Publisher's Weekly has announced its choices of Best Mysteries of 2009

Bryant and May on the Loose
Christopher Fowler (Bantam)
London's Peculiar Crimes Unit gets a new lease on life as Bryant and May investigate gang crimes that could threaten the economic benefits expected from the 2012 Olympics in Fowler's blend of the comic and the grotesque.
The Wrong Mother
Sophie Hannah (Penguin)
A brief affair with a man whose wife later apparently commits a heinous crime then kills herself leads to serious trouble for Sally Thorning, part-time environmental rescuer and full-time mother, in this psychological mystery paced like a ticking time bomb.
The Dark Horse
Craig Johnson (Viking)
Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire return to his cowboy roots as he goes undercover to investigate a murder outside his jurisdiction: a wife has confessed to shooting her rancher husband dead, but is she really guilty?
The Silent Hour
Michael Koryta (Minotaur)
Koryta spins a dark tale of broken dreams and second chances in this mystery featuring PI Lincoln Perry, who helps a convicted murderer who's been paroled. It's a convoluted case in which a missing woman's brother heads a notorious Cleveland, Ohio, mob family.
Reggie Nadelson (Walker)
New York City police detective Artie Cohen, a principled, street-smart guy with very human failings, travels to London to tell his best friend, shady Russian immigrant Tolya Sverdloff, that Sverdloff's daughter (who was also Cohen's girlfriend) has been murdered.
The Lord of Death
Eliot Pattison (Soho Crime)
Edgar-winner Pattison mixes an eye-opening look at contemporary China with a traditional whodunit involving the gunning down of China's minister of tourism along with an American woman, a skilled climber, near Mount Everest.
The Cloud Pavilion
Laura Joh Rowland (Minotaur)
Detective-turned-politician Sano Ichiro helps his estranged uncle find the uncle's missing daughter in the masterful 14th entry in a series that brings early 18th-century Japan to vivid life.

And there were a few under General Fiction that I would consider mystery/crime fiction:

The Scarecrow
Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Reporter Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, after he's laid off from the L.A. Times, in a nail-biting thriller that charts the demise of print journalism and shows why Connelly is one of today's top crime authors.
The Fate of Katherine Carr
Thomas H. Cook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Edgar-winner Cook eloquently explores the often cathartic act of storytelling as George Gates, a former travel writer who after seven years still broods over his eight-year-old son's murder, looks into the unsolved disappearance of reclusive poet Katherine Carr 20 years earlier.
Dark Places
Gillian Flynn (Crown/Shaye Areheart)
Flynn tops her impressive debut, Sharp Objects, with a second crime thriller, centered on the slaying of a mother and two daughters in their Kansas farmhouse witnessed by the youngest, surviving daughter. It builds to a truth so twisted even the most astute readers won't see it coming.
Jo Nesbø (Harper)
Oslo Insp. Harry Hole discovers that a bank robbery is linked to the apparent suicide of a woman friend he hasn't seen in years in this lush crime saga from the Norwegian author.
Dan Simmons (Little, Brown)
Narrated by Wilkie Collins, this unsettling and complex thriller imagines a frightening sequence of events that prompts Collins's friend and fellow author, Charles Dickens, to write The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dickens's last, uncompleted novel.




Library Journal has announced two lists of best of 2009


George, Kathleen. The Odds. Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's. ISBN 978-0-312-54999-2. $24.95.

George's superb procedural featuring Pittsburgh detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki is also a poignant tale of four abandoned children struggling to live with dignity against all odds. (LJ 6/1/09)

Gruley, Bryan. Starvation Lake. Touchstone: S. & S. ISBN 978-1-4165-6362-4. pap. $14.

Returning home in disgrace to Starvation Lake, MI, reporter Gus Carpenter digs into the town's secrets when a long-ago murder resurfaces. Gruley's riveting debut mixes investigative journalism, hockey, and a man who finds his moral fiber. (LJ 3/1/09)

Hayes, J.M. Server Down: A Mad Dog & Englishman Mystery. Poisoned Pen. ISBN 978-1-59058-627-3. $24.95.

The zany English family mobilizes when Mad Dog's house is blown up and he is wanted for the murder of a Tucson cop. Hayes blends humor, unforgettable characters, and a clever plot that is sure to stymie even the most astute reader. (LJ 4/1/09)

Rozan, S.J. The Shanghai Moon: A Lydia Chin/Bill Smith Mystery. Minotaur: St. Martin's. ISBN 978-0-312-24556-6. $24.95.

The missing jewelry of a Jewish family who sought refuge in 1930s Shanghai and the hunt for a Chinese cop who stole the valuables in 2008 make for an unusual case for PIs Chin and Smith, back after a seven-year hiatus. Rozan delivers one of her best. (LJ 1/09)

Webb, Betty. Desert Lost: A Lena Jones Mystery. Poisoned Pen. ISBN 978-1-59058-681-5. $24.95.

When PI Lena Jones attempts to help a friend save women from an ultraorthodox polygamous Mormon cult, she uncovers an ugly secret world and deadly danger. Webb's writing is superb, and her portrayal of the Scottsdale, AZ, area is compelling. (LJ 10/1/09)



Connelly, Michael. The Scarecrow. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-16630-0. $27.99.

This is a scary thriller starring reporter Jack McEvoy (from The Poet) and an even scarier look at the decline and fall of the newspaper industry. (LJ 4/15/09)

Doetsch, Richard. The 13th Hour. Atria: S. & S. ISBN 978-1-4391-4791-7. $25.99.

A man receives a chance to prove he did not murder his wife and to save her life (yes, you read that right) in this utterly original thriller. (LJ 11/1/09)

Gardner, Lisa. The Neighbor. Bantam. ISBN 978-0-553-80723-3. $25.

A mom tucks her daughter into bed and then vanishes. With a seemingly uninterested husband and a convicted sex offender living down the street as possible suspects, Gardner's twisty domestic thriller keeps readers guessing. (LJ 6/1/09)

Lawson, Mike. House Secrets. Atlantic Monthly. ISBN 978-0-8021-1885-1. $22.

A reporter's death ties in to the political aspirations of a powerful senator, and House troubleshooter Joe DeMarco will learn that DC is built on cover-ups and deception. An outstanding political thriller. (Xpress Reviews, 7/17/09)

Rollins, James. The Doomsday Key. Morrow. (Sigma Force). ISBN 978-0-06-123140-7. $27.99.

History, science, and action-adventure combine seamlessly in Rollins's best book to date, which focuses on a substance (the “Doomsday Key”) brought to England by ancient Egyptians that promises to be strong medicine. (LJ 6/1/09)






Notable Critic Sarah Weinman has come up with her Best of 2009 List

RAVENS, by George Dawes Green

A QUIET FLAME, by Philip Kerr


BURY ME DEEP, by Megan Abbott


THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST, by Stuart Neville


BONE BY BONE, by Carol O'Connell (technically published around the last day of 2008, but let's not be technical, shall we?)





The New York Times
Notable Crime Books of 2009
By Marilyn Stasio

Michael Connelly, THE SCARECROW (Little, Brown, $27.99)
Walter Mosely, THE LONG FALL (Riverhead, $25.95)
Ruth Rendell, THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT (Shaye Areheart, $25.00)
Jeffery Deaver, ROADSIDE CROSSES (Simon & Schuster, $26.95)
Sara Paretsky, HARDBALL (Putnam, $26.95)
Val McDermid, A DARKER DOMAIN (HarperCollins, $24.99)
Arnaldur Indridason, AN ARCTIC CHILL (Minotaur, $24.99)
Anders Roslund, BOX 21 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26.00)
Stieg Larsson, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (Knopf, $25.95)
Stuart Neville, THE GHOST OF BELFAST (U.K. title THE TWELVE) (Soho Press, $24.95)
Hannah Berry, BRITTEN AND BRÜLIGHTLY (Metropolitan/Holt, paper, $20.00)
Richard Lange, THIS WICKED WORLD (Little, Brown, $23.99)
Charlie Huston, THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH (Ballantine, $25.00)
Tarquin Hall, THE CASE OF THE MISSING SERVANT (Simon & Schuster, $24.00)
Emily Arsenault, THE BROKEN TEAGLASS (Delacorte, $25.00)
Alan Bradley, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE (Delacorte, $23.00)

For Ms. Stasio's commentary on these books go to: Notable Crime Books of 2009





Our friend Andrew Gulli (Editor) at the Strand Magazine has announced his Best of 2009 list:

1) A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS by R. J. Ellory (Overlook)

2) A PLAGUE OF SECRETS by John Lescroart (Dutton)

3) THE FURY by Jason Pinter (Mira)

4) TEA TIME FOR THE TRADITIONALLY BUILT by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)

5) ROADSIDE CROSSES by Jeffery Deaver (Simon & Schuster)

6) NINE DRAGONS by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)

7) 206 BONES by Kathy Reichs (Scribner)

8) LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's)

9) THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman (Viking)

10) DEXTER BY DESIGN by Jeff Lindsay (Doubleday)

11) THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)

12) THE BRUTAL TELLING by Louise Penny (Minotaur)

This looks like a great list. I confess that I haven't read many of the twelve, but as I look more closely, I wonder why, because many of my favorite writers are found there. Glad to see that Roger Ellory's wonderful novel (the first of his published in the U.S.) was rated the best of the year. It was a huge hit in the U.K.




Most publishers are going to online-only catalogs to try and save the expense of printing and mailing. So when I get a physical catalog nowadays it is much more a surprise event than it used to be. Just got the Spring/Summer 2010 catalog from Grand Central.
Here are some highlights to look forward to:
May, 2010
Scott Turow’s INNOCENT, which is a sequel to his best novel, PRESUMED INNOCENT.
Preston & Child’s FEVER DREAM, an Agent Pedergast novel.

June, 2010
Nelson DeMille’s THE LION, a return of John Corey and Kate Mayfield in pursuit of their old nemesis Asad Khalil.
Eric Van Lustbader’s THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE, the continuation of Robert Ludlum’s mega-series.

August, 2010
David Rosenfelt’s DOG TAGS, in which Andy Carpenter becomes involved in a court case to save a dog’s life.

I got a kick out of an example of the whole vampire fiction craze gone wild: In April GC is coming out with ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER. It kind of says it all, doesn’t it? 12/6,2009


dia DP #59 was a difficult birth. It arrived November 18th and was mailed on the 19th. I hope some of you have received yours by now. Am now working on updating this website. 11/27/2009


dia Bouchercon was wonderful! What a great event. Hope for a full report soon, but I've got to get the issue to the printer first. Stay tuned. 10/22/2009


dia The film version of Stieg Larsson's novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo now has a U.S. distributor. Variety reported that Music Box Films acquired the U.S. rights to the Swedish thriller, ‘which has grossed almost $100 million internationally and has still to open in Germany. The $13 million pic, the first in the 'Millennium' trilogy based on Stieg Larsson's international bestsellers, is slated for U.S. release early next year. It has been sold to 30 territories. . . . The next pic in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, has already taken $16 million from four foreign markets. The third film, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, is in post-production and will be released this year in Europe. [No word yet on whether they will be subtitled or dubbed for US release.] October 10, 2009 


diamond George Pelecanos has won the Hammett Prize for THE TURNAROUND. And Ken Bruen has won Grand Prix de la Littérature Policière 2009 for the French translation of THE PRIEST. October 10, 2009


diamond Friday morning I got an advance reading copy of A WHISPER TO THE LIVING by Stuart M. Kaminsky, the latest is his Rostnikov series. That was good news since I've been a long-time fan of this series, what I believe is his best work. Then that evening I got an email from Maggie Mason saying that Stuart M. Kaminsky had just died. How sad! He was only 75, which at my age is seeming younger and younger. He has had hepatitis since he was a young army medic in France during the 1950s and was seeking a liver transplant when he died suddenly after suffering a stroke. He will be remembered as a Grandmaster, having been honored as such by the Mystery Writers of America. October 10, 2009



Off-topic, but visually stunning. I grew up in New York but have lived in Utah since 1963 and have grown to love the beauty of this State. A friend sent me the following link:

It contains spectacular panoramic scenes of some of Utah's most prominent buildings and sites. The neat thing is you can left click and drag the mouse cursor around the photos and your perspective changes so that you can see them from all angles. Very cool. Be sure to click on the Salt Lake Library. It was built just in time for the Winter Olympics and is an architectural beauty. A monthly mystery reading group (Books to Die For) meets in the lower level of it.

I think you'll have a lot of fun with this and will appreciate the beauty of the photos. The Catholic Cathedral, Mormon Temple and State Capitol Building are worth looking at too.

October 7, 2009

diamond.jpg Maggie Mason passed on this news about the next Dennis Lehane novel. Boston mystery man Dennis Lehane is going back to the future. His next book is a sequel to his 1999 best-seller GONE, BABY, GONE, and is set 11 years after detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro’s toughest case.
“I thought I would never write about them again,” Lehane said. “Then all of a sudden I thought, what would it be like if a girl walked back into your life that was part of the most guilt-inducing decision you had ever made.”
“It’s 11 years later, and that same girl goes missing again. And now he’s gotta find her again,” he said. “Initially he doesn’t want to, but then he finds himself chasing this part of the past that almost destroyed him and every relationship he’s ever had. It’s something he never made peace with.”
As all good Lehane fans know, the GONE, BABY, GONE sequel is exciting news for several reasons. First off, it is the first Patrick-and-Angie book Lehane has written since his 2000 thriller PRAYERS FOR RAIN. And it will answer the question of whether the Dorchester detectives were ever able to get past their GONE, BABY, GONE emotional tsunami. But don’t expect Dennis to tell you how the tormented PI’s made out in the interim. Are they married? Estranged? Facebook friends??? “I can’t tell you,” he said. “You gotta read the book. I want my 25 bucks!”
The new novel, due next summer or early fall, will also answer the question of what became of some of Lehane’s most compelling supporting characters: kidnap victim Amanda McCready, who was 4-years-old when she vanished in GONE, BABY, GONE, and would be 15 in the new book, her screwed-up mother and the police detective who tried to rescue Amanda from her sorry lot. October 5, 2009



A book that I'm hearing a lot of very positive buzz about is John Connolly's THE GATES (Atria, $24.00). Maggie Mason clams it is the best mystery she's read this year. Bev DeWeese gave it an "A" in the issue coming out in a week or so. It is billed as a young adult novel, but adults seem to enjoy it on their level. Here is a review of it from the recent newsletter from the Seattle Mystery Bookstore:

If you were anywhere near me the last few days, you probably caught me laughing out loud with my nose buried in John Connolly’s new young-adult novel The Gates (Atria, $24.00, October 2009). It’s similar to his earlier work, The Book of Lost Things (Washington Square Press, $15.00), great for all of us kids.

            If you were extremely fortunate – or unfortunate, depending – I shoved it into your hands and had you read a passage.

            Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are showing initiative by going trick-or-treating on October 28th, to get a jump on the festivities.  But Mr. Anderson is so rude before slamming the door in their faces that Samuel and Boswell sit on a fence and stare at the house in puzzlement.  Therefore, they are the only ones to see what happens.

            You see, over in Switzerland, the Large Hadron Collider was doing what it was designed to do, create a mini-Big-Bang to see what happens.  But the Andersons and their friends, the Renfields, in an attempt to call up something supernatural, cause a small particle to break off and open a doorway to Hell, an occurrence that the Great Malevolence has been longing for for, well, forever.

            And then all Hell quite literally breaks loose in Biddlecombe, England.

            I never knew that the combination of physics and religion could provide such an entertaining background, but John Connolly has managed to pull it off.  With footnotes!

            Regarding the low level of crime in small towns, especially Biddlecombe, the Narrator says in such a footnote:

            “This is unlike the small towns in television detective shows, where so many people die that it’s a wonder there’s anyone left in the town to kill by the end of the first series.  You’d imagine that some of the residents might wonder about this and think, “Hmmm, our town appears to be populated entirely by murderers, or people about to be murdered, and since we’re not murderers then we must be potential victims.  Marjorie, grab the kids and the dog.  We’re going to live in New Zealand. . .”

            The Gates is a fabulous, funny, entertaining and at times remarkably educational book, and it has simply enchanted me.  If you have an ounce of whimsy in you along with a love of rooting for the underdog, it will enchant you as well.   

October 3, 2009



I get a lot of unrequested arcs and books published by small presses sent to me nowadays. I generally ignore most of them because I don't have time to get to all of the "good stuff" published by the big boys that I would like to read. When I send them out to reviewers they generally get ignored. Every once in awhile I'll hear some buzz about a small press book and that will get me to take more notice and then even more infrequently I'll take a chance on a book and start reading it. The latter circumstance is what happened to me with HOUND by Vincent McCaffrey (Small Beer Press, 24.00). It's a nicely produced hardcover about a bookhound (book scout/seller) who gets involved in a murder mystery. I am quite impressed by the opening paragraphs:

"Death was, after all, the way Henry made his living. The books he sold were most often the recent property of people who had died. Book lovers never gave up the good ones without a cause. But then, the books which people sold willingly were not the ones Henry really wanted. The monthly public library sales were stacked high with those -- the usual titles for a dollar apiece, yesterday's best sellers, last year's hot topics.

But not always. Occasionally, some relative -- often the child who never cared much for Dad's preoccupation with medieval history or Mom's obsession with old cookbooks -- would drop the burden their parents had so selfishly placed upon them by dying, and there they would be, in great careless mounds on the folding tables in the libary basement or conference room. Always dumped too quickly by a "volunteer" from the "friends" committee, with the old dust jackets tearing one against the other."

This type of writing strikes a warm chord with me as a book lover so I will be reading and reporting on this book. The first-time author will be attending Bouchercon this year. 9/22/2009


diamond.jpg Bouchercon in Indianapolis is shaping up to be a very good one. Mike Bursaw, one of the organizers, reports that the number of attendees should exceed the number who attended last year in Baltimore. Considering the state of the economy, that seems quite a feat. If one is attracted to big name mystery writers then this convention should please. With the likes of Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, Lee Child, Sara Paretsky, David Morrell, Louise Penny, Harlan Coben, S.J. Rozan, C.J. Box, Laurie R. King and Peter Lovesey attending, one can't help but be impressed. But there are others (personal favorites) that likewise get me excited to attend: Michael Robotham, Barry Maitland, Chelsea Cain, Max Allan Collins, R.J. Ellory, Brett Battles, Sean Chercover, Barry Eisler, Chris Knopf, Kent Krueger, Mike Lawson, Jonathan Santlofer, Joseph Finder and the list goes on and on. I hope to see many of you there.


diamond.jpg I'm sad to inform you that Canadian mystery writer and reviewer Lyn Hamilton has passed away at age 65 after a battle with cancer. I always enjoyed our chats at Bouchercon. She was a classy lady and will be missed. 9/22/2009



The Barry Award Ballots are due this Wednesday, September 9th, so please email me your choices at:


TRIGGER CITY by Sean Chercover
THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldur Indridason
ENVY THE NIGHT by Michael Koryta
RED KNIFE by William Kent Krueger
DAWN PATROL by Don Winslow

THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson
STALKING SUSAN by Julie Kramer
CITY OF THE SUN by David Levien
CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith
A CARRION DEATH by Michael Stanley
SWEEPING UP GLASS by Carolyn D. Wall

RITUAL by Mo Hayder
SHATTER by Michael Robotham

THE FIRST QUARRY by Max Allan Collins
MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust
THE BLACK PATH by Asa Larsson
SEVERANCE PACKAGE by Duane Swierczynski

COLLISION by Jeff Abbott
THE DECEIVED by Brett Battles
FINDER by Colin Harrison
NIGHT OF THUNDER by Stephen Hunter
GOOD PEOPLE by Marcus Sakey

"The Drought" by James O. Born (The Blue Religion)
"The Fallen" by Jan Burke (August EQMM) "A Trace of a Trace" by Brendan DuBois (At the Scene of the Crime)
"A Killing in Midtown" by G. Miki Hayden (January/February AHMM)
"Proof of Love" by Mick Herron (September/October EQMM)
"The Problem of the Secret Patient" by Edward D. Hoch (May EQMM)
September 7, 2009



The CWA has announced the short lists for three more of their major awards:

The CWA Gold Dagger

IN THE DARK, Mark Billingham
HIT AND RUN, Lawrence Block
A WHISPERED NAME, William Broderick

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger

THE BRASS VERDICT, Michael Connelly
DARK PLACES, Gillian Flynn
CALUMET CITY, Charlie Newton
MOSCOW RULES, Daniel Silva
THE TOURIST, Olen Steinhauer

The CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger

SWEETSMOKE, David Fuller
OLD CITY HALL, Robert Rotenberg

I'm fairly impressed by the nominees this year.  Some very good books, some of which I've read and liked quite a bit (Kate Atkinson, Lawrence Block, Michael Connelly, John Hart, Daniel Silva, James Green).  There are several that I wanted to read but didn't have a chance to.  The Ian Fleming still seems to have a much different idea of what a thriller is than we do.  Gillian Flynn?  Three of them are police procedurals.  Olen Steinhauer is very good but his prose doesn't have the pacing to be considered "thrilling," although I have not read THE TOURIST yet so I may be wrong with my assessment.  I read the Andrew Williams and liked it but I never felt a sense of danger in it.  The John Hart and the Daniel Silva are the only ones that I would categorize as thrillers.  Ironically, I consider Lawrence Block's HIT AND RUN, nominated for the Gold Dagger, as possibly the best thriller I read last year, yet it isn't nominated under that category.

Mr Hall's THE CORONER is a first novel, yet nominated for a Gold Dagger.

September 7,2009



Maggie Mason reports some very nice news about one of our favorite people in the mystery fiction scene, Marv Lachman. He has been chosen as Fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2011 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Congratulation, Marv! His list of accomplishments is too large to mention here, but I just want to say how much I value his contributions to Deadly Pleasures and to the Barry Awards. Few fans (if any) have the perspective (60+ years of reading, studying and writing about mysteries) and knowledge of mystery fiction that he has. ( )

I don't go to Left Coast Crime very often, but I may be tempted to go to this one, especially in light of Marv's being honored. Other guests of honor are Martin Cruz Smith and Margaret Coel. Santa Fe, New Mexico in March would be a very pleasant respite from the winter cold in Utah.

  If I do go, I hope to see some of you there.
  August 27, 2009



Shamus Award Nominations 2009

Best Hardcover:
Salvation Boulevard by Larry Beinhart (Nation Books)
Empty Ever After by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books)
The Blue Door by David Fulmer (Harcourt)
The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (Wm. Morrow)
The Ancient Rain by Domenic Stansberry (St. Martin's Minotaur)

Best First PI Novel:
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer (Doubleday)
Swann's Last Song by Charles Salzberg (Five Star)
The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang (Simon & Schuster)
In the Heat by Ian Vasquez (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson (St Martin's Minotaur)

Best Paperback Original:
Snow Blind by Lori Armstrong (Medallion)
Shot Girl by Karen Olson (Obsidian)
The Stolen by Jason Pinter (MIRA)
The Black Hand by Will Thomas (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster)
The Evil That Men Do by Dave White (Crown/Three Rivers Press)

Best Short Story:
"Family Values" by Mitch Alderman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2008)
"Last Island South" by John C. Boland (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Sep/Oct 2008)
"The Blonde Tigress" by Max Allan Collins (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, June 2008)
"Discovery" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Nov 2008)
"Panic on Portage Path" by Dick Stodghill (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008)

August 24, 2009



More and more prominent mystery writers are getting into the graphic novel/comic arena. In the recent past we have seen Max Allan Collins (CSI), Greg Rucka (Queen & Country) and Denise Mina lend their talents to this hip medium.

Now, Ian Rankin, the top-selling crime writer in the U.K. (and not too shabby here in the U.S.), has collaborated with artist Werther Dell'Edera to create DARK ENTRIES (Vertigo Crime, $19.99, August 25, 2009). I'm in the middle of it (very dark) and will review it in the next issue. August 3, 2009



I've already planned the cover articles for the next two issues.

DP #59 will be on Irish mystery writers. I'm struggling with this question: Is there something different about Irish writers and thair writing that sets them apart from writers of other nationalities (American, English) in how they treat setting, characterization and plotting? Or should they be considered another offshoot of British crime writing? If any of you have thoughts on that, please email me at

DP #60 will be on First Novels of 2009 -- looks like a bumper year -- especially compared to last year. If any of you read a first mystery/crime novel that you would recommend for extra treatment in the cover article, please email me. August 1, 2009



diamond.jpg I got a kick out of comments on the recent Harrowgate Crime Festival in England by the Guardian's Stuart Evers (as reported by Sarah Weinman on her site):

About mid-way through their joint event at last weekend's Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, there was a palpable crackle of tension between Booker prize winner John Banville and Cartier Diamond Dagger recipient Reginald Hill. Appearing as Benjamin Black – his crime writing alter-ego – Banville was asked to describe the difference between writing his literary novels and his genre work. His answer went to the heart of a debate that bubbled under in many of the seminars and panels: why isn't crime writing taken more seriously?

Writing under his own name, Banville manages around 100 sweated-over, teased, honed and polished words a day; but as Benjamin Black, he can manage a couple of thousand. The intimation was quite clear, "Black's" sentences simply weren't as important. Perhaps realising what he'd unwittingly said, he tried to backtrack, but the damage was done and there was more fuel for his critics. "He's slumming it," author Ruth Dudley Edwards said the following day. "He says he isn't, but he is."

Hill's reaction to this was not to defend the crime writing art, but to deliver a piquant rejoinder. "When I get up in the morning," he said dryly, "I ask my wife whether I should write a Booker prize winning novel, or another bestselling crime book. And we always come down on the side of the crime book." It got the biggest laugh of the weekend, but it did have a serious point. As author and critic Laura Wilson said later, Hill "should have won the Booker already".

Amen to that, sister! August 1, 2009


diamond.jpg All too often of late has this news page been turned into an obituary column. Once again a mainstay of mystery fiction has left the scene. William G. Tapply, author of the Brady Coyne series, died July 28 after a two-year battle with leukemia. He is survived by his mystery-writing wife Vicky Stiefel and three children. I've long been a fan of the Brady Coyne series and will miss Bill and his writing. August 1, 2009


diamond.jpg Issue #58 is in the mail. Now I can get back to normal life and do some serious reading. July 29, 2009


diamond.jpg This from Maggie Mason: "At the San Diego Ca. Comic Con, Charlaine Harris was a big hit. True Blood is playing an expanding part of the convention since its debut last year.
The SD convention and visitors bureau provided do not disturb signs to the area hotels. Deep red and black, One side says "please do not disturb, the undead aren't morning people" and the other says "Please clean this room, we've stepped out for a bite."
The panel had creator Alan Ball, Charlaine, and most of the cast. "Jason Stackhouse" was absent, filming a movie out of the country. There was a lot of applause and cheers for all the panel participants. Charlaine got big cheers. (I think the biggest cheers went to "Eric", surprising some of the people near me in the audience). Alan Ball revealed that right before the new season premiere, a blood orange drink "True Blood" will hit the market. You can find it in stores, or order it from HBO.
The moderator asked each panelist a question, then it was on to the audience members who lined up right away. Sadly, time ran out before all questions were asked. Charlaine did reveal she has a new book contract to wild cheers and hoots.
After the panel, the audience was given a ticket to redeem for a goodie bag, like last year. This year's bag had a T shirt (mine said "It hurts so good", a paperback of of Living Dead in Dallas with Bill and Sookie on the cover, a spiral notebook with the same cover, and a card with a code for 15% discount on True Blood purchases at the HBO store, good thru 8-31-09.
True Blood sponsored the masquerade, which I'm sure will end up on You Tube.
Congrats to Charlaine. It's nice to see great things happen to nice people." July 27, 2009


dia DP #58 is at the printer as of this afternoon. Hope to mail early next week. Life always interrupts. This time is has been a full kitchen remodel. We've been without a sink, dishwasher, countertops, oven, cooktop, etc. for about a month now. Everything was torn out down to the floor boards (and even some of those were cut to run a natural gas line and to re-route some water lines. At least we are finished with the demolition phase. The tile is in and the pantry (small room) is dry-walled and the shelves should all be in by the end of tomorrow. Then it's painting and soon (we hope) kitchen cabinets and appliances. I feel like I've been living in a dust bowl for the last 4 weeks. I know that others have serious problems (and this is not one), so I hope you don't mind me griping a little at my discomfort. I'm sure it will be nice when it is all done. But it has been a major distraction in my life. Haven't gotten much reading done lately either. July 22, 2009



Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine and Mystery News are pleased to announce the nominations for the 2009 Barry Awards. A really nice list of titles and stories. Congratulations to all of the nominees. The winners will be announced at this year's Bouchercon in Indianapolis.


TRIGGER CITY by Sean Chercover
THE DRAINING LAKE by Arnaldur Indridason
ENVY THE NIGHT by Michael Koryta
RED KNIFE by William Kent Krueger
DAWN PATROL by Don Winslow

THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson
STALKING SUSAN by Julie Kramer
CITY OF THE SUN by David Levien
CHILD 44 by Tom Rob Smith
A CARRION DEATH by Michael Stanley
SWEEPING UP GLASS by Carolyn D. Wall

RITUAL by Mo Hayder
SHATTER by Michael Robotham

THE FIRST QUARRY by Max Allan Collins
MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust
THE BLACK PATH by Asa Larsson
SEVERANCE PACKAGE by Duane Swierczynski

COLLISION by Jeff Abbott
THE DECEIVED by Brett Battles
FINDER by Colin Harrison
NIGHT OF THUNDER by Stephen Hunter
GOOD PEOPLE by Marcus Sakey

"The Drought" by James O. Born (The Blue Religion)
"The Fallen" by Jan Burke (August EQMM) "A Trace of a Trace" by Brendan DuBois (At the Scene of the Crime)
"A Killing in Midtown" by G. Miki Hayden (January/February AHMM)
"Proof of Love" by Mick Herron (September/October EQMM)
"The Problem of the Secret Patient" by Edward D. Hoch (May EQMM)
June 18, 2009




I found this in the Seattle Mystery Bookstore newsletter -- an interesting take on how the economic downturn affects a mystery bookstore and its book collecting clientele:

"There are many ways that an economic downturn can impact a shop like ours. Sales, obviously, have been impacted and we’re ordering a few less copies of this or that – 8 hardbacks instead of 10, or 4 paperbacks instead of 6 – but it is also affecting print runs.

            We’ve run into an on-going wrinkle that has been happening more and more, perhaps more frequently now than before the economic slump: publishers are cutting back their print runs. This doesn’t matter with an author who is going to have only 3 million copies printed instead of 5 million. But it can matter a great deal if you prefer the ‘mid-list’ or debut author, that writer who doesn’t regularly show up on the corporate bestseller lists but can and will show up on ours.

            If you’re an average reader, you probably wouldn’t notice it. Possibly, we might have longer stretches when we’re out of this or that paperback. We would guess that they’ve scaled back print runs on all books, mass markets, trade paperbacks and hardcover. But where it becomes dicey is if you’re a collector.

            When we place an order for books for an autographing, we normally order them from the publisher. It helps reinforce the idea that they’re spending the money to send their author to us and we’re spending our money to get the books from them; they support us by sending their author here and we support them by ordering the author’s titles.  It ought to be one of those closed, reciprocal systems.  

            But there are times when it won’t work. Sometimes we can’t get 1st printings from a given author’s publisher. Sometimes it is a matter of how long we’ve waited to place the order. Sometimes it is a matter of how many signings they’ve set up across the country before they get to the Pacific Northwest corner. If everyone else who has had the signing scheduled before they get to us has placed their orders for stock, we may’ve missed out on 1st printings.

            We just ran into this with Louise Ure. We sent in an order and asked to be notified if 1sts were not available (we’ve learned to do this, you see) and, lo and behold, we were notified that Liars Anonymous had gone into a 2nd printing. We canceled the order and got 1st print copies from a local wholesaler.

            So the moral of the story is that, if you’re a collector, don’t wait to get a copy thinking we’ll have plenty after the signing. We might, but we very well might not. (These days, we are trying to NOT have piles and piles of signed copies left after signings!)  The only way to make sure you have a signed 1st print waiting for you is to reserve one as early as you can.  It’s another one of those sympathetic systems: you let us know you want one, that helps us know how many to order and you are assured of getting a signed 1st for your shelves." May 21, 2009



Barry Award Nominations and Anthony Award Nominees. We try to get the Barry Award Nominations out before the Anthony Nominations because there are often similarities and we don't want anyone to think we are copying them. This year Mystery News is handling the Barry Awards -- specifically Lynn Kaczmarek. I emailed Lynn a few days ago and found that she has had a very rough last couple of months. Her mother's health has been failing and she has had to spend a lot of time in Arizona moving her mother into an assisted living facility. I've offered to help with the nomination process, but as of right now, Lynn still wants to do it. So that is why the Barry Nominations are understandably delayed a bit this year. Lynn, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother.

Anthony Award Nominees. See list below. It looks like the Anthony Awards wrestled with two of the most highly praised novels of last year: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and CHILD 44 (both Reviewed to Death titles in our magazine). They are not only stunningly good first novels but are among the best of all the mystery/crime novels published last year. So where do you put them? Under Best First Novel and/or Best Novel? And if you put them under the same category will their popularity cancel each other out? My suggestion to the Barry Nominating Committee was to put one under Best Novel and one under Best First. We'll see if the committee members agree and do it that way.

I thought it was interesting that three of the five nominees for Best First Novel are cozies. That should ensure that, at least under this category, the Anthony and the Barry nominees will be different (our nominating committee members generally don't read much in this area -- except for Maggie Mason and Beth Fedyn). Also interesting under the Best Paperback Original category, four out of five nominees are written by women. This category seems to ignore some of the fine paperback originals published in trade paperback last year (none nominated). The Best Novel short list is very strong. It seems that Kent Krueger is the perennial favorite of this category, having won in the Best Novel Anthony twice in the recent past. May 21, 2009





Best Novel
Trigger City by Sean Chercover [William Morrow]
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly [Little, Brown and Company]
Red Knife by William Kent Krueger [Atria]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny [Minotaur]

Best First Novel
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris [Minotaur]
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer [Doubleday]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet [Midnight Ink]
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith [Grand Central]

Best Paperback Original
The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins [Hard Case Crime]
Money Shot by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime]
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy [Berkley]
In a Dark Season by Vicki Lane [Dell]
South of Hell by P.J. Parrish [Pocket Star]

Best Short Story
"The Night Things Changed" by Dana Cameron from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe [Ace]
"A Sleep Not Unlike Death" by Sean Chercover from Hardcore Hardboiled [Kensington]
"Killing Time" by Jane K. Cleland from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (November)
"Skull and Cross Examination" by Toni L. P. Kelner from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (February)
"Scratch a Woman" by Laura Lippman from Hardly Knew Her [William Morrow]
"The Secret Lives of Cats" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (July)

Best Critical Nonfiction Work
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey [McFarland]
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson [Perseverance Press]
Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography by Jeffrey Marks [McFarland]
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale [Walker & Company]

Best Cover Art
Death Was the Other Woman designed by David Rotstein and written by Linda L. Richards [Minotaur]
Death Will Get You Sober designed by David Rotstein and written by Elizabeth Zelvin [Minotaur]
The Fault Tree designed by David Rotstein and written by Louise Ure [Minotaur]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo designed by Peter Mendelsund and written by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
Money Shot designed by Steve Cooley and written by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime]

Special Service Award
Jon and Ruth Jordan
Ali Karim
David Montgomery
Gary Warren Niebuhr
Sarah Weinman


dia No news for awhile because I was sick (bronchitis) and recently changed to a new computer and I've had trouble with my website program (Dreamweaver) on my new computer. Please be patient. I will get some news up soon. 5/21/2009




Larry Gandle didn't attend the Edgars this year, but called with the winners anyway.


BLUE HEAVEN by C.J. Box (St. Martin's Minotaur) – Winner

MISSING by Karin Alvtegen (Felony & Mayhem Press)
SINS OF THE ASSASSIN by Robert Ferrigno (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
THE PRICE OF BLOOD by Declan Hughes (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
THE NIGHT FOLLOWING by Morag Joss (Random House – Delacorte Press)
CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)


THE FOREIGNER by Francie Lin (Picador) – Winner

THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson (Five Star, div of Cengage)
SWEETSMOKE by David Fuller (Hyperion)
CALUMET CITY by Charlie Newton (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
A CURE FOR NIGHT by Justin Peacock (Random House - Doubleday)


CHINA LAKE by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries) – Winner

THE PRINCE OF BAGRAM PRISON by Alex Carr (Random House Trade)
MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust (Hard Case Crime)
ENEMY COMBATANT by Ed Gaffney (Random House - Dell)
THE COLD SPOT by Tom Piccirilli (Random House - Bantam)

I'm glad for Chuck Box. 4/30/2009


dia DP #57 got mailed yesterday. This was a particularly difficult issue to get done and mailed due to a number of interruptions to my life. I've found that in order to get the issue in finished form I need large blocks of uninterrupted time and those were in short supply. I hope you enjoy it. There is a lot of good information in it. Now what I need is a block of uninterrupted time to update this website -- which I hope to find in the next week. Stay tuned. 4/28/2009


dia I earlier reported that Michael Robotham's SHATTER was going to be published in the U.S. under a different title, but now it seems that reason have prevailed and it will retain its name, SHATTER. It is a stunning book and highly recommended. 3/11/2009



2008 Agatha Nominees

Best Novel:
Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry (Random House)
I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel:
Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Atwell (Berkley Trade)
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis (Penguin Group)
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris (Minotaur Books)
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
Paper, Scissors, Death by Joanna Campbell Slan (Midnight Ink)



dia Sarah Weinman has reported the true identity of Spencer Quinn, author of the best-selling DOG GONE IT, which was marketed as a first novel. But it now is revealed that is was written by veteran Peter Abrahams. So there goes the Best First Novel Award nominations for this charmingly good read. Oh well. 3/11/2009


dia It seems that notices of the death of mystery writers are coming with all too much frequency of late. The death of Florida mystery writer Barbara Parker, age 62, is the latest. She is most known for her Gail Connor/Anthony Quintana series. 3/11/2009


dia The Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Mystery/Thrillers:

Colin Harrison, THE FINDER (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Michael Koryta, ENVY THE NIGHT (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Simon Lewis, BAD TRAFFIC (Scribner)
Nina Revoyr, THE AGE OF DREAMING (Akashic Books)
Tom Rob Smith, CHILD 44 (Grand Central Publishing)

Prizes are awarded at a ceremony on April 24, the night before the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books gets started. 3/11/2009


dia We've sung the praises of Stieg Larsson's THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (my favorite book of 2008) ad nauseum. Its sequel THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE came out in the U.K. this month and rose quickly to the number one spot on the hardcover best-seller list. First editions are already in short supply (do the Brits ever print enough?) , so if you want one, you'd better get crackin'. 1/28/2009



When a title comes out in the U.K. and then comes out with a different title here (or visa versa), it really annoys me. Here are the latest two examples:

Michael Robotham's stunning and well-named novel SHATTER will be known in the U.S. by the nebulous title of SLEEP OF REASON. Duhhh?

American author Brian Freeman has the fourth in his Jonathan Stride series coming out at the end of March in the U.S. under the title of IN THE DARK. This same book has already been out in hardcover from Headline in the U.K. for several weeks under the title THE WATCHER. Serious collectors of this series will get the U.K. edition, as it is the true first. But why the delay of the U.S. edition? 1/28/2009



Talked with my friend Mystery Mike (Bursaw) over the weekend. He is one of the chairmen of this year's Bouchercon in Indianapolis and he told me that the convention hotel is filling up fast. 85% of the allocated rooms have been reserved to date. So if you are going and want to stay in the convention hotel, you should reserve now. The overflow hotel is right across the street and is connected by a walkway, so if you leave the decision until later, you'll probably be o.k. A second overflow hotel is 600 feet away.

Hope economic times don't keep people from attending. We all need the lift a Bouchercon gives us.

At Bouchercon I usually share a room with Mystery Mike, but since Bouchercon this year is in his home town, that won't be happening. I've got my hotel room reserved (two queen beds) and am looking for a roommate -- preferably someone I know. Seems a shame to pay full hotel rates for a room I spend very,very little time in. January 27, 2009



Good news for Rennie Airth fans. The third John Madden, THE DEAD OF WINTER, is coming out in England in May. It is set in the London Blitz.

Stephen Booth's next Fry/Cooper, THE KILL CALL, will be published in April.

Mo Hayder's SKIN (March), will not only see a return of DI Jack Caffery, but also the enigmatic police diver Flea Marley, introduced to us in last year's RITUAL.

Robert Wilson will be completing his Javier Falcon trilogy in March with THE IGNORANCE OF BLOOD.

In May, John Harvey's FAR CRY tries to answer the question: What are the chances of that a child abduction should happen to the same woman years apart and with different husbands? January 27, 2009


dia It's official! In one of the least significant news releases you will read this year, St. Martin's Minotaur has changed its name to Minotaur Books. Whoowee! Break out the champagne! On a more serious side, they still have one of the very best mystery fiction lines in the business and I, for one, wish them continued success. 1/27/2009



The Edgar Award nominations are out. If possible, this year's list is more eclectic than usual. I haven't read most of them, so I can't comment on the quality of the overall list, but Larry Gandle, who is going to read three of the fiction novel lists for the magazine, is already grumbling. He tries to read some of the books getting the most positive buzz during the year so when the nominees come out he will have read a few of the nominees already. He hasn't read any of the nominated books this year.

The Edgars may garner the same type of criticism that the CWA in Britain got a few years ago because three out of the six nominees for Best Novel are not American.

I'm happy with the C.J. Box and Alex Carr (Jenny Siler) nominations.



MISSING by Karin Alvtegen (Felony & Mayhem Press)
BLUE HEAVEN by C.J. Box (St. Martin's Minotaur)
SINS OF THE ASSASSIN by Robert Ferrigno (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)
THE PRICE OF BLOOD by Declan Hughes (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
THE NIGHT FOLLOWING by Morag Joss (Random House – Delacorte Press)
CURSE OF THE SPELLMANS by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster)


THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson (Five Star)
SWEETSMOKE by David Fuller (Hyperion)
THE FOREIGNER by Francie Lin (Picador)
CALUMET CITY by Charlie Newton (Simon & Schuster - Touchstone)
A CURE FOR NIGHT by Justin Peacock (Random House - Doubleday)


THE PRINCE OF BAGRAM PRISON by Alex Carr (Random House Trade)
MONEY SHOT by Christa Faust (Hard Case Crime)
ENEMY COMBATANT by Ed Gaffney (Random House - Dell)
CHINA LAKE by Meg Gardiner (New American Library – Obsidian Mysteries)
THE COLD SPOT by Tom Piccirilli (Random House - Bantam)


"A Sleep Not Unlike Death" - Hardcore Hardboiled by Sean Chercover (Kensington Publishing)
"Skin and Bones" – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by David Edgerley Gates (Dell Magazines)
"Scratch of a Woman" - Hardly Knew Her by Laura Lippman (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
"La Vie en Rose" - Paris Noir by Dominique Mainard (Akashic Books
"Skinhead Central" - The Blue Religion by T. Jefferson Parker (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)


"Streetwise" – Law & Order: SVU, Teleplay by Paul Grellong (Wolf Films/NBC Universal)
"Prayer of the Bone" – Wire in the Blood, Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson (BBC America)
"Signature" – Law & Order: SVU, Teleplay by Judith McCreary (Wolf Films/NBC Universal)
"You May Now Kill the Bride" – CSI: Miami, Teleplay by Barry O'Brien (CBS)
"Burn Card" – Law & Order, Teleplay by David Wilcox (Wolf Films/NBC Universal)


The Bank Job, Screenplay by Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (Lionsgate)
Burn After Reading, Screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Focus Features)
In Bruges, Screenplay by Martin McDonagh (Focus Features)
Tell No One, Screenplay by Guillaume Canet, based on the book by Harlan Coben (Music Box Films)
Transsiberian, Screenplay by Brad Anderson & Will Conroy (First Look International)


"Buckner's Error" - Queens Noir by Joseph Guglielmelli (Akashic Books)


James Lee Burke
Sue Grafton


Edgar Allan Poe Society, Baltimore, Maryland
Poe House, Baltimore, Maryland


SACRIFICE by S.J. Bolton (St. Martin's Minotaur)
THE KILLER'S WIFE by Bill Floyd (St. Martin's Minotaur)
STALKING SUSAN by Julie Kramer (Random House - Doubleday)
A SONG FOR YOU by Betsy Thornton (St. Martin's Minotaur)
THE FAULT TREE by Louise Ure (St. Martin's Minotaur) 1/16/2009


dia Some of my favorite authors have been dying recently. Added to the list is John Mortimer, the author of the Rumpole series among others. This was just a day after the announcement that the Strand Magazine was giving John Mortimer a Lifetime Achievement Award. Sad on a number of levels. It has just dawned on me that the two authors who give me the most comedic enjoyment in mystery fiction have just passed away. Where will I find a good laugh now? 1/16/2009


dia The arc of EVEN by Andrew Grant arrived yesterday. This is the first novel by Lee Child's younger brother. I couldn't resist a peak (I'm on page 55) and am pleased with what I've sampled so far. There are some similarities between their characters and manners of writing, so I suspect that unless I change my mind by the end of the book, I'll be able to recommend this to Lee Child fans (that's everybody, right?) 1/13/2009


dia Today is Tuesday, January 13th. The plan is to mail DP 56 tomorrow, if the issues are delivered from the printer timely. Cross your fingers. 1/13/2009


dia Here's some great news! It has just been announced that Andrew Taylor will be the recipient of the CWA Diamond Dagger (Lifetime Achievement). I've been a fan of Andrew's since his first book, CAROLINE MINISCULE -- a gem. I know many of you are fans of his also and are as delighted as I am. 1/13/2009



On a better note, I've been working on the latest issue of DP and hope to have it to the printer next week. I had wished to have it printed by now, but I've forgotten how much the Holidays interfere with normal life.

I've been sneaking a peak (o.k., I'll confess that I'm on page 100) at an arc of John Hart's next book THE LAST CHILD that arrived a few days ago. This guy can really write! Sure to be one of my favorites for 2009. 1/1/2009



Our New Year's celebrations will certainly be tempered by the devastating news that a giant of mystery/crime fiction has passed away. Donald E. Westlake died suddenly at the age of 75 on his way to a New Year's Eve celebration in San Tencho, Mexico.Now Larry Block is the remaining survivor of the big three who came out of New York City in the late '40s and early '50s -- Ed McBain, Lawrence Block and Donald E. Westlake. We can only hope that Larry's demanding exercise regime will keep him with us for many years to come.

Equally at home with the comic caper and the hardboiled crime novel, Don was a master of his craft.

I had the pleasure of conversing with him on two occasions. A most engaging and charming man. On one of the occasions I had just finished reading his book TRUST ME ON THIS, a comic crime novel about a reporter for a National Enquirer-type tabloid. Some of the stories that the reporter worked on were hilariously over-the-top. I commented on this and his reply was that he had a mole/source within a tabloid newspaper and that every outrageous story mentioned was in fact a story that was worked on. He laughed and laughted at that. It gave him great pleasure to surprise me with that fact.

2009 will be all uphill from here. 1/1/2009



There are a lot of books announced for 2009 that may be of interest to you. Here are a few:

February, 2009. SPADE & ARCHER by Joe Gores (Alfred Knopf, $24.00). The Prequel to THE MALTESE FALCON. This novel chronicles how Sam Spade set up his P.I. agency in 1921 and how he came to take on Miles Archer as a partner. My friend Mystery Mike has read this and said that he enjoyed it very much.

February, 2009. CAPE DISAPPOINTMENT by Earl Emerson (Ballantine, $25.00). It's nice to see PI. Thomas Black return after many years away. Black and his girlfriend Kathy are working for opposing senatorial candidates from the state of Washington. Then one candidate's plane goes down with Kathy on it.

March, 2009. FAULT LINE by Barry Eisler (Ballantine, $25.00). Stand-alone thriller. When patent attorney Alex Treven is attacked and his client is killed, he turns to his black ops brother Ben for protection.

April, 2009. THE SECRET SPEECH by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central, $24.99). Sequel to CHILD 44. Leo Demidov has been rewarded for service to the State (chronicled in CHILD 44) and has been granted authority to establish a homicide department in Moscow. But one shouldn't think that things are looking up for Leo -- after all, this is still Stalinist Russia.