The Gumshoe Award

January Magazine's Crime Fiction Section wins the Gumshoe Award for Best Crime Fiction Web Site 2005





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The Rap Sheet

New releases by Richard Rayner, Naomi Hirahara, George Pelecanos and Elizabeth Peters; Red Harvest's offspring; Sara Paretsky's political wellspring; Denise Mina's new fictional springboard; a groaning shelf-load of awards, and more news from the world of mystery.






Week of May 16, 2005

Pierce's Pick of the Week
The Closers by Michael Connelly

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch (The Narrows, 2004) is back, this time to close the unsolved 1988 slaying of teenager Becky Verloren. But the girl's friends and family aren't happy about Bosch's efforts, and neither are some of his fellow cops. Has Bosch been set up to fail, once and for all?

See previous weekly picks by J. Kingston Pierce  -->


The James Deans by Reed Farrell Coleman and Digging James Dean by Robert Everesz

The ghost of actor James Dean is conjured up in two recent and, in some ways, very different detective novels, each of which in its own tangential way does justice to the memory of the cinematic rebel from Marion, Indiana.




The James Deans by Reed Farrell Coleman and Digging James Dean by Robert Everesz

Sugarmilk Falls by Ilona van Mil

Sugarmilk Falls by Ilona van Mil

This debut novel carefully constructs the life of a small rural town in Northern Ontario, where the arrival of a stranger with questions forces residents to relive the long-ago slaying of a schoolteacher who'd once been loved by the local priest.

i n t e r v i e w s

r e v i e w s

James W. Hall author of Forests of the Night
Commemorating the release of this ambitious standalone tale and sweeping family saga, we talked with the Florida author about his research techniques, the pleasures and pains of teaching writing, his turn from poetry to crime fiction and his almost-career as a pro tennis player.

James W. Hall author of Forests of the Night

Tom Bradby author of The God of Chaos
With his third historical thriller now out in the UK, Bradby talks about his love of history, the ups and downs of being a foreign correspondent, his impressions of the British royals and his next novel -- the first one to be set in America.

Tom Bradby author of The God of Chaos

Dylan Schaffer author of Misdemeanor Man
Following the release of his quirky debut legal thriller, Schaffer talks with us about his "chaotic and insane" childhood, his choice of a career in the law, his bumpy road to the novelist's life and, of course, his longstanding love of Barry Manilow's music.

Loren D. Estleman author of Retro
Following the release of his 17th Amos Walker novel, Estleman talks with us about his early life and authorship, the relative rewards of concocting crime fiction and westerns, his love-hate relationship with Detroit and why he's still writing on manual typewriters.

Loren D. Estleman author of Retro

Simon Kernick author of The Crime Trade
As his third thriller is released in Britain, we talk with Kernick about his latest novels, his intent to launch a second series, his unexpected brush with the legendary Inspector Morse and why he hasn't completely escaped his parents' home.

Timothy Harris author of Unfaithful Servant
To celebrate the publication of his third Thomas Kyd novel, Harris talks with January about his peripatetic life, his evolution as a Southern California novelist, his screenwriting experiences and why he decided to resurrect his fictional private eye after a 25-year absence.

See the complete listing of crime fiction authors January Magazine has interviewed  -->


Dashiell Hammett A 75th-Anniversary Tribute
This author's third and now best-known novel, The Maltese Falcon, was published in book form on Valentine's Day, 1930, changing both Hammett's life and American detective fiction. We celebrate with a look back at his career and influences; a review of the new collection, Vintage Hammett; and praise from dozens of modern crime writers.

Dashiell Hammett A 75th-Anniversary Tribute

Strangers on Terrain by George J. Demko
Twenty-first-century Packards, fictitious big-city locations, blatantly distorted politics -- foreign mystery writers who set their stories in America are often as guilty of committing crimes against fact as their characters are of causing larceny and murder.

Strangers on Terrain by George J. Demko

Sleuths in Spurs by Bill Crider
Saddle up for gunplay and gumshoeing as January's "Five of a Kind" series corrals a herd of novels that deftly deliver the best virtues of mystery fiction (vigorous storytelling, clever plotting and a vivid sense of place) against Wild West backdrops.

Sleuths in Spurs by Bill Crider

A Stranger No More by Tom Nolan
Ross Macdonald's biographer recalls how he discovered three "new" stories by one of the genre's foremost detective novelists.

Beyond Shaft by Kevin Burton Smith
Amidst all the hype about the new movie Shaft, it's time to reassess that "black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks" and to recognize how John Shaft kicked the door open for a diverse bunch of literary descendants.

See our complete listing of crime fiction features  -->

Cavalcade by Walter Satterthwait
If not the year's first great mystery, this novel about a 1920s investigation into a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler is certainly a rip-snorting adventure and a thoughtful, fascinating, hard-nosed take on one of the 20th century's great evils.

The Monsters of Gramercy Park by Danny Leigh
Part cat-and-mouse game, part exploration of prison solitary confinement and part children's story, this flawed but thoughtful thriller follows a blocked crime novelist whose struggles to resurrect her career may spell her personal undoing.

The Monsters of Gramercy Park by Danny Leigh

All the Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block
This 16th Matt Scudder novel, in which the tormented, alcoholic New York City P.I. does battle with an icily calculating killer, is an engrossing, uncompromising look at human existence. Our reviewer is already calling it a "best book of the year."

The Forgotten Man by Robert Crais
This powerful 10th Elvis Cole adventure has the L.A. detective trying to get over a broken relationship, at the same time as he struggles to determine whether a murdered old man is the father for whom he'd searched so long -- and unsuccessfully.

Vintage Hammett by Dashiel Hammett
Contributing editor Kevin Burton Smith gives this new collection a good working over and finds that, while this book may be skinny, it still packs a potent literary punch.

At Risk by Stella Rimington
The thriller genre gains an exceptional new voice in this tale about a female op with British Secret Service MI5 who must hunt down a Muslim former supporter of the West and his co-conspirator, a woman who's having doubts about her deadly assignment.

Now You See It by Stuart M. Kaminsky
Upholding his tradition of delivering madcap stories with even zanier characters, Kaminsky sends disheveled Hollywood gumshoe Toby Peters to protect famed magician Harry Blackstone and take his chances beneath a bum buzz saw.

Now You See It by Stuart M. Kaminsky

Jass by David Fulmer
In this sequel to Chasing the Devil's Tail, Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr tracks down a serial killer who's roaming the streets of his city's red-light district. Unfortunately, the novel is ponderous with historical research and light on suspense.

The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes edited by Leslie S. Klinger
While it's beautifully designed and intriguingly footnoted, this massive two-volume compendium of short stories spends too much time treating fiction as fact, and too little time analyzing the legacy of Conan Doyle's Great Detective. Plus: a Q&A with the editor.

California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker
Parker's 12th novel, about brothers coming to terms with the late 1960s and the gruesome murder of their poor, doomed childhood acquaintance, is that most wonderful of rarities -- a crime thriller whose story justifies every single one of its pages.

California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
In "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone," Holmes once said, "I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix." Here, in Chabon's slim addition to the Sherlockian bookshelf, we get a finer appendix than we could have ever hoped for.

The Last King by Nichelle D. Tramble
In this noirish sequel to The Dying Ground, former athlete Maceo Redfield returns home to Oakland, where he endeavors to help an estranged childhood friend, who's gone underground, beat the charge of bludgeoning a call girl.

Hard, Hard City by Jim Fusilli
In his powerful fourth outing, P.I. and struggling father Terry Orr is reminded of his own troubled upbringing as he searches for a missing high-school student, whose wealthy but thuggish father and icy mother seem oddly unfazed by their son's disappearance.

Little Scarlet by Walter Mosley
In his most potent and best-plotted Easy Rawlins novel to date, told in the wake of L.A.'s 1965 Watts Riots, Mosley sends his janitor-cum-sleuth out to solve the murder of a redheaded black woman -- a case that, unless handled carefully, could re-ignite the recent violence.

See previous crime fiction reviews  -->