Murder In The Afternoon celebrates Mickey Spillane’s 100th With One Lonely Night

For March, our Murder In The Afternoon book club will celebrate the month that marks the hundredth year of hard boiled writer Mickey Spillane’s birth. With the creation of tough guy detective Mike Hammer, Spillane launched the paperback boom that gave us a new generation of great genre writers. We will be discussing his fourth Hammer book, One Lonely Night.

The story begins with Mike walking along the bridge on a rainy night after a judge has read him the riot act about his tactics. A woman runs toward him chased by a gunman. He shoots the man down, but frightens the woman so much, she jumps off the bridge. Out of a mix of guilt and blood lust, he tracks down those responsible in a back alley trail of thus, politicians, and (this being the fifties) communists.

There will be a lot to talk about with One Lonely Night – how Spillane reacted to his critics, Hammer’s relationship with violence, and genre fiction in the age of The Red Scare. We will also be showing a documentary — Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, directed by friend and fellow writer Max Allan Collins featuring authors like Lawrence Block, Sara Paretsky, and Walter Mosley. We will be meeting in BookPeople’s Third Floor at 1PM, Monday the 19th. Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer Volume 2 that contains One Lonely Night is 10% off to those who plan to attend.

For more Spillane, the Hard Word Book Club will be discussing The Girl Hunters on the night of March  28th at 7PM, along with viewing the film version starring Spillane as Mike Hammer.



Our December Murder In The Afternoon Book Club discussion of Mark Pryor’s The Crypt Thief will be special in two ways. With it being our holiday discussion, we’ll be bringing treats to share. Also, Mark will be joining us in person.

The Crypt Thief is the second book to to feature Hugo Marston, head of security for our embassy in Paris. When the son of a senator is murdered at the Pare Lachaise cemetery along with the theft of some the bones from a famed dancer at the Moulin Rouge, Hugo is asked to investigate. Obvious clues lead to terrorism, but Hugo suspects something else.

The Crypt Thief is one of the creepiest books in the series with one of the best villains. it will give us a lot to talk to Mark about. We will be meeting Monday, December 18th, 1PM on the 3rd floor. Books are 10% off to those planning to attend.

Hard Word Book Club goes to Yuma Prison with Elmore Leonard

For November, The Hard Word Book Club discusses a book by one of the
greats at a transitional moment in his career. Elmore Leonard’s Forty
Lashes Less One was the last western he did before starting crime
fiction. Containing many elements in those future books and taking
place in less than wide open spaces, this can be viewed as him taking
steps forward.

The two protagonists are Chiricahua Apache Raymond San Carlos and
Harold Jackson, a black former soldier, sentenced to life in Yuma
Prison. To put Jackson in his place, the king of the cons, Frank
Shelby, tricks him into a fight with with San Carlos. Raymond and
Harold bond when tossed into the hole and become the pet
rehabilitation project for a the new warden, who is also a minister.
When the inmates need to be moved to a new prison, Shelby plans a
breakout and Raymond and Harold plot revenge.

Forty Lashes Less One is funny, tough, and very unique. It provides
much to talk about with how the characters view race and religion. It
is also provides great examples to talk about crossing genres and
Elmore Leonard. We will be having our discussion on Wednesday, November
29th, 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off to those
planning to attend.

Hard Word Book Club Reads Zoe Sharpe’s RIOT ACT

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9781631940750Admittedly The Hard Word Book Club can also be a bit of a boy’s club, due to the genres we read being considered “male oriented”. I’m happy this month to put the spotlight on one of the best action/adventure writers out there  her kick-ass heroine with our upcoming discussion of Riot Act by Zoe Sharpe. It is the second book in the Charlie Fox series. Fox is often referred to as a female Jack Reacher, but like her author, she has a voice all her own (a voice we appreciated at last September’s hell-raising Noir at the Bar).

Riot Act has Charlie apartment and dog sitting for a friend. The first paragraph literally kicks things off with her fighting a bunch of hoodlums in front of the complex. In response gang threats, a security force is hired who turn out to be a pack of thugs no better than the hoodlums. Charlie finds herself caught between both, as well as the police. Of course Charlie’s training in The Queen’s army gives her a special set of skills.

Riot Act is an entertaining book providing strong characters and action, a finale that lives up to its title, and much to discuss. Be ready to talk about gender and class in crime fiction and well as the British take on genre writing.

We’ll meet Wednesday, August 27th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. Books are 10% off to those who attend. Our November book will be The Killing Kind, the third book in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series.

You can find copies of Riot Act on our shelves and via The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 PM. 

The Hard Word Book Club Pulls Another Score With Parker

The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month to discuss the best of hard-boiled and noir crime fiction. On Wednesday, August 30, at 7 PM, the Hard Word Book  Club will meet on BookPeople’s third floor to discuss Comeback by Richard Stark. 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780226770581The August 30th discussion of The Hard Word Book Club will look at the return of of one of the hardest of hard boiled anti-heroes. In the aptly titled Comeback, Richard Stark (the pen name of Donald Westlake) brought back his heist man Parker after a twenty-three-year hiatus. As the book proves, the bad man hasn’t slowed down.

Stark hits the ground running with the robbery in progress. The mark is a big time evangelist at a stadium revival. Things go wrong, gunfire erupts, and Parker is separated from the money by one of the gang members, Liss. To track down the double crosser and the loot, he takes the guise of an insurance investigator to team up up with the church’s head of security chasing the gang down. Full of reversals, terse dialogue, and visceral violence, this is Parker returning in full form.

Comeback gives us much to talk about. Some of the topics will be how Parker and the books have changed over the twenty years, the series in general, and heist novels. We will be meeting on Wednesday, August 30th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off for those planning to attend.

You can find copies of Comeback on our shelves and via

Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to Discuss: ANOTHER MAN’S MOCCASINS by Craig Johnson

The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson on Monday, August 21st, at 1 PM on BookPeople’s third floor. You can find copies of Another Man’s Moccasins on our shelves or via 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9780143115526On August 21st, we continue our annual tradition of reading the next novel in Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series. Another Man’s Moccasins is the fourth book in the series and my personal favorite. Unlike previous volumes in the series, Another Man’s Moccasins takes a deeper look into aspects of the Wyoming sheriff’s past that still haunt him.

The book is actually two mysteries, linked by a mysterious woman from Walt’s past. Walt and his deputies get a call alerting them to a body dump – a Vietnamese woman has been found murdered. On her person, they find a photo of Walt’s younger self playing piano in a Saigon bar. To solve his latest murder, Walt must look back to his first murder case as a CID officer.

With its explorations of Walt’s experiences in Vietnam and the past’s relationship with the present, Another Man’s Moccasins gives us much to discuss. We’ll be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Monday, August 21st, at 1PM. The books are 10% off to those who attend.

MysteryPeople Double Feature: MILDRED PIERCE


  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

This afternoon, the Authors & Auteurs Book Club meets to view the 1945 adaptation of James M. Cain’s classic tale of California excess, Mildred Piercestarring Joan Crawford in an Oscar-winning role as the title character, a housewife-turned-entrepreneur who builds a California restaurant empire only to crumble in the face of her daughter’s rejection of Mildred’s middle class morality. The film differs significantly from the book, condensing the narrative and adding in more crime story tropes (unsurprising for a film made at the height of film noir’s golden age) yet each shares the same basic story and underlying menace.

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