A Melodie Chang Novel: Lacys Eyes

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Biddle WestBow Press. Sound familiar? A man who, like Herrmann, was born and raised in New York City, had Jewish roots that were meaningless to him and who, like Herrmann, died at age Francis M. Nevins is a professor of law at St. Louis University and the author of six mystery novels, forty-odd short stories and a mountain of nonfiction on the genre, including two Edgar Award-winning books.

Not every detail makes it into an author profile. Take our current issue of Mystery Scene with the profile of Laura Lippman, written by me. Laura and I had a good interview, filled with lots of details about her work, her books , the film that has been made based on Every Secret Thing. Much of that is in the profile. But at the time we talked, and even with the follow up just before we went to press, where and when the film of Every Secret Thing was still up in the air. Screening times for Every Secret Thing are scheduled to be 6 p. One clear summer day in a Baltimore suburb, a baby goes missing from her front porch.

Soon, another child is missing, and two detectives are called in to investigate the mystery in a community where everyone seems to have a secret. That sounds about right. The website Vulture. The Vulture. The cast is uniformly excellent, but Diane Lane, playing the mother of one of the convicted girls, stands out: She turns this efficient, suspenseful little drama into something downright Shakespearean.

Like other authors, Chang will begin a round of book signings and discussions to talk to readers about his books. Bookstores are wonderful places to connect with readers. But many authors also find they can expand their readerships by looking for other venues. Rosemary Harris has talked about her gardening series at herb shops and gardening clubs. Ellen Crosby has discussed her wine series at wine festivals.

Authors know that going where the readers are works. A place to meet like minded people, a place to discuss favorite books and discover new novels, a place to meet your favorite author. So the news that Book'em Mysteries in South Pasadena, California, will close on April 30 is a time to mourn its passing but also to praise its 24 years of being in business. And they certainly have accomplished a lot. Just last month the bookstore was named No. The store opened in October, , a block and a half from its present location in South Pasadena.

In the pre-dawn hours of Aug. Riley and Martin lost everything and had to start over. And they did. The arsonist has never been caught. Any time I am in a city in which there is a mystery bookstore, I make a point of visiting. And I try to always buy something, even it is just a cup of coffee or a canvas bag or a hat. They had met several years earlier through their children—his two were in the high school band, her daughter participated in tall flags. They were both widowed. Until the couple shuts the doors for the final time, they will be heavily discounting the books they have in stock and offering for sale the furniture and fixtures.

Meanwhile, they have been greeting and reminiscing with long-time customers and authors. A place where people can come and talk about books. Mystery Scene wishes Martin and Riley the best of luck, and thanks for the memories. This year Berkley Prime Crime is turning 20 years, and that is cause for celebration. Now other publishing imprints have been around just as long if not longer. But I especially want to praise Berkley Prime Crime for not just publishing cozy mysteries but for allowing this category of the genre to thrive.

When it started in , the imprint released 40 mass market paperbacks. In , Berkley Prime Crime published novels, which were a combination of mass market originals, trade paperbacks, and hardcovers. The imprint has shown readers that there is room in the genre for all kinds of voices, even those on the softer side. The Miss Marples of yesterday have morphed into the wonderful Carolyn Hart with her many series, including the novels about ghost Bailey Ruth Raeburn and bookstore owner Annie Darling. Hart's latest novel is Dead, White, and Blue.

Stephanie Jaye Evans shows the challenges of being a man of faith in a secular world. Berkley Prime Crime had a couple of celebrations last month. But the real celebration of the traditional mystery comes every year at the Malice Domestic conference. Not surprising that many Berkley Prime Crime authors will be there including Earlene Fowler , who is the toastmaster at Malice. This time last year, I was high on a cloud because I had been selected to receive the Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America during the Edgar banquet.

It was a glorious night for The Mysterious Galaxy and myself. I also was so happy for the authors who took home Edgars that night. The Raven remains a career highlight for me. I felt—and said so in my acceptance speech—that receiving the Raven meant my work was respected by the board and by the mystery writers. So enough about me. It is now time to pass the baton, or in the case, the Raven. Figuratively, that is. I have the Raven in a place of honor and you are not getting it back. The store has stayed in business because, like other independent bookstores, its staff knows its clientele.

They can intelligently recommend books that they know their customers will like. And that personal kind of service never goes out of style. The Agnews have no plans for an anniversary party this year. Our fascination with WWI should never end. This so-called Great War was a game changer in so many ways in the way it restructured combat, politics and society. I think our fascination has nothing to do with Downton Abbey , though that has increased some awareness, and everything to do how we view our history. Jack of Spies will be published on May And that is what Downing does in Jack of Spies.

McColl has a knack for languages and he served England during the Boer War. Being a globetrotting car salesman proves to be the perfect cover to gather some light intelligence for Great Britain. Jack is kind of playing at being a spy, supplementing his Royal Navy pay with his sales commissions. But this is not the time to dabble in spy craft. And as the situation intensifies, Jack is pulled into the spy business. In addition to the politics that will result in WWI, Downing also fills Jack of Spies a look at Irish and Indian revolutionary causes that were shaping the political landscape.

Here are some excerpts from that interview:. The events he witnesses and the people he meets will confront him with many uncomfortable choices. And my female protagonist, Caitlin, a radical New York journalist, would have been all too aware of the Paterson strike and its aftermath in Good books all. The winners below are in bold:. The Mystery Writers of America has announced the winners of the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in Williams Dell Magazines.

Knopf BFYR. Pictured right: Grand Master honoree Robert Crais. Mega-bestseller James Patterson cares deeply about the future of literacy in this country. And he has been working for literacy. Details here. The webcast will air on Thursday, April 24, at 1 p. The webcast is free to schools, libraries and individuals. Visit jamespattersonevents. Patterson and his publisher, Hachette Book Group, will be donating about 1, books in conjunction with the webcast.

Each player will discuss how reading helped them reach the very highest heights in their careers. Dwyane Wade and James Patterson are highlighted in an in-depth conversation with six-time Emmy Award winner and Miami Heat courtside reporter Jason Jackson on how reading has changed their lives and made their megawatt careers possible. And, viewers will see interviews about reading with real middle school students from John Dibert Community School of New Orleans. Dwyane and I are shooting for percent literacy in our schools. Photo by Sue Patterson. Engel helped put Canadian crime writing on the map at a time when few mysteries were set in this country.

Among the various categories, the organization annually awards the Unhanged Arthur Award, which recognized and promotes the careers of emerging crime writers. Petrin, Under Cap Ste. Twice is nice. A couple of weeks ago I sat in my favorite chair, picked up a book, and relaxed into a blend of contentment and anticipation. I spend far less time reading these days than I did in the past.

But other books simply slip away; I put them down and find myself disinclined to pick them up again. Part of this is physical. My eyes find reading a little more effortful every couple of years. But the greater portion, I expect, is the natural effect of a lifetime of reading and writing.

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Several times, actually. I read it for the first time within a year or two of its publication. While the book is in no sense a crime novel, it was Carol Brener of Murder Ink who steered me to it. Carol kept a small section of non-mysteries she felt would appeal to mystery readers, and she had perfect pitch in this area.

I recall that W. So it was familiar, and yet the details had faded with time, and there were many incidents that I did not recall until I came upon them. There are, it seems to me, certain satisfactions that are specific to rereading. One comfort, obviously, is that one knows what one is getting. Another satisfaction derives, paradoxically, from the reduction of suspense. It is an appreciation of suspense, a delight in the urgent need to know what happens next, that spurs much of our reading, but at the same time that headlong rush can hurry us like blindered horses past all the scenery along the way.

One finds oneself skimming, or at the least racing through scenes too swiftly to savor them. When I reread, I have time to notice the roadside flowers, and even take in their bouquet. And a strong resolution remains richly satisfying, even if it was never in doubt this time around. Not every book can stand up to a second reading. During my high school years I thought the world of James T. Agatha Christie would seem an unlikely candidate for rereading, with so much of her strength vested in the brilliance of her plotting and the surprise of her resolutions.

Armed with the knowledge of what was coming, I could seek to observe just how she did what she did. As the years pass, I find another positive aspect of rereading, albeit an unsettling one. Parts were familiar, of course, but great sections were not. Unsettling indeed. It does give one a harrowing glimpse of the future. I can look forward, it would appear, to meeting new people every day—in and out of books.

This "Writers on Reading" essay was originally published in "At the Scene" eNews May as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more special content available first to our enewsletter subscribers, sign up here. After 10 years, Veronica Mars is back in the news and on the big screen with a Kickstarter-funded movie. But back in , noir author Gary Phillips was quite taken with the surprisingly sophisticated charms of this teenage TV sleuth.

Tuesday nights, me and my year-old daughter Chelsea carve out some couch time and groove on this hip post-deconstructionist Nancy Drew and her adventures in small-town snooping. Thomas invoked Mr. Macdonald in his first meeting with the suits. For, alas, the teller of the Lew Archer tales retains a following, but is not burning up the bestseller lists. It seems today Macdonald is best known to the fellow writers who have been inspired by his work and his ability to harness the mercurial factor, a factor Mr.

Thomas and sundry writers employ on Veronica Mars. The outline for a TV program usually includes the log line, that is, the one sentence that describes the show, plus the backstory—who the characters are, the arena, and what might be the initial episodes. No, not the book and film of that name from the James Michner novel, but the cop show that came and went this past fall on NBC. There was some nod to local culture as one of the episodes had to do with ritualistic killings, but as I heard a writer once say, there was nothing more there than what was on the page.

And what was on the page was far too pedestrian.

A Melodie Chang Novel: Lacy's Eyes

Back then to Macdonald, the premise, and the execution of Veronica Mars. The abusive actor father, the rich man who cajoles his son to follow in his footsteps, the mother who fakes her own death but leaves behind a clue for her son—all about the corrosive secrets and lies that eat at the family from within.

The point here is the writer not only conveys the facts, but must command the feel of who the characters are and what it is about them that will have us coming back for more. You can put down the external and internal factoids of the characters, how they interact, what secrets they have or hold over one another. But that thing that makes them pop off the page? But is that enough to get you to read more, to see the potential of a series built around a character like Veronica?

He is known but unknown. And for the reader, that also holds true for them to bring your characters to life in their heads. Veronica is played by the bright and just-sexy-enough year-old-playing, Kristen Bell. Her best friend, sister of her rich boyfriend, is murdered. Pops Mars, then the sheriff, suspects the rich father is the culprit. Despite the confession of the supposed killer, the thing that drives Veronica is finding out who really murdered her best friend, Lilly Kane.

From that as our touchstone, the Macdonald-esque twists of familial intrigue manifest. But the B story line—the overarching one—is her seeking the bigger truth of who murdered Lilly. This prying young woman uses people to get information and often this is discovered and causes her to pay a psychological toll. This gives the show a certain edge, and it keeps her as an outcast, the wiseass who through her manipulations becomes harder and more cynical, an observer of the human drama but less and less a participant.

My daughter and I hope so. This article first appeared in Mystery Scene Spring Issue Veronica Mars is back on the big screen, but we've been charmed by this teen since her small screen debut.

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This groundbreaking television series about two strong, intelligent female detectives redefined the cop show. It was probably Cop Rock that really killed it. It was an era which gave birth to multiple, intertwining story lines. An era when TV tried to use its bully pulpit to talk about serious issues and to portray complicated, imperfect human beings in realistic situations. It was cancelled almost instantly and then revived—one of the few shows ever to succeed in being recalled by its fans. Following its demise in for a That mold was finally broken by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Their way was paved by the partnership of Christine Cagney, a single, somewhat obsessed career woman and Lacey, a mother and wife who needed to work. Both of them happened to be great cops. Understanding the internal conflicts within the character, wrestling with her most deep-seated needs and desires…these are the essential seeds of drama. In those years, that was the only issue that needed to be explored. And, oh, yes, he had to make split-second, gut-level life-and-death decisions without warning.

You bet that opened my eyes and won my respect. The fear she felt was not an intellectual exercise for me. But no one was interested in a unified liberal mind-set. When it came to personal issues, they often reversed their positions. Cagney took on workplace discrimination and date rape. Lacey tended to be more subservient to authority; she could not afford to lose her job. It was very common to process the issues through their disagreement. The women were also partners. Translated, that means the network was so nervous about the homosexual overtones of the partnership that the cancelled series was only brought back on the condition that the tougher Meg Foster be replaced.

She had once played a homosexual character in a TV movie. We perceived them as dykes. The issues were always played out in the context of character and the workplace—they were cops, they were women, and they worked in a squad room with their fellow officers. There was the moment when Sgt. Samuels coaxed Lacey to take time off before her cancer operation.

She threw a tantrum in the squad room, pulled off her jacket, and poked her left breast. I have breast cancer I have to have an operation, but I do not want people treating me like some kinda freak! Cagney succeeded by being as tough as a man. Lacey, on the other hand, did the balancing act.

It was always clear to her that she had to keep bringing in that paycheck. The B stories were as important as the A stories and the show developed a cumulative narrative like good mystery novels do. However, this novel was written by a contentious family of people. The set was not a peaceful one. The good shows in Hollywood rarely are. The actresses, the producers, and the writers all had strong opinions about everything. Two friends of mine wrote an episode which featured drug testing. At that point, things were not going smoothly between the writing staff and Ms.

But nothing happened. Then, on the day of the shoot, with everyone in makeup and the cameras about to roll—Tyne Daly on behalf of Mary Beth Lacey refused to do it. It was undignified. But back to the bully pulpit. Television is our national camp fire. It is a place to test-drive new ideas and shine the light on obscure issues. When my episode about the underground railroad for Salvadoran refugees aired, I suspect half of the 16 million viewers that night heard about it for the first time, and they heard about it from two people they trusted, Christine and Mary Beth.

Then I realized what had impressed him: He had seen himself on television. In August of , America began what appears to be a generation-long war in the Middle East.