During the first week of May, The Mystery
Writers of America held their annual convention in New
York City. There they announced the best in mystery for
the year 2000. Winners get the coveted Edgar Award,
named, of course, after Edgar Allen Poe. Here are the
The Bottoms (Best
by Joe R. Lansdale
Deep East Texas in the Great Depression. A place where
poverty is as prevalent and devastating as tornadoes.
When young Harry Crane discovers a mutilated body in the
river bottoms, a cold fear grips the region and racial
tension nears fever pitch. Harry believes the killer is
the Goat Man, a monster of Texas legend, made all the
more real to Harry because he has actually seen him on
his nocturnal wanderings. In the dark and gloom of the
Texas night, and with no suspect in sight, the body count
rises, a man is lynched, and the local law-Harry's
father-intensifies the search for a savage killer who may
be closer than anyone dares imagine. This is an excellent
mystery from one of my favorite authors. Lansdale is as
good of a storyteller as they come. Call it "To Kill
a Mockingbird" with an edge. Lock the doors, turn
off the phone, youre in for a scary read!
Maria (Best Original Paperback)
by Mark Graham
While countries from around the world display their
gleaming new inventions in the Centennial, nearby is a
labyrinth of festering streets called Shantyville, with
its opium dens, criminals, and freak shows. Here, Wilton
McCleary comes across the butchered body of a girl. As
McCleary grapples with a killing his own police superiors
want to ignore, he realizes that he had come face to face
with the girl's killer, and that the young man is linked
to the family of a powerful industrialist, his callow
son, and his beautiful, high-strung daughter. Suddenly a
murder investigation takes McCleary into a family's
private madness and a web of blackmail and revenge that
will force him to solve a series of unspeakable
crimes---or commit one of his own. Captured at
Gettysburg, imprisoned in Andersonville, Wilton McCleary
lost his innocence in the Civil War. But on the streets
of Philadelphia he's found a home---as a grizzled city
detective facing squalor and pathos every day on the
beat. Now the whole world is celebrating a glorious
future at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. But
on the fringes of this massive exposition, McCleary wades
into a drowning pool of murder, depravity, and deception
that can only end with a dark ride on...THE BLACK MARIA.
For Fans of historical mysteries, Graham is very good.
Ive read the first the first two in this series and
am looking forward to getting to this one. Graham does a
nice job depicting Old Philadelphia.
next two are getting some great press and flying out of
Conspiracy of Paper (Best First Novel by An American
by David Liss
Benjamin Weaver, a Jew and an ex-boxer, is an outsider in
eighteenth-century London, tracking down debtors and
felons for aristocratic clients. The son of a wealthy
stock trader, he lives estranged from his family--until
he is asked to investigate his father's sudden death.
Thus Weaver descends into the deceptive world of the
English stock jobbers, gliding between coffee houses and
gaming houses, drawing rooms and bordellos. The more
Weaver uncovers, the darker the truth becomes, until he
realizes that he is following too closely in his father's
footsteps--and they just might lead him to his own grave.
An enthralling historical thriller, A Conspiracy of Paper
will leave readers wondering just how much has changed in
the stock market in the last three hundred years.
by Dick Lehr and Gerard ONeill
Two boys--John Connolly, and James "Whitey"
Bulger--grew up together on the streets of South Boston.
Decades later, in the late 1970s, they would meet again.
By then, Connolly was a major figure in the FBI's Boston
office and Whitey had become godfather of the Irish Mob.
What happened between them-a dirty deal to trade secrets
and take down Boston's Italian Mafia in the
process--would spiral out of control, leading to murders,
and drug dealing, and racketeering indictments. And,
ultimately, to Bulger making the FBI's Ten Most Wanted
List. Told in compelling narrative style by the Boston
Globe reporters who covered the case from the beginning,
Black Mass is a riveting epic crime story that is also a
book about Boston and Irish America; about the pull of
place; and about the ties between that blind.
know if youve read any of these. Im always on
the look out for some new authors to discover. Most
recently Ive been reading through the Elizabeth
Peters Amelia Peabody mysteries. You can reach me
at Finzzzz@aol.com , and as always,
support your local independent bookstore. A good link for
the nearest one in your area is Booksense.com.