In this issue of The Blood-Letter from Friends of Mystery: getting to know our September Bloody Thursday panelists, award nominations, and more.

September 2023

On September 28, 2023, Join Us for Fiction Inspired by Life on the Front Lines

Friends of Mystery is pleased to welcome a panel of law enforcement professionals who are also crime writers.

Colin ConwayColin Conway is the creator of the 509 Crime Stories, a series of novels set in eastern Washington with revolving lead characters. They are standalone tales and can be read in any order. He also created the Cozy Up series which pushes the envelope of the cozy genre. Colin co-authored the Charlie-316 series. The first novel in the series, Charlie-316, is a political/crime thriller that has been described as “riveting and compulsively readable”, “the real deal”, and “the ultimate ride-along.” He served in the U.S. Army and later was an officer of the Spokane Police Department. He’s owned a laundromat, invested in a bar, and run a karate school. Besides writing crime fiction, he is a commercial real estate broker.

Cindy GoyetteCindy Goyette is a former probation officer who had a front row seat to the sometimes-shady side of life. She dealt with seasoned criminals with hard-luck stories that sometimes kept her up at night. She kept her sanity by finding humor in most situations. A mix of these things helped her create The Probation Case Files Mystery Series. The first in the series, Obey All Laws, is scheduled to be published in January of 2024. With a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in education/human relations and with further work experience as a police officer and with ICE, she is now focused on writing.

Frank ZafiroFrank Zafiro writes gritty crime fiction from both sides of the badge. From 1986-91, he was a Czech military linguist in Army Intelligence. After that, he served as a police officer in Spokane from 1993-2013. During his career, he was a patrol officer, training officer, a corporal, and a detective, before moving into leadership roles. He progressed from sergeant to captain over the last half of his career, commanding such units as K-9, SWAT, Patrol, Volunteers, and Investigations. Frank is the award-winning author of over forty novels, most of them in the crime genre. His River City police procedurals feature an ensemble cast of police officers and detectives as they face a new challenge each book. Officer (now Detective) Katie MacLeod has emerged as the core character in this series. The Charlie-316 series (written with Colin Conway) is another police procedural set in Spokane, which combines high octane action with an exploration of weighty issues. Frank also writes private detective mysteries (Stefan Kopriva, Jack McCrae), action thrillers (Sandy Banks), and hardboiled (“Ania, Bricks & Cam Jobs). For the extreme “other” side of the badge, his SpoCompton series follows various members of the criminal element, from burglars to gangsters.

Please join us at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon 97215, in person or via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public. A social time with refreshments begins at 7:00 pm, with the program beginning at 7:30 pm. Free parking is available in the block across from the entrance. Bus line #15 will drop you off right at the door.

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Award Nominations

Anthony Awards

Best Hardcover

  • Garrett, Kellye. Like a Sister
  • Iglesias, Gabino. The Devil Takes You Home
  • Osman, Richard. The Bullet That Missed
  • Penny, Louise. A World of Curiosities
  • Prose, Nita. The Maid
  • Segura, Alex. Secret Identity

Best First Novel

  • Cranor, Eli. Don’t Know Tough
  • Emerson, Ramona. Shutter
  • Nagendra, Harini. The Bangalore Detectives Club
  • Osler, Rob. Devil’s Chew Toy
  • Prose, Nita. The Maid

Best Historical

  • Fredericks, Mariah. The Lindbergh Nanny
  • McPherson, Catriona. In Place of Fear
  • Morris, Wanda M. Anywhere You Run
  • Neubauer, Erica Ruth. Danger on the Atlantic
  • Odden, Karen. Under a Veiled Moon
  • Rosen, Lev A.C. Lavender House

Best Humorous

  • Byron, Ellen. Bayou Book Thief
  • Chow, Jennifer J. Death by Bubble Tea
  • Herren, T.G. A Streetcar Named Murder
  • McPherson, Catriona. Scot in a Trap
  • Reyes, Raquel V. Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

Best Critical/Nonfiction

  • Bartlett, James T. The Alaskan Blonde: Sex, Secrets and the Hollywood Story That Shocked America
  • Edwards, Martin. The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators
  • Stashower, Daniel. American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper
  • Vallere, Diane, ed. Promophobia: Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Crime Fiction
  • Weinman, Sarah. Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Love Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free
  • Worsley, Lucy. Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman

Macavity Awards

Best Mystery Novel

  • King, Laurie R. Back to the Garden
  • Pavone, Chris. Two Nights in Lisbon
  • Penny, Louise. A World of Curiosities
  • Rankin, Ian. A Heart Full of Headstones
  • Raybourn, Deanna. Killers of a Certain Age
  • Segura, Alex. Secret Identity

Best First Mystery

  • Bublitz, Jacqueline. Before You Knew My Name
  • Devlin, A.J. Five Moves of Doom
  • Emerson, Ramona. Shutter
  • Osler, Rob. Devil’s Chew Toy
  • Pek, Jane. The Verifiers
  • Prose, Nita. The Maid

Best Mystery Critical/Biographical

  • Edwards, Martin. The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and Their Creators
  • Evans, Mary Anna & Bernthal, J.C., eds. The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie
  • Geherin, David. The Crime World of Michael Connelly: A Study of His Works and Their Adaptations
  • Worsley, Lucy. Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery

  • Fredericks, Mariah. The Lindbergh Nanny
  • McPherson, Catriona. In Place of Fear
  • Morris, Wanda M. Anywhere You Run
  • Parker, Ann. The Secret in the Wall
  • Phillips, Gary. One-Shot Harry
  • Rosen, Lev A.C. Lavender House

Barry Awards

Best Mystery or Crime Novel

  • Cavanagh, Steve. The Accomplice
  • Connelly, Michael. Desert Star
  • Meyer, Deon. The Dark Flood
  • Offutt, Chris. Shifty’s Boys
  • Segura, Alex. Secret Identity
  • Winslow, Don. City on Fire

Best Debut Mystery or Crime Novel

  • Bublitz, Jacqueline. Before You Knew My Name
  • Cranor, Eli. Don’t Know Tough
  • Emerson, Ramona. Shutter
  • Prose, Nita. The Maid
  • Rothchild, Sascha. Blood Sugar
  • Scrivenor, Hayley. Dirt Creek

Best Thriller

  • Carr, Jack. In the Blood
  • Fesperman, Dan. Winter Work
  • Greaney, Mark. Sierra Six
  • Herron, Mick. Bad Actors
  • Raybourn, Deanna. Killers of a Certain Age
  • O’Rawe, Richard. Goering’s Gold

The winners in all these categories will be announced at Bouchercon, being held in San Diego from August 30 to September 3, 2023.

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For Your Viewing Pleasure…

By Jeannette Voss

No Offence TV SeriesI haven’t done much screen-watching since the weather has been so nice this summer, but I did just start a series that looks promising.  

No Offence is a police comedy-drama procedural set in Manchester, England. There are eight episodes in the first season, which was originally broadcast in 2015, starring Joanna Scanlon and Elaine Cassidy. It’s available to stream on ACORN.

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New and Noteworthy

(Summaries provided by the publishers)

The Last Dance by Mark BillinghamThe Last Dance, by Mark Billingham

Maverick sleuth Declan Miller is back at work following the murder of his wife (and amateur ballroom dancing partner), Alex. Working with new partner and heavy metal enthusiast DS Sara Xiu, he is tasked with investigating the double killing of gangland family scion Adrian Cutler and IT consultant Barry Shepherd at the Sands Hotel. Initial evidence suggests a hired gun and a botched job. The search for the hitman begins and Miller begins to reconnect with his old network—his ballroom dancing friends, homeless informant Finn, and even the ghost of his wife who keeps showing up in his kitchen. The fact that Alex had been investigating the Cutler family prior to her death complicates things, and as Miller gets closer to the truth, he realizes the danger is walking right up to his doorstep…

The Close by Jane CaseyThe Close, by Jane Casey

At first glance, Jellicoe Close seems to be a perfect suburban street – well-kept houses with pristine lawns, neighbors chatting over garden fences, children playing together.

But there are dark secrets behind the neat front doors, hidden dangers that include a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing.

It’s up to DS Maeve Kerrigan and DI Josh Derwent to uncover the truth. Posing as a couple, they move into the street, blurring the lines between professional and personal as never before.

And while Maeve and Josh try to gather the evidence they need, they have no idea of the danger they face – because someone in Jellicoe Close has murder on their mind.

The Kind Worth Saving by Peter SwansonThe Kind Worth Saving, by Peter Swanson

There was always something slightly dangerous about Joan. So, when she turns up at private investigator Henry Kimball’s office asking him to investigate her husband, he can’t help feeling ill at ease. Just the sight of her stirs up a chilling memory: he knew Joan in his previous life as a high school English teacher, when he was at the center of a tragedy.

Now Joan needs his help proving that her husband is cheating. But what should be a simple case of infidelity becomes much more complicated when Kimball finds two bodies in an uninhabited suburban home with a FOR SALE sign out front. Suddenly it feels like the past is repeating itself, and Henry must go back to one of the worst days of his life to uncover the truth.

Is it possible that Joan knows something about that day, something she’s hidden all these years? Could there still be a killer out there, someone who believes they have gotten away with murder? Henry is determined to find out, enlisting help from his old nemesis Lily Kintner—but as he steps closer to the truth, a murderer is getting closer to him, and in this hair-raising game of cat and mouse only one of them will survive.

In the Next Issue…

Have you ever read a favorite series a second time, from beginning to end? If so, please submit yours to the editor at for possible inclusion in the newsletter.

Buy Books by Friends of Mystery Speakers Online at Annie Bloom’s Books

If you want to order any of our speaker’s books, you can find them at our special Friends of Mystery page at Annie Bloom’s Books!

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Share Your Member News

Friends of Mystery is happy to publish news and press releases from our members in our Member News section, with the following considerations:

  • The news must be related to mystery or true crime writing, films, and television, as well as non-fiction examinations of the mystery genre.
  • Friends of Mystery will not be able to edit announcements, and will publish them as provided.
  • Friends of Mystery will include one image with each announcement, if provided.
  • Friends of Mystery is not responsible for the content of news announcements, and we reserve the right to not publish any announcements which we feel will reflect poorly on the organization and do not advance the organization’s mission.

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Membership Renewal

It’s never too late to consider renewing your membership to Friends of Mystery! Dues are $20.00 annually. FOM is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Dues and additional donations are deductible to the full extent of the law. Please mail your check, made out to Friends of Mystery, to PO Box 8251, Portland, Oregon 97207. Your newsletter will be sent electronically unless otherwise requested.

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Submissions Needed

Members and readers are encouraged to submit book or film reviews, comments on authors, and recommendations for books to read or questions about mysteries, crime fiction and fact. If you have suggestions of mysteries worth sharing, please contact the editor at:

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Enjoy those last days of summer reading time!