Jeff Mannix   

Jeff Mannix is the owner and operator of Santa Rita Ranch and Santa Rita Press in Durango, CO. Jeff has been writing performance art and book reviews, as well as feature articles, for more than 20 years. Murder Ink, now in the Durango Telegraph online, has been his column for the past 3 years.

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Check out Murder Ink in the Durango Telegraph the first Thursday of every month. The book reviewed by Jeff Mannix will be 15% off for the entire month


My Sister's Bones: A Novel of Suspense Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062661968
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - July 11th, 2017

My Sister’s Bones is foremost and fiercely a suspense drama that can run with the big dogs. Ellwood isn’t teaching or focusing on the forensics or haranguing over unrecognized or under-served PTSD casualties. Instead, she populates a drama with caricatures of damaged people with hollow cores and fragile crusts that pull on the reader to stay up way past bedtime.

She delves into what crazy meant before it lost its meaning as a wisecrack. MORE...


The Long Drop Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316380577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Brown and Company - May 23rd, 2017

Murder Ink: Hard to quit 
The Long Drop by Denise Mina will keep finding it's way back into your hands

The Long Drop is Mina’s new offering from Little, Brown and Co., and like the other four or five Mina books I’ve read, I put it down, picked it back up and couldn’t believe I was reading it again. And, as always, I can’t get over how brilliant a writer and how utterly insane she is, and how perfectly insane I am for reading and cherishing her work.

The Long Drop is atmospheric if it is anything: you can smell the Glaswegian damp- ness on the wool coats of her disheveled characters. The redolence of beer and tobacco seeps from everyone’s skin, men are drunk and broke and dismissive of wives and children. Her stories are about the underworld, spelled G-l-a-s-g-o-w, where nobody expects but only endures. MORE...

The Smack Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316327626
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mulholland Books - July 18th, 2017

The Smack, by Richard Lange, is yet another diamond found by the haystack sifters at Mulholland Books. This crime fiction tour de force comes complete with murders, thefts in the millions of dollars, kidnapping, hit men, con mean, and a beautiful whore named Tinafey made from the mold of Marisa Tomei. And despite crime after crime, the book has no cops, no arrests, and no punishment or executions but what’s deserved. MORE...

Burntown Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385541367
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books - April 25th, 2017

The first offering, Burntown, written by veteran novelist Jennifer McMahon, was released last April by Doubleday and is a hands-down must read. With scrupulous writing and high-wire plotting, this is a stunning story of the underbelly in the quaint college town of Ashford, Vt. The life of Eva Sandeski has come unhinged after a big flood has killed her beloved and inventive husband and her father. Homeless, Eva and her mother, Lily, are living rough among street urchins in the subculture called Burntown, down by the river. McMahon’s characters fall together seamlessly with depth and personality, and street life turns all too colorful and all too real. Burntown is a must read for veteran crime fiction readers and followers of “Murder Ink.” And if you’re just exploring the genre, McMahon stands with the best and Burntown competes with any of the most memorable novels.

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633882591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seventh Street Books - March 7th, 2017

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly by Irishman Adrian McKinty is another gem from what’s beginning to look like the best of Great Britain’s fabulous and famous procedural mystery writers. Detective Sean Duffy is McKinty’s puppet, a Catholic cop in Protestant North Ireland during the 1980s’ “troubles.” This is McKinty’s seventh Sean Duffy novel, and they just keep getting better. This one has lots of action with real characters and three-dimensional mystery. McKinty continues to take home awards for the “best-of” categories from all the crime writers organizations, including the 2017 “Best Paperback Original Edgar Award” from the Crime Writers of America for 2016’s Rain Dogs. Just the title of this new outing is reason enough to brown bag lunch tomorrow and slip by Maria’s and use the savings to buy this paperback. Then go down by the river to get started.

Cast the First Stone: An Ellie Stone Mystery Cover Image
ISBN: 9781633882812
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seventh Street Books - June 6th, 2017

 Cast the First Stone by James W. Ziskin is a June 6 release by eagle-eyed Seventh Street Books,and a follow up to the Crime Writers of America’s prestigious Edgar Award for Ziskin’s Heart of Stone from last year. This is Ziskin’s fifth Ellie Stone story and another interesting and award-worthy novel. Ellie Stone is a young but sea- soned reporter for a small-town newspaper in upstate New York. She’s good; she’s a scotch drinker, sleeps around a little and gets a story and solves a crime even the cops can’t figure out. In Cast the First Stone, Ellie is off to Los Angeles to do a profile on a hometown boy who’s about to get his first leading role in a Hollywood movie. But Tony didn’t show up on the set the first day and nobody can find him – tailor-made for Ellie. Ziskin’s books are comfortable, and Ellie Stone is nothing short of charming. Read Cast the First Stone and you’ll likely soon find yourself reading all of Ziskin’s Ellie Stone books.

Athenian Blues Cover Image
ISBN: 9781908524768
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bitter Lemon Press - April 11th, 2017

Athenian Blues is the first crime novel and first work translated into English by Greek writer Pol Koutsakis. Published by Bitter Lemon Press in London, Athenian Blues is a respectful 250-page romp in Athens by hit man Stratos Gazis, who has been hired by both celebrity lawyer husband and trophy actress wife to kill each other. I needn’t say more, except that Carl Hiaason is surely envious of the subtlety of humor propelling the dilemma facing Gazis and his team of childhood friends: a top homicide cop; a high-class transgender sex worker; and Maria, the love of his life. Athenian Blues is not written as a comedy, but the absurdity of circumstances that pile up along with the bodies and course reversals is funny. A great little book that couldn’t have been written by anyone else but Greece’s most famous playwright.

Return to Umbria Cover Image
ISBN: 9781464206115
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - November 1st, 2016

 Return to Umbria is a genuine homegrown work of passion from a retired David P. Wagner now living in Colorado Springs after a career of diplomatic service in Italy. Published by Poisoned Pen Press, Return to Umbria is the goings-on of Rick Montoya, freelance translator, who moved from his father’s Santa Fe, N.M., to his mother’s Italy. Taking up residence in Rome, Montoya didn’t expect he’d be conscripted into helping his uncle, a high-ranking commissioner of law enforcement, by traveling to Orvieto to talk some sense into his cousin Fabrizio, whose fling with an older married woman is embarrassing the uncle’s exalted reputation. Planned as a short, romantic holiday with his Italian inamorata, Betta Innocenti, Rick finds himself immersed in a murder investigation of an American woman on a return visit for art appreciation. Return to Umbria is a tidy mystery of meticulous writing intertwined with a fascinating tour of off-the-path regions of Italy and the author’s favorite restaurants and meals. A clever piece of work from a number of angles, Return to Umbria is a surprising treat that I’m not reluctant to include with the big boys above.

Desperation Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316353038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - February 7th, 2017

By Jeffrey Mannix

“Murder Ink” has always featured the very best crime fiction, and recently we’ve had a string of the best of the very best. One would think that it just couldn’t keep coming on like this, but Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith is yet another heart-stopper, clothbound book worth the price of lunch at the Palace. At my gym, Fitness Solutions, there is a big sign that says “Being fit feels better than anything tastes.” There’s some kind of extrapolation to be made here with how soon you’ll forget how lunch tasted, or even what you had for lunch, but you’ll always remember the pleasure you got from Desperation Road.  MORE...

IQ Cover Image
By Joe Ide
ISBN: 9780316267724
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - October 18th, 2016

IQ is the name of today’s nonpareil, written by Japanese-American writer Joe Ide. Although the Los Angeles resident has been a screenwriter, this is his first book. Now, notwithstanding my confessed penchant to wax lyrical, IQ will make Ide deservedly rich. It will be nominated for every crime fiction prize in the country, set the standard for veteran writers every-where and be the litmus test that shames away newcomers who can’t face the dross they’re capable of cobbling together. MORE...

Her Every Fear Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062427021
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - January 10th, 2017

As with IQ, another new work that indulges my grandiloquent appreciation for the raw talent of fiction writers is Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. Released by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins on Jan. 10, this will not only put Swanson on the map as a major literary crime fiction writer, but also put him in the running for all the major literary prizes this year. And, as with Ide’s debut tour de force, I suspect it will garner top recognition. This is a stunning book and indeed a stunning story reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window: a psychological thriller where home becomes a threatening and evermore dangerous place. MORE...

Out of Bounds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802125743
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - December 6th, 2016

Val McDermid is arguably the doyenne of Great Britain crime fiction, with 11 million books sold in 30 languages since 1987. She has set the standard for rich, plot-driven mysteries of the peculiar Scottish frankness with muscular characters. A month ago Atlantic Monthly Press released her 30th book, Out of Bounds – yet another comfort read with which to sit warm and cozy in your favorite reading place, with a cup of tea while snow pelts your windows and the world is at a dead stop. McDermid novels are winter reads, never suitable for the indifferent days of summer when the edgy mysteries are more suited for listless moods and enervated bodies. MORE...

Killing Adonis Cover Image
ISBN: 9781464207075
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - January 3rd, 2017

From a small, bumptious publisher out of the mainstream in Scottsdale, Ariz. – perhaps even thumbing their noses at the two-martini Manhattan lunch bunch – comes this year’s most mind-blowing and droll crime fiction book. Poisoned Pen Press will release Australian writer J.M. Donellan’s debut novel Killing Adonis on Dec. 16. Notwithstanding the radar-like gathering of hot new releases by Maria’s Bookshop’s Jeanne Costello, and our finely attuned public libraries, you’re probably going to have to order this book. I promise you won’t be disappointed if you do.  MORE...

Black Widow: A Jack Parlabane Thriller Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802125736
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - November 1st, 2016

In awarding Scotland’s prestigious 2016 McIlvanney Prize for Crime Book of the Year to Christopher Brookmyre for Black Widow, the citation read: “Like watching Olympic diving – just when you think the plot can’t twist again, it takes a new turn. Even the twists have twists.”

Black Widow is the mystery reader’s pound of chocolate. Irresistible. Nefarious. Satisfying and fattening. MORE...

Redemption Road Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312380366
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - May 3rd, 2016

Close Your Eyes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316267946
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mulholland Books - April 12th, 2016

"With no word limit for “Murder Ink” on the Durango Telegraph’s website, and as promised last month, here comes a flood of short reviews of books every one of which will thrill mystery readers down to their socks.

They’ve been piling up threateningly here on my desk, an oddity that so many outstanding books should come along one right after the other, but a gold mine for those of us who are seriously addicted to reading and hopelessly strung out on crime fiction. The challenge is to read as many as you can before September so we can get caught up and back to a book a month, and for September, I have a blockbuster I’m just about finished reading that will knock those socks off." MORE....

Brighton Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062442970
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco Press - June 14th, 2016

"Creating characters vulnerable and brave is Harvey’s artistry. Putting them to the test in all too real situations that affect our culture makes literature. The blighted housing projects of Brighton, Mass., like all ill-conceived ghettos in every large city, breed crime and ruin the lives of nearly everyone confined within the graffitied walls, barred windows and damaged chain-link fence caging everything. The Boston suburb of Brighton contains real people with hopes and dreams – and mostly fears. The lucky ones who get out of these roach- and rat- and garbage-infested ghettos are usually gifted athletes, or dead. But there’s always that one kid out of nearly all the others who lives to a certain age has an uncle or teacher or coach or older friend he or she connects with who can reach into a damaged mind and force goals beyond inherited reach. Kevin Pearce is that kid in Brighton, and Bobby Scales, a wiseguy drug dealer, criminal entrepreneur and standup mensch who knows right from wrong and good from bad is Kevin’s white knight." MORE....

Dodgers Cover Image
Email or call for price and availability
ISBN: 9781101903735
Availability: Special Order
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - April 5th, 2016

"Every now and then a book comes along that eclipses even the most striking, well-written and skillfully plotted blockbuster from one of the select masters of the craft and marketplace. They’re knuckleballs, these rarities, and not many writers have the temerity or bent grip to produce such an irregular offering. Released last month in cloth cover by Crown Publishing Group, Dodgers, by Bill Beverly, is such a book, and it shouldn’t be missed. A guy who writes a debut novel with these twitchy moves may decide never to write another. Or with the mind of a knuckleballer, he may leap off a building to research what goes through his head during the fall." MORE....

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