The Edgar Awards Revisited: 2002

An account of the women in Narco Noir and the various roles they play in both real life and fiction.

Introducing Case Closed: Your Next True Crime Podcast Binge

Book Review: Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard

Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard marks the series debut for rookie police detective Natalie Lockhart set in the eerie town of Burning Lake in Upstate New York. I’ve been a huge fan of Alice Blanchard since I read her smashing 2003 thriller The Breathtaker, and she just keeps getting better and better. Trace of…

Maine in Crime Fiction: Light and Dark

Eudora Welty once said, “Fiction depends for its life on place,” and perhaps nowhere is that truer than fiction set in Maine. What is it about this sprawling, forested, mostly empty state with its craggy coastline and innumerable lakes and ponds? Mention Maine and associations seem to go off like flashbulbs. Whether that’s due to…

Book Review: A Noël Killing by M. L. Longworth

M.L. Longworth’s latest mystery, A Noël Killing, the eighth volume of her Verlaque and Bonnet series, is set in the small town of Aix-en-Provence. Actually, Aix-en-Provence counts 143,00 inhabitants, so not really a small town, especially for French standards. It is currently the twenty-second most populated city in France. Still, M.L. Longworth manages to create a…

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Crime Fiction Writers in Your Life

Every holiday season, I get bombarded with messages from friends and fans telling me they’re dying to buy me a crime-fiction-related present but aren’t sure what to get such an accomplished author…

Book Review: Bryant & May: The Lonely Hour by Christopher Fowler

The tidings of doom as this novel begins are coming less from actual fact than from a psychic acquaintance of Bryant’s whom he’s only too happy to insult as a cut-rate Cassandra. Still, Bryant can’t help but worry. Theirs is a partnership that relies on the other for balance, though the less generous could claim…

Into the Fire: New Excerpt

Chapter 1 The Terror The industrial sliding doors heaved open to a burst of bitter alpine air, a dizzying flurry of snow, and a barrage of hoarse cries. “Hello—goddamn it—somebody help! He’s bad. He’s really—Oh, Jesus, wake up, Grant. Please, just—Someone help!” From the blurry white, Terzian emerged, lugging his injured companion into the waiting…

Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker

The Edgar Awards Revisited: Silent Joe by T. Jefferson Parker (Best Novel, 2002)

Before I dove into Silent Joe, T. Jefferson Parker was one of those names alongside Michael Connelly, Robert Parker, Sue Grafton, and dozens of others on a mental list titled “Authors I Should Probably Read One of These Days.” Thanks to this reread, I can finally cross him off, though if I’m being honest, I’m…

Bad Influence: The Noir Background of The Big Country

This bit of dialogue started everything: Deputy Wendell: This is turnin’ into a hell of a mess, ain’t it, Sheriff?   Sheriff Ed Tom Bell: If it isn’t, it’ll do until the mess gets here. It’s from the film version of No Country For Old Men by the Cohen brothers. One of my all-time favorite…

The Curious Case of Why We Love Mysteries

I’ve always loved reading mysteries, from dark Nordic Noir to faster contemporary stories. I’ve inhaled everything from Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole books to Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware mysteries, to Ann Cleeves’ stories set in the remote Shetland islands, and J.D. Robb’s mysteries set in a futuristic New York.

Book Review: Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar by Kate Saunders

Mrs. Laetitia Rodd works hard for her money. She is the middle-aged widow of a clergyman—her beloved Matt—and neither of them expected a “vigorous man of one-and-fifty, who had known scarcely a day’s illness in his life,” to die suddenly and without “making provision for his widow.” It’s 1851, a turbulent time in England: horse-drawn…