covers my mouth.  I start to pivot around but someone yanks my shoulder and pulls me in.
     'Give it up,' he says.
     I'm relieved.  It's just a mugging.


My Thoughts:

I very much enjoyed this second book in Pamela Wechsler's series featuring Abby Endicott, Chief of the Boston DA's Homicide Division. It read very, very quickly and I was totally engrossed in the story. Abby is up against a number of issues in THE GRAVES. There is a serial killer on the loose, targeting young women at various universities in the area, her boss, the DA, is running for Mayor and Abby is mentioned as his possible successor, and her family is still making her life difficult by disapproving of her job and her significant other, Ty. Abby is a very good prosecutor - not such a good organizer of her own life. Once again, she ignores most everything but getting justice for the victims' families. I hope that this series continues because I'd like to visit Abby's Boston life once again. Recommended.


Blurb:

Abby Endicott, the chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit in Boston, returns in the heart-racing follow-up to Mission Hill. Things are looking good for Abby: she’s top pick to be the next District Attorney, and her musician boyfriend Ty has moved in, despite her upper crust family’s objections. But a serial killer is on the loose, and with two college-aged girls dead and another missing, time is running out. When the sons of a prominent government official are linked to the murders, Abby pushes back, stopping at nothing to find justice for the girls. This time, the killer could be right under her nose, and she may be the next victim.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mission Hill - Pamela Wechsler

Mission Hill by Pamela Wechsler


First Paragraph:

I'm in bed, silently reciting their names.  Number one, Lester Beale, stabbed his girlfriend twenty-six times.  Number two, Jeffrey Younts, shot a fifteen-year-old boy as he stepped off the school bus.  Number three, Omar Monteiro, gunned down twin brothers on their thirtieth birthday.  This is my nighttime ritual.  I count killers, the people I've prosecuted for murder.


My Thoughts:

Mission Hill is a debut novel by Pamela Wechsler, a former prosecutor who has also worked on TV shows like Law & Order. The main protagonist, Abby Endicott, is a homicide prosecutor with the Boston District Attorney's office. Abby is tough and hard driven, choosing to go up against the most ruthless killers, despite having come from a privileged background. I'm a fan of shows like Law & Order and the reader can see the influence in the story line, so this tale worked well for me. I was caught up in who did what and when. There were a few minor quibbles, especially when Abby made decisions that put herself or others in major jeopardy or turned down offers of help. I'll grant her a pass this time, but will be less forgiving in the next book. And, yes, there is already a next book in the series. I look forward to reading it very soon. All in all, a worthy legal thriller.


Blurb:

Abby Endicott is chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit in Boston, where she investigates and prosecutes the city’s most dangerous killers. A member of Mission Hill’s elite, and a graduate of the Winsor school and then Harvard Law, the prosecutor’s office is not the prestigious job that would have been expected of her. She has been known to change into an evening gown amidst bodies in the morgue. She loves her job, and is committed to it, refusing all pressure to quit from her upper-crust parents or threats from the city’s most ruthless killers. But among Abby’s many secrets is her longtime affair with fellow prosecutor Tim Mooney, a married father of one.

One night, Abby is awakened very late by a phone call from her favorite detective, who reports that there has been a horrific murder but is vague about the specifics. When she arrives at the crime scene and discovers the identity of the victim, Abby knows the terror and tragedy are only beginning.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Collecting the Dead - Spencer Kope

Collecting the Dead by Spencer Kope


First Paragraph:

She had small feet.
     I say she had small feet because to say she has small feet would imply that she's still alive.  She isn't.  I know.  I always know.  It's my special ability, my burden, my curse.  The others think we're searching for a missing jogger, perhaps hurt or lost but certainly alive.  I can't tell them we're too late; how would I explain such knowledge?


My Thoughts:

I really, really liked this debut crime novel by Spencer Kope. And, happily, it seems that this is the beginning of a series. Magnus 'Steps' Craig is part of the FBI's Special Tracking Unit. He and his best buddy, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan, work tirelessly to track and find criminals and their victims. What Steps and Jimmy don't share with other law enforcement agencies is the ability that Steps possesses - a type of synesthesia that allows him to see the 'shine' or the 'essence' of other people. Steps can track anyone over any surface. But, this ability has come at a price. I loved the characters in this book - Steps, Jimmy, and other team members. There was humor and sorrow and an intriguing story. Can't wait for the next book! This one is highly recommended.


Blurb:

Magnus "Steps" Craig is part of the elite three-man Special Tracking Unit of the FBI. Called in on special cases where his skills are particularly needed, he works as a tracker. The media dubs him "The Human Bloodhound," since Steps is renowned for his incredible ability to find and follow trails over any surface better than anyone else. But there's a secret to his success. Steps has a special ability---a kind of synesthesia---where he can see the 'essence' of a person, something he calls 'shine,' on everything they've touched. His ability is known to only a few people---his father, the director of the FBI, and his partner, Special Agent Jimmy Donovan.

When the remains of a murdered woman are found, Steps recognizes the shine left by the murderer from another crime scene with a physically similar victim. And he uncovers the signature at both scenes---the mark of a sad face. At the same time, another killer, one Steps has dubbed Leonardo and has been trying to track for over ten years, appears again, taunting Steps. But while Steps tries to find a clue that will lead him to Leonardo, the case of the Sad Face Killer heats up. The team uncovers eleven possible victims: missing women who fit the same pattern. Using his skill and the resources of the Bureau, it is a race against time to find the killer before it's too late.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Strange Things Done - Elle Wild

Strange Things Done by Elle Wild


First Paragraph:

The pattern of her demise became suddenly clear, as though a dark kaleidoscope had just been turned.  Everything snapped into focus then: the sharpness of the stars, the bowed outlines of the trees, the expression on his face.


My Thoughts:

Strange Things Done is the debut novel for Elle Wild and it has recently been awarded the 2017 Arthur Ellis Award for 'Best First Crime Novel'. I liked this book, but it's probably more a 3.75 than 4.0 read for me. Set in the far northwest of Canada, the town of Dawson, Yukon Territory, it was a cold, cold story. Winter is close and Jo Silver, the new editor for the local newspaper, is in the midst of some trouble. She came to get away from and forget a bad situation and seems to have stepped into a worse one. There are interesting characters in the town, scandals, and secrets galore. A few times, Jo's decisions were quite annoying and irrational, but in the end, I was caught up in the tale. It reminded me a bit of Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series. I'll be watching for Elle Wild's next book and will be curious to hear if there might be a sequel.


Blurb:

As winter closes in and the roads snow over in Dawson City, Yukon, newly arrived journalist Jo Silver investigates the dubious suicide of a local politician and quickly discovers that not everything in the sleepy tourist town is what it seems. Before long, law enforcement begins treating the death as a possible murder and Jo is the prime suspect.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Kingdom Come - Jane Jensen

Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen


First Paragraph:

'It's...sensitive,' Grady had said on the phone, his voice tight.
     Now I understood why.  My car crawled down a rural road thick with new snow.  It was still dark and way too damn early on a Wednesday morning.  The address he'd given me was on Grimlace Lane.  Turned out the place was an Amish farm in the middle of a whole lot of other Amish farms in the borough of Paradise, Pennsylvania.


My Thoughts:

I liked this first book in a new series set in Lancaster, PA, by Jane Jensen. It reminded me a bit of Linda Castillo's series, also featuring a woman policeman, dealing with crimes in Amish country. This was a read/listen combo for me and I thought that Rachel Fulginiti was a good narrator. Detective Elizabeth Harris is directed to a crime scene by her boss at the Lancaster Police. A young woman has been found dead in an Amish family's barn. Her supervisor tells her that it's 'sensitive' and so it proves to be. Elizabeth has returned to Pennsylvania from New York City after the death of her husband. A seasoned homicide detective, she finds out all kinds of things that many people, both Amish and 'English' would prefer to hide. There's already a second book in the series and I look forward to reading it soon.


Blurb:

After her husband is murdered, Detective Elizabeth Harris turns in her NYPD badge and moves back home, hoping that a quiet life in remote Pennsylvania Dutch country will help her overcome the dark memories of her ten years in New York. But when a beautiful, scantily clad “English” girl is found dead in the barn of a prominent Amish family, Elizabeth knows that she’s uncovered an evil that could shake the community to its core.

Elizabeth’s boss is convinced this was the work of an “English,” as outsiders are called in Lancaster County. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure. All she’s missing is an actual lead—until another body is found: this time, a missing Amish girl. Now Elizabeth must track down a killer with deep ties to a community that always protects its own—no matter how deadly the cost…

Friday, June 9, 2017

Under the Harrow - Flynn Berry

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry


First Paragraph:

A woman is missing in East Riding.  She vanished from Hedon, near where we grew up.  When Rachel learns of the disappearance, she will think it's him.


My Thoughts:

Under the Harrow is a debut crime novel by Flynn Berry. It won the Edgar Award recently for 'Best First Novel by an American Author'. I liked it, though I will say that I was tempted early on to abandon it. The thought processes of Nora, the protagonist, are scattered and a bit frustrating in the early stages. Hard to follow and kind of annoying. Nora arrives at her sister Rachel's home late on a Friday afternoon. Excited about their weekend together, she is horrified to find Rachel has been brutally murdered. Everything in Nora's life comes to a standstill and she remains in the area, unable to return to her job and flat in London. Rachel had been assaulted as a teenager and the person was never caught. Nora and Rachel had spent a lot of time trying to find the perpetrator when it seemed the police were unable or unwilling to do so. Because of this, Nora is suspicious of the current investigation and asks a lot of questions on her own. She has strange ideas and does peculiar things. I can see why this book won the Edgar - the story is told in an unusual way. And, yes, I'll be watching for Flynn Berry's next book.


Blurb:

When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder.

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can’t return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can’t trust them to find her sister’s killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer Break...with some review exceptions...

I've decided to go ahead and share the reviews that I post on Goodreads here, even though I'm technically on 'Summer Break'. Not everyone who visits is on Goodreads. I'll likely be doing this in batches as I have time. No more than one a day though, so you guys won't be overwhelmed.

I'll leave you with some nice 'summer' pictures from Oregon, taken on a vacation a few years ago. And if you'd really like some nice 'Oregon' pictures, try visiting Les' blog - Prairie Horizons. She's recently moved to Oregon and may be considering a name change to something more 'Pacific Northwest'. She's still settling in, but I suspect she'll be back to posting book reviews and pictures soon.









Friday, June 2, 2017

Summer Break...



Like last year, I'm going to take a summer break.  We're planning on several trips and blogging and commenting are more difficult using my iPad.  I may reappear now and then.  Who knows?

I'll consider the blog in the fall and decide whether or not to continue the break.  I'll attempt to keep my '2017 Reads' mostly up to date in my sidebar.  Also, I can be found on Goodreads, where I'll be sharing short reviews.  You can see my 'read' shelf there by clicking on the button also located in my sidebar.

Have a good summer and here's hoping that all get to read a lot of great books!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Malice Domestic 29 - Summing it up...and who won the Agatha Awards?



Welcome to my last post about my trip to Malice Domestic 29!  Today, we will talk about the Agatha's Banquet, tell who won awards for their books and work, and sum up my experience.  I've enjoyed telling about my trip and hope that if you have any questions, you'll feel free to ask in the comments.  First, the banquet:


Lori Rader-Day (R in black/white) - host of my banquet table

Each Malice attendee who also decided to take part in the Agatha Award Banquet received an email giving them the authors who had chosen to 'Host' a table.  We were instructed to select our top 3 and then were notified of the table where we would be seated.  I selected Lori Rader-Day as my #1 choice.  I had met Lori in the coffee shop at Left Coast Crime and had a nice and funny visit with her.  Plus, I had recently read her latest book - The Day I Died - and enjoyed it very much.  The attendees at Lori's table were friendly and nice to talk with.  Lori told us she was a bit tired.  She had been to the Edgar Awards and also had been touring for her new book.  However, she's the kind of person that has a dry sense of humor and I loved listening to her.


Special Malice Domestic dessert

The banquet itself was pretty good - I had chicken, by the way.  The dessert is apparently always something special.  I couldn't believe the Malice 'logo' was part of it.  Chocolate mousse, sponge cake, whipped cream - yum!


Charlaine Harris - Lifetime Achievement Award

Charlaine Harris, author of so many books, many of which have been turned into TV adaptations, was the recipient of the 'Lifetime Achievement Award'.  She is the creator of Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood TV series), Aurora Teagarden (Hallmark Movie Channel), Lily Bard (my favorite character of hers), and the Midnight, Texas series, which is to be on NBC this July.  Whew!  I have read the Lily Bard books and a few of the Aurora series.


Elaine Viets - Guest of Honor

Elaine Viets was the 'Guest of Honor' this year.  Elaine has written several series as well - The Dead End Job series (Helen Hawthorne, main character) and the Mystery Shopper series (Josie Marcus, main character),  I've not read any of Elaine's books, but have certainly heard of them.


Martin Edwards - Poirot Award

Martin Edwards was presented the 'Poirot Award', which is given to those who have made 'outstanding contributions to the Malice Domestic genre'.  Edwards writes a blog called 'Do You Write Under Your Own Name?'.  He currently writes a series set in the Lake District of England - retired Oxford historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett, Cold Case Squad are the main characters.  I've read a couple of those.  He also wrote The Golden Age of Murder: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story, which won several awards.  As an expert on the Golden Age of crime fiction, Martin is the series consultant to the British Library's Crime Classics, which are being printed in the US by The Poisoned Pen Press.  I know many mystery readers have enjoyed those books.

Below, I've listed the nominees and the winners for the various categories of Agatha Awards.  I did not do all the links - sorry.  However, you can find these books very easily.

THE AGATHA AWARD NOMINEES AND WINNERS FOR 2017 

Best Contemporary Novel
  * A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
  ° Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron
  ° Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson
  ° Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross
  ° Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best Historical Novel
  * The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson
  ° Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao
  ° Get Me to the Grave on Time by D.E. Ireland
  ° Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell
  ° Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson

Best First Novel
  * The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn
  ° Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper
  ° Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon
  ° Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann
  ° Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Best Short Story
  * “Parallel Play” by Art Taylor
  Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning
  ° “Double Jinx: A Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper Short Story” by Gretchen Archer
  ° “The Best-Laid Plans” by Barb Goffman
  Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional
  ° “The Mayor and the Midwife” by Edith Maxwell
  Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon Anthology 2016
  ° “The Last Blue Glass” by B.K. Stevens
  Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Best Non-fiction
  * Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot: How to Write Gripping Stories that Keep Readers on the Edge of Their Seats by Jane K. Cleland
  ° A Good Man with a Dog: A Game Warden’s 25 Years in the Maine Woods by Roger Guay with Kate Clark Flora
  ° Sara Paretsky: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Margaret Kinsman

Best Children’s/Young Adult
  * The Code Busters Club, Case #6: The Secret of the Puzzle Box by Penny Warner
  ° Trapped: A Mei-hua Adventure by P.A. DeVoe
  ° Spy Ski School by Stuart Gibbs
  ° Tag, You’re Dead by J C Lane
  ° The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

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I think that's all I have to tell.  Know it's been a lot, but I hope that you guys have enjoyed hearing about my adventures.  Will I attend this convention again?  Who knows?  Perhaps.  Here's the link for next year's Malice Domestic 30.  I would like to attend Bouchercon, 2017 is in Toronto, 2018 is in St. Petersburg, FL, and, wait for it - 2019 is in DALLAS, TX - can you guess which one I'll most likely sign up for?  It's called Denim, Diamonds and Death, which fits Dallas pretty well.  Ha!  Left Coast Crime will be in Reno, NV in 2018 and Vancouver, Canada in 2019.  If this has sounded like a good time, you should think about signing up for one of these conventions.