Monday, 20 March 2017

BURN COUNTRY is Now Available for Review!

BURN COUNTRY, the much-anticipated sequel to the 2015 Hammett Prize finalist SORROW LAKE, is now available for review.

The Plaid Raccoon Press is pleased to make review copies available in paperback or eBook format (mobi for Kindle, ePub, or PDF).

If you are a journalist who reviews books for print or electronic media, an online book blogger who reviews crime fiction, or a fellow published author interested in providing a testimonial, please contact us at the e-mail address below to obtain a print or eBook review copy.

If you post reviews to Amazon, contact us and we will arrange to send you a courtesy review copy for your Kindle device.

If you post reviews to Goodreads, send us an e-mail and let us know which eBook format you'd like!

Contact us at theplaidraccoonpress@mjmccann.com and let us know you're interested!

Read the back cover blurb here: http://michaeljmccannsblog.blogspot.ca/2017/02/burn-country-whats-story.html

Monday, 13 March 2017

BURN COUNTRY - Why Has It Taken So Long?

If you've read SORROW LAKE, the first March and Walker Crime Novel, you probably noticed the back-page ad stating that BURN COUNTRY, the second story in the series, would be coming out in the spring.

Spring last year, that is. Now that BURN COUNTRY is in full production mode and will be published this spring, you may wonder what caused the delay.

In fact, the title was ready to be produced last June. However, not long after the announcement that SORROW LAKE would be a finalist for the Hammett Prize for best crime novel, I was contacted by the acquiring editor of a major New York publisher who inquired about the US rights for SORROW LAKE and the North American rights for BURN COUNTRY.  I won't say which publisher, but let's just say this acquiring editor is extremely well known for her work in the US with Scandinavian noir in translation and that Amanda Hocking, the very successful paranormal romance author I studied closely when deciding to become an independent several years ago, had blazed a glorious trail to this particular publisher back then. I was very excited.

They held onto the manuscript of BURN COUNTRY through the rest of 2016. Once the winner of the Hammett Prize was announced at the end of October and Lisa Sandlin had gone home with the statue, I thought my chances had dimmed significantly, but still no word. Finally, I queried in December but received no response. A month ago, in February, I queried again and was told the publisher was not adding any new authors to their list at this time. I said thanks, and the next day obtained an ISBN for BURN COUNTRY to start the production process.

Essentially the publisher took out an option on the story while the Hammett Prize process unfolded, and afterward lost interest. I completely get it. While writing is a joy and a passion for me, publishing is a business. Understood. I wish I was a better businessman, I guess.

At any rate, explanation completed. Those of you who have waited patiently for more than a year to find out what happens next with Ellie March and Kevin Walker, I thank you very, very much. I hope you'll like what happens next!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Rural Policing in Ontario

Photo (c) Michael J. McCann
How does a large-scale police bureaucracy deliver effective service in a thinly-populated rural area?

BURN COUNTRY, the second March and Walker crime novel, continues to follow detectives of the Ontario Provincial Police featured in SORROW LAKE as they investigate homicides occurring in rural/small town settings.

Ontario is the most populated province in Canada, and it includes this nation's largest city, Toronto, and fourth largest city, Ottawa--our nation's capital.  This province is also the fourth largest in terms of area in square kilometres. While the larger municipalities in Ontario have their own police service, of course, the OPP's jurisdiction outside these metropolitan areas covers over one million square kilometres and well over two million people. As a result, the OPP is one of the largest police services in North America, with more than 6,200 uniformed officers.

As Kevin Walker reflects as he rushes out to the crime scene at the beginning of BURN COUNTRY,  the OPP Leeds County Crime Unit is responsible for investigating criminal offenses in "a rural jurisdiction covering 2,100 square kilometres with only 35,000 inhabitants scattered along county roads and back lanes that hooked and bent around countless lakes, swamps, and rivers. "

One of the questions explored in this series, then, is how such a large police bureaucracy with such an extensive mandate can still deliver effective service to a thinly-populated rural area like Leeds County.

Detective Inspector Ellie March, born and raised in Toronto, is a resource assigned out of OPP General Headquarters to lead the investigation of major cases in East Region, including homicides. Detective Constable Kevin Walker, on the other hand, was born and raised in Leeds County and comes to the crime unit from a defunct local village police service. Together, they represent the meeting point between a large, bureaucratic force and its individual boots-on-the-ground.

Readers who enjoyed Henning Mankell's portrayal of rural policing in Sweden in Faceless Killers, for example, his first Kurt Wallander novel, will want to see how it's done in Canada. BURN COUNTRY will be available for review in two weeks.

Monday, 27 February 2017

BURN COUNTRY - What's The Story?

As I've mentioned in past posts, one of the things I enjoy watching people do at craft shows and art festivals is walk up to my table, pick up a copy of one of my books and turn it over to read the back cover blurb.

Is there any better way to get a quick sense of what the book is about, and whether or not you might be interested in reading it?

With that in mind, I'm happy to present the back cover of BURN COUNTRY, the much-anticipated sequel to 2015 Hammett Prize finalist Sorrow Lake. Enjoy!




Monday, 20 February 2017

BURN COUNTY Is On Its Way!

BURN COUNTRY, the long-awaited sequel to Hammett Prize finalist SORROW LAKE, is finally on its way.

The Plaid Raccoon Press is pleased to announce that the second March and Walker Crime Novel is now entering its final production stages.

Review copies of the new novel will be available in print and eBook format before the end of March.

Stay tuned for further details over the coming days and weeks!


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A Lost Vintage Crime Novel!

Those of you who follow The Overnight Bestseller may remember that I'm a fan of vintage paperbacks. I have a shelf in the basement filled with Ace Doubles, Dell mysteries, and Pocket Book westerns. Almost all of them are reading copies, dog-eared and chipped. In fact, I just finished re-reading And Be A Villain by Rex Stout in a Bantam Book edition printed in 1950 that is so beat up the pages have all come away from the binding and I have to pick them up one at a time to read the story. That's how much I love these books and the stories they tell.

Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I had an opportunity to review the first-time publication of The Knife Slipped, a Cool and Lam mystery published by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A. A. Fair. This manuscript was recently uncovered and published by Hard Case Crime. It was originally intended by Gardner to be the second novel in the series but was rejected by his publisher. While I was at NoirCon 2016 in Philadelphia I had a chance to meet Hard Case Crime publisher and editor Charles Ardai. We talked about the discovery of this lost gem, and he graciously provided me with a copy of the book when I mentioned my review copy hadn't yet arrived in the mail.

Read my review of The Knife Slipped in the New York Journal of Books here: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/knife-slipped

Enjoy!

Monday, 31 October 2016

NoirCon 2016

Over the past five days I've been in Philadelphia attending the 2016 edition of NoirCon, a festival celebrating all things noir. The panel discussions were for the most part very engaging, so allow me to give you a brief summary.

First, however, let me explain that I was there for the presentation of the 2015 Hammett Prize. I was honoured to be a finalist this year for SORROW LAKE. I'm very pleased to congratulate Lisa Sandlin on her win for THE DO-RIGHTS (Cinco Puntos Press). I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the ceremony, and I encourage everyone to read her book!

During the convention I enjoyed a very interesting panel discussion of Forgotten Innovators of Suspense that focused on William Goldman and Len Deighton. While presenter Warren Moore admitted that Goldman is not exactly forgotten, since The Princess Bride will likely live forever, his techniques for creating suspense in novels such as Heat, Magic, and Marathon Man are perhaps not so well known. He focused in particular on Goldman's somewhat perverse habit of informing readers that something bad will likely happen to one of his characters before long -- and sure enough, it eventually does. Meanwhile, I was surprised to hear that Len Deighton is almost forgotten as a writer of spy thrillers. Since I occasionally reread his novels, including Funeral in Berlin and the Bernard Samson trilogies, I was a little shocked to think that other people aren't doing the same thing. Time flies and tastes change, I guess.

A highlight of the convention for me was an on-stage interview of Charles Ardai, recipient of this year's Jay and Deen Kogan Award. The former CEO of Juno, an early innovative Internet service, Charles is the publisher of Hard Case Crime. This imprint revives lost paperback novels from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, as well as publishing new work. I had a chance to talk to Charles, and I think I'll devote another blog post to him rather than cram everything in here.

Finally, I'd like to thank Mary Frisque and the International Association of Crime Writers for enabling me to attend the full convention. Special thanks as well to Lou Boxer and Deen Kogan for an enjoyable event, and to their volunteers for their kindness.