Saturday, June 03, 2006

Press Release: Sleuth Heats Up This Summer With DirecTV Launch

Crime, Mystery Channel Now Available to More than 15 Million DirecTV Customers.

Englewood Cliffs, N.J. - June 1, 2006 - Sleuth, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment's crime, mystery and suspense network debuts today on DirecTV and will be available to its more than 15 million customers. The announcement was made today by David Zaslav, President, NBC Universal Cable and Domestic TV and New Media Distribution and Jeff Gaspin, President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, Digital Content & Cross-Network Strategy.

"We couldn't be more excited about our carriage deal for Sleuth with DirecTV and we value them as a partner in launching our new services and products that help increase subscribers and drive their business," commented Zaslav. "Sleuth has generated tremendous momentum since its launch earlier this year and continues to gain interest from distributors and fans of the popular crime/mystery genre."

"The success of Sleuth proves the continued popularity and strength of the mystery/crime genre," said Gaspin. "We're pleased that DirecTV will be giving more viewers the chance to catch up on their favorite shows."

"You don't have to be a clever detective to figure out that this network will generate a huge following among our customers," said Dan Fawcett, Executive Vice President, Programming, DirecTV, Inc. "We're delighted to launch Sleuth and kick off another great summer season of programming from NBC."

The network will be available in the DirecTV Total Choice programming package on viewer channel 308.

Read the entire press release, as published by The Futon Critic, here.

Visit the Sleuth home page on the NBC Universal Cable Network website for more information and to view a schedule of upcoming shows.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Press Release: Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine Winners for Best Books and Authors of 2005

The envelope, please! Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine unveils the winners in romance, erotica, women's fiction, mystery, fantasy and more for the best of 2005.

New York, NY (PRWEB) June 1, 2006 -- Another phenomenal year in publishing has come and gone and the industry's leading book magazine, Romantic Times BOOKreviews, has selected the winners for best books and authors for 2005. The team of over 40 reviewers covered more books last year than ever before in its 25-year history. The fan-favorite magazine launched its first issue in 1981, under the name Romantic Times, specializing in the then burgeoning romance novel industry. The name has recently been changed to Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine to reflect the many genres of women's fiction it covers, including romance, erotica, mystery, science fiction/fantasy, erotica, inspirationals, chick lit, romantic suspense and bestseller fiction.

Winners were announced at RT's 23nd Annual Booklovers Convention in Daytona Beach, Fla., May 16-22, 2006. The Romantic Times Booklovers Convention is a much anticipated annual event that brings together readers, aspiring writers, published authors, booksellers, editors, agents distributors, wholesalers and the chain store buyers under one roof to celebrate and support the book industry.

Read the entire press release here.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has provided a summary of the Reviewers' Choice Awards in the mystery categories on its website.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (06/02/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending June 02, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

Two different books top the charts at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com:

The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildThe Book of the Dead is the third (and final) mystery in a series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child featuring FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast. The New York Museum of Natural History receives their pilfered gem collection back...ground down to dust. Diogenes, the psychotic killer who stole them in Dance of Death, is throwing down the gauntlet to both the city and to his brother, FBI Agent Pendergast, who is currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison. To quell the PR nightmare of the gem fiasco, the museum decides to reopen the Tomb of Senef. But when the tomb is unsealed in preparation for its gala reopening, the killings--and whispers of an ancient curse--begin again. And the catastrophic opening itself sets the stage for the final battle between the two brothers: an epic clash from which only one will emerge alive. Publishers Weekly calls The Book of the Dead "... another gripping, action-packed page-turner ...". Kirkus Reviews adds that it is "Fast, punchy and relentlessly action-packed."

Cold Moon by Jeffrey DeaverCold Moon is the seventh mystery featuring Lincoln Rhyme by Jeffrey Deaver. On a freezing December night, with a full moon hovering in the black sky over New York City, two people are brutally murdered -- the death scenes marked by eerie, matching calling cards: moon-faced clocks inves-tigators fear ticked away the victims' last moments on earth. Renowned criminologist Lincoln Rhyme immediately identifies the clock distributor and has the chilling realization that the killer -- who has dubbed himself the Watchmaker -- has more murders planned in the hours to come. Rhyme, a quadriplegic long confined to his wheelchair, immediately taps his trusted partner and longtime love, Amelia Sachs, to walk the grid and be his eyes and ears on the street. But Sachs has other commitments now, and as she struggles to balance her pursuit of the infuriatingly elusive Watchmaker with her own case, she unearths shocking revelations about the police force that threaten to undermine her career, her sense of self and her relationship with Rhyme. Publishers Weekly states, "Deaver fans won't be surprised that the investigations overlap, or that the several apparent climaxes are building to something more, but even they will be hard-pressed to peel back all the layers of the cunning plot at work beneath the surface."

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, June 01, 2006

The Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback Mysteries for June 2006

Mystery Bookshelf: New Paperback MysteriesThe Mystery Bookshelf has posted a list of new paperback mysteries expected to be available in June 2006.

Recent bestsellers that are soon to be available in paperback include Memory in Death by J. D. Robb, Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich, 4th of July by James Patterson, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly, and more!

Titles are maintained on The Mystery Bookshelf for 6 months, and are available for browsing by author, series character, or date of publication. You may also use our search feature to search for current and archived titles.

Thank you for visiting The Mystery Bookshelf!

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Mystery Book Giveaway for June 2006

Mystery Book GiveawayThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted a new mystery book giveaway for June 2006.

This month's prize: a signed copy of Tampa Burn by Randy Wayne White.

Enter daily at the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. And while you're there, please visit the many features that we have to offer!

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Mystery Book Review: Final Truth by Mariah Stewart

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review Final Truth by Mariah Stewart on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

Final Truth by Mariah StewartSynopsis (from the publisher): All that stands between Lester Ray Barnes and the state of Florida’s death chamber is a judge’s signature. He is sentenced to die for the rape and murder of a young woman, his conviction hinging on two pieces of evidence: DNA testing and an eyewitness who placed him at the scene. But when the story breaks that the DNA testimony at trial had been fabricated and that the eyewitness was coerced by a cop, all hell breaks loose. In the absence of credible evidence to sustain the conviction, the court is forced to set Lester Ray free. It’s the sort of circus the media adore–until it turns into the kind of Grimm’s fairy tale the media love even more.

Intrigued by the story of a young man railroaded by justice, true-crime writer Regan Landry is drawn into Lester Ray’s camp like a moth to a flame. For Regan, writing is a way to stay connected to her late literary-legend father, and her knack for detective work makes her a natural when it comes to uncovering new leads in even the murkiest mysteries.

Eager for the spotlight, Lester Ray willingly agrees to work with Regan on a tell-all about his experience as an innocent man on death row. But less than a week after leaving prison, he vanishes from the Sunshine State. Soon after, darkness descends on the outer banks of North Carolina as a string of women are raped and murdered in a frenzied spree. Fearing the worst, Regan, along with Special Agent Mitch Peyton and the FBI, sweeps in to confront the unspeakable: the horrifying possibility that they have helped to free a cunning monster with an insatiable appetite for death–and a ruthless determination never to be caged again.

Review: Final Truth is the 4th, final, and possibly best, book of Mariah Stewart's "Truth" series of suspense thrillers.

The premise of this book is all the more chilling because it is so plausible. Stewart has crafted a remarkable traditional whodunit-style mystery together with a topical thought-provoking study on capital punishment. Regardless of which side you may take on the subject (and Stewart is careful not to take sides), Final Truth is not likely to change your mind but it will probably make an interesting topic of conversation among good friends — ones that can agree to disagree with you.

Though Final Truth is part of a series, it stands alone on its own merits. Some characters have previously appeared in earlier books, but it is not necessary to have read these books to fully appreciate the complexity that Stewart has imparted to them. Stewart should consider bringing one or more of them back in another series, they are that interesting.

Finally, the subplot involving the mystery of Eddie Kroll neatly ties together this series that began with Cold Truth.

Final Truth should be on your summer reading list, and is highly recommended.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing the ARC of Final Truth for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit Mysterious Reviews for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mystery Trivia for June 2006

Mystery BestsellersThe Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has posted new mystery trivia questions for June 2006.

According to his website, this Wyoming native and author of the Joe Pickett mysteries has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, and a small town newspaper reporter and editor. Who is he?

He won the Anthony and Macavity awards for which title in his mystery series?

Visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books to see the answers to these questions as well as previous mystery book trivia questions from prior months.

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books provides readers and collectors of mysteries with the best and most current information about their favorite mystery authors, books, and series.

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Profile: Louis Bayard Examines Poe's Character in West Point Mystery

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis BayardLouis Bayard, who recently published his second mystery, The Pale Blue Eye, was profiled this week by Regis Behe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bayard's previous book, Mr. Timothy, featured an adult Tiny Tim from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Pale Blue Eye features a young Edgar Allan Poe.

Behe writes that while other 19th century writers -- notably Mark Twain and Herman Melville -- loom larger in the contemporary literary consciousness, Poe's influence is ever-present. For The Pale Blue Eye, however, Poe's presence is initially as a secondary character, the central action of the novel involving Gus Landor, a retired New York City constable.

"[Poe] has so many layers and so many complexities," Bayard says, "and that's what makes him such a fascinating person to make a character out of. Not all writers necessarily would make good characters, but Poe has so many dark patches and grandiosities and excesses."

Behe continues that Bayard tried to mimic some of Poe's writing in the dialogue -- what he calls Poe's "garrulous, Latinate quality" -- juxtaposed against Landor's staid Anglo-Saxon voice. But the third central character in the novel is silent throughout. West Point provides a backdrop that, like Poe, is familiar to the public but is basically unknown to those who have not attended the academy.

Behe also includes a synopsis of the book: A retired constable investigates a murder of a West Point cadet, and a young Edgar Allan Poe -- who actually attended the academy -- assists in the investigation. Bayard deftly combines elements of Poe's style with his own story; especially jolting is an ending that shocks but, nevertheless, seems fitting.

Read Behe's entire profile here.

Reviews of The Pale Blue Eye have been stellar. Publishers Weekly states, "This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe." Kirkus Reviews adds, "Bayard's second offering is another literary tour de force ..."

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News: A Summer 2006 Reading List for Golfers

Kiel Christianson of TravelGolf.com has published a summer reading list for golfers, and two mysteries are among his recommendations.

Final Fore by Roberta IsleibFinal Fore is the fifth mystery in the Cassie Burdette series by Roberta Isleib. Burdette is an LPGA tour regular who spends as much time playing reluctant detective as she does playing golf. In this thriller, murder stalks the 2004 U.S. Women's Open. This mystery is a personal favorite of Christianson's not only because it's a gripping page-turner written by a clinical psychologist who knows her psychopaths, but also because he makes a cameo appearance on page 168.

From the publisher: At the bucolic Mount Holyoke College campus, Cassie Burdette is steeling her nerves for the U.S. Women’s Open, the most prestigious—and toughest—women’s golf event in the world. She’s already rattled by the absence of Laura, her favorite caddie, and by a controversial invitation to a men’s pro tournament. But then a rival is poisoned and Cassie begins receiving strange e-mails and messages. It seems that in high-stakes golf, competition can truly be murder.

Second on their list is Open Season by Jim MoriartyOpen Season by Jim Moriarty. This murder mystery is set on the PGA Tour. The story is driven less by the string of sometimes gruesome murders than by the personal dramas of photographer Nick Oliver, his Tour-press-officer ex-wife Julie, and associated PGA types. Sometimes you might forget there's a vicious serial killer lurking, but the realistic insights into the backstage machinations of the Tour are enough to keep any serious golf fan turning the pages.

Adds the publisher: From murder in Augusta, to death in peaceful Hilton Head, to a frenzied climax at the cradle of American golf, Pinehurst, Open Season is a riveting page-turner that will keep you up all night as you follow the trail of deceit and meet a lunatic eye-to-eye, all while golf's finest players pursue its greatest titles.

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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Monday, May 29, 2006

Weekly Mystery Godoku Puzzle for 05/29/2006

Mystery GodokuMystery Godoku Puzzle for May 29, 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 mystery by Jean Hager was the third in the Mitch Bushyhead series. 9 letters: A D G H L N O S 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, May 27, 2006

News: Publisher HarperCollins Inks Fox TV Deal

The Hollywood Reporter writes that HarperCollins Publishers has signed a deal with Fox Television Studios to develop and produce original content based on the publisher's new and backlist mystery and romance titles.

The first deal involves the development of a television series based on Lisa Scottoline's series of legal thrillers about female partners in the prestigious Rosato law firm. The first mystery in this series, Legal Tender, was published by HarperCollins in 1997.

News Corporation owns both HarperCollins and the Fox Television Studios.

Read the complete Hollywood Reporter article, as published on Reuters, here.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Profile: Donna Leon, An American in Venice

Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna LeonDonna Leon's mysteries provide a key to a city of heartbreaking beauty, writes Bob Thompson of the Washington Post. Leon has written 15 mysteries featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti, all set in Venice, where she makes her home. Her books are bestsellers in Europe, though she is less well known in the US. Her most recent mystery, Through a Glass, Darkly, was published last month.

Donna Leon's Venice is so popular in Europe, where her books are bestsellers, that specially organized tours bring fans from Austria, Germany and Switzerland to follow Commissario Brunetti's footsteps through the calles (lanes) and campos (public squares) of her adopted home, adds Thompson.

Opera, even more than writing, is Leon's passion; the baroque orchestra Il Complesso Barocco owes its existence in large part to her involvement and support. What's more, she introduced her detective series with Death at La Fenice, in which Brunetti investigates the demise of a German conductor.

Read the rest of Bob Thompson's fascinating profile, as much of Venice as it is of Donna Leon, here.

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Mystery Hardcover Bestsellers (05/26/2006)

Mystery BestsellersA list of the top ten mystery hardcover bestsellers for the week ending May 26, 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website.

New this week ...

The Hard Way by Lee ChildAt Risk, Patricia Cornwell's latest forensic thriller, debuts at the top of the mystery bestseller lists at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. A Massachusetts state investigator is called home from Knoxville, Tennessee, by his boss, an attractive but hard-charging district attorney, who is planning to run for governor, and as a showcase she's planning to use a new crime initiative called At Risk. Its motto: "Any crime, any time." In particular, she's been looking for a way to employ cutting-edge DNA technology, and she thinks she's found the perfect subject in an unsolved twenty-year-old murder-in Tennessee. If her office solves the case, it ought to make them all look pretty good, right? When a shocking piece of violence intervenes, an act that shakes up not only both their lives but the lives of everyone around them, the implications are bad, very bad indeed.

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, May 25, 2006

Mystery Book Review: The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has published its review of The Deal Master by Gerard F. Bianco on its website. For our blog readers, it is reprinted here in its entirety.

The Deal Master by Gerald F. BiancoSynopsis (from the publisher): In New York City, women with red hair are being brutally murdered. Detective William Gillette and his team are on the case, but they remain clueless until a curious stranger proposes a series of tempting deals—an exchange of sorts—that will help solve the crimes.

Gillette accepts the offer and plunges into the game. One deal after the next, he draws closer to the killer. But each deal comes with a price. Soon the detective finds himself in a dark hole—one he can’t get out of without striking the ultimate deal. Is the Deal Master Gillette’s savior—or his worst nightmare?

Review: Gerard F. Bianco's debut mystery, The Deal Master, has a compelling premise with a plot that is generally well constructed but is fundamentally flawed by dialog and prose that could have used some professional editing.

Jonathan Hamlin is a deal maker. Rather, a deal master. He is the custodian of people's hopes and dreams, what they lust for, what they desire, and what they can't live without. When a serial killer strikes New York City, Detective William Gillette, himself the son of a famous NYPD detective, is convinced that Hamlin is involved in some way. But when months go by without an arrest, Gillette is desperate to prevent another murder and strikes a deal with Hamlin to deliver the killer to him.

To Bianco's credit, all events that take place in the book, while improbable, are plausible. And the ending is especially intriguing, with the reader asking the question, "Is it possible that ..." (To add anything more would give away too much.)

The problem with The Deal Master is with the writing. This could have been a stylish, atmospheric mystery, but instead was rather pedestrian. The dialog was artificial and the prose often insipid. The use of chapter titles in mysteries is tricky: they help define the plot in juvenile books and are charming in cozies, but in serious novels they often seem out of place. In The Deal Master, they are almost comical and detract from the tone the author was trying to set.

A decidedly mixed review for The Deal Master. On the one hand, such a promising outline for a psychological thriller; on the other, a mystery that could have been and should have been better written.

Special thanks to Author Marketing Experts for providing a copy of The Deal Master for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

Visit Mysterious Reviews for other reviews of current and upcoming mystery books.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

New Mystery Hardcover Titles for June 2006

New MysteriesA preview of new hardcover mysteries for June 2006 has been posted on the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books website. A few of the twenty new mystery titles listed in this first update ...

Shadow Man by Cody McfadyenCody Mcfadyen's debut mystery, Shadow Man, introduces Special Agent Smoky Barrett. In all her years at the Bureau, Smoky has never encountered anyone like him-a new and fascinating kind of monster, a twisted genius who defies profilers' attempts to understand him. And he's issued Smoky a direct challenge, coaxing her back from the brink with the only thing that could convince her to live. Publishers Weekly states, "This disturbing serial killer drama set in California marks a promising debut for McFadyen, who combines many conventions of the genre but with far more exquisite, intricate results than the norm."

The Highly Effective Detective by Rick YanceyInheriting a substantial fortune from his late mother, Teddy Ruzak quits his job as a night watchman to pursue his long-time dream of becoming a private eye in The Highly Effective Detective, the start of a new mystery series by Rick Yancey. Enlisting the help of his new secretary Felicia, a former waitress, to solve his first case, the hit-and-run of a family of geese, the case is soon complicated by an all-too-human murder. Publishers Weekly declares, "By turns touching, suspenseful and hilarious, this is sure to be one of the most well regarded-and enjoyed-mystery debuts of the year."

Twelve Sharp by Janey EvanovichAlready a bestseller even before it's published, America's favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, is back in Twelve Sharp and sure to win more fans than ever before. Trenton, New Jersey's premier troublemaker is once again struggling with her tangled love life, her chaotic family, and her gift for destroying every car she drives. Not to mention her attempts to bring in the sometimes scary bail jumpers of Trenton, and the sudden appearance of a mysterious female stalker—who turns out to have a close connection to Ranger.

Blue Screen by Robert B. ParkerSunny Randall meets Jesse Stone in Robert B. Parker's Blue Screen. Buddy Bollen is a C-list movie mogul who made his fortune producing films of questionable artistic merit. When Buddy hires Sunny Randall to protect his rising star and girlfriend, Erin Flint, Sunny knows from the start that the prickly, spoiled beauty won't make her job easy. And when Erin's sister, Misty, is found dead in the lavish home they share with sugar daddy Bollen, there doesn't seem to be a single lead worth pursuing. But then Sunny meets Jesse Stone, chief of police in Paradise, Massachusetts, under whose jurisdiction the case falls. It immediately becomes clear that Jesse and Sunny have much in common. While searching for the killer, they learn an awful lot about each other-and themselves.

And many more including the 13th Gideon Oliver mystery (Unnatural Selection) by Aaron Elkins, the 2nd Faye Quick mystery (Too Darn Hot) by Sandra Scoppettone, the 3rd Cottage Tale Mystery in the Beatrix Potter series (Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood) by Susan Wittig Albert, and others!

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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