Mystery Ahead 21 Feb 2021 😎 Winter Survival | Explosion! | THE COMPLAINTS

Mystery Ahead 21 Feb 2021 😎 Winter Survival | Explosion! | THE COMPLAINTS

Welcome to the website edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling #excerpts, and #reviews of must-read mysteries.
Need to subscribe? CLICK HERE.

 

#booknews

1. Polar odyssey

For those sick and tired of A) pandemic, and B) cold weather, meet Lt. Victor Campbell, a personal hero. In 1912, he kept his team alive through an unendurable winter on Antarctica’s Inexpressible Island.

I wrote about it here:

https://carmenamato.net/survive-a-pandemic-from-polar-history

 

2. 300+

A giant thanks to all who rated CLIFF DIVER, the first Detective Emilia Cruz mystery, on Amazon. It’s great to kick off a series with a rating of 4.5/5 with over 300 readers weighing in. Thank you very much!

Find CLIFF DIVER on Amazon.

 

3. And the winner is . . .

More thanks to all who answered my question in the last edition of Mystery Ahead! A prequel to the GALLIANO CLUB series won with 92% of the vote.

How’s this for a working title?

MEET ME AT THE GALLIANO CLUB.

 

#excerpt

In the upcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, the Galliano Club’s jack-of-all-trades Luca Lombardo is at his cousin Enzo’s farm outside Lido, New York, when the unexpected happens.

“Pa! Pa!” The back door slammed. Matilda and Rocco jostled each other as they ran into the dining room.

“Pa, you should see this,” Rocco said. “The pumpkin patch is fizzing.”

“Fizzing?” Enzo stood up and threw his napkin on the table. “What are you talking about?”

“Fourth of July sparklers,” Matilda said excitedly.

“Sparklers? We don’t have any sparklers.” Enzo pushed the girl toward Rosaria. “Stay with your mother.”

Luca and Enzo ran out the back door. In the murky twilight, they followed Rocco around the side of the barn and into the field ridged with frozen furrows. A cow lowed from inside the barn, informing the universe that she was ready for the evening milking. A second cow took up the refrain.
Despite the cows, Luca heard the sizzle before he saw the line of sparks racing across the ground. It was travelling straight toward the hay silo by the barn.

“Look, Pa!” Rocco knelt in the dirt. “It’s a great big firecracker.”

Enzo began shouting, but Luca shot forward on wings of fear. He snatched Rocco around the waist and pulled him off his feet. The next second, the silo exploded with a deafening roar, the ground rose like an angry ocean, and Luca was lofted backwards, both arms still wrapped around the boy.

They slammed into the ground. Luca rolled on top of Rocco as debris rained down. Clumps of hay, shards of tin, and scraps of lumber battered his back and shoulders. Roiling echoes like the booming beat of a drum battered his ears. Luca’s mouth filled with frozen grass and the taste of bile.

 

More about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series

 

#review

THE COMPLAINTS on Amazon

 

THE COMPLAINTS by Ian Rankin

We all know and love Ian Rankin’s iconic and irascible, not to mention irreverent, Edinburgh detective John Rebus. He’s a heavy drinker, perpetually on the outs with higher authority, and has a murky sense of professional ethics.

Rankin practically invented the tartan noir genre with this character. The Rebus plots are complex, motivations are every shade of gray, and the streets and skyline of Edinburgh are on full display. If you haven’t read a John Rebus novel, you have my condolences.

But this isn’t a Rebus novel.

THE COMPLAINTS introduces a new character into Rankin’s familiar Edinburgh crime fiction landscape. Malcolm Fox is a well-respected inspector in the Complaints department, which in the US we’d call Internal Affairs. In short, he investigates crimes committed by other cops, which doesn’t necessarily make him a popular guy outside of his tight-knit team.

Unlike Rebus, Fox isn’t a drinker but a recovering alcoholic. Divorced, a bit stiff, wears a suit and suspenders every day. Drives a Volvo.

As the book opens, Fox is wrapping up a case against a cop who is taking kickbacks. The cop has powerful allies but Fox has prevailed. Now, Fox is asked to look into another cop. Jamie Breck is on the career fast track but might be part of an online child porn ring.

But before Fox can start the new probe, his sister’s abusive partner is murdered. Breck is assigned as lead detective. Fox’s bosses say to ignore the obvious conflict of interest and stay on the child porn ring investigation by tagging along with Breck as he investigates the murder.

What happens next is the careful wrapping of multiple streams of mystery into single strand to snare the real culprits. And there are many. Fox and Breck begin swapping details about the murder victim and his associates, which in turn tracks back to . . . which in turn leads to . . .

Sorry, no spoilers apart from saying the climax is superb.

Complicated, but believable, Rankin gives Fox layers and layers of deception to peel away. Along the way we grow to like Fox. He’s starchy, but clever. Honest, but able to deceive.

Fox appears in the most recent John Rebus novels, including IN A HOUSE OF LIES but he’s best met in THE COMPLAINTS. Highly recommended.

Get THE COMPLAINTS on Amazon.

 

#essentials

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List of Carmen’s books

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All the best,Carmen

Mystery Ahead 21 Feb 2021 😎 Winter Survival | Explosion! | THE COMPLAINTS

Mystery Ahead 7 Feb 2021 😎 A, B, or C | Blackmail tips | MOONFLOWER MURDERS

Welcome to the website edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling #excerpts, and #reviews of must-read mysteries.
Need to subscribe? CLICK HERE.

 

#booknews

1. Your vote needed

Would you be interested in a free intro to the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series? If so, would you prefer:

A  Prequel story introducing the main characters,

B  The first chapter of the first book, or

C  Who’s Who guide to the series.

Just reply to this email with your vote for A, B, or C.

Thank you!

2. Where to find Detective Emilia Cruz and Galliano Club news

If you are looking for the latest news about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, including the family stories that inspired the books, find it all here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series.

Not to be outdone, go inside the Detective Emilia Cruz series with my research into Mexican cartels, Acapulco’s sand and sin, and more: https://carmenamato.net/the-emilia-cruz-mystery-series

 

#excerpt

In the upcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, Benny Rotolo is a Chicago hitman who ran afoul of Al Capone and fled to the relative safety of Lido, New York. His breakfast conversation with new friend Al Genovese takes an interesting turn.

“Not my problem.” Benny rattled the newspaper to signal the conversation was done.

“Like I said, I figure you would know what to do with my information. With what I seen.” Genovese was clearly angling for some dough.

Benny started to say the information racket was small potatoes compared to beer and hookers, and that Genovese should shut up and go back to the farm. But then Benny remembered Vinnie Salerno, a sometime pal from Chicago. Big Vinnie always had new suits and expensive dames on his arm. Nobody ever shot at Big Vinnie, neither.

“I know a buddy,” Benny said, making up his mind. “He’s got this system. Say he’s got a friend whose got the goods on somebody but doesn’t want to tell the mark direct, just in case they finger him to the cops. So he writes a letter and sticks it in two envelopes, and sends it to my buddy Vinnie. Different post office, is the trick, see?”

“Okay,” Genovese said dubiously.

“Vinnie takes the letter in the clean envelope to the post office and mails it to the mark. This way the letter comes from a place the mark don’t know at all. It can’t get traced, see?” Benny snapped his fingers to make the point. “The mark pays, the friend picks up the dough, and Vinnie gets a cut. Everybody’s happy.”

“Except the mark,” Genovese said.

“That’s right,” Benny said, pleased that Genovese caught on so fast.

“Do you think your buddy would help?”

“Sure,” Benny said. “But Big Vinnie don’t work for nothing.”

“Okay,” Genovese said again.

“You ever been in the information racket before?” Benny asked.

“No,” Genovese said. “I have cows.”

Benny slurped up more coffee and regarded the cafone across the table. A rookie partner with more brains than Nick and dirt to sell.

This could work out real good.

With Big Vinnie’s system, extortion was fool proof. Benny could steal the Galliano Club right out from under Vito Bottini’s feet, with Bottini’s own money.

More about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series

 

#review

Moonflower Murders on Amazon

MOONFLOWER MURDERS by Anthony Horowitz

In this sequel to the hugely popular MAGPIE MURDERS, book editor Susan Ryeland must once again confront swarmy bestselling mystery author Alan Conway. But this time, Conway is already dead.

Following the messy collapse of her publishing house thanks to Conway in MAGPIE MURDERS, Susan is the co-owner of a hotel on Crete when she is contacted by the owners of a posh hotel in England. Their daughter has gone missing after claiming that an 8-year-old murder at the hotel sent the wrong man to prison.

Before disappearing, she said that the real killer was revealed in Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, a whodunit featuring Alan Conway’s mild-mannered German private detective. The distraught parents convince Susan–as editor of the Atticus Pünd books she knows them better than anyone still alive–to investigate the connection between the novel, the murder, and their missing daughter.

Leaving a shaky personal life behind in Crete, Susan flies to England. Of course, trouble ensues.

Not everyone wants her help. Everyone Susan encounters has something to hide, from the missing woman’s sister to the man jailed for murder. The victim gave several people reason to wish him dead and there’s a sordid link between him and author Alan Conway.

Susan’s contacts try to help, but the real clues may be in Conway’s novel.

So when Susan settles down to read it, not as the editor but from the perspective of current events, we do, too.

MOONFLOWER MURDERS is spliced in half by Atticus Pünd Takes the Case, including cover and copyright notice. Basically, we get two novels in one!

Just like Susan, we read Atticus Pünd Takes the Case to find clues. Yet, this Agatha Christie-style whodunit set in the 1950’s bears little resemblance to current events. While author Alan Conway was known to hide riddles in his books and many characters are recognizable as real people from the hotel, Susan remains baffled.

But not for long.

The book-within-a-book format is brilliant, making for multiple red herrings, wonderful details, and superb subplots. The character of Atticus Pünd stands with Hercule Poirot. It’s easy to imagine this fictional character created by a fictional character coming to life on the screen.

Don’t try to guess whodunit in either the current timeline or Atticus Pünd Takes the Case. Just let yourself be carried along.

The writer/creator of BBC television series Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War, Anthony Horowitz is a phenomenal writer. MOONFLOWER MURDERS stands alone, but if you get the chance, start with MAGPIE MURDERS. Highly recommended.

Find MOONFLOWER MURDERS on Amazon

 

#essentials

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List of Carmen’s books

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All the best,Carmen

Mystery Ahead 21 Feb 2021 😎 Winter Survival | Explosion! | THE COMPLAINTS

Mystery Ahead 24 Jan 2021 😎 Books on tap | Blabbermouth | SNOW

Welcome to another edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling #excerpts, and #reviews of must-read mysteries.

Need to subscribe? CLICK HERE.

#booknews

Galliano Club webpage

1. One beer, coming up

A new website page about the GALLIANO CLUB books is on tap, with descriptions of all 3 books and historical images from the city that inspired the Prohibition-era series.

Find it here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series

Set in 1926, the series takes you to a mill town in upstate New York during Prohibition. Gangsters, bootleggers, murder, love, and jealousy shake the foundations of the Galliano Club, a hangout for Italian mill workers.

The fictional upstate town of Lido, New York, is based on my hometown of Rome, New York. My late grandfather’s experiences as Deputy Sheriff of Oneida County and my mother’s childhood tales underpin the books.

2. Great book deals x 2

While you wait for the GALLIANO CLUB books, my author friends are filling the gap with great deals on new reads!

– DEAD SILENT features books by 18 mystery authors in one GIANT box set for Kindle readers. Dan Petrosini, Fiona Quinn, J.D. Weston and more are included. The introductory price is only $0.99! I don’t know how long that price will last. https://geni.us/silent

– This new collection from StoryOrigin features 40+ mystery and thriller books which are all free to read on Kindle Unlimited: https://storyoriginapp.com/to/6jLtlCr

#excerpt

In the upcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, Benny Rotolo is a Chicago hitman who ran afoul of Al Capone and fled to the relative safety of Lido, New York. His breakfast is interrupted by a blabbermouth with information to sell.

“Mr. Rotolo?” One of Lido’s local yokels stood by Benny’s booth. A real cafone, from the smell of cow dung that clung to him.

“You know who I am?” Benny grunted.

“Sure, you’re Benny Rotolo, the big wheel from Chicago.” The farmer twisted a tweed cap between his hands.

“Sure, that’s right.” Benny took a second look at the cafone. Wool jacket, dungarees, old-fashioned moustache on a head like a pumpkin, but Benny liked his attitude. Real respectful-like.

“I’m Al Genovese,” the fella said. “I’ve got a farm on Bell Road. Biggest in the county.”

Benny swallowed some coffee. “You selling eggs or what?”

“Information,” Genovese said. “The kind of information someone like you might find useful.”

“Someone like me?” Benny wasn’t sure if he liked the implication or not.

“Someone with street smarts,” Genovese hastened to clarify.

Benny gave Genovese a hard look but the fella didn’t wilt. “Okay,” Benny said. “Have a seat.”

Genovese slid into the booth across from Benny. The waiter came by with the coffeepot, but a scowl sent him scurrying away.

“So what’s the scoop?” Benny asked when the waiter was out of earshot.

“The newspaper’s wrong,” Genovese said, with a meaningful glance at the pages on the table. “The story about Nick Procopio dumping Jimmy Destito in the river. He didn’t do it.”

“Yeah, says who,” Benny said, ready for some scam.

“The night Jimmy Destito went missing, I saw Vito Bottini’s Chrysler drive down to the riverbank,” Genovese said, lowering his voice. “Bottini owns the Galliano Club. I think Bottini and his barman Luca Lombardo put Destito in the river.”

More about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series here: https://carmenamato.net/galliano-club-series

#review

SNOW book review

Book review SNOW by John Banville

 

SNOW by John Banville

This book got a hearty endorsement from several hard-core mystery reader friends and it lived up to expectations in every way except one.

1957. It’s a freezing, snowy winter in Ireland. Detective St. John (pronounced Sinjun as he takes pains to note) Strafford is sent to the country home of the Osborne family to investigate the murder of a visiting Catholic priest.

It’s quickly apparent that this is a locked room mystery. Someone in this highly dysfunctional family must be the villain.

Ireland’s troubled religious history and enduring divisions are on full display. The family is Protestant, as is Strafford, but the priest was an avid horseman and hunter who was great pals with the dad, a retired military man.

Of course, the all powerful archbishop in Dublin wants everything hushed up. Strafford is caught between the powerful Catholic Church, a long-suffering boss in the police department, and his own notions of justice.

Everyone in the family qualifies as a suspect. The lady of the house is an addict who seduces Strafford, the son and daughter dislike parents and ancestral home, and the father might have murdered his first wife. No one seems terribly upset about the dead priest in the library.

The author’s sense of time and place is excellent. The writing is superb, with descriptions that lure us into this cold, murky winter investigation.

Strafford makes keen observations about the family as they drift through the investigation like actors on a stage fulfilling typecast roles. The author cleverly makes Strafford an actor on the stage, too.

He’s the second lead who creates ripples that are resolved in Act III but isn’t enough of a presence that we remember the actor’s name after the curtain falls. Strafford is still finding his way, still unsure of what he wants out of life, and that makes him an enigmatic officer of the law.

SNOW has the same vibe as the tv series Endeavour, about the young Inspector Morse. If SNOW is ever made into a movie, actor Shaun Evans would make the perfect St. John Strafford. More about the tv series on imdb:  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2701582/

Given the quality of writing, my one complaint about SNOW was that the motive was sadly unimaginative. Basically, we’ve seen this before. Or maybe I have just read too many mystery novels.

Find SNOW on Amazon

#essentials

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List of Carmen’s books

Carmen on Facebook

all the best,

Mystery Ahead 21 Feb 2021 😎 Winter Survival | Explosion! | THE COMPLAINTS

Mystery Ahead 10 Jan 2021 😎 What’s Ahead | Chicago-style | SLEEP NO MORE

Welcome to the website edition of the Mystery Ahead newsletter, with fresh #booknews, thrilling #excerpts, and #reviews of must-read mysteries.
Want it in your inbox? CLICK HERE.

#booknews

Galliano Club 3 book series

1. A brand new year

Happy New Year and welcome to 2021’s first edition of Mystery Ahead. Let’s embrace the new year with optimism.

My themes for the year are gratitude and organization. I’m grateful for friends who keep me active, family stories that underpin the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB books, and readers like you who make this writing journey a joy.

Of equal importance, 2021 will be my Year of Organization.

The primary goal is to finally organize my office. Who knows what I’ll find in there!

What’s your theme for the year?

2. Meet Me at the GALLIANO CLUB

Many things were disrupted in 2020, including release dates for the 3-book GALLIANO CLUB series. New dates are still being worked out. Watch this space.

Set in 1926, the series takes you to a mill town in upstate New York during Prohibition. Gangsters, bootleggers, murder, love, and jealousy shake the foundations of the Galliano Club, a hangout for Italian mill workers.

The fictional upstate town of Lido, New York, is based on my hometown of Rome, New York. My late grandfather’s experiences as Deputy Sheriff of Oneida County and my mother’s childhood tales underpin the books.

Read more on my blog: http://carmenamato.net/galliano-club/

#excerpt

In the upcoming GALLIANO CLUB series, Benny Rotolo is a Chicago hitman who ran afoul of Al Capone and fled to the relative safety of Lido, New York. But things haven’t worked out and Benny is now at a crossroads.

Benny nearly spit out a mouthful of coffee. Hymie couldn’t be dead. He was Benny’s ticket back to Chicago.

But the article was the real deal, not the funny papers. Henry Earl Wojciechowski, aka Hymie Weiss, was shot by gunmen on October 11, 1926. Weiss and four associates had attended the jury selection for the murder trial of Joe Saltis earlier that day. They parked cars on Superior Street and proceeded on foot to Schofield’s Flowers, Weiss’s place of business, on State Street across from Holy Name Cathedral. Gunmen hidden in a nearby rooming house opened fire, killing Weiss and associates.

A slow burn started in Benny’s gut that had nothing to do with the food at McSweeney’s. Al Capone and Hymie Weiss were deadly enemies. Hymie was the only man that Al Capone feared, and everybody in the Chicago rackets business knew it. Nobody else but Capone and his chief enforcer, Frank Nitti, could have rubbed out Hymie so methodically.

Without Hymie’s protection, there was no way Benny could go back to Chicago. Al Capone’s torpedoes would cut him down before he got off the train at Union Station.

All of Benny’s plans were in trouble, it seemed. The beer business wasn’t exactly coining money. Fisher lost the Lido Outfit account book and turned into a cream puff. Nick got himself dead. Bodies floated out of the river.

Now Hymie was gone, too. Chicago was off the short list of what to do next.

NOTE — For the historian in all of us, Hymie Weiss was a real person. He led Chicago’s North Side gang after Al Capone’s outfit took out florist and thug Dean O’Banion in 1924. Two years later, Weiss was murdered in a meticulously planned operation.

Weiss was a rough customer. According to the Chicago Tribune, “At the inquest over Hymie Weiss his brother gave this precious bit of testimony: ‘I saw him only once in twenty years. That was when he shot me six years ago.’”

More about the forthcoming GALLIANO CLUB series here: http://carmenamato.net/galliano-club/

#review

Book Review SLEEP NO MORE

SLEEP NO MORE by P.D. James

The late P.D. James is the much-awarded doyenne of British crime fiction, with over 21 books and innumerable short stories to her name. Many books feature her detective-poet hero Adam Dalgliesh. She inspired scores of mystery writers, no doubt including Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series.

The subtitle of SLEEP NO MORE is “Six Murderous Tales.” These stories are each brilliant little gems of smooth writing, satisfying twists, and Britian’s class-conscious social landscape. Each is a relatively short read but packed with page-turning tension.

The style puts us in the mindset of criminal or accomplice. We’re immersed in motive, memories, and sublime rationalizations.

Most are told in the first person, including the brilliant opener, “The Yo-yo,” in which a schoolboy manages a murder. “Mr. Millcroft’s Birthday” had the kind of twist ending that makes you simply admire the author’s cleverness.

My favorite is “The Victim,” narrated by a man who seeks revenge, only to become a different type of victim. The prose is terrific. Witness this memorable line: “My mind fed voraciously on the thought of his death, savoured it, began systematically and with dreadful pleasure to plan it.”

If you haven’t read P.D. James before, this little volume is a wonderful place to start.

Find SLEEP NO MORE on Amazon

#essentials

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List of Carmen’s books

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All the best,Carmen

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