It’s a long way from Gone with the Wind to any of Karin Slaughter’s gripping, graphic and up-to-the-minute thrillers. While Slaughter (her real name, by the way) first aspired to be another Margaret Mitchell, this child of the New South soon found her true subject: violence, particularly violence against women, and its repercussions. Slaughter’s hard-hitting latest novel, Fallen (June), features characters from both of her Georgia-based series and is an excellent place for new readers to begin. By the way, as part of her book tour for Fallen, Slaughter will be hosting fundraisers for local libraries. Find out more about Save the Libraries on page 34.
Jeff Abbott’s first idea for a new thriller hero—a traveling book editor—was “laughed at by my agent,” he notes ruefully in our interview in this issue. So Abbott came up with Sam Capra, a brilliant young CIA agent living in London whose pregnant wife is kidnapped on the same day he is framed as a traitor. The aptly named Adrenaline is a big hit around the Mystery Scene office and we’re looking forward to more in this new series. Mickey Spillane would often proclaim: “I’m not an author. I’m a writer.” In “The Murders in Memory Lane,” Larry Block ponders the subtleties of that statement—with a little help from the French author Colette— and concludes that Mickey was probably right. But as Larry points out, no matter what you thought of his books, everyone liked Mickey himself. A lot.
(My thanks to Max Allan Collins, Mickey’s friend and frequent collaborator, for his help with the Spillane book list on page 52.)
When the nine-year-old Megan Abbott first saw the classic Rita Hayworth film Gilda, she distinctly remembers thinking “This is what life is.” Some years and a literary career of her own later, she reconsiders in her essay “Bar Nothing.”
Decades after the Golden Age of Mystery ended, James Anderson’s lighthearted puzzles both parodied and paid homage to classic tropes of yesteryear. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks and The Affair of the Mutilated Mink are just as delightful as their titles suggest—and they have no bigger fan than Jon L. Breen who discusses them in this issue.
Figuring out if a book is a true first edition is often surprisingly complicated—but vital. As Nate Pederson notes in his column, “Properly identifying a subtle variant in a printing of an edition can turn a $5 thrift store find into a $150 collectable book.”
Also in this issue, Katherine Hall Page discusses the enduring appeal of Mary Stewart’s novels of romantic suspense, and Kevin Burton Smith looks at William Ard, whose untimely death in 1960 robbed the genre of a potential hardboiled master. We also chat with Juliet Blackwell, whose Lily Ivory mysteries about a young witch in San Francisco offer spells, demons, romance...and some interesting thoughts on a gifted woman finding her place in the world.
Over the summer, we will be publishing more original articles, book reviews, and commentary at the MS Website. “At the Scene,” our monthly e-newsletter will offer updates on events, reviews of new books, contests, fun quotes, and the popular “Writers on Reading” feature. (You may sign up for the free e-newsletter at our website.) We’ll also be active on Twitter and Facebook, so do come join us. We hope you have a wonderful summer. Happy reading!