Friday, March 26, 2010

New Hardcover Mysteries for April 2010

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of with books scheduled for publication in April 2010. Please note that some titles may publish early (and may already be available) and some may be delayed, published at a later date.

Below 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.

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

New Mysteries for March 2010

(Daniel Knox, 2nd), (China Bayles, 18th), (Bewitching, 6th), Jessica Fletcher and (Murder, She Wrote, 33rd), (Body Farm, 5th), (Quirke, 3rd), (Joe Pickett, 10th), (Mrs. Murphy, 18th), (Ellie Hatcher, 3rd), (Kate Stanley, 2nd), (Regan Reilly, 13th), (Josie Prescott, 5th), (Joe Sandilands, 8th), (Mike Yeadings, 22nd), (Mike Yeadings, 24th), (Adelia Aguilar, 4th), (Jonathan Stride, 5th), (Seaside Knitters, 3rd), J. M. Gregson (Inspector Peach, 14th), (Richard Jury, 22nd), (Dirty Business, 3rd), (Death on Demand, 20th), (Michael Kelly, 3rd), (Ed Loy, 5th), Graham Ison (Hardcastle, 8th), (Medieval West Country, 28th), (Eve Duncan and Joe Quinn, 10th), (Scott Joplin, 3rd), (Mary Russell, 10th), (Jack Doyle, 3rd), (Notre Dame, 13th), (Jack Lorentz, 2nd), (Women's Murder Club, 9th), (Nick Bertetto, 3rd), (Country House Crime, 5th), (John the Eunuch, 8th), (Jack Sigler, Chess Team, 2nd), (Ellie Avery, Mom Zone, 5th), (Miss Julia Springer, 11th), (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 11th), (Clare Fergusson, 7th), (Micah Dalton, 4th), (Derek Stillwater, 3rd), (Grace MacBride, 5th), (Bay Tanner, 10th), (Death in the Dordogne, 3rd), (Triple Threat, 2nd), (Inspector Chen, 5th), (Maisie Dobbs, 7th), (Stone Barrington, 18th)

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

(Brett Baldwin), (Moriah Dru), (Judd Wheeler), (Dub Walker), (Jade de Jong)

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

, , , Mary Higgins Clark, , , , , , , , , , Heather Graham, Gerald Hammond, , , , , , , , Anne Lamott, , , Ilsa Mayr, , , , , , , , , , ,

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 2010 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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Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park Story Continues in Comic Book Format

Jurassic Park Comic (IDW)

The storyline for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park continues in an updated format! IDW Publishing announced this week an agreement to create a new series of comics based on the Jurassic Park franchise.

According to the release, the first five-issue series will be titled Jurassic Park: Redemption, and takes place thirteen years after the very first Jurassic Park film. John Hammond's grandchildren, Tim and Lex Murphy, are now well-to-do young adults, with Lex working with the UN to continue keeping people off of both Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna ... but her brother Tim has other ideas about how to get their grandfather's name back in good standing.

The comic series debuts in June 2010.

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Mystery Bestsellers for March 26, 2010

Mystery Bestsellers

A list of the top 15 for the week ending March 26, 2010 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

More changes this week except at the top. Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is still number one, though by a very small margin, and two titles that debuted earlier in the month move into the top 15.

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The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz
More information about the book

Moving up to number 9 from 16 is The Spellmans Strike Again, the fourth mystery in the Isabel Spellman series by Lisa Lutz.

First among her priorities as head of Spellman Investigations is to dig up some dirt on the competition, slippery ex-cop Rick Harkey -- a task she may enjoy a little too much. Next, faced with a baffling missing-persons case at the home of an aging millionaire, Izzy hires an actor friend, Len, to infiltrate the mansion as an undercover butler -- a role he may enjoy a little much.

Meanwhile, Izzy is being blackmailed by her mother (photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994) to commit to regular blind dates with promising professionals -- an arrangement that doesn't thrill Connor, an Irish bartender on the brink of becoming ex-boyfriend number 12.

At Spellman headquarters, it's business as unusual. Doorknobs and light fixtures are disappearing every day, Mom's been spotted crying in the pantry, and a series of increasingly demanding Spellman Rules (Rule #27: No Speaking Today) can't quite hold the family together. Izzy also has to decipher weekly "phone calls from the edge" from her octogenarian lawyer, Morty, as well as Detective Henry Stone's mysterious interest in rekindling their relationsh ... well, whatever it was.

Just when it looks like things can't go more haywire, little sister Rae's internship researching pro bono legal cases leads the youngest Spellman to launch a grassroots campaign that could spring an innocent man from jail -- or land Rae in it.

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The Devil's Star by Jo Nesbo
More information about the book

Stealthily creeping up the list and moving into 11th position is The Devil's Star, the fifth mystery in the Harry Hole series Jo Nesbo (but only the third to be published in English).

Oslo is sweltering in the summer heat when a young woman is murdered in her flat. One finger has been cut off and a tiny red diamond in the shape of a pentagram—a five-pointed star—is found under her eyelid. Detective Harry Hole is assigned the case with Tom Waaler, a colleague he neither likes nor trusts. He believes Tom is behind a gang of arms smugglers—and the murder of his partner. But Harry, an off-the-rails alcoholic, is barely holding on to his job and has little choice but to play nice.

Five days later, another woman is reported missing. When her severed finger is found adorned with a star-shaped red diamond ring, Harry fears a serial killer is on the loose. Determined to find the killer and expose the crooked Tom Waaler, Harry discovers the two investigations melding in unexpected ways. But pursuing the truth comes at a price, and soon Harry finds himself on the run and forced to make difficult decisions about a future he may not live to see.

— ◊ —

The top four mystery bestsellers this week are shown below:

The Lost Symbol by Dan BrownSplit Image by Robert B. ParkerThe Man from Beijing by Henning MankellThe Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

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 25, 2010

First Clues, Mysteries for Kids: New Titles for April 2010, Part 1

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 four different age categories (New Sleuths, ages 4 to 6; Future Sleuths, ages 7 to 9; Sleuths in Training, ages 10 to 12; and Apprentice Sleuths, ages 13 and older), is pleased to announce a selection of new mystery books (including series books) scheduled for publication during April 2010.

Because there are so many this month, we're splitting this list into two. Today we're featuring New Sleuths (ages 4 to 6) and Future Sleuths (ages 7 to 9). Tomorrow we'll feature mystery, suspense, and thriller novels for older kids.

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Bones and the Clown Mix-Up Mystery by David A. Adler

Bones and the Clown Mix-Up Mystery by David A. Adler


Bones is on the case in this 8th mystery of the series!

Detective Jeffrey Bones is having fun eating cake and watching a clown perform tricks at Not-Me Amy’s birthday party. But when the clown can’t find her street clothes at the end of the party, it’s up to Bones to solve this Easy-to-Read mystery!

The Bones Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

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Dognapped! by Jodie Mellor

Dognapped! by Jodie Mellor


It's the start of the summer holidays and Megan and Lauren go to the Magic Mountain Rescue Centre to bring home two of the cutest, most adorable puppies in the world. With their friend, Caitlin, and her toy dog, Daisy, they start a Puppy Club.

But when they hang the Puppy Club medallions on their pups, something mysterious happens -- a sudden, dizzying whirl of light whizzes them to Sleuth City and Daisy comes to life! Spotting a headline about a missing pooch, the three doggy detectives are soon on the trail of a dognapper -- and it's all the girls can do to keep up!

The 1st book in this series.

This Mystery Pups mystery is recommended for readers aged 4 to 6.

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From Russia with Lunch by Bruce Hale

From Russia with Lunch by Bruce Hale


Inventions, spells, and bullies—oh my!

It all begins when Chet’s favorite teacher is fired, only to be replaced by the mechanical invention of Dr. Tanya Lightov—a mysterious Russian scientist.

Suddenly, the school seems possessed by forces that are upsetting the natural order of things: Kindergartners are beating up sixth graders; teachers’ pets are talking back; and worst of all, Chet’s faithful partner and best friend, Natalie Attired, has abandoned him in his hour of need.

Will Chet be able to restore his friendship with Natalie and bring Emerson Hicky back to normal? One thing’s for certain: The crazy, mixed-up mastermind behind this case will be the last creature anyone expects.

The 13th mystery in this series, originally published in hardcover in January 2009.

The Chet Gecko "noir" mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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Ibrahim Khan and the Mystery of the Roaring Lion by Farheen Khan

Ibrahim Khan and the Mystery of the Roaring Lion by Farheen Khan


“It was almost midnight when Ibrahim first heard the sounds of hyenas in the backyard and they were laughing! He quietly slipped out of his sleeping bag and peered into the yard. Less than a minute later he heard a loud thunderous roar! He grabbed his binoculars and held them against the window. There was definitely something out there, something big!”

Tree forts, maple trees and roaring lions? When their classmate Yusuf hears ferocious roaring lions and creepy laughing hyenas in his backyard, he calls the best detectives he knows, Ibrahim and Zayn Khan! With the help of their trusty brown sack, they search for clues and bit by bit piece together this extraordinary mystery.

The 1st mystery in this series.

This Ibrahim Khan mystery is recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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The Case of the Secret Weapon by John R. Erickson

The Case of the Secret Weapon by John R. Erickson


Hank the Cowdog is at it again!

There’s a burglar on the loose, and he’s robbing houses with the help of a super-sneaky, super-stinky secret weapon. As Head of Ranch Security, Hank knows it’s his job to protect the ranch and all the buildings on it. So when a suspicious character comes sniffing around Slim’s bachelor shack, Hank heads right into action. But does Hank have what it takes to save the day—even after getting caught in the line of fire?

The 55th mystery in this series.

The Hank the Cowdog mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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The Calder Game by Blue Balliett

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett


When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery ... including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square. Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings towards it. Both the boy and the sculpture seem to be out of place ... and then, on the same night, they disappear! Calder's friends Petra and Tommy must fly out to help his father find him. But this mystery has more twists and turns than a Calder mobile ... with more at stake than first meets the eye.

The 3rd mystery in this series, originally published in hardcover in May 2008.

The mysteries in this series are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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Trouble at the Arcade by Franklin W. Dixon

Trouble at the Arcade by Franklin W. Dixon


Frank and Joe are brothers, but that won't stop them from competing against each other at the Fun World arcade's video game tournament. The boys make a bet: Whoever wins the competition gets to move into the cool new room their dad just built!

But suddenly money goes missing. The owner of Fun World shuts down the tournament until the stolen cash is returned! Can the boys figure out who took it? Or will their chances of victory -- and a brand-new room! -- be crushed by a thief?

The 1st in a series featuring Frank and Joe Hardy as 9- and 8-year-old amateur sleuths for younger readers.

The Hardy Boys Secret Files Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

— ◊ —

The Missing Mitt by Franklin W. Dixon

The Missing Mitt by Franklin W. Dixon


Frank and his brother, Joe, are excited! It's the final game in the Little League season, and their team, the Bayport Bandits, has a real shot at winning. Sure, the other team is good -- but they don't have the Bandits' good luck charm. The charm is their teammate Jason's mitt. His dad, a major-league pitcher, wore it in the World Series! The whole team touches it before every game for luck.

Right before the game, Jason's mitt goes missing! The team is devastated. Can Frank and Joe solve the case of the missing mitt before the Bandits lose the game?

The 2nd in a series featuring Frank and Joe Hardy as 9- and 8-year-old amateur sleuths for younger readers.

The Hardy Boys Secret Files Mysteries are recommended for readers aged 7 to 9.

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Mystery Book Review: The Woman Who Attracted Money by Steve Chandler

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Woman Who Attracted Money by Steve Chandler. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Woman Who Attracted Money by Steve Chandler

by
A Robert Chance Mystery

Robert Reed (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-934759-40-6 (1934759406)
ISBN-13: 978-1-934759-40-0 (9781934759400)
Publication Date: October 2009
List Price: $14.95

Review: Bestselling personal growth coach Steve Chandler, who has over 20 non-fiction books to his credit, turns to crime fiction introducing ex-cop Robert Chance in The Woman Who Attracted Money, the first of an expected series of twelve books.

Chance now works as a life coach ... and a private investigator when the need arises. And one has. He learns that a good friend, Tom Dumar, has been found dead in his real estate office, an apparent suicide. But in his discussions with Chance, Tom was eagerly looking forward to the future. Could Chance have not known his friend as well as he thought? A client, Madison Kerr, an advertising strategist and computer hacker, wants to help. She knew Tom, and possibly more importantly, his business partner Glen Gibbon, who is suspected of being involved in some shady deals. In fact, she thinks she knows who killed Tom, even though the police officially ruled his death a suicide. Chance wants to believe her, but where's the evidence?

Their inquiry is hampered by the fact that everything in Tom's office was removed following the police investigation by his partner. Furthermore, Tom's body was cremated. But Susan, Tom's wife, also believes her husband didn't take his own life. When her house burns to the ground, a clear case of arson, Chance fears for Susan. And when Madison hacks into Glen Gibbon's computer and finds photos taken of Susan without her knowledge, as if he were stalking her, they're convinced Glen may have had something to do with Tom's death.

The Woman Who Attracted Money is a light, entertaining mystery, and one with interesting characters and humor, making it both delightful and easy to read. Much of the appeal here is in the interaction between Robert Chance and Madison Kerr. Chance is methodical and insightful, Madison buoyant and fearless. The mystery plot is nicely structured and well paced. It's a strong start to this series that promises to have interesting cases for the two, a bit of gentle life coaching for the reader, and a touch of romance between Chance and Madison.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Woman Who Attracted Money and to Steve Chandler for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Chandler’s suspense novel features ex-cop Robert Chance and his investigator friend and romantic interest, Madison Kerr. This book is the first in a 12-book series.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mystery Book Review: The Midnight Curse by L. M. Falcone

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Midnight Curse by L. M. Falcone. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Midnight Curse by L. M. Falcone

by
Non-series

Kids Can Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-55453-358-9 (1554533589)
ISBN-13: 978-1-55453-358-9 (9781554533589)
Publication Date: March 2010
List Price: $16.95

Review: L. M. Falcone's third comic supernatural thriller written for middle-school level readers has a brother and sister trying to avoid The Midnight Curse.

11-year-old fraternal twins Lacey and Charlie are off to England after their mother receives a letter stating that they've been included in the will of the recently deceased Jonathan Edward Darcy, a great-great-uncle on their father's side. But strange things begin to occur after they arrive at Blaxton Manor, their uncle's home, including a whispered voice from inside a bottle that ominously tells Charlie that "the midnight curse has been passed on to you." The twins soon meet up with Daniel, a ghost about their own age living in the house, who tells them the story of how generations of Darcy men have been cursed ... and since Charlie is the last remaining male in the family, the curse is now on him. Lacey is determined to learn more about the curse -- and how it can be lifted -- so she can save her brother from a lifetime of fear.

The Midnight Curse can probably best be described as a madcap adventure, the literary equivalent of being trapped in an amusement park funhouse. The overall story arc makes sense, but the pathway taken is circuitous, and often seems arbitrary. Written at an age-appropriate level, middle school readers might enjoy being taken along for the ride, but a critical look at the narrative reveals significant plot conveniences, if not outright holes, including what seems to be a complete disregard for the passage (or lack thereof) of time, ironic given how important time is the story.

The two principal characters, Lacey and Charlie, also present something of a problem. The book is narrated from the point of view of Lacey, who, not unexpectedly, spins things her way. She introduces herself and her brother as "not at all alike", she being "cool, calm and sophisticated" and Charlie as "a pain in the butt". That's fine, as far as it goes, and her perspective is generally amusing. But Charlie comes across as wildly immature in the story, acting much younger than his age, screaming "I'm gonna die" with annoying regularity. There's something incongruous about their portrayal here that simply doesn't serve the story well.

Still, it's likely that most younger readers will overlook these issues and be thrilled to accompany Lacey and Charlie on their adventure to discover the secret behind The Midnight Curse.

Special thanks to Raab Associates for providing an ARC of The Midnight Curse for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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If you are interested in purchasing The Midnight Curse from Amazon.com, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): A deep, raspy voice whispered, “The midnight curse has been passed on to you!”

Thus begins a frightfully wacky adventure that will have young readers turning every page in spine-tingling anticipation. Lacey and her twin brother, Charlie, are visiting England to find out if they inherited anything from their reclusive uncle Jonathan, but before long, Charlie realizes he might not have inherited anything but the family curse. It’s a bad one — he’ll shrivel up and die unless someone ventures to the attic to face a malevolent spirit.

Curse removal is a complicated game involving a gothic cast of shifty characters. The twins sure have stirred things up, and the clock is ticking on Charlie’s curse. Can they finish what they started?

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Mystery Book Review: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen

by
Non-series

Random House (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-4000-6753-7 (1400067537)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4000-6753-4 (9781400067534)
Publication Date: January 2010
List Price: $26.00

Review: Thomas Mullen's second novel, The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, follows the exploits -- and the deaths -- of two young men who lead a well-publicized life of crime in Indiana during the Great Depression.

Jason and Whitman "Whit" Fireson, known far and wide as the Firefly brothers, are successful bank robbers, their daring crimes documented -- and glamorized -- by the press. That is until they are shot dead while hiding out following their largest take to date. Much to their surprise, they awaken (come to life?) in the morgue, the blood drying around their multiple, presumably fatal, bullet wounds. They flee, unsure what had happened but sure that their mother, Jason's girlfriend and Whit's wife, need to know they're alive. But staying dead may be more difficult than robbing banks for the brothers, as a second and third death await them.

It's tempting to try to label The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers as something other than a historical novel. It's certainly historical, no argument there, with sweeping and illustrative narrative describing the 1930s environment in which the Firefly brothers live (and die). Yet, from the way it is written (but not structured), there's a distinct impression that the author may also want the book to be considered more than just a literary exercise, to be more of, for lack of a better term, a thriller. Or, given its subject matter, an allegorical thriller. But it's paced far too slowly for a thriller and, somewhat paradoxically given how violent some of the scenes are, it's too light, almost playful, to generate any sustained suspense, even when it comes to the basic question of how and why the brothers are reborn, as it were. (To be fair, the publisher never characterizes the book as a thriller in any way, but as an "imaginative and spirited saga".)

There is the (initially clever) surreal immortality aspect of the principal characters and the parallels drawn between the time period of the story and that of today, but by the third death, the concept becomes derivative, pedestrian even. The book is ably written, to be sure, and the brothers are charming and charismatic characters, but in the end, the plot lacks focus and closure. Despite its interesting and provocative title, readers expecting a mystery, suspense or crime novel may well be disappointed.

Special thanks to Random House for providing a copy of The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Jason and Whit Fireson are bank robbers known as the Firefly Brothers by the press, the authorities, and an adoring public that worships their acts as heroic counterpunches thrown at a broken system.

Now it appears they have at last met their end in a hail of bullets. Jason and Whit’s lovers—Darcy, a wealthy socialite, and Veronica, a hardened survivor—struggle between grief and an unyielding belief that the Firesons have survived. While they and the Firesons’ stunned mother and straight-arrow third son wade through conflicting police reports and press accounts, wild rumors spread that the bandits are still at large. Through it all, the Firefly Brothers remain as charismatic, unflappable, and as mythical as the American Dream itself, racing to find the women they love and make sense of a world in which all has come unmoored.

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Finalists Announced for the 2009 ForeWord Book of the Year Award

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

The finalists for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year Awards have been announced. The awards were established to bring increased attention from librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and their authors. 60 categories are represented, including one for mystery. The finalists are:

Death at Solstice by Lucha Corpi
Deer Season by Aaron Stander
Dixie Noir by Kirk Curnutt
Every Boat Turns South by J. P. White
Hard Stop by Chris Knopf Review of Hard Stop by Chris Knopf
In Their Blood by Sharon Potts
Jump by Tim Maleeny Review of Jump by Tim Maleeny
Justice for All by Radclyffe
Quiet Teacher by Arthur Rosenfeld
Rupture by A. Scott Pearson
The Big Wake-Up by Mark Coggins
The Khan Dilemma by Ron Goodreau
The Pier by Bill Noel
Tower by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman
Why Did You Die in the Park? by Patricia K. Batta
Wrath by Robert Santora
Wyatt's Revenge by H. Terrell Griffin Review of Wyatt's Revenge by H. Terrell Griffin

A complete list of all finalists is available here. The winners (gold, silver, bronze in each category) will be announced at BookExpo America on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, in New York City.

Mysterious Reviews indicates a review by Mysterious Reviews.

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Michael Connelly Sues Paramount for Inflated Costs associated with the Film Rights to the First Two Harry Bosch Novels

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
More information about the book

Sometimes film adaptations of mystery novels don't go quite as smoothly as all parties might like. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Michael Connelly is suing Paramount over excessive costs associated with the author's buy-back of the exclusive rights given to the studio for the first two books in his Harry Bosch series, The Black Echo and The Black Ice, originally published by Little, Brown (respectively) in 1992 and 1993.

According to the article, Paramount exclusively optioned the film rights in 1995 for a 15 year period, after which Connelly had the right to reacquire them for all out-of-pocket development costs if no films were made. None were, so when Connelly tried to do so this year, there was no documentation to support the amount of costs the studio claims were incurred.

Stay tuned.

About The Black Echo (from the publisher): For maverick LAPD homicide detective Harry Bosch, the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal ... because the murdered man was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who had fought side by side with him in a hellish underground war.

Now Bosch is about to relive the horror of Nam.

From a dangerous maze of blind alleys to a daring criminal heist beneath the city, his survival instincts will once again be tested to their limit. Pitted against enemies inside his own department and forced to make the agonizing choice between justice and vengeance, Bosch goes on the hunt for a killer whose true face will shock him.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mystery Book Review: Spade & Archer by Joe Gores

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Spade & Archer by Joe Gores. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Spade & Archer by Joe Gores

by
Non-series

Knopf (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-307-26464-5 (0307264645)
ISBN-13: 978-0-307-26464-0 (9780307264640)
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $24.00

Review: Joe Gores takes on the risky project of penning a prequel to The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett's mystery introducing Sam Spade, with Spade & Archer, chronicling some of the early cases of the famous private eye.

In 1921 -- some seven years before the events that take place in The Maltese Falcon -- Sam Spade resigns his position as a Seattle-based investigator for the Continental Detective Agency. Moving south to San Francisco, he sets up an independent agency as "Sam Spade, Esq.", which is quickly shortened to just "Sam Spade" after his new receptionist, Effie Perine, says it seems "more elegant". He's open to about any case, but no domestic matters. His buddy Sid Wise, a lawyer, is a source for new clients, and Spade hits his stride when a missing persons case is referred to him. Posing as a shipyard inspector, he's drawn into a separate case involving a fortune in stolen gold. The two cases are solved nearly simultaneously, setting him up for bigger and better (those are relative terms) things.

Spade & Archer reads a lot like a continuous series of short stories, with recurring characters and interlocking storylines. Gores seems to have captured the essence of Sam Spade exceptionally well; the rapid, clipped dialog pitch perfect. Discussing an early case with Effie, he says,

"[The police and the detectives] are thinking big and complicated. I'm thinking small and simple." He touched a finger to the tip of her nose. "Simple is always best, sweetheart."

The overall tone to the book isn't quite as dark and noir-ish as one might expect, the chapter titles deftly adding a light, entertaining touch, but it is certainly written in the style of Hammett and quite enjoyable. Fans of The Maltese Falcon and its author can rest assured that all due respect was paid to the original, and will not be disappointed with Spade & Archer.

Special thanks to Random House for providing a trade paperback edition (Vintage Crime, March 2010, 978-0-307-27706-0) of Spade & Archer for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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

Synopsis (from the publisher): It’s 1921—seven years before Sam Spade will solve the famous case of the Maltese Falcon. He’s just set up his own agency in San Francisco and he gets off to a quick start, working cases (he doesn’t do domestic) and hiring a bright young secretary named Effie Perrine. When he’s hired by a prominent San Francisco banker to find his missing son, Spade gets the break he’s been looking for. He spends the next few years dealing with booze runners, waterfront thugs, banking swindlers, gold smugglers, and bumbling cops. He brings in Miles Archer as a partner to help bolster the agency, though it was Archer who stole his girl while he was fighting in World War I. All along, Spade will tangle with an enigmatic villain who holds a long-standing grudge against Spade. And, of course, he’ll fall in love—though it won’t turn out for the best. It never does with dames.

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Cory Doctorow's Young Adult Thriller Little Brother Optioned for Film

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
More information about the book

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that AngryFilms producer Don Murphy (Transformers, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) has optioned the young adult political thriller Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (the title a play on Big Brother by George Orwell). The production company is currently seeking a director and screenwriter.

About Little Brother (from the publisher): Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works – and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

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Games of Mystery: The Lost Cases of 221B Baker St., New at Big Fish Games

Games of Mystery

, your source for mystery-themed board, electronic and video games, parties for kids and adults, and murder mystery weekends and mystery getaway vacations, is pleased to announce the availability of a new mystery casual 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.

The Lost Cases of 221B Baker St.
The Lost Cases of 221B Baker St.

Return to 221 Baker St. and play as the famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes to solve 16 mysterious crimes in Victorian England. Dust off your magnifying glass and use your astute observational skills to gather evidence in 60 brilliantly rendered locations around Victorian England including Stonehenge, Marlsbury Castle, London's Music Hall and more!

Unlock vital clues by playing over 50 mind-bending puzzles and mini-games in each case, including anagrams, cryptograms, and more. Featuring over 40 levels of hidden object and find the difference gameplay. Interact with more than 100 lively characters including Watson, Mycroft, and Inspector Lestrade. Each clue leads you closer to catching the culprit in some of Holmes' toughest cases!

Also available: The Lost Cases of 221B Baker St. Game Walkthrough.

See also the previous game the series, The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes.

The Lost Cases of 221B Baker St. may be downloaded and purchased for $6.99 with a Big Fish Game Club membership. A demonstration version (237.66 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 our new game reviews by Ms. Terri: , , , , and .

Big Fish Games: Bestsellers

Big Fish Games: New releases

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

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Mystery Book Review: I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Mysterious Reviews

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of I, Alex Cross by James Patterson. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

by
An Alex Cross Mystery

Little, Brown (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-316-01878-3 (0316018783)
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-01878-4 (9780316018784)
Publication Date: November 2009
List Price: $27.99

Review: Murder hits too close to home for famed detective Alex Cross as he returns in the 16th book in James Patterson’s Alex Cross series, I, Alex Cross.

Just as Alex is about to delve into a new and exciting time in his life, it seems as if everything instead is crashing down around him. First, Nana, one of the most beloved characters in the Alex Cross books, is fighting for her life as her frail heart battles against her overwhelming spirit. And, in between hospital visits, Alex must use his training as a psychologist, a detective and FBI agent to try and make sense of yet another killing spree in D.C. But this isn’t just another brutal murder, this time it involves one of his own – his estranged niece. Through investigating her death, he must come face to face with disturbing news about his niece and the illicit life she chose that led to her untimely murder. What’s more alarming is the powerful political ring that appears to be interwoven amidst murder, sex and betrayal. As the facts become clearer, Alex must tread carefully as he investigates the most powerful people in America.

Quantity or quality? This is the question that comes to mind while reading yet another James Patterson novel. James Patterson has definite talent for writing and his storylines are creative and timely – this cannot be denied. Having read nearly every James Patterson novel, and certainly every Alex Cross novel, it can be concluded though that as time goes on, James Patterson seems to be emphasizing quantity over quality. Having published a total of nine novels in 2009 alone, James Patterson is certainly in the forefront of suspense writers today. However, as a result, is the quality being sacrificed? Most definitely. James Patterson will always be a favorite author, and the Alex Cross series will always be a good solid read, however, the last few novels pale in comparison to the earlier titles such as Along Came a Spider. Certainly the two colliding stories in I, Alex Cross are interesting. Readers are fully committed to Nana, and her death would be felt by millions. Plus Alex’s countless love interests throughout the series have the reader celebrating now that he appears to have found happiness. But the logistics of solving a multiple murder and being at the hospital every available moment treads on the unrealistic. The reader wants to believe, “Well it’s Alex Cross – of course he can manage to be everywhere he needs to be, even if it rips him apart.” But, sometimes it just doesn’t seem believable. Nonetheless, I, Alex Cross is one of those books that keeps readers up at night to finish it in a hurry. The reader is anxiously awaiting the news about Nana’s health, and although the identity of Zeus (the sadistic killer) is evident relatively early on in the book, the reader is left excited to find out how he can possibly bring down a person of such power and influence. So, aside from the fact that I, Alex Cross does not meet the standards of James Patterson’s earlier novels in the series, it is still quite an enjoyable one-day read.

Special thanks to Margo Nauert for contributing her review of I, Alex Cross and to for providing of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Margo Nauert — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

Buy from Amazon.com

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

Synopsis (from the publisher): Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not this killer's only victim.

The hunt for her murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of society where only one thing is certain -- they will do anything to keep their secrets safe.

As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to the unimaginable -- a revelation that could rock the entire world.

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Mysteries on TV: The Prisoner Mini-series, New This Week on DVD

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 a mini-series being released on DVD this week.

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Information on The Prisoner: The Complete Miniseries

Last November, AMC presented , a 6-part miniseries, a reinterpretation of the British 1960s cult hit that starred Patrick McGoohan as a man confined within a mysterious village.

In this new version, Jim Caviezel stars as Six (McGoohan's character), who finds himself inexplicably trapped in The Village with no memory of how he arrived. As he explores his environment, he discovers that his fellow inhabitants are identified by number instead of name, have no memory of any prior existence, and are under constant surveillance. Not knowing whom to trust, Six is driven by the need to discover the truth behind The Village, the reason for his being there, and most importantly -- how he can escape.

Ian McKellen stars as Two, the enigmatic man who seems to run The Village.

The The Prisoner: The Complete Miniseries DVD set of 3 discs contain the 6 episodes (each running about 50 minutes) that aired on AMC over three consecutive nights, from November 15th through 17th, 2009.

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

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