Millions of people know Hank Phillippi Ryan as the hard-charging investigative journalist on Boston’s NBC affiliate, but an increasing number of readers know her as the author of even harder-charging thrillers laced with breakneck media competition, high-stakes political intrigue, and murder.
Read our profile of Hank in this issue and you’ll see, as they say, where she “gets her ideas.” What a career! Hank notes that she’s been writing stories every day for 37 years, so her novels are just a new venue for something she’s long loved to do.
Similarly, Attica Locke had years of storytelling experience as a Hollywood screenwriter before she turned to novels with the acclaimed Black Water Rising. Her work draws on her family history and on a thoughtful consideration of the mechanisms of social change. “For black people, people of color, and women, our economic ascent is complicated because it comes with a lot of other baggage,” she says. It does, however, makes for nuanced, compelling crime fiction.
Ross Macdonald was famously obsessed with the long shadows cast by past mistakes and in this issue John Connolly, himself a fine crime writer, offers an insightful look at what he considers to be Macdonald’s crowning achievement, The Chill.
In the aptly-titled “A Talent to Entertain,” Martin Edwards considers the stellar career of Robert Barnard. Barnard, Martin remarks “has a flair for skewering vanities, especially among the English middle-classes.” True enough, and the amused reader will also be treated to fair-play plots of Golden Age complexity.
Every writer has to start somewhere and Larry Block started out in the sex business. He bares all in “Now We Call It Mid-Century Erotica,” the latest installment of his literary memoirs.
Even fictional detection shouldn’t be all work and no play. To that end, Kevin Burton Smith offers “Mystery Fiction Action Figures We’d Like to See.” A fine selection, but where is the Amelia Peabody Action Figure? This indomitable little figure would come with a fully functioning umbrella, a handy tool belt, and a mummy that really walks....
A “MYSTERY WEEK CELEBRATION”
Mark your calendars now for the launch of a “Mystery Week Celebration” from October 13-21, 2012. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) is launching the new initiative to help its members thank loyal customers and increase awareness of these locally-owned community businesses. Bookstores will have a variety of events, giveaways, and contests to celebrate. We’ll have more details at the Mystery Scene Blog closer to the date, but in the meantime you can check out IMBA, including a handy bookstore list, at <mysterybooksellers.com>.
TIME TO GET ORGANIZED
If you’re having trouble keeping track of all the books you own, may we suggest Organizing Crime Classics: The Mystery Company’s Guide to Timeless Series? This spiralbound guide offers complete booklists, in series order, of over 200 classic mystery series, including Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe, Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, and Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael. I keep this handy little guide with me while visiting bookstores or browsing online. It’s saved me from purchasing duplicates and helped me easily identify the next book I want to read in a series.
Right now, Mystery Scene is offering this book free if you subscribe for three years at $90. You may purchase subscriptions at our website or via mail. We’ll send the book out to all full-price 3-year subscription purchasers. (Renewals will be added to the end of your current subscription.)
There’s lots more in this issue, we hope you enjoy it!