Sunday, 22 January 2017 00:30

pintoffStephanie cityonedge
Like many readers, I enjoy knowing the “real” story that inspires a novel, especially if historical facts are woven into the plot.

Stefanie Pintoff built her career on utilizing history in her novels.

Her debut In the Shadow of Gotham introduced New York Police Detective Simon Ziele, who was mourning the loss of his fiancée in the 1904 General Slocum steamship disaster. Ziele teamed up with criminologist Alistair Sinclair to hunt criminals in old Manhattan.

Pintoff’s research shows the beginnings of forensics as well as life at the turn of the 20th century.

In the Shadow of Gotham won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author and was nominated for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards.

Pintoff’s new series, which began with Hostage Taker and continues with her latest, City on Edge, is set in contemporary times but still honors the past.

FBI special agent Evangeline “Eve” Rossi leads her Vidocq team of “ex-cons and barely reformed thugs,” whose nontraditional ways allow them to go where normal detectives can’t. Eve’s team knows how criminals think, because each of them used to be one—which doesn’t hurt, either.

Eve’s team is based on Eugène François Vidocq, a French criminal and criminalist during the 19th century.

According to books and websites, he turned from being a criminal to become the founder and first director of the crime-detection Sûreté Nationale. He was also the head of the first known private detective agency.

Considered to be the father of modern criminology, Vidocq also inspired stories by Victor Hugo, Edgar Allan Poe, and Honoré de Balzac.

To add to the authenticity in her novels, Pintoff includes a dossier on each of Eve’s team members.

In my Mystery Scene review of City on Edge, I wrote about “Pintoff’s affinity for the hidden corners of New York City, as Eve and her crew go into parts of the city that few people know about. Pintoff keeps the suspense high while keeping readers’ expectations off-kilter. Anything can happen in City on Edge, and does.”

History in Stefanie Pintoff Novels
Oline H. Cogdill
Thursday, 19 January 2017 14:11

Edgar Statues
Those of us who love mysteries/crime fiction know that the Edgar Awards are the Oscars of the genre.

Actually, for some of us the awards, named after Edgar Allan Poe, are better than the Oscars. I have seen only a couple of movies the past year, but have read just about everything on this list.

The Edgar Awards are given by the Mystery Writers of America, and the nominations are announced on Poe’s birthday. This year marks the 208th anniversary of his birth.

The 2017 Edgar Allan Poe Awards honor the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction, and television published or produced in 2016.

The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at the 71st gala banquet on April 27, 2017, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The Ex by Alafair Burke (Harper)
Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow)
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing)

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry (Penguin Books)
Dodgers by Bill Beverly (Crown Publishing Group)
IQ by Joe Ide (Mulholland Books)
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Dancing With the Tiger by Lili Wright (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Lost Girls by Heather Young (William Morrow)

Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott (Polis Books)
Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts (Thomas & Mercer)
The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni (Thomas & Mercer)
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Seventh Street Books)
A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum (Seventh Street Books)
Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

Morgue: A Life in Death by Dr. Vincent DiMaio and Ron Franscell (St. Martin’s Press)
The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan by Laurence Leamer (William Morrow)
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The Unsolved Murder That Shocked Victorian England by Paul Thomas Murphy (Pegasus Books)
While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent Into Madness by Eli Sanders (Viking Books)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Press)

Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Nan A. Talese)
Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime: Works and Authors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden Since 1967 by Mitzi M. Brunsdale (McFarland & Company)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (Liveright)
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J. Skal (Liveright)

“Oxford Girl” by Megan Abbott (Mississippi Noir, Akashic Books)
A Paler Shade of Death by Laura Benedict (St. Louis Noir, Akashic Books)
Autumn at the Automat by Lawrence Block (In Sunlight or in Shadow, Pegasus Books)
The Music Room by Stephen King (In Sunlight or in Shadow, Pegasus Books)
The Crawl Space by Joyce Carol Oates (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dell Magazines)

Summerlost by Ally Condie (Dutton BFYR)
OCDaniel by Wesley King (Paula Wiseman Books)
The Bad Kid by Sarah Lariviere (Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Framed! by James Ponti (Aladdin)
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught (Paula Wiseman Books)

Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger (Simon Pulse)
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (Henry Holt BFYR)
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (Little, Brown BFYR)
My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Teen)
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor (Dial Books)

Episode 1 - From the Ashes of TragedyThe People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Teleplay by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (FX Network)
The Abominable Bride - Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
Episode 1 - Dark Road - Vera, Teleplay by Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)
A Blade of GrassPenny Dreadful, Teleplay by John Logan (Showtime)
Return 0Person of Interest, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan and Denise The (CBS/Warner Brothers)
The Bicameral Mind” – Westworld, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (HBO/Warner Bros. Television)

The Truth of the Moment by E. Gabriel Flores (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dell Magazines)

Max Allan Collins
Ellen Hart

Dru Ann Love


Neil Nyren


The Other Sister by Dianne Dixon (Sourcebooks Landmark)
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Midnight Ink)
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub (William Morrow)
The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd (William Morrow)

2017 Edgar Nominees
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 14 January 2017 17:20

Not every discussion during an interview makes it into the final story. It’s just a fact of journalism that sometimes interesting little tidbits aren’t included, because the main part of the story is long enough.

That’s also true of the submitted copy. Again, sometimes the story is just too long and a bit of editing is needed. As a longtime editor and copy editor, I know the best tools are knowing how to cut a story without ruining it.

So it is with my interview with Lee Child for the cover story of the current issue of Mystery Scene (Holiday Issue No. 147, published in December 2016).

So here is what was trimmed—and it makes a pretty good blog post, too.

Child and I were discussing family issues—how Reacher is alone, but Child is close to his family.

grantandrew falsefriend
Reacher may be a loner, but writing is a kind of family affair in Child’s life. Child’s brother, Andrew Grant, who is 14 years younger, has written five published action-packed thrillers, and the sixth, False Friend, comes out in January 2017. But big brother says he doesn’t offer Andrew advice.

“We are both alike—stubborn—and I wouldn’t offer advice and I know he wouldn’t take it,” said Child with a laugh. “His career is his own. A book has to be organic. It has to be vibrant on its own. And it has to be written by only one person. As soon as an author starts to wonder, ‘Well, my brother would do it differently. Or Stephen King or Michael Connelly would do it differently,’ then you are lost.”

During Bouchercon 2016 in New Orleans, brief interviews were conducted on authors’ most memorable Bouchercon moments. Without hesitation, Child mentioned the 2008 conference in Baltimore, when he stepped away from the bar for a few moments. When he returned Grant was talking with Tasha Alexander, who writes historical mystery fiction. The two were married in 2010. “That’s how I met my future sister-in-law,” Child recounted with a smile. (An interview with Tasha Alexander appears in the Holiday issue No. 117, published in 2010.)

A couple of years ago, Child and his daughter, Ruth, collaborated on a pilot for a TV series that was sold, but, as of now, has not been picked up.

“It was fun doing the pilot and very illuminating to work together as two equal people—rather than as father and daughter. It was a wonderful experience,” said Child, who recently traveled to Los Angeles to pitch a TV series unrelated to Reacher.

“TV is a hungry beast and it constantly needs ideas. Most [pitches and pilots] don’t get picked up.”

Lee Child, Andrew Grant, and Family
Oline H. Cogdill