Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Booklist loves "Bunnies"!

Wow, this just came out and I AM THRILLED! "When Bunnies Go Bad," my sixth Pru Marlowe pet noir will be published by Poisoned Pen Press on March 1.

Issue: February 1, 2016
When Bunnies Go Bad.
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Simon, Clea (Author)
Mar 2016. 264 p. Poisoned Pen, hardcover, $26.95. (9781464205330). paperback, $15.95. (9781464205354). e-book, $9.99. (9781464205361).
In this latest title in the only series to combine pets with noir (or a semi-tame form of noir), animal psychic Pru deals with a sneaky rabbit and finds a few bodies strung about her quaint Berkshire hometown of Beauville. It starts with an an obnoxious tourist whom Pru observes at a restaurant with his girlfriend; later she finds his body in a condo. Maybe weirder is the fact that the girlfriend needs Pru’s help with her dog, a persnickety spaniel. And let’s not forget that rabbit, a wild bunny named Henry, who is living with an 84- year-old woman. Oh, and there’s a mobster, too, whose presence somehow forces Pru to deal with some secrets of her own about her hasty exit from New York. Usually, Pru can sort out her various entanglements by hearing what the pets have to say, but this time neither the rabbit nor the spaniel are coming through clearly. The plot is nearly as challenging to follow as the critters, but once again Simon’s wacky humor—darkish but surely not black—provides more than enough entertainment.
— Amy Alessio

Genre hopping and Small-Town Cozies!

I like to think I've always straddled genres – moving from the straight ahead amateur sleuth/cozy of the Theda Krakow to the more paranormal of the Dulcie Schwartz mysteries, and mixing in some tongue-in-cheek noir for the "pet noir" of the Pru Marlowe books. But with "The Ninth Life" I've finally jumped the fence to something darker still. And I'm thrilled that I'll be on the Genre Hopping panel at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, AZ, next month. Under moderator Ann Cleeves, I'll be joining Chris Goff, Annette Mahon, and Mette Ivie Harrison at 9:30 on Friday, Fen 26, the first full day of the conference. For cozy traditionalists – and I hope that I still rank among these, as well! – I'll be on a second panel, on Saturday, Feb. 27, 3-4 p.m., on Small-Town cozies, with Kristi Abbott, Sherry Harris, and Paige Shelton. The wonderful Leslie Budewitz will be moderating this one. Are you attending Left Coast Crime? If so, please join us!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Publishers Weekly likes "The Ninth Life"!

And notes that I've taken "a turn to the dark side," heh heh heh!

The Ninth Life: A Blackie and Care Mystery

Clea Simon, Author

Cozy author Simon (When Bunnies Go Bad) takes a turn to the dark side with this edgy first in a series introducing Carrie “Care” Wright, a homeless girl in her early teens who lives on the streets of an unnamed city. Care rescues a drowning cat, naming him Blackie, and the two have an instant affinity, but Blackie, who narrates the tale, is an unusual feline. Care and her foster brother, Tick, who’s about 10, live in the clutches of a gang leader, AD, but Care has been mentored by a private detective and has a chance to get out of the life until her mentor is murdered. Determined to find his killer and get Tick away from AD, Care soon finds that a pernicious drug known as scat is at the center of frightening events, including the murder of a pawn shop owner. Meanwhile, Blackie knows more than any cat should, but can’t tell Care, so he does his best to keep her safe. Noir fans who are fond of felines will find a lot to like. Agent: Colleen Mohyde, Doe Coover Agency. (Mar.)

Phew! What a relief.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Signed copies of "The Ninth Life" and "Code Grey" now in stock!

Even though "The Ninth Life" isn't officially out yet in this country, Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, just got some copies in. So I went over and signed them – and also some new copies of "Code Grey," the latest Dulcie Schwartz mystery (out a few months ago). As you can see, I'm beginning to take over a shelf there! Porter Square is a wonderful indie, with fair prices and a grand selection (and a nifty little coffee/treat cafĂ© too). Drop by, if you can - or call 617-491-2220 to order your signed, first-edition of "The Ninth Life" (or any other books).

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thinking of David Bowie

Like so many of us, I've been thinking a lot about Bowie this week and trying to understand why his death has hit so hard. It started on Monday morning, when I was speaking to an older friend, who knew of Ziggy but little else. She likened him to Fats Domino, and my response was "Yes, but..." Of course, some of that is because I can't ever fully understand what Fats means to her or meant to her in her youth. But as I read and listen (and listen and read), I am struck not just by Bowie's breadth as a musician, but by his fearlessness and generosity as an artist.

Unlike so many pop/rock stars, he was so much more than one sound, one note, or even one persona. As Johnny Angel Wendell has pointed out, Bowie came out back when it was career suicide to do so. And while he was never a front-line advocate for LGBTQ or any other causes (though he did call out MTV's racism back in '83), he embodied the idea of individuality, most notably via gender fluidity, that our gender and our sexuality - our essential selves - were our own, that (in an era and field of incredible machismo) vulnerability is part of the human condition, that we all feel isolated at times, "and it was alright."

As Iggy Pop recalled in the New York Times (and Ian Hunter certainly could), he was also a generous collaborator, writing and producing and bringing out the best in others. And while Joanie Lindstrom (on the Late Riser's Club this morning) pointed out that "we all had periods where we ignored him," Bowie never stopped innovating. And a lot of that music - as we are hearing again, this week - is mind-glowingly good.

There is a reason for that consistent quality, for a career that spanned four decades: I've now read several interviews in which he espouses principles I too try to follow - notably that when the work feels too safe, it's time to move on - and I only hope I can do so with as much courage as he did. So, yes, David Bowie was a pop star and I didn't know him. But he was also one of the great artists of my time, and I am mourning his loss.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Want a SIGNED copy of my books?

Just heard that the wonderful indie Porter Square Books now has CODE GREY and THE NINTH LIFE in stock (that's right, BEFORE the March 1 release date), so I'm going over to sign copies! I may not get there until Saturday (busy writing) but that's good news -- if you call and order a copy, I can personalize one for you: 617-491-2200 (and, yes, they ship!). P.S. - They've got a bunch of my older books, too!

Friday, January 8, 2016

The librarians are coming!

The librarians are coming to Boston! ALA Midwinter is why - this weekend at the Boston Convention Center. And Sisters in Crime New England is hosting a booth, #1173 in the exhibition hall. I'll be there on Monday, noon-2 p.m., but it will be staffed all weekend long with books to giveaway, bookmarks, and other swag. If you're attending #ALAMIDWINTER please drop by!

Here's the full schedule of who and when: