Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blood Count by Reggie Nadelson (Book Review)

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Blood Count by Reggie Nadelson. An Artie Cohen Mystery. Walker Hardcover, October 2010.

A superb example of an intricately crafted, multi-layered novel of suspense, the ending of which -- the whodunit, if you will -- will likely come as a surprise to most readers.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews: Blood Count by Reggie Nadelson.

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Ms. Terri Reviews Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat

Games of Mystery, your source for mystery-themed games, parties, and vacations

As a mystery game, Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat is really first rate. The beautifully rendered scenes are appropriately mysterious and there is a lot to do, most of which requires some thoughtful action by, sometimes interaction with, the player. The storyline is well thought out, and though the titular cat has only a small role here, every time you see it there's a real sense of moving forward in the plot.

Read Ms. Terri's complete review on Games of Mystery Reviews: Dark Tales: Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat.

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is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun!

Mr. E. Reviews Agatha Christie Marple: The Geraldine McEwan Collection

Mr. E. reviews mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime drama television and film for Omnimystery

The twelve episodes in Agatha Christie's Marple: The Geraldine McEwan Collection clearly showcase the range the actress brings to the character -- and they are better for it. Many of these adaptations deviate significantly from their source -- indeed, some of the original novels don't even feature Miss Marple -- but, I would argue, they are often for the better; even in those episodes where the plot does seem to drag a bit, McEwan shines.

Read the full text of our review at Mr. E. Reviews: Agatha Christie's Marple: The Geraldine McEwan Collection.

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Mr. E. Reviews is your source for mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime drama reviews of television and film.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sherlock Holmes in The Blind Banker, Sunday October 31st on PBS Masterpiece Mystery!

Masterpiece Mystery! Sherlock

Tomorrow, Sunday October 31st, the second of three episodes of Series I of Sherlock airs on PBS (check your local listings for air times).

We watched last week's episode ("A Study in Pink") and were enthralled, from the spot-on character depictions to the well-plotted storyline to the introduction of modern twists on classic lines from the canon. ("It's quite a three patch problem, Watson.")

In the second episode, "The Blind Banker," John Watson (Martin Freeman) is scrambling to do the errands and find a job while Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch) sits around, apparently in deep contemplation. Sherlock seems oblivious, and in no hurry to take a case. When there's been a break-in at a bank, Sherlock inexplicably springs into action. Nothing has been stolen, only indecipherable graffiti painted on a wall. A bank employee is soon found dead in his apartment, the windows and doors locked from the inside, and Sherlock is at full, frenetic attention. An exhausted and hungry Watson (Sherlock doesn't eat while on a case — it just slows him down) watches from the sidelines of a case of which he'll soon inexplicably find himself at the center.

This first series of Sherlock will be released on DVD and Blu-ray disc on November 9th, 2010, and is available to pre-order from Telemystery: Sherlock. If you missed last week's episode, you can watch it online through December 7th, 2010, on the PBS: Sherlock website.

Watch a preview for "The Blind Banker" below:

The Walking Dead Premieres Sunday, October 31st, on AMC TV

The Walking Dead (AMC TV)

Tomorrow, Sunday October 31st -- Halloween -- The Walking Dead premieres on AMC TV at 10 PM (ET/PT).

Based on Robert Kirkman's popular comic book series, The Walking Dead is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival.

The comic book series first appeared in 2003, with six issues each collected into a series of books. The first is titled The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye with the most recent, The Walking Dead Volume 13: Too Far Gone, is scheduled for publication in late November.

In the series, County Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up in an empty hospital after weeks in a coma, and finds himself utterly alone. The world as he knows it is gone, ravaged by a zombie epidemic. A survivalist story at its core, the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous that the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.

Shot on location in Atlanta, the first episode of six in the AMC series shares its title with the first entry in the comic book series: "Days Gone Bye." In the video embedded below, producer Frank Darabont and author Robert Kirkman discuss the process of converting the comic book into a television series, what they have in common and how they differ. More videos can be seen on the AMC: The Walking Dead website.

Murder au Naturel by Allen Barlowe (Book Review)

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Murder au Naturel by Allen Barlowe. Non-series. Llumina Press Trade Paperback, August 2010.

Though this light murder mystery set at a clothing-optional resort may be intended as escapist fun for genre fans, there's too little humor and not enough suspense to achieve that level of entertainment.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews: Murder au Naturel by Allen Barlowe.

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Reviews of Mystery and Suspense Books for Kids, New This Week on Book Trends (101030)

Book Trends: Reviews of Young Adult and Children Books

Book Trends, a review site for young adult and children books, published several new book reviews this past week. We're presenting here a summary of those in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.

The Curse of Deadman's Forest by Victoria Laurie. The second suspense novel in the Oracles of Delphi Keep series, recommended for readers aged 10 to 12. Lexile measure: N/A. Reviewed by a 6th grade student, who writes, "This is a great novel full of face-paced action, well-developed characters, and never-ending suspense. This book is very interesting, and very exiting. I just couldn't put it down!"

Roll Up the Streets by John Badek. A non-series mystery adventure recommended for readers aged 10 to 12. Lexile measure: N/A. Reviewed by a 6th grade student, who writes, "On the first reading, the beginning of the story is confusing, slow and Jake's little jokes and comments are supposed to be funny but instead are annoying. [But w]hen I read the book again, the beginning was not as confusing and I liked Jake's comments more than the first time I read the book. I got much more out of the book the second time I read it, so I suggest you read the book twice too."

For more reviews of children and young adult books of all genres, visit Book Trends; their reviews will amaze you! You can also follow Book Trends on Twitter.

Four Games of Mystery and Suspense, New This Week from AVG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce this week's new mystery and suspense casual and adventure games available for immediate download from Amazon Video Games.

A complete list of downloadable mystery games is available on our Games of Mystery: Amazon Video Games Download page.

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Download and Buy Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper
Download and Buy Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper

Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper

1888, London, district of Whitechapel. A series of particularly horrible murders takes place in this district of the East End of London where atrociously mutilated prostitutes' bodies are found. The police are unable to find a serious lead and the murders increase creating a real psychosis. Sherlock Holmes starts looking for clues in the dark and sinister alleys of Whitechapel in order to follow the macabre trail of the one the press now calls Jack the Ripper. During a frightening adventure, Sherlock Holmes will try to bring out the true identity and the motives of the one who hides behind this scary alias.

Presented in full 3D, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper offers players 2 different perspectives available at any moment in the game: a third-person view in the pure style of traditional point 'n' click adventure games and a first-person view for close-up investigation. Players have the total freedom to choose either of the angles they wish or use them both to immerse themselves completely in this terrifying adventure.

ESRB Rating: Mature.

Windows Vista/XP (1590 MB download).

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Download and Buy Kate Arrow: Deserted Wood
Download and Buy Kate Arrow: Deserted Wood

Kate Arrow: Deserted Wood

Set off on an adventure to help Kate return a valuable idol to a tribe by traveling deep into the jungle to find her grandfather in this fun hidden object game. Pack your bags and use your wits to avoid dangerous situations, and make it through a plane crash! Track down your grandfather and deliver the powerful idol that he has promised to the tribe that saved his life many years ago.

ESRB Rating: Not Specified.

Windows Vista/XP (151 MB download).

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Download and Buy Women's Murder Club: Little Black Lies
Download and Buy Women's Murder Club: Little Black Lies

Women's Murder Club: Little Black Lies

A cold case heats up when an inquisitive writer is put on ice.

Regina Blacklock, celebrated true-crime author and friend of the Women's Murder Club, is famous for uncovering the truth. But sometimes the truth can be deadly. Now her latest book is also her last. When Regina's body is discovered in her car, authorities find a strange clue leading them to the Women's Murder Club.

Join Lindsay, Claire and Cindy as they reveal what the murder of a teenage girl from 1975 has to do with Regina's recent demise. What did Regina uncover when digging deeply into the past ... what will you find in the present?

Discover the truth behind the lies in the fourth chapter of the hit series critics have called "smart,""inventive," and "refreshingly different." Search for hidden clues in a variety of beautifully illustrated scenes. Choose your own path as you explore a seemingly quaint, northern California town tormented by one horrifying night. Reveal a chilling story by solving challenging puzzles. Search for the disturbing truth behind the little black lies.

Based on characters created by bestselling mystery author James Patterson.

ESRB Rating: Not Specified.

Windows Vista/XP (200 MB download).

Ms. Terri Reviews Games of Mystery and Suspense Read Ms. Terri's Review of Women's Murder Club: Little Black Lies.

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Download and Buy Nightfall Mysteries: Asylum Conspiracy
Download and Buy Nightfall Mysteries: Asylum Conspiracy

Nightfall Mysteries: Asylum Conspiracy

Help Christine explore the spooky Ashburg Asylum and find her missing grandfather in this dark hidden object game! Travel to the eerie grounds of Ashburg and work your way through spine-chilling locations. Solve unique puzzles to progress deeper into the asylum, and closer to Christine's grandfather. Meet interesting characters, unravel a mystery, and uncover an evil plot!

ESRB Rating: Not Specified.

Windows Vista/XP (191 MB download).

Ms. Terri Reviews Games of Mystery and Suspense Read Ms. Terri's Review of Nightfall Mysteries: Asylum Conspiracy.

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic and board games, parties for kids and adults, murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, and more mysterious fun!

Explore in Eerie Mansion in Mystery Valley, New from BFG

Games of Mystery

Games of Mystery is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual game from Big Fish Games released today and available to BFG Club members. You can find out more about these games by visiting our Mystery Games: Big Fish Download Games page or by clicking on the links provided below.

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Mystery Valley
Mystery Valley

A rash of murders has struck, and it’s up to you as an FBI agent to find the murderer in this dark and spooky hidden object game! Explore an eerie mansion and find clues and the motive behind the murders. As you dive deeper in the case, you realize that you’re more connected to the murders than you ever would have imagined.

Mystery Valley may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (141.22 MB) may be downloaded and played for free for one hour.

Watch a preview video below:

Get any standard game for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. Other benefits include the $2.99 Daily Deal, Tomorrow's Game Today, and special member rewards. And if you purchase any 6 games within a single month, you earn a free game with the Big Fish Game Club Monthly Punch Card! (Collector's Editions earn 3 punches each, half-way towards your free game!)

Read Ms. Terri's reviews of the adventure and casual mystery games featured on this site, including Midnight Mysteries: The Edgar Allan Poe Conspiracy, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses!, Enlightenus, and many more!

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

Friday, October 29, 2010

International Trailer Released for Film Adaptation of Blitz by Ken Bruen

Blitz by Ken Bruen
More information about the book

Earlier today we posted a trailer for the film adaptation of London Boulevard by Ken Bruen. Now we've found (via /Film) a new international trailer for another Bruen thriller, the film adaptation of Blitz, the fourth novel in the Tom Brant series.

Jason Statham plays Detective Sergrant Brant in the film, which is expected to be released sometime during 2011.

Published in 2002, Blitz follows the South East London police squad as they track a serial killer. Nicknamed "The Blitz" by the rabid London media, the killer is aiming for tabloid immortality by killing cops in different beats around the city.

Watch the trailer below:

FX Networks Developing Crime Drama Adapted from Korean Thriller Soo

Soo: Revenge for a Twisted Fate
More information about the DVD

Deadline|Hollywood is reporting that FX Networks is developing a series adaptation of the Korean film thriller Soo, which itself is an adaptation of the graphic novel Double Casting by Shin Young-woo. Barry Josephson (Bones) will executive produce.

In the film, twin brothers Tae Jin and Tae Soogrew up in the streets together, but they get separated when Tae Jin gets caught by a gangster for stealing. Years later Tae Jin has grown up to become a police officer, while Tae Soo is now a top assassin. The brothers finally reunite after two decades of separation, only for Tae Jin to be brutally murdered in front of Tae Soo's eyes. Determined to avenge his brother's death, the guilt-ridden Tae Soo assumes Tae Jin's identity and sets out on a blood-slashing path for revenge and redemption.

New Trailer for UK Release of Film Adaptation of London Boulevard by Ken Bruen

London Boulevard by Ken Bruen
More information about the book

A trailer has been posted today for the film adaptation of Ken Bruen's thriller London Boulevard. Starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, and written and directed by William Monahan, the film opens in the UK on November 26th; we're not aware of any US release date.

Originally published in 2001, London Boulevard follows Mitchell (Colin Farrell), who's been released from prison after serving three years for a vicious attack he doesn’t even remember. Billy Norton is there to pick him up. But Norton works for Tommy Logan, a ruthless loan shark lowlife with plans Mitchell wants nothing to do with. Attempting to stay out of Logan’s way, he finds work at the Holland Park mansion of faded movie actress, Lillian Palmer (Keira Knightley's character in the film is, instead, a reclusive young actress), where he has to deal with her mysterious butler, Jordan. It isn’t long before Mitchell’s violent past catches up with him and people start getting hurt. When his disturbed sister Briony is threatened, Mitchell is forced to act.

Watch the trailer below:

OMN Welcomes Kate Carlisle, Author of the Bibliophile Mysteries

Omnimystery News: Authors on Tour

Omnimystery News is delighted to welcome Kate Carlisle as our guest blogger. The third mystery in her bibliophile series, The Lies That Bind (Signet Mass Market Paperback, November 2010, 978-0-451-23169-7), publishes next Tuesday (but is available to pre-order).

Today, Kate advises us to write what you know or know what you write.

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Kate Carlisle
Photo provided courtesy of Kate Carlisle

Perhaps the most basic advice to writers is to write what you know. The reasoning behind this advice is sound: When a reader catches a factual mistake, she is yanked quite cruelly from the story. The mistake is a violation of the reader’s trust, and it may prevent him from ever fully trusting that author again.

Neophytes may find this advice limiting.

“I’m a plumber from Dubuque,” a new writer might say. “Does that mean I’m only supposed to write about plumbers from Dubuque? How boring!”

That’s looking at the adage the wrong way. Try turning it on its head. If you don’t want to write what you already know, then you damn well better know what you write. Research, research, research.

Immerse yourself in your character’s world. If your protagonist is a plumber from Dubuque, then you’d better know the difference between a slip joint and an air lock. (Full disclosure: I had to Google plumbing terms to come up with that comparison. But then, I’ve never written a plumber.)

Primary research is best.

If you’re writing police procedurals, don’t rely on Law & Order reruns for your facts. Interview real-life cops, get a police scanner, scour public arrest records, go on a ride-along if you can. Ask a cop to read your first draft so he can point out any errors that slip through.

If your hero is a private eye, find a local detective who will let you shadow him for a week or two. Ask if you can lend a hand on some of the cases so you can learn how the internet searches work.

My heroine’s field is somewhat more esoteric. Brooklyn Wainwright, the star of my Bibliophile Mysteries series, is a professional bookbinder. When she stumbles across a dead body – as she is wont to do – it’s okay if she does something to mess up the crime scene. She’s not a cop; she’s not expected to know what to do when someone is murdered.

But when she’s teaching a class in her field, I’d better get my facts straight. There are far fewer bookbinders in the world than there are cops, but they’re a passionate, well educated lot who love to read. So I’m always honored to hear from a bookbinder who says I captured the details accurately, both of the bookbinding process and of the world of bookbinding and its internal politics.

I’ve held many careers in my life, from TV game show producer to legal secretary, and while I’ve taken bookbinding classes for years, I’ve never worked as a professional bookbinder. But I did not let the “write what you know” advice limit me. Instead, I chose to “know what I write.” I took more advanced classes on bookbinding and interviewed my professional bookbinder friends, heard the terms of art from their lips. I used the tools of the trade, felt their heft in my hand. I learned what bookbinders value and got more than an earful of the “local gossip,” as it were.

If you feel inspired to write a story set in a world that’s far removed from your own, go for it. When you don’t want to write what you already know, then learn everything you can so you will know what you write.

For writers: What is the simplest yet most profound piece of writing advice you’ve ever received? How do you put it into practice?

For readers (and aren’t we all?): What are some of the amateur sleuth series that you have enjoyed reading?

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A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She loves to drink good wine and watch other people cook. For more information, visit her website at KateCarlisle.com.

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The Lies That Bind by Kate Carlisle
More information about the book

About The Lies That Bind: Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright returns home to San Francisco to teach a bookbinding class. Unfortunately, the program director Layla Fontaine is a horrendous host who pitches fits and lords over her subordinates. But when Layla is found shot dead, Brooklyn is bound and determined to investigate -- even as the killer tries to close the book on her for good.

BFG Standard Games are only $4.99 this Halloween Weekend

Big Fish Games: A New Game Everyday!

This weekend only, Big Fish Games is having a special Halloween sale: all standard games are only $4.99! With so many games of mystery and suspense to choose from, you're bound to find something suitably mysterious.

Select your game (or games) from BFG website (click on the banner below to visit the site) and use coupon code SPOOKY at check-out to realize your savings. But hurry! This special sale ends Sunday, October 31st.

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BFG Halloween Sale

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Games of Mystery is your source for mystery-themed video, electronic, and board games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations!

Mystery Bestsellers for October 29, 2010

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending October 29th, 2010 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Some shuffling among the top 10 with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson still at number one and last week's featured title, Worth Dying For by Lee Child, moving into the top 4.

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The Confesion by John Grisham
More information about the book

One new title debuts in position 15: The Confession by John Grisham.

For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?

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The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg LarssonThe Reversal by Michael ConnellyAmerican Assassin by Vince FlynnWorth Dying For by Lee Child

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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Someone to Blame by C. S. Lakin (Book Review)

Mysterious Reviews: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and Crime Novel Reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Someone to Blame by C. S. Lakin. Non-series. Zondervan Trade Paperback, September 2010.

A moving, albeit sometimes depressing story, in which the characters are realistically drawn and the foundation of the plot -- that it's always easy to blame someone or something for life's misfortunes -- is well told.

Read the full text of our review at Mysterious Reviews: Someone to Blame by C. S. Lakin.

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Mysterious Reviews is your source for the latest mystery, suspense, thriller, and crime novel reviews, edited by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books.

Film Adaptation of Play Dead by Ryan Brown Planned

Play Dead by Ryan Brown
More information about the book

Variety is reporting that the film rights to Play Dead have been acquired by Mark Canton (Trapped, Taking Lives, The Spiderwick Chronicles), who has hired Joe Schreiber (Chasing the Dead, Eat the Dark) to write the screenplay. The darkly comic zombie thriller, which was published earlier this year, is Ryan Brown's debut novel.

For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan, who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach’s clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory.

Read the first chapters of Play Dead below.

ABC Orders Pilot for Updated Charlie's Angels

Telemystery: Mystery and Suspense on Television

About a year ago we reported that ABC was developing an updated version of its iconic series from the 70s, Charlie's Angels. And maybe it's simply a coincidence, what with the recent success of the Hawaii Five-0 reboot and all, but Deadline|Hollywood is reporting that ABC is now moving forward with the project, ordering a pilot.

The angels haven't been cast yet, but original series producer Leonard Goldberg and film angel Drew Barrymore are executive producing the pilot. Filming is expected to begin in Miami in January.

Production Underway on Film Adaptation of The Hunter by Julia Leigh

The Hunter by Julia Leigh
More information about the book

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that production has begun on the film adaptation of Julia Leigh's debut psychological thriller The Hunter.

Directed by Daniel Nettheim, the film stars Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill and Frances O'Connor in a haunting tale of obsession and redemption in which a business proposition takes on mythic aspects. The quest for a nearly extinct animal becomes a search not for ultimate profit but for the essence of life that technology has all but crushed.

TNT Orders Pilot for Father/Daughter Crime Drama Bird Dog

Telemystery: Mystery and Suspense on Television

Deadline|Hollywood is reporting that TNT has ordered a pilot for Bird Dog, a crime drama in which two cops, a father and daughter, work together as partners in a small Pacific Northwest town.

The article also updates the status of another recently announced potential TNT crime drama, Hollywood & Vine, which has been put on hold due to casting difficulties.

OMN Welcomes Kathleen Ernst, Author of Old World Murder

Omnimystery News: Authors on Tour

Omnimystery News is delighted to welcome Kathleen Ernst as our guest blogger. Though Kathleen is well known for her American Girl mysteries, she has just published her first adult mystery, Old World Murder (Midnight Ink Trade Paperback, October 2010, 978-0-7387-2087-6).

Today, Kathleen writes about creating a cop. And she's also providing our readers with an opportunity to win a copy of her book. Visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Kathleen Ernst: Old World Murder" contest link, enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (0779) for a chance to win! (One entry per person; contest ends November 11, 2010.)

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Kathleen Ernst
Photo provided courtesy of Kathleen Ernst

When I began planning my new mystery, Old World Murder, I knew from the start that I wanted to have two point-of-view characters. The first, Chloe Ellefson, is curator of collections at a large historic site called Old World Wisconsin. It’s a real place, and I was an interpreter and curator there for twelve years. Writing Chloe? No problem.

The second main character, Roelke McKenna, is a part-time officer with the Village of Eagle Police Department. Writing Roelke? Well, I knew it would be a challenge. I knew nothing about law enforcement. I lurked for a while on a public online forum, where officers answered questions, but many of the responders were so sarcastic or contemptuous that I never dared ask a question.

The book is set in 1982, so I was able to glean some information from old newspapers. In 1982 the EPD was only a few years old. News articles of the day painted a picture of officers who were ready to handle any crime, but were also active members of the community.

The articles were great, but I still needed to spend time with cops. Fortunately, the chief of police in Eagle was receptive to the idea. He answered lots of questions about the role of chief, and invited me to do some ride-alongs. I’ve done maybe half a dozen now, meeting several different officers. They’ve all been generous with their time and information, and encouraging to me as a writer.

And you know what? I am in awe. The Eagle cops I’ve met are still integral parts of the community. They do outreach in the local schools. They get personally involved with at-risk young people. After a tornado ripped through the village last June, they organized a “Christmas-in-August” party for kids most affected by the storm.

They are also ready to handle whatever might come up. When the phone rings or radio buzzes, they don’t know if the call will involve a lost puppy or a murder. They help kids with homework and wade into bar fights. They see people at their worst and at their best. Some of the stories I’ve heard make my heart ache.

And the officers take a lot of abuse. I once watched a drunk driver get arrested. The man was verbally abusive, spewing profanity and promises of physical violence at the two officers involved. Later I told the cop I was riding with how horrified I was by the man’s threats. “That happens all the time,” she said. “The tough ones are when they threaten your kids.”

Kathleen Ernst / Officer Gwen Bruckner
Photo provided courtesy of
Kathleen Ernst

Officer Gwen Bruckner, who’s been helping me recently, was recently named Wisconsin’s Female Police Officer of the Year because of her service during the Eagle tornado and it’s aftermath. It’s a well-deserved honor! She’d be the first to say she was just doing her job, though. All of the officers I’ve met in the Village of Eagle take risks every day, and deal with situations I hate to contemplate.

On my first ride-along, Officer Robert Bord talked with me about why he went into law enforcement, and why he loved his job. One comment struck me in particular: “It’s the little things,” he said. “I do lots of little things in Eagle that no one sees, no one knows about, but it makes the village a safer place. That’s satisfying.”

With help from the Eagle Police Department, I felt able to create my cop character. Because I’m planning a series, I tried to create a complex character, someone with both inner strength and character flaws; someone who could grow and change over the course of not just one novel, but many. Officer Roelke McKenna was born.

The first time my husband read a draft of Old World Murder, he asked me if Roelke was based in particular on one of the officers I’d met in Eagle. “No,” I told him. “But the officers I’ve met showed me the kind of cop that Roelke will always aspire to be.”

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Kathleen's first permanent job was at Old World Wisconsin, the setting for her debut novel. She has also written eight mysteries for young readers, several of which have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

She and her husband live in Wisconsin, with a great office space where she can watch birds from her desk. Sophie, her silver tabby, keeps her company. For more information, visit her website at KathleenErnst.com, or stop by her Sites and Stories blog.

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Old World Murder One by Kathleen Ernst
More information about the book

About Old World Murder: Hoping to leave behind her heartbreaking past, Chloe Ellefson makes a fresh start as the new collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. This outdoor ethnic museum charms visitors with authentic historical artifacts and costumed employees who churn butter, make shoes, and reenact 1870s settlement life. But Chloe's first day on the job only brings misfortune when an elderly woman pleads with her to find the priceless eighteenth-century Norwegian ale bowl that she donated to the museum years ago. Minutes later, the disappointed woman dies in a mysterious car crash.

Throwing herself into a dangerous investigation, Chloe discovers that someone is desperately trying to erase all traces of the bowl's existence by any means necessary ... including murder. With the unnervingly attractive part-time cop Roelke McKenna at her side, Chloe must solve a decades-old puzzle, catch a covetous killer, and stay alive in this deadly heirloom hunt.

For a chance to win a copy of Old World Murder, courtesy of the author, visit Mystery Book Contests, click on the "Kathleen Ernst: Old World Murder" contest link, and enter your name, e-mail address, and this code (0779) in the entry form. (One entry per person; contest ends November 11, 2010.)

 

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