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  • Jeff Somers 4:24 pm on 2018/10/03 Permalink
    Tags: , andy carpenter, , , Deck the Hounds, , lou berney, , , , otto penzler, p.d. james, , The Big Book of Female Detectives,   

    October’s Best New Mysteries 

    October is a month for scares and thrills—but there are scares and thrills in the world that have nothing to do with ghosts and goblins. This month’s best mysteries are here to get those goose-pimples popping and those neck hairs rising without a single witch, vampire bat, or werewolf necessary.

    November Road, by Lou Berney
    Berney spins a karmic tale about a mob fixer named Frank Guidry working in New Orleans in 1963. Guidry snips loose ends for his boss Carlos Marcello, violently if necessary. He gets the job of leaving a car in a Dallas parking lot, and after President Kennedy is assassinated he realizes he provided a getaway vehicle for the real shooter—and worse, now he’s a loose end. Trailed by Marcello’s top hitman, Guidry flees and meets up with Charlotte Roy, an unhappy but steel-tipped housewife escaping an abusive husband. As the tension rises, the two find themselves making a surprisingly effective team as they seek to survive in different ways.

    Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales, by P.D. James
    This cunning assortment of previously uncollected stories from the indomitable author of Death Comes to Pemberley is filled with tales of crimes committed long ago, complete with the chilling rationalizations that so often accompany them. Take a deep dive into the heart of a killer, and explore the push-pull in the minds of murderers, witnesses, orchestrators of the perfect crime, and unwitting victims. James’s formidable talent shines even more brightly in her shorter works.

    Deck the Hounds (Andy Carpenter Series #18), by David Rosenfelt
    Rosenfelt’s 18th Andy Carpenter novel brings Christmas to Paterson, New Jersey. Andy tries to help out a homeless man named Don Carrigan, offering the veteran and his dog the Carpenter garage apartment during the cold weather. But when Don is arrested for murder, Andy finds himself taking on a new legal client. There’s a sniper working in the area, and Andy quickly finds himself dealing with a blood-curdling series of crimes that put both Don and Andy’s lives in danger. Rosenfelt’s characters are as warm and bighearted as ever, and the holiday setting makes this a great gift for the person who has everything, especially the previous 17 Andy Carpenter books.

    The Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny
    Anyone looking to skim the cream of mystery fiction need look no further—between them, guest editor Penny and series editor Otto Penzler offer up twenty of the absolute best from the famous and the soon-to-be. Penny’s thoughtful selections feature fantastic short fiction from Michael Connelly, Martin Limón, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Andrew Klaven, Paul D. Mark, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew Bourelle, and twelve others. The choices run the gamut from surprising reinventions of the genre to masterful exercises in the genre’s traditional beats and pleasures.

    The Big Book of Female Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler
    The legendary Otto Penzler continues his popular ‛Big Book’ series with a deep dive into detective fiction with a decidedly female-first focus; considering the current climate, the timing for such a book couldn’t be better. With authors including Agatha Christie (who offers up a delightful Tommy and Tuppence mystery), Marcia Muller (who contributes a Sharon McCone adventure), Phyllis Bentley, Charlotte Armstrong, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Mignon G. Eberhart, this anthology once again demonstrates why Penzler is the most reliable editor working in the mystery genre today.

    October isn’t just a month of tricks and treats—it’s also a month for gumshoes and gimlet-eyed private detectives. Which mysteries will you be reading this month?

    Shop all mystery and crime >

    The post October’s Best New Mysteries appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Molly Schoemann-McCann 3:00 pm on 2017/10/31 Permalink
    Tags: , alexander mccann smith, anne canadeo, , city of lies, death in the stacks, , , hardcore twenty four, harry dolan, , , , knit to kill, , , p.d. james, , sleep no more: 6 murderous tales, the house of unexpected sisters, the man in the crooked hat, , the trouble with twelfth grave darynda jones, ,   

    The Best New Mysteries of November 2017 

    Happy November, gumshoes! This month, take advantage of a long, relaxing holiday weekend (or, hours of traveling to see family and friends) to get in some uninterrupted reading time! Stock your nightstand or suitcase with a few of these page-turners and keep fall mysterious.

    Hardcore Twenty Four, by Janet Evanovich
    As her many fans are aware, to know Stephanie Plum is to love her. Evanovich’s long-running series following the madcap exploits of Jersey’s most illustrious bounty hunter takes a spooky turn when headless bodies begin turning up left and right. Although initially they’re corpses from the morgue, when a homeless man is found murdered and decapitated, someone has clearly upped their creepy game, Stephanie is compelled to take the case. In the meantime, she’s bunking with professional grave robber Simon Diggery and his pet python, and concerned about Grandma Mazur’s online dating escapades. Tall blonde and handsome Diesel is also back in town, which is stirring things up for Stephanie and her perennial paramours, sexy cop Joe Morelli and the enigmatic Ranger. Treat yourself to the latest mystery in the Plum series!

    City of Lies, by Victoria Thompson
    This exciting new series by the author of the Gaslight Mystery Series introduces readers to Elizabeth Miles, a savvy con artist in the Robin Hood vein who makes a brazen living divesting wealthy men of their fortunes…until the day she and her brother cross the wrong wealthy man and end up fleeing for their lives. Elizabeth stays safe by hiding among a group of privileged women whose activism she comes to admire…and in time her admiration extends to Gideon, the son of the group’s matriarch. But Elizabeth has been playing a deadly game, and her past is on the verge of catching up with her.

    The Man in the Crooked Hat, by Harry Dolan
    For two years, former Cop Jack Pellum has been searching for his wife’s murderer—whom he is convinced is a suspicious, fedora-wearing stranger he observed in her vicinity a few days before her death. But his obsessive quest, which has so far been fruitless, is jumpstarted when a message relating to the suicide of a local writer cracks the case wide open. And when Pellum crosses paths with Michael Underhill, a man with a dark hidden past who has everything to lose now that he’s found the perfect girlfriend, he finds himself closer than ever to finding out the truth, which is might be more than he can handle. A relentless plotter who sketches out unforgettable characters, if you’re a mystery fan and you haven’t read Dolan yet, put him on your list.

    How the Finch Stole Christmas, by Donna Andrews
    Eschewing his typical one man show, Meg’s husband has decided to launch a full-cast production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol—starring their sons Josh and Jamie as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge of course, with Meg as stage manager. But the faded-star celebrity he brought into town to play Scrooge has brought a whole lot of trouble with him, in the form of a veritable zoo of animals, including a collection of finches. Fans of Andrews’ lively and charming Meg Langslow series will be crowing about the twisty 22nd installment.

    Knit to Kill, by Anne Canadeo
    Lucy Bing, a member of the storied Black Sheep knitting group, is getting married! To relax before the nuptials, the group accepts an invitation from Suzanne Cavanaugh’s friend Amy to spend the weekend on Osprey Island. But their relaxing getaway is ruined when an unpleasant local resident falls from a cliff to his death—and investigators believe he was murdered. When suspicion falls on Amy’s husband, it’s up to the Black Sheep knitters to untangle this unsettling mystery—which features a diabolical killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

    The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, by Darynda Jones
    Jones’ 12th Charley Davidson novel continues to blend mystery, romance, and the paranormal into a delightfully offbeat series. Son of Satan (and Charley’s husband) Reyes Farrow has been a bit peeved ever since she accidentally trapped him in Hell, which is understandable. But he’s not the only one making her life difficult these days—her startup PI venture is also keeping things very lively, and someone’s begun going after humans with an awareness of the supernatural. Can Charley protect them, despite her suspicion that she’s protecting them from someone she cares deeply about? If you haven’t yet met Charley Davidson, start at the beginning with the uproarious, award-winning First Grave on the Right.

    The House of Unexpected Sisters, by Alexander McCall Smith
    In this nuanced, slow burn mystery, the 18th in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe is approached by a woman fighting against what she calls an unfair dismissal from her job—for being rude to a customer. Although Mma Ramotswe initially takes her side, as more information comes to light, she begins to come to a troubling conclusion. Not only that, she discovers the existence of a local woman, a nurse, with the same last name of Ramotswe—which comes as something of a shock. When Mma Potokwani informs her that an unsavory man from her past has returned to Botswana, very likely in an effort to deliberately seek her out, Mma Ramotswe realizes she has her work cut out for her when it comes to unraveling the mysteries of her past and present, which have become entangled together.

    Sleep No More: 6 Murderous Tales, by P. D. James
    This cunning assortment of previously uncollected stories from the indomitable author of Death Comes to Pemberley is filled with tales of crimes committed long ago, complete with the chilling rationalizations that so often accompany them. Take a deep dive into the heart of a killer, and explore the push-pull in the minds of murderers, witnesses, orchestrators of the perfect crime, and unwitting victims. James’s formidable talent shines just even more brightly in her shorter works.

    A Christmas Return: A Novel, by Anne Perry
    When her investigation into a long-ago murder that sundered a friendship prompts the arrival of a mysterious and disturbing Christmas package on her doorstep, grandmother Mariah Ellison, the winning star of Perry’s newest Christmas-themed mystery, finds herself traveling to Surrey to pay a visit to her estranged friend, the murdered man’s widow, in an effort to make amends. There, she teams up with the victim’s grandson, who is hot on the killer’s (cold) trail. But now that they’re stirring up old crimes, every new lead puts this unlikely pair deeper into danger.

    Death in the Stacks, by Jenn McKinlay
    Brier Creek Library’s annual Dinner in the Stacks is a delightful fundraising event that should be lifting the spirits of the library’s staff—who instead find themselves under the thumb of miserable new library board president Olive Boyle, who is ruining everything. When Olive threatens bright new hire Paula, Lindsey Norris berates her—and she fears repercussions on the night of the big event. However, Olive is found dead in the middle of Dinner in the Stacks, with nonother than Paula crouching over her. Can Lindsey clear her name, or will Paula get the book thrown at her? Don’t miss the eighth book in this charming series for mystery-minded bibliophiles.

    Parting Shot, by Linwood Barclay
    A young man swears he has no memory of stealing a Porsche and murdering a girl while inebriated—an act which devastated the small community of Promise Falls and unleashed a barrage of threats against his family. Against his better judgment, Cal Weaver reluctantly agrees to investigate the threats, but before long he finds himself sucked into a brutal quest for revenge.

    The Secret, Book & Scone Society, by Ellery Adams
    The first book in a new series that combines a few of everyone’s favorite things—books, baked goods, and deep, dark secrets. Nora Pennington resides in beautiful Miracle Springs, North Carolina, a place renowned for the healing properties of its hot springs. Nora owns Miracle books, and she has a talent for drawing out people’s stories about their lives—in exchange for her uncannily perfect book recommendations. When a businessman is found dead before he can keep his appointment with Nora, she forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, which gives members a place to turn for support and a feeling of camaraderie—as long as they first reveal their darkest secrets first. As the members of Nora’s club begin to investigate the businessman’s mysterious death, they discover a sense of community—along with some hidden dangers.

    What mysteries are you excited about this month?

    The post The Best New Mysteries of November 2017 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 4:30 pm on 2015/04/08 Permalink
    Tags: barbara hambly, , , outside the lines, p.d. james, ,   

    Five Authors Who Escaped Pigeonholing by Switching Genres 

    People have a natural desire to reduce everyone and everything to a simple descriptor as a way of making sense of the world around them. For writers, this means you can be very easily (and permanently) pegged as a Thriller Writer, a Sci-Fi Writer—or any of a dozen other genre categories. And generally, once a writer has been associated with a certain genre, it’s hard for them to mix it up and write in another genre, sometimes due to their publisher’s insistence on “category discipline.”

    But not these writers! Despite the risks of losing an established audience, these five authors took their chances by invading other genres—and they succeeded.

    Barbara Hambly
    Hambly’s first published novel was 1982’s The Time of the Dark, the first book in the the Darwath trilogy, and up until the mid-1990s she worked almost exclusively in the sci-fi and fantasy genre, to steady success, even serving as president of the science fiction and fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) from 1994 to 1996. Then, in 1997, she published A Free Man of Color, a historical mystery about a free black surgeon named Benjamin January living in 1830s New Orleans. That series now has thirteen novels, and Hambly continues to flit between genres effortlessly in a way that probably makes some authors a bit jealous.

    Stephen R. Donaldson
    Donaldson is famous for his sci-fi and fantasy works such as The Gap Cycle and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but he also tried his hand at a series of straightforward mystery novels, beginning with 1980’s The Man Who Killed His Brother, published after Donaldson had met success with the first Covenant series. His publisher strictly enforced category discipline at the time, forcing him to publish the books under a pseudonym. Donaldson has written four novels in the series so far (they’ve since been reprinted with his real name on them), and plans a fifth.

    P.D. James
    P.D. James is still mainly known for her mystery writing (and for good reason), most notably her Adam Dalgliesh series. In 1992, thirty years after the first Dalgliesh novel was released, she published what remains one of the most popular and recognizable modern science fiction novels: The Children of Men. It was her only foray into the genre, making it all the more remarkable, given how clever and brimming with solid sci-fi ideas it was. There’s little doubt that, had she wished to, James could have forged an entire second career writing sci-fi.

    Ken Follett
    Ken Follett is one of the bestselling authors of modern times, and it’s easy to forget that his first five truly successful novels were spy thrillers, including still-popular books like Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca. Then, after firmly establishing himself as a modern master of the espionage story, his 1989 novel The Pillars of the Earth was a disorienting departure: A precisely-researched, doorstopper-thick historical novel with religious themes, set in the Middle Ages. Proving that “category discipline” is a ridiculous concept, the book went on to be a massive bestseller.

    Elmore Leonard
    Today people think of Leonard as one of the most prolific and imitated crime writers of the modern age, but when Leonard got his start, he wrote westerns almost exclusively (his first five published novels were westerns). It wasn’t until 1969’s The Big Bounce that he tried his hand at a mystery, transforming himself into one of the most popular writers of the 20th century—and making it look easy, just like many of his most iconic characters. Leonard brought all the basics of the Western to his crime novels (or maybe it was the other way around) and today fans of his later works are well-advised to read his Westerns as well.

    Genre-hopping can be done, and done well—did we miss any of your favorite multi-genre authors?

     
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