Thursday, 18 July 2019

NO SADNESS OF FAREWELL IS NOW AVAILABLE

Yes, the wait is over.

NO SADNESS OF FAREWELL, the fourth installment of the March and Walker Crime Novel series, has been published and is now available for purchase.

When human remains are found behind a barn on a property along the historic Rideau Waterway, OPP Detective Constable Kevin Walker finds himself riding herd on a forensic anthropologist brought in by the coroner to supervise the removal of the bones.

But as the wildly eccentric Dr. Ash Latimer excavates the unmarked grave, the bodies begin to multiply and Detective Inspector Ellie March is abruptly forced to recuse herself from the case. Her next-door neighbour, Ridge Ballantyne, may have known the victims, and General Headquarters decides that the possibility of a conflict of interest necessitates her removal from the investigation.

As Ridge struggles to recover from a stroke, he must deal with the possibility that an old friend from Scotland and his young son may have been murdered five years ago and buried in an unmarked grave thousands of miles from home, while Ellie March fights an uphill battle against internal politics to return to the case.

NO SADNESS OF FAREWELL is available in paperback from your local independent bookstore. In Ottawa (Canada) for example, Perfect Books and Books on Beechwood carry the series and will order the new one for you. It's also available online through Amazon. More links will follow soon.

The novel may also be purchased in eBook version from Amazon for Kindle and from Kobo for those of you who use an epub format.

This is a really good one, folks. It may also be the last, depending on how things go, so if you enjoy the series, please give it a read and let me know what you think.

Thanks for your ongoing interest in my work. -- Mike


Monday, 7 January 2019

TOP 5 BOOKS REVIEWED IN 2018

With a new year upon us and a new crop of books waiting to be enjoyed, it behooves us as readers and critics to pause for a moment to consider the pleasures bestowed upon us by the big dog publishers in 2018.

As a book critic for the New York Journal of Books, I reviewed a grand total of 40 titles last year; a nice round number. Some were bestselling duds (Chicago, City of Endless Night, Pandemic) but some were very good. And some were terrific. So ... what were the five best books I had the pleasure of reviewing in 2018?

5. Cave of Bones, by Anne Hillerman (April 3; Harper Collins)
Navaho Tribal Police officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers a lava cave with human bones while searching for a missing girl in the El Malpais badlands. Anne Hillerman's tight, clean writing style does justice to the characters and setting we know and love so much.
(Read the review.)

4. In a House of Lies, by Ian Rankin (Dec. 29; Little, Brown)
Rankin brings us another high-quality police procedural set in Scotland, as an old missing person case becomes a homicide investigation that threatens to expose possible past wrongdoing by retired detective John Rebus.
(Read the review.)

3. The Sandman, by Lars Kepler (March 6; Knopf)
When a young man is found wandering across a train bridge on a cold night, police discover that he and his sister have been missing for 13 years. By far, the best Joona Linna crime novel to date by the Swedish husband-and-wife team writing as Lars Kepler. An absolute page turner.
(Read the review.)

2. Dark Sacred Night, by Michael Connelly (Oct. 29; Little, Brown) The heavyweight champion of police procedurals delivers another knockout as Det. Renee Ballard teams up with Harry Bosch on a cold case in which a teenage girl was brutally murdered and left in a dumpster. Well written, as always, and an effective pairing.
(Read the review.)

1. I'll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara (Feb. 26; Harper Collins) Heartfelt, gripping true crime by the late blogger and journalist who devoted so much of her adult life to the pursuit of the notorious Golden State Killer, aka East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker, who was (allegedly) finally captured this year. An incredible tribute to a remarkable woman who passed away too soon.
(Read the review.)

Honorable mentions:


Best wishes to all avid readers out there, and high hopes for a rich crop of books to enjoy in 2019!

Friday, 28 December 2018

WHAT'S WAITING FOR US DOWN THE ROAD?

Image (c) Thinkstock. Used under licence.
Every year at this time I like to take stock of where I'm at and set a few objectives for the coming 12 months. What did I manage to achieve this year, and what would I like to accomplish next year?

There's not much doubt that 2018 has been rough. On a macro-macro level, we've endured an unreasonable amount of social and political turmoil, and my American friends must remember that their chaos is the world's chaos. In Canada, we must hang on for dear life and hope you folks clean house soon (i.e., drain the new swamp) and get back on track.

On a micro, or personal level, 2018 was no improvement on 2017. Enough said about that for now.

Readers of this blog are more interested in what I'm doing professionally, since that's the point of the whole thing, so let's talk about that instead.

This year saw the publication of PERSISTENT GUILT, the third March and Walker Crime Novel. I'm very proud of this title. I'm pleased with the design of the book, cover and interior, and I feel that I was able to accomplish a few things in the story, particularly with Kevin and his family situation, that move the series forward in a direction I like.

The upcoming year should see the publication of two new titles. The fourth March and Walker crime novel, NO SADNESS OF FAREWELL, is in draft right now and hopefully will appear in the summer of 2019. This novel will focus on a case requiring the services of a forensic anthropologist, and I think you'll find the character of Dr. Ash Latimer to be, well, interesting. It also brings Ellie March's octogenarian neighbour, Ridge Ballantyne, into the foreground.

As well, the long-anticipated first novel in my new Tom Faust series, THE LONG ROAD INTO DARKNESS, will appear in print in 2019 come hell or high water. I've been shopping this manuscript around for nearly three years, and after a major rewrite, I'm down to the last submission for it. If/when I hear back in the usual manner, I'll prepare this one for publication through the Plaid Raccoon Press. Watch for a tentative release date of February 19 -- 2/19/19.

I hope everyone celebrating Christmas this year had a great time, and here's wishing you all Happy Holidays!


Monday, 22 October 2018

ONE STORY OUT OF A MILLION

The other day I was doing research on the Internet when I came across the obituary of a man named William Witherspoon of Dayton, Ohio, who passed away in Holiday, Florida on July 6, 2009 at the age of 61.

A funeral home in Dayton posted condolence messages on their website, and I was particularly struck by one posted by a man who wrote about having worked with "Spoon" for ten years at a warehouse where his co-worker unloaded trucks, stocked shelves, and made deliveries.

"You always knew when Spoon was working," he wrote, "you could hear his singing ringing through the rafters."

Last weekend I attended the semiannual vinyl record show in Ottawa, and as usual I kept an eye out for records I've never seen before. I took a flyer on Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble by a band called Melting Pot. It had a small scuff on it and I almost put it back in the bin, but at $2.50 I changed my mind and added it to my little pile.

Part of the fun after bringing them home is to hit the Internet to see what I can find out about these relatively unknown bands. I learned that Fire Burn was recorded in 1971 at Capricorn Studios in Macon Georgia, which was at the time a hotbed of southern rock. It looks like the only one ever cut by this group, who were more along the lines of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Chicago than the Allman Brothers.

Trying to trace the individual band members was a little difficult. Keyboard player Dick Gentile was one of the primary songwriters for the album, but he didn't come up in any searches. The same results for Howie McGurty (sax & trumpet), Steve Nichols (trombone - later a bandleader?), Mickey Smith (guitar), and Joe Rudd (guitar).

Bass player Kenny Tibbetts, however, was a fixture for several years as a studio musician. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 73 in Indianapolis. According to his obituary, he recorded and toured with Greg Allman, Dickie Betts, and Roy Buchanan, among others, drawing on southern rock connections no doubt made through Capricorn. After leaving the music business in the late 1970s, he worked in printing. Whoever wrote his obit proudly pointed out that he was known for being able to chord on his bass while simultaneously playing keyboards, which he apparently did while Melting Pot was recording the track "Feeling Alright."

Finally, there was sax player and vocalist Bill Witherspoon.

As the Reverend Curtis Lynn of Clearwater, FL wrote in his condolence message on William Witherspoon's death notice back in Dayton, "Little did I know that the Sax player at Countryside Church 3 miles from my house here in Clearwater was the same Bill Witherspoon (spoon we called him) ..."

Life, my friends, is a very strange and wonderful trip. Sing on, Spoon, and may your voice always ring loud and clear in the rafters.









Monday, 8 October 2018

Q & A: THE GHOST MAN


It's October and Hallowe'en is approaching, so our attention is inevitably turning to the supernatural. We thought it might be fun to do a short question-and-answer session with our mascot here at the Plaid Raccoon Press regarding The Ghost Man.

The Raccoon: The Ghost Man was your first novel. Where did you get the idea for it?


A: After leaving the public service to write full time, I spent almost a year researching my family history. The McCanns emigrated from Ireland in the early 1840s and settled in North Crosby Township, near Westport, Ontario. After a year I'd accumulated quite a bit of information not only about my family but the township in general, and I wanted to do something with it. I considered writing a local history, but my son, who was into the paranormal at the time, suggested I write a ghost story. So I did.

The Raccoon: Where was it published?

A: The novel was originally published by a small press in Alberta in May, 2009. I though my dreams of being a published author had come true, and didn't realize that the responsibility for marketing the book lay entirely on my own shoulders. Thankfully it was a short-term contract, and when it expired I re-acquired the rights and published it through our Plaid Raccoon imprint on February 13, 2013 -- 2/13/13. The significance of the date didn't strike me until later. Serendipity!

The Raccoon: Tell us about the main characters, Simon Guthrie and Dr. Doris Fowler.

A: Neither character is based on anyone in particular, which I suppose is a bit of an accomplishment for a first novel. I was an avid foodie at the time, and the idea of working with a protagonist who is a former celebrity chef really appealed. Simon's sudden descent from fame, his long recovery from injury, the near-death experience, and his subsequent encounters with earthbound ghosts of the dead all struck me as a fascinating combination.

As for Doris, I wanted a character opposite Simon who is equally accomplished in her own field--Canadian history--but lacks Simon's natural affability and self-confidence. As an academic she's naturally predisposed to look for rational, material answers to the phenomena Simon claims to be experiencing, and when she begins to experience them as well the shift from rationalization to fear and profound sadness brings out a side of her character previously hidden, particularly from herself.

The Raccoon: Why the cover change?

A: The cover of the original 2009 edition used a photograph taken by my son. Unfortunately he hated it, so after repatriating the novel I designed a new one. It's now five years old, and I've never been completely satisfied with it, so I thought it was time for a fresh look.

The Raccoon: How do you feel about the novel now, nine years later?

A: I'm a writer, so of course there's stuff I'd like to go back and change. But I won't, because on the whole I really like the story and the characters. The best part is that people still come up to me and talk about how much they enjoyed reading it. If they liked it that much, then that's good enough for me.

The Ghost Man is available from Amazon hereIt's also available from Kobo, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and iTunes

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

IT'S OCTOBER -- TIME FOR A GHOST MAN MAKEOVER!

It's October, which means that Hallowe'en is right around the corner. Time for tricks, treats and scary stories.

With that in mind, we've given The Ghost Man, my first novel, a little face lift in the spirit of the season.

As you can see, we've changed the cover to a new image, courtesy of LoweStock/Thinkstock. The revamped design brings the look and feel of the novel somewhat more in line with my other publications.

The story itself remains entirely unchanged, with only front and back matter adjusted to reflect the new image credit and an updated list of my other novels. (The paperback edition will migrate to the new cover in the near future.)

It's still scary, still thrilling, and still a real good Hallowe'en read!

The Ghost Man is available for Amazon Kindle HERE.
Also available from Kobo, Barnes and Noble for Nook, and iTunes.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY FOR PERSISTENT GUILT


For the next month, PERSISTENT GUILT, the third March and Walker Crime Novel, is being featured as a special giveaway through Goodreads, the world's largest online site for readers and book recommendations.

An unbelievable 100 Kindle copies of the novel are available to residents of the USA who follow the link below to enter the giveaway.

Don't miss your chance to read outstanding Canadian crime fiction for free! And remember, if you're one of the lucky recipients and you enjoy reading PERSISTENT GUILT, please leave a review to encourage others to try the March and Walker series as well.

Best of luck to everyone who enters!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Persistent Guilt by Michael J.  McCann

Persistent Guilt

by Michael J. McCann

Giveaway ends September 19, 2018.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway