Top Five Texas Mysteries of 2016

  • Selected by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The stories below are as diverse and wide-ranging as the state itself, making full use of their setting and the quirky folks residing therein.

97803163294081. Honky Tonk Samurai by Joe R. Lansdale

Hap & Leonard are back as private eyes in a case that involves a used car/escort/blackmail ring, a transgender pimp, and inbred cannibal assassins. Not for the feint of heart, politically correct, easily offended, or those who have anything against shoot-outs, great dialogue, and fun. You can find copies of Honky Tonk Samurai on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.  

97803991763402. The Far Empty by J. Todd Scott

An intimate epic in South Texas between a deputy, crooked sheriff, and the sheriff’s son who believes his dad killed his mother. Scott shows talent for strong characters and hanging the threat of violence over them live one huge black storm cloud ready to rain down. You can find copies of The Far Empty on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

97816338808493. A Thousand Falling Crows by Larry Sweazy

A Texas Ranger who lost an arm chasing down Bonnie and Clyde tracks down a man’s daughter who fell in with a bunch of Dillinger wanna-bes and finds himself up against a serial killer. A moody, character driven crime novel that puts you on a Depression era dirt road in a speeding coupe with the bullets flying. You can find copies of A Thousand Falling Crows on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

97815227491034. Cold Rains by George Weir

A bounty hunter gets tangled up with a Texas cutie in all the wrong ways. A tight entertaining throwback to the Gold Medal paperbacks with a lot of Lone Star flavor. You can find copies of Cold Rains on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

5. Dollar Signs by Manning Wolfe9781944225001

An Austin lawyer goes up against the Texas boot king in a case that starts out over bill boards, but ends up in murder. A fun legal thriller with colorful characters and great use of the Austin setting. You can find copies of Dollar Signs on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

MysteryPeople’s Top 5 Texas Mysteries of 2013

1. The Thicket by Joe Lansdale

A mix of Southern Gothic, crime, and western with that distinctive Lansdale voice. A young man journeys with the son of slaves, a whore, and a dwarf bounty hunter seeking justice and his abducted sister in turn-of-the-last-century Texas. A grand yarn told in high style.

 

2.  The Right Side Of Wrong by Reavis Wortham

A group of Texas lawmen have to contend with the new drug business and the violence it brings to their part of the state in the early ’60s, causing them to cross lines both geographic and moral. Great sense of time and place with one hell of a climactic gun battle.

 

death rides again3. Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick

Jocelyn Shore visits the small town where she grew up for a Thanksgiving family reunion to find her cousin, Ruby June, missing and Ruby June’s husband murdered. Janice Hamrick’s light, funny mystery takes on some heavy ideas about family, relationships, and modern small towns.

 

4. These Mortal Remains by Milton T. Burton

If Chandler ended up in east Texas, he may have written something like this tale of a small town sheriff dealing with race, politics, and three murders. An involved plot, pitch perfect tone, and rich voice make this one engaging novel.

 

5. Long Fall From Heaven by Milton T Burton and George Weir

To solve the murder of their friend, two private security men in 1980s Galveston have to also uncover a string of murders that happened on the island during World War II. Filled with dark secrets and Lone Star history, both authors blend their styles to create an involving and moody thriller.

Noir at the Bar Continues

We kicked off Austin’s Noir At The Bar at Opal Divine’s last June with a strong start. Our mix of readings from hard boiled writers, music, and drink proved to be fun for both customers and fans. Tonight we continue the party.

Michael Koryta’s publisher told us he’d be a perfect fit for our Noir Bar. His award winning Lincoln Perry series was a mix of classic PI plotting with a realistic and moving central character. After moving to a series of acclaimed supernatural thrillers, like The Cypress House, he gives us his best book to date with The Prophet. The story focuses on two brothers, estranged because of their sister’s twenty year old murder, who have to face their demons and each other when another killing occurs. This book made my top 10 list of books for the year so far and I wont be surprised if it will be on my year-end list, as well.

I’m also happy to have my buddy, George Weir join us. He came to the attention to many with his short story, Duck Weed, that appears in Lone Star Noir. He will be reading a story titled Death Kiss. He told me it is “very noir and very Austin.”

Jesse Sublett returns providing both song and spoken mayhem. As well as playing a few tunes, he’ll be reading  from his work in progress, Grave Digger Blues, an apocalyptic private eye novel. His mix of words put to music brought down the last Noir At The Bar.

So join us tonight, Thursday, August 16th, 7pm, at Opal Divine’s on 6th and help us continue a tradition. There will be time to drink and mingle with the authors and I’ll be hanging around if anybody wants to talk crime fiction. Spend a good night with great writers.