Rebecca Rothenberg was one of five authors Elizabeth Foxwell highlighted as female mystery writers who left us too soon. In Rothenberg's case, she died in 1998 of a brain tumor at the age of 50. In addition to being an author, Rothenberg was a musician, epidemiologist and amateur botanist. Her series with microbiologist Claire Sharples included three books in all (with a fourth finished by her friend Taffy Cannon), beginning with The Bulrush Murders in 1991, only seven years before the author's death. It went on to be named as one of the Top Ten Mysteries of the year by the Los Angeles Times and was nominated for the Agatha and Anthony awards.
The Bulrush Murders introduces us to Claire Sharples, who is feeling like one of her caged laboratory rats, working in MIT's research facilities. On an impulse, she takes an agricultural research job in a rural part of California's San Joaquin Valley, only to discover that the bleak region is most notable for its absences of rain, decent conversation, jazz music and good Thai restaurants.
When a young Hispanic friend drives his motorcycle into a reservoir, Claire investigates the circumstances surrounding his death with the help of her new enigmatic coworker Sam. She soon finds herself unhappily drawn to the ill-mannered field scientist Sam, to the suspicious death that indicates it wasn't an accident, and to the mystery of why a Mexican farm family's crops seem to be the only ones in the San Joaquin Valley suffering from a blight. Even the death in Vietnam of the young murdered man's brother might not be what it first seemed.
Rothenberg created an appealing fish-out-water protagonist in Claire, who has one foot in two different worlds and not a single foot on a firm emotional foundation:
No mistaking which "community" she belonged to—not of souls but of namers, the Community of Scientists: a bunch of self-absorbed misanthropic misfits who retreated from the demands and ambiguities of the world into their self-created, logical, orderly systems, devising technical solutions to spiritual problems...and me, she thought. I'm like that. Sometimes I think I'm not because--why? Because I'm female? Because I have the vocabulary to talk about feelings? But I'm just like them: give me a touch intellectual puzzle and I perform like an integrated circuit; put me in a situation requiring an emotional response and I fall apart. Or else I concert it to an algorithm, a model, a problem I can solve. Something I can "look up."
The Los Angeles Times Book Review's Charles Champlin called The Bulrush Murders "A spellbinding first mystery ...[an ] intricate and action-rich plot...At the story's center, always, is an affecting and insightful portrait of a bright woman struggling for simple equality in an environment as prickly and hostile as some of the wild grasses the author describes so well." Kirkus Reviews added, "A convincing look at racism in southern California, agricultural hardships, and the difficulty that arises when opposites fall in love. A judicious balance of science and emotion, then, and a better-than-average debut."
The other two books in the series by Rothenberg are The Dandelion Murders and The Shy Tulip Murders, and the novel completed by Taffy Cannon is titled The Tumbleweed Murders.
John Reeves was born in British Columbia in December 1926, but was raised and educated in England where he studied music at St John's College, Cambridge. Eventually, he found himself back in Canada as a music and documentary producer for the CBC, where he was responsible for several technical innovations and a wide variety of musical, religious, literary, and dramatic series. He also composed his own music, over thirty pieces of religious works and several opera librettos.
Reeves didn't turn to writing literary works until later in his career and is primarily known for his inventive radio plays, noteworthy for their use of verse, prose, music and shifting points of view. One even won the Prix D'Italy fortbe world's best radio play in 1959. But he also tried his hand at writing books, choosing to pen mystery novels featuring Inspector Andrew Coggin and Sergeant Fred Sump of the Metro Toronto Police. From the author's background, it's not terribly surprising the first book in the series was titled Murder by Microphone, while the second is 1984's Murder Before Matins, which was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award.
The story of Murder Before Matins is set in the cloistered world of Tathwell Abbey where the Prior is found murdered and suspicion falls on the entire order of Gilbertine nuns and monks who live in seclusion there. When Coggin, Sump and Constable Nancy Pringle are assigned to the case, they learn the victim was destined to be made Abbot and that even allegedly holy people are capable of dark ambition and violence.
In an interview from 1986 in Books in Canada, Reeves acknowledged that he lost his faith gradually, partly because of a "disillusionment with the institution of the Church." Even so, Murder Before Matins is a sympathetic portrayal of monastic life and includes a subplot of Constable Nancy Pringle's own struggles with her faith. Reeves added that, "Religion when I was a practising Christian was a very important part of my life, and the fact that I am no longer one has not reduced its emotional impact upon me. I think that to have a strong faith and then lose it leaves a particular hole in your life that cannot be replaced by anything else."
Reeves' mysteries are less about suspense typical of other police procedurals and more in the traditional puzzle-solving detective fiction (he even works in lists, diagrams, puns and one crossword puzzle in each novel). The Canadian Book Review Annual aptly noted that "Almost as entertaining as the detectives' unravelling of clues is Reeves' delightfully crisp yet cultivated prose style, and the frequency, in both the omniscient narration and the opinions of Coggin and Sump, of wry humour, dry wit, biting satire, and sometimes an outrageously amusing waspishnes."
Books in Canada wrote that "If Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are respectively brilliant and dim, Andrew Coggin and Fred Sump shed light on crime about equally, less like a priest and acolyte than a happily married couple. Coggin is good at sifting details and making deductions; Sump is intuitive, disarming, a shrewd judge of character."
The follow-up Coggins/Sump novel, Murder With Muskets, was also a finalist for the 1986 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel, and there was one more book in the series in 1988, Death in Prague. There was supposed to be a fifth book, set in a Toronto track and field club, but it was either never finished or not published.
The North American Branch of the International Association of Crime Writers announced that Lisa Sandlin's The Do-Right has won the 2016 Hammett Prize, which recognizes a work of literary excellence in the field of crime writing.
The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association (SCIBA) has awarded the 2016 T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award to Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. The other nominated novels included Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz and The Promise by Robert Crais. The Parker Award recognizes excellence in books that reflect Southern California culture or lifestyle from authors living within the SCIBA region. (HT to the Gumshoe.)
The Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 has announced the finalists in various categories, including Mystery/Thriller. Members can vote for their favorites during the opening round (including write-in candidates) which will narrow the list to the top ten books in each category with one last chance to vote for the winner.
Mike Ripley's latest Getting Away with Murder column for Shots Magazine lets us live vicariously through two recent book launches on the other side of the Pond for authors Anthony Horowitz and Martina Cole; there's also a look at vintage crime, thanks to a rare showing of the film The Tiger in the Smoke based on Margery Allingham's book and a new reissue of Lady Winifred Peck's Arrest the Bishop; plus new Italian and Nordic crime fiction, a tribute to the late Ed Gorman, and more.
Philadelphia has chosen The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon as the featured selection for its "one book" program in 2017. Celebrating its 15th anniversary next year, One Book, One Philadelphia is a signature event of the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. From January 25 to March 23, nearly 100 events and programs will center around Haddon's novel.
The Washington Post reviewed a new anthology of four "perfectly drawn" short stories by the late P.D. James, two of which feature James' stalwart Adam Dalgliesh of Scotland Yard.
The London-based Killer Women' Writers Collective is trying to steer the genre away from misogyny in books and sexism in book reviews. The group started a few years ago as a way for writers to combat the loneliness that comes from the isolation of fiction writing but has grown into something much bigger since: a 16-strong group of writers including The Girl on the Train's Paula Hawkins.
Author Amy Gentry took a closer look at domestic thrillers at the cinema that foreshadowed the current similar trend in fiction in an article titled "Breast-feeding Noir" for The Paris Review.
The Washington Post investigated "Blue lives: Pop culture’s minority cops," a look at how non-white officers have been portrayed on TV and film and how they "show us the camaraderie and job satisfaction black or female cops get from buying into institutions that previously barred them. But they don’t tend to inquire deeply into the limits of the citizenship that come with being a police officer or the compromises minority officers must make for that citizenship."
If you can find a copy of the latest issue of Medical Humanities, there's an article titled "Murder by the book: using crime fiction as a bibliotherapeutic resource."
"The Gone Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on the Train": Five-Thirty-Eight did an analysis of fiction titles and concluded that we're not done yet with the recent "Girl" titled suspense novels, using statistics and insights from the industry such as a bookseller who noted five different galleys on the shelf with "girl" in the title pubbing this fall.
Writing for the BBC, Martha Kearney wonders why so many crime fiction titles have been inspired by the East Anglia region, where the crime rate there is so low.
Ever wonder how chloroform evolved from a beloved sedative to a crime-fiction trope?
The spy who couldn’t spell: how the biggest heist in the history of US espionage was foiled.
Might want to start looking for a new line of work, 007.
It's a bit early for folks like me to be thinking about Christmas, but you might want to pick up tickets soon for the second annual Murder Under the Mistletoe, the Christmas party at Heffers' bookstore in London on December 8th. Although participating authors haven't been announced yet, last year's guests included Susan Grossey, Charlot King, Mike Ripley, Nicola Upson, Mandy Morton, Suzette Hill, Mark Ellis, Miranda Carter, Alison Bruce, Michelle Spring and Kate Rhodes.
This week's featured crime poem at the 5-2 is "Costume" by David Rachels.
In the Q&A roundup John DeDakis chatted with Blog Critics about his Lark Chadwick mystery series; Otto Penzler, crime fiction editor and owner of the Mysterious Bookshop and Mysterious Press spoke with the New York Times and says the last book that surprised him was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn; Big Issue North snagged Ann Cleeves for a Q&A about her series set in the Shetland region that was brought to life on BBC One’s Shetland; Eric Beetner discussed his new novel Rumrunners and Midwestern settings with Steph Post; and Crime Watch's latest "9MM Interview" target was British author Jessica Mann who recently brought back her archaeological sleuth Tamara Hoyland, a former secret agent who appeared in six adventures between 1981 and 1991.
As many of you have heard, the crime fiction community lost a VIP last month when author, editor, and blogger Ed Gorman died following a long battle with cancer. Since today would have marked his 75th birthday, Patti Abbott is collecting links of tributes and remembrances, which you can check out over here. In addition to penning dozens of mystery novels, including the Sam McCain, Jack Dwyer and Dev Conrad series, Ed was a frequent contributor to the Friday's "Forgotten" Books feature hosted by Patti, something I've been a part of for about eight years. I never had the pleasure to meet Ed and am depressed that now I'll never get the chance.
Ed was involved with many anthologies through the years, often partnering with Martin H. Greenberg and others. I've featured some of those on this blog several times, as well as mentioned some of Ed's interviews with authors such as John D. MacDonald in Mystery Scene and other publications. I've collected a few of those snippets from the In Reference to Murder archives:
One of the Gorman/Greenberg collaborations were two books of interviews with well-known crime fiction authors, Speaking of Murder: Interviews with the Masters of Mystery and Suspense, published in July 1998, and Speaking of Murder II, which came out the following year. The first volume is introduced by Ed, who tells the story of how a Chicago talk show producer once told him that writers made dull guests. Ed allowed as how he agreed, since "compared to cross-dressing prostitutes, mothers who sleep with their daughter's boyfriends, and UFO abductees who have mysteriously started to dress like Elvis, I guess most of us writers do lead pretty uneventful lives." He goes on to add that writers are interesting because they're quiet and introspective.
Ed and Martin were also frequent editor of the annual anthologies of the best crime fiction short fiction. One such volume was 2008's A Prisoner of Memory: And 24 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, which included a roll call of the bestselling mystery authors today, Lawrence Block, Michael Connelly, Anne Perry, Marcia Muller, and many others.
Ed's interviews with authors in Mystery Scene Magazine were certainly highlights of the publication. Some of his Q&As included an interview with Mary Daheim (IRTM blog link), chatting about the writing life and her new Bed-and-Breakfast mystery; Ed interviewing prolific author and mystery genre advocate, Robert Randisi (blog link); and Ed making an interesting connection by proposing we look at Charlotte Armstrong as a purveyor of suburban noir instead of traditional mysteries (blog link here).
In another blog post, I once noted that Ed had interviewed iconic crime fiction author John D. MacDonald, which you can still read over at The Mystery File. The prolific author actually got his start writing short stories - while he was in the Army in 1945, he sent a short story home to his wife, who promptly typed it up and submitted it to Story magazine. The editors bought it for $25, thus giving MacDonald the idea that he could make a career as a writer. He told Ed that after leaving the Army, "I wrote eight hundred thousand words of short stories in those four months, tried to keep thirty of them in the mail at all times, slept about six hours a night and lost twenty pounds."
Plus, there were many, many more times I mentioned Ed in this blog for various reasons:
There are countless authors who have been sharing their encounters with Ed, either in person or online, and how willing he was to help others as they stumbled through their literary journeys. We've not only lost an outstanding author and editor and a passionate book advocate, we've also lost a fine human being. Requiescat in pace, Ed.
Diane Capri is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author of numerous series, including the Heir Hunter Series, Hunt for Justice and Hunt for Jack Reacher series and the Jess Kimball Thrillers. A former lawyer, she now divides her time between Florida and Michigan. Capri has been nominated for several awards, including the International Thriller Award, and she won the Silver award for Best Thriller e-Book from the Independent Publishers Association.
After Diane and Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels (and now movie series), got to know each other through the International Thriller Award organization, Lee suggested that Diane create a series based on his Reacher character, only without him ever making an appearance. The result was the "Hunting for Jack Reacher" series featuring FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar who learn of a major plot against Reacher and try to track him down from his past associates.
The latest in the series is Deep Cover Jack, and Diane stopped by In Reference to Murder for some Author R&R (Reference and Research) to talk a bit about how she prepares to write the books:
My friend Lee Child, who writes the Jack Reacher novels, famously says he doesn’t do much research for his tales. Which means he’s missing a lot of the fun. Writing a novel is a grand adventure for me. When a new idea sparks my interest and I begin the research, I’m like a dog chasing a rabbit. Where will the chase lead?
I write for the same reason I read: to find out what happens next. My readers are the same. While characters are the backbone of every novel, for mystery/thriller/suspense novels, we also want to be entertained by interesting and exciting events along the way. And that’s where lots and lots of research comes into the writing process.
Deep Cover Jack is novel #4 (book #7) in my Hunt for Jack Reacher series of thrillers featuring FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar. Otto and Gaspar are sorting through the aftermath of Reacher’s adventures, looking for everything they can find out about the man himself. After all these years, is Reacher fit for duty? Otto and Gaspar are tasked with finding out.
Hunting Reacher is deadly business for these agents. Research gives my books twists and turns, interesting settings, clever plots, loads of atmosphere, and a different take on one of the most iconic vigilante heroes of the past twenty years. All of which is a tall order and lots of fun to write and, I hope, to read.
The smallest details can require hours of online research, conversations with experts, and lots of thinking.
Questions like, if Gaspar falls from a jet bridge to the ground, how far would he fall and what injuries is he likely to suffer? Does it matter what kind of airplane it is? Is it possible for a sniper to hit a target more than a mile away, in the North Carolina mountains during a cold and blustery rain, with undetectable precision? What kind of training and equipment would he need to make that happen? Why do commercial airplanes crash? How safe is air travel, anyway? Answers to these questions and hundreds more just like them help me write books more than two million readers, so far, have loved to read.
Here’s how my writing process for the Hunt for Jack Reacher books goes. I have that idea spark and I’m wondering the best way to write a good story around it. I begin by selecting a Lee Child source book. There are twenty-one Reacher novels now, which provide a gold mine of choices. I’m looking to tell the rest of the Reacher story. What happens to these people and places when Reacher finishes his adventure and moves on? Because Reacher always leaves plenty of mayhem behind; I’ve got a lot of fertile ground for planting new plots and disasters.
I read the Reacher books differently now than a normal reader does. I look for situations in the source book, such as overlooked holes or missing pieces, that I can use to spin a new tale. Reacher fans have often read the Reacher books many times; they have accumulated much knowledge, too. Working deep into the source book helps me delight and surprise the most devoted Reacher fan as well as people who haven’t read Reacher before.
My training, and the work I did for years, was practicing law. Analytical skills and the ability to investigate and discover connections between disparate facts served me well then and it really helps in writing my Hunt for Jack Reacher tales.
As I reread the source book several times, I make notes about characters, settings, plots and any other matters that I might be able to use for a good Otto and Gaspar story. What happened to the good people in Reacher’s source book after Reacher moves on? What about the bad guys? Reacher doesn’t usually manage to kill them all. Where are they now?
I choose two characters from the source book for Otto and Gaspar’s interview subjects, one man and one woman. The women are trickier to interview than the men because Reacher has slept with most of the women. By all accounts, Reacher is a respectful lover and the women are especially loathe to reveal too much that might get Reacher in trouble. Both male and female interview subjects are protective of Reacher and suspicious of Otto and Gaspar, usually because the original adventure is riddled with Reacher’s illegal activities and the subjects don’t want those old bodies to surface now.
My story builds around the aftermath of the wreckage Reacher dependably produces in every Lee Child novel.
Writing my books also comes with several self-imposed rules. Like what? Well, one goal is to write a great story that can be enjoyed whether the reader has read the source book or not. Another goal is not to spoil any of the Reacher novels for those who haven’t read them already.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that many readers will have read some or all of the Reacher books. This means those readers will know a lot more about Reacher and the original adventures than Otto and Gaspar do. A deeper level of suspense comes from this unusual dynamic, but it means keeping several extra balls in the air while I’m writing.
When I get stuck on some of the more esoteric Reacher lore, I have two great resources available to me. The Reacher’s Creatures group knows every Reacher book backward and forward. And, of course, I can ask Lee for the right answers.
Don’t Know Jack, the first novel in my series, starts in the same place Reacher begins: Margrave, Georgia, and Killing Floor. Otto and Gaspar are sent to Margrave to interview the two main characters, Roscoe and Finlay.
Crime begets crime. Reacher solved some problems in Margrave, but he left a mess behind, too. Otto and Gaspar handle the rest of the story as they struggle to complete their assignment and learn all their is to know about Reacher.
The entire series presents a sort of Rashomon Effect — contradictory interpretations of the same event by different people. In this case, Otto and Gaspar encounter some people who like Reacher, and others who don’t, and the two groups see Reacher in competing ways.
In short, creating a Hunt for Jack Reacher book is like taking a huge jigsaw puzzle out of the box for the first time and trying to put it together without benefit of a picture. Was the finished puzzle meant to look more like a Picasso or a da Vinci? Research supplies the clues as well as the surprises. When my friend Lee Child skips the research, he’s missing some of the best parts.
Monday means it's time for a look at recent crime drama news from stage and screen:
Millennium Films is teaming up with Gerard Butler for a third installment of the thriller series that began with Olympus Has Fallen, followed by London Has Fallen. To be titled Angel Has Fallen, the new film will see Butler reprise his role as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, only this time it's not the President who is the target, it's Banning himself.
Millennium Films has also snagged John Malkovich and Antonio Banderas to star in Unchained, a Reservoir Dogs-style thriller. They'll play career criminals who trap themselves in a warehouse with the law closing in and threats from an attack dog named DeNiro that leaves them fighting for their lives.
The very busy Millennium is also planning another Rambo reboot, this time minus Sylvester Stallone. Titled Rambo: New Blood (with Brooks McLaren penning the script and Ariel Vromen directing), the new reboot would not see Stallone return as the action hero like he did in Millennium’s 2008 outing, but would see a younger actor inhabit the role. The company is looking at Rambo as a character akin to James Bond.
Tom Hardy has signed to play the iconic American gangster Al Capone in the film Fonzo. The project centers on Capone in the final days of his life after being taken down by Eliot Ness and spending a decade in jail where dementia sets in - and his past becomes his present as harrowing memories of his violent and brutal life melt into his waking existence.
Casey Affleck is set to star in the vigilante thriller Villain, to be directed by Mikael Marcimain from a script he wrote. Set in a city overrun with crime. Affleck will play a man that loses everything after a brutal home invasion leaves his family dead and two bullets lodged in his head. He develops a unique power in the wake of his trauma — an ability to see into people’s pasts, presents, and futures — and goes on a mission of revenge to find the men who killed his family and clean up the city. But as his vigilante acts become more frequent and violent, the city’s new hero threatens to become its most prolific villain.
Kate Bosworth is attached to star in a film based on the Greg King book Sharon Tate And The Manson Murders, working with Bosworth's filmmaker-husband Michael Polish. The duo has worked together several times before in such films as 90 Minutes In Heaven and the psychological thriller Amnesiac.
Good Time, a crime drama starring Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh, has been picked up for distribution. The film follows a bank robber’s race to evade the police dragnet that threatens to send him behind bars.
Well Go USA has acquired rights in North America and some other territories to Buster’s Mal Heart, a psychological thriller starring Mr. Robot Emmy winner Rami Malek. The story follows a stable family man turned mountain hermit (Malek) who squats in empty vacation homes while on the run from the authorities. The film will hit theaters in early 2017, followed by a digital and home video release later in the year.
Olga Kurylenko has been tapped as the title character in the crime thriller Jane Millen, from writer/director Cynthia Mort. The project centers on Jane, who focuses on her job as a police detective to distract her from her family life spinning out of control. But her investigation into a murder case takes her down a rabbit hole, as affairs, jealousies and dark secrets emerge that threaten to consume her own private life.
Dan Krauss’ war documentary-turned-feature The Kill Team has landed Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgard to star. The story follows Private Adam Winfield, a soldier in Afghanistan who attempted to blow the whistle on members of his platoon who carry out a murderous scheme in the desolate wasteland of Southern Afghanistan. Wolff will play Winfield while Skarsgard has been cast as the fraternal and imposing Sergeant Deeks.
Paramount has snagged film rights to Ted Bell’s action espionage series of books based on British MI6 agent Sir Alexander Hawke, said to be in the same vein as James Bond and the Bourne Identity. Bell's books include nine bestsellers, and the hope is that the studio can spin them into a franchise movie series.
The third installment in the Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law has been having some trouble getting off the ground, but that may be changing. Warner Bros has assembled a writers room to "shape the script and story," with a team including Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman, Baywatch's Justin Malen, Rogue One's Gary Whitta, Tomb Raider's Geneva Dworet-Robertson and Snowden's Kieran Fitzgerald. When we last left Sherlock Holmes in A Game of Shadows, he had just fallen into Reichenbach Falls with Professor James Moriarty, as that was the only way the detective could successfully eliminate his nemesis. However, in the movie's final minutes, moviegoers learned that Mr. Holmes had survived, though he wasn't ready to directly reveal to his best friend/partner, Dr. John Watson, that he was still alive.
John Wick co-director David Leitch is in talks to direct Deadpool 2 after the previous director, Tim Miller, left over creative difference with star Ryan Reynolds. Insiders say Reynolds was given more creative control on the sequel and that he clashed with Miller over casting, among other issues.
The official trailer is out for Focus Features' Nocturnal Animals, written and directed by Tom Ford (A Single Man) and based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. The noirish thriller stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as exes with a complicated past who become involved in a symbolic revenge tale.
A first look promotional photo was released for Going Places that introduces John Turturro’s Jesus Quintana in the Big Lebowski spin-off film. It revolves around a three smalltime crooks and is being billed as an irreverent, sexually charged comedy.
Sherlock Season 4 has finally been given its premiere date: January 1, 2017 in both the U.S. and the UK. The new episode, called "The Six Thatchers," may be based on the Conan Doyle story "The Six Napoleons," a story about Sherlock investigating six busts of Napoleon. Fans should be prepared to enjoy the next season, since Benedict Cumberbatch hinted that it may be a long time before the next installment because the next series will be "so dramatic fans might require a break from the show afterwards."
HBO has acquired US and Canadian rights to Cormoran Strike, BBC One’s limited series based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. British actor Tom Burke (War and Peace, The Musketeers) stars as the war veteran turned private eye in the series, which will air as three separate event series.
One of best-selling author Nelson DeMille’s most popular protagonists, John Corey, is headed to the small screen. ABC has given a script commitment plus penalty to John Corey, a drama series project based on DeMille’s book series about the brash, quick-witted, and cocky NYPD homicide detective as he returns to the force after being shot.
John Glenn (Allegiance) has teamed with Fast & Furious’ Justin Lin for The Evidence Room, a crime drama procedural that has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. The project centers on the investigations tied to objects in the Evidence Room, a secure area in a police station where evidence and seized property is stored. The items in the room will serve as engine for the stories to tackle a wide array of crimes and criminals.
ABC has trimmed the 13-episode first season of its new drama Notorious down to 10 episodes. The move is usually a sign that a show is effectively canceled, though the network has vowed to air all 10 episodes, and it could still be renewed for a second season. The drama stars Piper Perabo and Daniel Sunjata in the "provocative look at the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media."
Stana Katic is returning to television. The former Castle star is in final negotiations to play the lead in Absentia, a 10-episode straight-to-series crime thriller scheduled or a 2017 premiere on AXN’s worldwide channels, with Sony Pictures Television handling distribution in the U.S. Absentia centers on an FBI agent (Katic) an FBI agent who disappears without a trace while hunting one of Boston's most notorious serial killers. She's declared dead, but six years later, she's found in a cabin, barely alive and with no memory of the missing years. Returning home to learn her husband has remarried and her son is being raised by another woman, she soon finds herself implicated in a new series of murders.
The online video channel Machinima has announced it is actively developing a reboot of the 1980s action series Knight Rider with Justin Lin's online brand YOMYOMF and NBCUniversal Brand Development. The original program starred David Hasselhoff the crimefighting Michael Knight, who was paired with the one-of-a-kind (at the time) artificially intelligent Pontiac Trans Am named KITT, voiced by William Daniels.
CBS has put in development two new crime dramas: Under Suspicion, based on the bestselling crime thriller book series by Mary Higgins Clark featuring a justice-seeking investigative journalism team; and Sentinels, a drama from the team behind Scorpion that centers on the world’s worst news team who are actually involved with a secret government program.
Fox has given a script commitment to Token White Male, an hourlong dramedy procedural about a fun-loving, no-filter, low-rent lawyer who, against all odds, becomes the first male associate at a groundbreaking all-female law firm.
Fox has added a pair of actors to its upcoming limited series 24: Legacy, with Raphael Acloque and Themo Melikidze set for recurring roles. Acloque will play Jadalla "Jad" bin-Khalid, a bookish scholar who rejected his father’s politics while at university, but after his father’s death, Jad embraces his jihadist campaign. Melikidze is set as Khasan Dubayev, the intimidating brother of high school student Amira (Kathryn Prescott) who is intense and worried as he works with his sister in connection with their plans.
Fox also announced the long-awaited premiere date for Season 12 of Bones, now set for Tuesday, January 3. The final season is expected to provide some closure to the Booth and Brennan storyline, as well as for the other main characters who work at the Jeffersonian. The network has hinted that fans will experience a wedding, follow an epic serial killer storyline, go undercover in a lumberjack competition and see Booth and Brennan's marriage get put to the test.
The upcoming The Good Wife sequel series has added CSI veteran Paul Guilfoyle and Tony-winning actress Bernadette Peters in recurring roles. The Good Wife spinoff series will pick up one year after the events of The Good Wife series finale, when an enormous financial scam has destroyed the reputation of a young lawyer, Maia (Rose Leslie), while simultaneously wiping out her mentor Diane Lockhart’s (Christine Baranski) savings. Forced out of Lockhart & Lee, they join Lucca Quinn (Cush Jumbo) at one of Chicago’s pre-eminent law firms.
Fargo has added Jim Gaffigan as a series regular for season three of the FX series. The setting is rumored to take place in 2010 with Gaffigan taking on the role of Donny Mashman, a police deputy who works alongside Gloria Burgle (The Leftovers' Carrie Coon). The cast also includes Ewan McGregor playing the dual roles of brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a crafty and alluring recent parolee.
White Collar alum Tim DeKay has been tapped for a recurring role on the upcoming third installment of John Ridley’s ABC anthology drama series American Crime, playing a relative to Cherry Jones’ character. Season 3 will explore labor issues, economic divides and individual rights in North Carolina.
The first trailer was released for HBO's Big Little Lies with its all-star cast of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Kathryn Newton, Shailene Woodley, and James Tupper. The limited series is the brainchild of David E. Kelley and is based on Liane Moriarty’s 2014 novel that centers on three mothers (Witherspoon, Kidman, Dern) of first graders whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.
Michigan Public Radio spoke with author Dennis Lehane about crime novels, race in America, and researching history.
NPR's "alt.latino" program explored the world of Latino noir, featuring crime fiction writer Carmen Amato.
CBS This Morning welcomed John Grisham to talk about his latest legal thriller, The Whistler.
Walnut Creek, California's Center Repertory Company is presenting Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Ken Ludwig, based on the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, through November 19. The play, which premiered last year at Washington D.C., Arena Stage, is a comedic take on Doyle's book, in which the intrepid investigators "try to escape a dizzying web of clues, silly accents, disguises and deceit as five actors deftly portray more than 40 characters."
The sci-fi crime story Invisible was originally envisioned as a graphic novel but has turned into a 360-degree virtual reality project. It's a scripted tale of sci-fi corporate treachery involving the wealthy and ruthless Ashland family, whose grip on the global economy has been clinched by certain family members' ability to make themselves invisible and wage mischief with this tactical advantage.
Celestine Sibley (1914–1999) worked as a journalist with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for more than 50 years, covering the James Earl Ray trial, among her many assignments. She penned more than 10,000 columns, as well as many popular essays on southern culture.
She had a bit of a detour in the early 1950s, working as a Hollywood correspondent and interviewing celebrities like Clark Gable, Walt Disney, and Jane Russell. It was at this point she turned her hand to writing pulp stories, moonlighting as a True Confession and True Detective reporter and selling stories with faux-shocking headlines like "I Wanted to Die" and "I Was a Junkie."
Perhaps motivated by her pulp-experiences, she decided to switch to writing books. Those efforts resulted in the publication of The Malignant Heart (1958), the first book in her mystery series featuring newly-widowed Atlanta newspaper reporter-columnist Kate Mulcay. However, she didn't write her second Kate Mulcay novel, Ah Sweet Mystery, until 1991, some 33 years later, which she followed up with four more before her death.
Bill Kovach, a former editor of The Journal-Constitution, referred to her newspaper writing as "a country-girl-come-to-the-city kind of column" and that Sibley "was the last voice of the white-glove, tea-and-apple-blossom set that had not a sharp edge on it.'' I think that aptly sums up the style of writing in Ah Sweet Mystery.
The novel begins with Mulcay living by herself in a rural log cabin with some reminiscing on life with her husband Benjy, a member of the Atlanta police force who died from cancer. One of the friends Mulcay has made in the area is the elderly Miss Willie, devoted stepmother to the adult Garney Wilcox. Wilcox is a land developer hated by just about everyone who is pushing his stepmother into a nursing home, egged on by his equally-unpleasant wife Voncile.
When Garney is found poisoned, electrocuted and bludgeoned, Miss Willie confesses to the murder, but Mulcay doesn't buy it for a minute. With the help of Atlanta PD Sergeant Mellie Alvarez and some Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald songs, the feisty Mulcay sets out to exonerate Miss Willie and finds that the traditional southern culture in Fulton County hides dark secrets of incest, rape and drug-running.
If you're looking for more sleuthing and procedural elements, this novel isn't for you. It's more of a social commentary with detailed painting of the place and the characters who populate it. The mystery takes a back seat, the story ends somewhat abruptly, and the dialect gets laid on perhaps a bit thick at times. However, if you can get past all of that, you will enjoy Sibley's leisurely, folksy style.