Monday, 15 May 2017

The Police Procedural and Its Cast of Characters

The March and Walker Crime Novel series, which currently includes Hammett Prize nominee SORROW LAKE and its recently-published sequel BURN COUNTRY, falls into the "police procedural" category.  To enhance the experience of readers as they explore the series, it might help to consider the basic characteristics of police procedurals in general with particular emphasis on their cast of characters.

As crime fiction scholar Kerstin Bergman explains in an essay on Swedish procedurals,
To be a police procedural, a novel must have a set of police characters and--preferably detailed--descriptions of their work as they investigate one or more crimes.... Police procedurals generally display a police 'team of individuals, separated by age, experience, gender, race and ethnicity, [who] work collectively to restore and maintain social order.' *
Unlike other types of mystery such as the private detective novel or the cozy mystery, which tend to feature a single protagonist solving the crime with the help of one or two assistants, procedurals reflect the reality of actual police investigation in which a team of professionals, including homicide detectives, supervisory and management personnel, forensic specialists, and forensic pathologists or coroners come together to play their respective roles in the investigation of the case.  In order to maintain a level of verisimilitude that readers of procedurals demand, the author must depict these various team members to some degree or other as the case unfolds.

As The Guide to United States Popular Culture further tells us,
The method for solving crimes also helps define the police procedural. The investigative process involves a set of established professional procedures for collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, examining crime scenes, and conducting forensic inquiries.... The group dynamics are often highlighted, re-creating in fiction the friendships and hostilities that exist among any group of people that work together.**
With these critical explanations of the sub-genre in mind, readers may better understand that they will encounter a roster of characters in the March and Walker series, rather than two protagonists working in relative isolation to close the case in super-hero fashion, and that the respective roles and various relationships of the characters will be clearly explained in the story. 

As an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer stated about BURN COUNTRY, "Kevin Walker and Ellie March each go their own way in this case, as part of a larger investigative team. The interplay between the various characters feels genuine, with dialogue and exchanges that give us a good sense of each of them as well as their relationships with each other."

So whether it's Swedish police procedurals, American Ed McBain and his 87th Precinct, or the March and Walker Crime Novel series, readers who favour this sub-genre of mystery stories understand that a realistic cast of characters is all part of the police procedural experience.

---------------------------
*Kerstin Bergman, "The Well-Adjusted Cops of the New Millennium: Neo-Romantic Tendencies in the Swedish Police Procedural," Scandinavian Crime Fiction, Andrew Nestingen and Paula Arvas, eds. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2011, pp. 34-45.
**"Police Procedural." The Guide to United States Popular Culture, Ray B. Browne and Pat Browne, eds. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2001, pp. 617-18.


Monday, 1 May 2017

It's Goodreads Mystery Week!


In case you haven't already heard, let me be the first to tell you that this week, May 1 - May 7, 2017, is Mystery & Thriller Week on Goodreads!

Goodreads was launched in December 2006 as a literary social network platform. If you're not familiar with the site and you're wondering what the big deal is, here are just a few numbers to tickle your fancy. Goodreads now has 55 million members, it has 1.5 billion books added to its lists, and it carries more than 50 million book reviews. Staggering numbers!

Wondering what Goodreads can do for you, book reader? Their "About" page suggests:


A Few Things You Can Do On Goodreads

  • See which books your friends are reading.
  • Track the books you're reading, have read, and want to read.
  • Check out your personalized book recommendations. Our recommendation engine analyzes 20 billion data points to give suggestions tailored to your literary tastes.
  • Find out if a book is a good fit for you from our community's reviews.

In the spirit of Mystery & Thriller Week, I'm currently running a Goodreads giveaway promo for BURN COUNTRY, the second March and Walker Crime Novel. For a chance to win one of five autographed paperback copies, bang on this link and get yourself entered in the draw:
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/233295-burn-country

Good luck, and Goodreads!





Monday, 24 April 2017

Early Reviews of BURN COUNTRY

Early reviews of BURN COUNTRY, the second March and Walker Crime Novel, are now beginning to appear, and they're very reassuring.

A "Vine Voice" reviewer posted on Amazon: "Kevin Walker and Ellie March each go their own way in this case, as part of a larger investigative team. The interplay between the various characters feels genuine, with dialogue and exchanges that give us a good sense of each of them as well as their relationships with each other. Michael McCann's immense research shows in the realism of the police work."

A reader in Florida posted on Amazon as well that "After reading this book, I am going to go back and find the first book in this series [SORROW LAKE], as I found the characters and story refreshing, true-to-life and interesting."

Read both of these five-star reviews here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XQPLB45/

As well, a reviewer posted on Kobo: "Another thoroughly enjoyable police procedural mystery by Michael McCann. What can I say? I'm completely hooked with these books."

Read the complete review here: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/burn-country

More reviews will be coming soon, including those that will be part of an upcoming blog tour in June. A reminder: if you read BURN COUNTRY and enjoy it, please feel free to post a review on one of these sites or on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or any other such site. It's greatly appreciated!



Monday, 10 April 2017

Inner Ghosts

This week our sister blog, Behind The Walls of Nightmare, is featuring a Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming feature film INNER GHOSTS.

Selected to the Work in Progress section of the 2016 Frontières Co-Production Market at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, this film is written by Paulo Leite and directed by João Alves. It stars Celia Williams, Elizabeth Bochmann, and Norman MacCallum. 

To find out more, check out Behind the Walls of Nightmare!

Monday, 3 April 2017

A Little Change of Pace

Yesterday I took a little break from routine and drove in to Ottawa for the semi-annual Community Record Show at St. Anthony's Hall. As those of you know who follow this blog, I love attending this show and always come home with a pile of vinyl to add to my collection.

Last October I missed the show, so I was especially looking forward to the spring version. Here's a small sample of my purchases:


One objective is to fill holes in my collection, and another is to take a chance on stuff I've never heard of before. We have a little of both here.

The Nighthawks are a Washington, DC-based blues-rock band especially known for their live performances, which is what this album captures. Although you can't see it in the pic, the album cover is autographed by the band members and dated "Ottawa 82." $2.50. How could I resist?

"Home" was Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett's first album, their only one with Stax, the legendary groove label ($2.50). Canadian guitarist Domenic Troiano was the guy whose band backfilled for Ronny Hawkins when Levon Helm and the rest set off to seek their fortune as The Band ($2.50). "The Three" is an interesting soul/jazz recording featuring Joe Sample (the Crusaders), Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. This is the NY Inner City Records release of the Japanese recording ($5.00). "Oblique," issued in 1985, has been described as one of the best recordings to come out of the Netherlands. They were a latter-day progressive rock band led by Gerard Stokkink and Tommy Backmann ($5.00). New to me.

A great way to relax and have an afternoon's fun for not a lot of money!

Monday, 27 March 2017

BURN COUNTRY - Another Milestone Reached!

It's always exciting to review the proof copy of a new novel from the printer, and this time was no exception, particularly given how long I've waited for it!

As you can see, the paperback version of BURN COUNTRY, the second March and Walker Crime Novel, is now a reality.

Don't forget, if you want a review copy, check out our previous post to find out how to obtain one.

I can't wait to get out on the road to start selling BURN COUNTRY. I think you're going to like it.

Monday, 20 March 2017

BURN COUNTRY is Now Available for Review!

BURN COUNTRY, the much-anticipated sequel to the 2015 Hammett Prize finalist SORROW LAKE, is now available for review.

The Plaid Raccoon Press is pleased to make review copies available in paperback or eBook format (mobi for Kindle, ePub, or PDF).

If you are a journalist who reviews books for print or electronic media, an online book blogger who reviews crime fiction, or a fellow published author interested in providing a testimonial, please contact us at the e-mail address below to obtain a print or eBook review copy.

If you post reviews to Amazon, contact us and we will arrange to send you a courtesy review copy for your Kindle device.

If you post reviews to Goodreads, send us an e-mail and let us know which eBook format you'd like!

Contact us at theplaidraccoonpress@mjmccann.com and let us know you're interested!

Read the back cover blurb here: http://michaeljmccannsblog.blogspot.ca/2017/02/burn-country-whats-story.html