For months, MysteryPeople has been anticipating the release of The Library of America’s Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s, edited by celebrated crime fiction expert Sarah Weinman. The collection comes out Tuesday, September 1st, and we’re excited to tell you a bit more about it. With works from both well-known and long-forgotten luminaries, including Margaret Millar, Patricia Highsmith, Vera Caspary and Dorothy B. Hughes, this two-volume set is a crash course in classic works by female suspense writers.
As the students head back to college, this tale from Akashic’s Mondays Are Murder series got our attention. Price has a wonderful gift of creating mood and emotion between the lines.
“My life seemed great in college. I started on the college hockey team as a freshman, and my roommate was my best friend, Abby. My tuition was waived because my mom worked as a dorm janitor. She had introduced me to my fiancé, who lived in another dorm where she cleaned. My fiancé was good-looking and had money; his dad was a CEO. Mom thought my fiancé was amazing, but I didn’t feel comfortable wearing the expensive jewelry and lingerie he bought me. After a while I wanted to call off the engagement, but didn’t because I didn’t want to deal with Mom’s disappointment.
Mom was vegan and ran every day. She was five foot ten, had long, shiny, naturally black hair, and breast implants. The college boys called her “the hot cleaning lady.” The men who went after her were carpenters and electricians, blue-collar types who worked with their hands. She wouldn’t go out with them.
My dad had never been in the picture…”
In anticipation of Sue Grafton’s appearance here at BookPeople, here’s a review from bookseller Michael Stuart of Grafton’s latest alphabet mystery, X. Grafton comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her latest Monday, August 31st, at 7 PM. Find out more event details.
- Post by Michael Stuart
It’s been a while since I checked in with Kinsey Millhone, the narrator of Sue Grafton’s “alphabet mysteries.” I’ve missed a few letters here and there But I’m glad I made the trip back to read Grafton’s latest mystery, simply titled X.
Although time moves a little slower in the fictional town of Santa Theresa, CA (it’s still the 1980s) the action doesn’t slow down. Kinsey is juggling several cases involving old secrets and hidden identities.
- Review by MysteryPeople Scott
Reed Farrel Coleman’s second book in his continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series, The Devil Wins, comes out next month. Anticipating his new novel got me thinking about the first two books to introduce and feature Robert B. Parker’s tarnished police chief: Night Passage and Trouble In Paradise. Parker created Stone as a means to stretch his writing muscles in ways he didn’t get to with his popular private eye Spenser. In doing so, he created one of his more complex series characters.
- Post and Interview by MysteryPeople Scott
Richard Goodfellow’s debut, The Collector Of Secrets, is a fresh thriller that takes us through Japan. The main character Max Travers, an American teaching English, comes into possession of a diary that contains dangerous information. Stuck in the middle of the government, the police, and the Yakuza, Travers goes on the run with the help of his gorgeous girlfriend and a game-designing Shinto priest. We caught up to Mr. Goodfellow to ask him about the book and its setting.
MysteryPeople Scott: Many of the secrets in the book involve the Japanese royal family. Was there any actual history you used as a jumping off point?
Richard Goodfellow: Absolutely. One of the key inspirations was a book called Gold Warriors (by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave) which documents the gold and other looted treasure hidden by the Japanese royal family in the Philippines during World War II, and the subsequent secret recovery and use of that fortune for bribery, manipulation and covert operations.
- Post and Interview by MysteryPeople Scott
Brad Parks is doing something I don’t see as often as I’d like: His Carter Ross book series is getting better and better. Too often authors of a book series start out strong and then start coasting or becoming a caricature of their former selves.
But Parks, with his newest book The Fraud, takes his series about Carter Ross, a journalist at a Newark, NJ newspaper, on a deeper and wilder ride than any of his previous novels. I feel a kinship with Brad since we both worked as newspaper reporters but in different regions so I have interviewed him for most of his books (read an interview with Parks about his second-to-latest novel).
This story, posted on Akashic’s Mondays Are Murder site, caught our eye. It deals with a summer vacation gone wrong with a wonderful moody twist ending.
She knew she was not his first. The concrete room contained evidence of several that had been here before her: photos, locks of hair, single earrings, fingernails . . .
She had awoken here, groggy, alone, and not sure where she was or why she was here. Then it slowly started coming back.
She had parked in the strip mall near the convenience store on her way home from the supper shift at the diner in Everett. She had remembered she needed to pick up milk so she could have cereal and coffee in the morning before she left to meet her two best friends at Sea-Tac Airport to leave on their long-awaited vacation to Australia.
As she started to open the car door, a man crossed in front of her vehicle. He was on crutches and had a cast on one foot. He was carrying two plastic grocery bags. One slipped from his hand, and items spilled to the pavement. She hurried to help him, and as she bent down to pick things up, she felt something sharp enter her shoulder. Blackness enveloped her almost immediately…”
- Guest post by Jenny Milchman
There’s a new genre in town, and it goes by the name of domestic suspense. Syndicated reviewer Oline Cogdill coined the term family thriller, which also suits it.
A family thriller focuses on a circumstance we can relate to. The kind of tale that could, given a slight twist of the knob, happen to us or someone we love. This novel takes ordinary people and places them in an extraordinary situation. What do they do then?
Sandra Brown has been known for her best-selling romantic suspense thrillers for some time. In Sandra Brown’s latest, Friction, a Texas Ranger, trying to get custody of his daughter, falls for the judge in charge of his case. The judge has her own secrets, including a gunman stalker who just won’t give up. Sandra will be joining us Thursday, August 20th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor to speak and sign her latest romantic suspense thriller, Friction, but took some early questions from us about the book and her writing.
- Interview by Michael Stuart
Michael Stuart: How did the idea for Friction come about?
Sandra Brown: I wanted to write about a contemporary Texas Ranger – because the lore of the Rangers has always fascinated me. My protagonist is Crawford Hunt, a man with“quick-draw” reflexes and a dangerous job where those reflexes are continually tested. His foe isn’t only the villain, but a custody battle for his five-year-old daughter. His desire to win his daughter back is in direct opposition to his career and his own impulses.
Jenny Milchman writes thrillers, and she writes them extremely well. Her latest suspense novel, As Night Falls, is a home invasion novel with a twist (well, several twists). Two escaped convicts take shelter in a wealthy family’s home during a winter storm, holding the family hostage until they can make their escape. Interspersed between episodes of the family’s harrowing ordeal are increasingly disturbing scenes from a different family, set in the 1970s.