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ROBERT B. PARKER'S FOOL'S PARADISE by Mike Lupica

In Lupica's first Jesse Stone continuation, on sale September 8. the police chief of Paradise, MA recognizes the drowned body of a shooting victim as a fellow member of Alcoholics Anonymous he'd met shortly before. Tracing the man's last movements leads to the home of Paradise's powerful Cain family. As the small police force continues to investigate, Jesse is shot at, Molly Crane's home is invaded, and Suitcase Simpson receives a mail bomb.

As daunting as it is to try and follow the late Parker, Robert B. Parker's Fool's Paradise also follows Reed Farrel Coleman's well-received continuation run, Coleman changing publishers. With Parker cred from two Sunny Randall followups, Lupica similarly evokes the creator's style here, continues Coleman's recent storylines, reunites Jesse with Sunny, and knowledgeably updates characters from the subplot of Parker's fourth Stone novel, Stone Cold, the basis of the movie that launched the Tom Selleck franc…
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THE REVELATORS by Ace Atkins

Published July 14, Atkins' tenth Quinn Colson novel concludes a multi-book arc that has seen seductive criminal queenpin Fannie Hatchcock flourish with crooked Tibbehah County Supervisor Johnny Stagg in prison.

In Quinn's previous adventure, The Shameless, Fannie set him up to be shot and left for dead. Ten months later, with Quinn on the mend, his friends and family drive much of The Revelators' action, aiming to bring Fannie down.

The Revelators' message—Justice can't, but doesn't have to, depend on one person—comes in clearly because Atkins has characterized Quinn's supporting cast and enemies adeptly throughout the series.

Guest Essay by Paul D. Marks

On May 31, Down & Out Books published Shamus Award-winning author Paul D. Marks' latest novel, The Blues Don't Care. I've invited Paul to contribute the following essay:

Time Tripping Back to the 1940s
by Paul D. Marks

I have a fascination for the 1940s. And, even though it’s before my time sometimes I think I must have been reincarnated from that era. There are several reasons. I like swing music. I like old black-and-white movies, especially film noir from the mid and later ’40s. The clothes are so cool, even men’s clothes, at least in the movies, trenchcoats and fedoras. Though here in Los Angeles I’m not sure how many men wore trenchcoats. But they did wear hats.

In The Blues Don’t Care, my mystery-thriller set in the 1940s on the Los Angeles home front during World War II, Bobby Saxon is a young man with two major goals in life. One of them is to get a gig playing piano with the house band at the famous Club Alabam on Central Avenue. If he gets the gig, he’ll be t…

LOST RIVER by J. Todd Scott

With Lost River, on sale June 23, DEA agent and author Scott departs from his Big Bend, Texas trilogy to sharply focus on America's opioid epidemic, setting the story in his native Kentucky, depicting a string of tragic overdoses and murders over twenty-four hours as seen through four main viewpoint characters written in present tense.

The largest portion of the story is from DEA agent Casey Alexander's viewpoint, but I appreciated that Scott started with other viewpoints to give readers a better feel of the local, non-law enforcement attitude. Divided this way, the action feels spontaneous and somewhat inevitable, where a more traditional novel from the lone viewpoint of a DEA agent crusading to clean up a drug-ridden town would've been safer, less impactful, less memorable.

Instead, Lost River is the best kind of fiction, the kind that opens our eyes to reality. My thanks to Ashley Hewlett of G.P. Putnam's Sons for the advance copy.

BLACKTOP WASTELAND by S.A. Cosby

Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a getaway driver turned honest mechanic settled in Shepherd's Corner, Virginia. When an old associate asks him to drive for a can't-miss jewelry store robbery, Bug is reluctant, but with his mother's longterm care bill due, his estranged daughter needing money for college, and his customers headed to a larger competitor, he has little choice but to accept.

Bug and crew pull off the robbery and split the money, and Bug splits his share between his mother's nursing home and his daughter. However, the jewelry store is also a front for a crime boss who comes after the crew one by one.

Blacktop Wasteland is a short book by today's standards. It is a slick contemporary caper in which every character, much like Bug, is pressured to participate. It's also breakneck violent and noir as noir can be. At the same time, Cosby's lyrical, figurative prose is to be savored, not skimmed.

Blacktop Wasteland will be published July 14 by Flat…

2020 Derringer Awards Information

The Short Mystery Fiction Society's 2020 Derringer Awards Coordinator Anthony Rudzki this morning announced this year's official winners.

I've highlighted the winners below, including the 2020 recipient of the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement, which is decided by a panel of the SMFS president, vice president, awards coordinator, and two regular members. Congratulations to all:

For Best Flash (stories up to 1,000 words)
Josh Pachter, "The Two-Body Problem", Mystery Weekly, October 2019Chris Chan, "The Six-Year Old Serial Killer", Akashic Books Mondays are Murder, December 16, 2019Trey Dowell, "Lucky", Close 2 the Bone, December 17, 2019Lissa Marie Redmond, "2 Percent", Mystery Tribune, December 31, 2019C.J. Verburg, "Birdbrain", Fault Lines, Sisters in Crime Northern California Chapter, March 2019
For Best Short Story (1,000–4,000 words)
John M. Floyd, "On the Road with Mary Jo", Ellery…

Lissa Marie Redmond, 2020 Derringer Finalist

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. The SMFS's 2020 Derringer Awards voting ends April 29 and winners will be announced in May. In the meantime, I've invited the finalists for interviews.

Lissa Marie Redmond's "2 Percent", from Mystery Tribune, is up for Best Flash.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

New technology exposes one family’s secrets with deadly consequences.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

I wanted to capture the family dynamics involved in publicly revealing a family secret and throw a little twist in the end. Flash fiction really challenges you to make every word count. But balancing the humor with the macabre was tricky, especially because I had less than one thousand words to do it in. It was tough, but after tearing it apart numerous times, I think I m…