Introducing Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm–The Maine Connections

Barb here and very excited because this weekend we launched the new Level Best Books anthology, Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm at The New England Crime Bake. Crime Bake is always an amazing time and I am so proud to be one of the co-editor/co-publishers at Level Best.

You can buy the book from our website or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Booksellers and librarians can buy the book from us here or from Ingrams.

Featuring twenty-seven of New England’s most acclaimed mystery and crime writers, along with several compelling new voices, Dead Calm takes its readers on a sometimes scary, sometimes hilarious, walk down the region’s dark side. As always, the collection contains stories from authors from each of the six New England states.

Here’s a look at some of the authors and stories with Maine connections.

Maine native Kate Flora’s books include series mysteries, police procedurals, suspense and true crime. Kate is a founding member of the New England Crime Bake and, of course, this blog. Redemption, a Joe Burgess mystery, will be published in February. Kate’s story in Dead Calm, “All That Glitters,” featuring US Marshal Grace Christian, is a prequel to her story in last year’s anthology “Gracie Walks the Plank.” In that story Gracie wears diamond necklace. Kate says she wondered how Gracie got the necklace, and wrote “All That Glitters” to find the answer.

Woody Hanstein is a trial lawyer in Farmington, Maine where he also teaches college law classes and coaches rugby.  He is the author of six mysteries and a number of short stories and is also the founder of the Smiling Goat Precision Juggling Corps. In Woody’s story, “Endgame,” divorced schoolteacher Paul Grant receives a letter from Portland attorney Margaret Blackwell about a mysterious legacy. What, exactly, did Paul inherit? The editors found the answer particularly satisfying.

Judith Green is a sixth generation resident of North Waterford, Maine. She’s had a story in each of the nine Level Best anthologies and all revolve around Maine resident Margery Easton and her family, though they take place across decades. In last year’s Edgar® nominated story, Margery is a woman with grown children, struggling to provide support for her elderly mother. In this year’s “Let Dead Bones Lie,” Margery is raising three small children and renovating a Maine farmhouse with her husband. It all seems perfectly normal until her son discovers something down by the creek.

Joe Ricker, from Solon, Maine, received his B.A. in English from Ole Miss and his MFA from Goddard College in 2009. During that time he worked as a cab driver, innkeeper, bartender, and sales consultant. His darkly atmospheric story in Dead Calm, “The Fallen is his third publication with Level Best Books.

Barbara Ross, from Boothbay Harbor, (that’s me!) is the author of The Death of an Ambitious Woman and is one of the editors of Level Best Books. I call my story “In the Rip,” a cautionary tale about the perils of drunk e-mailing. But it’s really about that rip in the space-time continuum when you’re living one reality and the people around you are living another. For example, when you think you’re in a happy relationship and at the same moment your boyfriend is planning a breakup, or you think your job is secure while your employer is planning your exit, or when everyone thinks a death was a tragic accident, but you know some things that make you wonder.

In addition to the authors from Maine, two of our new voices this year set their stories in Maine.

After thirty-six years as a pilot in both military and civilian aviation, John Bubar found his way back to school and is currently a candidate for an MFA in Writing at the University of New Hampshire. John is also a Colby grad and a retired Brigadier General who was the assistant adjutant general for air, Headquarters Maine Air National Guard. He is a winner in the 2010 Writing Contest of the New Hampshire Seacoast Writers Association. In John’s story, “Ambush,” a down-on-his-luck Viet Nam vet defends the life he’s made for himself.

Adam Renn Olenn was born in Providence, Rhode Island and studied English at the University of Virginia and music composition at the Boston Conservatory, and lives near Boston, Massachusetts with his wife and children.  His story in Dead Calm, “Coronation,” is his first publication. In it, a young writer travels to Maine to ask a Famous Author about the source of his inspiration.

The editors believe you’ll enjoy these wonderful stories, and all the stories in Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm as much as we did.


About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
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2 Responses to Introducing Best New England Crime Stories 2012: Dead Calm–The Maine Connections

  1. Congratulations to all the authors. I cannot wait to read my copy — beautiful cover, too!

  2. Barb Ross says:

    Thanks, Vicki. We love the cover, too.

    BTW, one of the authors mentioned above, Adam Renn Olenn received this e-mail from Crime Bake Guest of Honor Barry Eisler– “Hi Adam, I read Coronation on the plane on the way home today and loved it. Like something Stephen King himself would have conjured!”

    If you haven’t read “Coronation” yet, you’re in for a treat.

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