Monday, July 6, 2015

USA Crime Fiction Challenge: 36 states down, 15 to go

Further to my post from Saturday, I have now gone through my books read and reviewed to discover I have ticked off 36 of the 51 regions covered by the USA Fiction Challenge (50 states + District of Columbia).

That leaves fifteen states still to read (along with some substitutions for some already-reviewed states, to cut-down on author double-ups, eg Lee Child, CJ Box, Lisa Gardner and others appearing more than once). Doing some research for books set in the likes of Vermont and Delaware has been quite fun, and I've now tabbed the following crime novels onto my to-read list, to finish off the USA Fiction Challenge.

I'm pretty excited about the list below - not only was it fun to research and discover crime fiction set in some more remote or rural states, but I'm also very much looking forward to reading many of these authors, including several who have long-running series and.or who I've heard great things about but will be new-to-me (eg Dana Stabenow, JA Jance, David Baldacci, Nevada Barr, Daniel Woodrell, William Bernhardt).

  1. ALASKA: Bad Blood by Dana Stabenow (2013): when a young villager is found dead and the prime suspect from a rival tribe disappears, neither tribe will talk to Sgt Jim Chopin, who calls in Kate Shugak when a second murder occurs. 
  2. ARIZONA: Desert Heat by JA Jance (1993): the first in the Joanna Brady series, introducing the wife of an Arizona lawman running for Cochise County sheriff who ends up battling bad guys herself when her husband is shot.
  3. ARKANSAS: Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris (1996): Lily Bard is recovering from a violent past in small-town Arkansas, working as a housecleaner, when she witnesses a murder that strips away her anonymity, brings her unwanted attention, but also has her coming alive again.
  4. DELAWARE: Long Hill Home by Kathryn Pincus (2015): a successful lawyer is attacked while out on a run, and she, a lonely teenager who comes to her aid only to be accused of the crime, and a pregnant illegal immigrant witness all face great adversity as the case unfolds. 
  5. IOWA: Smithereens by Susan Taylor Chehak (1995): Sixteen-year-old May Caldwell has a dull life in Linwood, Iowa until her 'foster sister' Frankie shows up. Together they seduce an older man and head on a tumultuous trail that leads to murder. Hammett Prize Nominee. 
  6. MARYLAND: Every Secret Thing by Laura Lippman (2003): two 11-year-old girls are banished from a neighbourhood party and stumble across an infant in a stroller. Seven years later they're released from juvenile detention, three families destroyed by the crime that happened that day. Then another child disappears under freakishly similar circumstances. Anthony Award winner. 
  7. MISSOURI: Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell (1998): Jamalee and Jason are siblings with dreams of escaping the Ozark valley where they are the "lowest scum in town", so they recruit a good-natured drifter ex-con as the muscle for their schemes. Hammett Prize Nominee.
  8. NEVADA: Murder Unleashed by Rita Mae Brown (2011): a former big city banker is adjusting to life on a ranch outside Reno with her gregarious great-Aunt and a German Shepherd. When they start helping with a community project, they find themselves up against corruption and murder.
  9. NORTH DAKOTA: Gridlock by Senator Byron L Dorgan and David Hadberg (2013): two Iranian agents buy a computer virus off the Russians to shut down the US power grid and North Dakota sheriff Nate Osborne has to step up when the international crisis hits his home state.
  10. OKLAHOMA: Death Row by William Bernhardt (2003): Oklahoma attorney Ben Kincaid defended a mild-mannered man accused of slaughtering an entire family. Now, as the execution date approaches, the star prosecution recants to Kincaid, only to be found dead the next day from an apparent suicide. Kincaid must discover what is really going on before it's too late. 
  11. OREGON: Judgement Calls by Alafair Burke (2003): the first Samantha Kincaid novel sees the Portland Deputy DA gunning for attempted murder after a teenager is brutally attacked, but as she prepares for the case she uncovers a dangerous trail leading to a high-profile death penalty case, underage sex ring, and a possible serial killer. 
  12. UTAH: The Rope by Nevada Barr (2012): a prequel novel to the popular Anna Pigeon series, showing how Anna moved from New York to take a seasonal position in Glen Canyon, starting her career in the National Park Service following the death of her husband. Hiking around Lake Powell, Anna literally falls into a mystery that she becomes determined to solve, sparking her new career.
  13. VERMONT: Cloudland by Joseph Olshan (2012): former hotshot reporter Catherine Winslow has retreated to rural Vermont. Out walking in the snow, she finds a body, and soon realises a serial killer is reenacting scenes from an unfinished Wilkie Collins novel missing from her personal library.
  14. WEST VIRGINIA: Zero Day by David Baldacci (2011): John Puller is the US military's top investigator, so when a family with military connections is brutally murdered in coal country, he's sent by the Pentagon to help the local homicide cops, only to discover there is much more to the case. 
  15. WISCONSIN: Dead Angler by Victoria Houston (2000): In Northwoods, fishing is a way of life. But when Doc Osborne catches more than he bargained for, he winds up in the middle of a murder mystery, and only Chief of Police Lew Ferris can get him out of it. 

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