Smokey the Cat
Mark Pryor

Sixty seconds with Mark Pryor...

Mark Pryor (Austin, TX) is a former newspaper reporter and now an assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the true-crime blog D.A. Confidential. He has appeared on CBS News's 48 Hours and Discovery Channel's Discovery ID: Cold Blood. He is the author of the Hugh Marston series, the eighth of which, THE BOOK ARTIST, apeeared earlier this year.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Pryor: Picture a handsome-ish fellow on the patio of a Paris cafe, a glass of red wine in his hand and an Alan Furst novel open on the table, momentarily set aside as he watches the passers-by.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Pryor: Pink Floyd's The Wall. Do I get a record player, too? If not, any record that's made of food.

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Pryor: Honestly, I wanted to be a cowboy. It's kind of amazing how close I got, considering I grew up on a farm in England.

James Anderson

Sixty seconds with James Anderson...

Charles Cumming

Sixty seconds with Charles Cumming...

Search Now:
In Association with

MILLER'S MOVIE COLLECTIBLES, The Film Poster Book by Rudy and Barbara Franchi. 325 illustrations plus extensive text on all aspects of collecting movie paper, with current values, sources, history, terminology, and trends. Order one at


Home | About | Reviews | Search | Submit | Subscribe  Subscribe

May 4, 2019

We begin today with mixed emotions. We're starting with Philip Kerr's most recent and sadly his last novel, METROPOLIS. Kerr handed in this final Bernie Gunther story only days before he succumbed to cancer at the age of 62. It stands as a magnificent coda to a superb series, one that will be sorely missed as will its author.

Harlan Coben has been at it for a long time, and very successfully, too. Jim Napier admires Coben for his "layered, graphic, and action-packed tales," and finds the current offering, RUN AWAY, well up to the author's standard.

It's very difficult to describe art works so well that they present themselves vividly to a reader, but Mark Pryor has the knack, says Sharon Mensing, who reviews THE BOOK ARTIST. Sharon has been reviewing the Hugo Marston series for a while now and says she always regrets having to wait a year before the next one arrives.

Anne Corey was impressed with Patrick McGuiness' THROW ME TO THE WOLVES in which a former student, now a policeman, tries to establish the innocence of his old teacher. Anne says that the emotional depth with which feelings are described extends this novel beyond the range of a typical mystery.

Lev Raphael is not a one book a year mystery writer so it's been a while since his gay English professor and amateur detective, Nick Hoffman, has made an appearance. I do like a good academic mystery and STATE UNIVERSITY OF MURDER is certainly that, though I'm glad I don't have attend any department meetings on that particular campus.

Phyllis Onstad is especially interested in novels that deal with sisterly relations and she says she was haunted by Alafair Burke's THE BETTER SISTER, which she describes as "a murder mystery, a story of dysfunctional families, and a searing look at the relationship between sisters."

Books with a wilderness setting, especially in the American West, are a favourite with Sharon Mensing, but the wilderness this time is the Amazon, in Erica Ferencik's thriller, INTO THE JUNGLE. Sharon says the book is part adventure, part thriller, but altogether satisfying, especially in its representation of the jungle itself.

Diana Borse is enthusiastic about Terry Shames' Samuel Craddock series, set in a small Texas town where people behave, for good or ill, as people in small towns do. A RISKY UNDERTAKING FOR LORETTA SINGLETARY is the latest episode and Diana calls it a major creative accomplishment for its author. Diana also approved of Leslie Karst's MURDER FROM SCRATCH, which she says uses many of the elements of the cosy but is a really good mystery novel all the same.

PJ Coldren admits that she may be suffering the effects of too long and cold a winter but that although she could find nothing really to fault in Christi Daugherty's A BEAUTIFUL CORPSE, she still found it hard to remember a week after finishing it. She suspects that other (warmer?) readers will not have the same problem.

A DECEPTIVE DEVOTION, by Iona Whishaw, is the sixth in the author's Lane Winslow series set in British Columbia shortly after the end of the Second World War. Lourdes Venard says that Whishaw pulls off the difficult task of combining a cosy setting, spy intrigue, and police procedural elements in a coherent and compelling whole.

Ruth Castleberry remarks that Mollie Cox Bryan's THE JEAN HARLOW BOMBSHELL is a fascinating mystery "with more twists than a pretzel factory." It involves the attempt on the part of a literary assistant to complete the biography of 30s film star Jean Harlow while trying to find out who killed her own boss who was writing the book in the first place.

BLUFF, by Jane Stanton Hitchcock, is also a twisty bit of fiction, involving the game of poker. Not only are the characters bluffed, Keshena Hanson reports, but the reader will be too and will enjoy the action.

Ruth Castleberry likes books that include cats but perhaps came a bit late to fully enjoy CAT CHASE THE MOON, number twenty-one in Shirley Rousseau Murphy's Joe Grey series. This is set in a small California town where the cats can talk, use phones and computers, and help the local police solve crimes. Ruth says that this is an engaging mystery with interesting twists, with realistic human and feline characters, but one that might do better with readers who have been following the series.

Mark Pryor makes a return appearance in our Sixty Seconds Do take a look at what he has to say.

Don't forget to check out what our friends at CRIMEREVIEW have to report about what's going on in British crime fiction these days.

And we'll be back at the end of the month with more reviews. This late spring season is filled with a cartload of exciting books and we'll be happy to read and report on them. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if there's something you want us to know.



P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

Recent Reviews:

We have thousands of reviews archived on this site. Use the form below to search by title, author's name, or keyword (e.g., noir, cozy, PI, female, thriller, gay, cats).




Publishers or authors wishing to submit books for review should contact the editors. Please note, before approaching us, that the publishing house must be a print publisher, pay advances and issue royalty statements, edit books, create covers, neither solicit nor accept financial payments from its authors, never copyright an author's title under the publisher's name, and never expect or ask authors to buy a certain number of copies of the author's books. As a general rule we will only consider books for review which have been published by publishers listed on the Mystery Writers of America approved list. We can never guarantee that a review will appear. And our reviewers are given a free rein to express their opinions constructively and honestly.

Please note that we review crime fiction and selected science fiction and horror. We have a policy of not accepting any religious books—and that includes religious crime fiction. We are unable to review any ebooks, unbound galleys, PODs, or PDF files.


Since RTE first appeared, some twelve years ago, the business of books has changed out of all recognition. Then, books were reviewed in the print media for the most part, though Amazon was encouraging readers to post their reviews of the books they read. Now, newspapers across North America have reduced or eliminated the space they allot to books and, with certain notable exceptions, only best-selling authors are likely to get noticed. As a result, electronic reviewing has become increasingly important and, due to the somewhat slippery question of online authorship, occasionally problematic.

For this reason and in view of a recent article in the NY Times detailing a reviews-for-hire enterprise, it's probably wise for RTE to reiterate its position on reviewing. While our reviewers receive galleys, ARCs, or finished copies of books for review, they are otherwise unpaid. Furthermore, they are asked to disclose any special interest they might have in a book or an author they are reviewing. No one, including the editors, receives any compensation for the work they do. All our reviewers are encouraged to express their honest opinions, whether positive or negative, about the books they are reviewing. None of our reviewers uses a pseudonym and all are who they say they are. Nor do we employ rating systems (stars, grades, "highly recommended," or the like) in the belief that our reviews deserve to be read in their entirety. Since RTE does not review self-published or digital-only releases, we are perhaps less vulnerable to offers to pay for reviews, but it seems a good idea to make our policy clear. Finally, in the years that I've been editing RTE, I have never once been approached by a press or a publicist to violate this principle in any way.

Contact: Yvonne Klein (

[ Home | About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]