Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ITW Announces Nominees for 2009 Thriller Awards

Mystery Book Awards: The Edgars, The Agathas, The Anthonys, and many more.

The International Thriller Writers have announced the nominees for the 2009 recognizing the best books published in this genre from the previous year.

For Best Thriller the nominees are:

Hold Tight by
The Bodies Left Behind by
The Broken Window by
by Andrew Gross
The Last Patriot by Brad Thor

For Best First Novel the nominees are:

by
Child 44 by
Criminal Paradise by Steven Thomas
Sacrifice by S. J. Bolton
The Killer's Wife by

Read mystery book reviews at Mysterious Reviews indicates a review by .

David Morrell will also be honored with the ThrillerMaster Award for his influential body of work, and will be given the Silver Bullet Award for his outstanding charitable contributions.

The winners will be announced at the Thriller Awards Banquet during ThrillerFest 2009 on July 11, 2009.

Congratulations from everyone at Mystery Books News to the nominees!

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Mystery Book Review: Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy

by
Non-series

HarperCollins (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-55468-321-1 (1554683211)
ISBN-13: 978-1-55468-321-5 (9781554683215)
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: C$21.95

Review: Set in Canada’s northernmost territory of Nunavut, where total darkness can descend at the stroke of noon, Dennis Richard Murphy’s posthumously published Darkness at the Stroke of Noon masterfully blends history, mystery and a hatful of contentious current events. The debut novel is a tribute to the talents of an accomplished television writer, director, producer, teacher and short story award winner who died of cancer in June 2008 at age 64, shortly after his book’s final edit.

Murphy’s hero, Booker Kennison, a kickabout orphan as a kid, has served in the RCMP long enough to rise to Sergeant, gain combat experience as a Bosnia-Herzogovinia peacekeeper, and collect a file full of names and slimy secrets connected to the allegations of the Force’s misappropriated pension funds. His partner tried exposing the scandal, but ended up dead. For his role Kennison has been banished to the arctic outpost at Yellowknife, then sent further north to Victory Point to investigate the suspicious deaths of two archaeologists at a camp with sites known as “Heaven,” “Purgatory,” and “Hell.” As soon as he gets there Kennison realizes he has no angels but only demons to deal with, including some of his own plus an assassination attempt on him in addition to a murderer (or is it two killers of the archaeologists), the remnants of the allegations of cannibalism among the Franklin Expedition crew members in the 1840s, a missing 160-year-old journal, and a modern day band of Inuit land claims terrorists known as Turqavik. And he’s got only two days to thaw out the case before the weather ices over it forever and leaves him, the scientists and their campsite exhumations to an eternally frozen fate.

Murphy artfully juggles several stories at once. He uses pages from the journal of a 25-year-old teacher with Franklin’s expedition to reveal the explorers’ stories of cannibalism and mutiny. The journal, in turn, becomes the focus for the story of the murder of the archaeologist, Dr. Karl Conrad Kneiser, who found it. But Kennison must determine why the man had a bullet in his brain when his body was found charred beyond recognition in a fire that also took the life of a twenty-something female photographer when “a volatile conspiracy of wind and flame and fear and fate levelled the shack in seconds.” And why were they together anyway, especially when the Yellowknife pathologist confirms via radio that the young woman was, “Just pregnant – maybe a month or a bit more.”? Then, there’s the shot fired at Kennison by a sniper that an Inuit member of Dr. Kneisser’s crew kills, and how does the sharpshooter fit into the tale? And while these stories are being unravelled another one bubbles up over current claims to the Northwest Passage for which Kneiser’s American-based employer has sent a female FBI agent to the site to escort him and “Ein Buch” home. But while she arrives too late to help him, she’s on time to interfere with Kennison’s investigation before becoming his ally in a heart-warming turn of events. And finally, there’s the trio of Quebec-linked Turqavik terrorists out to kill or be killed since “Whatever they’re after here is valuable to them.”

As an accomplished filmmaker, Murphy knows the value of intercuts and flashbacks, techniques he uses adeptly here to quicken or slow the action. The final scenes are particularly fast-paced as the terrorists move into the camp to take what they have come for and leave no survivors. At other times there are telephone calls between RCMP brass at headquarters and the Yellowknife detachment commander or between Yellowknife and the energy-depleted equipment at Victory Point that Kennison uses. The sometimes wryly black humorous scenes of the Yellowknife autopsy lab and the casual conversation of the pathologists with their makeshift equipment are a far cry from the CSI wherevers of television land. Characterization is another strong point for the novel with separate identities quickly established, consistently maintained and memorably well-rounded with names used like Poncey, Grey Anne, Lillian Ooqlooq or by descriptions such as “the boulder gopher” or “the boy with the piercings.”

Although the principal stories draw neatly to a close, there are enough tag ends and a handful of potential carry-forward characters to form a sequel. Sadly, it won’t be written by Dennis Murphy due to his untimely death, and we’re left wondering what might have been.

Reviewer's note: A tape of the exclusive radio drama of Darkness at the Stroke of Noon can be heard on the HarperCollinsCanada website.

Special thanks to M. Wayne Cunningham ([email protected]) for contributing his review of Darkness at the Stroke of Noon.

Review Copyright © 2009 — M. Wayne Cunningham — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Darkness at the Stroke of Noon from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): RCMP Sergeant Booker Kennison knows more dirt than an officer should and has been exiled by his superiors to duty in Yellowknife. When a flash fire claims the lives of two archaeologists at a dig on remote Victory Island in Nunavut, Kennison is dispatched to investigate in a cold wilderness where winter's grip and 24-hour darkness are closing in fast.

Ruby Cruz, ex-FBI agent, is also on her way north, sent to protect the interests of the American corporation that funded the dig. Those interests include Dr. Karl Kniesser and a 160-year-old journal he has secretly cut from the clothing of a frozen corpse. The journal contains the secrets of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition and may hold the key to controlling the Northwest Passage today. But when Ruby arrives, she finds Kniesser dead and the prized journal missing.

As the ice moves in and supplies grow scarce, Kennison confirms that the two deaths are murders, and the hunt for their killer begins -- until Kennison himself becomes a target of a secretive assassin lurking in the barren landscape. Threatened from all sides, Kennison must solve two mysteries before time and light run out.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

by
A Bibliophile Mystery with Brooklyn Wainwright

Obsidian (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-451-22615-1 (0451226151)
ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22615-0 (9780451226150)
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $6.99

Review: Kate Carlisle introduces San Francisco rare book restorer Brooklyn Wainwright investigating the murder of her mentor in Homicide in Hardcover.

Kate has been invited to attend a gala at the Covington Library where Abraham Karastovsky, Kate's her lifelong teacher but also her former employer, is opening an exhibit of rare antiquarian books. Unfortunately, the two had a falling out after Kate elected to open her own business but she sees this event as a way of making amends. At the opening, Abraham is unexpected thrilled to see Kate and offers to show her the result of his latest project, the restoration of a priceless, but also considered cursed, book. When she enters his basement workshop an hour later, she finds him on the floor, dying. He whispers "Remember the devil" to her just before he dies, killed with a Japanese paper knife. The police initially think she may have had something to do with his murder, but she's more concerned with someone she saw on the stairs just before she entered the workshop: her mother.

Homicide in Hardcover spreads itself a bit too thin, trying to appeal to a wide range of mystery readers and never really succeeding at completely satisfying any. Mysteries set in the world of books are always a promising premise. Featuring an amateur sleuth who is also an expert on rare books is certainly not new, but it is basically handled well here (Kate is a bit too sassy, but that's a minor quibble) and the mystery appropriately incorporates a book (in this case, Goethe's jewel-encrusted, gilded edition of Faust) in its storyline. But Hardcover in Homicide also strays into other areas that are often the setting for genre mysteries, wine and art, which, while providing background and color, end up appearing more than a little affected. Then there are the "chick lit" references to shoes, fashion, and dreamy boyfriends that really seem out of place here.

The author does have some fun with Brooklyn's parents, flower children from the 60s who have successfully adapted to the 21st century while still retaining their commune lifestyle, Daddy's trust fund notwithstanding. Guru Bob is also an unexpected treat. Still, these delightful secondary characters are not really sufficient to carry Homicide in Hardcover, which meanders too much and never really finds its footing.

Special thanks to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of Homicide in Hardcover for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Homicide in Hardcover from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right. Homicide in Hardcover (Kindle edition) is also available. Learn more about the Kindle, Amazon's Wireless Reading Device.

Synopsis (from the publisher): The streets of would be lined with hardcovers if rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright had her way. And her mentor wouldn't be lying in a pool of his own blood on the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration.

With his final breath he leaves Brooklyn a cryptic message, and gives her a priceless-and supposedly cursed-copy of Goethe's Faust for safekeeping.

Brooklyn suddenly finds herself accused of murder and theft, thanks to the humorless -- but attractive -- British security officer who finds her kneeling over the body. Now she has to read the clues left behind by her mentor if she is going to restore justice.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mysteries on TV: The Fugitive and In Plain Sight, New on DVD This Week

Mysteries on TV

, your source for the most complete selection of detective, amateur sleuth, private investigator, and suspense television mystery series now available or coming soon to DVD, is profiling two series that have season DVDs being released this week.

David Janssen starred as Dr. Richard Kimble in . Wrongly accused of the murder of his wife, he's convicted and sentenced to die. The night before his execution, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed his wife. Kimble, persecuted by Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse), risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble.

The Fugitive aired on ABC for 4 seasons from 1963 through 1967. The series finale was the most watched television program in history until M*A*S*H ended its series run in 1983.

The Fugitive: Season Two (V2) DVD set of 4 discs contains the 15 episodes of the second half of the second season that aired from January through April, 1965.

Deputy US Marshal Mary Shannon (played by Mary McCormack) works with individuals in the Federal Witness Protection Program in , a drama series that debuted on USA Network in early summer 2008. Since 1970, the FWPP has relocated thousands of witnesses, some criminal, some not, to neighborhoods all across the country. Every one of those individuals shares a unique attribute, distinguishing them from the rest of the general population. And that is, somebody wants them dead.

Complicating matters for Mary Shannon is that she must hide her high-risk profession from her family and friends. The series is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The In Plain Sight: Season One DVD set of 3 discs contains the 12 episodes, including the pilot, that aired from June through August, 2008.

Visit the Mysteries on TV website to discover more currently available on DVD.

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Mystery Godoku Puzzle for March 30, 2009

A new has been created by the editors of the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is now available on our website.

Godoku is similar to Sudoku, but uses letters instead of numbers. To give you a headstart, we provide you a mystery clue to fill in a complete row or column (if you choose to use it!).

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for March 30, 2009

This week's letters and mystery clue:

A D E K O P R S W

This is the title of a collection of Nameless Detective mysteries by Bill Pronzini (9 letters).

We now have two weeks of our puzzles on one page in PDF format for easier printing. Print this week's puzzle here.

Previous puzzles are stored in the Mystery Godoku Archives.

Enjoy the weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle from the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, and Thanks for visiting our website!

   

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Mystery Savings: Save up to $10 on Books and more at Alibris

Mystery Savings: Discounted Products and Services on Books, Movies, and more!

Mystery Savings periodically provides our readers with current promotions that offer discounts or other incentives for purchasing mystery-themed products and services products through our partner websites. Below is a special offer recently received by us that we're pleased to pass on at this time.

Save up to $10 off books, music, and movies at Alibris.com. From now through April 30, 2009, the following coupon codes can be used to save on all your purchases from one of the largest online retailers of books:

Use coupon code HARPERLEE for $2 off $20 or more;
HURSTON for $4 off $40 or more;
WELTY for $6 off $60 or more;
ANGELOU for $10 off $100 or more.

Click on the Alibris banner below to start shopping. For even more savings, search for books that are eligible for free shippping. When Alibris is listed as a book's seller, it ships from their warehouse and is eligible for free shipping to U.S. addresses. Click on the Free Shipping link on the right side of the home page to browse for books that qualify.

Alibris 190x112

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns

by
A Mick Sever Mystery

Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-20-1 (1933515201)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-20-5 (9781933515205)
Publication Date: March 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Music journalist Mick Sever ("Do you often involve yourself in other people's problems, Mr. Sever?" "Are you kidding? It's what I do for a living.") is on assignment to write an article on the rebirth of a legendary recording studio but finds murder and a Cadillac purportedly owned by Elvis Presley instead in Bahama Burnout, the fifth mystery in this series by Don Bruns.

Sever is in the Bahamas to do a feature on the "new" Highland Studios. The "old" studio, where some of the top names in the business recorded and mixed bestselling records in the past, mysteriously burned down several years ago claiming the life of a still unidentified man, presumably the arsonist. Jonah and Rita Britt, the studio's owners, are trying to stage a comeback and have persuaded the group Johnny Run to record their new album there. But petty acts of vandalism threaten to jinx the already superstitious band. When Johnny Run's manager is found murdered, the most likely suspect is the group's previous manager who is coincidentally on the island, looking to regain his old job. Mick sees a story here, but he knows he doesn't have all the facts. Worse, he doesn't know who he can trust to get them.

Mick Sever takes on a minor role in Bahama Burnout that, somewhat unexpectedly, works to the book's advantage. He's more of an observer than a player, though he does get roughed up at one point (Hey Mick, what happened to you? To your face? Sever told him the other guy looked worse.) Set on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, the location adds a tropical flair to the story though for the most part it is background color rather than an integral element of the plot. Many of the characters are in a constant semi-lucid state of mind, either from alcohol or weed (which seems surprisingly abundant) or a combination thereof. This tends to act as a metaphor for the reader as to what is happening on the island: are events being seen as they should; are the right connections being made. And the old rusted-out Cadillac provides a focal point about which everything revolves.

Bahama Burnout ends rather abruptly with much of the story unresolved, what happens next left for the reader to imagine and piece together. But instead of being unsatisfactory, this too works in the book's favor; not every story has a clean ending and this one certainly doesn't. Though Bahama Burnout is a rather difficult mystery to categorize, with its atmospheric setting and colorful characters it is probably the author's best to date.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing a copy of Bahama Burnout for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Bahama Burnout from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): For rock and roll writer Mick Sever, another story, another deadly island paradise is all in a day's work. This time, Mick heads to Nassau, Bahamas, home of the legendary Highland Studio. Known for pumping out hits that burn up the charts, Highland is where the magic happens-or rather, where the magic happened until a devastating fire destroyed the entire studio. No one knows how the fire started, who started it-or whose body was found among the charred ruins.

Sent to get the inside story on the opening of the new Highland Studio, Mick finds this is hardly the Phoenix-rising-out-of-the-ashes story he expected. Some say the studio's haunted, some say it's cursed, but one thing is for sure: someone-or something-wants to stop the music. A smashed guitar and erased tracks send a subtle warning, but murder? That's an entirely different tune. If Mick doesn't act fast, Highland Studio, along with everything and everyone in its path, could go up in smoke. It's not always better to burn out than to fade away.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: Steel Trapp

First Clues: Mysteries for Kids

, your source for information on over 100 mystery series for children and young adults where each series is conveniently listed under three different age categories (New Sleuth, ages 4 to 7; Future Sleuth, aged 7 to 10; and Sleuth in Training, ages 10 and older), is pleased to announce a new series now available on our website.

Steel Trapp: The Challenge by Ridley Pearson

Bestselling adult mystery author Ridley Pearson introduces 14-year-old Steven "Steel" Trapp in a proposed series for young adults. Steel is both blessed and cursed with a remarkable photographic memory—just one look and whatever he sees is imprinted for keeps.

In the first book, Steel Trapp: The Challenge, Steel sets off with his mom and their dog, Cairo, on a 2-day Amtrak journey to compete in the National Science Competition in . Trying to be a good Samaritan on the train, he instead becomes embroiled in an ingenious plot of kidnapping and bribery that may have links to terrorists.

Federal agents (first seen in Pearson's adult thriller Cut and Run) track Steel and his new-found science geek accomplice, Kaileigh Augustine, as they attempt to put together the pieces of a complex puzzle. Using Steel's science contest invention—and with the help of Cairo—Steel and Kaileigh lead readers on an action-packed chase adventure as they attempt to prevent the unimaginable, before it's too late.

The are recommended for readers aged 10 and older.

Watch the author's introduction to the book below:

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Games of Mystery: Echo, Secret of the Lost Cavern, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

Echo: Secret of the Lost Cavern

Walk the path of Arok, a prehistoric tribesman in search of his destiny in Echo: Secret of the Lost Cavern. His journey will take him into the heart of an enchanted mountain and through a cavernous maze. Armed with his wits, and the help of a mysterious spirit guide, Arok seeks out magic cave paintings to help him solve cunning puzzles and face deadly traps. Modeled after the real-world cave network of Lascaux in France, this adventure game is sure to challenge and inspire.

Echo: Secret of the Lost Cavern may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. Due to its large size, a demonstration version is not available. Also available: Echo: Secrets of the Lost Cavern Strategy Guide.

Watch a preview video below:

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Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, Syberia and Syberia II, The Serpent of Isis, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey, and Nick Chase: A Detective Story.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Games of Mystery: CSI NY, The Game, New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery game from Big Fish Games released today. You can find out more about these games by visiting our page or by clicking on the links provided below.

CSI: NY (The Game)

Detectives Mac Taylor and Stella Bonasera, from the hit TV show CSI: New York, need your help to crack some of the most bizarre cases ever! Piece together clues and bring criminals to justice using forensic science. To uncover the truth in this hidden object adventure game, you must visit crime scenes, interrogate suspects, and collect and analyze physical evidence. Work with some of New York’s top CSI agents and solve mysterious crimes!

CSI: NY (The Game), a Big Fish Games exclusive, may be downloaded and purchased for as little as $6.99 with the Big Fish Game Club Jumbo Pack. A demonstration version (161.81 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour. Also available: CSI: NY (The Game) Strategy Guide.

Watch a preview video below:

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Other popular games on our page include several and games, games in the series and in particular the latest, Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst, Adventure Chronicles: The Search for Lost Treasure, Syberia and Syberia II, The Serpent of Isis, James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: A Darker Shade of Grey, and Nick Chase: A Detective Story.

Read our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

mbfgads_468x60

And don't forget to visit for all kinds of mysterious fun!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Lone Star by Edward Ifkovic

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Lone Star by Edward Ifkovic. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Lone Star by Edward Ifkovic

by
An Edna Ferber Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-587-9 (1590585879)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-587-0 (9781590585870)
Publication Date: April 2009
List Price: $24.95

Review: Edward Ifkovic magically captures the essence of Hollywood in the 1950s when he puts real-life author Edna Ferber into the role of amateur sleuth in his debut mystery, Lone Star.

Edna Ferber’s award winning novel, Giant, is being adapted and produced for the silver screen by Jack Warner. He has invited Edna to Los Angeles to be on the set while filming the final scenes. An old friend, Mercedes McCambridge, has a principal role in the film making it special reason for her to accept the invitation. There she meets the stars of the film: Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor, and Hollywood's latest teen idol, James Dean. Trouble is looming on the set, however. A bit player in the movie, Carisa Krausse, has been fired and is now threatening to publicly accuse James Dean of fathering her unborn child. This is fodder for not only the tabloids, but is also national news, thereby risking the much publicized release of the movie. Warner insists the company will take care of shutting the rumors down. Even though Dean denies the claim he goes to see her inciting a violent argument heard by other tenants in the building. When she is later found dead in her apartment, James Dean becomes the prime suspect.

Most people who knew James believed he was very capable of killing. After all, he was mean and had a bad temper when provoked. He would hit a woman if she rebuked him. But Edna does not see this side of Jimmy and she does not believe he is capable of murder. With Mercedes at her side, Edna decides to do a little investigating on her own. She goes to Carisa’s apartment on the seediest side of Los Angeles where she encounters half-truths, bold lies, distrust and resentment. But she is determined to find the truth. Will she? And if so, will the truth be what she hopes it to be?

Lone Star is an engrossing mystery highlighted by the gleaming lights of Hollywood and its stars. The reader gets a taste of the behind the scenes duplicity between producers, writers, gofers, bit players and stars. A murder thrown in with the bad boy of Hollywood as the prime suspect and Edna Ferber as an engaging amateur sleuth make for a most enjoyable read.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Lone Star and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from Amazon.com

If you are interested in purchasing Lone Star from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): In 1955 Edna Ferber is basking in the success of her blockbuster novel Giant. Director George Stevens and Warner Brothers Studio are in the final days of filming her Texas oil epic, and Edna looks forward to meeting Rock Hudson, Liz Taylor, and especially young James Dean.

But there is trouble brewing. James Dean, the new box-office sensation and teen heartthrob, has been accused of fathering a child with an unstable extra named Carisa Krausse. The studio fears the negative publicity will jeopardize the release of the movie.

Then the actress is murdered, and James Dean is the prime suspect.

With character-actress Mercedes McCambridge as her sympathetic sidekick, a shaken Edna investigates the killing, determined to clear Dean’s name.

Edna soon entrenches herself in the life of the often secretive maverick actor. But can she prove his innocence? The more she investigates the more she uncovers simmering rivalries, petty jealousies, and cruel infidelities—the dark underside of glittering Hollywood.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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New Hardcover Mysteries for April 2009

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in April 2009.

As we've done for several months now, we're listing those authors with returning series characters, new series characters, and non-series or stand-alone mysteries in separate sections. All titles are available on our page. We're also using the "carousel" widget by Amazon.com to display a random selection of titles; refreshing this page will change the selection displayed.

Authors with mysteries having returning series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(China Bayles), (Jessica Fletcher, Murder She Wrote), (Sean King and Michelle Maxwell), (Anna Pigeon), (Paul Jacobson), (Regan Reilly), (Josie Prescott), (Jack Leightner), (Goldy Schulz), Garry Disher (Inspector Challis), (David Sloane), (Lawrence Kingston, English Garden), (Seaside Knitters), (Hanno Stiffeniis), (Grego Demarkian), Parnell Hall (Puzzle Lady), (Annie Darling, Death on Demand), Roderic Jeffries (Inspector Alvarez), (Mary Russell), (Guido Brunetti), (Frank Coffin), Edward Marston (Captain Rawson), (Lucy Stone), (Van Veeteren), (Women's Murder Club), (Victoria Trumbull), (Ellie Avery, Mom Zone), (Julia Springer), (Atticus Kodiak), (Jack Liffey), (Theda Krakow), (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency), Frank Smith (Neil Paget), (Micah Dalton), (High Priestess Iliona), (Bay Tanner), (Stone Barrington)

Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters (in parentheses) this month:

(Frank Russo), (Flavia de Luce), (Denton), (Penny Brannigan), Quintin Jardine (Primavera Blackstone), (Sean O'Brien), (Zol Szabo), (Simon Ziele), (Will Borders), (Carly Paladino and Noah Lang)

Authors with non-series or stand-alone mysteries this month:

, , , Sebastian Beaumont, , Ben Bova, , Mary Higgins Clark, Paulo Coelho, , , , , Janet Frame, , , Ivan G. Goldman, Heather Graham, , , , , , Edward Ifkovic, , , , , , (Short Story Collection), Henning Mankell, Priscilla Masters, , Adrian McKinty, , Robert J. Sawyer, , , Mark T. Sullivan, , ,

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries, also updated with April 2009 releases.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Mystery Bestsellers for March 27, 2009

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending March 27, 2009 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

For the third week in a row there was little change at the top of the bestseller list. A minor shuffling among the top 8 from last week is about all to report.

True Detectives by Jonathan Kellerman

New this week in the 10th position is True Detectives, a new series by Jonathan Kellerman featuring LAPD detective Moses Reed and private investigator Aaron Fox who were introduced in Kellerman's last Alex Delaware mystery Bones. (Alex Delaware makes an appearance here as well.) Bound by blood but divided by troubles as old as Cain and Abel, Moses Reed and Aaron Fox are sons of the same strong-willed mother, and their respective fathers were cops, partners, and friends. Their turbulent family history has set them at odds, despite their shared calling. Usually they go their separate ways. But the disappearance of Caitlin Frostig isn’t usual. For Moses, it’s an ice-cold mystery he just can’t outrun, even with the help of psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis. For Aaron, it’s a billable-hours bonanza from his most lucrative client. Like it or not, Moses and Aaron are in this one together–and the rivalry that rules them won’t let either man quit till the case is cracked. A straight-arrow, straight-A student from Malibu, Caitlin has only two men in her life: her sullen single father and her wholesome college sweetheart, who even the battling brothers agree seems too downright upright to be true. Reluctantly tag-teaming in a desperate search for fresh leads, Moses and Aaron zero in on Caitlin’s white knight as their primary “person of interest,” hoping that, like most people in L.A., he has a secret side. But they uncover more than just a secret as they descend into the sinister, seamy side of the City of Angels after dark, populated by a Hollywood Babylon cast of the glamorous and the damned: a millionaire movie director turned hatemongering eccentric; a desperate Beverly Hills housewife looking for an exit from the fast lane; a heartthrob actor being eaten alive by personal demons; a hooker who’s probably seen it all ... and might just know too much. And at the center, a dead young woman whose downward spiral and brutal end loom over Moses and Aaron like an omen of what may come to be if the dark end of the street claims another lost soul.

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

Also new in the top 15 this week but debuting last week at number 18 is The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl. Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens’s untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await the arrival of Dickens’s unfinished novel. But when Daniel’s body is discovered by the docks and the manuscript is nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to unearth the novel that he hopes will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel’s killer. Danger and intrigue abound on the journey to England, for which Osgood has chosen Rebecca Sand, Daniel’s older sister, to assist him. As they attempt to uncover Dickens’s final mystery, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves racing the clock through a dangerous web of literary lions and drug dealers, sadistic thugs and blue bloods, and competing members of Dickens’s inner circle. They soon realize that understanding Dickens’s lost ending is a matter of life and death, and the hidden key to stopping a murderous mastermind.

On our bestseller page, we've added an icon next to every title that is available for immediate download onto the Amazon Kindle. To learn about this wireless reading device, visit the Amazon Kindle page for more information.

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Associate by John GrishamThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonRun for Your Life by James PattersonNight and Day by Robert B. Parker

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

eHarlequin's Free Book Friday: Buy 4 Books, Get a 5th Free

eHarlequin.com gives you another reason to love Fridays! Typically, when you buy two or more books on Fridays, they'll give you their weekly featured book absolutely free! That's right, every Friday, enjoy a featured free book with the purchase of two or more other titles! (Your free book will automatically be added to your cart.)

But this Friday (03/27/2009), with any purchase of 4 books you get the 5th free! Pick 5 books and pay for 4. Choose from their vast library of titles, including our favorites in these categories: Harlequin Intrigue, Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, and Worldwide Mystery.

Visit eHarlequin.com this Friday to pick out 5 mysteries (or books from any other category) and get 1 of them free.

Keep up to date by subscribing to eHarlequin.com's free newsletter that contains the latest information about their series of books as well as informing you about subscriber-only special offers and new products. Click on the banner below to subscribe for free:

Sign up for email newsletters from eHarlequin.com

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Mystery Author Louise Penny to Sponsor This Year's CWA New Blood Dagger Award

Mystery Book Awards: The Edgars, The Agathas, The Anthonys, and many more.

In other mystery award news (press release), crime novelist has agreed to sponsor the this year. Penny won the award in 2006 for her debut mystery Still Life which introduced Armand Gamache, a Chief Inspector with the Sûreté du Quebec. (MBN note: Still Life also won the , the , the , and the .)

Penny said, "It is a pleasure for [my husband] Michael and me to be able to do this for an emerging crime writer. I've been helped so much by other writers and the CWA in particular." Penny and her husband have also established a similar award with the Crime Writers of Canada.

The New Blood Dagger (also called the John Creasey Dagger) was first given out in 1973. Previous winners include bestselling mystery authors , , and .

Shortlists for the CWA Dagger awards are expected to be announced in early June with awards presented to the winners in mid-July.

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The Strand Magazine Announces Nominees for 2008 Critics Awards for Mystery Fiction

Mystery Book Awards: The Edgars, The Agathas, The Anthonys, and many more.

The Strand Magazine announced the nominees for the 2008 Critics Awards for Best Mystery Novel and Best First Mystery Novel in a press release yesterday. The nominees for these annual awards recognize excellence in the field of mystery fiction and are selected by book reviewers from the nation's top daily newspapers.

For Best Novel the nominees are:

When Will There Be Good News? by (Little, Brown)
Master of the Delta by (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Brass Verdict by (Little, Brown)
Lush Life by (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Hollywood Crows by (Little, Brown)

For Best First Novel the nominees are:

by (Knopf)
City of the Sun by (Doubleday)
A Cure for Night by (Doubleday)
Child 44 by (Grand Central Publishing)
A Carrion Death by (Harper)

Read mystery book reviews at Mysterious Reviews indicates a review by .

The winners will be announced at an invitation-only cocktail party, hosted by The Strand on July 8, 2009, in New York City. A lifetime achievement award will be given posthumously to English author John Mortimer.

Congratulations from everyone at Mystery Books News to the nominees!

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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