Friday, December 30, 2011

The Mysterious Bookshop Staff Favorites of 2011!

Adios 2011! Here's the words we loved the most this year.

Otto’s Top 10:

Block, Lawrence, The Night and the Music. I love the Matthew Scudder series, I love short stories, and this is the complete collection of Scudder stories. One of the great stories of all time is the Edgar-winning “By Dawn’s Early Light.”
Crais, Robert, The Sentry. Is there a better, more consistently outstanding mystery writer than Crais? Whether writing about Elvis Cole, a stand-alone or Joe Pike, Crais polishes every book into a flawless gem. This is Pike at his scariest.
Connelly, Michael, The Drop. What more can be said about Connelly and Harry Bosch? The worst book in the series is still a masterpiece. Readers only have to worry, as Bosch does here, that he’ll be forced to retire someday.

Woodrell, Daniel, The Outlaw Album. Country noir (a term Woodrell invented a decade ago) at its finest. The characters live hard lives in ramshackle homes, with little law enforcement, so the locals take care of themselves, and their problems, on their own.

Morrow, Bradford, The Diviner’s Tale. This unique work has all the accoutrements of the literary novel but it also spans two forms of genre fiction: the mystery and the supernatural tale.

Manfredo, Lou, Rizzo’s Fire. I am convinced that Manfredo’s realistic police stories about Joe Rizzo will soon be mentioned in the same breath as the great 87th Precinct novels by Ed McBain.

Cook, Thomas H., The Quest for Anna Klein. Without changing his sublime style, Cook has written a book with a plot that is different from his other books—a masterpiece of espionage fiction.

Horowitz, Anthony, The House of Silk. As an ardent aficionado of Sherlock Holmes who has read hundreds of pastiches, I will aver that this is the best of them all. Great suspense, impeccable use of language, and the characters are right.

Hunter, Stephen, Soft Target. On “Black Friday” a group of terrorists shoot Santa Claus and take more than a thousand hostages in Minnesota’s Mall of America. One hero stands between the killers and a bloodbath.

Block, Lawrence, A Drop of the Hard Stuff. Well, I said I love the Scudder series. This, the first novel about him in many years, is one of the best, taking him back to when he was first forced out of the NYPD and trying to get sober.

Dan, Ian and Sally's favorites After the Jump!

Sally's weekly update 11/30/2011

We Love to Hear From You!
In our January newsletter, under Staff Favorites, you will find our favorite reads of the year. If you would like to share your favorite reads with us, we’d love to hear from you.


Lots of good buzz about The Whisperer, a first novel by Donato Carrisi. When severed arms are discovered in a circle in the woods, Inspector Mila Vasquez joins a team of dedicated detectives who have a track record of catching serial killers. But the killer is way ahead of this group, and he’s just getting started. This thriller has become a bestseller in Europe. The author is not touring and we have SIGNED BOOKPLATES ONLY. $25.99

Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride is a stand alone crime novel. Five years ago Rebecca, the daughter of Detective Constable Ash Henderson, went missing on the eve of her 13th birthday. Every year, on her birthday, a card arrives at the Henderson house, showing Rebecca - and each one is more gruesome than the last. This psycho has been snatching girls for 12 years now and the tabloids call him The Birthday Boy because he takes girls as they are about to turn thirteen. What Ash Henderson won’t tell anybody is that he has been receiving these cards (his colleagues think Rebecca ran away from home) -. He doesn’t want to be taken off the investigation. He want to be there when they catch him! A British Crime Club Main Selection. $38.00 (approx).

Please note: There is a strict on-sale date for this title. We will take your orders but will be unable to send them to you until after January 5th. Note also that we will be unable to order more copies of this title. British Crime Club Members will receive their copies, after that it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

All Otto all the time! We have received copies of the U.K. edition of Zombies (published here as Zombies, Zombies, Zombies - in case you didn’t get it the first time). Otto will sign copies of this edition which has the same content as the U.S. edition but which, to my mind, has a more appropriately gruesome cover. $25.00

Our third Bibliomystery is here. The Scroll by Anne Perry is limited to 100 hardcover editions at $50.00, and is available in paperback for $4.95 ($1.00 to Crime Club Members).

We do have a subscription list for our Biblios. As of now we have copies available of the Anne Perry story, as well as a few copies left of Biblio # 2, The Book of Ghosts by Reed Farrel Coleman.

The Innocent by Taylor Stevens once again features Vanessa Michael Munroe, introduced in The Informationist. Eight years ago, five-year-old Hannah was spirited out of school and into the cult known as The Chosen which has, under its leader The Prophet, hidden the child and shielded her abductor. Now several childhood survivors of the cult have escaped and they turn to Vanessa to help them free Hannah. $24.00

More After the Jump!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Toby Peters Affair by Greg Rucka

Greg Rucka wrote this stunning piece for The Mysterious Press Blog. Check it out.

Stuart Kaminsky changed my life.

This is not hyperbole. This is not a rhetorical gambit. It's God's honest Truth.

Until I was ten years old, mysteries were, to me, Encyclopedia Brown and a handful of aborted attempts to read The Hardy Boys. I fought through The Tower Treasure, got a dozen pages into The House on the Cliff, and gave it up for good. I fared slightly better with Nancy Drew, but not much. While I enjoyed the idea of a mystery, the concept of it as a narrative form, I was bored to tears by the execution.

To hear my mother tell it - and I've asked her about it - she went into the now-passed-into-memory Cloak and Dagger Mystery Bookshop in Santa Barbara, California, looking to buy some new reading for herself, and maybe a book for me. She asked the bookseller for a recommendation for her ten year-old son. What she left with was Murder on the Yellow Brick Road, which she then blithely handed to me.

To this day, I wonder what that bookseller was thinking. My best guess is that he or she hadn't actually read the book, and was rather looking to make the sale. Hey, that one there, it's got a Wizard of Oz reference. That'll be safe.

So very, very wrong.

So very, very right.

Read the rest of the post here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Want to win cool stuff from Ken Bruen and John Harvey?

If you help us spread the word about, you could be eligible for two very cool, very exlusive publications from authors.
Here's how the contest works:

Tell your friends to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

And that's it.

All you have to do is make the case for why we're awesome--and c'mon, aren't we?
On Thursday (Dec. 22) at noon, we're going to name six winners – three from Twitter, three from Facebook. Recommend us at least once on either of these social networks, and you're eligible.

Each winner gets Mysterious Profiles for Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor and John Harvey's Charlie Resnick. These are exclusive publications commissioned by Otto Penzler through The Mysterious Bookshop, written by the authors about their fictional detectives, and not available anywhere else.

Click here for more info.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Staff Favorites for December 2011

Our staff here at The Mysterious Bookshop are always on the prowl for a new must-read mystery. Dan, Sally, Ian and, of course, Otto Penzler, have selected the cream of the crop, the cherries on top, the best mysteries of December 2011. Check ‘em out.

Otto’s Favorite:

Woodrell, Daniel, The Outlaw Album. Little, Brown. Very few American mystery writers have enjoyed more critical acclaim with less popular success than Daniel Woodrell, though he slowly is finding a larger readership, partly because of the excellent film made from his novel Winter’s Bone. His new collection is a thing of beauty, encompassing all the elements of “country noir,” a term he invented about a decade ago. Like his novels, the stories in The Outlaw Album are set in the poor countryside of the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. His characters live hard lives in ramshackle houses or trailers, working at whatever jobs they can find in a region where no one can afford to pay them very much. There isn’t much in the way of law enforcement in the vast rural terrain, so the local populace has learned its own code of honor and administers justice as it sees fit. Only when despair is taken for granted could someone utter this line, as one character does: “Ma wants to be buried on the farm. She’d been happy here when she was too young to know better.” This worldview pervades the 12 tales in The Outlaw Album, each of which is a small polished jewel, and not a bad way to become acquainted with this poetic storyteller. Signed copies available. $24.99

Check out more of Otto's faves, as well as Dan, Ian and Sally's picks after the jump!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sally's Weekly Update 12/16/11

After living in Brooklyn for twenty years, I shall be moving to Manhattan next week. Once I get over the trauma of moving my books, this will be a good thing! I'll be away from the store from Sunday, December 18th until Friday, December 23rd. I'll be back on Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24th. There will be no Weekly Update until Friday, December 30th.

Please send your emails to or call the store. Ian, Dan, even Otto, will be able to help. If you are a Crime Club member please identify yourself as such - your files are set up in a different way and we wouldn't want your information to be lost.
So. Whatever you plan on celebrating this coming holiday season - from Christmas to Festivus - have a wonderful time. Please note that I will be away from the store from December 18th until December 24th. Yes, I will be BACK for Christmas! How perverse.


Reed Farrel Coleman signed copies of his latest Moe Prager novel, Hurt Machine. Hardcovers ($24.95) and paperback editions ($15.95) were published simultaneously.

Colin Cotterill’s publisher has sent along signed bookplates for his latest Dr. Siri mystery, Slash and Burn. $25.00

More after the Jump!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Weekly Damage 12/15

It’s been a busy week here at the shop, what with the holiday season sneaking up on us and all. Between decking the halls with boughts of fury, watching mommy killing Santa Claus and kissing underneath the missing toe, I’ve managed to gather the top 5 tales of mysterious happenings.

More after the jump!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Reed Farrel Coleman Event 12/12

Thanks to everyone who came out of the Reed Farrel Coleman Event yesterday. Check out all of the pictures on our Facebook Page.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sally's Weekly Update for 12/09/11

I'm still recovering from the drama on last night's edition of The X Factor.  If you don't watch it, do tune in.  Beats the body count in many of our books here. There's nothing quite like live television!
But I digress.  The reality show here is holiday shopping.  Here's the latest update.


Monday, December 12th 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.
Reed Farrel Coleman will discuss his latest Moe Prager novel
Hurt Machine ($24.95 hardcover, $15.95 trade paperback)
Moe searches for his estranged sister-in-law and turns up a hornet’s nest of corruption.
Coleman is the winner of the Shamus, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony awards.

Michael Connelly will be here today signing copies of The Drop, his latest Harry Bosch novel. Michael is only going to four bookstores to sign copies of this title, so if you have not already ordered this book, do it soon. A Crime Collectors Club Main Selection. $27.99

Neon Panic is Charles Philipp Martin’s first novel. The body of a woman washed up in Hong Kong harbor, her identity unknown. But Inspector Herman Lok of the Hong Kong Police Force discovers that the woman is linked, not just to the triads, but also to an organization not usually connected with murder and conspiracy - the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra. A Trade Paperback Original. $14.95

Ken Bruen Headstone Event 12/2

Thanks to everyone who came out for the Ken Bruen party for his new Jack Taylor novel, Headstone on Friday. See all the pictures on our Facebook Page.

Literary Maps and Flow Charts, Just in Time for the Holidays.

Le sigh
So here they come, the dreaded, anticipated holidays. One can only hope to spend them cuddled up with our boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/cat in front of a glowing fire that fills the room with joy and tenderness, but there is the (slight) possibility that your boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/you will get drunk on eggnog/tequila shots and end up in some sort of uncomfortable situation. And if I've known one thing since childhood, it's that the perfect retreat from a family smack-down brawl is found in a book. So here's to hoping for the best, and being prepared for the worst.

If you are more of a DIY reader and tend to mistrust the "Best Ofs" lists that always come out around this time of year, I've hunted down two new methods for finding your next favorite novel.

1. Check out this literature map that threatens to suck hours out of your day. You just type in your favorite author and BAM, this site generates 20+ authors that you should like as well. The map is an interactive experience of sorts, the closer the name of the author is to your favorite, the more you will like them. You can click on any of the names and the site will generate an entire new map. Happy hunting!

2. I like the Hunt your Way Through Horror concept with this Gothic and Horror Novel Flow Chart. It reminds me of a choose-your-own ending childrens book, but instead of finding a faerie holding a golden crystal of love at the end, you find Carrie, or We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (A book I had entirely forgotten about until I stumbled upon this flow chart, you should all read it, it's quite amazing).


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Weekly Damage 12/07/2011

It's December, everyone! Sometimes this month is a God send to the obsessive crime fiction readers, for once, we can be sure that the cold chill running down your spine is from the weather and not from the watchful eye of a stranger. Well, this week is ripe with murder, murderers, and the rest of us that love them. After the jump you will find a couple true crime tales, including my favorite ob-knox-ious white girl, some literary musings, and the first of many favorites lists!

Monday, December 5, 2011

This just In: Joyce Carol Oates is Awesome

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sally's Weekly Update 12/02/11

December's here. Don't know about you, but I'm in a mild panic - time to finish (or start) the holiday shopping! As you know, books make perfect gifts. Here's the update.


Friday, December 9th 6.30 p.m. - 8.00 p.m.

Charles Martin will discuss and sign copies of his first novel, Neon Panic ($14.95 trade paperback). Set in Hong Kong, Inspector Herman Lok must solve the murder of a young woman and prove the ties between the triads and the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra.

Monday, December 12th 7.00 p.m. - 8.30 p.m.

Reed Farrel Coleman will discuss his latest Moe Prager novel, Hurt Machine($24.95 hardcover, $15.95 trade paperback). Moe searches for his estranged sister-in-law and turns up a hornet’s nest of corruption. Coleman is the winner of the Shamus, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony awards.


Ken Bruen will be here this evening to sign copies of Headstone, the latest Jack Taylor mystery. Jack must tackle his most ruthless opponent yet, a group known as Headstone. Jack is also trying to track down a man of the cloth who has absconded with the church’s money. $24.00

Ken will also sign paperback copies of The Book of Virtue, our first biblio mystery. This little gem is $4.95 ($1.00 if you’re a member of the Crime Club).

The Book of Ghosts by Reed Farrel Coleman is our second biblio mystery. The hardcover and paperback editions are now here. We will start to ship the limited numbered and lettered editions this month. We still have some copies available. Numbered editions are $50.00, lettered editions are $100.00 and paperback editions are $4.95 ($1.00 if you’re a member of the Crime Club). If you order a number or lettered edition, you will receive a free copy of the paperback edition. We will also ask Reed to sign the paperback editions when he’s here.

James W. Hall has signed copies of Dead Last. When a serial killer crosses paths with the reclusive Thorn, Thorn has no choice but to leave Key Largo and join forces with a young policewoman from Oklahoma who is investigating the murders. A Hard Boiled Crime Club Main Selection. $25.99

Soft Target by Stephen Hunter takes place on Black Friday at America’s largest shopping mall in suburban Minneapolis. It is 3.00 p.m.and ten thousand people are at the Mall of America to shop. Twelve of them are there to kill. Ex-Marine sniper Ray Cruz becomes the country’s only hope. A Thriller/Espionage Club Main Selection. $26.99

Full list of collector's copies and gift suggestions after the jump.

From the archive: 101 Greatest Films of Mystery & Suspense, #101

From the archive: We're recounting the films chosen by Otto Penzler for his now out-of-print 2000 collection, 101 Great Films of Mystery & Suspense. Here's number 101.

Charlie Chan At The Opera (1936)

TYPE OF FILM: Detective
STUDIO: Twentieth Century-Fox
PRODUCER: Sol W. Wurtzel
DIRECTOR: H. Bruce Humberstone
SCREENWRITERS: Scott Darling and Charles S. Belden; story by Bess Meredyth
SOURCE: Characters created by Earl Derr Biggers
RUNNING TIME: 66 minutes

BEST LINE: After a seamstress screams because she saw a strange man in Madam Lilli’s dressing room, the strange manager, trying to bring order to the chaotic scene, tells Sergeant Kelly, “You cops would make everybody hysterical…This opera is going on tonight even if Frankenstein walks in.”

To see a full plot summary, analysis and little known facts about this classis film, Go Here.

Bonded Together: James Bond & His Ladies

As Americans (Brits, you're included here too), it is our innate responsibility to not only know, but to love all things James Bond. In fact, I personally believe that every red-blooded male should in some small way dictate his life in accordance with Bond’s life philosophy (Ideally, Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies, le sigh…). Think martinis, wristwatches that spit out glue that captures both Russian spies and the hearts of millions, and a penchant for bow ties. Come on, guys, at the very least you can invest in an Aston Martin DB5.
FlavorPill has consolidated a slideshow of the women that have also fallen under the spell of 007, it’s nice to know I have a kindred spirit in…Halle Berry? Check them out Here. Also, just for fun, here are 10 quirky facts about my man, 007. (via Flavorpill).