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Marcie Rendon

Sixty seconds with Marcie Rendon...

Marcie Rendon is a member of the White Earth Ojibwe nation. In 2020, she was listed in Oprah Daily’s "31 Native American Authors to Read" and was the recipient of Minnesota’s McKnight Distinguished Artist Award. She is the author of many books, including Sinister Graves, the third Cash Blackbear novel publishing in October 2022 from Soho Press; Girl Gone Missing and Murder on the Red River, which were both very well received.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Rendon: Marcie Rendon is a mother, grandmother, author and sometimes performance artist from the White Earth Nation.

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

Rendon: I will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

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

Rendon: Alive

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October 29, 2022

It's Halloween weekend, a holiday which should be dear to every reader of crime fiction, dedicated as it is to those two stalwarts of the classical mystery - tricks and treats. I'm not sure that everything we're discussing this time can offer both but there certainly will be an ample helping of each along the way.

We begin with a couple of books that engage with genuine ghosts rooted in a sorry past, when attempts were made in both the US and Canada to make the indigenous populations disappear. The first, SINISTER GRAVES, by Marcie Rendon, a member of the White Earth Nation, deals with one by-product of those days, the continuing frequent, unsolved disappearances of indigenous girls and women. Barbara Fister recommends it for the quality of the writing and assures readers that this third in a series can easily be read as a stand-alone. Walt Longmire, the hero of Craig Johnson's lengthy series, is transported mysteriously back to 1896, to a town in which a large number of boys died in a boarding school fire. This was one of what in Canada are called "residential schools," which sounds rather restful and benign. These schools, in which indigenous children were forcibly enrolled, were anything but happy homes away from home. They were dedicated to "getting the Indian out of the child," and relentlessly pursued this end. HELL AND BACK in which Longmire finds himself engaged in an attempt to save the boys who died in 1896 is a title that suits what appears to be a kind of mystical thriller, one which Sharon Mensing says that she loved.

THE IT GIRL, by Ruth Ware, is a rather more conventional approach to fictional crime but Sharon Mensing also enjoyed this Oxford-centred retrospective, which offers a load of menace and a bundle of red herrings to engage the reader.

Simon Toyne launches a new series with DARK OBJECTS, in which a woman who barely escaped a serial killer when she was much younger must now become involved in trying to solve another case which has made her once again the object of tabloid newspaper fascination. I enjoyed this one very much up until the "surprise" ending, which took much of the wind out of its sails. Mark de Castrique is also beginning a new series with SECRET LIVES. The protagonist here is a 75-year-old retired FBI agent named Ethel who now rents rooms to government agents. Ruth Castleberry calls this a "formidable thriller."

Lee Child seems to have no intention of abandoning his series hero Jack Reacher and his brother Andrew Grant, writing under the Child name, has appeared as co-author for the past several years. Anne Corey is happy to inform us that in the latest product of the collaboration, NO PLAN B, all of Jack Reacher's beloved details are present, right down to his vegetable-free diet that fuels the high-tension action.

Robert J. Lloyd follows up his previous Restoration historical THE BLOODLESS BOY with THE POISON MACHINE, in which lab assistant Henry Hooke applies the new science he is learning to solving crime. Rebecca Nesvet values the books for the characters who are "deeply imaginative and perceptive and very much of their time and place," which is not often the case in thrillers set in this period. Rebecca also reports on another historical, A TWIST OF MURDER, by Heather Redmond, which features Charles Dickens in a leading role. Dickens' partner in crime-solving is his fiancée Kate. Although OLIVER TWIST was an inspiration for this book, A TWIST OF MURDER is very far from grim and Rebecca is looking forward to the next installment.

We began by a reference to Halloween, but as is true of Costco, publishers do not think that Christmas can ever come too soon. So we do have a couple of early entries in the Christmas seasonal stakes. The first is DEATH ON A WINTER'S STROLL, by Francine Mathews, set on Nantucket during its annual Christmas Stroll. Barbara Fister remarks that though the book has the occasional cosy touch, it is a solidly traditional mystery, one that would please admirers of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn, but also one that is firmly anchored in the present century. PEPPERMINT BARKED, by Leslie Budewitz, is unequivocally in the cosy genre, as its title would suggest. The sixth entry in the Spice Shop series, it is set at the Christmas retail season. P.J. Coldren enjoyed the visit to Seattle and approved of the recipes as well, especially one for Pumpkin Spice Blend, appropriate this very weekend.

P.J. also reviewed another cosy, this one without a seasonal theme. But TWO PARTS SUGAR, ONE PART MURDER by Valerie Burns, does have an uncommon feature. Its protagonist, Maddy Montgomery, proprietor of Baby Cakes Bakery, is Black. P.J. enjoyed this first in a new series, especially for its characters, who were people we might easily meet in our own lives. And there are recipes, though P.J. hasn't tried any of them to date. A DOOMFUL OF SUGAR by Catherine Bruns is another food-related cosy, in which the protagonist has, like Maddy Montgomery, just inherited the business. Ruth Castleberry reports that there are enough plot twists and red herrings to keep the reader pleasurably engaged. There do not seem to be recipes, but there is another cosy staple - an adopted and adorable stray kitty named Toast.

ROUND UP THE USUAL PEACOCKS, by Donna Andrews, is far from the first in the series - it is the thirty-first, and P.J. is happy to report that the author is still going strong. The book has all of the elements to please cosy readers and Andrews deploys them effectively. "Donna still has the touch," P.J. concludes. She was far less pleased with A CATERED DOGGIE WEDDING by Isis Crawford, which she found rather formulaic. And the recipes didn't appeal, either.

Our guest this week in the "Sixty Seconds With..." spot is Marcie Rendon. Do pay her a visit. You'll enjoy it.

We are very sorry to have to mark the death of Peter Robinson earlier this month. This British-Canadian author is especially remembered for his Inspector Banks series. He was a very early contributor to"Sixty Seconds" which you can check out at REVIEWINGTHEEVIDENCE. It is good to know that there is one more Inspector Banks to come, but very sad that it will be the last.

Our friends across the sea have been keeping up with what is going on in British crime. You can find out what they thought of it at CRIMEREVIEW.

We'll return at the end of November, that grey and gloomy month, and report on what we've been reading. Do come back. You may find some suggestions for holiday gifts, either to give or to get.

The Editors:

Yvonne Klein

Rebecca Nesvet

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.

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