Sunday, June 25, 2017

Arrested Development

After hitting it big with its 1960s-set police drama, Endeavour, a prequel to the long-running Inspector Morse, British broadcaster ITV decided to try mining the history of yet another familiar small-screen sleuth, London Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, who was played so memorably by Helen Mirren throughout the 1991-2006 procedural series Prime Suspect. The resulting program, titled Prime Suspect: Tennison and starring 20-something actress Stefanie Martini, is scheduled to begin a three-episode run tonight as part of PBS-TV’s Masterpiece Mystery! lineup, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Wikipedia summarizes this series—“which is set primarily in Hackney”—by saying that it “portrays a young Jane Tennison … as she begins her career as a WPC [Woman Police Constable] with the Metropolitan Police Service in 1973. The series is set at a time when women were beginning to be gradually integrated into the police force. In a workplace dominated by chauvinistic male police officers, Tennison assists in the investigation of the murder of a young prostitute. Tennison has to deal with sexism, as well as difficulties in her home life as her family disapprove of her career choice.”

The story is based on Tennison, a 2015 novel by Lynda La Plante, who created the original Prime Suspect. Unfortunately, ITV’s hope that La Plante would also script its prequel drama fell through as a result of “creative differences” between the author and the television producers. That unhappy twist might now be portrayed as a forewarning of further troubles. While Prime Suspect: Tennison (called Prime Suspect 1973 in the UK) has won plaudits from some critics for its portrayal of “the dingy 1970s London milieu” and for dutifully sourcing the woes (rage, loneliness, hard drinking) that will bedevil Tennison as she rises through the ranks, others have been far less generous. When it was broadcast this last spring in Great Britain, The Guardian knocked this drama’s sometimes clunky dialogue and its cast of characters, which it called “mere ciphers compared with their counterparts” in Mirren’s Prime Suspect. More recently, The New York Times denounced replacement screenwriter Glen Laker’s decision to make “Tennison’s crime-solving instincts … consistently infallible” and “the script’s narrow focus on prequelizing. It doesn’t have any ideas beyond establishing the endemic sexism Tennison will still be facing 20 years on, and connecting dots to her later alcoholism (in three different scenes) and bad decisions about sex.” Meanwhile, Salon’s Melanie McFarland disparaged this program’s emphasis on the criminal case at hand rather than Tennison’s character. “Because of this,” she wrote, “little is illuminated about Jane Tennison’s early years, effectively negating its value as a prequel.”

Even in the face of such carping, ITV insists in a statement that it is “grateful to Lynda La Plante for allowing us to adapt her brilliant book Tennison, and we were very happy with how Prime Suspect 1973 performed and the audience reaction to the series.” Yet the network announced last month that it would deny the show a second season. The existing episodes—six as shown in the UK, but three 90-minute installments in the U.S.—are all that viewers will be able to enjoy. People who want to learn more about Jane Tennison’s early years will have to search out La Plante’s novels. Since 2015’s Tennison, she has composed two sequels: Hidden Killers (2016) and Good Friday (to be released this August in the UK by Zaffre).

Prime Suspect: Tennison will continue as part of Masterpiece Mystery! through the next two Sundays, July 2 and 9, following fresh installments of Grantchester. Watch a video trailer for the series here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Book You Have to Read:
“Beverly Gray in the Orient,” by Clair Blank

(Editor’s note: This is the 148th entry in The Rap Sheet’s continuing series about great but forgotten books. Today’s contribution comes from mystery and suspense author Carmen Amato, who writes the Detective Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco [and optioned for television]; Pacific Reaper—released in April—is the newest book in that series. Emilia Cruz is the first female detective on the Acapulco police force, confronting Mexico’s drug cartels and legendary government corruption. Amato, originally from New York, pens books that draw on her experience living in Mexico and Central America, as well as her various travels around the globe. Learn more by visiting her Web site or following her on Twitter @CarmenConnects.)

It’s 1937.

She’s an investigative reporter for the New York Tribune.

She lives in New York City with her three best friends.

She has “a knack of attracting adventure and a flair for solving mysteries.”

Her name is Beverly Gray, and every girl wants to be her.

Including me.

Over the course of 26 novels published between 1934 and 1955, girls from all over the United States thrilled to Beverly Gray’s adventures, first as a freshman at Vernon College (a thinly disguised Bryn Mawr) and then as an intrepid reporter, novelist, and playwright. Written by Clair Blank, the pen name of Pennsylvania native Clarissa Mabel Blank Moyer (1915-1965), the Beverly Gray series galloped across the globe as Beverly and friends clashed with villains, exposed imposters, escaped kidnappings, and inherited cursed castles and haunted ranches.

In Beverly Gray in the Orient (1937), the dark-haired and indomitable Beverly cruises her way through danger in India and China. Blank grouped novels within her series, making Orient the seventh book in the sequence but also the second of three set aboard the yacht Susabella. Beverly and her roommates Lenora, Shirley, and Lois—all Vernon alumni and members of the Alpha Delta sorority—are guests of yacht owner Roger Garrett. Three male friends and Roger’s aunt Miss Ernwood, their chaperone, complete the travel group.

The Susabella first visited England in the preceding, 1936 novel, Beverly Gray on a World Cruise, in which another of our heroine’s touring companions, Jim Stanton, found half of a treasure map. A bogus bit of European royalty, Count Alexis, proved he would do anything to get his hands on it. A mystery man named Black Barney had possession of the map’s other half.

Now, as the Susabella continues her voyage, Blank delivers another dose of her signature blend of dreamy descriptions, realistic dialogue, and campy drama. First, Beverly chases off stowaway Count Alexis with a jar of cold cream. He escapes. The yacht arrives in India. In Bombay, Beverly meets up with Larry Owens, a “government agent” boasting “reckless blue eyes and [an] engaging grin.”

Wanting to experience all that India has to offer, Beverly and friends take a river boat ride. In an authentic and terrifying scene, the craft sinks. Beverly is plunged into a watery vortex of panicked people and thrashing cattle. She survives, only to then be chased through the jungle by a tiger. Luckily, she finds a famous American explorer’s camp and is reunited with her friends aboard the Susabella.

Count Alexis then abducts Beverly and Jim as they buy souvenirs. But in another stroke of luck, the Count’s driver recognizes Beverly from a previous encounter in New York. Rescued again!

The Susabella proceeds to Hong Kong and Canton, China. Pirates attack and hijack Beverly and Shirley. The two women are thrown into a Chinese junk and taken to a pirate camp. Who is the leader of these pirates? Why, the elusive Black Barney.

Sporting a convincing disguise, agent Larry Owens has infiltrated the gang. For the next 40 pages, Beverly and Shirley spy on their captors and in the course of it discover that Count Alexis and Black Barney are in cahoots. After Beverly surreptitiously traces Black Barney’s half of the treasure map, Larry steals the Chinese junk and delivers the girls back to the waiting Susabella.

(Left) Author Carmen Amato.

The big showdown with Count Alexis and Black Barney occurs in Shanghai. In a pitch-black cellar under a famous restaurant, Beverly teams this time with Roger Garrett, and the villains are finally arrested.

Now in possession of the full treasure map, the gang votes to go after the concealed riches. Larry comes aboard the Susabella, bringing a guide named Shanghai Pete. The yacht sets sail for Fiji and the next novel in the series.

Beverly Gray in the Orient is completely improbable and shows little regard for geographic accuracy, yet it is surprisingly well-written, with engaging characters and romantic descriptions. Author Blank lends emotional heft to places most of her readers will never see. As one example, here is her description of Beverly visiting India’s 17th-century Taj Mahal at night: “She stood bareheaded in the moonlight and feasted her eyes on the white marble of the tomb … Probably next year she would again be in New York working. But the Taj Mahal would remain peacefully at rest beneath the indigo sky, changeless as the flow of years.”

Beverly’s “voice” is engaging, full of hopes and dreams. Her heartstrings sing, for instance, when she receives a copy of her newly published novel and “held something of her own creation, something that would endure, something she had molded from nothing at all.” Blank, who published the first four books in this series while still in high school, likely drew on her own feelings for that line.

Friends are vitally important to Beverly and every reader could imagine herself a member of the tight circle; joking with Lenora, drawing with the quiet Lois, or dreaming of success on the stage with Shirley. Lenora is the most well-developed character besides Beverly in Beverly Gray in the Orient, with a saucy attitude and peppery banter that is genuinely funny. She trades jibes with soul mate Terry Cartwright, a Brit given lines such as “Rot,” and “Oh, I say!” In the 1940s, midway through the series, Blank’s only nod to World War II will be Terry in uniform and his friends worrying for his safety.

Romance is always a series subplot. Like Lenora and Terry, eventually all the characters are paired off. Indeed, Beverly Gray in the Orient establishes the romantic tension between Beverly, Larry Owens, and Jim Stanton that will unspool over the next few books. When Jim declares his love for Beverly she walks “on moonbeams,” but is unsure if she feels the same about him. She’ll ultimately choose Larry, who in a few books will morph from footloose secret agent to Long Island-based aeronautical engineer.

In addition to the Beverly Gray series, Clair Blank produced the three-volume Adventure Girls series and one adult novel, Lover Come Back (1940). All featured characters closely resembling Beverly.

Blank never enjoyed Beverly’s free-spirited adventures, but instead lived her entire life in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She attended secretarial school and worked for a pipeline company. During World War II, she served in the American Women’s Voluntary Services. In 1943 she married George Elmer Moyer, an Allentown welder, and reared two sons.

I was a teen when I first encountered Beverly Gray in a used bookstore. Over the years, I’ve found all but one of the 26 novels, many crumbly and brown with age. Never reprinted, the series faded into obscurity after the last installment, Beverly Gray's Surprise, was published in 1955 by Clover Books. Previous publishers were the W.L. Burt Company and Grosset and Dunlap. The latter found greater success with the Nancy Drew series.

Deep down I know that Beverly inspired me to be a writer. Like her, I went to college, had some thrilling adventures around the world, and fell in love with a man named Larry.

And possibly inherited her “flair for solving mysteries.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Revue of Reviewers, 6-20-17

Critiquing some of the most interesting recent crime, mystery, and thriller releases. Click on the individual covers to read more.








Up with Scottish Crime

In advance of this year’s Bloody Scotland conference (to be held in Stirling, Scotland, from September 8 to 10), its organizers have announced their longlist of nominees for the 2017 McIlvanney Prize. Formerly known as the Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award, this coveted annual accolade was renamed last year in honor of the late author William McIlvanney. The contenders are:

None But the Dead, by Lin Anderson (Macmillan)
Want You Gone, by Chris Brookmyre (Little, Brown)
Cold Earth, by Ann Cleeves (Macmillan)
Perfect Remains, by Helen Fields (HarperCollins)
Out of Bounds, by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
Cross Purpose, by Claire MacLeary (Contraband)
The Long Drop, by Denise Mina (Random House)
Games People Play, by Owen Mullen (Bloodhound)
Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin (Orion)
Murderabilia, by Craig Robertson (Simon & Schuster)
The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid, by Craig Russell (Quercus)
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People, by Jay Stringer
(Thomas & Mercer)

Opening night festivities at Bloody Scotland, on September 8, will include the presentation of the 2017 McIlvanney Prize. That commendation comes with a £1,000 cash reward, plus nationwide promotion at Waterstones book retailers.

Previous recipients of this award for “excellence in Scottish crime writing” are Chris Brookmyre (Black Widow), Craig Russell (The Ghosts of Altona), Peter May (Entry Island), Malcolm Mackay (How a Gunman Says Goodbye), and Charles Cumming (A Foreign Country).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hannah Takes the Dagger

British probation officer-turned-author Mari Hannah, perhaps best known for her Kate Daniels series of police procedurals, has won the 2017 Dagger in the Library. The prize is sponsored by the Crime Writers’ Association and celebrates “a body of work by a crime writer that users of libraries particularly admire.”

“To receive the Dagger in the Library is an honour so early in my career,” Hannah says in a statement posted on her Web site. “It means so much because, in the early stages, it was librarians and readers who voted me onto the longlist. I grew up in a home that had few books. Libraries were very important to me. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank librarians and their amazing staff for all the support they have given me.” Hannah received her Dagger during a reception at the British Library this last Saturday, June 17.

The longlist of this year’s Dagger in the Library nominees,
announced in early May, also featured Andrew Taylor, C.J. Sansom, James Oswald, Kate Ellis, and Tana French.

(Hat tip to Mystery Fanfare.)

Latest Lammys Lineup

Whoops! We apparently missed spotting the announcement last week of which books and authors had won the 2016 Lambda Literary Awards—aka the Lammys—in 24 categories. The Lammys honor “excellence in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender books.”

You can find all of the prize recipients listed here. But as far as Rap Sheet readers go, there are two categories that might be of greatest interest: Speakers of the Dead, by J. Aaron Sanders (Plume), picked up the prize for Best Gay Mystery, while Pathogen, by Jessica L. Webb (Bold Strokes), walked away with the commendation for Best Lesbian Mystery. Click here to find all the nominees in both of those fields.

(Hat tip to Omnivoracious.)

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Quaint Community’s Star Turn



Editor’s note: In anticipation of the third season debut of Grantchester—to be broadcast on PBS-TV’s Masterpiece this coming Sunday, June 18—a British public relations and marketing company called Quite Great! sent The Rap Sheet a rather charming, seven-minute video excursion through the real Cambridgeshire village used as the backdrop for that 1950s-set ITV series based on James Runcie’s books. The video, embedded above, is hosted by UK pop-rock singer Corinna Jane. It came with the following short write-up:

This month brings the start of the latest series of the popular crime drama Grantchester. But what do we really know about the more than 900-year-old village that has become the stomping ground of a “crime-fighting” vicar, played by James Norton, and a war veteran turned police detective, brought to small-screen life by Robson Green?

Well, Grantchester lies just a mile outside the university city of Cambridge, in eastern England, and plays host to a number of famous pastimes that contribute to its quintessential Englishness. These include a Boxing Day barrel race that brings all the local pubs together for a tradition dating back to the 1960s (and ends in a hog roast!).

The village has been home to such noteworthy wordsmiths as Rupert Brooke, Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf and Jeffrey Archer, and it’s said to boast the world’s highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners.

To further accentuate its charm, Grantchester is home to some of the county’s most distinguished sites, which have become central to the television show’s story lines. For instance, The Orchard—tea rooms where Cambridge students were first served their traditional afternoon warmers in 1897—became a central hub for the program’s writers, as they would ride bicycles to that spot from Cambridge train station.

The most romanticized and sought-after local spot, spreading itself across the marshlands of the village, is the Meadows. In the show you will often see Reverend Sidney Chambers peddling past it along the banks of the River Cam, which when the sun shines is a hotbed for punts, picnics, and swimmers. Over the decades the Meadows has not only drawn the eyes of numerous photographers, but has also inspired poetry and musical works (the latter of which include Pink Floyd’s 1969 song, appropriately titled “Grantchester Meadows.”)

However, the village’s most famous attraction may be the Church of St. Mary and St. Andrew. That imposing High Street structure, part of which dates from the 14th century, features heavily in the series and does a fairly good job of summing up Grantchester as a village happy to embrace the present, but still blissfully pinned to its past.

* * *

The new, third season of Grantchester comprises seven hour-long episodes, which will run under the Masterpiece banner through Sunday, July 30. Episode information and previews can be found here. Grantchester begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

All in the Family

Just in time for Father’s Day this coming Sunday, blogger Janet Rudolph brings back her list of crime and mystery novels featuring “Father’s Day, Fathers & Sons, [and] Fathers & Daughters.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Bullet Points: Back in the Game Edition

Sorry for the hiatus, but my computer required a major system upgrade … and I needed a few days without the responsibilities of news gathering. So I wasn’t pushing my technology folks overmuch to get the job done. But now that things seem to be back to normal, let me highlight a few crime fiction-related developments.

• I was still offline when blogger Evan Lewis posted the 18th and concluding chapter of the 1946 comic-book adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. So I couldn’t draw attention to it until now. If you missed any part of that comic, you can enjoy “the whole shebang” right here. Thanks, Even, for this rare treat.

• Here’s something I didn’t know: Famous stage, screen, and radio actor John Barrymore (aka the “greatest living American tragedian”) was originally slated to play San Francisco private detective Sam Spade in the first, 1931 motion-picture adaptation of The Maltese Falcon. Blogger Steven Thompson says Warner Bros. “purchased the then recent Dashiell Hammett story as a vehicle for Barrymore.” Apparently, though, negotiations fell apart when it was announced that former child star Bebe Daniels, one of Warner’s contract players, had been signed as the female lead, and that hers “was actually a bigger part” than the screenplay gave Spade. Barrymore’s retreat from the project left room for Ricardo Cortez to step into his gumshoes, instead.

• If you haven’t watched it already, click here to find the first official trailer promoting this year’s movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1934 whodunit Murder on the Orient Express. Starring a bizarrely mustachioed Kenneth Branagh as brilliant Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, and also featuring fine performers such as Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Derek Jacobi, the film is set to debut in theaters nationwide this coming November 10.



• By the way, which poster do you prefer? The one on the left, touting the 1974 Orient Express (with art by Richard Amsel), or the one displayed on the right, from Branagh’s forthcoming version? Click on either image for an enlargement.

• In Publishers Weekly, Elizabeth Foxwell interviews Joan Hess, who completed the last Amelia Peabody historical mystery left behind when her fellow author, Elizabeth Peters (otherwise known as Barbara Mertz), died in 2013. Hess says her biggest challenge in composing The Painted Queen—which is due out from Morrow in July—“was attempting to capture the subtlety of the somewhat stilted language of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Contractions—how I missed them!”

From B.V. Lawson’s In Reference to Murder:
The Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense is named for Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, a suspense novel with romantic and gothic overtones and a precursor to today’s romantic suspense. Presented annually by the RWA [Romance Writers of America] Kiss of Death organization, this year’s Daphne finalists were named in the category of Mainstream Mystery/Suspense and various Romantic Suspense categories. Finalists in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category include Notorious by Carey Baldwin; Death Among the Doilies (A Cora Crafts Mystery) by Mollie Cox Bryan; Elegy in Scarlet by B.V. Lawson; Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan; and In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White. For all the finalists (including those both unpublished and published divisions), follow this link.
• On the heels of The Rap Sheet publishing its much longer rundown of summer crime, mystery, and thriller releases, the podcast Writer Types is out with a new episode focusing in part on what works fans of this genre should sample over the next three sunnier months. (If you think you’re too busy to listen to the episode, a list of the recommendations can be found here.) Beyond that part of the show, co-host S.W. Lauden explains, “We’ve also got great interviews with Meg Gardiner (Unsub), John Rector (The Ridge), Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun), and Thomas Pluck (Bad Boy Boogie). All that plus a short story by Angel [Luis] Colón.” Listen here.

• What might the 2015 James Bond film Spectre have been like had Roger Moore starred in it, rather than Daniel Craig? It certainly couldn’t have been any more wearisome than the version that reached theaters, and as this what-if trailer in Spy Vibe suggests, it might have provided “a cool juxtaposition between the visceral action and danger of the Craig era and Moore’s undeniable charisma and charm on the screen.” Sadly, we can only imagine the whole of Moore’s Spectre.

Another tribute to the late Roger Moore. (More here.)

• Lit Reactor is out with its list of “The Best Books of 2017 … So Far.” It includes a quartet of crime/thriller novels. Strangely, several of my own early favorites—Anthony Horowitz’s Magpie Murders, Philip Kerr’s Prussian Blue, Don Winslow’s The Force, and Oscar de Muriel’s Fever of the Blood—don’t show up on that roster, but there’s still time for the Lit Reactor folk to come to their senses.

• Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s choices of “37 Books We’ve Loved So Far in 2017” mentions just three crime/mystery novels: The Long Drop, by Denise Mina; Not a Sound, by Heather Gudenkauf; and Since We Fell, by Dennis Lehane (which—surprisingly for a Lehane work—I haven’t yet felt compelled to finish).

• Although the cover of its premiere issue could hardly be less intriguing than it is, I’m very pleased to see Maryland publisher Wildside Press introduce Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Scheduled to debut in September, BCMM (not to be confused with the classic, 1895-1922 American literary journal, The Black Cat) will reportedly “focus on contemporary and traditional mysteries, as well as thrillers and suspense stories.” Among the writers contributing to Issue No. 1 are Art Taylor, Meg Opperman, John Floyd, and Barb Goffman. Order a copy here. Hopes are to make BCMM a quarterly publication.

From blogger-editor Janet Rudolph:
David Schmid, Ph.D. received the 2017 George N. Dove Award for Contributions to the Study of Mystery and Crime Fiction. David Schmid, associate professor in the Department of English at the University at Buffalo (State University of New York), was selected to receive the 2017 Dove Award. The honor is bestowed for outstanding contributions to the serious study of mystery, detective, and crime fiction by the Mystery and Detective Fiction Area of the Popular Culture Association. The award is named for George N. Dove, one of the area’s early members, a past president of the Popular Culture Association, and author of outstanding presentations, articles, and books on detective fiction, especially the police procedural.
• In Criminal Element, Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai offers some history behind this week’s release of Donald E. Westlake’s long-missing but quite rewarding thriller, Forever and a Death.

• Speaking of previously “lost” fiction … “A collection of short stories by Ruth Rendell, unearthed in the archive of a U.S. detective magazine, are to be published for the first time in the UK this autumn,” reports The Guardian. “The stories were found in magazines—[mostly in] back issues of … Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine—and date as far back at the 1970s. They will be published under the title A Spot of Folly.” Rendell passed away in the spring of 2015, aged 85.

“Hopalong Cassidy—Detective?”

• I still own two manual typewriters, and am loath to give them up, thinking they might be fun to use again someday. I didn’t know I’m not alone in my nostalgia for such vintage machines. “In the age of smartphones, social media and hacking fears,” reports the Associated Press, “vintage typewriters that once gathered dust in attics and basements are attracting a new generation of fans across the U.S.”

• “On the 129th anniversary of [Raymond] Chandler’s birth, seven writers have gathered to declare how Chandler influenced their own work and continues to shape the landscape of modern crime fiction.” You’ll find their opinions here.

• After years spent as a magazine and newspaper editor, I know how popular lists are with readers. Therefore, I’m not surprised to have seen a bunch of such opinionated inventories pop up online lately. The Strand Magazine Web site seems particularly fond of such tallies, offering: “Five Prescient Political Thrillers,” “Top 10 Mystery or Crime Novels Set in the Country,” “Top 10 Crime Novels Set in London,” and “Top Nine Books with ‘Girl’ in the Title.” Since 2017 marks the centennial of America’s involvement in World War I, Criminal Element weighs in with “Nine Murder Mysteries Set During Wartime.” BookRiot shares its picks of “Five Japanese Crime Writers that Should Be on Your Radar,” and Please Kill Me’s collection of “Ten Great New York City Novels” features (naturally) Dashiell Hammett’s 1933 Nick and Nora Charles mystery, The Thin Man.

• For something a bit different, Mystery Fanfare points us toward Culture Trip’s rundown of “50 Unique Independent Bookstores You Need to Visit in Every U.S. State.” Although the wording of that headline implies we’ll learn about 50 such retailers in each state of the Union, the story actually offers just one store suggestion per state. I’ve stopped by many of these shops, but not nearly all of them.

• Did you know there is a book-length sequel to the 1992 comedy film My Cousin Vinny? Titled Back to Brooklyn, and written by New York City-area resident Lawrence Kelter, it was released last month by Down & Out Books. Oh, and it’s described on Amazon as the first sequel to that persistently entertaining movie.

• I’m always impressed by bloggers who can hang in there for the long haul, when the urge to discontinue an enterprise like this—which brings few obvious rewards and can consume so many hours of one’s life—threatens to overwhelm. Despite reports you may have heard, the business of blogging is not for the faint of heart. Therefore, let’s give a hearty round of applause to Terence Towles Canote, whose pop-culture blog, A Shroud of Thoughts, recently celebrated its 13th anniversary. That’s two more years than The Rap Sheet has been in existence.

• For most of last week, the big Batman news had to do with that fictional crime-fighter’s decision—as spelled out in the latest issue of the DC Universe Rebirth: Batman comic-book series—to finally propose marriage to Catwoman (aka Selina Kyle). Then, however, came word that Adam West, the man who’d brought both the Caped Crusader and his alter ego, “millionaire playboy” Bruce Wayne, to brave if campy life in the 1966-1968 ABC-TV series Batman, had died of leukemia at age 88. According to an obituary in The Hollywood Reporter, West once said, “You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange.” He added that he’d played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognize you.” Trouble is, everybody came to recognize Adam West for his Batman portrayal. As a consequence, the Walla Walla, Washington-born farm boy turned actor—who’d appeared on such boob-tube dramas as 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Maverick, Perry Mason, and The Detectives before scoring the Batman gig—“never quite got out of Batman’s long shadow, both for better and for worse,” writes National Public Radio’s Colin Dwyer. Yes, West later guest-starred on programs as varied as Emergency!, Laverne & Shirley, Murder, She Wrote, Diagnosis: Murder, and The Big Bang Theory; he won a regular part on the 1986 sitcom The Last Precinct and starred in Conan O’Brien’s unsuccessful 1991 TV pilot, Lookwell (which he later referenced as “my favorite” pilot); yet as The Atlantic remembers, it was only after the actor “embraced” his Batman typecasting that he could again find happiness—and consistent employment. “West returned to voice his iconic character in such cartoons as The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Simpsons,” observes The Hollywood Reporter, “and Warner Bros.’ long-awaited DVD release of ABC’s Batman in 2014 brought him back into the Bat Signal’s spotlight.” (He also did regular voice-overs on the animated series Family Guy.) West’s demise follows that of Yvonne Craig, the onetime dancer who played Batgirl on Batman during its final season; she passed away in 2015 as a result of breast cancer, aged 78. Still around, though, is the second half of West’s Dynamic Duo: Burt Ward, who donned tights and a ridiculously paltry black mask as Robin, “the Boy Wonder,” on the show. He’ll turn 72 come July 6 of this year. Read more about Adam West’s life and career here, here, and here.

This is the coolest Adam West tribute imaginable! (FOLLOW-UP: Film footage from the event can be found here and here.)

• While we’re honoring the lately departed, let us not forget Boulder, Colorado, author Marlys Millhiser, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease on April 20, just short of her 80th birthday. As Mystery Fanfare notes, the Iowa-born former high school teacher penned “sixteen mysteries and horror novels. She served as a regional vice president of the Mystery Writers of America and is best known for her novel The Mirror (1978) and for the Charlie Greene Mysteries” (the most recent of those being 2002’s The Rampant Reaper).

• Rest in peace, Glenne Headly. As Variety reports, the Connecticut-born actress—“known for starring alongside Warren Beatty in 1990’s Dick Tracy as Tess Trueheart,” and for earning an Emmy nomination for her role in the 1989 TV miniseries Lonesome Dove—died in Santa Monica, California, on June 8 as a result of complications from a pulmonary embolism. She was only 62 years of age.

• Finally, I mentioned in my last “Bullet Points” post that veteran sportswriter-novelist Frank Deford was retiring after 37 years of doing commentary for NPR’s Morning Edition. Just two weeks later, on May 28, the 78-year-old died at his home in Key West, Florida. In honor of his journalism career, Sports Illustrated—the periodical to which he’d contributed so much of his writing over the decades—posted online one of Deford’s most memorable pieces, “The Boxer and the Blonde,” which ran originally in SI’s June 17, 1985, issue.

Kiwi Competitors

Via a New Zealand news and culture Web site called The Spinoff, we now have the longlist of nominees for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel. The site explains that “Two of the ten longlisted books are by the same prolific author, Finn Bell. None of the past winners are in the running this year. In fact, of the 19 different authors who’ve been finalists in the first few years, only one—Ben Sanders—is a 2017 contender.” Here’s the full lineup:

Dead Lemons, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Pancake Money, by Finn Bell (e-book)
Spare Me the Truth, by C.J. Carver (Bonnie Zaffre)
Red Herring, by Jonothan Cullinane (HarperCollins)
The Revelations of Carey Ravine, by Debra Daley (Quercus)
The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton, by Katherine Hayton (Katherine Hayton)
Presumed Guilty, by Mark McGinn (Merlot)
Marshall’s Law, by Ben Sanders (Allen & Unwin)
A Straits Settlement, by Brian Stoddart (Crime Wave Press)
The Last Time We Spoke, by Fiona Sussman (Allison & Busby)

The Spinoff post provides brief plot descriptions of each book. It adds that “The longlist is currently being considered by a panel of seven crime-fiction experts from five countries. The finalists will be announced in August, along with the finalists for the best first novel and best true-crime categories. The winners will be announced at a WORD Christchurch event in October.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s contestants!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Recess Time

Due to the need for a computer system overhaul and upgrade, The Rap Sheet will be offline for the next several days. I hope to be up and running again soon. Thanks as always for your support.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Summer Reading Forecast:
Sunny with a Probability of Homicide



Stop me if you’ve heard this story before (I don’t think I have told it in print), but for most of my adult life I thought my younger brother, Matt, didn’t read books. Needless to say, this was rather frustrating to me, as I’d devoted a significant portion of my professional career to reviewing and writing books. Matt and I had been reared in the same household, with parents who read widely and bookcases plentifully stocked with volumes of fiction and non-fiction. There seemed to be no reason he should have dodged the reading bug that so infected me. Yet the shelves in his various apartments over the years, and later in his house, were sparsely occupied, and what works they did contain (including a copy of Donald Trump’s ghostwritten 1987 memoir, The Art of the Deal) hardly suggested a mind ripe for intellectual or imaginative explorations.

Then came a Christmas when I was stumped for gift ideas. I finally decided to break my self-imposed prohibition against giving Matt books (thinking he would never crack them open), and presented him with a colorfully wrapped-and-bowed novel. Wonder of wonders, a couple of weeks later he phoned to say how much he’d enjoyed the story. I could hardly believe my ears! Not wanting to jinx anything, I didn’t make a big to-do of this development, but I did ask him what it was about the book he’d most enjoyed. Armed with that scant information, when his next birthday rolled around, I bought him two books—and again, he polished them off in short order. Since then, I have made it a life’s mission to fill my brother Matt’s bookcases (he now has more than one) with novels I’ve read and enjoyed. In return, he calls me periodically with playful complaints about having had to postpone chores, get-togethers with friends, and other activities in order to finish a chapter or two of whatever he’s reading.

What I have realized over time is that Matt wasn’t averse to reading; he was just wary of choosing his own books, not wanting to fork over money for something he wasn’t guaranteed to enjoy. He needed a quality-control expert, and that’s what I have become—enthusiastically, I should say. He seems to trust my opinion as regards fiction (I still haven’t persuaded him to delve much into non-fiction), and will now tackle pretty much any book … provided I give it my approval beforehand.

I can understand why people have trouble settling on what to read next, if only because there are so many choices. Despite concerns that escalating printing costs and the burgeoning of e-books would kill off novels in print, there are still hundreds of thousands of bound literary and genre works put into circulation every year in the United States. During just the next three months of summer, for instance, Americans can look forward to the appearance of new creations by Don Winslow (The Force), Joseph Kanon (Defectors), Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders), Laurie R. King (Lockdown), Donald E. Westlake (Forever and a Death), Jordan Harper (She Rides Shotgun), Benjamin Black (Wolf on a String), Ruth Ware (The Lying Game), Michael Connelly (The Late Show), Julia Keller (Fast Falls the Night), Bill Crider (Dead, to Begin With), Andrew Gross (The Saboteur), Peter Robinson (Sleeping in the Ground), and Daniel Silva (House of Spies). Residents of the UK, meanwhile, can expect to witness the debuts of David Hewson’s Sleep Baby Sleep, Abir Mukherjee’s A Necessary Evil, Kristina Ohlsson’s Buried Lies, Deon Meyer’s Fever, Stephen Booth’s Dead in the Dark, Nicci French’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, Andrew Martin’s Soot, Fred Vargas’ The Accordionist, and Peter Høeg’s The Susan Effect.

Below, are listed more than 370 works—scheduled to reach bookshops on both sides of the Atlantic between now and late August—that ought to be of great interest to followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. These selections demonstrate the tremendous breadth of storytelling available within the genre, from hard-boiled private-eye yarns and espionage adventures to tales of suspense and whodunits of the cozier sort. (If you need more suggestions, check out The Bloodstained Bookshelf and Euro Crime.) And while they may draw inquisitive glances from onlookers, should you be caught nose-deep in them on a beach, by a swimming pool, or in a sidewalk café this summer, not a single volume here is likely to cause you embarrassment. When I visit my brother in the coming weeks, I shall pick a couple of these books to add to his fair-weather enjoyment. Cheapskate that he is, Matt still won’t buy his own reading material. But I can’t complain. It’s a small cost to pay for seeing my brother turned into the reader I always hoped he would be.

Non-fiction titles appear below with asterisks (*). The rest are fiction.

JUNE (U.S.):
The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn (Morrow)
American Static, by Tom Pitts (Down & Out)
Ash Falls, by Warren Read (Ig)
Bad Housekeeping, by Maia Chance (Crooked Lane)
Berlin Red, by Sam Eastland (Opus)
The Birdwatcher, by William Shaw (Mulholland)
Blackout, by Marc Elsberg (Sourcebooks Landmark)
Blacky Jaguar Against the Cool Clux Cult, by Angel Luis Colón (Shotgun Honey)
Blood for Wine, by Warren C. Easley (Poisoned Pen Press)
Boundary: The Last Summer, by Andrée A. Michaud (Biblioasis)
Camino Island, by John Grisham (Doubleday)
The Castle, by Jason Pinter (Armina Press)
Cast the First Stone, by James W. Ziskin (Seventh Street)
The Child, by Fiona Barton (Berkley)
The Crime Writer, by Jill Dawson (Harper Perennial)
Criminal Economics, by Eric Beetner (Down & Out)
Dangerous Minds, by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)
The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, by Leonard Goldberg (Minotaur)
Dead Certain, by Adam Mitzner (Thomas & Mercer)
Deadly Game, by Matt Johnson (Orenda)
Dead Reckoning, by Glenis Wilson (Severn House)
Death on Nantucket, by Francine Mathews (Soho Crime)
Death Scene, by Jane A. Adams (Severn House)
Defectors, by Joseph Kanon (Atria)
The Destroyers, by Christopher Bollen (Harper)
DIS MEM BER and Other Stories of Mystery and Suspense, by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press)
The Dog Walker, by Lesley Thomson (Head of Zeus)
Do Not Become Alarmed, by Maile Meloy (Riverhead)
Down on the Street, by Alec Cizak (ABC/Down & Out)
Eleventh Hour, by M.J. Trow (Crème de la Crime)
The End of Temperance Dare, by Wendy Webb (Lake Union)
Every Last Lie, by Mary Kubica (Park Row)
Fatal Facade, by Wendy Tyson (Henery Press)
Fatal Forgeries, by Ritter Ames (Henery Press)
Fateful Mornings, by Tom Bouman (Norton)
Final Target, by John Gilstrap (Kensington)
The Force, by Don Winslow (Morrow)
Forever and a Death, by Donald E. Westlake (Hard Case Crime)
The Fourth Monkey, by J.D. Barker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Furthest Station, by Ben Aaronovitch (Subterranean)
Girl Last Seen, by Nina Laurin (Grand Central)
Gitmo, by Shawn Corridan and Gary Waid (Down & Out)
Give Up the Dead, by Joe Clifford (Oceanview)
The Good Widow, by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (Lake Union)
Guilty Deeds, by Scott D. Smith (Promontory Press)
Hardcastle’s Runaway, by Graham Ison (Severn House)
Hell’s Detective, by Michael Logan (Crooked Lane)
Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck (Crown)
The Himalayan Codex, by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch (Morrow)
The Homecoming, by Alan Russell (Thomas & Mercer)
Knife Creek, by Paul Doiron (Minotaur)
Lagniappe, by Les Edgerton (Down & Out)
The Last Kid Left, by Rosecrans Baldwin (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Last Place You Look, by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur)
Lockdown, by Laurie R. King (Bantam)
Love Like Blood, by Mark Billingham (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Magpie Murders, by Anthony
Horowitz (Harper)
Maigret Takes a Room, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
The Marsh King’s Daughter, by Karen Dionne (Putnam)
MatchUp, edited by Lee Child (Simon & Schuster)
The Mentor, by Lee Matthew Goldberg (Thomas Dunne)
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, by Matthew Sullivan (Scribner)
Miles Off Course, by Sulari Gentill (Poisoned Pen Press)
Monster (Graphic Novel), by Jonathan Kellerman; art by Michael Gaydos (Ballantine)
Murder in Saint-Germain, by Cara Black (Soho Crime)
Murder on Black Swan Lane, by Andrea Penrose (Kensington)
No Turning Back, by Tracy Buchanan (Crooked Lane)
Odd Numbers, by Anne Holt (Scribner)
On Copper Street, by Chris Nickson (Severn House)
The One-Eyed Judge, by Michael Ponsor (Open Road)
Orkney Twilight, by Clare Carson (Head of Zeus)
The Owl Always Hunts at Night, by Samuel Bjørk (Penguin)
Pendulum, by Adam Hamdy (Quercus)
Proof, by C.E. Tobisman (Thomas & Mercer)
The RagTime Traveler, by Larry Karp and Casey Karp
(Poisoned Pen Press)
Raw Wounds, by Matt Hilton (Severn House)
Red Sky, by Chris Goff (Crooked Lane)
The Right Side, by Spencer Quinn (Atria)
She Rides Shotgun, by Jordan Harper (Ecco)
Shiver Hitch, by Linda Greenlaw (Minotaur)
The Silent Corner, by Dean Koontz (Bantam)
The Sisters Chase, by Sarah Healy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Smith, by Timothy J. Lockhart (Stark House)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora
Goss (Saga Press)
The Switch, by Joseph Finder (Dutton)
Take Out, by Margaret Maron (Grand Central)
The Templars’ Last Secret, by Martin Walker (Knopf)
Thrill Kill, by Don Bruns (Severn House)
Trap the Devil, by Ben Coes (St. Martin’s Press)
The Tunnel, by Carl-Johan Vallgren (Quercus)
The Ultimatum, by Karen Robards (Mira)
Undertow, by Elizabeth Heathcote (Park Row)
The Weight of Lies, by Emily Carpenter (Lake Union)
The Weight of Night, by Christine Carbo (Atria)
What the Dead Leave Behind, by David Housewright (Minotaur)
Wolf on a String, by Benjamin Black (Henry Holt)
The Wrong Suspect, by Leigh Russell (Thomas & Mercer)
You Belong to Me, by Colin Harrison (Sarah Crichton)
You’ll Never Know, Dear, by Hallie Ephron (Morrow)
Zero Sum, by Barry Eisler (Thomas & Mercer)

JUNE (UK):
An Act of Silence, by Colette McBeth (Wildfire)
Aurore, by Graham Hurley (Head of Zeus)
The Binding Song, by Elodie Harper (Mulholland)
The Boneyard, by Mark Sennen (Avon)
Broken River, by J. Robert Lennon (Serpent’s Tail)
Buried Lies, by Kristina Ohlsson (Simon & Schuster UK)
The Circus Train Conspiracy, by Edward Marston (Allison & Busby)
Dark Chapter, by Winnie M Li (Legend Press)
Dark Dawn Over Steep House, by M.R.C. Kasasian (Head of Zeus)
The Dark Isle, by Clare Carson (Head of Zeus)
The Deepest Grave, by Harry Bingham (Orion)
Exile, by James Swallow (Zaffre)
Fever, by Deon Meyer (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Final Hour, by Tom Wood (Sphere)
Framed, by Ronnie O’Sullivan (Orion)
The Health of Strangers, by Lesley Kelly (Sandstone Press)
Herring in the Smoke, by L.C. Tyler (Allison & Busby)
The Honeymoon, by Tina Seskis (Penguin)
Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, by Gyles Brandreth (Corsair)
The Killing Connection, by T.F. Muir (Constable)
The Last Cut, by Danielle Ramsay (Mulholland)
The Lost Girl, by Carol Drinkwater (Michael Joseph)
Mad, by Chloé Esposito (Michael Joseph)
Malice, by Hugh Fraser (Urbane)
Master, Liar, Traitor, Friend, by Christoffer Carlsson (Scribe UK)
The Mayfly, by James Hazel (Zaffre)
A Necessary Evil, by Abir Mukherjee (Harvill Secker)
Night of the Lightbringer, by Peter Tremayne (Headline)
One Bad Turn, by Sinéad Crowley (Quercus)
One Little Mistake, by Emma Curtis
(Black Swan)
Only Human, by Kristine Næss (Harvill Secker)
The Paper Cell, by Louise Hutcheson (Contraband)
The Reluctant Contact, by Stephen Burke (Hodder & Stoughton)
Rooted in Evil, by Ann Granger (Headline)
Shattered Minds, by Laura Lam (Macmillan)
Sherlock Holmes: The Labyrinth of Death, by James
Lovegrove (Titan)
Sleep Baby Sleep, by David Hewson (Macmillan)
Sweet After Death, by Valentina Giambanco (Quercus)
Sweet Dreams, by T.J. Spade (MoshPit)
Sweet Little Lies, by Caz Frear (Zaffre)
Threads of Suspicion, by Dee Henderson (Bethany House)
Three Drops of Blood and a Cloud of Cocaine, by Quentin Mouron (Bitter Lemon Press)
Troll, by D.B. Thorne (Corvus)
Trust Me, by Angela Clarke (Avon)
The Wages of Sin, by Kaite Welsh (Tinder Press)
Wolves in the Dark, by Gunnar Staalesen (Orenda)

JULY (U.S.):
Afterlife, by Marcus Sakey (Thomas & Mercer)
Another Man’s Ground, by Claire Booth (Minotaur)
Arrowood, by Mick Finlay (Mira)
Beautiful Animals, by Lawrence Osborne (Hogarth)
Betrayal at Iga, by Susan Spann (Seventh Street)
Blame, by Jeff Abbott (Grand Central)
Bone White, by Ronald Malfi (Kensington)
The Boy Who Saw, by Simon Toyne (Morrow)
The Breakdown, by B.A. Paris (St. Martin’s Press)
Bring Her Home, by David Bell (Berkley)
The Cardinal’s Court, by Cora Harrison (History Press)
Carolina Crimes: 21 Tales of Need, Greed, and Dirty Deeds, edited by Nora Gaskin Esthimer (Down & Out)
Child of My Winter, by Andrew Lanh (Poisoned Pen Press)
China Strike, by Matt Rees (Crooked Lane)
City of Masks, by S.D. Sykes (Pegasus)
The Cleaner, by Elisabeth Herrmann (Manilla/Bonnier Zaffre)
Cold Hearted River, by Keith McCafferty (Viking)
Collared, by David Rosenfelt (Minotaur)
Dark Water, by Parker Bilal (Bloomsbury USA)
Day of the Dead, by Mark Roberts (Head of Zeus)
Death on Delos, by Gary Corby (Soho Crime)
The Devil’s Muse, by Bill Loehfelm (Sarah Crichton)
A Distant View of Everything, by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon)
Domina, by L.S. Hilton (Putnam)
Down a Dark Road, by Linda Castillo (Minotaur)
Every Day Above Ground, by Glen Erik Hamilton (Morrow)
The Fallen, by Ace Atkins (Putnam)
Fierce Kingdom, by Gin Phillips (Viking)
Final Girls, by Riley Sager (Dutton)
Fire and Ashes, by Elaine Viets (Thomas & Mercer)
Flashmob, by Christopher Farnsworth (Morrow)
Fox Hunter, by Zoë Sharp (Pegasus)
A Game of Ghosts, by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Glass Souls, by Maurizio de Giovanni (Europa Editions)
The Goddesses, by Swan Huntley (Doubleday)
House of Spies, by Daniel Silva (Harper)
Incarnate, by Josh Stolberg (Atria/
Emily Bestler)
The Incredible Crime, by Lois Austen-Leigh (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Inside Dark, by James Hankins (Thomas & Mercer)
Killing Is My Business, by Adam Christopher (Tor)
The Lake, by Lotte and Søren Hammer (Bloomsbury USA)
The Last Hack, by Christopher Brookmyre (Atlantic Monthly Press)
The Late Show, by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
Let the Dead Speak, by Jane Casey (Minotaur)
The Library of Light and Shadow, by M.J. Rose (Atria)
The Lies We Tell, by Theresa Schwegel (Minotaur)
The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!, by Catharina
Ingelman-Sundberg (Harper)
Look Behind You, by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen
(St. Martin’s Press)
London Spy, by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster UK)
The Lost Ones, by Sheena Kamal (Morrow)
LoveMurder, by Saul Black (St. Martin’s Press)
The Lying Game, by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press)
Maigret and the Tall Woman, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
The Marriage Pact, by Michelle Richmond (Bantam)
Moskva, by Jack Grimwood (Thomas Dunne)
Murder at Chateau sur Mer, by Alyssa Maxwell (Kensington)
Murder in Mayfair, by D.M. Quincy (Crooked Lane)
My Sister’s Bones, by Nuala Ellwood (Morrow)
The Painted Queen, by Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess (Morrow)
Paradise Valley, by C.J. Box (Minotaur)
Penance of the Damned, by Peter Tremayne (Minotaur)
Perish from the Earth, by Jonathan F. Putnam (Crooked Lane)
Persons Unknown, by Susie Steiner (Random House)
The Reason You’re Alive, by Matthew Quick (Harper)
The Rogue Agent, by Daniel Judson (Thomas & Mercer)
Ruined Stones, by Eric Reed (Poisoned Pen Press)
The Secrets She Keeps, by Michael Robotham (Scribner)
Shallow Grave, by Brian Thiem (Crooked Lane)
Shoreline, by Carolyn Baugh (Forge)
The Smack, by Richard Lange (Mulholland)
Soho Dead, by Greg Keen (Thomas & Mercer)
Soul Cage, by Tetsuya Honda (Minotaur)
A Talent for Murder, by Andrew Wilson (Atria)
The State Counsellor, by Boris Akunin (Mysterious Press)
Ten Dead Comedians, by Fred Van Lente (Quirk)
The Third Nero, by Lindsey Davis (Minotaur)
A Thousand Cuts, by Thomas Mogford (Bloomsbury USA)
Three Minutes, by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström (Quercus)
Trophy, by Steffen Jacobsen (Arcade)
The Trout, by Peter Cunningham (Arcade)
Two Nights, by Kathy Reichs (Bantam)
Unquiet Ghosts, by Glenn Meade (Howard)
Watch Me Disappear, by Janelle Brown (Spiegel & Grau)
What She Saw, by Gerard Stembridge (Harper)
The Woman from Prague, by Rob Hart (Polis)

JULY (UK):
After I’ve Gone, by Linda Green (Quercus)
Dandy Gilver and a Spot of Toil and Trouble, by Catriona McPherson (Hodder & Stoughton)
Dead in the Dark, by Stephen Booth (Sphere)
Death Knocks Twice, by Robert Thorogood (HQ)
Down for the Count, by Martin Holmén (Pushkin Vertigo)
Dying to Live, by Michael Stanley (Orenda)
The Four Horsemen, by Gregory Dowling (Polygon)
Friend Request, by Laura Marshall (Sphere)
Girl Zero, by A.A. Dhand (Bantam Press)
Give Me the Child, by Mel McGrath (HQ)
The Hidden Room, by Stella Duffy (Virago)
I Am Missing, by Tim Weaver (Penguin)
Last Seen Alive, by Claire Douglas (Penguin)
Mr. Campion’s Abdication, by Mike Ripley (Severn House)
My Name Is Nobody, by Matthew Richardson (Michael Joseph)
The Orphans, by Annemarie Neary (Hutchinson)
The Other Twin, by L.V. Hay (Orenda)
Perfect Prey, by Helen Fields (Avon)
The Pinocchio Brief, by Abi Silver (Lightning)
Playing with Death, by Simon Scarrow and Lee Francis (Headline)
Russian Roulette, by Sara Sheridan (Constable)
Soot, by Andrew Martin (Corsair)
The Spy’s Daughter, by Adam Brookes (Sphere)
Sunday Morning Coming Down, by Nicci French (Michael Joseph)
Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell (Century)
They All Fall Down, by Tammy Cohen (Black Swan)
Three Days and a Life, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press)
To Kill the President, by Sam Bourne (HarperCollins)
Unquiet Spirits, by Bonnie MacBird (Collins Crime Club)
Walk in Silence, by J.G. Sinclair (Faber and Faber)
Watching You, by Arne Dahl (Harvill Secker)
Woman of State, by Simon Berthon (HQ)
You Don’t Know Me, by Brooke Magnanti (Orion)

AUGUST (U.S.):
The Address, by Fiona Davis (Dutton)
All the Beautiful People We Once Knew, by Edward Carlson (Skyhorse)
The Amber Shadows, by Lucy Ribchester (Pegasus)
Among the Dead, by J.R. Backlund (Crooked Lane)
Are You Sleeping, by Kathleen Barber (Gallery)
An Army of One, by Tony Schumacher (Morrow)
Atlanta Noir, edited by Tayari Jones (Akashic)
Beautiful Criminals, by Eric Tipton and Susanna Rosenblum (Atria/Emily Bestler)
Best Intentions, by Erika Raskin (St. Martin’s Press)
The Blinds, by Adam Sternbergh (Ecco)
Bosstown, by Adam Abramowitz (Thomas Dunne)
City of Saviors, by Rachel Howzell Hall (Forge)
The Color of Fear, by Marcia Muller (Grand Central)
A Dark and Broken Heart, by R.J. Ellory (Overlook Press)
The Dark Net, by Benjamin Percy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Dark River Rising, by Roger Johns (Minotaur)
Dead Man’s Bridge, by Robert J. Mrazek (Crooked Lane)
Dead, to Begin With, by Bill Crider (Minotaur)
Death by His Grace, by Kwei Quartey (Soho Crime)
Dog Dish of Doom, by E.J. Copperman (Minotaur)
The Driver, by Hart Hanson (Dutton)
The Dying Game, by Asa Avdic (Penguin)
Emma in the Night, by Wendy Walker (St. Martin’s Press)
Exposed, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press)
Family Values, by G.M. Ford (Thomas & Mercer)
Fast Falls the Night, by Julia Keller (Minotaur)
A Fragile Thing, by Kevin Wignall (Thomas & Mercer)
Glass Houses, by Louise Penny (Minotaur)
Gone Gull, by Donna Andrews (Minotaur)
Gone to Dust, by Matt Goldman (Forge)
The Good Daughter, by Karin Slaughter (Morrow)
I Know a Secret, by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine)
Impossible Views of the World, by Lucy Ives (Penguin Press)
A Killer Harvest, by Paul Cleave (Atria)
Kill the Heroes, by David Thurlo (Minotaur)
Lawless and the House of Electricity, by William Sutton (Titan)
Little Boy Lost, by J.D. Trafford
(Thomas & Mercer)
Lone Wolf, by Michael Gregorio
(Severn House)
Maigret, Lognon, and the Gangsters, by Georges Simenon (Penguin)
A Nest of Vipers, by Andrea Camilleri (Penguin)
New Haven Noir, edited by Amy Bloom (Akashic)
Nothing Stays Buried, by P.J. Tracy (Putnam)
On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Ordeal, by Jørn Lier Horst (Minotaur)
The Other Girl, by Erica Spindler (St. Martin’s Press)
The Paris Spy, by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam)
Pretty, Nasty, Lovely, by Rosalind Noonan (Kensington)
A Promise of Ruin, by Cuyler Overholt (Sourcebooks Landmark)
A Promise to Kill, by Erik Storey (Scribner)
The Rat Catchers’ Olympics, by Colin Cotterill (Soho Crime)
The Readymade Thief, by Augustus Rose (Viking)
Road, by John Sweeney (Thomas & Mercer)
The Room of White Fire, by T. Jefferson Parker (Putnam)
The Saboteur, by Andrew Gross (Minotaur)
Safe, by Ryan Gattis (MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Savior’s Game, by Sean Chercover (Thomas & Mercer)
Séance Infernale, by Jonathan Skariton (Knopf)
See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt (Atlantic Monthly Press)
Shadow Girl, by Gerry Schmitt (Berkley)
Shattered, by Allison Brennan (Minotaur)
The Silent Second, by Adam Walker Phillips (Prospect Park)
The Silver Gun, by L.A. Chandlar (Kensington)
Sleeping in the Ground, by Peter Robinson (Morrow)
Snap Judgment, by Marcia Clark (Thomas & Mercer)
The Sorbonne Affair, by Mark Pryor (Seventh Street)
Spice Trade, by Erik Mauritzson (Permanent Press)
Stasi Child, by David Young (Minotaur)
The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books, by Martin Edwards (Poisoned Pen Press)*
A Stranger in the House, by Shari Lapena (Pamela Dorman)
Suburra, by Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Europa Editions)
Sulfur Springs, by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
Thief’s Mark, by Carla Neggers (Mira)
Unraveling Oliver, by Liz Nugent (Gallery/Scout Press)
The Walls, by Hollie Overton (Redhook)
Y Is for Yesterday, by Sue Grafton (Marian Wood/Putnam)

AUGUST (UK):
The Accordionist, by Fred Vargas (Harvill Secker)
After the War, by Hervé Le Corre (MacLehose Press)
Blood Daughter, by Dreda Say Mitchell (Hodder)
The Dead, by Mark Oldfield (Head of Zeus)
The Death of Her, by Debbie Howells (Macmillan)
Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah (Hodder & Stoughton)
Fatal Sunset, by Jason Webster (Chatto & Windus)
Follow the Dead, by Lin Anderson (Macmillan)
Good Friday, by Lynda La Plante (Zaffre)
The Habit of Murder, by Susanna Gregory (Sphere)
Insidious Intent, by Val McDermid (Little, Brown)
The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman, by Mindy Mejia (Quercus)
Last Stop Tokyo, by James Buckler (Doubleday)
The Mansions of Murder, by Paul Doherty (Crème de la Crime)
The Night Stalker, by Clare Donoghue (Pan)
The Reckoning, by James McGee (HarperCollins)
The Shock, by Marc Raabe (Manilla)
A Summer Revenge, by Tom Callaghan (Quercus)
The Susan Effect, by Peter Høeg (Harvill Secker)
Taking Liberties, by Helen Black (Constable)
Truly Evil, by Mark Hardie (Sphere)
Warlord, by Chris Ryan (Coronet)
White Knight/Black Swan, by David Gemmell (Gollancz)
The Word Is Murder, by Anthony Horowitz (Century)
Yesterday, by Felicia Yap (Wildfire)

OK, so what have I missed? Please feel free to suggest other promising summer crime and thriller releases in the Comments section at the bottom of this post.