Sunday, 10 October 2010 11:10
Across the nation, the newspaper industry struggles with more papers laying off staff. But in mysteries, the newspaper industry thrives.

Or at least makes for some darn good plots.

The past couple of years have seen an uptick in mysteries set at a newspaper. These are timely novels that show the struggles of newspapers and how the fear of being laid off hangs over many newspaper staffs. A few set in the recent past make us yearn for the good old days.

Anyone who has worked at a newspaper knows there is nothing like a newsroom culture -- the constant banter, the exchanging of ideas, the feeling that you are making a difference in people's lives. Not to mention the lifelong friendships and, of course, marriages that come out of newsroom.
But we have our memories....and our mystery novels. Recently, some journalists from the first newspaper I worked and myself had some fun reminising about those old days, and trying to remember what ever became of our coworkers.
alt
Brad Parks' novel Faces of the Gone about Newark investigative reporter Carter Ross made my list of best debuts for 2009. Apparently I wasn't the only one who liked this novel as Faces of the Gone has been nominated for a Shamus Award in the best first category and for a Nero Award. Parks will learn if he or the other Shamus nominees take the prize on Oct. 15 during Bouchercon week; Nero award winners will be announced in December.
Canadian author Rick Mofina has written three series about newspaper reporters, each of them set in the United States. His latest series hero Jack Gannon debuted in Vengeance Road, which is up for a Shamus for best paperback original. In his latest novel, Gannon teams up with a mother desparately looking for her child in The Panic Zone. He also has five novels in his award-winning series featuring San Francisco Star crime reporter Tom Reed and Homicide Inspector Walt Sydowski, also set in San Francisco. Blood of Others received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada.
An obit writer for a small-town newspaper finds himself at the center of attention in Death Notice, the debut by journalist Todd Ritter. While this is more of a police procedural, Ritter shows how small-town newspapers cover an area. (My review will be in the next issue of Mystery Scene.)
Community journalism plays is a major factor of Bryan Gruley's excellent Starvation Lake was one of the best debuts for 2009. Gus Carpenter left his hometown of Starvation Lake to become a big-city reporter in Detroit. But scandal forced him out of his job and now he is back home working as an editor on the town’s small daily. Gruley's newly released second novel The Hanging Tree has Carpenter trying to find out why a young woman who left town 18 years ago apparently commits suicide shortly after returning home.
(More newspaper mysteries in a couple of weeks.)
Across the nation, the newspaper industry struggles with more papers laying off staff. But in mysteries, the newspaper industry thrives.

Or at least makes for some darn good plots.

The past couple of years have seen an uptick in mysteries set at a newspaper. These are timely novels that show the struggles of newspapers and how the fear of being laid off hangs over many newspaper staffs. A few set in the recent past make us yearn for the good old days.

Anyone who has worked at a newspaper knows there is nothing like a newsroom culture -- the constant banter, the exchanging of ideas, the feeling that you are making a difference in people's lives. Not to mention the lifelong friendships and, of course, marriages that come out of newsroom.
But we have our memories....and our mystery novels. Recently, some journalists from the first newspaper I worked and myself had some fun reminising about those old days, and trying to remember what ever became of our coworkers.
alt
Brad Parks' novel Faces of the Gone about Newark investigative reporter Carter Ross made my list of best debuts for 2009. Apparently I wasn't the only one who liked this novel as Faces of the Gone has been nominated for a Shamus Award in the best first category and for a Nero Award. Parks will learn if he or the other Shamus nominees take the prize on Oct. 15 during Bouchercon week; Nero award winners will be announced in December.
Canadian author Rick Mofina has written three series about newspaper reporters, each of them set in the United States. His latest series hero Jack Gannon debuted in Vengeance Road, which is up for a Shamus for best paperback original. In his latest novel, Gannon teams up with a mother desparately looking for her child in The Panic Zone. He also has five novels in his award-winning series featuring San Francisco Star crime reporter Tom Reed and Homicide Inspector Walt Sydowski, also set in San Francisco. Blood of Others received the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Crime Writers of Canada.
An obit writer for a small-town newspaper finds himself at the center of attention in Death Notice, the debut by journalist Todd Ritter. While this is more of a police procedural, Ritter shows how small-town newspapers cover an area. (My review will be in the next issue of Mystery Scene.)
Community journalism plays is a major factor of Bryan Gruley's excellent Starvation Lake was one of the best debuts for 2009. Gus Carpenter left his hometown of Starvation Lake to become a big-city reporter in Detroit. But scandal forced him out of his job and now he is back home working as an editor on the town’s small daily. Gruley's newly released second novel The Hanging Tree has Carpenter trying to find out why a young woman who left town 18 years ago apparently commits suicide shortly after returning home.
(More newspaper mysteries in a couple of weeks.)
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 10:10
With Bouchercon about a week away, I am continuing the ongoing look at San Francisco-based mysteries.
I've been trying to come up with several legal thrillers based in San Francisco and, amazingly, I am coming up short. Surely San Francisco would be wonderful fodder for legal thrillers.
So readers, help me out. If you know of other authors who write legal thrillers set in San Francisco, please post their names.
alt
John Lescroart: A Certain Justice and A Plague of Secrets, among others -- Lescroart's series about attorney Dismas Hardy go beyond the courtroom to look at how a community deals with strife. Flawed characters, flawed ethics and a flawed legal system add up to exciting novels. In 1995's A Certain Justice, Dismas Hardy only makes an appearance as Abe Glitsky, the head of San Francisco’s homicide department, takes center stage when a race riot engulfs the city. The murder of a manager of a trendy coffee shop jumpstarts the energetic A Plague of Secrets (2009). Lescroart's latest novel is Treasure Hunt, the first of a new series about San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt.

Julie Smith: Death Turns a Trick -- Before she turned her attention to New Orleans and Skip Langdon and Talba Wallis, the heroines of her two Big Easy series, Smith wrote about San Francisco attorney Rebecca Schwartz. These novels are lighter in tone than her other two series, and often quite funny. Death Turns a Trick (1992) introduced the self-described "Jewish feminist lawyer." Before my first trip to the Monterey, I read Dead in the Water (1993), which is set at the Monterey Aquarium; on each visit I always look twice at those wonderful exhibits.
With Bouchercon about a week away, I am continuing the ongoing look at San Francisco-based mysteries.
I've been trying to come up with several legal thrillers based in San Francisco and, amazingly, I am coming up short. Surely San Francisco would be wonderful fodder for legal thrillers.
So readers, help me out. If you know of other authors who write legal thrillers set in San Francisco, please post their names.
alt
John Lescroart: A Certain Justice and A Plague of Secrets, among others -- Lescroart's series about attorney Dismas Hardy go beyond the courtroom to look at how a community deals with strife. Flawed characters, flawed ethics and a flawed legal system add up to exciting novels. In 1995's A Certain Justice, Dismas Hardy only makes an appearance as Abe Glitsky, the head of San Francisco’s homicide department, takes center stage when a race riot engulfs the city. The murder of a manager of a trendy coffee shop jumpstarts the energetic A Plague of Secrets (2009). Lescroart's latest novel is Treasure Hunt, the first of a new series about San Francisco private investigator Wyatt Hunt.

Julie Smith: Death Turns a Trick -- Before she turned her attention to New Orleans and Skip Langdon and Talba Wallis, the heroines of her two Big Easy series, Smith wrote about San Francisco attorney Rebecca Schwartz. These novels are lighter in tone than her other two series, and often quite funny. Death Turns a Trick (1992) introduced the self-described "Jewish feminist lawyer." Before my first trip to the Monterey, I read Dead in the Water (1993), which is set at the Monterey Aquarium; on each visit I always look twice at those wonderful exhibits.
Sunday, 03 October 2010 08:10
San Francisco's history is one of the country's most colorful filled with pirates, scallywags and the occasional earthquake. I appreciate a city that embraces is unsavory past and builds on a future that includes a most diverse populations.
altRemember, I'm from Florida, the land of anything goes.
And since Bouchercon 2010 will be in San Francisco in just a few weeks, I 'm offering an ongoing look at mysteries set there.
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon. Granted when this novel about Sam Spade and the stuff that dreams are made of was published in 1930 it was a contemporary novel. Now we can look at what is often called the quintessential San Francisco mystery as a historical that also is as modern as when it was published. The alleys, streets and fog of San Francisco haven't changed much. There's also a plaque on the street where Archer was killed. I think it is a law that any mystery fan -- or anyone for that matter -- who visits San Francisco must read The Maltese Falcon at least once.
Joe Gores: Spade & Archer -- Published in 2009, this prequel to The Maltese Falcon delves into the background of Sam Space, his partner Miles Archer and other characters from Hammett's classic. Although he was first refused, Gores eventually got permission from Hammett's relatives to write the novel.
San Francisco's history is one of the country's most colorful filled with pirates, scallywags and the occasional earthquake. I appreciate a city that embraces is unsavory past and builds on a future that includes a most diverse populations.
altRemember, I'm from Florida, the land of anything goes.
And since Bouchercon 2010 will be in San Francisco in just a few weeks, I 'm offering an ongoing look at mysteries set there.
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon. Granted when this novel about Sam Spade and the stuff that dreams are made of was published in 1930 it was a contemporary novel. Now we can look at what is often called the quintessential San Francisco mystery as a historical that also is as modern as when it was published. The alleys, streets and fog of San Francisco haven't changed much. There's also a plaque on the street where Archer was killed. I think it is a law that any mystery fan -- or anyone for that matter -- who visits San Francisco must read The Maltese Falcon at least once.
Joe Gores: Spade & Archer -- Published in 2009, this prequel to The Maltese Falcon delves into the background of Sam Space, his partner Miles Archer and other characters from Hammett's classic. Although he was first refused, Gores eventually got permission from Hammett's relatives to write the novel.