John Madison is an art dealer turned Indiana Jones. Madison is determined to locate the ancient artifact his brother died trying to find. The relic was looted from Iraq’s National Museum. What Madison doesn’t know is that it may contain the alchemic secret of turning metal into gold. Assisted by an archaeologist and a photojournalist – both of whom have their own dark secrets, John Madison races against the clock to unravel a revenge plot and biblical prophecy in D.J. McIntosh’s The Witch of Babylon. Fans of Raymond Khoury, James Rollins, and Clive Cussler will probably enjoy this first adventurous thriller in a projected series of three.
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Pam of Research Services recommends Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now by Margaret Coel:
The Arapaho of the Wind River Indian Reservation are the foundation of each book in Margaret’s Coel’s fast paced mystery series. The Arapaho serve as the conduit from the past to the present, as in this book’s focus on Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show. Buffalo Bill showcased the culture of America’s Native Americans, introduced the then dying Wild West to European audiences in London, Rome, Paris, and cities in Germany, and provided a peek into a world gone forever. Chief Black Hawk’s regalia, discovered in Europe, will be returned to Wind River after 120 years. Should artifacts be held by private collectors or preserved in their native land? Coel examines the past becoming the present in Buffalo Bill’s Dead Now.
Josef Horkai wakes up paralyzed after being frozen for 30 years and has no memories of his past or the “kollaps” that destroyed the world. Immobility by Brian Evenson is a postapocalyptic thriller about how to trust the motives of others when you can’t trust your own mind.
Who knew May was so mysterious? Quick on the heels of the Edgars, Malice Domestic has announced the 2013 winners of the Agatha Awards, which honor traditional-style mysteries with no explicit sex, gore, or gratuitous violence. Louise Penny took home her fifth Best Novel Award in six years (!!) for the aptly titled The Beautiful Mystery. Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for Murder won for Best Historical Novel. Need a dash of intrigue right away? You can read the winner for Best Short Story, “Mischief in Mesopotamia” by Dana Cameron, right here. Clue yourself in to puzzles Dame Agatha Christie would approve.
A camping trip, a flash flood, and Abby’s husband and daughter disappear. In her determined search for them, she is confronted with questions leaving her to wonder if she really knew her husband at all. Intrigued? Find the answers in Barbara Taylor Sissel’s new book Evidence of Life.
You don’t need a tell-tale heart to lead the way to good mysteries. This week the Mystery Writers of America crowned winners of the 2013 Edgar Awards, and the raven’s call includes intrigue in a variety of styles. Check these out:
Best Novel: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
Best First Novel by an American Author: The Expats by Chris Pavone
Best Paperback Original: The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
Best Fact Crime: Midnight in Peking by Paul French
Best Critical/Biographical: The Scientific Sherlock Holmes by James O’Brien
Best Short Story: “The Unremarkable Heart” by Karen Slaughter (in Mystery Writers of America presents Vengeance)
Best Juvenile: The Quick Fix by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Best Young Adult: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Best Television Episode Teleplay: “A Scandal in Belgravia,” Sherlock, teleplay by Stephen Moffat
Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: “When They Are Done With Us” by Patricia Smith (in Staten Island Noir)
Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Lilian Jackson Braun wrote cozy mysteries with laid-back pacing and a cast of colorful feline and human characters. If you’ve made your way through all of her “Cat Who…” series, how about trying something new?
Click here for authors similar to Lilian Jackson Braun.
SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.
Title: The Hard Bounce
Author: Todd Robinson
Page Count: 301
Tone: Gritty, Darkly Humorous, Violent
1. What did you think of “the Boy” as a character? Who was “the Boy” a part of? When did he appear in the story?
2. Did this feel different than other mysteries you’ve read? Why or why not?
3. What books does The Hard Bounce remind you of? Are there any writers that Todd Robinson reminds you of?
4. Who would you recommend this book to? Why?
5. What words would you use to describe this book when talking about it to friends?
6. Would you consider this book too graphic? If yes, why? If not, are there any books you consider too graphic?
7. Boo is the main character. Did you like him? Why or why not?
8. What did it say about Boo that he owned only 1 plate and 1 set of cutlery?
9. What can you tell about Boo as a person that he still has a beeper and doesn’t own a cell phone until Kelly Reese buys him one?
10. How do Boo and Junior know each other?
11. Do you think the author is making a statement about juvenile detention facilities?
12. What is 4DC? Who owns it? Who wants to hire 4DC? Why?
13. Boo and Junior have a common man’s approach to detective work – given the same task, how would you have accomplished solving this crime? Would you have done anything differently?
14. Why did Cassie run away from home? Who did she run to?
15. Did you believe that Cassie was capable of all the things she did at 14-years old? Did she want to be saved?
16. A main plot point of The Hard Bounce involves a snuff film. How did this make you feel? How do you think the author wanted you to feel?
17. Boo wants to immediately kill Snake/Derek. Who talks him out of it and why?
18. Do you believe Snake/Derek when he later tells Boo that he truly loved Cassie and wanted to run away with her?
19. Why didn’t Boo go to see his sister Emily? Would you have gone to see her?
20. Why don’t Boo and Junior trust cops?
21. Do you think multiple points of view about law enforcement (both positive and negative) are given? Do you think it is the author’s responsibility to give multiple points of view on this issue?
22. Who is Underdog? What went wrong with Underdog’s career? Does he fix it by the end of the book?
23. Did all of the musical references add to the setting or distract you?
24. What did you think of the dynamic between Kelly and Boo? Did you think they would fall into a relationship? Why do you think they like each other? Do you think it will last?
25. When does the break in the case about Cassie come?
26. Who was Sid and what did you think of her occupation?
27. How was the mafia involved in the case?
28. What ultimately happens to Cassie? Who kills her? Why?
29. Boo goes into a depression by the end of The Hard Bounce. Why? Does he shake out of it?
30. Does The Hard Bounce have a happy ending? Did it end where and how you wanted it to?
Lit Reactor interview with Todd Robinson
MPPL interview with Todd Robinson
Todd Robinson reading from The Hard Bounce
Crimespree Magazine review of The Hard Bounce
Mystery Scene Magazine review of The Hard Bounce
If you liked The Hard Bounce, try…
How does the search for a missing cat turn into a warehouse explosion and a dead billionaire? Only in the world of Dirk Gently, an invention of Douglas Adams, can randomness and chaos actually back into solving cases. The anti-Sherlock Holmes, Gently eschews logic and deduction and instead holds tight to his faith in the interconnectedness of all things. Of course, this holistic approach comes at a price, a price that may include charging clients for a new refrigerator or a Bahamas vacation because, after all, that’s part of the process, too. New to DVD, the 2010 pilot and handful of 2012 episodes are just enough to endear the manic Dirk Gently and his put-upon partner to viewers ready for a madcap departure from the stereotypical British detective.
Fans of the fast-paced, twisty Gone Girl will want to plunge into Reconstructing Amelia. Already battling working single-mother guilt, Kate is stunned to be called to her daughter’s private school after allegations of cheating. On arrival she stumbles into emergency workers surrounding the crumpled body of a student and is shattered to be told her own Amelia has committed suicide. Weeks later, Kate is sent a text which reads simply, “Amelia didn’t jump.” Told in alternating voices by mother and daughter, Kate’s quest to find out what actually happened unearths startling revelations. Was Amelia not the good girl she appeared to be? Would someone wish her actual harm? Kimberly McCreight’s mesmerizing debut makes the most of painful secrets and devastating betrayal.