Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Seven thrillers about vacations gone wrong

Andrea Bartz is a Brooklyn-based journalist and author of We Were Never Here, The Lost Night, and The Herd. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Redbook, Elle, and many other outlets, and she's held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other publications.

At Electric Lit she tagged seven thrillers that "feature Americans who head abroad expecting pleasure or relaxation—but who get far more than they bargained for." One title on the list:
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

When Miriam Macy receives a surprise invitation to join six strangers on a luxe private island off the coast of Mexico, she can’t believe her luck. Surrounded by miles of open water, though, she watches as a series of accidents takes down her fellow visitors one by one. This creepy, clever thriller is a brilliant modern send-up to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
Read about the other entries on the list at Electric Lit.

They All Fall Down is among Amy Suiter Clarke's seven great thrillers that play with form, Catriona McPherson's five top mystery novels set on islands, CrimeReads' ten best crime novels of 2019, Kristen Lepionka's seven favorite unlikable female characters.

The Page 69 Test: They All Fall Down.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 2, 2021

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Thirteen top laugh-out-loud mysteries

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 17 languages.

As a born storyteller, Jones grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, certain they went away the better for it.

Her new novel is A Good Day for Chardonnay.

At CrimeReads Jones tagged thirteen "stories where laugh-out-loud humor is a must, yet they still manage to deliver that soul-filling mystery we all crave like a carb addict craves pasta." One title on the list:
Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly

I have been in love with this series since the first book won an RWA Golden Heart in 2009. The premise is fun and the writing is delightful. Tax cheats, beware: The Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division has a new special agent on its payroll. A recovering tomboy with a head for numbers, Tara’s fast becoming the Annie Oakley of the IRS—kicking ass, taking social security numbers, and keeping the world safe for honest taxpayers. Or else. With twelve books in the series, expect many hours of enjoyment.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Twelve great UK crime novels

Crime Fiction Lover assembled a list of twelve great UK crime novels from twelve great British cities, including:
Bristol – The Chosen Dead by MR Hall

Giovanni Caboto, AKA John Cabot, was one of Bristol’s most famous residents when, in 1497 he sailed off to discover North America, about four hundred years after the Vikings landed there. Even back then immigrants were contributing to the economy. Today the city’s famous for its relaxed atmosphere, the Bristol Sound, and street artist Banksy. Let’s not forget MR Hall, though, a lawyer turned crime writer whose ‘babbers’ in writing terms include the ‘gurt lush’ crime novel The Chosen Dead. This is a forensics piece featuring coroner Jenny Cooper, and it involves the disappearance of a biotech big cheese from Arizona in the 80s, the defection of a Russian professor a few years later, and the apparent suicide of an aid worker in present-day Bristol. Also, a mystery disease kills the child of one of Cooper’s friends. Could all these disparate events be somehow linked? Well, jump onto the M32 to find out.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 30, 2021

Five thrillers to scare you off of social media

Lindsay Cameron worked as a corporate lawyer for many years in Vancouver and New York City before leaving the law behind to write books.

Her first novel, Biglaw, was published in 2015.

Just One Look is her suspense debut.

Cameron lives in New York City where she is currently at work on her next book.

At CrimeReads she tagged "five thrillers that might convince you to finally pull the trigger on that [social media account] delete button," including:
You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

Joe Goldberg made me question my online presence back when he was stalking Beck in the first installment of Caroline Kepnes’s brilliantly twisted You series, and now he might be the reason I officially swear off social media forever. In You Love Me, Joe uses Instagram to keep tabs not only on his son, but on the new object of his affection – responsible, grounded librarian Mary Kay. Joe’s determined to do things right this time and win her love the old-fashioned way…with meticulous online stalking, of course! But while Joe’s turning Mary Kay’s white hearts red, someone may be tracking his feed too. Careful Joe! With Kepnes’s trademark mixture of humor, horror, and pop culture savvy, you’ll tear through this page-turner (and then pare down your Instagram profile.)
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Top ten works about bored teenagers

John Patrick McHugh is from Galway. His work has appeared in Banshee, Granta, Stinging Fly, Tangerine and Winter Papers.

Pure Gold is his debut story collection. ”'This is a terrific collection," says Roddy Doyle. "The stories are dark, funny, honest and engrossing.”

At the Guardian McHugh tagged ten "works that explore how the sublime can arise from the dull reality of being a teenager." One title on the list:
"Honoured Guest" by Joy Williams (2004)

This story is an examination of long-term illness and how it stagnates the life of both the person who is sick and those around them. In this instance, a teenage girl and her terminally ill mother. There is so much simmering below the surface here, but it is the bravery of the teenager, Helen, that captivates. She is trying to get on with things in the small way a teenager can (‘“I have a test today, Mom,” Helen said’). She is trying to figure out death by soliciting advice from a friend who has seen how cremated ashes are returned.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Quentin Tarantino's favorite books

Quentin Tarantino began his career as an independent filmmaker with the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, which was in part funded by money from the sale of his screenplay True Romance (1993).

His second film, Pulp Fiction (1994), was a major success among critics and audiences and won him numerous awards, including the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Subsequent film sinclude Jackie Brown (1997), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained (2012).

His most recent film is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). It received 10 nominations at the 92nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Production Design. It also won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Pitt) at the 77th Golden Globe Awards.

Tarantino's first book is a novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

At Lit Hub Vanessa Willoughby shared four of the writer-director's favorite books, including:
David Seltzer, The Omen

This novelization of the 1976 movie starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick sticks close to the source material. Jeremy Thorn, a United States Ambassador to England, and his wife Katherine become parents to a baby boy who is actually the spawn of Satan. And as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it doesn’t end well.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Nine titles with plots pulled from real life

A son of the Finger Lakes in western New York State, Andrew Welsh-Huggins now calls himself a “proud native adopted Ohioan.” By day, he is a reporter for the Associated Press in Columbus. By earlier in the day, he is the author of seven books in the Andy Hayes private eye series, featuring a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns quarterback turned investigator. “Readers who love old-fashioned detective novels will be in hog heaven as they tear into Welsh-Huggins’ latest adventure featuring Andy Hayes,” said Booklist of Fatal Judgment.

The newest Andy Hayes novel is An Empty Grave.

At CrimeReads Welsh-Huggins tagged "nine books with plots pulled from real life, expanded and turned, like straw into gold, into an altogether new creation." One title on the list:
Deadly Harvest, by Michael Stanley

The writing team that is Michael Stanley—Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip—chose one of the more horrific crimes in recent African history as a jumping off point for their 2015 book in their series about Botswana Inspector David “Kubu” Bengu. In 1994 a girl named Segametsi Mogomotsi was killed in the Botswanan village of Mochudi in a muti murder, or the witch doctor practice of killing people for body parts to be used in potions. No one was ever charged. In the novel, characters express fear at revealing the identity of a witch doctor involved in such activities. “But you know it happens,” Kubu counters. “And unless we stop it, unless we find the few witch doctors who commit such terrible deeds, it will never stop.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Harvest.

My Book, The Movie: Deadly Harvest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 26, 2021

Seven top novels about losing faith in religion

Kelsey McKinney is a reporter and writer who lives in Washington, D.C. She is a co-owner and features writer at Defector.com.

In her freelance work, McKinney writes about everything from Tom DeLonge’s alien obsession to Christian megachurches and bull riding.

Her new novel is God Spare the Girls.

At Electric Lit McKinney tagged seven novels about losing faith in religion and yet feeling less alone. One title on the list:
The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett is a beautiful writer and her prose is mesmerizing, but what I loved most about her debut novel The Mothers is its contradictions. The story is about Nadia returning to the place where she grew up and being forced to confront her past: including her relationship with the pastor’s son. Bennett lays bare the biases of this California church and the effects of a tight-knit community that gossips. She doesn’t shy away from describing the shame many young women in the church feel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Mothers is among Priyanka Champaneri's nine top novels about gossip and Patrick Coleman's eight top San Diego books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Seven crime novels filled with family members

S. C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

Perkins's new novel is Fatal Family Ties.

At CrimeReads she tagged "seven books from all over the crime-fiction map where multiple family members are at the heart of each mystery," including:
The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune

Found family and how they will rally around and support one another is the main theme of T.J. Klune’s magic-tinged fantasy novel, with just a touch of mystery. When mild-mannered Linus Baker of the Department of Magical Youth is sent to an orphanage on an island in the Cerulean Sea to investigate six unusual orphans who may have the power to bring about the end of days, his life will be forever changed. As he grows closer to the children as well as the mysterious Arthur Parnassus, the master of the orphanage who has a secret of his own, Linus will learn how the particular magic that is acceptance can bring love and a truly amazing new family along with it.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Five captivating SFF mystery novels

At Tor.com James Davis Nicoll tagged five favorite recent sci-fi & fantasy novels, including:
Seven of Infinities by Aliette de Bodard (2020)

Scholar Vân struggles to make a meagre living as a tutor despite the challenges she faces as a product of the lower classes. The well-to-do often will not value instruction if it is delivered by someone from the lower orders. As if class were somehow contagious.

She is now faced with an even greater problem: an unexplained corpse found in quarters belonging to Vân’s student Uyên.

The Militia demands that all such deaths have satisfactory explanations, whether true or not. Vân’s personal history, if viewed in an unfavourable light, might make her an acceptable scapegoat. Thus, a reason for Vân and her criminally-inclined shipmind ally The Wild Orchid in Sunless Woods to figure out who the dead woman was, what killed her, and what brought her to Uyên’s quarters.

Detection leads them in an unexpected direction. What begins as a possible murder mystery transforms into a treasure hunt…albeit one that has already left a trail of bodies in its wake.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 23, 2021

Ten thrillers & mysteries full of style, plot & dark humor

Samantha Downing is the author of the bestselling My Lovely Wife, nominated for Edgar, ITW, Macavity, and CWA awards. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman's Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel.

Her second book, He Started It, was released in 2020 and became an instant international bestseller. Her third thriller, For Your Own Good, is now out in the US.

[The Page 69 Test: My Lovely Wife; The Page 69 Test: He Started It].

She currently lives and works in New Orleans.

At CrimeReads Downing tagged ten "books that influenced my style, plot, and the dark humor I love so much." One title on the list:
Dope by Sara Gran

Sara Gran isn’t afraid of anything, or at least that’s the impression I had after reading this book. Her writing is sparse but full of daggers, and her characters have more flaws than virtues. The opening lines hooked me right into this book about a sober heroin addict who sets out to find someone who is also an addict, and who isn’t anything close to sober. Reading Dope makes me want to push my own writing, and stories, further out there—as far as I can—because she taught me it was not only possible, it can make the book better.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue