Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RED CAT by Peter Spiegelman (Alfred A. Knopf)

Shamus-Award-winner Spiegelman brings back private detective John March in a gritty New York novel. Even though John's brother (who followed the family business path) still openly despises him, he needs him. David is being harassed by a young woman whom he met online and subsequently had a seedy affair. Soon after John takes the case, a body washes up in the East River and David becomes the chief suspect. Family secrets unfold about not only the victim, but about David, and even John. The stark white New York winter provides a fitting backdrop for red hot crime.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

SNIPPED IN THE BUD by Kate Collins (Signet)

It seems that my favorite florist isn't everybody's favorite! When Abby Knight delivers a special order to an old law school professor with whom she's had a recent altercation, he is murdered—and she's the chief suspect. Somebody's seeing to that. Abby's troubles don't end with the police. Her air-headed cousin Jill has moved in temporarily, crowding Abby and her roommate beyond endurance. Plus, Jill's started a home fashion business, with her entire inventory in the apartment. When Abby has to go undercover to find other suspects, Jill proves her worth. SNIPPED has plenty of action, nice touches of romance, and enough red herrings to confuse us all. I enjoy this refreshing series.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

BERMUDA SCHWARTZ by Bob Morris (St. Martin's Minotaur)

It's not just an invitation to a seventieth birthday party that draws Zack Chasteen to Bermuda. It's not even the opportunity to sell the birthday gal eight palm trees at an exhorbitant price. Mostly, it's the opportunity to drink rum on the island with Barbara Pickering. Zack ignores the old adage, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Before he even unpacks his suitcase, he's discovered a body. Soon he's tangled up with not only a local treasure-finding legend but the local mafia. Bob Morris proves that writing about brutal murder can be done with a light hand. I'm going back and reading this series from the beginning!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"

For once, the North Carolina weather cooperated with the topic for a program. Everybody was shivering as we came into the Eva Perry Library in Apex Sunday afternoon. It wasn't quite snowing, but the rain was COLD--especially since we'd been in the 70's four days earlier. I'm posting a pdf file of the handouts for the program here:


Free file hosting from File Den

THE CHEMISTRY OF DEATH by Simon Beckett (Delacorte Press)

Nobody in the rural English village asked David Hunter about his past. Most of him accepted him as their physician when the couldn't see his employer. When two young brothers discover a young woman's remains, Hunter is forced to reveal some of his former skills. He was, in fact, one of London's leaders in forensics. As more murder follow, Hunter is drawn more closely into the investigation, first as a suspect, later as a target. CHEMISTRY provides a chilling look at village life and a grisly look at human remains.

BONES TO PICK by Carolyn Haines (Kensington)

Sarah Booth Delaney's mama "raised her right," but she also taught her to think for herself. It's hard for Sarah Booth to conform to Southern Belle standards, but when a finishing school graduate is horribly murdered (Quentin McGee had just launched a scandalous tell-all book before her death), Sarah Booth has to resort to conservative clothing and panty hose. Sunflower County (Mississippi) Sheriff Coleman Peters is on leave, the acting sheriff arrests Quentin's lesbian lover for murder, and the suspect's brother hires Sarah Booth to prove her innocence. This is one of the Delta Darling's most dangerous cases, but, in my humble opinion, one of her most rewarding. Sarah Booth is my kind of gal!

METRO GIRL and MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich

Ms. E. certainly doesn't need any help from me, but I thought I'd mention her new series featuring Alexandra Barnaby. The debut, METRO GIRL, is out in paperback. Barney, as she's called, gets a frightening call from her brother BIlly which compels her to rush to Florida to come to his aid. Evanovich readers know there's nothing simple about any quest, and Barney is plunged into a side-splitting rampage that puts her life at risk in nearly every chapter. Hooker, a definitely dreamy racecar driver ensures there will be romantic tension on nearly every page. MOTOR MOUTH takes up where METRO left off, with Barney and Hooker trying desperately to help a friend while getting rid of an incriminating body. This new series is perfect for fending off the winter blahs.

GRAVE WRITER by Mark Arsenault (St. Martin's Press)

Billy Povich has lost a lot in his life: his wife (because of his gambling), his job as a journalist (he now writes obituaries), his money, and his home. He's gained a couple of people though—his disabled father and his 7-year-old son. Billy's consuming force in life is to kill the man he holds responsible for ending his ex-wife's life in an auto accident. Well, it's the consuming force until he is summoned to jury duty. Billy very quickly becomes involved in an incident that will not only change his focus but change his entire outlook on life. I look forward to watching Billy Povich, his crusty father, and his charming son Bo. (First in a new series.)

COPPER RIVER by William Kent Krueger (Artris)

Kruger's third Anthony winner, MERCY FALLS, left lawman Cork O'Conner painted into a really bad corner. Because I'd read it in advance form, I was left in trepidation until COPPER RIVER came out in hardcover. O'Conner had, if you will, jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. He is wounded, but the unwelcome guest with a cousin. Some people draw trouble like a dog draws fleas, so it's no surprise that Cork is quickly involved in another nasty scene. A young girl's body washes ashore, Cork's young cousin and his friends are in deadly peril, and professional hit men haven't given up on collecting their bounty for Cork's life. This is another stellar offering from one of my favorite writers.

FLESH AND BONE by Jefferson Bass (William Morrow)

Following the NY Times bestseller CARVED IN BONE, which was a great forensic mystery, Bass has produced one of the best forensic stories I've ever read. In this outing, Dr. Bill Brockton and his University of Tennessee's body farm are at the center of the crimes—in more ways than one. The crimes themselves will appease the most blood-thirsty reader, and the peril will stump the most avid suspense reader. I'm not going to give a hint of the story—you'll just have to take my word for it: This newe series is NOT TO BE MISSED!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Virginia Festival of the Book

I just got off the phone with the great folks at the Virginia Festival of the Book. I'm totally excited to announce that I'll be moderating the panel "Small Towns are Murder" during their "Crime Wave" session on Saturday, March 24, at 2:00. The panelists will be Sharon Short (MURDER UNFOLDS), J. B. Stanley (A FATAL APPRAISAL), Denise Swanson (MURDER OF A BOTOXED BLONDE), Marcia Talley (THROUGH THE DARKNESS), and Heather Webber (A HOE LOT OF TROUBLE). Needless to say, I'm really looking forward being with these great authors.

There will be a plethora of mystery authors at the Festival—Raymond Austin, John Billheimer, Ellen Crosby, John Lamb, Vicki Lane, Frankie Bailey), Louis Bayard, Cordelia Biddle, Dana Cameron, Jane Cleland, John Hart, David Rosenfelt, Kermit Roosevelt, Tess Gerritsen), Laura Lippman, Twist Phelan, George Pelaconos, Lee Child, and Willetta Heising. My only problem will be deciding whether to catch up with old friends or to try to meet new folks. I know, I know—that's not really a problem!

The Festival runs from Wednesday, March 21 through Sunday, March 28. Check it out—I've added a link. Oddly enough, I've put it in the "Links" box at right.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Upcoming Events

Feb. 5, 2007 - 7:00 Jefferson Bass at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh (919.828.1588).

Feb. 15, 2007 - 2:00 Molly will present "Old Murder" (antiques theme) at the Cary (NC) Public Library. PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGE.

Feb. 18, 2007 - Molly presents "Also Known As" (authors with pseudonyms) at the Eva Pery Library in Apex, NC.

Feb. 22, 2007 - Tim Dorsey at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh (919.828.1588).

March 1, 2007 - Sarah Shaber Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh (919.828.1588).