The holiday issue of Mystery Scene magazine takes a look behind the inspiration for Michael Connelly's latest book, The Black Box, with roots back in the horrifying Los Angeles riots of 1992; Scottt K. Ratner reviews The Return of the Thin Man, two previously unpublished novellas by Dashiell Hammett; Jon L. Breen takes a look at current legal thrillers and courtroom procedurals; Joseph Goodrich takes us on a tour of Stephen Sondheim's work in the mystery genre; Ed Gorman shines a light on often underappreciated character actors in crime films; and Kevin Burton Smith gives Santa a helping hand with the annual Mystery Scene Gift Guide.
This week's featured story at Beat to a Pulp is "The True Story of Boy Kaleen" by the fabulous writer Patti Nase Abbott (who is also the driving force behind Friday's "Forgotten" Books and her own excellent blog).
Coming up February 1-2 is the Cape Fear Crime Festival, featuring writers, editors and publishers conducting various workshops and panels, as well as special guests via Skype on the big screen. Proceeds from the event are donated to the New Hanover Library in Wilmington. This year, for the first time, the conference will be giving away the Gunny Award for the best book in mystery and suspense for 2012. Registration for that award will end on December 31st.
The Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America is sponsoring Sleuthfest on Saturday, February 16, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, FL. The conference will feature intense, hands-on workshops led by bestselling authors Elaine Viets and Kristy Montee (writing as P.J.Parrish), and if you're one of the first 50 registrants, you'll be eligible for a drawing to win one of two 50-page manuscript critiques. Registration is open, but the price will increase after December 15th.
Winners of the National Book Awards in the UK were announced, and included Crime & Thriller of the Year handed out to Lee Child for his Jack Reacher novel, A Wanted Man.
Thanks to Sandra Seamans for noting that Cemetery Dance Publications has opened submissions for their new ebook line and are looking for novels, novellas and short story collections in a variety of genres. Manuscripts should be at least 10,000 words (20,000 for collections).
If you haven't had a Noir at the Bar event near you, hang in there, because these popular events are popping all over the place. Handsome Willy's in New Orleans will host the next event on January 12th, featuring Greg Herren, Jason Stuart, Bill Loehfelm, Peter Farris, Ted O'Brien and Kent Westmoreland.
This week's Q&A roundup includes J.D. Rhoades over at Chuck Wendig's Terible Minds blog; and Michael Connelly stops by Omnivoracious, giving his the elevator pitch for The Black Box as well as listing his favorite books of all time.