Monday, 10 August 2015


We'll be taking a break from our four weekly blogs, The Overnight Bestseller, Behind the Walls of Nightmare, Open Investigations (Goodreads), and Writing in Retirement (Goodreads). We expect to be back in the fall with lots of news for our readers.

We'll continue to post reviews as part of our commitment to introduce new works to our readers.

Thanks to all of you who support us by following our blogs.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Crime Fiction, Japanese-Style

Publishers Weekly (PW) recommends Yukito Ayatsuji's The Decagon House Murders as a best summer read for 2015. The novel was first published in 1987 and has now been translated from Japanese into English. As noted in PW, the  novel launched the shinhonkaku ("new orthodox") renaissance to Japanese crime fiction by "restoring Golden Age-style plotting and fair-play clues to the Japanese mystery scene."

Members of a mystery club, who are investigating deaths on a small island off the coast of Japan, must survive in a house where they are being targeted by a killer. Sound familiar? Publishers Weekly describes it as a "sophisticated homage" to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

For the PW review, please see

Monday, 27 July 2015

International Thriller Award Winners

The winners of the 2015 International Thriller Writers (ITW) Awards have recently been announced:

Megan Abbott – The Fever (Little, Brown and Company)

Laura McHugh – The Weight of Blood (Spiegel & Grau)

Tim L. Williams – “The Last Wrestling Bear in West Kentucky” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

Elle Cosimano – Nearly Gone (Kathy Dawson Books)

C.J. Lyons – Hard Fall (Legacy Books)

As noted on the ITW website, "[t]he International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as 'thrillers'. This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas."

For the full list of award nominees, please see the announcement in Crimespree Magazine .

Congratulations to all of the winners.

Monday, 20 July 2015

A Review of Inner Sanctum by Darlene Oakley

It's always a pleasure to support other authors, especially ones who live almost next door to you, so The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to review Inner Sanctum, the debut novel of Darlene Oakley

Review of Inner Sanctum

Ms. Oakley is an experienced editor and author of numerous articles so it is not surprising that she is able to shape words in an engaging first novel.

Inner Sanctum is the story of people who have led a subterranean existence to escape the wars raging on the surface of the earth in the mid-2100s. The flight underground has originally preserved a society, but now that society is facing its own threats of extinction through early death and disease. Draconian measures such as an enforced limit of two children per family, early sterilization, and termination of “defective” pregnancies have failed to address the issue of the declining population.

The metaphorical and literal door to freedom is suddenly discovered during an excavation, and the heroine of the novel, Aurora Cassle, urges the mayor and city council to take advantage of this exit to once again become surface dwellers who have the benefit of the sun to sustain their lives. Branded a traitor and abandoned by her husband, Aurora, along with her long-time friend Den, leads a group from the underground to the dawn of a new civilization.

Inner Sanctum is categorized as a “Christian dystopia,” and the parallels with the Biblical themes of escape and exile are well-developed in the novel and add a unique twist to the story because Christian values will provide the basis for the rebuilding of society on the surface.

Ms. Oakley has written a novel that will appeal to a wide audience, including readers of Christian and speculative fiction, as well as lovers of suspense and romance. This is Book 1, and we're looking forward to more in this series.

Inner Sanctum is available at

Monday, 6 July 2015

Book Review of A Sporting Murder by Lesley A. Diehl

Once again The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to participate in a Tribute Books Blog Tour. Today we welcome Lesley A. Diehl, author of the cozy mystery A Sporting Murder.

 A Sporting Murder Book Summary

It's smooth sailing for Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, owners of Second to None Consignment Shop in rural Florida's Sabal Bay, land of swamps, cowboys, and lots and lots of 'gators. Eve and her detective boyfriend Alex have joined Madeleine and her new beau David Wilson for a pleasure cruise on his boat. But cloudy, dangerous waters lie ahead. A near fatal encounter with Blake Reed, David's supremely nasty neighbor, is soon followed by a shooting death on the dividing line between David and Blake's land. Both men run sport-hunting reserves, but Blake imports "exotics" from Africa and promotes gator killing, while David stays within the law, pointing clients toward the abundant quail and turkey as well as the wild pigs that ravage the landscape. Nevertheless, when a mutual client is killed, it is David who is arrested and charged with murder.

Blake's nastiness is only exceeded by that of his wife, Elvira, who forces Eve and Madeleine out of their shop, intending to replace it with a consignment shop of her own. It seems that bad luck looms over them all, even Eve's brawny and hard-to-resist Miccosukee Indian friend Sammy, whose nephew has disappeared. As the case against David grows stronger and his friends' misfortunes multiply, Eve and her strange and diverse group of friends, including her ex, a mobster, her grandma, and Sammy's extended family, band together to take on the bad guys. But the waters are getting muddier and more troubled, and Eve and Madeleine may end up inundated in every sense of the word.

Price/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Cozy Murder Mystery
Camel Press
July 15, 2015

Buy Links

Barnes and Noble

Lesley A. Diehl's Bio

Lesley A. Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida--cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Back north, she devotes her afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew.

 The Overnight Bestseller's Review of A Sporting Murder

This is the third in  Lesley A. Diehl's Eve Appel cozy mystery series, and she provides us with an entertaining mix of characters, an engaging setting, and two unsolved murders that baffle the reader until their resolution at the end of the novel.

Her intrepid amateur sleuth Eve Appel is reminiscent of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum with her lively sense of humor, her unresolved love life, and her uncanny ability to get into--and out of--trouble.

At the same time, Diehl touches upon serious themes in the novel, including the mistreatment of foreign workers, prejudice towards Aboriginal peoples, and the illicit trade in endangered species for "trophy" collections.

This novel will appeal to lovers of cozy mysteries everywhere, who will also want to check out Diehl's other series.

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Book Review of Jerome Charyn's Bitter Bronx

The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to be participating in the Tribute Books Blog Tour for Bitter Bronx by Jerome Charyn.

Book Summary

Brooklyn is dead. Long live the Bronx! In Bitter Bronx, Jerome Charyn returns to his roots and leads the literary renaissance of an oft-overlooked borough in this surprising new collection.

In Bitter Bronx, one of our most gifted and original novelists depicts a world before and after modern urban renewal destroyed the gritty sanctity of a land made famous by Ruth, Gehrig, and Joltin' Joe.

Bitter Bronx is suffused with the texture and nostalgia of a lost time and place, combining a keen eye for detail with Jerome Charyn's lived experience. These stories are informed by a childhood growing up near that middle-class mecca, the Grand Concourse; falling in love with three voluptuous librarians at a public library in the Lower Depths of the South Bronx; and eating at Mafia-owned restaurants along Arthur Avenue's restaurant row, amid a "land of deprivation…where fathers trundled home…with a monumental sadness on their shoulders."

In "Lorelei," a lonely hearts grifter returns home and finds his childhood sweetheart still living in the same apartment house on the Concourse; in "Archy and Mehitabel" a high school romance blossoms around a newspaper comic strip; in "Major Leaguer" a former New York Yankee confronts both a gang of drug dealers and the wreckage that Robert Moses wrought in his old neighborhood; and in three interconnected stories—"Silk & Silk," "Little Sister," and "Marla"—Marla Silk, a successful Manhattan attorney, discovers her father's past in the Bronx and a mysterious younger sister who was hidden from her, kept in a fancy rest home near the Botanical Garden. In these stories and others, the past and present tumble together in Charyn's singular and distinctly "New York prose, street-smart, sly, and full of lurches" (John Leonard, New York Times).

Throughout it all looms the "master builder" Robert Moses, a man who believed he could "save" the Bronx by building a highway through it, dynamiting whole neighborhoods in the process. Bitter Bronx stands as both a fictional eulogy for the people and places paved over by Moses' expressway and an affirmation of Charyn's "brilliant imagination" (Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune).

 Price/Formats: $12.59 ebook,
$24.95 hardcover
Genre: Short Stories
Pages: 320
Publisher: Liveright
Release: June 15, 2015
ISBN: 9780871404893

Author Bio

Jerome Charyn's stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The American Scholar, Epoch, Narrative, Ellery Queen, and other magazines. His most recent novel is I Am Abraham. He lived for many years in Paris and currently resides in Manhattan.

The Overnight Bestseller's Review of Bitter Bronx

Having previously reviewed Under the Eye of God by Jerome Charyn, I was already aware of the intense hold that the Bronx of his childhood has on his imagination. As he writes in the "Author's Note" to Bitter Bronx:
I realized that I had been shaped as a writer not with the words I didn’t have, not with lavish pencil cases, not with library books I had never borrowed, but with some ghost’s vocabulary. I’d filled that amorphous void of the South Bronx with my own imagination.

There is both nostalgia and comedy in Bitter Bronx, and it is written in Charyn's lyrical prose that speaks of eyes bleeding “the viscous color of tears” and of Jackson Pollock's paintings “with their lashing rhythm, as if colors could cry out," to give only two examples of his lyricism.

The thirteen stories in this book are populated by an exotic blend of characters who surprise us with their eccentricities at the same time as they touch us with their unrequited love, losses, and thwarted dreams. There is Lorelei, who lives with her father in a Bronx apartment, never able to move beyond its sad confines. There is the story of Adonis, which is particularly poignant in its depiction of the lonely mob widows who are never able to feel loved once again. There are three stories of the Silks, reminiscent of Salinger's fictional and dysfunctional families. In “The Major Leaguer,” we are reminded of Charyn's abiding interest in the players of a lost era of greatness who emerged from the Bronx such as Joe DiMaggio, the subject of Charyn's book, Joe Dimaggio: The Long Vigil. And, in the background, as in Under the Eye of God, outside forces conspire to destroy the author's beloved Bronx through development and land grabs. The shadow of Robert Moses is felt in each of these stories, a man who created a highway that irrevocably divided the Bronx into north and south.
Bitter Bronx will appeal to fans of Charyn's Isaac Sidel series, short story lovers in general, and those readers seeking a refreshing book with unconventional prose and colorful characters brought lovingly to life.

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Monday, 15 June 2015

Pleasant Discoveries

This weekend the Kemptville District Hospital Auxiliary held its fifty-fifth annual Heyday! garage and yard sale in the North Grenville curling arena. It's almost always raining, parking is impossible to find within a couple of blocks, and I try never to miss it each year. I was there Friday night, circulating with the dense crowd, elbowing my way in to the tables, searching for a bargain.

Among my purchases this year was a pleasant discovery: a Canon PowerShot A550 digital camera in its original box. When it came out in 2007, it was considered a decent, affordable model that retailed at $149 in what was at that time a burgeoning digital camera market. I took it out of the box, found that it still contained batteries and a memory card, and was able to turn it on. I shot a few pictures of boxes filled with cables and power bars and junk, and since it seemed to work all right I asked the volunteer behind the table how much he wanted for it. Five bucks. I gave him a nearly-new plastic fiver and dropped it into my bag.

Yesterday morning, nursing a sore head after a massive migraine attack that lasted all day Saturday, I took my new purchase out into the back yard for a test run, taking random shots, just enjoying being out in the warm morning air. Back inside, I uploaded the photos to my computer for a closer look. No problems. I brought one of the pictures into my copy of old-school Paint Shop Pro 5 (circa 1998) and added a text caption. Something to get the creative juices working before I tackled the manuscript in progress.

When you figure that the camera is eight years old, which is ancient for lifestyle technology and one step away from the local landfill site, picking it up at 97% off its original price was a decent deal. Everyone uses their phone to take pictures now, but I'll carry this little PowerShot in the canvas messenger bag I throw in the back seat of the car whenever I go out, and use it for impulse photography when I'm on the road. Et voilĂ :