Today is the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe—the perfect day to announce the nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards (honoring the best in the mystery genre). You can see the full list on the TheEdgars.com, but I thought I'd give a special shout out to a couple of the categories, both packed with BookPage favorites.
Nominees for Best Novel include:
Caught by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
Nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author include:
In the Best Novel category, I've got my fingers crossed for Tom Franklin's atmospheric page-turner, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. (Okay—maybe I'm biased because I interviewed the guy in person.) In the other category, I'd be thrilled to see Paul Doiron take home the prize. After mystery columnist Bruce Tierney declared The Poacher's Son to be "one of the best debut novels in recent memory," I asked Doiron to write a guest post on how he came to write about the Maine wilderness. Check it out here.
The winners will be announced on April 28 in New York City . . . what books are you rooting for?
It's been another great week of reading blogs—especially because of all the spooky and kooky holiday posts. (I've already mentioned a couple this morning.)
A few of my favorite posts from the week:
Leading up to the 31st, Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelves has been hosting a wonderful (and freaky!) series called Halloween Fright Fest. Two of my favorite posts are linked above, on what makes a book fit into the horror vs. thriller genre.
Horror forces us to realize and confront our fears. In many cases, as I’ve stated repeatedly, horror forces us to examine social issues that are often ignored or frowned upon. Notice I didn’t state that said writing must contain vampires, ghosts, werewolves, or anything supernatural?
A thriller is a story where a basically innocent person endures increasingly terrible events until they can’t take it anymore, and in a fit of fight-or-flight syndrome, they choose to run. (By the way, the post on thrillers was a guest post from Carrie of The Books I Read.)
October's Compendium of Literary Links
Posted by Greg on The New Dork Review of Books
I highlighted The New Dork Review of Books a couple months ago in "Best of the Blogs" and have enjoyed perusing this smart and funny blog ever since. Today (because we all love roundups!), I want to direct you to a "compendium of literary links"—a "few really good, really long articles" about books and reading. The separation of art and artist. Nicole Krauss. Philip Roth. It's good stuff!
What blog posts have you enjoyed this week?
Edward Conlon, author of best-selling memoir Blue Blood, will make his fiction debut this spring with Red on Red.
Blue Blood was an account of everyday copdom—"a fascinating and frightening world that is never far from our own doorstep."
Red on Red is the fictional story of two NYPD detectives with "radically different approaches to life and work":
One is drawn to cases of rough and ordinary urban combat; the other is compelled by uncanny "ghost stories," suicides, and missing persons.
Memoirs are extra-exciting because they're based on real events. But can Conlon deliver as a fiction writer? We'll have to wait until April to find out.
Here's one item we can guarantee will be found under many readers' trees this holiday season: a boxed set of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. Packaged in a slipcase, the three books include maps and beautifully designed endpapers. The set also includes On Stieg Larsson, a collection of essays about and correspondence with the author. Retail price is $99, and you can buy them on November 26.
Either of these on your gift list—or wish list!—this year?
When we hear about politicians landing book deals, the book in question is almost always a memoir or some sort of inspirational guide.
So, I was interested to see that former U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida)—also a former governor of Florida—has signed a deal to write The Key to the Kingdom, "a topical and provocative debut political thriller." The book will be published by Vanguard Press, which is part of the Perseus Books Group.
Graham is best known for his tenure as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during and after 9/11 (he opposed the Iraq War). He is also known for his "workdays," when he decided to "experience the lives of ordinary Floridians firsthand by working their jobs."
He worked as a teacher, a plumber, a social worker, a shrimper . . . and now he can add "thriller writer."
Will you look out for this book? On a related note, former White House Communications Director Nicolle Wallace's debut novel, Eighteen Acres, hits shelves on October 19.
Ice Cold is Tess Gerritsen's eighth book in the Rizzoli & Isles crime series, and if the trailer is any indication, this book will be creepy, adrenaline-pumping and a page-turner.
The novel follows Boston ME Maura Isles to the seemingly abandoned town of Kingdom Come, where she and some friends are stranded in a blizzard. Abandoned houses—with food still on the tables—are suspicious, and the group gets the feeling that someone is lurking in the darkness. After Maura's body is found in a ravine, homicide detective Jane Rizzoli comes to investigate the town's "twisted history". . .
Will you read Ice Cold, out June 29 from Ballantine? An icy thriller sounds about perfect for the heat of summer. . . and just in time for TNT's new Rizzoli & Isles series.
Also in BookPage: Browse our Tess Gerritsen archives.
While embargoes and strictly enforced publication dates are nothing new in the book world, Stephen King is trying something a little less common to generate excitement about his next novel, Under the Dome (which I gave a sneak preview of here). Note the "cover to be unveiled" notation on the current jacket. They weren't kidding. The actual cover for Under the Dome is going to be revealed in four stages over the next two weeks. The first element was released on Monday by Scribner and can be found here.
Scribner art director Rex Bonomelli says they found just the right designers to bring Chester's Mill to life on the cover: artists who had previously worked in commercial advertising. Watch their page for two more reveals on Sept. 25 and Sept. 28, culminating with the release of the One True Cover on October 5.
Early Word traced the origins of the "cover release" as a publishing event in a post today (the Harry Potter franchise was the first to blaze this particular trail, I think), wondering if the whole thing is just "silly." I suppose the announcement got Under the Dome another blog post or two...but overall it's the inside that counts for me.
Do you think this is a successful strategy for building excitement?
At BookPage we’ve been gearing up for the holidays. It may seem early, but since we work 2-3 months ahead of publication dates, we’ve been happily sorting through piles of the best books to give (and receive) this season.
While doing my fiction research, I was surprised to see that Today Show personality Al Roker has a novel coming out this fall. Not so much of a stretch, I thought, since Roker has previously released cookbooks (Al Roker's Big Bad Book of Barbecue and Al Roker's Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook) and a memoir (Don't Make Me Stop this Car: Adventures in Fatherhood). But then I saw the title of his novel: The Morning Show Murders. Hmm.
From the publisher: Being cheerful at six in the morning can drive anyone to murder—just ask Al Roker! In his behind-the-cameras debut mystery, a celebrity TV chef has dishes to prepare, millions to entertain and a murder to solve before his show—and life—get permanently cancelled. As fact and fiction collide and the backbiting ignites, The Morning Show Murders will make you wonder: How much of this stuff is real?
Maybe it’s just me, but a thriller from sunny Al Roker is the last thing I expected to see in the mail. But now I’m intrigued . . . maybe just enough to read the first few chapters.
Will you check out The Morning Show Murders when it goes on sale November 24?
When I arrived at the Books-A-Million offices for a few publisher meetings back in May, I had just missed their meeting with Penguin. As Julia and I walked in, most of the reps were talking about one thing: Level 26: Dark Origins, a new "digi-novel" coming in September from Anthony Zuiker, the creator of "CSI." They'd just seen a sample of one of the video "cyber-bridges" that readers will get a link to every 20 pages or so in the book. By all accounts, the video had the same quality as a TV show or film, and the killer was more terrifying than Hannibal Lecter.
This picture certainly lines up with that assessment. Apparently he wears a rubber suit of some kind so as not to leave any forensic info at the crime scenes. Creepy!
Info on the novel's plot is as vague as it gets ("the story of the world’s most heinous serial killer, and the one man who can stop him"—heard that one before?), but with a gimmick like this, they may be thinking it's not necessary. There will be three Level 26 novels, and Dutton paid a reported seven figures for the trilogy.
Soap opera fans will find this blend of TV and books to be nothing new (the novels of "Kendall" from "All My Children" and the unforgettable Hidden Passions by "Tabitha Lennox" spring to mind). But this is the first time readers have to get up after 20 pages, go to the computer and search for a video link, something that seems less than ideal to me—but might appeal to YouTube aficionados with smartphones. And who knows, the online content might be exciting enough to send readers racing through the pages to get to the next "cyber-bridge." I'm happy to see publishers trying something outside the standard print format, though. What do you think? The way forward, or two steps back?
The US/UK jackets for Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol were released today. What do you think? Will you be scouring the cover for "clues" to the book's content, or are you happy to wait until the novel's release?
For those of you who can't read the fine print/details on the US jacket, this red wax seal includes the image of a Phoenix, the number 33, and the Latin phrase, "Ordo ae Chao," (Order from chaos). But what does it mean?!? Apparently if you follow Brown on Twitter (@lostsymbolbook) or Facebook, you too can devote your summer to piecing together clues about the plot of his long-awaited book. Or you can just wait until September 15. I figure with a 6.5 million print run, there will be enough copies to go around.
And now, I'll leave you with a link to a clip from the "Today Show," where Matt Lauer shows the Lost Symbol cover and describes Brown as an author whose books are "pretty well read." You could say that, Matt.