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JIMMY Paterson Books

James Patterson, who holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, has been a generous benefactor over the years.  He has donated more than one million books to students and he has funded over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships.  His popular “Treasure Hunter” series for readers in Grades 4-6 is co-authored by Chris Grabenstein.  Peril at the Top of the World, the fourth book in the series is due out in July, 2016.  For this and future titles he has created a new children’s book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say, “PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.”  Patterson will be investing his proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

–posted 4/19/2016

New Flashman?

No, George MacDonald Fraser (1925-2008) hasn’t written a new Flashman novel.  Fans will have to make do with the dozen he did write about the incorrigible knave.  Captain in Callico (Mysterious Press, 9/2015) is actually the first book Fraser ever wrote but which has never been published.  It introduces another real-life anti-hero: Captain John Rackham, called “Calico Jack,” an illustrious eighteenth-century pirate who marauded the Caribbean seas.

–posted 3/9/2015

New McBain?

So Nude, So Dead  to be published in July 2015 by Hard Case Crime is not one of the 97th Precinct series. It was originally published as The Evil Sleep by Evan Hunter in 1952 then reprinted as So Nude, So Dead by Richard Marsten in 1956.  It is McBain’s first crime novel.  Thanks to Editor Charles Ardal at Hard Case Crime for the clarification.

Rise of the Policewoman

Merle Jacob, well-known librarian and author, credits Dorothy Uhnak as the creator of the first fictional female police detective.  Her New York City police detective Christie Opara first appeared in The Bait (Simon and Schuster, 1968).  In Christie, we see many of the traits that still characterize female police protagonists.  She is tough and witty; beautiful, blonde and young (26 years).  She is a single mom; her policeman husband was killed in the line of duty.  There is an occasional hint of romance between Christie and her boss, Casey Reardon.  After writing only three books starring Christie, Uhnak went on to write non-series crime novels like  Law and Order (Simon and Schuster, 1973) that won her more fame and best-seller status.  Uhnak was herself a policewoman with the New York City Transit Police for fourteen years.  Her first book was the non-fiction  Policewoman: A Young Woman’s Initiation into the Realities of Justice (Simon & Schuster, 1964), written while she was still in uniform.  To read Merle Jacob’s article in the Severn House newsletter, click here.  Most of Uhnak’s books are now available in Kindle editions.

–posted 5/28/2014

First mystery best seller

Who wrote the first ever mystery novel to become a best seller?  According to Terry Farley Moran, it was Mary Roberts Rinehart whose book The Man in Lower Ten (Bobbs-Merrill, 1909) ranked number four on the annual roster of the time.  To read Terrie Farley Moran’s informative article on Mary Roberts Rinehart, which appeared in Macmillan’s blog Criminalelement.com .

–posted  5/18/2014

Hard-Boiled Eggheads by Keir Graff

As Editor of Booklist Online, Keir Graff reviews a zillion books and writes very clever articles about books and reviewing.  This one especially made me chuckle:  “Hard-Boiled Eggheads” is Keir’s annotated list of 16 literary authors who really want to play detective.

Click here to read Keir’s article in the May 1, 2013 Booklist Online.

–posted 7/18/2013

Van de Wetering mysteries reissued

TumbleweedMost young librarians will not remember Janwillem van de Wetering’s mysteries starring the stolid, hen-pecked Adjutant Grijpstra of the Amsterdam police and his handsome and contemplative assistant, Sergeant de Gier. They report to the aged, arthritic, but wise “commissaria.” Outsider in Amsterdam, first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1975, is the first book in the series. It concerns a murder among the drug-ridden members of a commune. The second book, Tumbleweed (Houghton Mifflin, 1976) involves possible witchcraft in the murder of a young woman from Curacao. As you can see Van de Wetering’s plots sound pretty contemporary. Perhaps that’s why Juliet Grames, Senior Editor at Soho Press has decided to re-issue this series of fourteen novels. The Zen Buddhist ideas and perspective in these mysteries may also appeal to today’s readers. Van de Wetering spent a year in a Japanese monastery and five years with a Buddhist group in Maine, experiences which he described in three autobiographical volumes: The Empty Mirror (Houghton Mifflin, 1974); A Glimpse of Nothingness (Houghton Mifflin, 1975); and Afterzen (St. Martin’s, 1999). I enjoyed van de Wetering’s mysteries and included them in the very first edition of Sequels, published by ALA in 1982. I’m sure this re-introduction will win him a new generation of fans. Soho is calling the reissued series the “Amsterdam Cops,” and has given them a “gorgeous new packaging,” according to Ms Grames.

–posted revised 4/23/2015

Bill Clinton’s thriller

Oh no, now Bill is writing thrillers.  At least that’s what I thought when I noticed The Spy Who Jumped Off the Screen (Viking, 1/10/2012) by Thomas Caplan and President Bill Clinton.  But in fact he just wrote the introduction.  Still, his name on the book jacket should help this book sell.  Clive Cussler has called it “the most ingenious thriller I’ve even read.”  The protagonist is handsome and dashing Ty Hunter who was an undercover operative before he became a top Hollywood star.  International derring-do with jet-set glamor–how can it fail?

–posted 12/13/2011

How detectives age

In case you didn’t see it, here is a link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304569504576405813466095564.html

to an interesting article from the 7/1/2011 Wall Street Journal about aging fictional detectives.  Author Alexandra Alter writes about how various authors handle the aging of their famous detectives.  Patricia Cornwell, for instance, decided to stop her forensic expert Kay Scarpetta from aging beyond 50.  “People don’t want to read about her when she’s 80,” she said. Sue Grafton ages Kinsey Millhone about one year for every 2½ books.  The scrappy Kinsey was 32 when the series began in 1982 and will be 40-ish when it concludes–that’s if Grafton stops at Z.  I, for one, want her to keep going into another alphabet.  But Grafton, who is 71, says that readers will never “have to watch Kinsey Millhone go through menopause”.

–posted 8/14/2011

Non-series authors

While updating  eSequels’ list of Forthcoming Series Fiction, I started to enter the newest Dick Francis, written by Felix Frances, the deceased author’s son.  But then I remembered that, with a few exceptions, Francis did not write series fiction.  Sid Halley, his most famous character, appeared in only four of his forty novels.  Halley’s career as a world-famous steeplechase jockey was ended when an accident crippled one of his hands.  But his experience as a jockey (not to mention his devil-may-care attitude to danger) made him an ideal detective for the Radnor Agency as a specialist in their racing-investigation section.   His first case, Odds Against (Harper, 1965), offered  enough action to take Sid’s mind off his ruined career and failed marriage.  In the second book, Whip Hand (Harper, 1979), Halley is trying out his new mechanical hand.  Two further  books, Come to Grief (Putnam, 1995) and Under Orders (Putnam, 2006) feature Sid Halley, whom I always assumed was  a semi-autobiographical figure for Francis, himself a jockey whose  riding career was ended by a severe accident.

Margaret Truman is another author like Francis.  All her mysteries take place in Washington D.C., usually at a particular institution (The White House, the CIA, Watergate, etc.), but each has a different set of characters.  While her publishers have started labeling Truman’s mysteries the Capital Crimes series, they don’t really qualify for inclusion in eSequels.

–Janet Husband  7/17/2012

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Posted July/17/2011

 
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