Scott’s Top Five Debuts of 2016

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

What surprised me this year was the variety of genres in which new talented authors popped up – from hard boiled, to historical, to rural. I usually want authors to take their time, but I really hope to see a follow up from everybody on this list by the end of 2017.

97803162641741. The Second Girl by David Swinson

A former D.C. cop turned private investigator and junkie inadvertently saves a girl while searching for a fix. Soon he is hired to find another girl who disappeared under similar circumstances. As the clock runs out, he battles the need for a fix, while trying find her. A streetwise and human PI novel. You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97801431287172. Speakers Of the Dead by J. Aaron Sanders

In 1840s New York, a young reporter, Walt Whitman, attempts to clear the name of a friend hung for a crime she didn’t commit. His search leads to a grave robbing ring, politics, religion, and Edgar Allen Poe. A ripping historical yarn yarn that fully uses time and place. You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

97803991672633. Out Of The Blues by Trudy Nan Boyce

Newly minted Atlanta police detective Sarah Alt (aka Salt) catches a cold case involving the death of a bluesman. Her investigation involves a point in her city where race, politics, religion, and art meet in this involving procedure that any fan of Michael Connell’s harry Bosch should respect. You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

4. Graveyard Of The Gods by Richard Newman9781943075201

A farmer makes ends meet by tossing his criminal war buddy’s murder victims to his hogs. When he recognizes one of the bodies he goes to a dirty little town for answers. Newman takes the structure and tightness of a paperback crime story and uses it as a elegy for a dying Midwest. You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

97812500502295. The More They Disappear by Jesse Donaldson

A rural noir why-dunnit using a Kentucky town at the beginning of the Oxycontin crisis. As the interim sheriff looks into who killed his predecessor and the woman who did finds everything closing in on her, we see the the moral rot of small town America. You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

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On Addiction, PIs and Unlikely Heroes: MysteryPeople Q&A with David Swinson

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

In The Second Girl, author David Swinson introduces us to  private detective and drug addict Frank Marr. While robbing a drug den for their stash he inadvertently rescues a young girl, making him a reluctant hero. He is soon asked to look for another abducted girl. His search tests his skills and will, challenged by his addiction. We reached out to Mr. Swinson to see if he’s take some questions from us.

MysteryPeople Scott: What drew you to a detective like Frank Marr?

David Swinson: As a retired police detective I am a man of rules and procedure. I’m not the guy you want to watch certain crime shows or movies with because if they don’t follow correct procedure it drives me nuts. On the other hand, as a crime writer having to be bound by all those rules can be a burden. Frank Marr freed me from all that. He still has somewhat of a police code so he doesn’t do anything so stupid it’s drive me crazy, but also he’s not bound by those rules so he breaks some of them. That’s what made it fun.

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Scott’s Top Ten Mysteries of 2016 (So Far)

97803991730351. Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman

Coleman gives us a new character, ex-cop Gus Murphy, in a mystery involving old school mobsters, questionable cops, and a confrontation with loss and despair. After this hard-boiled story with heart, I can’t wait to see where this wounded hero is going. Signed copies available!

 


2. The Second Life Of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton9780399574320

One of the best crafted crime novels I’ve read in some time, featuring a small time hood whose early prison release has him forced to do the bidding of criminal kingpin. Everything Hamilton sets up with his sharp premise falls perfectly into place by the end.


97800623698573. What Remains Of Me by Allison Gaylin

A layered Hollywood thriller with the murder of a movie star tied to the woman found guilty for shooting his director buddy when she was a teenager. Gaylin dives into celebrity crime, tapping into dark social psychology.

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MysteryPeople Review: THE SECOND GIRL by David Swinson

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780316264174The wounded private eye has become a way for writers to give emotional weight to their crime fiction. Since Lawrence Block introduced us to Matt Scudder, detectives have been chasing their own own demons as well as their suspects. In his debut The Second Girl David Swinson gives us Frank Marr, junkie detective.

Marr feeds his habit by robbing drug dens. When he busts into one, he finds an abducted girl. Becoming a local hero with a secret, he is hired to find another girl who may have been taken by the same criminals. Marr hits the D.C. streets, searching for the girl and a fix.

Swinson portrays Marr as a anti-hero on a heroes’ quest. He works to manage his habit, instead of kicking it, resigned to being a junkie. Swinson avoids giving Marr a tragic background to manufacture sympathy. Sympathy is developed through the fight of who he is.

The Second Girl gives us a gritty streetwise detective story with a believably flawed detective. I’m looking forward to more books in the series and to seeing how Frank continues to deal with his addiction. The Second Girl already has me caring about him.

You can find copies of The Second Girl on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.