Margaret Millar’s Vanish in an Instant opens with a rich, cranky old woman arriving at the Detriot airport in December, 1950 to try to extricate her spoiled daughter, Virginia, from some trouble. It takes a chapter or so for us to learn that the trouble is the violent murder of a local philanderer with whom Virginia was having an affair. Millar has the reader and most of the characters off balance from the beginning, creating an instant air of suspense that continues to deepen throughout the book.
Johnny Manic came out on August first. After re-examining the cover, Lindsay and I decided we didn’t like it. Lindsay came up with something much simpler and more striking. The new cover should show up on Amazon in a few days, and we’ll get to work on the print cover soon. An audiobook is in the works as well, thanks to the folks at ListenUp Audio. We’re hoping to have that available through Audible, Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a number of other retailers some time in September.
Eight Million Ways to Die is the fifth in Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder detective series. You don’t need to have read any others in the series to follow this one. Scudder is a former New York City cop who quit the force after accidentally killing a child while pursuing two thieves. By the time the book begins, he has long since left his family, and has been living for years in a mid-town Manhattan hotel.
Dopefiend by Donald Goines opens in a shooting gallery on the east side of Detriot. The time is around 1970. The obese drug dealer, Porky, sits in an easy chair watching his customers shoot up, nod off, scratch themselves, and bleed. Goines, himself a heroin addict, describes the scene in disturbing sensual detail, with the dirty works and clogged needles soaking in water glasses, the blood-stained floor, and the stench of human filth rising from junkies too far gone to take care of themselves.
The Billion Dollar Whale, by Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, describes the looting of Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund by con man Jho Low and his associates. Although this story has been in the news for years, and many are familiar with its outlines, the book provides rich details about a series of financial crimes whose scope and audacity is breathtaking. Jho Low came from a family in Penang provice, Malaysia, that had enough money to send him to boarding school at Harrow, where he met the children of some of the world’s richest families.
Black Money is the thirteenth book in Ross Macdonald’s Lew Archer series. It opens with Archer discussing the terms of a new case over lunch at a tennis club in the fictional coastal town of Montevista, CA, an hour or so south of Los Angeles. The client, Peter Jamieson, is twenty-four years old, rich, depressed, and increasingly fat as he eats away the sorrows of a broken engagement. Jamieson wants Archer to investigate his former lover’s new fiance, a supposedly wealthy Frenchman named Francis Martel, who Jamieson and a number of others suspect is a fraud.
BestThrillers.com The first advance copies of Johnny Manic went out two months ago, and I’m starting to get some good feedback. BestThrillers.com calls it one of the year’s best thrillers. "A truly riveting tale of deception, murder and psychological suspense. Part psychological thriller, part noir, Diamond has accomplished the incredibly difficult task of deriving true suspense from the battle for supremacy going on within [the narrator's] own mind. The Bottom Line: One of the year's best thrillers.
Option one, the original cover: Option two: Thanks to all who voted. This poll is closed. The winner was the second cover (the one with the road). After a few design iterations, we came up with the final cover, which appears below. Credits: Road photo by David Everett Strickler via Unsplash.com. Woman and eyes by RetroAtelier via Getty Images.
Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time is the fifth in a series of mysteries featuring inspector Alan Grant. The book is perhaps best known for the praise it received from mystery writer and critic Anthony Boucher, who called it one of the best mysteries of all time. That’s high praise to live up to, but the author began the book with higher aims than most mystery writers ever aspire to, and she made it clear in the first chapter that she wasn’t going to follow the traditional path to achieve them.
The Girl on the Velvet Swing tells the story of the 1906 murder of famed American architect Stanford White, who was shot to death before a crowd of New York’s elite at the opening night performance of a play at Madison Square Garden, one of the city’s architectural landmarks, which he himself designed. After the shooting, White’s assailant, the young millionaire Harry K. Thaw handed his pistol to a fireman and calmly walked to the police station in the company of a single officer.
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