Aldridge, Mark, Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Greatest Detective in the World | Buy this book | Buy the audio| Kindle it! A lively and highly readable valentine to Hercule Poirot, the legendary little Belgian and his gray cells, featuring new info and helpful pieces of context. The hardcover boasts over 400 illustrations.
July 2021 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Schecter, Harold, & Eric Powell, Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? (true crime; graphic novel) | Buy this book A deep dive into one of the most notoriously deranged killers in American history; fact-based and heartbreaking.
June 2021 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Block, Lawrence, A Writer Prepares (memoir) | Kindle it! Some chips off the young Block. Essential reading for writers, readers and maybe even those somewhere in between.
Enfantino, Peter, & Jeff Vorzimmer, The Manhunt Companion (reference) | Buy this book Mystery geek heaven! The complete issue-to-issue guide to Manhunt, from January 1953 to April/May 1967, with story and author indexes.
Owen, Erika, Lawbreaking Ladies: 50 Tales of Daring, Defiant, and Dangerous Women from History (reference) | Buy this book| Kindle it! Have a bad girl on your list who’s more naughty than nice? This fun little tome will introduce her to some of the more infamous members of the Sisterhood who have defied the Man: pirates, scam artists, ramblers, gamblers, bootleggers, gunslingers, serial killers, molls, madams, and more. A breezy and punchy read, with illustrations by Alexander Wright.
February 2021 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Block, Lawrence, Hunting Buffalo with Bent Nails (non-fiction essays) | Buy this book Collectors edition, covering everything from travel and collecting subway cars to Donald Westlake.
Tefler, Tori, Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion (non-fiction) | Buy this book | Buy the audio| Kindle it! Are women really better scamsters than men? Tefler makes her case, providing plenty of examples over the last 300 or so years. But I still wasn’t sure, soI asked my friend Jodie, and she said I should give her my passwords, and she’d tell me tomorrow.
January 2021 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Block, Lawrence, Afterthoughts: Version 2.0|Kindle it! New, and much expanded edition of the much loved 2011 collection of forewords, afterwords, essays, articles and digressions about Block’s huge body of work, and his storied career based on telling lies for fun and profit.
Bradford, Richard, Devils, Lusts & Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith (biography) | Buy this book | Kindle it! In this Winter of Discontent, this bio of Little Miss Sunshine might be just what we need.
November 2020 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Winspear, Jacqueline, This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing (memoirs) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! The creator of the much-loved Maisie Dobbs spills the beans of her hardscrabble childhood in post-war Kent, in a moving, heart-rending memoir that makes clear where many of the themes and concerns of Maisie came from.
October 2020 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Martin, Heather, The Reacher Guy (Lee Child biography) | Buy this book|Kindle it! The first full-on bio of Lee Child, Jack Reacher‘s creator, digging deep beyond the quickie book flap bios and convention-ready anecdotes. Recommended for all the Reacher Creatures.
July 2020Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Weinman, Sarah, editor, Unspeakable Acts (true crime) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! Our pal Sarah rounds up some deliciously dark and thoroughly modern true tales of crime, murder, deceit, and obsession’
June 2020Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Lee, Susanna, Detectives in the Shadows: A Hard-Boiled History (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Kindle it! Literary and cultural critic Susanna Lee tracks the evolution of the American private eye, from Race Williams to Jessica Jones, what makes himtick, and why we’re obsessed with the “good guy with a gun.”
MacDonald, Erin E., Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction (reference) | Buy this book|Kindle it! An enthralling A-Z guide to the crime fiction of the Scottish crimewriters, including plenty of gobsmacking info on his P.I. stuff. I mean, who knew? And yes, there’ll be plenty of new entries on this site.
April 2020 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Allan, Gulddal, King andPepper, eds, The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction (reference) | Buy this book|Kindle it! A slab of a book– a comprehensive introduction to current crime fiction scholarship, featuring forty-five original essays by specialists in the field, offering innovative approaches to the classics, as well as ground-breaking (and sometimes head-scratching) “mappings of emerging themes and trends.” Contributors include Stewart King, Susanna Lee, David Gegerin, Martin Edwards and a whole lot of academics I’ve never heard of, but are probably way smarter than me.
Zackheim, Victoria, editor, Private Investigations: Mystery Writers on the Secrets, Riddles, and Wonders in Their Lives | Buy this book|Kindle it! Now here’s something new–an anthology of non-fiction essays by some of today’s most popular mystery writers, revealing some of the mysteries in their lives, and how those mysteries–some happy, some sad, some embarassing and some just flat out bizarre–have shaped their lives, often in unpredictable and fascinating ways. Among those spilling the literary beans are Anne Perry, Jeffrey Deaver, Cara Black, Jacqueline Winspear, Rhys Bowen, Steph Cha, Carole Nelson Douglas, Robert Dugoni, Hallie Ephron, Rachel Howzell Hall, Ausma Khan, William Kent Kreuger, Kristen Lepionka, Martin Limón, Charles Todd and others. A wondrous book that probes the nature of creativity.
February 2020Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Dawson, Kate Winkler, American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI (biography) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! Known as the “American Sherlock Holmes,” Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America’s top forensic scientists, slaving away in a lab in Berkeley, California, 1933, but he would go on to would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career.
Jordan, J.R., Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures (non-fiction) | Buy this book
A fascinating look at the films of producer-director Robert Wise, featuring over twenty interviews, with an intro by Gavin MacLeod. Although probably best known for West Side Story and The Sound of Music, he also directed such crime classics as Born to Kill, Mystery in Mexico and Odds Against Tomorrow.
January 2020 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Cottrill, Tim,Bookery’s Guide to Pulps & Related Magazines (reference) | Buy this book The newest edition of the most complete pulp data and price guide reference in print, featuring updated values, an all-new colour selection of classic pulp covers in full colour, a comprehensive grading guide, and a special foreword from Jim Steranko–a must-have for collectors. 332 pages, black & white and color, 8.5″ x 11″.
December 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Curran, John, The Hooded Gunman: An Illustrated History of the Collins’ Crime Club (reference) | Buy this book A lavish full-colour celebration of the 2000 books by more than 250 authors published by the iconic Crime Club between 1930 and 1994. The Hooded Gunman was the iconic symbol of the legendary (and imminently collectable) Collins’ Crime Club, which published over 2,000 books between 1930 and 1994, printing everything from Agatha Christie and Rex Stout to Reginald Hill. This scrumptious volume, released in time to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publisher founded by William Collins in Glasgow in 1819, looks back at the history of the Crime Club and its authors, showing the jackets of every book (and the blurbs) published by the imprint over seven decades, topped off with facts, figures and lists, and drawing on rare archival photos, correspondence and promo materials. But OH THOSE COVERS! I love old book covers, and I could spend hours just pouring through this!
Nette, Andrew, & Iain McIntyre, editors, Sticking It to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980 | Buy this book|Kindle it! Tune in and drop out? Fat fucking chance! The sixties and seventies were a mind-blowing, sabre-rattling call-to-arms; with crime fiction, thrillers, erotica, and other pop and pulp genres previously dominated by conservative, straight, white males suddenly answering the global call of Civil Rights, Black Power, the New Left, gay liberation, feminism, anti-colonial struggles, labour unrest, and antiwar protests. contributors include Gary Phillips, Woody Haut, Scott Adlerberg, Maitland McDonagh, Andrew Nette, Iain McIntyre, Brian Greene, Eric Beaumont, Bill Mohr, and J. Kingston Pierce.
November 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Diarmid, Jessica, Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, & the Pursuit of Justice (true crime) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! A heartwrenching bit of reporting, as journalist Diarmid tells the disturbing story of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls of northwestern British Columbia’s infamous Highway 16, and a searing indictment of Canada’s epic failure to save them. Now is the fucking time for your tears.
Forshaw, Barry, Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Kindle it! Legendary British mystery critic delivers his magnum opus, promising his “last word on crime fiction (newspaper reviews apart), covering the genre from Poe to the present, every genre & every crime writer (almost!) discussed, plus films & TV.” With a foreword by Ian Rankin.
October 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Barker, Deborah E., & Theresa Starkey, editors, Detecting the South in Fiction, Film, and Television (non-fiction) | Buy this book Series of thoughtful essays on the growing presence of the American South in crime fiction and film noir, and what it means, as it explores the work and influence of James Lee Burke, John D. MacDonald, Donna Tartt, television’s True Detective and more, providing “an overdue examination of the historical, political, and aesthetic contexts out of which the southern detective narrative emerged and continues to evolve.” Includes contributions by Megan Abbott and Ace Atkins.
Christie, Agatha, Murder She Said: The Quotable Miss Marple (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Kindle it! Forget the pink cheeks and the dazzling blue eyes, or the sweet little old lady demeanor. Here are pearls of wisdom and other bon mots from one of the sharpest minds in crime fiction, just the thing to spice up the next tea social or knotting circle. Plus, a reprint of the rare essay by Dame Agatha herself, “Does a Woman’s Instinct Make Her a Good Detective?,” originally written to promote the Miss Marple series.
Jensen, Billy, Chase Darkness With Me (true crime) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! Journalist, podcaster, social media sleuth and “Facebook detective” Jensen reveals how he learned to solve cold cases using social media, and tells you how you can do it too.
Shaw, Milton, Joseph T. Shaw: The Man Behind Black Mask (biography) | Buy this book Not the first, and arguably the most influential (any George Sutton fans out there?), but certainly the best known, Joe “Cap” Shaw was the editor of the legendary Black Mask from 1926 to 1936, and an early champion of Carroll John Daly, Erle Stanley Gardner and particularly Dashiell Hammett. Shaw saw something in their hard-boiled crime and detective stories that suggested the potential for a whole new literary school. Using Hammett as a model, he nurtured and worked closely with a coterie of hand-picked writers (including Raymond Chandler), saved the struggling pulp, and transformed the once formal and staid detective story into a living, breathing genre that vigorously depicted life as far too many American recognized it, full of graft, corruption and violence. But Shaw was more than an editor — he was also ex-military and a world-class fencer, and this biography, written by his son, gives us the whole scoop.
September 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Child, Lee, The Hero (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! In his first nonfiction book, Jack Reacher’s daddy digs deep into our need for heroes, and what makes them — and us –tick. Fascinating and, of course, highly readable.
Glover, Allen, TV Noir: Dark Drama on the Small Screen (reference) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! The first in-depth exploration into television’s long and sometimes dubious relationship with noir, TV historian and Paley Center curator Glover plunges way back to the the late forties and fifties (when the Golden Age of Noir was still packing ’em in in theatres) and follows the clues right up to… now? Is it still noir if there’s a cute dog and a wacky neighbour?
Nette, Andrew, & Iain McIntyre, editors, Sticking It to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950 to 1980 | Buy this book
Stocklassa, Jan, The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files & the Hunt for an Assassin | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! Swedish journalist Stocklassa digs into the famous author Stieg Larsson‘s long-running obsession with — and investigation of — the 1986 assassination of prime minister Olof Palme, and runs with it.
August 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Martin, Andy, With Child: Lee Child and the Readers of Jack Reacher (non-fiction) | Buy this book|Kindle it! A year in the life of Lee Child, the creator of Jack Reacher, as he writes one book (Night School) and goes on the road to promote another (Make Me). An oddly fascinating, up-close look at the day-to-day of the bestselling author, as well as his legions of fans around the world.
June 2019 Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Collins, Max Allan, & A. Brad Scwartz, Scarface and the Untouchable (non-fiction) (r) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! This time it’s for real. Collins finally tears into Al Capone, Eliot Ness and the Battle for Chicago” with a huge slab of a book, now in paperback.
Men of Violence: All Reviews Special | Buy this book Remember The Executioner? The Exterminator? The Enforcer? Over a hundred two-fisted, testosterone-dripping reviews of men’s adventure paperbacks from the 60s and 70s are crammed into this 93-page sock to the jaw, fully illustrated (in black and white).
May 2019Reference, Non-Fiction and True Crime
Gear, Matthew Asprey, Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir | Buy this book | Kindle it! More than you ever knew you wanted to know about Arthur Penn’s classic 1970s noir Night Moves, starring Gene Hackman, Melanie Griffith and Jennifer Warren. Considered by some to be one of the all-time great P.I. films, this in-depth look at the film is full of insider dirt, interviews, critical analysis, and more, including the struggle over diverging visions of the film between Scottish scriptwriter Alan Sharp and American director Penn, neither of whom was happy with the final product. They were both wrong.
Kilgariff, Karen, & Georgia Hardstark, Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide (true crime & more) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it! The stars of the hit podcast My Favorite Murder dish up the dirt of psycho killers, violent nutjobs,, toxic masculinity, meaningful cultural and societal issues and… themselves.
McGough, Matthew, The Lazurus Files (true crime) | Buy this book|Buy the audio|Kindle it! A notorious cold case that took took the LAPD decades to crack, only to find out the murderer was one of their own
Struzan, Dylan, A Bloody Business (true crime) | Buy this book | Kindle it! Hard Case goes true crime! The late, notorious OG Jimmy Blue Eyes spills the beans on the Mob’s rise to power during Prohibition. His one condition was that none of it be published until after he was dead. Guess what? The SOB is dead.
Brew, Simon, editor, The Den of Geek Guide for the Netflix Generation (reference) | Buy this book | Kindle it! A treasure trove of TV trivia for the millennial couch potato, offering behind-the-scenes dirt on cult-classic series from Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead to The X-Files and Friends, the awe-inspiring power of fandom and why the Veronica Mars movie was both a triumph and a disaster. A book worth bingeing.