Mystery Scene Magazine

At the Scene, November 2010             Solving the mystery of what to read next!
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Joseph Wambaugh on Reading
Award Winning Reading List
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Holiday Issue: Out Mid-November
Dennis Lehane, Tasha Alexander, 2010 Gift Guide, Joseph Wambaugh, 2010 Mystery and Crime Award Reads

Mystery Scene Holiday Issue #117

Mystery Scene's 2010 Holiday Issue, #117

Hi everyone,

We're just finishing up Holiday Issue #117, which should hit newsstands in mid-November.  

In the new issue, author Dennis Lehane discusses the much-anticipated return of Boston PIs Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie in Moonlight Mile. We also talk to Tasha Alexander about her new novel Dangerous to Know and her Victorian heroine Lady Emily, a woman truly before her time. And you won't want to miss our examination of Stuart Neville's tough, morally complex Irish thrillers The Ghosts of Belfast and Collusion.

Author Carolyn Hart discusses the solace that good books can provide in hard times, and we hear from other writers who share their favorite comfort reads. If you're just getting started on holiday gift buying, be sure to consult the annual Mystery Scene Gift Guide. We'll also be making online additions throughout the next month. The first online list, "Spy Kids," is available here.

Lawrence Block remembers the colorful bank-robber-turned-crime-writer Albert Nussbaum, and lots more!

Kate Stine

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Jordan Gray's Vanished, Blackpool Mystery

Cathy Wiley's Dead to Writes

Joseph Wambaugh on Catch-22
And trading a life of crime fighting for absurdist comedy

Catch-22 by Jospeh HellerWhile still a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department I reached a crisis point. My celebrity had overtaken me insofar as being the "Writing Cop" was concerned, and I had to resign just to save my colleagues from the media attention. I considered my first two novels, The New Centurions and The Blue Knight to be merely "moonlighting" books, that is, something I did as a hobby apart from my "real" work as a cop. The third, The Onion Field, was nonfiction where I had become an investigative reporter. But now I was a "civilian" after 14 years and I had a need to write another novel, but one with a distinctive voice that would sustain me if I were able to remain in the writing game. I think my main inspiration was Catch-22, a brilliant novel that I had first read in college as a young cop.
What Joseph Heller did in his masterpiece was to dramatize the insanity of war and the stresses that drove people to madness by writing his very serious story using all of the tools of absurdist comedy: irony, satire, hyperbole, and incredible gallows humor. The juxtaposition of a belly laugh followed by a horrific scene produced nearly unbearable dramatic tension throughout that book.
I thought that there are many things in common between war and police work, and dark defensive humor is also the weapon of the street cop as protection against fear and horror and premature demoralizing cynicism that can produce an overwhelming emotional threat. I had personally known more cops who killed themselves than were killed by villains. And I thought, from now on I'll write stories that are the opposite of police procedurals which tell how the cop acts on the Job. I'll flip it and dramatize how the Job acts on the cop, and gallows humor will be my most potent weapon. The first one was The Choirboys, and that's the voice that I have tried to keep ever since, with a tip of my hat to Joseph Heller.

Joseph Wambaugh, Hollywood HillsJoseph Wambaugh's latest Hollywood Station book is Hollywood Hills (Little, Brown & Co., Nov. 2010).

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers.
Carla Neggers's Cold Dawn

2010 Award Winning Reads on MS
Selection of Shamus, Macavity, Barry, Anthony, and CWA Dagger II winners at

A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield    Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley    Running from the Devil by Jamie Freveletti    BBC's Sherlock

Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks    The Last Child by John Hart    Blacklands by Belinda Bauer    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Congratulations to this fall's mystery and crime award winners and their fellow nominees. A complete list will be available in the forthcoming Holiday Issue #117 of Mystery Scene, and info is also available at the MS Blog for 2010 Shamus, Macavity, and Barry awards, as well as 2010 Anthony awards.



Comedian George Carlin

"Honesty may be the best policy,

but it's important to remember
that apparently, by elimination,
dishonesty is the second-best policy."

- George Carlin (1937 - 2008)
US comedian and actor

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For more great gift ideas, check out the upcoming 2010 Gift Guide in the Holiday Issue, and check our website throughout the month for additional gift picks, beginning with gifts for Spy Kids here.
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2010 Mystery Scene Magazine