- Picks from Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
If I Had A Nickel by Ben Rehder
Legal videographers and sometime investigators Roy Ballard and Mia Madison are back, hunting down a valuable stash of hobo nickels belonging to a millionaire who died in an interesting way. Rehder blends humor, detective fiction, Austin color, and the lives of his heroes into one entertaining cocktail. You can find copies of If I Had A Nickel on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Shaker by Scott Frank
A hitman gets mistaken for a hero when he guns down some muggers during LAs biggest earthquake. This debut from acclaimed writer/director Scott Frank drops some truly hard boiled personalities into this satire of LA life. You can meet Scott Frank with authors Terry Shames and Josh Stallings at 7 PM, February 1st. You can find copies of Shaker on our shelves starting January 26th, or pre-order now via bookpeople.com.
Cut Me In by Ed McBain
Hard Case Crime plucks another one from obscurity. This early, by-gone novel from one of crime fiction’s grand masters has a publishing agent out to find his partner’s killer, in possession of a valuable stolen contract. It’s Mad Men meets Mickey Spillane. You can find copies of Cut Me In on our shelves starting January 12th, or anytime via bookpeople.com.
- Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery
Reed Farrel Coleman has a knack for getting under his leads. They are men stumbling to find who they are after life has knocked out the identity they chose for themselves. We now get to start a new journey with the latest Coleman creation, Gus Murphy, in Where It Hurts.
Gus is a former Suffolk County cop, whose job and marriage have crumbled away after the death of his son. He works as a courtesy van driver for a fading hotel. A criminal he had arrested comes to him for a favor. His own son has been murdered and the police seem to have written it off. With the help of his former priest and an immigrant co-worker, Gus delves into a tangled web of drugs, remnants of the mafia, and city corruption.
Gus lives and travels in a world of decay…Coleman uses his lyrical prose style to eloquently express the working class bars and dreary houses.
Gus lives and travels in a world of decay. Whether the the hotel he works for or the mobsters he’s up against, everything is past its glory days if it ever had them. Coleman uses his lyrical prose style to eloquently express the working class bars and dreary houses. He uses these settings to briefly and beautifully reflect Gus’s emotional state, since Gus can not completely articulate it himself.
Where It Hurts puts us on an emotionally rocky road with Gus Murphy. The path may be dark but a light can be seen. There is not just hope for his character, but for humanity as well.
Reed Farrel Coleman will be speaking and signing his latest Saturday, January 30th at 5 PM. Where It Hurts hits the shelves January 26th. You can pre-order a signed copy via bookpeople.com. Coleman additionally joins us with his latest continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone Novels, The Devil Wins. All MysteryPeople events are free and open to the public.
Click here for further event details, or to pre-order a signed copy of the book.
Interview and Review by Scott Butki
In The First Order, Jeff Abbott has written yet another great thriller about his protagonist hero, Sam Capra, and his continuing adventures and mishaps.
This is Abbott’s fifth novel in the Sam Capra series and I keep thinking one of these is going to be a dud – no offense, Jeff – but he keeps pulling it off. Each has enough excitement that it should come with a warning: Don’t read before going to bed… because there’s enough adrenaline to keep you awake.
“Usually when an idea with this many facets comes to me, I know it’s one good enough for a book.”
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We’ve posted just about every Top 20 list from the contributors of our Top 100 Crime & Suspense Fiction List. We’ve seen just as many takes on the genre as we’ve received lists. To paraphrase an old adage, it’s difficult to define a great detective novel, but you know it when you see it. Tomorrow morning, we’ll put up the link to the full list, but until then, it’s only fair to put up each of our lists. Molly Odintz’s list is below.
Molly Odintz’s Top 20 Mysteries
Molly Odintz is a bookseller at BookPeople and handles much of MysteryPeople’s online presence, including as much blogging as possible. This list represents an eclectic mixture of genre classics and works with great personal meaning. She tried to include those novels which, by the end, make the reader feel completely devastated and, simultaneously, awed.
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Aside from the cake and champagne, we’re looking forward to two things in particular at our 5th Anniversary Celebration this Saturday on the 7th: the unveiling of our MysteryPeople Top 100 Crime and Suspense Novels, and panel discussion “Our Life In Crime” with local authors, critics, and booksellers. Both Hopeton Hay and Mark Pryor contributed lists of their top mysteries, and they will both be participating in our panel. Their lists serve as a preview to our Saturday panel discussion, which we hope all you Austin mystery readers can attend.who will also be at the panel.
Hopeton Hay’s Top 20 Mysteries
Hopeton Hay is the host of Austin’s KAZI FM’s Book Review, aired Sundays at 12:30PM. It’s a gig that puts him in tune with some of today’s best authors. His list (in alphabetical order) is a great look at current crime fiction, and probably an excellent predictor of which of today’s books will become the classics of our time.
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- Interview by Molly Odintz
I’ve been a fan of Steven Saylor’s Gordianus the Finder novels, along with the rest of my family, for quite some time. When Steven Saylor’s next visit to BookPeople drew close, I leaped at the opportunity to interview him about the series. Steven Saylor will be speaking and signing his second novel of Gordianus’s early adventures, Wrath of the Furies, on Tuesday, November 3rd, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor.
Molly Odintz: First of all, what are your research methods like? Do you have a timeline going in your head at all times that you can just zoom in on for plot ideas?
Steven Saylor: I’m constantly roving through the ancient world—reading ancient authors, attending lectures at UT Austin and UC Berkeley, watching old gladiator movies (yes, that counts as research!)—but when I settle in to write a novel, I zoom in on that specific time and place, looking for the most fascinating people and all the juiciest details that could go into constructing a fast-paced, suspenseful, and meaningful story.
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Meg Gardiner’s bestselling thrillers are a great fusion of strong character and big story. Her novels are as addictive as the prose listed below. She’s as good at storytelling as her characters are at killing (and they are very good at killing). Gardiner lives in Austin, writes about California, and travels all over the world. Her Top 20 list reflects her style and influences, providing a pantheon of thrilling tales, classic and new.
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Steven Saylor, Austinite and author of the Gordianus the Finder historical detective novels, joins us at BookPeople to speak and sign his latest, Wrath of the Furies, on Tuesday, November 3rd, at 7 PM.
Steven Saylor has thrilled us for years with the adventures of Gordianus the Finder, a private detective in ancient Rome. By the power gifted to him by the historical fiction genre, Gordianus, along with his former slave/later wife Bethesda, manages to meet most important figures and be at the center of most historical events in the transition from republic to dictatorship, serving as a cheeky guide to wonders and pitfalls of the ancient world. Saylor’s wrapped up his Roma Sub Rosa series, in which Gordianus first appears, and has recently embarked on a new series, Ancient World, exploring the world of Gordianus’ youth and focusing more on events across the Mediterranean.
In Seven Wonders, Gordianus and his tutor travel to each of the seven wonders of the ancient world, parting ways, at the end of the novel, in Egypt. Wrath of the Furies takes up where Seven Wonders leaves off, in the great city of Alexandria. Gordianus, young and in love with his Egyptian slave Bethesda, recklessly risks all to travel to the midst of a war zone to rescue an old friend. He encounters treachery, obstacles, and intrigue along the way, as he races to stop the anti-Roman crusader King Mithridates, who has come up with a plan to slaughter every Roman citizen within his conquered territory.
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We are quickly approaching the unveiling of our list of the MysteryPeople Top 100 Crime & Suspense Novels, which will occur at MysteryPeople’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration on November 7th. The final list is culled from submissions by many of our favorite authors, and as the anniversary comes up, we’ll be posting each many of these Top 20 lists on our blog. Last week, we brought you two very different lists from Craig Johnson and Janice Hamrick.
Our next author is Reed Farrel Coleman, best known for his Moe Prager series, and and his respectful yet innovative continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone novels. Reed is known for the deft exploration of human emotion in his work and it appears to be reflected in what he reads. His list is a solid introduction to the noir canon, past and present. All descriptions below come from the hands of Mr. Coleman himself.
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On September 30th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor, we will be hosting Mark Pryor, author of the popular Hugo Marston series and, more recently, the standalone novel Hollow Man, our September Pick Of The Month. Hollow Man differs greatly from his Paris-set Hugo Marston series, following an Austin prosecutor and musician who is also a sociopath. Here is a quick discussion we had with Mark about writing such a different book than we’re used to from him.
MysteryPeople Scott: Hollow Man is completely different from the Hugo books. Were you deliberately wanting to write something different and darker or simply following an idea that popped into your head?
Mark Pryor: I would say the latter, except that it didn’t so much “pop” as germinate and gestate. Elements of the story had been rolling around in my head for a couple of years but it wasn’t until I was told about a real-life Ambrosio Silva-type character that the whole novel began to take shape. In fact, originally, the girl in the green dress was to be the protagonist, not Dominic. I suppose in some ways she remained the driving force but unlike most of my books, this one was very much a slow cook.
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