One month out from Bouchercon in Cleveland and I’m looking over the list of attendees, schedule of panels, banquets and the Anthony Award nominees – it’s all a little overwhelming. Most likely I’ll stick with the usual plan and hang out in the bar. Crime and mystery writers can put it away, kids. Will you be there? Come say ‘hi’ or tell me off if you’re around. Go ahead and get it off your chest – you’ll feel better. In fact, while you’re putting me in my place, be sure to come prepared to give me an ultimatum – read this or else – and back it up. Give me some compelling reasons why I’ve missed out or underappreciated your favorite writers or books.
Have you cast your vote for the Anthony Awards? Check out some of the noms:
The End of Everything — Megan Abbott
Hurt Machine — Reed Farrel Coleman
The Drop — Michael Connelly
A Trick of the Light — Louise Penny
One Was a Soldier — Julia Spencer-Fleming
(What's the deal with number seven in series titles here? Coleman, Penny and Spencer-Fleming are all seventh entries, and Connelly's is seven-teen? Jeez, weird)
BEST FIRST NOVEL
Learning to Swim — Sara J. Henry
Nazareth Child — Darrell James
All Cry Chaos — Leonard Rosen
Who Do, Voodoo? — Rochelle Staab
The Informationist — Taylor Stevens
Purgatory Chasm — S.J. Watson
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Company Man — Robert Jackson Bennett
Choke Hold — Christa Faust
Buffalo West Wing — Julie Hyzy
Death of the Mantis — Michael Stanley
Fun and Games — Duane Swierczynski
Vienna Twilight — Frank Tallis
Some personal favorites of mine on there, as well as some good endorsements for stuff that’s new to me. Of course if you’re not one to take my word for anything, you could also avail yourself of this beauty from editors John Connolly and Declan Burke – Books to Die For - a collection of current top-writers of crime and mystery fiction recommending good places for budding interests in the genre to begin their reading and education. Of course, there’s also pleasure to be had for those of us already hopelessly carried away by and in-hock up to our chins over our well-acknowledged obsession. I enjoy reading writers talk about the writers whose work has meant a lot to them, and more than likely there’s an essay or two in there that may tip my resolve to finally pick up such and such an ignored classic or maybe even bring something altogether new to my attention. You wanna read Michael Connelly on Raymond Chandler, Kathy Reichs on Thomas Harris, Ian Rankin talking about Derek Raymond or Mark Billingham promote Dashiell Hammett?
Pick it up, and pass on what you learn. (Also, if you plan on chewing me out, buy me a beer first - it'll go better).