Wednesday, 17 May 2017 12:05

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I am so looking forward to the premiere of Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery, set to debut at 9 p.m. on June 4 on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel.

First, the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel has a track record of bringing some of our favorite amateur sleuths to TV in well-done movies.

Novels by Charlaine Harris, Joanna Fluke, and Wendy Corsi Staub, among others, have successfully made the transition to movies on the channel.

Second, Emma Fielding is the heroine of the terrific novels by Dana Cameron, who, like her character, is an archaeologist.

Cameron’s six novels about Emma are a highly entertaining series.

Emma is a brilliant and driven archaeologist and I have no doubt that actress Courtney Thorne-Smith will bring this beloved character to life. Emma is used to finding artifacts that have been lost for hundreds of years. 

But in Site Unseen, Emma is working on one of the most significant archaeological finds in years—evidence of a possible 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown.

But the dead man she finds at her site is no historical find. Emma becomes involved in the investigation because her dig site is in jeopardy of being shut down, thanks to local treasure-hunters and a second suspicious murder.

Cameron’s novels about Emma include Site Unseen, Grave Consequences, Past Malice, A Fugitive Truth, More Bitter Than Death, and Ashes and Bones.

The author said she devised Emma’s name when she was writing her first mystery.

“I happened to glance over at my bookcase. There I saw a copy of Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding, and a copy of Emma, by Jane Austen, and I put the two names together. It wasn’t for a long time that I realized how appropriate that name was—it can be read as a play on words for her job, someone who spends time in the field. I had another character point out the joke to Emma in a later book, but I felt pretty silly for not having seen it myself right away,” Cameron stated on her website.

Dana Cameron photo by James Goodwin

Sunday, 14 May 2017 12:05

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Fans of Michael Connelly will get a triple treat this year from the author.

First, the third season of Bosch just landed on Amazon Prime.

Bosch, of course, is based on Connelly’s series about LAPD detective Harry Bosch and stars Titus Welliver. 

Season three is based on elements of Connelly’s novels The Black Echo and A Darkness More Than Night. (We promise to have a non-spoiler review soon.)

And second, there will be not just one new Connelly novel this year, but two.

In July, Little, Brown will release Connelly’s The Late Show, which introduces a new character around which the author plans a new series.

The Late Show launches detective Renée Ballard, who works the night shift in Hollywood.

She begins investigations but finishes none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day-shift detectives.

Renée is described as “a once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor.”

Things change when Renée catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Against orders and her own partner's wishes, she works both cases by day while maintaining her shift by night.

In a release, Connelly said, “I have been contemplating a new character like Renée Ballard for a long time and now seemed like the time to write the book. It’s been ten years since I introduced a new protagonist so I am very excited about this.”

And Bosch will be back in a new novel—as yet untitled—that will be published on November 7, 2017.

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 11:05

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Among the authors who left us too soon is Eleanor Taylor Bland, who passed away in 2010.

She gave us complex characters, starting with African-American police detective Marti MacAlister, who was introduced in Dead Time (published in 1992).

The author’s legacy continues with the fourth annual Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, which is now open for submissions.

Administered by Sisters in Crime, the award honors the memory of Taylor Bland with a $1,500 grant to an emerging writer of color, male or female, who has not yet published a full-length work.

The deadline for submission is June 15, 2017, and the winner will be announced on or before August 1, 2017. Guidelines for submission can be found at Sisters in Crime's website

The award was created in 2014 with a bequest from Bland’s estate “to support Sisters in Crime’s vision statement that the organization should serve as the voice for excellence and diversity in crime writing.”

The grant is intended to support the recipient in activities such as workshops, seminars, conferences and retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of their debut crime fiction novel or story collection.

Recipients include Maria Kelson (2014), Vera H-C Chan (2015), and Stephane Dunn (2016).

Here’s a link to a video with past winners describing the award.