Friday, January 23, 2015

Nothing. Doing nothing.

Currently reading DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen. This is a debut historical mystery. Here's a description:
(Edwardian England) Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it's more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

Published in 2015, it has 320 pages. 

Steve comes home tonight from Vegas. I think the SHOT show wore him out by his reports.

Not much happening this weekend other than the usual cleaning, reading, napping.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rough night; rough day

I did not sleep well last night. I hate that. Hopefully tonight will be better.

I re-read both CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins. There is a reason why these books reign supreme in the YA dystopian world ... they're that good. Maybe this will get me out of my slump-ishness. We'll see.

The Edgar Awards were announced this week. These are presented by the Mystery Writers of America and are widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the genre. Usually the nominees that the committees select are rather obscure. This year there are some recognizable names; in fact all but one in the best novel category, a short story collaboration, and most in the best paperback category are familiar to me. How novel.

Though these awards don't mean much to me, I always look through the list to see what I've read. One. I've read one. MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL by Ashley Weaver which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would and will read her next one when it comes out. I have COP TOWN by Karin Slaughter as an ARC on my Kindle but I've held off reading it because I'm thinking it will be very similar to a previous book she did about women cops in the 1970s also. I have seen one of the nominated TV episode teleplays, Sherlock, one of my favorite shows ever. And that's it. That is it. Some awards in the genre acknowledge the sub-category of historical mysteries which, of course, is what I'm most interested in. Edgars as you can see here, don't. And most telling, the two books I've somewhat touched upon here are historical mysteries -- if you count the 70s as historical which, forty years on I suppose some could. Here are the nominees (the banquet when the winners are announced is held in April): 
Best Novel

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Wolf by Mo Hayder (Grove/Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
The Final Silence by Stuart Neville (Soho Press)
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown)
Coptown by Karin Slaughter (Penguin Randomhouse – Delacorte Press)

Best First Novel

Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Bad Country by C.B. McKenzie (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (Crown Publishers)
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)

Best Paperback Original

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani (Penguin Randomhouse – Penguin Books)
Stay With Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Barkeep by William Lashner (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)
The Day She Died by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
The Gone Dead Train by Lisa Turner (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books)

Best Fact Crime

Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America
by Kevin Cook (W.W. Norton)
The Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Other Side: A Memoir by Lacy M. Johnson (Tin House Books)
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood
by William Mann (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation
by Harold Schechter (Amazon Publishing – New Harvest)

Best Critical/Biographical

The Figure of the Detective: A Literary History and Analysis
by Charles Brownson (McFarland & Company)
James Ellroy: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction
by Jim Mancall (McFarland)
Kiss the Blood Off My Hands: Classic Film Noirby Robert Miklitsch (University of Illinois Press)
Judges & Justice & Lawyers & Law: Exploring the Legal Dimensions of Fiction and Film
by Francis M. Nevins (Perfect Crime Books)
Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe
by J.W. Ocker (W.W. Norton – Countryman Press)

Best Short Story
"The Snow Angel" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Doug Allyn (Dell Magazines)
"200 Feet" – Strand Magazine by John Floyd (The Strand)
"What Do You Do?" – Rogues by Gillian Flynn
(Penguin Randomhouse Publishing –Bantam Books)
"Red Eye" – Faceoff  by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly (Simon & Schuster)
"Teddy" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Brian Tobin (Dell Magazines)

Best Juvenile

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
 (Clarion Books – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)
Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder
and Steve Hockensmith  (Quirk Books)
Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers)

Young Adult

 The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano (Penguin Young Readers Group – Kathy Dawson Books)
Fake ID by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children's Books - Amistad)
The Art of Secrets by James Klise (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

TV Episode Teleplay

"The Empty Hearse" – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
"Unfinished Business" – Blue Bloods, Teleplay by Siobhan Byrne O'Connor (CBS)
"Episode 1" – Happy Valley, Teleplay by Sally Wainwright (Netflix)
 "Dream Baby Dream" – The Killing, Teleplay by Sean Whitesell (Netflix)
"Episode 6" – The Game, Teleplay by Toby Whithouse (BBC America)

Robert L. Fish Memorial ( best first short story by an American author)

"Getaway Girl" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by ZoĆ« Z. Dean (Dell Magazines)

Mary Higgins Clark (suspense fiction)

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (Minotaur Books)
The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey (Minotaur Books)
Invisible City by Julia Dahl (Minotaur Books)
Summer of the Dead by Julia Keller (Minotaur Books)
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Grand Master (recognition for important contributions to the mystery genre over time, as well as a significant output of consistently high quality)
Lois Duncan
James Ellroy

Raven Awards (outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing)
Ruth & Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine
Kathryn Kennison, Magna Cum Murder
Ellery Queen Award ( to honor writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery publishing industry)
Charles Ardai, Editor & Founder, Hard Case Crime

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This is my shocked face. No really, it is.

I have been re-reading CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins.This is the 2nd book of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy. I re-watched the movie which prompted me to go back to the source. I am struck how different and so much better the books are than the movies. Yes, I know that's obvious in general. Even though the books are in first person POV therefore it is all Katniss all the time, so much more happens in the books -- the movies just have too much of a battle with the clock even when you split the book into two movies as with the third book. The characters are developed so much more in the books, especially Peeta's. I have always been Team Peeta from the beginning. But the movies, the actor is good looking but sadly he is just too short (5'7") and doesn't have the build for the role.  Today I was struck by a line in the book that says that Katniss hugs Peeta, her check resting against his chest. Sorry, that just can't happen with these actors. I read the books before the movies and I always pictured him bigger, stronger (able to easily lift the big bags of flour, etc.) And, well, nothing against Lawrence but she's a tall woman (5'9"); Katniss to me was average-ish in size if not on the small side for growing up with lack of food and therefore the use of her as a symbol to fight the Capitol was that much more meaningful let alone to win the games. And second, the movie only has time to hit the highlights of building the relationship between the two and the relationship is the foundation everything else rests on, IMHO. There is time to show Peeta's strengths and how he is a partner, inside and outside the games. In the movies, he's pretty much a victim that Katniss has to protect/rescue. In the books, they are spending days and days together therefore we believe that Katniss has feelings eventually for him and therefore Peeta's jacking in book three has so much more meaning. He was a sweet guy in love and they twisted it. And don't get me started on how they gutted Finnick's character in the movies.

Sigh.  At least we have the books.

I talked to Steve on the phone last night and at one point I put it on speaker for the dogs to hear him. Ryker's head was cocking from side to side (very funny and cute) and I don't think Coda could hear it being that he was down at my feet and Ryker was right next to me.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dogs don't think of these things

I find myself in a weird state of mind. Reading mind, that is. I have SO MUCH to read yet nothing is really grabbing me. I want a BLOCKBUSTER book and I can't find one. It is so frustrating. And finding a book to read is so subjective that one can't get suggestions from others because their tastes are different from mine. So do I counter this mood with a re-read? Just plow through something mediocre? It's been a couple days now.

So Steve got to Vegas and is now at SHOT show. I splurged last night and had barbecue ribs from CJ's for dinner. I was suddenly very popular with the dogs. I had their undivided attention for a while. Coda was noticeably not relaxed that his daddy wasn't home last night.

Darn it, Agent Carter won't be on tonight because of the State of the Union which I'm NOT watching. So I'll workout, have dinner, read and bed, I guess.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, January 19, 2015

Must be a Monday ....

Well, this year I'm going to do it. I'm going to Bouchercon in October in Raleigh, NC. Steve does his vacation in January going to SHOT show (this week). This is his third year. I decided that, given enough time, I can save up and go to something that I enjoy. Next year it is in New Orleans; I'd really like to go to that. For those not familiar, the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention, Bouchercon,  is an annual convention of creators and devotees of mystery and detective fiction.

On Saturday we went to see the movie American Sniper. Very very well done. I'd not been a fan of Bradley Cooper but he impressed me in his portrayal of Chris Kyle. Steve met Chris Kyle at SHOT show two years ago -- two weeks before he was killed.  The movie ends with footage from his funeral procession and no music throughout the end credits. Very silent. Very moving. Highly recommended. The theater was packed.

So, Steve leaves today and will be back on Friday. Just me and boys, bach-ing it. I hope to get a lot of reading done. But then, I always hope that. I didn't really do much of that this weekend.  Tonight, dinner, working out, reading, bed. Party time, I know.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ball! Smash!

dogs,gifs,destroy,australian shepherd,snowman

Somehow missed yesterday. Sorry.


Not much happening. Work, dogs, home, read, sleep, eat, repeat. This weekend will be mostly the same cleaning and so forth. Steve will be getting ready for his Vegas trip, SHOT show so I expect some minor uproar mostly on Sunday night.

I've been watching some videos online, Dr. Who, some Shakespeare, and performances. One can spend a lot of time online just clicking from link to link. Yes, I've known this for quite a while, just mentioning where my time suck has been going lately.

I think this weekend's reading will focus on the Sam Thomas book and the Dorothy Dunnett. I hope. 

Have a very good weekend.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster