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At the Scene, October 2011                    Solving the mystery of what to read next!
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Scooby-Doo Overheard
Harbor Book Review
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As the weather chills...

FALL ISSUE #121 is out, plus Duane Swierczynski on Horror and Crime, 2011 Crime Time TV, John Ajvide Lindqvist scares America, and Scooby-Doo Overheard

MS #121, Fall 2011
Fall 2011, Issue #121


Hi everyone, 


It doesn't take long for a conversation with Val McDermid to turn to her beloved Raith Rovers Football Club. She inherited this affection from her late father who was a scout for the team in their hometown of Kirkcaldy, Fife. As she says with a laugh, "In Kirkcaldy I'll always be Jim McDermid's lassie." To the rest of us, of course, McDermid is quite famous in her own right for a string of excellent crime novels that stretches back to the 1980s. She's an interesting woman and I think you'll enjoy her conversation with Oline Cogdill in this issue. 


We also talk to James Sallis, who is having a banner year with a highly praised new novel and a film adaptation of Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Sarah R. Shaber discusses her new series about a young widow working in intelligence in WWII-era Washington.


Everybody loves Spidey, but do you think of him as an embodiment of the American Dream? British writer Nick Harkaway does and his take on Spider-Man offers food for thought. 


Vampires, psychics, witches, and ghosts - Steve Hockensmith looks at supernatural mysteries, the subgenre that would not die. Jon L. Breen is celebrating the return of Max Allan Collins' iconic private eye, Nate Heller, in a new novel with a look at the entire series. And there's lots more - enjoy! 



Kate Stine




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AD The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy
Duane Swierczynski on Lansdale, Schow & Ferrigno
"Three horror writers served as my gateway drug into crime fiction"   
The Horse Latitudes by Robert Ferrigno
Is this book a gateway to crime?


When I was a teenager, I read horror fiction like that kid from The Sixth Sense saw dead people: all the time. Stephen King, Clive Barker, John Skipp, Craig Spector and the other members of the so-called "splatterpunk" school were my literary heroes for pushing the boundaries of the genre - and quite often, good taste. Three horror writers in particular, though, served as my gateway drug into crime fiction. All at once I realized that crime fiction could be as intense as the scary stuff I was digging - you didn't need zombies, monsters or demons. All you need are flawed human beings making bad decisions on the worst days of their lives.


Joe R. Lansdale's Cold in July (1989) was the first crime novel I read - or least, the first novel where I realized that, "Hey, this crime stuff is cool." I was a huge fan of Lansdale's horror stories, so I happily paid my $3.50 for that Bantam paperback which promised "a breathtaking novel of murder and suspense." Damn, did Lansdale deliver. Richard Dane shoots a burglar during a home invasion and spends the next 190 pages paying for it. You wouldn't believe how many surprises Lansdale packs into this slender, one-sitting read.


Similarly, I knew David J. Schow's name from short horror stories and his trailblazing horror movie-themed anthology Silver Scream. But his first novel, The Kill Riff (1988), isn't really horror at all - it's a down-and-dirty revenge thriller. Lucas Ellington's daughter was trampled to death at a rock concert, so he decides to go after those responsible. Namely, the band. Nobody packs as much muscle into a sentence as Schow. I mean, check out the opening line: "This time he would pull the trigger without blinking."


And finally, Robert Ferrigno wasn't known as a horror writer, but his debut The Horse Latitudes (1990) sure sounded like one, based on the back cover copy: "...a dangerous woman vanishes - lost in a dark California carnival of mad science, kinky sex, drug deals, sadism and murder." I still have that day-glo Avon paperback, and still marvel at lines like: "There were nights Danny missed Lauren so bad that he wanted to take a fat man and throw him through a plate-glass window." Noir has many definitions, but sometimes it means the monsters are us.





Duane Swierczynski's latest
book is Hell & Gone (Mulholland Books, October 2011).

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 
M is for Mystery 
2011 Crime Time TV
Three smart new shows for fall


So much TV so little DVR memory? Mystery Scene helps sift through the new contenders and emerges with three promising picks.

Maria Bello in Prime Suspect
Maria Bello as Jane Timoney
Prime Suspect (NBC)
Thursdays 10/9c
See Jane solve cases. See Jane demand parity in a man's world. See Jane in the American remake of the long-running British series of the same name made famous by Dame Helen Mirren. Maria Bello makes the role her own as the undeniably charismatic, hard-charging NYPD homicide detective Jane Timoney, who has to be hungrier, smarter, and tougher than her male counterparts just to stand a chance. Also stars Aidan Quinn as Timoney's boss Lieutenant Kevin Sweeney, Kirk Acevedo, Peter Gerety, Tim Griffin, Damon Gupton, Brian F. O'Byrne, and Kenny Johnson.

Claire Danes in Homeland
Claire Danes as Agent Carrie Matheson
Homeland (Showtime)
Sundays 10/9c
Claire Danes returns to television after a 15-year absence as the conflicted and complex CIA operative Carrie Matheson in
Homeland, a conspiracy thriller backed by executive producer Howard Gordon (24). In a post-9/11 world in which the line between good guys and bad guys isn't always clear, Danes' antihero character begins to suspect the returned American POW, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), may actually be a dangerous Al-Qaeda sleeper agent. Mandy Patinkin (Criminal Minds) also stars as CIA boss Saul Berenson.

Person of Interest
Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson
Thursdays 9/8c
The setup to this violent new crime thriller hinges on the odd fellow vigilante team of former-CIA operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and tech-geek billionaire Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson). Combining the two men's specialized skills and adding Finch's wealth and resources makes for an almost limitless array of possibilities. Early episodes play into its audience's visceral response to graphic violence and modern-day paranoia about living in a surveillance society. Also stars Academy Award winner Taraji P. Henson as NYPD officer Carter, a suspicious cop on the trail of Reese and Finch.



Scooby-doo (2002)



"Scoob and me don't do castles. Because castles have paintings with eyes that watch you, suits of armor you think is a statue, and there's a guy that follows you every time you turn around!" 


Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) in Scooby-Doo (Warner Bros., 2002),

the movie based on the enduring popular children's TV show.



John Ajvide Lindqvist's Harbor
New chilling suspense from Sweden's horror master

Harbor explores the effect a young child's disappearance has on those left behind, in this case, the inhabitants of a tiny island fishing village off the coast of Sweden, including the six-year-old girl's parents, Anders and Cecilia. Like many a missing-child novel, a parent is compelled to search for his child, despite the heavy odds against ever finding her alive. 


It's here though, that this tale veers off in a wildly different direction, as this book has been penned by the Swedish author, John Ajvide Lindqvist, currently one of the hottest writers in the horror genre... 



Read our review of John Ajvide Lindqvist's Harbor at

Congrats to all our Mystery Scene winners!
MS facebook icon 
THANK YOU to everyone who shared a recommended read or author with us online at our Mystery Scene Facebook page. Mystery Scene gave away several free books this summer to winners of our "Readers Recommend" Facebook Summer Giveaway and we really enjoyed reading about your favorite books.

Our latest "Readers Recommend" winner from our print  #121 Fall Issue is Jeff Mitchell (Baltimore, Maryland), who shared a very thoughtful recommendation for Robert B. Parker's final novel saying, "Sixkill was a very melancholy read for me; not because the book is bad, but because it's the last Spenser I will read written by Robert B. Parker. I've been reading Parker for over 30 years... Goodbye spenser and goodbye Robert B. Parker: Even though we never met, I consider both of you my friends. You will be missed greatly."
Congratulations to all our winners! 
And keep your recommendations coming.

To enter to win a free book, simply email or post a Readers Recommend on the MS Facebook Wall

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