Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Carnival of the Criminal Minds, No. 7

Happy New Year, and welcome to the carnival!

When I was a kid, I never wanted to run away to the circus, but when I hit the terrible teen years, the carnival was a temptation. All those bad boys...but alas, I steered clear until now.

This carnival features the reading freak better known as the BookBitch. In years past, I could safely say I read a book a day. While on vacation, I'd been known to double that. But this past year, with graduate school, working on a research intensive book, my job, my family, well, I don't think I read more than 300 books. Told you I was a freak.

The thing is, when you read as much as I do, there is a constant need for more books. There are thousands published each year, but many just don't tempt me. When I find authors I like, I go back and read all their books and then have to start over again.

So I am going to share with you here The Secret. Not the Rhonda Byrne, Oprah hyped Secret, but the secret to finding a never ending supply of good books. Ready? Just two words: new authors.

Sure, there are plenty of authors that have been around for years that I haven't gotten to yet, and that's fine, in fact, it's even reassuring to know that they are there, just waiting in the wings for the day I have nothing to read. For instance, I haven't read the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow, the Kathleen Mallory books by Carol O'Connell, or even the Hoke Moseley books by Charles Willeford, among others. But all these new books are a constant source of temptation. Books are delivered to my door daily; advance reading copies of what could be the next big blockbuster. Catalogs effusing one wondrous book after another.

It sometimes gets to be a little overwhelming, to be honest. Even I can't read the 25-50 books that arrive on my doorstep each week. But I can't resist looking at them all. Reading the blurbs, the letters hyping each book as the Next Big Thing. And when I find one I can't resist, I succumb to temptation and read it.

Often I receive books by authors no one ever heard of. Brand new. First book out in print. What a thrill to find a Marcus Sakey, Randall Hicks, Robert Fate or a Chelsea Cain! And then it's an even bigger thrill to share my new found treasure. With my readers. With my friends. With my patrons at the library. With the librarians and booksellers and readers and writers on the listservs I frequent. I am extremely opinionated (probably no one ever noticed that about me...)and when I find a book I love, I want everyone else to read it, and hopefully love it too - and then tell their friends about it.

With that in mind, I'd like to introduce you to some new writers. They all have their first thriller just out or coming out in 2008.

Let's start with CJ Lyons. CJ is a pediatrician turned thriller writer whose first novel, LIFELINES, is due out in March. I was privileged to read it, and I just loved it! It's a medical thriller with great characters, a terrific, twisty storyline and heart. It reminded me of a grown-up, much edgier Cherry Ames, for the seven people who remember those books.

I pulled this from her blog, Vital Signs --

Homicidal Holidays
"I love talking with mystery/suspense authors because we can talk about the fun things in life, including the best ways to kill someone and get away with it.
So, given the winter holiday season, I thought I'd throw out a few ideas on Homicidal Holiday Hazards..."
Read the rest here: CJ Lyons Vital Signs

I met Susan Arnout Smith at the first ThrillerFest in Arizona. She approached me, told me she had a book contract with St. Martins Minotaur, and she gave me this one sentence synopsis: "It's about a woman being stalked by a very bad man, who targets her through her 5-year old daughter, and then he grabs the kid and forces the mother to play the kid's favorite game, called The Timer Game, to get her back." We were outside on a 100 degree day in Phoenix in July, and that sentence gave me chills.

Well, THE TIMER GAME comes out January 8th, and Susan is the guest blogger this week on the Moments in Crime blog. This is a blog from St. Martins Minotaur, and features a different crime fiction author each week. Last week was Linda L. Richards, whose new book has such a great title: DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN. There have been some terrific posts, so check it out.

Another new writer is Kelli Stanley. Kelli writes what she calls "Roman Noir." Her book, Nox Dormienda (A Long Night for Sleeping) is due out in July from Five Star Mysteries. This is a tidbit from her blog:

A Novel Year!
"Words are strange little creatures. Writers try to herd them, which is sometimes like trying to herd cats. We stretch and poke and challenge them, too, so maybe they have a right to get annoyed with us."
Read the rest here: Writing in the Dark

I met Laura Benedict last summer at ThrillerFest 2 in NYC, and her book, ISABELLA MOON, was generating lots of buzz. It's out now, and my reviewer, Becky LeJeune loved it, saying, "Benedict’s debut is a compelling read that brings to mind a strange combination of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio and Stephen King’s Needful Things. Laura Benedict is definitely one to watch." And you can start watching her with this snippet from her blog:

"How much do I love Orlando, Florida’s Local 6 News Station’s website? I discovered it a couple years back through several Matt Drudge links (he’s also big on British rags). Local 6 is one of the most sensational sites on the web, and I find it a little shocking that it shares its home with The Most Magical Place on Earth. Talk about fodder for fiction. "
Read the rest here: Notes From the Handbasket

Andy Harp has his first book out, A NORTHERN THUNDER from Bancroft Press. It came out in October to an excellent review from Booklist, among others. I love legal thrillers and Andy is a former Marine turned District Attorney, and writes about what he knows. When I told him about the Carnival, he sent me this piece to share -

The Crime Scene
"Every crime scene I have been to has this foreboding air about it that you feel the anguish of the victims down to your bones. Prosecutors know it. As a District Attorney, I still remember the dried, caked on crimson brown blood that covered the car seat. Combat veterans are familiar with it. A bomb may obliterate the soldier beyond identifiable body parts, but you feel the loss of life as if there is a spirit that still hangs on there."
Read the rest on Andy Harp's website: http://www.andyharp.com/

Many years ago there was a commercial where the tag line was, "try it, you'll like it". That's sort of been my philosophy about reading too. So I hope you'll try one of these new authors, or the many other new authors that are out there because you just may find something wonderful.

Don't forget to check out these Carnival rides:
previous -
Material Witness

next in line -
Detectives Beyond Borders

Thanks for reading.

Cheers, and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year filled with love, peace, joy and lots of good books!

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