Mystery Scene Magazine

At the Scene, April 2012               Solving the mystery of what to read next!
In This Issue
Jonathan Maberry on Reading
Crime Time TV: Awake
7 Earth Day Reads
Titanic Overheard
MS New Authors Breakfast
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April Greetings
Jonathan Maberry on Travis McGee, Upcoming Mystery Conventions, Earth Day Favorites, Awake's Double-time Detecting, Jacques Futrelle on the Titanic

map with pushpins

Hi everyone,

Hope you are having a wonderful spring. Here at the Mystery Scene office, we're just finishing up the Spring Issue which will be on its way to you in the next week.

In the meantime, why not plan a vacation? Here are some upcoming events, as you can see mystery fans are a sociable lot! 

Best wishes,

Kate Stine


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Travis McGee made his debut in John D. MacDonald's 1964 novel The Deep Blue Good-by.


Jonathan Maberry on Travis McGee 


We all have a piece of writing that speaks to us. Not something that shouted once, but something that continues to whisper to you, to engage you. To connect with some essential part of you - as reader, as writer, and as a person.


For me that has always been the Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald. All 21 of them. I first heard of them while vacationing in Fort Lauderdale way back in 1978, just as the 17th book in the series, The Empty Copper Sea, was debuting. I'd never heard of MacDonald or McGee before, but a local bookseller told me the character "lived" there in Lauderdale. I bought the book on a whim and settled onto a beach chair to see if it was any good.


Next morning I was back to buy two more McGee novels. Then I went back and bought the whole series. I devoured those books. But it wasn't simply that they were excellent reads - some of the content was dated even by the "modern" standards of 1978 - there was something else about the stories.


There was Travis McGee.


He was unlike any character I'd yet encountered in fiction. He was tough and a bit of a smartass, but that was pretty common in the private eye fiction I'd been reading. He was smart, but there are a lot of smart detectives. He was romantic and sexual, but that was also common in books, movies and TV.


No, the qualities that set Travis McGee apart went deeper than that. He was the first truly intellectual character I'd read. Not merely an intellect, but someone whose understanding of things outweighed the sum total of what he'd learned. And he'd learned a lot. He was a thinker, a reasoned, a self-effacing but often dead-on philosopher. He was an idealist and iconoclast.


And...he could be hurt. Despite his obvious toughness, his many scars, his fighting skills, and his bravado, this was a character who risked his heart, his soul, and his ideals in every case. A thinking hero for thinking readers.


When I created Joe Ledger, the battered and psychologically damaged hero of my thriller series, I was aware that Joe had a role model. Or, maybe an uncle.


A week ago I got a notice from Audible that the entire library of Travis McGee novels are being released unabridged on audio. I snapped up the first seven and am already deep into the third. Sure, some elements in the stories are dated (Deep Blue Good-by was published in 1964!), but the insights into politics, society, people, relationships, our self-image, roles that we all play, and the evil that men do...yeah, those are still dead on. My old friend McGee has returned to whisper these timeless truths in my ear.



ASSASSIN'S CODE by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry's latest book is Assassin's Code (St. Martin's Griffin, April 2012). 

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 
Poisoned Pen Press Advertisement
Crime Time TV
Awake's double-time detecting

Awake (NBC)
Laura Allen, Jason Isaacs, & Dylan Minnette star as the Britten family in the parallel worlds of Awake.


In NBC's clever new drama Awake, LAPD Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) leads two lives in the wake of a tragic family auto accident: one when he awakes in reality and one when he awakes in his dreams; one in which the accident has taken his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) and one in which it has taken his son Rex (Dylan Minnette). And in both, Britten has thrown himself back into police work, literally solving crimes day and night, aided by the uncanny connections made by his subconscious between his two worlds.
Neither the viewers nor the good detective knows which world is real - nor do any of us really want to know, lest the fun end. 
For those just jumping into the fun, we recommend checking out earlier episodes online at Here's a handy breakdown to get you started. 
The Loved One
Laura Allen AWAKE  Dylan Minnette of AWAKE 
Hannah lives / Rex lives 
wants to get away, start fresh / angry, guilty, misses mom

The Work-Mandated Therapist
BD Wong of AWAKE  Cherry Jones of AWAKE
Dr. John Lee / Dr. Judith Evans
relentlessly critical, confrontational / nurturing, encouraging

The Job
Wilmer Valderrama of AWAKE  Steve Harris of AWAKE
Partner Efrem Vega / Partner Isaiah "Bird" Freeman
handsome, eager rookie / no-nonsense, loyal detective
pilot: cabbie murdered / pilot: parents killed, girl kidnapped

Watch Full Episodes at
Tweet us your thoughts @MysteryScene.

7 Earth Day Favorites

Each year Janet A. Rudolph, dubbed "The Mistress of Mystery," compiles a list of environmental crime fiction in honor of Earth Day, April 22. Here she shares seven of her all time favorites with Mystery Scene readers. 


Carl Hiaasen, Skinny Dip William Deverell, April Fool Reginald Hill, On Beulah Height 


Deon Meyer, Blood Safari The Orchid Thief  In a Dry Season The Turqoise Dragon 


2012 Environmental List forthcoming 

2011 Environmental Crime List 

2010 Environmental Crime List 


Janet A. Rudolph is the Editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, and creative director/writer at Murder on the Menu and TeamBuilding Unlimited. She blogs daily at and





Rose and Jack, Titanic (1997)
Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio),
Titanic (1997)

"Music to drown by.
Now I know I'm in first class.



- Tommy Ryan (actor Jason Barry, not pictured), an Irish third-class passenger who befriends Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Titanic (1997). The Academy Award-winning film from James Cameron was re-released this month in 3D for its 15-year anniversary.



Titanic illustration Read more about April 12, 1912, the fateful night the Titanic sank, including the true story of Jacques Futrelle, the celebrated author of "The Problem of Cell 13," who refused his only chance to escape the sinking ship at



Mystery Scene New Authors Breakfast
Malice Domestic, Bethesda, Maryland, Saturday, April 28, 7:00 am 

 TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES by Kari Lee Townsend  WHO DO, VOODOO? by Rochelle Staab  DIRE THREADS by Janet Bolin

Don't forget to mark your calendars for coffee and book chat with Mystery Scene!
The Mystery Scene New Authors Breakfast is open to all registered attendees of Malice Domestic. It will run from 7:00 - 8:30 am on Saturday, April 28th. You can register to attend Malice at Coffee's on us!
Important Notice to Print Subscribers
Don't  miss an issue due to late renewal!
MS 123, Lisa Gardner
Mystery Scene will no longer be able to offer courtesy subscription "gap" issues to subscribers who miss an issue due to late renewal. 
MS will send you renewal reminders via email and/or regular mail. Please renew promptly in order to avoid missing an issue! 
Missed issues will be available for back issue purchase at $10 each at the


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