Three Picks for March

Scott Phillips returns with a conniving lawyer at the end of his rope when he loses his only client’s money on a drug deal gone bad. To get back in the black and ahead he hatches an art fraud scheme that depends on a forger, his wife, and his mistress. Tight, funny, and populated with the sleaze bags he writes so well, this caper novel skewers L.A. life with precision. Scott will be joining Don Bassoff and Jason Pinter for our Writing Outside The Lines discussion at BookPeople on March 16th at 7PM.
The Lantern Man by Jon Bassoff
Bassoff mixes psycho-noir with the gothic tale in the tragic story of the Grenier siblings in Leadville, Colorado. After one is drowned in front of the other two, the brother is arrested for murdering a classmate. The remaining sister’s charred body is found in a burned up cabin along with her diary in a safe that proves nothing may be as it seems. Bassoff uses the diary, newspaper clippings, and other media along with his moody prose style to deliver a unique thriller with one hell of  reveal. Jon will also be at the Writing Outside The Lines Discussion on March 16th.
Are Snakes Necessary? by Brian DePalma & Susan Lehman
The acclaimed director of films like Dressed To Kill, Blow Out, and The Untouchables collaborates in prose for this entertaining potboiler of a photographer, his two lovers, and a ruthless senator’s aid who weave around each other in a tale of sex, politics, and murder. The book contains the style, pace, and quirky, dark humor of many of the director’s films.

You can shop for all three titles in-store and online this month at BookPeople. And be sure to catch Scott Phillips and Jon Bassoff in-store for their MysteryPeople-hosted panel discussion on March 16th at 7PM.

3 Picks for February

My favorite book of 2019 will be out in paperback this month. This road trip of a retired porn star and mafia widow, heading to Florida in a stolen 63′ Impala with a bag of mob cash is so much more than it’s great premise. Funny, gritty, and with believable heart, it looks at aging, escape, and female friendship in a world dominated by men.
The Burn by Kathleen Kent
Kent’s Dallas narcotics cop, Betty Rhyzyk, is regulated to desk duty when several informants pop up murdered and there are whispers on the street of several kilos of heroin stolen from a cartel. When she suspects some of those responsible could be in the department or involved with her girlfriend, she goes rogue. Kent goes deep into this gritty cop thriller with a tough, complex heroine who could give a damn if you like her or not.
Trouble Is What I Do by Walter Mosley
An elderly black bluesman hires Leonid McGill to deliver a letter to his granddaughter who doesn’t know of her mixed heritage. Her well connected father is out to stop it and is not above setting some killers on all involved. Leonid and his crew get their hustle on to stay alive and get the job done. A tight, fun P.I. novella that taps into the genres past to deal with current issues of race, politics, and family.

These titles are available to pre-order from BookPeople now. And get your fix of the best mystery reads by keeping up with us here on the MysteryPeople blog.

3 Picks for January

MysteryPeople’s Crime Fiction Coordinator, Scott M., kicks your year off the right way: with three new releases that are sure to get your heart bumpin’. Read on for more on these top picks.

The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge
This book introduces us to a heroine I hope to follow for a long time. Lily Wong learned the skills of a ninja to avenge her sister and now uses them to help women in trouble with bad men. Eldrige grounds the pulp aspects of the book into something believable and human, giving us a fun mix of paperback action and Raymond Chandler with a feminist twist.
From The Grave by Jay Brandon
Edward Hall gets a chance to be reinstated as an attorney as .long as he takes a kidnapping case he is expected to lose since the victim is the D.A.’s sister. The only problem is he soon  realizes his client could be innocent and the case is linked to another crime. Brandon gets the details and culture of the court down to fascinating details. Jay Brandon will be signing and discussing From The Grave Friday, January 10th, 7PM at BookPeople.
The Wild One by Nick Petrie
Peter Ash, the former marine suffering from PTSD in Petrie’s series, travels to Reykjavik to locate a boy believed to be kidnapped by his father, discovering a government plot and several people out to kill him. Petrie mixes up a solid formula thriller that examines the nature of violence while it dishes a lot of it out.

These titles are available for purchase and pre-order from BookPeople now!

3 Picks for December

December’s picks range from the welcome return of a great character, the debut of two new ones, and an anthology that looks at the relationship between fiction and film.

Sweazy brings back Sonny Burton and former Texas Ranger dealing with an arm he lost in a gunfight with Bonnie and Clyde. Here he helps his ranger son track down an escaped convict he knows all too well. Sweazy creates a uniques place and time for two human yet very lethal men to square off.
9781944520861Alibi For A Dead Man by Wilson Toney
Bug and Roche, two operatives for The National Detective Agency, investigate a car accident where the driver was dead before the crash. The mystery leads to the hunt for loot from a bank heist, some shootouts, and a lot of quips in the fun throwback to the light P.I. novel.
9780525563884The Big Book Of Reel Murders edited by Otto Penzler
A mammoth collection of short crime stories, covering every subgenre, that inspired films. Penzler provides interesting commentary on both film and fiction to go along with each tale. A must for the many crime fiction lovers who are also film buffs.

These titles are available for purchase and pre-order from BookPeople in-store and online now.

3 Picks for November

Crime Fiction Coordinator, Scott Montgomery, has your November Mystery Syllabus ready — three reads that are sure to thrill you as the days get colder!

9781250317926_91e7cMurder Off The Page by Con Lehane

Raymond Ambler, the crime fiction curator for the New York Public Library, gets pulled into another mystery when bartender McNulty becomes a murder suspect.

It becomes even more sordid when the victim is discovered to have had a double life. Con Lehane develops a well crafted mystery populated by believable, lived-in characters.

Spenser revisits L.A., tracking a missing starlet with the help of his protege’ Sixkill and a few friends from the past.
Atkins has great fun with the Boston P.I.’s take on La-La Land.

Ace Atkins will be at BookPeople November 18th, 7PM to sign and discuss the novel.

9781785659454_a9d80Killing Quarry by Max Alan Collins

Collins goes back to his hitman Quarry’s past when he discovers someone has put a contract out on him. Teamed with a beautiful and deadly colleague, he tries to turn the tables on him. A fun package of sex, violence, and hard-boiled dialogue delivered in Collin’s well crafted style.

These titles are all available to order now from BookPeople in-store and online at

Three Picks for October

Crime Fiction Coordinator, Scott Montgomery, has your required reading for October set with three picks you shouldn’t sleep on.


G. I. Confidential by Martin Limón

Seventies Seoul-stationed CID cops Sueno and Bascome make some new enemies, going after G.I. bank robbers and dealing with a General who has a Colonel Kurtz bent. Limón continues to flesh out his lifers while depicting Korean and army life, along with a slam bang thriller.




9781641290807_0d283 Sarah Jane by James Sallis

This book combines character study, police procedural , and regional novel for this tale of a female deputy in the Ozarks who becomes sheriff when the previous one is murdered. Sallis captures both the voice and heart of a survivor.





9781643960319The Dead Beat Scroll

August Riordan returns to San Fransisco to find his former partner murdered. His search for justice leads to Chinatown gangsters, sugar daddies, and scroll manuscript of Kerouac. A fun traditional P.I. novel that uses its setting for all it’s worth. Mark will be at BookPeople October 28th at 7PM with authors L.A. Chandlar and Heather Harper Ellet.



You can grab copies of all three of Scott’s picks this month in-store and online at BookPeople.

Three Picks for September

9780399574979 Robert B. Parker’s The Bitterest Pill by Reed Farrel Coleman

Paradise police chief Jesse Stone takes on a opioid ring while fighting the day to day battle with alcohol. Coleman delivers a strong procedural thriller on a topical subject, hitting all the human notes without sacrificing the entertainment value.




9781947993679_3c3ed Three-Fifths by John Vercher

A young mixed race man, passing for white, in early nineties Philly is confronted with his identity when he witnesses his white supremacist friend commit murder and his black father comes back into his life. Vercher captures the lives and emotions of his working class people in this meditation on race, friendship, and comic books. John Vercher will be joining Jamie Mason on Saturday, September 22nd at 2PM to sign and discuss their books.


9780316479837_7c0c6The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pellecanos

My favorite of 2018 is out in paperback. A young man gets out of jail, trying to get his life together and indulge in his newfound love of reading. When a private detective blackmails him into being a driver for robberies of pimps and dealers, he must navigate his former life of crime and the life he wants. A humanist crime novel that also delves into the pleasure of reading. Our Murder In the Afternoon Book Club will be discussing The Man Who Came Uptown on October 21st at 1PM, with George Pelecanos calling in.

Favorite Hard-Boiled Noir: Remaining Contingent

9781944520687 Tomorrow, Saturday, August 31st at 2PM on BookPeople’s third floor, we will be holding our Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames: A Discussion of Hard-boiled Fiction panel to celebrate twenty years of Stark House publishing and the release of the book, The Best Of Manhunt. Leading up to it this week, we’ve had all the participants list three or five hard-boiled favorites. We’ve heard from Stark House Press’s Jeff Vorzimmer and Rick Ollerman and from Nacogdoches, Texas’ Tim Bryant and Joe R Lansdale. All that is left is modern hard-boiled master Josh Stallings, author of the Moses McGuire series that follows an ex-biker turned bouncer on a war against sex traffickers, and Young Americans, a coming of Age heist tale. Also chiming in with his opinion, crime fiction coordinator Scott Montgomery who will be serving as moderator on the panel.

FINAL Josh’s Picks:

Dancing Bear by James Crumley

This isn’t country noir, it’s Montanan hard-boiled. It combines flavors of Raymond Chandler and Hunter S. Thompson with a poetry that is Crumley’s own. It also has my favorite last line, “I have learned some things. Modern life is warfare without end: take no prisoners, leave no wounded, eat the dead–that’s environmentally sound.”

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Chandler writes like a drunken angel. I was 16 when this book started my lifelong love of hard-boiled fiction. Detective Philip Marlowe is a deeply flawed man fighting to do the best he can. Corruption, blackmail, dangerous dames, it is both of it’s time, and frighteningly timeless.

Already Dead by Charlie Huston

In the underbelly of New York lives a dark and dangerous world of blood suckers. Joe Pitt is a hard-boiled, vampire detective fighting to keep the world from falling into chaos. It is funny but never crosses into silliness. It is serious as dynamite, violent and brilliant. Huston creates characters worth giving a damn about.

Scott’s Picks:

The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett

Hammett may have not invented the hard-boiled story, but he made it into something worth pursuing for authors. Often considered his most personal book, the story follows the right hand man of a political boss, trying to solve a murder that could ruin his boss while falling for his boss’s woman. Hammett delivers a cynical tale featuring a tarnished hero with a code and a strong male friendship at it’s center. A huge influence on The Coen Brother’s Millers Crossing.

Blue City by Ross Macdonald

Before his sensitive PI Lew Archer, Macdonald wrote this tough as nails postwar tale (originally under his real name Kenneth Millar) about a soldier who returns home to find his father, the town fixer, murdered and few, including the sheriff and his step-mother, giving a damn. He hunts down those responsible with the help of a sex worker and leftist bookstore owner. You know it’s a hard-boiled novel when the hero’s name is Johnny Weather.

The Outfit by Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake)

I had to include a book about professional robber Parker and this heist novel with about a half dozen heists. To bring things to a head with the organized crime outfit he’s been at war with, Parker goes on a crime spree and tells his peers if they know of an outfit place to rob do it, it will be pinned on him. Westlake wrote the Parker books with a precision that created diamond hard books with no fat.

Unknown Man #89 by Elmore Leonard

One Leonard’s early and grittier Detroit-based novels about a process server with a reputation of tracking down anyone, is hired to locate a man for a sleazy guy who deals in stocks. Others are also on the hunt with deadly aim. Great examples of Leonard’s sense of character and dialogue in a darker story than he was later known for.

Two Bear Mambo by Joe R. Lansdale

Also had to have a Hap and Leonard. This one has the boys going into a racist town to find out what happened to Hap’s ex, a lawyer working on a case.  Funny, with great action and a great male friendship at it’s center, this and the other books in the series show how an author takes his or her influences and makes them his own.

Don’t forget about our hard-boiled mystery fiction panel happening on BookPeople’s third floor this Saturday, August 31st at 2PM featuring a bevy of Crime fiction’s best.

3 Picks for August, Stark House Style

With us celebrating Stark Houses twenty years this month, we decided to draw attention to the three books they all have coming out in August. All have the stamp of fifties hard boiled crime and noir told with style and raw emotion. Take on any of these three if your tough enough.

9781944520816Stool Pigeon by Louis Malloy

An angsty, gritty tale of  a Little Italy cop obsessed with nailing the the gangster he grew up with. His quest risks both his life and morality. Louis blends the story’s dense emotions and New York street life into an entertaining cop tale. How this didn’t get turned into a film with Rod Stieger, Lee J. Cobb, or Brando, I don’t know.





9781944520755Tall Dark And Dead by Kermit Jaedecker/ The Savage Chase by Frederick Lorenz/ Run The Wild River by D.L. Champion

Three books from Lion Books, right next to gold medal when it came to producing great fifties crime fiction. Whether the New York private eye yarn, a funny take on a missing gambler and the hustlers on the look out to use him, or the rise and fall of a border vice lord, these stories move fast and take no prisoners, embracing their quirks. Reading all three is like getting into a fiction propelled time machine.



9781944520779Death Is A Private Eye: The Uncollected Stories Of Gil Brewer edited by David Rachels

Gil Brewer delivered believable menace with a muscular yet lean prose style that followed lower middle class types driven by lust or greed, and often both to their dark fates. Here Rachels unearths a treasure of his writing, mainly from the seventies, seeing light for the first time.


This month all three book are from authors who will be stopping by.

Never Look Back: A Novel Cover ImageNever Look Back by Alison Gaylin

Gaylin’s latest psychological suspense novel ties a podcaster and film columnist whose families were both affected by two young thrill killers in 1976. Gaylin’s clean style allows her to put the reader on less than solid footing as the story bobs and weaves, with protagonists trading positions, toward one hell of an ending. Alison Gaylin will be at BookPeople July 15th to sign and discuss the book.


This Side of Night Cover ImageThis Side of Night by J. Todd Scott

Scott teams up sheriff Chris Cherry and DEA Joe Garrison again when violence from a vicious drug cartel spills over to this side of the border. Scott uses the Texas local, well defined characters, and some fantastic action sequences  to deliver a gritty crime novel that is both epic and intimate. J. Todd Scott will be at BookPeople July 18th to sign and discuss the book.


The Best of Manhunt Cover ImageThe Best of Manhunt edited by Jeff Vorzimmer

47 stories from one of the best crime fiction magazines ever. Manhunt published the greats Mickey Spillane, David Goodis, and Even Hunter and gave a start to the likes of  Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block. The collection showcases these writers and many others from the fifties and sixties worth discovering. Editor Jeff Vorzimmer will be joining Rick Ollerman, Jesse Sublett, Josh Stallings, Tim Bryant, and Joe Lansdale for Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames: A Discussion Of Hard Boiled Fiction on BookPeople’s third floor 2PM August 31st.