Sunday, April 02, 2006

Press Release: Death Row Defender, the Legal Thriller by Ray Dix, Wins Third Literary Award and is Named Best Mystery Published in 2005

St. Petersburg, FL (PRWEB) March 28, 2006 -- Ray Dix’s legal thriller/mystery, Death Row Defender, has won the EPPIE Award for best mystery of 2005 published as an e-book. The EPPIE awards, international in scope, are presented by EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, and honor the best books of the year which are published electronically as "e-books." Author Dix received the award Saturday, March 18, 2006 in San Antonio, TX, during EPICon 2006. For more on EPIC, EPPIEs, and EPICon, visit:

The paperback version of Death Row Defender was the second highest selling book for its publisher, Hard Shell Word Factory, for the year 2005. This was no small feat as the novel was not released until October 2005. The results and other best sellers may be found at:

This is the third time Death Row Defender has been recognized with an award for literary excellence. Prior to publication, Attorney Dix’s novel received awards from the Maryland Writers Association as a 2003 Novel Contest award winner, and from Authorlink, as a New Author Contest award winner (in 2000 under the title Clearwater Run).

Reviews for Death Row Defender have been very favorable:

" . . . the depth of Dix's treatment of the criminal appeals process makes this novel more than a murder mystery. Death Row Defender is clearly written by an author who has first-hand experience in defending capital cases, and it showcases Ray Dix's expertise as a writer."

" impressive legal thriller & a must-read for the student of criminal law. . . right up there with the best lawyer/author writers. . .” Narayan Radhakrishnan of

"... a terrific insight into the life, mindset, and complexity of a defense lawyer." "... a quick read... engrossing and hard to put down." PublicDefenderDude Blog.

As a capital crimes defense attorney for the State of Florida, author Ray Dix helped provide the last line of defense for men and women sentenced to die. As an Assistant Capital Collateral Representative in Tallahassee, he reinvestigated murder convictions and assisted in death row appeals. Mr. Dix also worked as a Florida Public Defender, where he tried juvenile, misdemeanor and felony cases, and wrote several hundred appeals.

Dix served in both the Army Security Agency (1966-1970) and the Coast Guard Reserves (1974-1976). He later designed and built boats on the Chesapeake Bay. Dix lives in Florida, where he enjoys beaches, sunsets and sailing. He is currently writing the next Woody Thomas Novel.

In addition to being a member of EPIC, Dix is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and is active in the organization’s Florida Chapter. He is also a member of the Florida Writer’s Association and the Maryland Writer’s Association, where he served as a contest judge in 2005.

The publisher of Death Row Defender, Hard Shell Word Factory, is a royalty paying publisher of works by established and new authors for sale in electronic and trade paperback format. Hard Shell Word Factory publishes book-length quality non-fiction and fiction--Romance (all categories), Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Western, Historical, Mainstream, Young Adult and Children's books. Death Row Defender is available directly through the publisher in both formats on line at:

Death Row Defender, is distributed in print through Ingram. It is available in e-book and trade paperback through on-line booksellers such as, and through brick-and-mortar booksellers such as Barnes and Noble, Borders and independent booksellers everywhere. Booksellers may order it with the following information:

e-book ISBN 0-7599-4259-5
paperback ISBN 0-7599-4260-9

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (03/31/2006)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending March 31, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Topping both the and the Barnes&Nobel lists are two newcomers:

Gone by Jonathan Kellerman, the 20th mystery to feature psychologist Alex Delaware. Booklist states, "... this fast, clever thriller proves again why Kellerman's books reside on best-seller lists."

Tomb of the Golden Bird by Elizabeth Peters, the 18th mystery to feature Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. Publishers Weekly concludes in their review, "Once again Peters delivers an irresistible mix of archeology, action, humor and a mystery that only the redoubtable Amelia can solve."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mystery News: Book Review for Dark Light

Bruce Desilva of the Canadian Press recently published a review of Dark Light, the latest Doc Ford mystery by Randy Wayne White. The author wrote in public libraries after a Category 4 hurricane tore up his Pine Island home off Florida's west coast, so it's not surprising that Dark Light does a lot of brooding about the power of storms.

Desilva writes, "It must be said that White's plots are often farfetched ... Yet sometimes, including this time, White manages to pull it off." He adds, "What makes Dark Light work is evocative writing that combines the sensibility of a traditional noir novel with the unearthly mood of a ghost story: the crash of the waves on a dark beach, bolts of lightening that split the night, a cryptic headstone in a family graveyard, a piano that tinkles a haunting melody, an old mansion lit only by candles, a beautiful woman who seems to grow older or younger with each subtle change of light."

Read his entire review here.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Novel Sets Murder Mystery at Indiana Statehouse

The murder of an Indiana state lawmaker is attracting attention across the country, as reported by the website of WISH-TV (Indianapolis IN). The story, however, is a work of fiction.

The Indiana Statehouse is the setting for a murder mystery now on bookshelves. It’s a novel called Lethal Remedy. The plot of Lethal Remedy revolves around efforts to get a bill passed in the Indiana General Assembly. Those efforts lead to three murders and a surprise ending.

While the story is fiction, the setting is real. Mike Abrams, author of Lethal Remedy, tells of meetings in Statehouse offices and describes scenes that include the marble wall in the House chamber, as well as issues and deadlines that are familiar to Statehouse insiders.

Read more about Abrams and the background for Lethal Remedy here.

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Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 03/27/2006

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for March 27, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is 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!). This week's mystery clue: This author’s latest book, The Big Bamboo, is the 8th in the Serge Storms mystery series. 9 letters: D E I M O R S T Y.

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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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Got Game's "Scratches" Claws its Way to the Top

GameZone reported on its website that Scratches, the mystery PC game developed by Got Game, has found a home not only with core adventure gamers, but with horror and suspense fans as well. In the face of big name, big budget releases, value-priced, independently developed games can still make a mark. Since its release earlier this month, Scratches, a suspense-adventure game for the PC has ranked in the top 10 of’s Top Sellers in Computer and Video Games, as well as in popular game indexes such as

Scratches is an atmospheric mystery adventure game for the PC, brimming with eerie twists and terrifying surprises. Set in and around a solitary Victorian mansion concealing a terrible secret, a long since forgotten story from the past emerges to haunt the present. A careful combination of inventory-based and deductive-style puzzles, integrated with a riveting storyline, non-linear gameplay, intricately detailed graphics, and an entrancing soundtrack, immerse you in a haunting Gothic atmosphere until the final shocking revelation.

Scratches and other mystery games for the PC are available from Games of Mystery, a website providing links to PC, board and card mystery games, as well as mystery-themed parties for adults, teens, and children.

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Broward County (FL) Students Lauded in Mystery Writing Competition

Students from Broward County (FL) public schools got a special treat on a recent evening with writing tips from an expert, as reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Daniel Keyes, who wrote the best-selling, award-winning novel Flowers for Algernon, gave the pointers at the Kids Love a Mystery Florida Eddie Awards 2006.

The second annual awards were presented by the Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter and Broward County Public Schools in the Performing Arts Center of Dillard High in Fort Lauderdale.

More than 200 Broward students competed by writing mystery stories, which were judged by members of the Mystery Writers of America. There were two categories: children (grades K-6) and young adult (grades 7-12).

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books offers its congratulations to all participants and the winners! Read the entire article here which includes a list of the winners.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Author Turns Hurricane Charley Experiences into Novel

The Southwest Florida HeraldTribune recently ran an article on Randy Wayne White, author of the latest Doc Ford mystery, Dark Light. A cache of Nazi artifacts uncovered by a Category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico lies at the heart of the story.

As reported by Susan L. Rife, in White's life, a major unexpected event occurred on Aug. 13, 2004, when Hurricane Charley tore across Pine Island, where White has lived for many years in an old Cracker-style house on a 30-foot-tall shell mound. She adds that White's frustration at the aftermath of [Hurricane] Charley comes through in Dark Light, where Doc Ford's journal lifts a few lines from White's own journal.

White's worst personal loss was four of his five copies of his first book, Sanibel Flats. He had thought they'd be clear of danger wrapped in plastic with other rare books and stored in a steel safe. Alas, they were soaked.

Read her complete article on Randy Wayne White here.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (03/24/2006)

A list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending March 24, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

James Patterson's The 5th Horseman continues to dominate, placing first on all four lists.

New on the list is Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag, who returns with a thriller that begins with a shocking crime scene you'll never forget and follows two relentless detectives on a manhunt that ends in a chilling confrontation with the essence of human evil. Publishers Weekly states, "The breathtaking plot twists are perfectly paced in this compulsive page-turner, which ends on a romantic note."

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often where we provide readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Press Release: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Announces the Release of Acclaimed Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's First Picture Book

Lady in the Water
NEW YORK, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will publish a picture book companion to one of this summer's most anticipated movies, M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water. Little, Brown will release Lady in the Water, written by M. Night Shyamalan and illustrated by CrashMcCreery, on June 21, 2006 to coincide with the release of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Lady in the Water", starring Paul Giamatti ("Cinderella Man") and Bryce Dallas Howard ("The Village"), on July 21, 2006.

Originally written as a bedtime story for Night's children, Lady in the Water is an imaginative reading experience that inspires readers to observe the world around them and consider their purpose on earth. Like Night's filmwork, this story offers mystery with surprising twists, a touch of magic, and a powerful message.

"Some stories just resonate with you as a storyteller and never leave you," said Shyamalan. "This is a story that just kept haunting me."

"M. Night Shyamalan is one of today's most intriguing storytellers and his films often celebrate the power of children," said Megan Tingley, Editor-in-Chief, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. "It is no surprise he has decided to turn his considerable talents to writing a storybook for a young audience. We are delighted to be introducing Night's work to young readers and their parents - who will undoubtedly find Night's tale as enormously compelling, inspiring, and moving as his films."

M. Night Shyamalan's four films "Unbreakable," "Signs," "The Village," and"The Sixth Sense" are amongst the highest grossing original movies of all time. He has received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay and continues to break records in home entertainment here and around the world. "Lady in the Water" is the seventh film he has directed.

Lady in the Water features illustrations by Crash McCreery, one of the top character designers in the film industry. His work has been featured in"Jurassic Park," "Edward Scissorhands," "Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2 & 3," "Lady in the Water," and many other major motion pictures.

For over 160 years, Little, Brown has produced many children's classics including Jerry Spinelli's Newbery Medal winner Maniac Magee and the Newbery-Honor book Mr. Popper's Penguins as well as Marc Brown's best-selling Arthur Adventure series. In addition, Little, Brown has published such favorites as Where's Waldo, Look-Alikes, I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Todd Parr's It's Okay to be Different, Holly Hobbie's Toot & Puddle books as well as the Matt Christopher series, the top selling sports series for kids. In 2005 alone, Little, Brown released 20 titles that hit The New York Times bestseller list, including James Patterson's Maximum Ride, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell and the latest titles in the Gossip Girland Cirque du Freak series, among others.

Source: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Author Finds Mystery in Romance (and Romance in Mystery)

Mary Ann Grossmann, book critic for the St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press, recently ran a profile on Lois Greiman, author of more than 15 historial romance novels and now author of two romantic mysteries.

Grieman's mysteries feature Christina McMullen, a Los Angeles cocktail waitress-turned-psychologist who finds herself doing amateur sleuthing. Greiman introduced Chrissy last June in Unzipped and her second mystery in the series, Unplugged, was published last month.

According to Grossmann, Lois Greiman doesn't consider it a stretch to write contemporary mystery romances after doing books set in the past. "The characters in the McMullen books are pretty much the obstinate, opinionated characters I've always done,'' she says. "I like my characters to be unleashed and go at each other.''

Grieman has two more McMullen books under contract: Unscrewed will come out next February. Her new romance, Tempting the Wolf, set in Regency London and about a werewolf, will be published in August.

Read her complete profile of Lois Greiman here.

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New Mystery Hardcover Titles for April 2006

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has prepared a list of new hardcover mystery books for March 2006. This is the first of three anticipated updates to this list.

Many new authors and old favorites to choose from including ...

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood, the first classic Phryne Fisher mystery, featuring our delectable heroine, cocaine, communism and adventure. Phryne leaves the tedium of English high society for Melbourne, Australia, and never looks back.

Murder in Exile by Vincent H. O'Neil, winner of the 2005 Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Press best first traditional mystery contest.

Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson, the 13th culinary adventure with caterer Goldy Bear creating delicious dishes (recipes included!) while solving murderous crimes.

Bleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert, with herbalist China Bayles in a perplexing story of forbidden desire, deception, and questionable circumstances surrounding a young woman's death. 15th mystery in this series.

Moving Is Murder by Sara Rosett, that introduces Ellie Avery, air force wife, and an expert in moving. Kirkus Reviews says, "A cozy debut that'll help you get organized and provide entertainment in your newfound spare time."

And many, many more!

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books often to keep current on your favorite mystery authors and series.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Online Reviews for Recently Published Mystery Books

Margaret Cannon, Crime Book Reviewer for the Globe and Mail, recently published her reviews of 6 new mystery books.

Kill Me by Stephen White (Dutton): "... a brilliant book about a very scary issue."

The Ethical Assassin by David Liss (Ballantine): "... a great, funny book."

Red Sky Lament by Edward Wright (Orion): "... a cracking good mystery with plenty of action and great characters."

Sea Change by Robert B. Parker (Putnam): "... vintage Parker."

Blue Valor by Illona Haus (Pocket Books): "... a serial-killer novel, but it's better than most and has several twists."

Crooked Lake by Nelson Brunanski (Caronel Publishing): "... an amusing debut by a Saskatchewan author who knows his small-town life."

Read her entire reviews here.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 03/20/2006

Mystery Godoku Puzzle for March 20, 2006A new Mystery Godoku Puzzle has been created by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books and is 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!). This week's mystery clue: The title of this mystery book, published last week, is the 13th in the Doc Ford series by Randy Wayne White. 9 letters: A D G H I K L R T.

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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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon

Through a Glass Darkly by Donna Leon
Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has posted a mystery book review for Through a Glass Darkly, the latest Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon. Published by Atlantic Monthly Press, this hardcover mystery has a scheduled publication date of April 28, 2006.

Synopsis (from the publisher): On a luminous spring day in Venice, Commissario Brunetti and his assistant Vianello play hooky from the Questura in order to help Vianello’s friend Marco Ribetti, arrested during an environmental protest. They secure his release, only to be faced by the fury of the man’s father-in-law, Giovanni De Cal, a cantankerous glass factory owner who has been heard in the bars of Murano making violent threats about Ribetti.

Brunetti’s curiosity is piqued, and he finds himself drawn to Murano to investigate. Is De Cal the type of man to carry out his threats? By all accounts he is constantly angry, bullying suppliers and fuming against environmentalists. Then one morning the body of De Cal’s bookish night watchman is found in front of the blazing furnace. Could the old man have killed him?

Over long lunches, on secret boat rides, in quiet bars, and down crowded narrow streets, as the weather heats up and the flowers come into bloom, Brunetti searches for the killer. The dead man’s annotated copy of Dante’s Inferno, found at the scene of the crime, may contain the clues Brunetti needs to solve the murder as well as uncover who is ruining the waters of Venice’s lagoon. Will he unravel the poetic clues before the night watchman’s death is allowed to be forgotten?

Review: Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries are like finely cut gemstones. The storylines are multi-faceted, each side amplifying another, to produce a brilliance that is rare in detective fiction today. Through a Glass Darkly is the 15th mystery to feature Venice Commissioner of Police Guido Brunetti, and is a fine example of her body of work.

In Through a Glass Darkly, Brunetti must navigate more than just the canals of Venice to solve a series of puzzling mysteries: Was the night watchman's death accidental or murder? Was the dead man really concerned about the environment or simply trying to assuage his guilt over his daughter's illness? Are the Murano glass factory owners rivals looking for a competitive edge, or allies for some greater cause? Within this mystery, Leon also carefully and thoughtfully presents both sides to an environmental situation facing most metropolitan areas: What compromises are required to retain a local industry while safeguarding the health of the community?

The ending of the book also deserves mention. Whereas most authors would have felt compelled to continue writing, Leon wisely ends the book, letting the reader's imagination complete the story.

A new Commissario Brunetti mystery is always something to look forward to, and Through a Glass Darkly doesn't disappoint.

Special thanks to Atlantic Monthly Press for providing the ARC of Through a Glass Darkly for this review.

Read more mystery book reviews at Mysterious Reviews.

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