My Review of J. Todd Scott’s Fine New Crime Novel

America’s war on drugs is well-trod territory in crime fiction, and T. Jefferson Parker’s Ronald Ford series and Don Winslow’s border trilogy have set a high bar for those who dare to follow.

But J. Todd Scott’s 20-year career as a DEA agent infuses his work with realism, and his writing chops will make readers wonder why he waited so long to launch his literary career.

This Side of Midnight is suspenseful, action-packed, literary, and thought-provoking.

To read the full text of my Associated Press review, please click here.

 

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My Review of “Evergreen,” Howard Owen’s Emotionally Charged Mystery

When Willie Black was 15 months old, his father Artie Lee was killed in an apparent automobile accident. That’s all Willie — police reporter for a Richmond, Virgina, newspaper — knows about his dad. But in “Evergreen,” he decides to find out, and of course, it leads to trouble.

Readers seeking the thrills of most popular crime fiction won’t find it here. Instead, they will find a textured, emotionally charged tale about coming to terms with growing up biracial in America.

To read the full text of my Associated Press review, please click here.

To learn more about the author and his work, please click here.

 

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My Review of Paul Doiron’s New Crime Novel, “Almost Midnight”

In nine previous crime novels, Paul Doiron’s protagonist, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch, has made more than his share of friends and enemies. Now, in Almost Midnight, two friends featured in earlier books return, and both are in desperate need of help.

As usual in a Doiron crime novel, the characters are well drawn, the Maine landscape is vividly portrayed, and Bowditch pursues his passion to protect the innocent and bring evil doers to justice regardless personal cost.

You can read the full text of my Associated Press review by clicking here.

You can learn more about Doiron and his work here.

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My Review of Kate Atkinson’s “Big Sky”

Former soldier and policeman Jackson Brodie, who last appeared nine years ago in “Started Early, Took My Dog,” makes his long-anticipated return in Kat Atkinson’s new novel, “Big Sky.”

As always in an Atkinson novel, the pleasures derive from her mastery as a storyteller, her skillful character development, and the beauty of her quirky and poetic prose.

To read the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.

 

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Launch Party for “Down To the River,” New Crime Fiction Anthology

That’s crime novelist Tim O’Mara with my amazing wife Patricia Smith at New York City’s Mysterious Bookshop last night. We were there to help launch the publication of Down to the River, a great short story anthology of crime fiction in which every yarn involves a river.

A story Patricia and I collaborated on is included along with new work by Reed Farrel Coleman, Chris Knopf, Charles Salzburg, and many others.

All of the proceeds go to American Rivers, an environmental group.

You can order the book here.

 

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My Review of “Black Mountain,” New Crime Novel by Laird Barron

“You don’t teach a child to become a killer by rote lectures,” Laird Barron writes in his new crime novel, Black Mountain. “To create a predatory machine, you foster an appreciation of the natural world and our minuteness upon its canvass. . . . We are as nothing and that permits us to do anything.”

Like a lyricist, Barron excels at manipulating the tones and cadence of language. Like a Gothic novelist, the mood he creates is often bleak. It should come as no surprise, then, that he wrote both poetry and horror before turning to crime fiction.

To read the full text of my Associated Press review of this fine novel, please click here.

 
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High Praise for “Down to the River” Crime Fiction Anthology

Thriller writer Jon Land praised Down to the River — a new anthology that includes a short story by Patricia and me — in his book review column for The Providence Journal:

“The splendid anthology “Down to the River” (Down & Out Books, 242 pages, $15.95), edited by Tim O’Mara and with an introduction by Hank Phillippi Ryan, features 20 crack crime stories centered around rivers with an eye toward preserving America’s waterways. Kind of like a Go Green version of the old Alfred Hitchcock collections I grew up on.

“But since these are crime stories, expect some red sprinkled in for good measure, as is the case in the fabulously titled and terrific Blue Song, Edged in Woe by Bruce DeSilva and Patricia Smith. DeSilva is a former Providence Journal reporter and Smith, his wife, is a poet.

“Featuring two characters amorphously called Girl and Boy, this lyrically-etched, gothic tale of a violent sexual encounter and its aftermath rings of John Hart in wondrously depicting the costs of impulse.

“Or Reed Farrel Coleman’s The Righter Side, which chronicles a dark world that has none. Then there’s Charles Salzberg’s No Good Deed, classic postmodern noir featuring not much good at all around New York’s East River.

Down to the River features 17 more tales that share varying levels of moral morass rising from the very waters around which they’re set. An early candidate for the best crime-mystery anthology of the year.”

You can order the book by clicking here.

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A New British Edition of “Incendiary Art”

My wife Patricia Smith’s latest book of poetry, “Incendiary Art” — the one that won the LA Times Book Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize –has just come out in a new British edition.

It’s got a brand new cover, the photographic illustration created by our multi-talented actor, author, photographer, college professor, musician, and Marine combat vet buddy Benjamin Busch.

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Tears For A Building

When the Twin Towers fell, my tears were for the people trapped inside. Today is the first time I ever wept for a building.

(Photos of the Notre Dame Cathedral I took on family trips to Paris.)

 

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My Review of “The Perfect Liar,” a New Crime Novel by Thomas Christopher Greene

The great thing about being an artist, Max tells his students, is that you can imagine things into being. But only he knows the extremes to which he has taken that.

Max lacks the academic credentials for his job as a college professor, but he has more than enough intelligence, boldness and charisma to sustain the fraud. Everything will be just fine as long as no one finds the body of the real Max buried on a New Hampshire mountainside.

Thomas Christoper Green’s The Perfect Liar is a taut, well-written thriller, but this novel is more than that. It is also a textured examination of the lies people tell to those they love and a reminder that it is never easy to escape the traumas of a troubled childhood.

You can read the full text of my review for The Associated Press here

You can learn more about the author here.

And you can order the book here.

 

 

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