Sunday 30 January 2022

February Books from Bookoutre

Don't Look Back is by D K Hood. Jenna Alton was once an FBI agent who would stop at nothing to put those who hurt the innocent behind bars. An addictive short-read about how she became Black Rock Falls’ most loved sheriff. He grabs at her hair, pulling hard. She doesn’t scream like he wants her to. Instead, she grits her teeth and waits for her chance to escape. Then she runs harder than she has ever run in her life. As she hears his angry footsteps gaining on her, she prays that she makes it out of there alive… Undercover FBI agent Jenna Alton has been playing wife to dangerous criminal husband Michael Carlos for four years. Tonight she plans to make her escape. But as she gathers her belongings together, she hears something that stops her in her tracks – he’s taken a young girl called Mandy, and she’s being held somewhere close. Jenna knows what she must do – find the child and get her to safety – even if it means risking her own life. As Michael hosts a party at their secluded home, Jenna pretends to play his doting wife, whilst desperately searching for Mandy. She takes a deep breath as she walks past her husband’s office door. If he catches her, he’ll kill her. Jenna’s already sacrificed so much, but innocent lives will be lost if she doesn’t leave the house tonight.With the clock ticking, can Jenna save the innocent little girl and get them both out alive?

Francesca Eve thought she was prepared for anything at the events she caters for in her pretty little Shropshire village. Missing canapés? No problem. Burnt brownies? A piece of cake… But a dead body? Now that’s a recipe for disaster. Francesca is nervous about catering her first ever murder mystery party, but it’s clear from the clink of champagne flutes and piles of empty plates that the evening is a roaring success. The guests look spectacular in their disguises, whispering and giggling as they try to identify who killed beautiful young Becky. But days later the game takes a sinister turn when Becky is found poisoned, and all the signs point to the culprit being a party guest. From the woman having an affair to the guest hiding her true identity, everyone had a secret – and it turns out that Becky knew them all. As Fran finds herself centre-stage in a real-life murder mystery, the finger of suspicion points at each guest in turn. And Fran starts to wonder, were any of these secrets dangerous enough to kill for? Then the body of a second guest is found, and it becomes clear a deranged killer is going off-script. It seems anyone who was involved in the game that night is in their sights, even Fran. Can she unmask the murderer before the final curtain falls? Death in Disguise is by Emma Davies.

Black Orchid Girls is by Carolyn Arnold. The first rays of sun filter through the tall trees, casting a faint light on the girl lying at the water’s edge. Her tears have frozen on her pale face, a black orchid rests against her cold white skin. When hikers find the body of a beautiful young girl on the banks of the Potomac River, Detective Amanda Steele is shaken and confused. What is the significance of the delicate flower resting on the girl’s torso? A sign of affection, or a twisted killer’s calling card? The girl is Chloe Somner, a local nineteen-year-old ecology student well-known to the park rangers and loved by all her classmates. Searching Chloe’s home, Amanda can’t work out who could have tempted her to the water in the early hours of the morning, but a long night hunting through cold cases gives her a possible lead: twenty years ago another local girl was murdered, a red rose left on her body. But why would this killer strike again now? Focused on the past, the last thing Amanda expects is the news that Chloe’s roommate has been found dead, another black orchid left. Terrified that more innocent victims will follow, can Amanda uncover the significance of the flowers and stop this cold-hearted killer before he returns for the next orchid girl…?

Head of the family crime business, and with a new guy in her life, things have never been better for Scarlet Drew. Working with her aunt Lily on their biggest ever job – revenge on the woman who set fire to their factory, with Lily’s daughter trapped inside – Scarlet is suddenly dragged into the local police station to answer questions about the death of a local gangster. The face she sees across the interview table shocks her to her core. It’s her new boyfriend, JohnHours later, John is banging on Scarlet’s door, telling her he loves her and she can trust him. Can Scarlet risk believing the only man she’s ever loved, or is she putting her family in unthinkable danger?As the night of Lily’s plan draws near, the police come knocking once again. This time with evidence that could see Scarlet locked-up for good. Can they still pull off their biggest job yet, or has Scarlet made a fatal mistake and let John get one step ahead of them? Her Betrayal is by Emma Tallon. 

All aboard a train bound for… murder. Kitty Underhay is looking forward to a week of long lunches and wedding planning with her husband-to-be, Captain Matthew Bryant. But the plan is derailed when he is called on to collect a former comrade-in-arms, arriving on the 15:50 from Paddington. As the train bearing Simon Travers pulls up to the platform, a piercing scream rises over the screech of its brakes. Travers is dead in his seat, a dagger in his heart. Who gave this defenceless man a one-way ticket to the next life? And why? And could Matt’s close connection put him at risk? Only a few individuals had access to Travers’s compartment, and Kitty must find out which of these seemingly benign passengers is in fact a cross-country killer. But when Kitty’s prime suspect, the travelling salesman with no merchandise, is found murdered, she is stumped. Until she makes the connection between the two victims and realises that this murderer has an even more deadly destination in mind. Can she stop them before they strike again? Or will Kitty’s own next stop be the graveyard? Murder in First Class is by Helena Dixon.

Librarian Jemima Jago can’t resist a whodunnit, but finding a body in a bookshop is a plot twist she could never have expected… Jem Jago is back at work with her antique books, and spending her weekends exploring her new home—the windswept Isles of Scilly—in her little sailboat, Bellatrix. She’s really starting to settle into island life. Unfortunately, murder in the Scillies is not as rare as some of her manuscripts… On a trip out to picturesque Penzance with best friend Micki, the pair stumble across an intriguing mystery, not of the fictional kind. In Tatteredly’s second-hand bookstore, they discover the body of beautiful Gina Marrak, Micki’s former sister-in-law. Jem can’t bear to see Micki so distraught, and with the hapless Detective Conrad in charge of the inquiry, she must do some sleuthing of her own to find out the truth. As she convinces Gina’s so-called friends to talk, Jem learns she wasn’t actually well liked in her little corner of Penzance. Did the jilted lover, the pretentious pub landlord or the rowdy real estate agent bump off poor Gina? Poking around the scene of the crime, Jem finds an unusual book which leads her down an unlikely path. But can Jem get to the bottom of the mystery before the terrible tale comes to an end for her too? A Death in Silversmith Bay is by Emma Jameson. 

The Invite is by Sheryl Browne. Kaitlin has been looking forward to her engagement party for weeks. She’s finally introducing her fiancé Greg to her best friend Zoe, but as the champagne corks pop, her dream party soon becomes her worst nightmare… Staring at the stunning diamond solitaire on her finger, Kaitlin nows her relationship has been a whirlwind… but Greg looks after her, and he loves playing dad to her young daughter. How could she refuse when he’s already planned their romantic elopement? As the guests arrive, Kaitlin wonders why Greg is suddenly acting so shifty. Is that a flicker of recognition on Zoe’s face? And why does she look terrified every time her phone rings? Kaitlin watches as Zoe knocks back her white wine and makes a beeline for Greg. Then, after a heated conversation, her best friend stumbles outside without looking back. Days later, the police knock at Kaitlin’s door – Zoe is missing. When the police question Greg about the night of the party, Kaitlin knows he’s telling lies. But why would he? Can she really trust the man she’s marrying? And could her precious daughter’s life now be in danger too?

Manchester, England 1965: Little Kathy Openshaw is waiting in the car with only her toy doll for company. Whilst her mother Connie visits close friends Myra and Ian, Kathy gazes out at the surrounding moorland and dreams of a happier life. But when Connie returns to the car, Kathy has vanished. Instantly she thinks of the news reports of the children who have gone missing from the area. Parents everywhere are worried sick. Connie is struck with terror: what kind of mother leaves their child alone when a kidnapper is on the loose? Black Fell Farm, Saddleworth Moor: no one has visited Ronald’s farm in decades. But when a young couple start acting suspiciously on his land and a mysterious visitor arrives on his doorstep, Ronald feels instantly threatened. He doesn’t want any unwanted attention directed towards his farm. For on the wild and desolate moorland, Ronald has buried his own dark crime for years and if his secret is ever exposed, it will be more than just his life at stake… The Body on The Moor is by Rebecca Griffiths.

A Royal Murder is by Verity Bright. At the royal boat race there are beautiful barges, plenty of bunting, a handsome prince and… is that a body in the water? Lady Swift is on the case! Spring, 1923. One-time adventurer and now amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is attending the annual royal regatta with her new pal Tipsy Fitzroy. Tipsy has Eleanor trussed up like a debutante in a new dress, determined to turn her into a proper society lady. Even Eleanor’s favourite companion, Gladstone the bulldog, has a new outfit for the occasion. But the sparkling prize-giving ceremony is interrupted when the devilishly handsome host gulps his glass of champagne on stage and collapses to the floor. The victim is none other than the king’s cousin, Lord Xander Taylor-Howard. He was rumoured to be entangled in a rather dubious gambling ring, but did someone kill him instead of collecting his debt? Or was this simply an ill-timed tragic accident? Either way, a right royal scandal is afoot… Sir Percival, the head of the royal police, asks Eleanor for her help investigating. He’d do anything to keep the story under wraps. She knows it will get her into hot water with a certain dapper Detective Seldon, but she’s determined to see justice done. However, as she digs deeper, she learns Lord Taylor-Howard was hiding more than one murky secret. It isn’t until she takes a closer look at the unfortunate royal’s shattered champagne flute that she stumbles upon just the clue she needs. But can she reel in the killer before her ship is sunk too?

Saturday 29 January 2022

Agatha Award Nominations


Best Contemporary Novel

Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)
Watch Her by Edwin Hill (Kensington)
The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge)
Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books)

Best Historical Novel

Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge (Kensington)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)
Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (HarperCollins)
The Devil's Music by Gabriel Valjan (Winter Goose Publishing)

Best First Novel

The Turncoat's Widow by Mally Becker (Level Best Books)
A Dead Man's Eyes by Lori Duffy Foster (Level Best Books)
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
Murder in the Master by Judy L. Murray (Level Best Books)
Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books)

Best Short Story

"A Family Matter" by Barb Goffman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2021)
"A Tale of Two Sisters" by Barb Goffman in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)
"Doc's at Midnight" by Richie Narvaez in Midnight Hour (Crooked Lane Books)
"The Locked Room Library" by Gigi Pandian (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine July/Aug 2021)
"Bay of Reckoning" by Shawn Reilly Simmons in Murder on the Beach (Destination Murders)

Best Non-Fiction

The Combat Zone: Murder, Race, and Boston's Struggle for Justice by Jan Brogan (Bright Leaf Press)
Murder Most Grotesque: The Comedic Crime Fiction of Joyce Porter by Chris Chan (Level Best Books)
The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge, and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England by Julie Kavanaugh (Atlantic Monthly Press)
How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America by MWA with editors Lee Child and Laurie R. King (Simon & Schuster)

Best Children's/YA Mystery

Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Fiewel and Friends/Macmillan)
I Play One on TV by Alan Orloff (Down & Out Books)
Leisha's Song by Lynn Slaughter (Fire and Ice/Melange Books)
Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer (Wednesday Books)

Congratulations to all of the nominees! And thanks to everyone who took part in the nomination process.

Friday 28 January 2022

2022 Barry Award Nominations


The 2022 Barry Award nominations have been announced by George Easter of Deadly Pleasures Magazine.

Congratulations to all the nominated authors.

Best Mystery/Crime Novel

The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books)
Last Redemption by Matt Coyle (Oceanview)
Clark And Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
Billy Summers by Stephen King (Scribner)
We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (Henry Holt)

Best First Mystery/Crime Novel

Who Is Maude Dixon? By Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown)
Girl A by Abigail Dean (Viking)
Down Range by Taylor Moore (William Morrow)
Falling by T. J. Newman (Simon & Schuster)
Sleeping Bear by Connor Sullivan (Emily Bestler/Atria)
Steel Fear by Brandon Webb & John David Mann (Bantam)

Best Paperback Original

The Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser (Harpercollins)
Arsenic And Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley)
Black Coral by Andrew Mayne (Thomas & Mercer)
The Good Turn by Dervla Mctiernan (Blackstone)
Search For Her by Rick Mofina (Mira)
Bound by Vanda Symon (Orenda Books)

Best Thriller

The Devil’s Hand by Jack Carr (Emily Bestler/Atria)
The Nameless Ones by John Connolly (Emily Bestler/Atria)
Dead By Dawn by Paul Doiron (Minotaur)
Relentless by Mark Greaney (Berkley)
Slough House by Mick Herron (Soho Crime)
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hardcase Crime)

The winners of the Barry Awards will be announced at the Opening Ceremonies at the Minneapolis Bouchercon on 8th September 2022.

Monday 24 January 2022

Hunt for the Margery Allingham Short Mystery Prize Winner 2022


The hunt for the best unpublished short mystery story is on.

Entrants have until 6pm GMT on Monday 28 February to enter the international Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Margery Allingham Short Mystery competition, 2022. 

The Margery Allingham Society, set up to honour and promote the writings of the great Golden Age author whose well-known hero is Albert Campion, works with the CWA to operate and fund the writing competition. Each year the competition attracts many entries from the UK and overseas.

Entrants are asked to focus on specific elements to match Margery Allingham’s definition of a mystery, which is: “The Mystery remains box-shaped, at once a prison and a refuge. Its four walls are, roughly, a Crime, a Mystery, an Enquiry and a Conclusion with an Element of Satisfaction in it.” 

The judging criteria rewards traditional mysteries that match this definition, as well as other criteria such as plot originality and characterisation.

Dea Parkin, Secretary of the CWA and competitions co-ordinator, said: “It’s very much in a writer’s interests to study that definition and ensure their story follows that chronology. There are recent winning and shortlisted entries on the website which give a flavour of the kind of mystery the judges are looking for.

Entries are invited from all writers, published or unpublished, writing in English. Diamond Dagger winner and acclaimed crime writer and editor Martin Edwards won the Margery Allingham Prize in its inaugural year, in 2014, and his tips for writing a winning story are on the website.  Shortlisted authors for the prize have also found wider success, such as Christine Poulson, whose short story ‘Accounting for Murder’ featured in the 2017 CWA anthology, Mystery Tour, and went on to be shortlisted for the CWA Short Story Dagger.

Dea added: “Last year saw the highest number of entries for some time. The pandemic and lockdown undoubtedly had an effect, and mystery stories are currently a strong trend with Richard Osman’s record-breaking debut, The Thursday Murder Club, a key touchstone for publishers. This short story competition is a fantastic way of building a writer’s craft, and profile, in this genre.

Traditional whodunnits have been dubbed as a ‘pandemic-era balm’. Readers embraced Osman’s Agatha-Christie-style novels, and traditional whodunnits by authors such as Robert Thorogood, Elly Griffiths and Vaseem Khan have been popular. Thorogood created the TV hit show, Death in Paradise, whereas Elly Griffiths’ The Postscript Murders was shortlisted for the Gold Dagger last year and Vaseem Khan’s Midnight at Malabar House won the Historical.

Dea added: “These stories provide familiarity and comfort in an uncertain world as they offer clues, great characters and locations, with the mystery solved in the end and justice served.”

The longlist for the prize will be revealed online and at the CWA conference on 23 April, followed by the shortlist online in May, and the winner will be announced at this year’s international crime writing convention, CrimeFest, on Friday 13 May.

The winner receives £500 and two passes for CrimeFest in 2023. Submissions have a limit of 3,500 words and it costs £12 to enter.

For the full rules and to submit an entry, go to Short Story Competition on the CWA website or contact

Thursday 20 January 2022

Seraphina Nova Glass on Why We Love Infidelity…In Thrillers


From Shakespeare to Tolstoy to the contemporary airport paperback, we love reading about juicy affairs and cheating spouses. What’s wrong with us? Well, it’s really a tale as old as human civilization. Desire and lust can be a harrowing and complicated thing, so it makes sense that writers take advantage of that…especially thriller writers. People fear it, so it automatically makes for a great trope in these types of novels. 

I personally like to write about affairs because it’s doorway to slew of terrible things to come--lies, cover-ups, jealous rage, revenge, violent crime, and even murder. An affair means something is wrong, something’s off—there’s danger and mistrust at the very mention of it. Adultery is seen as a vulgar thing preying on our deepest desires and fears which fits nicely in a thriller plot. Here are some noteworthy thrillers with a sordid affair at the heart of the story:

Notes On A Scandal By Zoe Heller

This cleverly-written, unconventional thriller tells the story of Sheba, a lonely, middle-aged teacher having a sexual relationship with one of her high school pupils. The brilliantly-drawn characters in this story are at once disturbing and fascinating. When Sheba’s secrets are discovered, the blackmail that follows is...well, unlike any other story I’ve ever read. It’s thought provoking, creepy, and viscous all at once. A must-read.

The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides

If you’re looking for a thriller with a twist to die for, this is it. A woman shoots her husband five times in the face and then never speaks another word. Her psychotherapist is determined to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband, and this “takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....” If you haven’t already heard the buzz about this one, I’ll confirm it lives up to the hype.

The Last Affair By Margot Hunt

I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a sucker for juicy, unlikable characters. Suburban wife and mother, Gwen Landon, has it all…until she’s found in a pool of blood in her backyard. You’ll be pulling out your best detective skills trying to nail down the culprit in this twisty story. Every character is a suspect and it will keep you turning pages and guessing until the end. A fast-paced, delicious read.

Such A Good Wife by Seraphina Nova Glass (Published by Titan Books) Out Now

Melanie Hale is a devoted mother to her two children, a diligent caregiver to her ailing mother-in-law and a trusted neighbor in their wealthy Louisiana community. Above all, she's a loving partner to her wonderful husband, Collin. Then there are the parts of herself that Mel keeps hidden. She's exhausted, worried and unfulfilled. So much so that one night, after a writers' group meeting, Mel begins an affair with a successful local author named Luke. Suddenly she's transformed into a role she doesn't recognize-a woman who deceives with unseemly ease. A woman who might be capable of just about anything. When Mel finds Luke's dead body in his lavish rented house, she realizes just how high the stakes have become. Not only does she have to keep her affair a secret in order to preserve her marriage, but she desperately needs to avoid being implicated in Luke's death. But who would want to kill him? Who else in her life is keeping secrets? And most terrifying of all, how far will they-and she-go to keep those secrets hidden?

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Mystery Writers of America Announces 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominations

January 19, 2022, New York, NY – Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 213thanniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honouring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2021. The 76th Annual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 28, 2022 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.


The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Macmillan Publishers – Flatiron Books)
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)
How Lucky by Will Leitch (HarperCollins – Harper)
No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield (HarperCollins – William Morrow)


Deer Season by Erin Flanagan (University of Nebraska Press)
Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (Harlequin Trade Publishing – Park Row)
Suburban Dicks by Fabian Nicieza (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins (Penguin Random House – Riverhead Books)
The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer (Penguin Random House – Viking Books/Pamela Dorman Books)


Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
The Lighthouse Witches by C.J. Cooke (Penguin Random House – Berkley)
The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory (Tom Doherty Associates – Tordotcom)
Starr Sign by C.S. O’Cinneide (Dundurn Press)
Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Europa Editions – World Noir)
The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)


The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (Random House Publishing Group – Random House)
Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (Celadon Books)
Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster)
Two Truths and a Lie: A Murder, a Private Investigator, and Her Search for Justice by Ellen McGarrahan (Penguin Random House – Random House)
The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade by Benjamin T. Smith (W.W. Norton & Company)
When Evil Lived in Laurel:The “White Knights” and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer by Curtis Wilkie (W.W. Norton & Company)


Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World by Mark Aldridge (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper360)
The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (W.W. Norton & Company)
Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma Press)
The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White (W.W. Norton & Company)


Blindsided,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by Michael Bracken & James A. Hearn (Dell Magazines)
The Vermeer Conspiracy,” Midnight Hour by V.M. Burns (Crooked Lane Books)
Lucky Thirteen,” Midnight Hour by Tracy Clark (Crooked Lane Books)
The Road to Hana,” Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine by R.T. Lawton (Dell Magazines)
The Locked Room Library,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Gigi Pandian (Dell Magazines)
The Dark Oblivion,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Cornell Woolrich (Dell Magazines)


Cold-Blooded Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Workman Publishing – Algonquin Young Readers)
Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
Aggie Morton Mystery Queen: The Dead Man in the Garden by Marthe Jocelyn (Penguin Random House Canada – Tundra Books)
Kidnap on the California Comet: Adventures on Trains #2 by M.G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)


Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Feiwel & Friends)
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (Macmillan Children’s Publishing – Henry Holt and Company BFYR)
When You Look Like Us by Pamela N. Harris (HarperCollins – Quill Tree Books)
The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur (Macmillan Children’s Books – Feiwel & Friends)
The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe (Penguin Young Readers – G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR)


Dog Day Morning” – The Brokenwood Mysteries, Written by Tim Balme (Acorn TV)
Episode 1” – The Beast Must Die, Written by Gaby Chiappe (AMC+)
We Men Are Wretched Things” – The North Water Written by Andrew Haigh (AMC+)
Happy Families” – Midsomer Murders, Written by Nicholas Hicks-Beach (Acorn TV)
Boots on the Ground” – Narcos: Mexico, Written by Iturri Sosa (Netflix)


Analogue,” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Rob Osler (Dell Magazines)

* * * * * *


The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet by Katherine Cowley (Tule Publishing – Tule Mystery)
Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner (Crooked Lane Books)
Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton (Crooked Lane Books)
Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney (St. Martin’s Paperbacks)

* * * * * *


Double Take by Elizabeth Breck (Crooked Lane Books)
Runner by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)
Shadow Hill by Thomas Kies (Sourcebooks – Poisoned Pen Press)
Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey (Soho Press – Soho Crime)
Family Business by S.J. Rozan (Pegasus Books – Pegasus Crime)

* * * * * *



Laurie R. King


Lesa Holstine – Lesa’s Book Critiques; Library Journal Reviewer


Juliet Grames – Soho Press – Soho Crime

* * * * * *

The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents.

Mystery Writers of America would like to emphasize our commitment to diversity and fairness in the judging of the Edgar Awards. Judges are selected from every region of the country, from every sub-category of our genre, and from every demographic to ensure fairness and impartiality.

Former Police Chief Harold Breier’s Legacy on Policing in Milwaukee by Willa C. Richards


Much of the action in my novel, The Comfort of Monsters, takes place in the city of Milwaukee during the summer of 1991. For my protagonist, Peg McBride, this was the summer her beloved sister Dee disappeared under unnerving circumstances. But for the rest of the city, this was the summer Milwaukee police discovered serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s heinous crimes. I chose to set my novel against this grim backdrop because I was interested in exploring how cold cases go cold. Dee’s missing persons’ case is quickly subsumed by one of the largest criminal investigations in Milwaukee’s history: the arrest and prosecution of Jeffrey Dahmer. 

The discovery of Dahmer’s crimes cast Milwaukee, a relatively small, humble, working-class city into a harsh national spotlight. Between 1978-1991, the serial killer murdered seventeen men. Sixteen of these murders took place in the Milwaukee area. Dahmer preyed exclusively on young men, the vast majority of whom were men of colour. Questions swirled around the Milwaukee Police Department’s negligence. How could any respectable department have allowed such a violent killer to operate “undetected” in the city for a decade? And while these questions were certainly posed in 1991, the sensationalism of the crimes often prevented the kind of meaningful conversations required to answer them. 

As part of my research for the novel, I sought answers to some of these complicated questions. I began by diving into the history of the Milwaukee Police. It was during this process that one name popped up again and again: Milwaukee’s former police chief Harold Breier. Perhaps more than any other individual Breier’s legacy was a pivotal factor in how Milwaukee became home to the most infamous cannibal in American history. 

Harold Breier became Milwaukee’s Chief of Police in 1964. Milwaukee historian John Gurrda wrote of Breier, “as autocratic as he was incorruptible, [he] ruled...with an iron fist… and did not welcome input from community groups, politicians, or anyone else outside the force.” Longtime Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Eugene Kane said of the former chief, “[he was] a racist administrator, a borderline fascist, and the man who contributed to the segregated reputation of Milwaukee more than any other.

From a 2022 vantage point, it’s clear Breier was a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe and his personal biases directly impacted the composition of the department. Under his direction, women were not allowed to take promotional exams and were not allowed on street patrol until 1975. Breier also routinely passed up black patrolmen for promotion to detective, assigned black officers the most undesirable shifts, and forbade them from riding in all-black squad cars or “gathering in all-black groups”. 

This internal bigotry spilled out into the department’s relationship with the communities the police claimed to serve. In 1978 at the behest of Chief Breier, the MPD launched violent raids on gay bathhouses, which resulted in dozens of arrests and street protests. Reports of patrol officers heckling or harassing bar patrons, particularly in Walker’s Point, were common. 

Brier was adamantly against the civil rights movement and the self-determination of the black community in Milwaukee. He fancied himself a local J. Edgar Hoover, performing constant surveillance of the Milwaukee NAACP Youth Council’s members, and its advisor, the civil rights activist Father James Groppi. Patrol officers were directed to harass Youth Council members and to jail them for minor offenses like littering and jaywalking. 

Under Chief Breier, Milwaukee police officers, including those on Breier’s prized Tactical Unit, (an all-white squad of officers handpicked by the Chief), murdered black Milwaukeeans and faced zero consequences. According to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, between 1975-79 at least 22 people died in MPD custody. 

Breier always defended his officers, earning him outsized loyalty from within the department and from the powerful police union. This fostered a culture of officer invincibility.

Further, Breier was opposed to community-based policing. After his tenure, he had this to say about efforts to reform the department towards community-based policies: “There’s no substitute for strong law enforcement. First, a police officer doesn’t have the training to take care of all the social ills of the city. And second, he should be so busy maintaining law and order that he doesn’t have time for all that crap. When I was Chief we were relating to the good people, and we were relating to the other people too: we were throwing those people in the can. 

Today, Milwaukee officials might want to write-off this period of Milwaukee’s history as unfortunate, merely cringing at Breier’s policies and his remarks. There is no doubt, though, that we should situate his reign within Milwaukee’s reputation as one of the most segregated cities in America. And it isn’t just a reputation; it’s a fact. 

This is one of the most disturbing reasons Jeffrey Dahmer moved through the criminal justice system with such ease, despite being arrested, tried, and convicted for child molestation. The Milwaukee Police, because of historic, institutionally perpetuated biases, didn’t see him as a convicted sex offender accused of unimaginable crimes. Instead, they saw his victims, the majority of whom were black and brown men, as the criminals. 

Breier’s legacy certainly extends beyond the department’s negligence in the Dahmer case and his policies continue to have real impacts on the city of Milwaukee. Though not all of this research made its way into my book, the material was crucial in shaping my thinking about the history of Milwaukee. 

The impact of the Breier doctrine helps explain not only the specific horrors of the Dahmer crimes, but also the interrelatedness and continuity of these crimes with the city’s other, historic, institutional failures. It is my sincere hope that The Comfort of Monsters showcases these failures and their interconnectedness and demonstrates the urgency of transforming our local institutions.

The Comfort of Monsters by Willa C. Richards is out now from Point Blank, original paperback £8.99.

In the summer of 1991, teen Dee McBride vanished in the city of Milwaukee. It was the summer the Journal Sentinel dubbed 'the deadliest . . . in the history of Milwaukee.' Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer's heinous crimes dominated the headlines and the disappearance of one girl was easily overlooked. 2019, nearly thirty years later, Dee's sister, Peg, is still haunted by her disappearance. Desperate to find out what happened to her, the family hire a psychic and Peg is plunged back into the past. But Peg's hazy recollections are far from easy to interpret and digging deep into her memory raises terrifying questions. How much trust can we place in our own recollections? How often are our memories altered by the very act of speaking them aloud? And what does it mean to bear witness in a world where even our own stories about what happened are inherently suspect?

More information about Willa C Richards can be found on her website. You can also find her on Instagram.

Monday 17 January 2022

2022 Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Award Nominations Announced

Left Coast Crime 2022 will be presenting four Lefty Awards at our 32nd annual convention, to be held in Albuquerque in April: humorous, historical, debut, and best. The awards will be voted on at the convention and presented at a banquet on Saturday 9 April at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque. The award nominees have been selected the convention registrants. LCC is delighted to announce the 2022 Lefty nominees for books published in 2021:

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. 

The nominees are:

Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (Crooked Lane Books)

Mimi Lee Cracks the Code by Jennifer Chow(Berkley Prime Crime)

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano (Minotaur Books)

How To Book a Murder by Cynthia Kuhn (Crooked Lane Books)

Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes (Crooked Lane Books)

Fogged Off by Wendall Thomas (Beyond the Page Books)

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel for books set before 1970.

The nominees are:

The Cry of the Hangman by Susanna Calkins (Severn House)

The Savage Kind by John Copenhaver (Pegasus Crime)

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)

The Bombay Prince by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

The Mirror Dance by Catriona McPherson (Hodder & Stoughton)

Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow)

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel. 

The nominees are:

Who Is Maud Dixon by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown and Company)

Blackout by Marco Carocari (Level Best Books)

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris (Atria Books)

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala (Berkley Prime Crime)

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris (William Morrow)

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories). 

The nominees are:

Runner by Tracy Clark (Kensington Books)

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Press)

Last Redemption by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)

Lightning Strike by William Kent Krueger (Atria Books)

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon (Doubleday)

The Left Coast Crime Convention is an annual event sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors. Usually held in the western half of North America, LCC’s intent is to host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and other fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests. Lefty Awards have been given since 1996.

Friday 14 January 2022

A New Detective on the Block by Nadine Matheson


Last year I contributed to the growing list of crime thrillers when my debut novel ‘The Jigsaw Man was published. I’ve been a fan of crime fiction for as long as I can remember and there were many occasions when I would be nose deep in a copy of Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ instead of studying the required Shakespearean text or Wuthering Heights for my English class. In fact, I may just be a fan of crime in general as in my non-writing life, I’m a lawyer specialising in Criminal Law. 

There are two reasons why I’m drawn to crime fiction. The first is that crime thrillers allow us to access to a slice of life that is out of bounds to morally and law complying people. For a brief period, we can indulge in the pages of a crime story and then safely, and maybe self-righteously, close the pages and get on with our lives. The second reason is that I have an innate desire to uncover what motivates people to commit crimes. One of the main reasons why I practice criminal law is that I want to understand what makes people tick and why, for example, someone would murder their next-door neighbour, bury their body in the garden and assume their identity. 

It seems almost inevitable that after working in criminal law, for nearly twenty years, and having a love affair with crime thrillers that I would write my own book. There was an expectation that because I work in criminal law that I would write a legal thriller but that wasn’t the specific sub-genre of crime that thrilled me. Police procedurals have always been my first port of call. A police procedural promises the thrill of the chase and pits good against bad. The best police procedurals makes the reader feel as though they’re part of the investigation and isn’t just a passive observer. 

My job as a criminal lawyer has never been to prosecute and to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person standing in the dock is guilty or to put it more colloquially “Bang to Rights”. I’ve always represented those who have been accused of the crime. My job has been to put the prosecution to proof, to find holes in their case and to also defend my client to the best of my ability. Writing a police procedural was a complete adventure for me because I had to switch the gears in my head. I had to put myself in the mind of both a prosecutor and a detective and become the person who was building a case against a suspect, which brings me onto the first person that you meet in my book, The Jigsaw Man, Detective Inspector Anjelica Henley. 

Books are the best form of escapism in which we’re able to experience different lives and different worlds, but with certain genres of books i.e., crime thrillers we should be able to recognise our own worlds within the pages. Take a moment right now and think of four fictional detectives. I’m prepared to put money on it that the four detectives that you chose were white males. Like the popular fictional detectives that we know, and love (Holmes, Thorne, and Rebus) Henley is committed and complex, but she occupies a unique place in crime fiction because she is also a Black British woman. Henley takes the lead in her professional life, as a Detective leading an investigation and in her personal life as a wife and a mother. There are not many detectives in crime fiction that look like Henley. In my profession as a lawyer, I’ve lost count of the times that I have sat opposite a female detective of colour in a police interview room. It always seemed strange to me that the stories of these detectives of colour were not being in the books that I was buying. 

Too often characters of colour have been relegated to the cliched roles of criminal, victim or supporting role in a story. Fortunately, the last couple of years have noticeably seen a rise in the number crime thrillers books that are written by authors of colour and feature characters of colour in main roles. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to recommend books by Saima Mir, S.A. Cosby, Amer Anwar, Rachel Edwards, Femi Kayode, and myself to readers. My hope is that the name Detective Inspector Henley becomes iconic in crime fiction, and I cannot wait for you to read the next chapter in her story.

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson. (HarperCollins) Out Now

There's a serial killer on the loose. When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can't be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there. The race is on before more bodies are found. She'd hoped she'd never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind . . . Will it take a killer to catch the killer? Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first - Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer?

The Binding Room by Nadine Matheson (Published July 2022) HarperCollins.In this room, no one can hear you scream... The Serial Crimes Unit are called in to investigate when a local pastor is found stabbed to death. As DI Henley assesses the crime scene, she discovers a hidden door that conceals a room set up for torture - and bound to the bed in the middle of the room is the body of a man. When another body is found, also tied down, Henley realises there's someone out there torturing innocent people and leaving them for dead. But why? There's nothing that connects the victims. They didn't know each other. Their paths never crossed. But someone has targeted them, and it's up to Henley and the SCU to stop them before they find another binding room...

More information can be found on her website. You can follow her on Twitter @nadinematheson, on Instagram @queennads and on Facebook.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

MWA Announces 2022 Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen Award Recipients


Today Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announces the recipients of its special awards. The board chose Laurie R. King as the 2022 Grand Master, the 2022 Raven Award recipient is Lesa Holstine, and Juliet Grames will receive the Ellery Queen Award. They will accept their awards at the 76th Annual Edgar Awards Ceremony, which will be held April 28, 2022, at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City.

Mystery Writers of America is thrilled to honour Laurie R. King as MWA’s 2022 Grand Master,” said MWA President Alafair Burke. “For more than a quarter century, King has entertained readers around the world with her writings, which range from historical fiction to contemporary police procedurals to gripping standalones and scores of anthology contributions. She is also a generous supporter of readers and fellow writers and a leader within the literary community. She exemplifies the excellence that defines the Grand Master Award, and we are delighted to recognise her achievements".

MWA’s Grand Master Award represents the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing and was established to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as for a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality. Laurie R. King is the bestselling author of 30 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories, beginning with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (named “One of the 20th Century’s Best Crime Novels” by the IMBA.) She has won the Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, Lambda, Wolfe, Macavity, Creasey Dagger, and Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, has an honorary doctorate in theology, and is a Baker Street Irregular. Her recent books include Castle Shade and How to Write a Mystery (co-edited with Lee Child.) She has been a member of Mystery Writers of America since 1993 and served on the NorCal and National boards.

On being notified of the honour, King said, “I am sure I’m not the only person who greeted the announcement that they had been given this extreme honour of the mystery world first with silence, then with, “Really? Me?? I mean, any list that begins with Agatha Christie and touches on such gods as Ross MacDonald and Daphne du Maurier, Ngaio Marsh and John Le Carré, Tony Hillerman and—well, you get the idea. ‘I am honoured’ is an inadequate response (You are sure you counted the votes, right?) when what I mean is, ‘I am stunned, dumbfounded, gobsmacked.’ And honoured too, of course—intensely, humbly, and gratefully.

Previous Grand Masters include Charlaine Harris, Jeffery Deaver, Barbara Neely, Martin Cruz Smith, William Link, Peter Lovesey, Walter Mosley, Lois Duncan, James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Ken Follett, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, James Lee Burke, Sue Grafton, Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, Lawrence Block, P.D. James, Ellery Queen, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene, and Agatha Christie, to name a few.

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. For 2022, Mystery Writers of America selected librarian, a blogger, and book reviewer Lesa Holstine.

Upon learning she would receive the Raven Award, Lesa Holstine reacted with disbelief, “You’re kidding!” Holstine said, “I’m grateful to the MWA Board, and to mystery writers everywhere who have provided so much enjoyment over the years.

Previous Raven Award recipients include Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime, Marilyn Stasio, The Raven Bookstore, Sisters in Crime, and Oline Cogdill.

Holstine has worked in public libraries since she was 16. For almost 50 years, she’s shared her love of books, especially mysteries, with library patrons, and is presently the Collections Manager at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in Evansville, Indiana. She is in the 18th year of writing her award-winning blog, Lesa’s Book Critiques, has been the blogger for Poisoned Pen Bookstore for over four years, and reviews mysteries for Mystery Readers’ Journal and Library Journal, where she was named Reviewer of the Year in 2018. She has received the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award and the David S. Thompson Special Service Memorial Award. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and serves on the Left Coast Crime Standing Committee.

The Ellery Queen Award was established in 1983 to honour “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.” This year the Board chose to honour Juliet Grames, SVP, Associate Publisher at Soho Press, where she has curated the award-winning Soho Crime imprint since 2011. Her debut novel, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, was published by Ecco/HarperCollins and has been translated into ten languages.

On learning she would receive the Ellery Queen Award, Grames said, “I am astonished and moved by this great honour. There is no community I could be prouder to work in: the creators in our genre are not only artists but activists and thoroughly good people. It is a great privilege to nurture and amplify their voices, and I humbly thank every author who has ever trusted me with that privilege. It is also a great privilege to work for a publisher, Bronwen Hruska, whose values—both literary and philosophical—align so perfectly with mine. This recognition belongs to them, although I am honoured to be their representative.

Previous Ellery Queen Award winners include Reagan Arthur, Kelley Ragland, Linda Landrigan, Neil Nyren, Charles Ardai, and Janet Hutchings.

The Edgar Awards, or “Edgars,” as they are commonly known, are named after MWA’s patron saint Edgar Allan Poe and are presented to authors of distinguished work in various categories. MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. The organization encompasses some 3,000 members including authors of fiction and non-fiction books, screen and television writers, as well as publishers, editors, and literary agents. For more information on Mystery Writers of America, please visit the website:

Monday 10 January 2022

To weave in a theme, or not to weave in a theme…


A couple of years ago I had the privilege of interviewing William Shaw and Mark Hill at an author event for my local library. Having read their books, I knew that William had themes in his story but Mark didn’t appear to have any. So I asked if adding a theme was essential for them. Mark had decided to concentrate on his plot and characters for that particular novel, whereas William had looked at the reality of his setting – poverty in seaside towns – and drawn some of that into the story. My debut, Last Seen, took Mark’s approach and I focused on the plot and the characters. For Broken Girls, I looked at the dangers of internet grooming, particularly for teenagers. In my latest DI Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel book, Left For Dead, I’ve gone theme mad and explored three areas – violence against women, county lines gangs, and Autism. 

I originally wrote the first draft for Left For Dead back in 2018. Obviously, the above themes were important back then but in the last year as I’ve been editing, these issues have come to the fore. The terrible cases of Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa and most recently, Bobbi-Anne McLeod, have spurred women on to say enough is enough. There was one particular part in Left For Dead that I struggled to write. It’s a scene where DI Bernie Noel and the media officer, Jane Clackett, try to write a press release about attacks on women in Swindon. Bernie is frustrated by the fact that she needs to warn women on the one hand but allay fears on the other, and at the same time, fed up that women have to do anything at all. Thankfully, Wiltshire Police in real life, also felt that frustration and started Project Vigilant this autumn, targeting perpetrators and ensuring women can have a safe night out. 

County lines gangs often feature on documentaries such as 999 What’s Your Emergency? and 24 Hours in Police Custody. But I think the best demonstration of this recently was in The Outlaws, Stephen Merchant’s black comedy thriller. There were many layers in this programme but the one that caught my eye most was the story of Christian/Ben. Obviously, he got into huge trouble because he stole money as well as a phone. We, as the audience, focused on the money but it was really the phone that was important. Whoever had the phone or the ‘line’, then controlled the drug supply in that area. County lines is an issue in Wiltshire and Operation Fortitude has been set up to fight it with a lot of success.

Autism is a subject close to my heart as I know quite a few autistic people. I really wanted to have a female autistic officer. Most of my experience with Autism has been with males so I hope I’ve got my portrayal correct. Unlike the armed forces, autistic people can join the police force. Wiltshire Police have a Local Crime Investigator role and I wanted to include that as well. I brought the two together to create LCI Leigh Roberts, the officer looking at the series of attacks. (I’ve used some artistic licence as I don’t think a LCI would investigate a sexual attack on a woman.) But as the attacker has escalated, it’s time for Bernie to take over and she asks Leigh to join her team. I wanted to show how Leigh might find that difficult – a different team to work with in a different building with different hours. Inevitably, all those things would take a toll. But I didn’t just want to show how Leigh might or might not cope, I wanted to look at how Bernie and the rest of the team deal with her. Because that’s the really important thing. It should never be about how a neurodivergent person has to adapt but how a workplace can change to accommodate any special needs. With the right support, Leigh brings a lot to the team and comes up with ideas that no one else has. 

Of course, I still have my plot and characters but I’ve discovered that themes can add tone, depth and shadows to a story.

Left for Dead by Joy Kluver (Bookouture) Out Now.

The detective stared at the young woman lying on the bed. She almost looked peaceful, her face like porcelain. Despite everything she had been through, she was still beautiful. When DI Bernie Noel hurries to Keira Howard’s hospital bedside, she knows that Keira has been lucky. Barely conscious and badly injured, at least she is alive. Convinced that Keira’s attack is the latest in a string of increasingly violent assaults on young women in the area, the next victim might not be so fortunate. So she vows to find the man who did this, and to stop him before anyone else gets hurt. Spurring her team into action, she quickly hones in on a prime suspect. But then he suddenly dies while on police watch, and Bernie’s investigation goes into free-fall. When Bernie’s superiors won’t let her take the case any further, her gut instinct tells her there’s much more to his death than meets the eye. If it was murder, who would want him dead, and why? So she determines to set out on her own to find out what happened. But the closer Bernie comes to discovering the truth, the more she is putting her own life in danger. And with Keira finally strong enough to talk her about her attack, Bernie worries she may be at risk yet again. There’s someone out there who has killed to stay safe in the shadows; can Bernie stop another senseless death, and save Keira, before it’s too late?

More information about Joy Kluver and her books can be found on her website. You can also follower her on Twitter @JoyKluver.  You can also find her on Facebook.