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Friday, August 30, 2019

What to Read Over Labor Day Weekend 2019



These are the crime fiction and thriller novels which I recommend you read this weekend. (Titles are linked to publishers, and author names are linked to their Twitter account or website.)

The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan (Penguin Books)
This is the second book in Dervla McTiernan's Detective Cormac Reilly crime thriller series set in the west of Ireland (Galway). 
The first, The Ruin, was just optioned by Colin Farrell as the first project for his new production company Hopscotch FeaturesMcTiernan's novels unveil the naked truth about the insidious corruption in Irish institutions-- the Catholic Church, social services, the Gardai (police service in the Republic of Ireland), child abuse, domestic violence, philanthropy, politics, and Big Pharma. These two "small town noir" novels begin, as all police procedurals do, with a crime being committed (a murder) and the police (Cormac Reilly) being called in to investigate. McTiernan has many gifts, and delivers perfectly executed plots with twists, fully developed characters (major and minor), believable interior voices, thoroughly authentic dialogue, and brilliant writing.  Cormac Reilly Book 3, The Good Turn, will be published in the UK in March 2020, and I am counting down the days (188 from today).

The Chain by Adrian McKinty (Mulholland Books)
"Victim. Survivor. Abductor. Criminal. You will become each one.
Your phone rings. A stranger has kidnapped your child. To free them you must abduct someone else's child. Your child will be released when your victim's parents kidnap another child. If any of these things don't happen: your child will be killed. You are now part of the chain." The Chain is "A masterpiece. You have never read anything quite like The Chain and you will never be able to forget it. -Don Winslow Winslow is the New York Times  and #1 internationally bestselling crime thriller author of The Border (Power of the Dog Book 3) (which you should read, along with all his other books!).  Don figures prominently in the back-story of this novel's publication, a tale as fascinating and exciting as this thriller: From Uber driving to huge book deal: Adrian McKinty's life-changing phone call. Also: Paramount Makes 7-Figure Film Deal For ‘The Chain’; A Life Changer For Uber Driver-Turned-Hot New Author Adrian McKinty Take it from me, Don Winslow as well as Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Alafair Burke, Attica Locke, Meg Gardiner and Lou Berney, you must read The Chain.

Into the Jungle by Erica Ferencik (Scout Press/Gallery Books)
The River at Night (my review) heralded the arrival of a uniquely feminist action-filled and psychological thriller writer. A main character is Mother Nature, and she is a bitch. Into the Jungle takes 19-year-old Lily from Massachusetts to the Bolivian, where she finds love, savagery, and peril. Which is more dangerous, traditional gender roles and misogyny or  the Amazonian jungle?

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh (Flatiron Books)
"The serial killer isn't on trial. He's on the jury."
Cavanagh is one of the best writers around , and his protagnoist Eddie Flynn-- con artist turned lawyer--has a razor-sharp mind (and fine wit). Eddie goes to the wall to see justice done. For fans of other great legal thriller writers John Grisham, Scott Turow and Brad Meltzer.
🔷Thirteen won the top UK crime fiction award, Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. 🔷

Layover by David Bell (Berkley Publishing)
"A chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a pulse-pounding quest for the truth."
I  have had the great pleasure of reading a David Bell novel every July since 2015! David is a USA Today-bestselling and internationally renowned author of high concept suspense thrillers. He was awarded the prestigious Le Prix Polar International de Cognac (best crime novel by a non-French author) at the 2013 The Cognac Crime Novel Festival for his third novel Cemetery Girl.

The Arrangement  by Robyn Harding (Scout Press/Gallery Books)
"A Pretty Woman tale turns toxic and deadly in this provocative thriller of sex, obsession and murder."  Natalie is a young art student in New York City who is struggling to pay the bills, so she goes on line and finds a sugar daddy. 
Harding rivals Megan Abbott in her depiction and deep understanding of the psychology of young women. Do not miss this domestic thriller!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (Scout Press/Gallery Books)
A young woman takes a live-in nanny position for a picture-perfect family at luxurious "smart home" in the beautiful Scottish highlands. "What she doesn't know is she's stepping into a nightmare--one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder."
Ruth Ware is an international number one bestselling author, and her literary psychological crime thrillers elevates the genre to another level of excellence. The Turn of the Key is an homage to Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, with a creepy yet modern haunted house. You will want to read this straight through so start early in the day, or plan to be up all night with all the lights on.












Monday, August 19, 2019

Best Books of the Week in Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense and True Crime | Publication Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2019



Best Books of the Week in Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
Publication Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Here are my book recommendations for this coming week.
  • You still have time to pre-order these title.
  • Click on the title, and the link will take you to each publisher's website (whenever possible), or to IndieBound.org.
  • Click on the author, and the link will take you to each author's Twitter account (whenever possible--otherwise to their website).
This is a great week for debuts!

American Magic by Zach Fehst (Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books)

Zach Fehst has been called "a writer to watch" by Publishers Weekly, and his debut sounds amazing! This thriller is a blend of techno-thriller, fantasy and the supernatural which poses the question, "What if magic were real?"


The premise of this debut suspense thriller novel is chilling: 

"When a 911 dispatcher picks up an emergency call to hear her daughter on the line, her worst nightmare becomes reality."

The plot involves sexual assault, murder, and conspiracy. The book is based on actual events. Reviewers are hailing Herron's "superb writing" and the authenticity of the novel.


Vanishing in the Haight by Max Tomlinson (Oceanview Publishing)



Debut of new detective/mystery series described as "post-modern noir," set in San Francisco in 1978, featuring PI Colleen Hayes.

Assassin's Revenge by Ward Larsen (Forge/Macmillan USA)

This master of the action/adventure/spy thriller is back with Book 5!

"USA Today bestselling author Ward Larsen's globe-trotting, hard-hitting assassin, David Slaton, returns for another breathless adventure in Assassin's Revenge."

The Second Biggest Nothing by Colin Cotterill (Soho Crime)

In the fourteenth of the acclaimed Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery series (set in 1970s, Vientiane, Laos)the former national coroner of Laos has received a death threat which will be executed in two weeks. In order to figure out who wants him dead, Dr. Paiboun must comb through his past.

Cotterill adds a lot of dark humor and history to his books.

The Warehouse by Rob Hart (Crown Publishing)

This highly anticipated corporate espionage thriller has made all the "Best Books of Summer 2019" lists, and with good reason.  Hart is a seasoned novelist (his five-book Ash McKenna series is superb urban noir), and this is his first stand-alone novel. Film rights already have been optioned by Imagine Entertainment (Ron Howard & Brian Grazer), and foreign rights have been sold in twenty-one countries. See what everyone is talking about, buy and read The Warehouse.

The Murder List: A Novel of Suspense by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge /Macmillan USA)

Hank Phillippi Ryan is a thriller writer's thriller writer, and she gets better with each book! The Murder List is a standalone legal/psychological thriller.

Rachel is a law student who has been offered a prestigious internship in the office of Boston District Attorney Martha Gardiner. And Rachel is the wife of Jack North, one of the finest and toughest criminal defense attorneys. Soon the three will be involved in more than the pursuit of justice--they'll be fighting for their lives. 🔹 Chosen by CNN as an "utlimate beach read!"🔹

The Cold Way Home by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)

Book 8 in the Bell Elkins mystery series. 

Bell Elkins is a prosecutor turned private investigator in Ackers Gap, West Virginia. While searching for a missing teenager, she a dead body near the ruins of Wellwood, a state psychiatric hospital for the poor which had been burned to the ground years ago. First-rate Appalachian noir.
🔹See Marilyn Stasio's Crime column in The New York Times Book Review🔹

The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter (William Morrow)

Will Trent (investigator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation) and Sara Linton (medical examiner) are back in this brilliant and timely thriller by NYT and international bestselling author Karin Slaughter!

A scientist is kidnapped from the CDC. A month later there are two bomb blasts in Druid Hills, the affluent Atlanta neighborhood where Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC are located. Will and Sara rush to the scene, and into a the heart of a deadly conspiracy. 
🔹White supremacists are the eerily relevant villains in Karin Slaughter’s new novel (The Washington Post, August 14, 2019)

The Whisper Man by Alex North (Celadon Books/Macmillan US)

This psychological thriller begins quietly enough when Tom Kennedy, English widower and his young son Jake move to a Featherbank, quiet village, for a fresh start. But twenty years ago "The Whisper Man" abducted and murdered five boys. Then another boy goes missing...

"In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of suspense, as a father and son are caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town."
🔹 An Amazon Best Book of August 2019🔹
🔹AGBO, the Los Angeles-based artists collective founded by Avengers: Infinity War directors Anthony and Joe Russo, has optioned film rights to the upcoming thriller novel The Whisper Man (Screen Daily, 25 June 2018)

The Dirty Dozen: A Jane Tennison thriller by Lynda La Plante (available via Simon & Schuster)

This is the fifth novel in La Plante's bestselling series covering the early years on the police force of her iconic character Jane Tennison. 

April 1980. Jane Tennison is the first female detective to be posted at the Met's "Flying Squad," commonly known as "The Sweeney," which investigates armed robberies on banks, cash in transit and other business premises. Jane believes the appointment is based on merit, yet her post is an experiment to see if she can calm the men on the squad known as "The Dirty Dozen"--and they don't that a woman is up to the job. Jane gets a tip on a gang is going to carry out an armed robbery involving millions of pounds. But she doesn't know who the robbers are, or where and when they will strike.



🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

The next three titles will be released in the U.S. on August 22, 2019.

Black Ops: Danny Black Thriller 7 by Chris Ryan (Hodder & Stoughton)

Written by a former SAS (Special Air Service) corporal, this series is the ultimate for fans of intelligence/espionage/special ops/terrorism thrillers. In this outing, Danny investigates when three former Regiment guys are butchered in different corners of the globe. The prime suspect is a top MI6 agent, highly trained in the SAS's dark arts and deeply under cover. 
Will the hunter become the hunted?


The sixth in the Millenium series featuring THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - 100 million copies sold worldwide. 

"The next episode in David Lagercrantz's acclaimed continuation of Stieg Larsson's series is a thrilling ride that scales the heights of Everest and plunges the depths of Russia's criminal underworld. In a climax of shattering violence, Lisbeth Salander will face her enemies."



A Killing Fire by Faye Snowden (Flame Tree Press)

This crime thriller has a strong female lead, and Faye Snowden has a powerful, dynamic new voice.

Louisiana homicide detective Raven Burns has spent a lifetime running from the sins of her father, serial killer Floyd "Fire" Burns. But memories run deep in this small town. a local socialite is murdered in a ritualistic killing, and the locals--as well as members of the police department--want Raven gone. Raven must confront the demons of the past in order to find the killer.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Investigative reporter Urbina has written a thrilling book about true crime on a extensive scale: ocean crime, focusing illegal fishing, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing).

"A riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas."
🔹Pirates, Slavers and Poachers: Violence on the High Seas - The New York Times Book Review, August 19, 2019




Friday, August 9, 2019

Best Books of the Week in Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense and True Crime | Publication Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Best Books of the Week in Crime Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
Publication Date: Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Here are my book recommendations for this coming week.
  • You still have time to pre-order these title.
  • Click on the title, and the link will take you to each publisher's website (whenever possible), or to IndieBound.org.
  • Click on the author, and the link will take you to each author's Twitter account (whenever possible).


The eleventh mystery in the Edgar award-winning Stewart Hoag mystery series

by Jo Spain (Crooked Lane Books)
The second book in the series by the Irish bestselling author is a sharp, timely political thriller/murder mystery.

Cold Woods by Karen Katchur (Thomas & Mercer, Amazon Publishing)
The follow-up to Katchur's brilliant domestic thriller River Bodies is Book 2 of 3 in Katchur's Northhampton County series. 

Play with Fire by William Shaw (Mulholland Books)
This police thriller set in 1969 London is the fourth in the Breen & Tozer mystery series. Shaw is an incredibly talented author, and I've loved his writing since reading She's Leaving Home in 2014. He perfectly captures "Swinging Sixties" London. 

The Hidden Things by Jamie Mason (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster)
This art heist thriller is "inspired by the real-life unsolved theft of a seventeenth-century painting" blends conspiracy, organized crime and psychological thriller elements. Mason's latest is sizzling and scary! 

Set in Miami, this final installment in the critically acclaimed Pete Fernandez noir series "reinvented the private eye novel for a new generation," and he's going out on top. Alex Segura is one of our best crime fiction writers. 
You do not want to miss this! 

A Keeper by Graham Norton (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
I adore Graham Norton and delighted in his debut novel Holding, a darkly comic mystery set in a remote Irish village (a New York Times bestseller). A Keeper is the story of a young woman returning to Ireland after her mother's death who tries to unravel the identity of her father. I highly recommend.

The Swallows by Lisa Lutz (Random House)
Lutz speaks truth to power and exposes the gender war, and the savagery of teenage girls, in this incredible psychological thriller.


The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal (Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
This Gothic historical and psychological thriller, set in 1850's London, already is an international bestseller. Macneal's debut is ideal for fans of The Crimson and the White, The Alienist, and The Historian.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh (Flatiron Books)
Steve Cavanagh is an international bestselling, award-winning author, and deservedly so. In Thirteen (the fourth Eddie Flynn legal/courtroom/crime thriller), "the serial killer isn't on trial...he's on the jury!"
 Someone needs to option this series and get it on the screen!

* * * * *

Already a New York Times bestseller (the audio book was released in April 2019), Chase Darkness with Me is an enthralling memoir and true crime narrative.Billy Jensen is  "an American true crime investigative journalist and producer, focusing on unsolved crimes, citizen detectives, and crowdsolving."

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Doing the Best That I Can


TriggerWarning


I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as Complex PTSD and C PTSD, because I have experienced chronic, repeated and prolonged traumas. 

While I don't intend to go through those traumas in this post, I want to address the most recent one.

Last autumn, on the last Saturday night of September 2018, I met a friend for a drink at a bar in the Times Square area. I did not get drunk. He and I parted around 2:00 a.m. (making it officially Sunday, September 30th), and I went out to hail a cab and go back to my home on the Upper West Side. I stepped onto the street, right off the curb,  and just had put up my arm when a small white car pulled up directly in front of me. A bunch of young people in their twenties got out. Two young women came to my left side and asked me a question about something in the neighborhood. Then a young man came over to my right and asked me if I would perform a sex act on him, using the vernacular. I did not engage with him. He repeated his demand, and I said, "No." The man punched me hard in the forehead, and I fell back onto the street. I fell so that my body landed diagonally. If I had fallen straight back, the back of my head would have hit the street. I lost consciousness for a few seconds, and had a difficult time seeing. The young people were shouting, and jumping into their car. As they drove away, I had presence of mind (yes, I wrote that) to take a photo of the car's license plate. What I remember next is that there was an NYPD patrol car, and a police officer helping me up. He must have asked me got my driver's license from my purse because he called me by my name. I was bleeding profusely from cut on my right elbow. Neither he nor his partner called an ambulance for me. They treated me like I was a fall-down drunk, and put me in a cab, and sent me on my way home.

I went to the emergency room on my own. I sat in the waiting area for a long time before the triage nurse realized that I needed help. She asked me to tell her what happened to me. The nurse was the first person who used the phrases "head injury" and "traumatic brain injury."  I had the worst headache of my life, was dizzy to the point of nausea, and my vision was blurry.  I also couldn't stand to look at any light.  The doctor examined me, and then ordered a CT Scan. After that He told me I had a concussion, and needed to be seen by a specialist. I managed to book an appointment at the NYU Langone Concussion Center for the next day. The past forty-eight hours had been horrible. I had that the headache, and my sense of time and space was off. I kept all the shades down, the curtains drawn, and the lamps shut off because I could not tolerate any light. My memory, which usually is extremely sharp, was off. When I needed to write down information, I was transposing letters and numbers. I cried constantly, I felt terrified, vulnerable, angry, ashamed and traumatized. I had been physically assaulted, and the police acted as though I had passed out from painting the town.

After they ran tests and asked me a lot of questions, the neurologist concluded that I did indeed have a concussion. He explained that my recovery from the concussion might take a long time, and emphasized that I needed a lot of physical and mental rest. He advised me to keep stress to a minimum. Dr. L warned me I might feel anxious or depressed. My gallows humor made me burst out laughing, and then I was afraid he would deem my behavior as inappropriate. How is one supposed to act after all of this???

The past ten months have been hellish. I isolated myself until May, too afraid to leave the apartment, except if my dog had a veterinary appointment, or I had a doctor's visit. While I am very active on Twitter, and delight in tweeting to promote writers and books, I could not read any books until January 2019. The genre I have chosen to read and review the most? Crime fiction. Thrillers.I could not read these novels because I had been a victim of a violent crime. I cannot psychoanalyze it further that because I lack perspective.

Yet I found I was able to read nonfiction, and spent much of the winter reading another favorite genre: true crime. That spoke to me. I watched many true crime television shows and documentaries. The only novel I read was Don Winslow's The Border. This is the final book in his Cartel trilogy, and I've been reading Don's novels since his first in 1991. The protagonist, Art Keller, is like an old and trusted friend. This was in February. I could not, however, review this masterpiece. 

A visit to the doctor confirmed that I have post-concussion syndrome.  I was functioning on such a low level. My priority is taking care of my senior dog. He who has a lot of medical issues. The bills got paid, and thank goodness this is a digital age and there are apps which make that relatively easy. My building management requires a check for rent payment. I forgot to pay December's rent. The following month I wrote a check in the amount for two months' rent, but the payment amount in words did not match the amount in numbers. Today I received a call from the woman in charge of rental receipt. We know one another pretty well now. She told me I wrote the check out perfectly, and it arrived on time, but I forgot to sign it.

In March 2019 I started therapy with a new psychologist, one who specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. I was in a group of his last summer, and decided he was the best therapist for me. With his help, I began to come out of my self-imposed exile. By April I started doing normal things: running errands, seeing people, resting better, feeling less terrified, having less hypervigilance, and I was reading novels. Yet still  I could not write a review for any type of book. 

I feel inadequate, and unreliable, because while I can tweet, I want to read and review books and am unable to do so right now. Psychologically I am much improved, but my brain needs more healing and I need to practice self-care. I need much less screen time.  To that end I am going to lessen my social media presence for the rest of August. My hope is that I can read actual books, not ebooks, and write a review, or maybe even a few. I did write this post, so I think the odds are in my favor.