Monday, February 25, 2008


The Minnesota Crime Wave is coming! The Minnesota Crime Wave is coming!

Tonight is the last big event for The Big Read of Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon". All month long, along with discussing the book and watching movies we've been reading mysteries.

I've had the privilege to read MINNESOTA mysteries this months - thanks to the fine folks you see in costume here - Carl Brookins, Ellen Hart and William Kent Krueger.

Each writes mysteries set in Minnesota that are unique to the genre. Ellen's are more of the "cozy" type - involving amateur sleuth/restauranteur Jane Lawless. This doesn't mean they are timely or pertaining to current events. In her latest "The Mortal Groove" Jane's father Ray is running for Minnesota governor. What could be more timely than political races that dig into the private lives of candidates?

The author of over 20 novels, Ellen is a five-time winner of the Lambda award for Best Lesbian mystery, and twice winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime & Detective Fiction. She was made an official GLBT Literary Saint at the Saints & Sinners Literary convention in New Orleans in 2005, and she has been awarded the Alice B. Readers Appreciation Medal. She teaches mystery writing at the University of Minnesota and at the Loft Literary Center.

Carl Brookins latest "Bloody Halls" is set on a college campus right in the middle of downtown Minneapolis. Jack Marston is an administrator who has been asked to look into the murder of a student. Brookins writing is sharp, funny and compelling.

Carl has written crime fiction reviews for Mystery Scene Magazine, two Internet sites, Reviewing The Evidence and Books n' Bytes, and for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. An avid sailor, he is the author of a sailing mystery series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney, published by Top Publications. They are titled Inner Passages, A Superior Mystery, set in Wisconsin's Apostle Islands, and Old Silver, published in May, 2005. His first detective novel, featuring PI, Sean NMI Sean, was released in September 2005 in hardcover from Five Star Mysteries called The Case of the Greedy Lawyers.

William Kent Krueger is the award winning writer of the mysteries with Cork O'Connor at the center. The latest "Thunder Bay" sets Cork on the trail of his spiritual advisor/Mide's long lost son and long lost love. Krueger's work is set firmly in the wilds of Northern Minnesota and Canada, with setting almost important as character. In Thunder Bay he also writes a seering love story, a tale of a Native medicine man, and a contemporary family drama.

His first two books, Iron Lake and Boundary Waters, received a number of awards including the Anthony award for Best First Novel, the Minnesota Book Award and the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award. His third novel, Purgatory Ridge, won the Minnesota Book Award for 2001; his fourth, Blood Hollow, won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of 2004. One critic has dubbed him the Michael Connelly of the Midwest.

Join us tonight for the free event at Itasca Community College. It's at 7pm at Davies Hall!

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