Monday, September 29, 2008


Fletch's Fortune
Written by Gregory Mcdonald

Irwin Maurice Fletcher, everyone's favorite independently wealthy journalist, con artist, author, art researcher, and sleuth (not necessarily in that order), once again finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place -- this time the "rock" being the CIA, the IRS, and the threat of prison for tax evasion ... and the "hard place" being a national journalism convention at which Fletch has been forced to spy on his former colleagues. Things only get more complicated when prominent publisher Walter March is found lying face up with a pair of scissors in his back -- and all the conventioneers are trying to beat the police to the scoop.

The third volume in Gregory Mcdonald's delightful Fletch series, Fletch's Fortune is as fresh and engaging as the two Edgar Award-winning novels that preceded it, Fletch and Confess, Fletch. Mcdonald's excellent storytelling skills are on display, as the book is chock full of snappy dialogue, quirky characters, and clever twists and turns along the way. I dare you to put it down.

Excerpt, discussion guide, author bio, and more online at Vintage

Related links:
'Fletch' author Mcdonald 1937-2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Sometime later, I plan to post a review of Gregory Mcdonald's Flynn's World, the final book in his series starring Boston Police Inspector Flynn. For now, suffice it say that I want to write like Gregory Mcdonald when I grow up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is your dog ugly?

Fans of Tim Downs "Bug Man" mysteries can rejoice that there is a new adventure of forensic entomologist Nick Polchak on shelves, Less Than Dead:

When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess. But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil--secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid; secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town; secrets someone is willing to kill to protect. With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth. But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead ...

To celebrate the new book, Downs is holding an "ugly dog" contest. If you think your dog has what it takes, check out the details at TitleTrakk's blog entry "Tim Downs' Less Than Dead Ugly Dog Contest!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Perilous times for publishing

New York Magazine outlines the problems facing book publishers today, where insiders are looking for their rescue, and even some high profile blunders of recent years:
"Have We Reached the End of Book Publishing As We Know It?"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lee Goldberg gets the stupidest emails

When I was in retail, I swear I was a magnet for all the crazy customers. However, among authors, Lee Goldberg seems to be the magnet. Click here for just the latest example: The Mail I Get

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL Two-Disc Special Edition

On Sep. 23, the film L.A. Confidential gets the special treatment, with a new two-disc DVD. While not quite as brilliant as James Ellroy's sprawling, epic novel, it is still a remarkable film deserving of all the accolades. According to DVDFanatic, the new DVD release will include: Audio Commentary by Critic Andrew Sarris; Music Only Track; multiple featurettes; "L.A. Confidential" 2000 TV-Series Pilot; Deleted Scenes; Trailers and TV Spots, and more.

Also coming out on DVD:
September 23
Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Definitive Collection
The Anderson Tapes
Boston Legal: Season 4
CSI: New York - The Fourth Season
The Godfather - The Coppola Restoration Gift Set
Peanuts Holiday Collection (Great Pumpkin / Charlie Brown Thanksgiving / Charlie Brown Christmas)

September 30
Adam 12: Season Two
B.L. Stryker: The Complete Series
Banacek: The Complete Series
Case Closed: Season 2 Set
Numbers: The Complete Fourth Season
Sports Night: The Complete Series 10th Anniversary Edition

October 7
Mission Impossible - The Fifth TV Season
Rear Window
Touch of Evil 50th Anniversary Edition

October 14
Alfred Hitchcock Premiere Collection (Lifeboat / Spellbound / Notorious / The Paradine Case / Sabotage / Young and Innocent / Rebecca / The Lodger)
CSI: Eighth Season
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Two-Disc)

October 21
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - The Complete Series
The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Series
Warner Gangsters Collection, Vol. 4

Friday, September 19, 2008

Diagnosis Murder: The Death Merchant

This second volume of the official Diagnosis: Murder novels is another winner in the series. Author Lee Goldberg brings his experiences from the original television series to these books, but also takes advantage of the form: Without the limits of a television production -- budget, time, or casting -- Goldberg is free to explore Dr. Sloan's adventures on an epic scale. As such, these books do not limit their appeal to fans of the show, but are great entertainment for any mystery fan.


A dream vacation in Hawaii turns into a nightmare for Dr. Mark Sloan and his son, Steve, when a man they've befriended falls victim to a shark attack. But when Mark discovers evidence indicating the victim was murdered prior to becoming shark food, he and Steve comb the beaches to find a different kind of predator...

Official site at Berkley Prime Crime

Related links:
Mr. Monk and the Finished Manuscript
Back to Bond
Mr. Monk And The Continuity Police
Q&A: LEE GOLDBERG (Monk, Diagnosis Murder)

Murder She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders

Murder, She Wrote: The Highland Fling Murders is the eighth volume in author Donald Bain's long-running series of official MURDER, SHE WROTE tie-ins -- a series with more than 30 original novels to date, and counting. When mystery novelist (and amateur sleuth) Jessica Fletcher and group of friends from Cabot Cove, Maine, take a vacation for the British Isles, they stay at a Scottish castle which is rumored to be haunted. Soon (of course) the gang is embroiled in murder and conspiracy.

Bain once again does a capable job of reuniting readers with these beloved characters, including several familiar faces from Cabot Cove. The story is engaging, and the mystery, while not as "fair-play" as some fans of the TV show might expect, is nonetheless rewarding.

Unfortunately, the experience is somewhat marred by occasions of sloppy logic and even sloppy language -- especially disconcerting when the narrator is supposed to be a professional wordsmith. A minor quibble, perhaps, when the Murder She Wrote books are clearly intended to be comfort food for fans of the groundbreaking TV series -- and, as such, worth the read.



Jessica Fletcher and a group of her friends from Cabot Cove, Maine, take off for the British Isles and end up at a castle in Scotland. It would be a great vacation – except for the ghost. And the murders.

Scotland’s most celebrated witch, executed long ago with a pitchfork through her heart, is said to haunt Inspector George Sutherland’s family castle in the village of Wick. It’s an intriguing tale and after a British book tour, Jessica accepts Sutherland’s invitation to bring her Cabot Cove friends to the heather-covered Highlands. Indeed, after “roamin’ in the gloamin’” with the handsome inspector, she spots a spectral woman in white in the gloomy castle. But Jessica’s blood runs cold when she later finds a local lass executed in the same way as the legendary witch. Something is very vile in Wick. It’s a castle of evil, greed, and murder that pits Jessica Fletcher against a killer from this world – or maybe the next.

Official site at Berkley Prime Crime
Official Murder, She Wrote on Facebook

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Home recuperating

Well, I turned in my manuscript for Nursing A Grudge: A Kentucky Geezers Mystery to my publisher and then Tuesday morning went into for my dental surgery. (Not fun.) Had my post-op visit this morning, and the dentist said things look pretty good. I'm scheduled to go back in 12 days and get my stitches out.

In the meantime, two weeks of liquids and soft foods. I plan to spend the rest of this week being really lazy: sleeping, watching DVDs, and reading.

Monday, I have to get cracking on the second Kentucky Geezers mystery, Burying The Hatchet ...

Related links:
Kentucky Geezers 2009
The humiliation of revisions
Mainly Mystery Interviews
Heartsong Presents Mysteries: The Authors!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mr. Monk and the Finished Manuscript

Novelist and TV writer/producer Lee Goldberg has turned in his eighth month Monk novel to his publisher. He shares the details here, Mr. Monk and the Finished Manuscript, and then in a later post answers the question What Happens After You Turn In Your Book?.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Happy Birthday, Agatha Christie!

Today is the birthday of Agatha Christie (1890-1976). The creator of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple has sold more than two billion copies in more than 45 languages. (She is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare.)

Related links:
The official Agatha Christie website
MYSTERY! | Miss Marple | Agatha Christie
Audio: Agatha Christie's secret tapes discovered (Times Online)

Kentucky Geezers 2009

For those who missed the occasional update, I have three murder mysteries coming out in 2009 from cozy mystery publisher Heartsong Presents: Mysteries -- Nursing A Grudge, Burying The Hatchet, and Knocking 'Em Dead, collectively titled the "Kentucky Geezers Mysteries."

What I really love about the HPM printing model is that the books will be available through multiple streams: In spring and summer 2009, they will be available to HPM subscribers, and at that time likely also available as mail order from HPM directly.

After an interval of a few months, all three titles from my KENTUCKY GEEZERS trilogy will be available through retail, possibly as three separate books, but definitely as a 3-in-1 volume. I recently heard that the 3-in-1 volume KENTUCKY GEEZERS will be available in retail November 2009.

So, you have a lot of options there!

Obviously, we'll keep you posted as we get closer to our release dates. In the meantime, I have to continue working on the actual books. (In fact, my manuscript for Nursing A Grudge is due to HPM today.)

Related links:
The humiliation of revisions
Deadline City
Progress report ...
Mainly Mystery Interviews
Heartsong Presents Mysteries: The Authors!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sherlock Holmes lives!

In Saturday's Guardian, Ruth Rendell explains the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes:
A most serious and extraordinary problem

In related news, the Guardian also reports that Hollywood has two different Holmes films in production:
Robert Downey Jr to play Sherlock Holmes for Guy Ritchie
Borat creator Baron Cohen to play Holmes

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Brand new GIANT MONSTERS ...

To keep this blog focused on mystery fiction and related news, I have launched a second blog -- GIANT MONSTERS ON THE LOOSE -- for any bits of pop culture, sci-fi, and comics I may want to share with the world. Right out of the gate, we pass along some movies news ("Updates: Godzilla, Frankenstein, Ghostbusters"), list pretty much all the movies populated by giant monsters, robots, and killer dinosaurs ("Giant Monster Movies"), wax rhapsodic about the final Godzilla film ("GODZILLA: FINAL WARS"), and gush about Classic Media's brilliant Godzilla box set ("Giant Monsters Attack!").

Swing on by and give us a visit!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

'Fletch' author Mcdonald 1937-2008

Best-selling author Gregory Mcdonald, creator of the best-selling "Fletch" mysteries, passed away Sunday at his Tennessee farm. He was 71.

Mcdonald won back-to-back Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America for Fletch and Confess, Fletch, the only time a novel and its sequel were so honored. His 26 books also included the "Flynn" series, and he was a journalist with the Boston Globe.

If you have not enjoyed the pleasure of the Fletch or Flynn novels, they are highly recommended -- Mcdonald's snappy dialogue, clever plotting, and clean narrative is simply superb. Many mystery writers owe him a huge debt. (Some of my own readers will no doubt recognize his influence -- that is, when I did it right.)

Related links:
Manager: 'Fletch' author Gregory Mcdonald dies (AP)
Gregory Mcdonald, R.I.P. (Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind)
Fletch Dies (A Writer's Life)
Gregory Mcdonald, Novelist, Dies at 71 (New York Times)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The humiliation of revisions

Okay, so I am up to my knees in what will be the final revision of Nursing a Grudge before I turn it in to my publisher on Monday. We've reached the part of the process where I have called on for the help of my sisters-in-law, who are excellent at picking my books apart and finding all the stuff that needs to be fixed.

As necessary as it is to edit the manuscript -- cutting out what doesn't belong, adding what you should have put in already, fixing continuity problems, smoothing out what is left, and just general fine-tuning -- there is still something about the whole process that tends to be humiliating. (At least, if you're doing it right.)

Of course, turning in the manuscript is not the end of the journey ... because then your editor will find still more stuff you need to fix.

Related links:
Deadline City
Progress report ...
Mainly Mystery Interviews

Monday, September 08, 2008

Win a STACK of mysteries!

The ladies at Mainly Mystery Reviews have teamed up with Heartsong Mysteries to offer one lucky reader a stack of TWENTY-FOUR cozy murder mystery books. Check out the details here:

Free audiobook of HOUSE OF WOLVES

Thriller writer Matt Bronleewe is offering a free audiobook for his latest pulse-pounding novel, House of Wolves (Thomas Nelson). That's not all: his friend Matt Stanfield put together an amazing musical score, which is available as a free soundtrack.

About the book:

In the twelfth century, Henry the Lion collected the rarest relics in Christendom. And to protect his most precious acquisitions, he encoded the whereabouts in a gorgeous illuminated manuscript called The Gospels of Henry the Lion. No one knows where the relic has been hidden ... or its ultimate power.

Only one man holds the key to the mystery. He's carrying it in his briefcase at his son's school for show-and-tell, and he thinks it's a fake. But he's about to find out just how real it is.

The wolves are closing in. If August Adams can't decode the secret in time, the world's balance of power will be forever altered ...

Ask for it at your local bookseller!

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Novelist Eric Wilson recently sent this around to his email list:

facing off
_____ Sept. 2 and Oct. 7_________
2 books--2 incredible stories--2 winners

Okay, that's my cheesy showdown, but who would've guessed my most controversial title and my most ministry-oriented title would be released within a month of each other? You know that whole thing about God having a sense of humor . . . ? Yeah!

Fireproof the movie will be in theaters Friday, Sept 26. It's a powerful story about the fight to keep love and faith alive in the midst of the flames.

Buy Field of Blood before Oct. 21, and you can win an autographed copy of the sequel, Haunt of Jackals. Simply e-mail me the date and place you bought the book, and you'll be included in the drawing, with a chance to be one of the five winners.

Go to and you can find a printable reading group guide for Field of Blood under the Trilogy tab, not to mention some cool fan artwork.

I'll be at book stores in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Arkansas in October and November. I'd love to see you there. Check either of my websites, under The Latest or Appearances for detailed info.

If you'd like to be a Concealed One, look under the Author tab on for clues. If you're already a Concealed One, remember you are concealed, but we are not silent . . . Spread the word. The Nazarene Blood will prevail!

Sign up for Eric's email list at his official website.

Monday, September 01, 2008

J.T. Ellison returns with 14

Killer Year's J.T. Ellison is back in stores with her sophomore thriller, 14 (Mira), the newest book in the Taylor Jackson series. Her debut, All The Pretty Girls, is also now in convenient paperback. Nashville City Paper features J.T. in today's paper: "Local crime author issues series’ sophomore effort."

J.T. is on tour, with several Nashville appearances, plus events in Denver, Phoenix, Houston, Knoxville and Baltimore -- and a stop in Omaha the first week of October for two events with New York Times-bestselling author Alex Kava. Here's a link to all her tour dates.

This week, 14 is launched in style Sep. 3 at Past Perfect Restaurant, 122 3rd Avenue South, Nashville, (615) 736-7727. There will be copies of the book for sale courtesy of Barnes and Noble, music from Richard Stooksbury and John Crowder, and a silent auction benefiting Nashville's literacy charity, Book 'Em. The event kicks off at 7 p.m.

The next night, J.T. discusses and signs her books at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, 2121 Green Hills Drive. That starts at 6 p.m.

Related links:
KILLER Q&A: J.T. ELLISON (All The Pretty Girls)
KILLER YEAR: Class of 2007

Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction


A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.