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The August edition of THE BIG THRILL is here!

Authenticity is the theme to our August issue. Many of our authors draw on their own experience—whether it’s career training or tumultuous living—and meld it with no-stone-unturned research to craft fiction that is fresh, gripping and memorable. These folks do their homework, while never being afraid to take chances.

Our cover story on famed former prosecutor Linda Fairstein reveals that in her seventeenth novel, the best-selling author is excited to try a whole new point of view. After reading the frank interview with forensic pathologist Kathy Reichs, you’ll understand why her series draws such a large and loyal readership. And former Air National Guard pilot Tom Young reveals how to turn technical know-how into a page-turning military thriller.

A rich reading experience awaits you in our International Thrills column on Qiu Xiaolong, whose series features a poetry-spouting chief inspector of the Shanghai Police Department. An interview with multiple award-winner Sean Chercover illuminates his command of the craft. And in the Africa Scene, Paul Mendelson talks about how crime fiction can capture the changing reality of Capetown.

We also have the latest work by Brenda Novak, R. G. Belsky, James Abel, Allison Brennan, Julia Heaberlin, Elizabeth Lowell, Alex Kava, and Diane Kelly. It may be the dog days of summer, but this is prime time for reading thrillers.

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Featured Articles

The Devil’s Game by Sean Chercover

The Devil’s Game by Sean Chercover

The Search for a Dangerous Truth By Dawn Ius It should get easier. The writing. The waiting. But after penning five critically acclaimed thrillers, Sean Chercover admits that in some ways, it actually gets harder. “What gets easier is, you’ve been there before,” he says. “So when you hit the midpoint of your first draft and you become suddenly convinced that this is the worst book in the history of books and you’re murdering trees for no good reason, you say, ‘Ah, I’ve reached the midpoint of the first draft,’ instead of freaking out that your book is fatally broken.” This underlying insecurity, coupled with the challenges of an ever-changing publishing landscape, can cripple some writers, but for Chercover, it fuels his drive to continue more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman

As Night Falls by Jenny Milchman

By Anthony Franze I met Jenny Milchman three years ago when I applied to ITW’s Debut Authors Program. A nervous new author, I was welcomed by this woman with seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm. I soon learned a few things about Jenny. One, she loves Jack Reacher novels—I mean loves them. Two, she is one of the most talented, kind, and generous authors you’d ever hope to meet. A little backstory: Jenny’s road to publication was not easy. She struggled for more than a decade—seven unpublished novels—before finally getting her break. Despite it all, including a pile of rejection letters a foot tall, she didn’t grow bitter or jaded or turn her back on the publishing community. Instead, she stuck to it, honed her craft, more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Africa Scene: An Interview with Karin Brynard

Africa Scene: An Interview with Karin Brynard

By Joanne Hichens Joanne Hichens chats to Karin Brynard, journalist, political correspondent, and award-winning author of the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize and Two M-Net Awards. Here, she answers questions about WEEPING WATERS, the translation of her debut Afrikaans novel, PLAASMOORD. This richly textured and complex crime novel begins with Sara returning to the family farm in the Kalahari, after her sister, the prophetic and talented artist, Freddie, is murdered. Sara, an astute journalist, soon discovers that underlying the crime is a complex web of lies and deceit. Let’s kick off with a few questions around this concept of ‘Farm Murder’, which seems specifically a South African phenomenon. Can you comment on farm murder in general? It seems the ‘nostalgic’ story of the ‘African farm’ more »

By May 31, 2015 Read More →
The Black Mask of Crime Fiction

The Black Mask of Crime Fiction

By Gary Phillips As the special effects-laden Avengers: Age of Ultron racked up box office receipts worldwide, continuing the dominance in the superhero movie genre that Marvel has enjoyed for some time, let’s take a couple of step backs from costumed do-gooders—and I’m including you in those torn Dockers of yours, Hulk—battling super-strength robots tearing up our cities. Rather, let’s talk about some other more down to earth heroes from the past and re-booted present. First, there’s the recently-released thirteen “TV” episodes of Daredevil, another Marvel character, on Netflix. In this new version, DD is updated—created by writer Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, who premiered in his own comics magazine in 1963—and his arc is not one of fighting super-villains, but racketeers. The look more »

By May 31, 2015 Read More →
International Thrills: An Interview with Bestselling UK Thriller Author Tom Harper

International Thrills: An Interview with Bestselling UK Thriller Author Tom Harper

By J. F. Penn (NOTE: This interview with Tom Harper can be watched on YouTube here.) Tom Harper is the international bestselling author of eleven historical thrillers, including his latest, ZODIAC STATION. He recently took some time off to talk to The Big Thrill. Tell us a bit more about you and how you started your writing career. It’s something I’d always wanted to do. I remember being eight years old and telling my teacher that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. By the time I finished university, I hadn’t shaken that idea and I knew it’s what I wanted to do. I also knew that it was incredibly unlikely. So I went to work for an actuarial consultancy for a more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Africa Scene: An interview with Penny Lorimer by Michael Sears

Africa Scene: An interview with Penny Lorimer by Michael Sears

By Michael Sears Penny Lorimer was born in England, but has lived in South Africa from the age of six months. She grew up in Johannesburg, studied drama at the University of Cape Town, and was an actress for five years, supplementing her inconsistent income by waitressing and working for the Johannesburg Public Library. After leaving the acting profession, she held a variety of positions, including union administrator, radio newsreader, dialogue coach for television, film editor’s assistant, and PA to an archbishop. She now works in the education sector for a national group of independent high schools serving economically marginalized communities. FINDERS WEEPERS, her debut mystery, was published in South Africa in May last year. It’s a powerful and moving story, and exposes the current more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →

Between the Lines

Between the Lines Interview with Linda Fairstein

Between the Lines Interview with Linda Fairstein

Why the Best-Selling Author Made a Point-of-View Switch By E. M. Powell It’s a brave author who does something radically different in a successful long-running series. But in DEVIL’S BRIDGE, the 17th outing for New York prosecutor Alex Cooper, Linda Fairstein does just that. In this terrific, suspenseful read, things are definitely not going well for Alex. An escaped convicted rapist is stalking her, a trial is going south, and a hacker has potentially accessed her most secure information. The book takes a dramatic—and unexpected—swerve when Alex is kidnapped and the search is on to find her. But we readers don’t know where she is, either. Instead, we must join Alex’s lover, Detective Mike Chapman, in his increasingly desperate search. This plot device brings the reader more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Between the Lines Interview with New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds

Between the Lines Interview with New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds

By Anthony Franze She’s been called the “female Robert Ludlum” and the “Queen of Espionage.” She’s broken barriers for women in fiction, and co-founded one of the world’s leading organizations for writers. And, oh yeah, she writes kick-ass New York Times bestsellers. You guessed it, she’s Gayle Lynds, and this month, she’s back with a vengeance with THE ASSASSINS (St. Martin’s Press, June 30). On the heels of her smash hit The Book of Spies, this latest story is about what happens when two spooks get caught in the crossfire of a business dispute—one involving six of the world’s most deadly assassins. Part heist story, part espionage thriller—one hundred percent adrenaline—THE ASSASSINS should go down as Lynds’s best novel to date. And that’s saying something more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Between the Lines with New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer

Between the Lines with New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer

By Nancy Bilyeau In 1997, The Tenth Justice, the first novel Brad Meltzer published (and the second one he wrote) hit the bestseller list. Himself a recent grad of Columbia Law School, Meltzer wrote a book about a mistake made by a conscientious clerk for a Supreme Court Justice and the deepening crisis that unfolds from that mistake. This month, he publishes his tenth novel, THE PRESIDENT’S SHADOW. It is a fast-paced, high-stakes thriller that begins with the discovery of a severed arm in the Rose Garden of the White House. At the center of the story is a nerdy National Archivist who holds his own among characters trained in violence and steeped in betrayal. Meltzer’s stories are often about consequence and trust, with plot more »

By May 31, 2015 Read More →
Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author Jeffery Deaver

Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author Jeffery Deaver

Before Jeffery Deaver became one of the most successful writers in the country, he was a journalist, a lawyer—and even a folk singer. But from the time he was in grade school, he knew that he wanted to write fiction. And not just any fiction—commercial, popular fiction. Books that kept readers up all night. So, some thirty-five years ago, he decided it was time to give it a try. Deaver is the first to admit that his early novels didn’t sell as hoped. But he didn’t give up; he learned from his early work, honed his craft, and worked hard to become a master storyteller. In the mid-1990s, Deaver released The Bone Collector, which featured quadriplegic protagonist, Lincoln Rhyme. The book has been named one more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author J. A. Jance by Dawn Ius

Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author J. A. Jance by Dawn Ius

The Art of Being True By Dawn Ius New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance can trace her love of literature all the way back to elementary school where she was introduced to the magical world of Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz series. She was, of course, fascinated by the stories, but even then, as an impressionable second-grade student in Mrs. Spangler’s class, Jance sensed “the author” behind the curtain and quickly realized that that is who she wanted to be—the person putting the words on the page. Since 1982, Jance has been doing just that, with her latest thriller COLD BETRAYAL marking her fiftieth novel. More than twenty million copies of her books are in print, and they have been translated into eighteen more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author C. J. Box

Between the Lines with New York Times Bestselling Author C. J. Box

By Josie Brown C.J. Box’s novels have been lauded by readers and critics alike for their complex plots, true-to-life characters, and his stark lyrical depiction of the New West. His latest novel—ENDANGERED—is no exception. Box’s soft-spoken but hard-hitting protagonist, Joe Pickett, is back—and this time, it’s personal. When a young woman found beaten to near death turns out to be Joe’s stepdaughter, Joe’s gut tells him that the perpetrator isn’t the man in custody, but her boyfriend, rodeo champion Dallas Cates. Proving it means facing off with the whole Cates clan, who will do anything to protect Dallas. What does it take to write books that grab readers both by the hearts and throats? The Big Thrill recently interviewed Box to find out. Joe Pickett’s more »

By February 28, 2015 Read More →

Special to the Big Thrill

Special to The Big Thrill: The Big Break with Joseph Finder

Special to The Big Thrill: The Big Break with Joseph Finder

The Big Break: Breaking Into the Thriller Game Joseph Finder’s Road to the Bestseller List By Jeremy Burns Joseph Finder is considered a modern master of the thriller genre. A founding member of the International Thriller Writers, his accolades include a Gumshoe Award (Company Man), a Barry Award (also for Company Man), the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel (Buried Secrets), and the ITW Award for Best Novel (Killer Instinct). His books are critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, and two of his books have been turned into Hollywood blockbusters (High Crimes and Paranoia). But Finder’s writing career hasn’t always been so rosy. In fact, some of the obstacles in his path might have seemed nigh impossible at the time, making his current level of more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Special to The Big Thrill: Dual Time Line Thrillers

Special to The Big Thrill: Dual Time Line Thrillers

Riding the Pretty Horses: thoughts on dual time line thrillers By Manda Scott Writing a thriller is like riding a horse: some days it plods along with its nose to the ground and you’d go faster if you got off and carried the wretched thing, while on others it spooks at every plastic bag in the hedge and bolts at speed in directions you never imagined going. Once in a rare while, you and your mount click into a rather miraculous harmony that carries you forward smoothly, effortlessly, beautifully… until the next plastic bag (or the phone call from an editor), brings it all crashing down. Still, there are some kinds of writing that have always struck me as way more scary than the standard “get more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Thriller Writers Giving Back: The Sweet Dreams Boxed Set Helping to Fight Diabetes

Thriller Writers Giving Back: The Sweet Dreams Boxed Set Helping to Fight Diabetes

By Austin Camacho Thirteen great new thrillers for $9.99 is a sweet deal. Now you can get that deal while contributing to a very worthy cause. Just grab the SWEET DREAMS Boxed Set (Thirteen New Thrillers by Bestselling Authors to Benefit Diabetes Research). This limited edition collection is a dream-come-true for avid readers. But how did thirteen brand new novels and novellas written by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors end up in one giant e-book? That was the work of Brenda Novak and her charity, the Online Auction for Diabetes Research. Novak, a bestseller in her own right, had personal reasons for curating this boxed set and contributing the money it raised to the Diabetes Research Institute. “When my son was diagnosed more »

By May 31, 2015 Read More →
Ten Years of ThrillerFest: The Masters Speak

Ten Years of ThrillerFest: The Masters Speak

By Kimberley Howe Ten years ago, the first ThrillerFest launched in Phoenix, Arizona. Since this inaugural event, the International Thriller Writers organization has grown exponentially, and the NYC-based conference now annually hosts 1,000 thriller enthusiasts from across the globe. The presentation of a lifetime achievement accolade called the “ThrillerMaster Award” is the pinnacle of our weeklong gathering. Ten iconic authors have received this award, and we wanted to check in with these masters of suspense to explore their views of the thriller genre. 2006 Clive Cussler Our first ThrillerMaster’s adventure novels introduced readers to a spectacular underwater world of treasures, taking us on Dirk Pitt’s journeys into the ocean’s depths. In this case, fiction mirrored reality, as the California-born Cussler founded a non-profit organization called more »

By May 31, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: Next Steps: ITW’s New Radio Show by John A. Connell

Special to the Big Thrill: Next Steps: ITW’s New Radio Show by John A. Connell

By John A. Connell My debut thriller will launch in a few days. The galleys are out, the blog tour has commenced, events have been scheduled. I am, at the same time, excited and nervous. Once a new writer manages to conquer the seemingly insurmountable hurdles of landing an agent and a publishing deal, a whole new set of challenges awaits. You only have to look at the statistics to know that the chances for a new writer being discovered and launching a successful debut novel are daunting. I won’t recite those statistics here, just to say that, to beat those odds, more pressure than ever is on the writer’s shoulders to promote themselves and their work—to stand out in the ever-increasing demand for a more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: Digging Deep for a Story by Gary Grossman

Special to the Big Thrill: Digging Deep for a Story by Gary Grossman

By Gary Grossman OLD EARTH is a geological thriller that spans all of time—cutting backward and forward along the space-time continuum as the suspense builds and the mystery unfolds. It begins with an exploration by Galileo in 1601, jumps to a contemporary dinosaur dig in Montana, crosses back centuries to the Inquisition, and ultimately considers the very origins of civilization. Through the investigation of paleontologists Quinn McCauley and Katrina Alpert, readers are taken on a globe-hopping adventure. Yet, just as the characters stumbled upon their find, Galileo provided me with quite an accidental discovery that became central to the plot development and excitement of OLD EARTH. I originally outlined a purely present-day story: an excavation leads to a mysterious find, the find sets up an more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →

Crime Fiction

Best Laid Plans by Allison Brennan

Best Laid Plans by Allison Brennan

Newly minted FBI Agent Lucy Kincaid is settling into her job in San Antonio, Texas, when the corpse of Harper Worthington, the husband of a sitting congresswoman, is found naked in a motel on the wrong side of town. It’s up to Lucy to locate the last person to see him alive: a teenage prostitute who seems to have vanished into thin air. When forensics determines that Harper was poisoned, Lucy and her new by-the-book partner dig deep into his life to find out who might want him dead. Why did Harper lie to his wife and his staff? Was he involved in an illicit affair? Embezzling money? Laundering money for a drug cartel? Or was he simply a pawn in someone else’s dangerous game? more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
FireCop by R. J. Beam

FireCop by R. J. Beam

Fire Cop tells the story of two police officers working in a typical Wisconsin city dealing with the resurgence of methamphetamine. Officer Ben Graystock takes the law into his own hands when he starts to set dealer’s homes on fire. Meanwhile police officer and volunteer firefighter Stuart Thompson is assigned to investigate these arsons.            

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
The Devil’s Share by Wallace Stroby

The Devil’s Share by Wallace Stroby

Interview by Scott Adlerberg Born and raised in New Jersey, Wallace Stroby had a long career as a journalist before turning to novel writing.  He worked for the Asbury Park Press as a police reporter, and was a Sunday features editor for the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger.  His years writing and editing for newspapers helped him develop the razor-sharp prose, compelling sense of character, and precise attention to detail that mark his books. THE DEVIL’S SHARE, Stroby’s new novel, is his seventh overall and the fourth about professional thief Crissa Stone, who debuted in 2011’s Cold Shot to the Heart. The Big Thrill talked with Stroby about his early books and his latest effort. Your first two books, The Barbed-Wire Kiss (2003) and The Heartbreak Lounge more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Cash Landing by James Grippando

Cash Landing by James Grippando

“It reads like a movie script. . . . Only this was no blockbuster action film. It was a real-life crime drama straight from the streets of Miami.” Those aren’t James Grippando’s words. They come straight from the FBI’s official website, the bureau’s own description of one of the biggest airport heists in history—$7.8 million in cash stolen by a band of amateur thieves. That real life caper is the inspiration for James Grippando’s twenty-fourth thriller, CASH LANDING, released from HarperCollins. Who were the real-life crooks?   The mastermind, Karls Monzon, teamed up with his uncle, an ex-con; his cocaine-addicted brother in law; and an insider who worked for Brinks Security, Onelio Diaz. Diaz was Monzon’s neighbor and friend since childhood, and he drove one of more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt

Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt

REMEMBER MIA is a thriller that puts you in the midst of every mother’s worst nightmare: her baby has disappeared. When Estelle Paradise’s baby daughter is taken from her crib, she doesn’t report her missing. A week later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car miles from home, with a gunshot wound to the head and no memory. The only thing she can recall is the blood…so much blood. She knows she holds the key to what happened that night—but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible. Tell us about your background. You are originally from Europe? I was born in Germany. I read English literature in high school—I remember Bram Stoker’s Dracula, C. S. Forester’s African Queen, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—but other more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Rampage by Alan Brenham

Rampage by Alan Brenham

The stakes soar both professionally and personally for Austin PD Detective Jason Scarsdale as he finds himself in a race against time to hunt down a vicious gang hell-bent on murder. Realizing that his new partner, the attractive divorcee Tatum Harper, could be trouble in more ways than one, he tries to run her out of Homicide. Will their partnership destroy his romantic relationship with long-time girlfriend Dani Mueller? Will they both survive their harrowing face-off with the increasingly unhinged gang leader? “Precise and unequivocally gripping; an edge-of-your-seat ride from beginning to end.” ~Kirkus Reviews “This gritty crime thriller is an absolute gift to fans of the genre…[a] tale of murder, Texas style…an intriguing set of crimes…a man and a woman working long, tense hours more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →

Adventure Thrillers

Protocol Zero by James Abel

Protocol Zero by James Abel

James Abel is a pseudonym for journalist Bob Reiss, who has covered the Arctic—the setting for PROTOCOL ZERO—for the magazines Smithsonian, Parade, Readers Digest, and Outside. He also wrote the nonfiction book The Eskimo and the Oil Man about the opening of the Arctic, advised 60 Minutes on Arctic issues, and has appeared as a guest on Morning Joe, Dan Rather Reports, Al Jazeera, and Nightline, discussing Arctic security and potential conflict. PROTOCOL ZERO begins as a party of four scientific researchers, a family of three and their guide, makes a satellite call for help, but by the time Alaskan police arrive they are all dead. It looks like a murder/suicide, but then Marine bio-terror expert Joe Rush discovers that all the dead were sick more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Silent Creed by Alex Kava

Silent Creed by Alex Kava

In the 15 years I’ve been writing thrillers, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people—from medical examiners and crime-lab directors to criminal profilers and homicide detectives. Because I don’t have a background in forensics or law enforcement, I’ve had to rely on experts who have generously offered their time and shared their experiences. Their real-life details have breathed life into my novels, and their friendships have enriched me personally as well as professionally. Through these experts, I’ve been able to write what I did not know. Over the years my research has taken me through a variety of topics: the Ebola virus (Exposed); Munchausen syndrome by proxy (At the Stroke of Madness); the underground trafficking of body parts (Damaged); domestic terrorism (Black Friday); more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Devil’s Pocket by John Dixon

Devil’s Pocket by John Dixon

The follow-up to the critically acclaimed Phoenix Island, which reads like “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack) and inspired the CBS TV show Intelligence. With a chip in his head and hundreds more throughout his body, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman was turned from an orphan with impulse control issues into a super-soldier. Forced into the mercenary Phoenix Force group, he begins to fear he’ll never escape. Sent to a volcanic island to fight for them, he’ll compete in a combat tournament that awards teens with survival for merciless brutality. But just when all looks lost, he spies a friendly face…and possibly a way out. ***** On Phoenix Island: “Fantastic… superbly suspenseful… unpredictable and frightening. Phoenix more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Ashstorm by A. D. Starrling

Ashstorm by A. D. Starrling

ASHSTORM is the fourth novel in the award-winning thriller series Seventeen by A.D. Starrling. The other novels in the series have been nominated for and won several awards since their publication in 2012, with the third novel Greene’s Calling being a finalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. This month, Starrling answered a few questions for The Big Thrill about the series that fans can’t get enough of. The Seventeen series comprises an unusual blend of history, science, action, suspense, and an intriguing supernatural twist on the concept of immortality. Tell us how you came up with the series idea for Seventeen. Seventeen started life with a simple but striking image. Imagine the number seventeen written in blood-red paint on a black marker more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
Gray Vengeance by Alan McDermott

Gray Vengeance by Alan McDermott

By David LeadBeater GRAY VENGEANCE is the fifth title in the Tom Gray action thriller series, recently released by Thomas & Mercer. Gray is an ex-soldier who runs a security company, and his journey started in England when he kidnapped five repeat offenders and paraded them on the Internet, letting the people of Britain decide their fate. That ended with Gray being whisked off to the Philippines with a new identity, but trouble wasn’t far away as local terrorists took him hostage. Close friends from the UK went to his rescue, but once again, nothing was what it seemed, and soon Gray and his crowd were in a fight for their lives. Gray eventually returned to Britain, but the journey home was fraught with danger more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →
A Brilliant Deception by Kim Foster

A Brilliant Deception by Kim Foster

Fresh from pulling off her latest heist, Cat Montgomery believes she’s ready to leave her thieving lifestyle behind. But old habits die hard. When she’s recruited to retrieve the Lionheart, a legendary medieval ring made from the finest gold and excavated from the grave of Robin Hood, Cat’s determined to end her career with a bang. Or so she thinks…until the Caliga Rapio, a mysterious brotherhood of thieves, beats her to the punch. Now she has to hightail it to Venice to swipe it back. With two old flames thrown into the mix and an Interpol agent hot on her tail, things are about to get a lot trickier. Cat’s troubles only worsen as she realizes the legend of the Lionheart runs deeper than she more »

By June 30, 2015 Read More →

Contemporary Thrillers

The Devil’s Game by Sean Chercover

The Devil’s Game by Sean Chercover

The Search for a Dangerous Truth By Dawn Ius It should get easier. The writing. The waiting. But after penning five critically acclaimed thrillers, Sean Chercover admits that in some ways, it actually gets harder. “What gets easier is, you’ve been there before,” he says. “So when you hit the midpoint of your first draft and you become suddenly convinced that this is the worst book in the history of books and you’re murdering trees for no good reason, you say, ‘Ah, I’ve reached the midpoint of the first draft,’ instead of freaking out that your book is fatally broken.” This underlying insecurity, coupled with the challenges of an ever-changing publishing landscape, can cripple some writers, but for Chercover, it fuels his drive to continue more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
The Samaritan by Mason Cross

The Samaritan by Mason Cross

When the mutilated body of a young woman is discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains, LAPD Detective Jessica Allen knows she’s seen this MO before – two and a half years ago on the other side of the country. A sadistic serial killer has been operating undetected for a decade, preying on lone female drivers who have broken down. The press dub the killer ‘the Samaritan’, but with no leads and a killer who leaves no traces, the police investigation quickly grinds to a halt. That’s when Carter Blake shows up to volunteer his services. He’s a skilled manhunter with an uncanny ability to predict the Samaritan’s next moves. At first, Allen and her colleagues are suspicious. After all, their new ally shares some uncomfortable more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Shooting for the Stars by R. G. Belsky

Shooting for the Stars by R. G. Belsky

Everyone puts down celebrity news, everyone makes fun of the people in celebrity news—and everyone loves to read celebrity news. That’s one thing I’ve learned during a long journalistic career covering celebrities from Liz, Oprah, and Michael Jackson to Kim, Miley, and Brangelina. So when it came time to write my new thriller, I decided to make it about the mysterious death of a big name celebrity. The result is SHOOTING FOR THE STARS, in which New York Daily News reporter Gil Malloy tries to solve the murders of a legendary movie star from 30 years ago, and a present-day TV star which seems to be related. I draw on two real-life celebrity murder cases for my fictional one—the shooting of John Lennon and the more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

With the idyllic Gulf Coast of Alabama in the backdrop, protagonist Ava Carson finds herself ricocheted into a web of secrets and lies in Laura McNeill’s debut, CENTER OF GRAVITY. McNeill took some time out of her schedule this month to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill about her novel and what’s next for her writing career. Tell us about CENTER OF GRAVITY On the surface, the novel is about the dissolution of a picture-perfect family. The story follows Ava Carson as she navigates through bitter shock and pain after her husband announces he’s leaving the marriage. Things get much worse, however, after Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of the couple’s children. It’s then that Ava is forced to wake more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
The Confessor by Mark Allen Smith

The Confessor by Mark Allen Smith

Everyone is looking for Geiger . . . Cold, emotionless and with an innate ability to recognize lies, Geiger was the best of the best in the field of Information Retrieval. Until he was asked to break his only rule and do the unthinkable – to torture a child. Something broke in Geiger’s neatly controlled mind, opening up a flood of terrible memories long kept at bay. And now Geiger is missing, presumed dead. But, with no body ever found, there are a number of people invested in finding out the truth. One of those people is Harry Boddicker, Geiger’s old handler and friend. Another is his bitter rival, Dalton, who is determined to find Geiger and extract a final confession from him, before carrying more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
The Collector by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont and Sophie Weiner

The Collector by Anne-Laure Thiéblemont and Sophie Weiner

Marion Spicer spends her days examining auction catalogues and searching for stolen works of art. She is a top-notch investigator when it comes to eighteenth-century art. But for her it’s just a job and her life is well ordered. All this changes when she inherits a huge and very prestigious collection of pre-Columbian art from a father she never knew. There are conditions attached: she must first find three priceless statues. That is when her troubles begin. Her father’s death sparked much greed, and Marion finds herself facing the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, with its sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams, and attacks. Her quest draws her into a world where people will kill for a love of beauty. “The story is more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →

The Best of the Rest

International Thrills: An interview with Qiu Xiaolong by Layton Green

International Thrills: An interview with Qiu Xiaolong by Layton Green

Perceiving China Through a Poetry-Spouting Sleuth By Layton Green For me, reading an advance copy of Qiu Xiaolong’s wonderful novel SHANGHAI REDEMPTION was the next best thing to getting on a plane and flying to the most populous city in the world. His crime series featuring Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Department is full of true-to-life lagniappe woven expertly into the book, reminiscent of Andrea Camilleri’s hugely popular Inspector Montalbano series (whose protagonist, like Inspector Chen, has an addiction to the gastronomic delights of his home country) or Josef Škvorecký’s inimitable Lieutenant Boruvka, who works homicide cases in the Czech Republic while he navigates a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. But Qiu Xiaolong has crafted a series that stands firmly on its own pedestal in the more »

By July 30, 2015 Read More →
Africa Scene: An Interview with Paul Mendelson

Africa Scene: An Interview with Paul Mendelson

By Michael Sears Paul Mendelson began writing at school, when he should have been doing other things. On leaving school, he ran a fringe theatre company, performing classic plays, his own new writing, and revue shows. From there, he moved to the National Theatre, first front-of-house, then as an assistant director and, finally, as a playwright. His play You’re Quite Safe With Me was performed at the National Theatre when he was only 21. He also wrote for popular television shows. Over the following years, Paul concentrated on non-fiction, producing a dozen titles on mind-sports such as bridge, poker, and casino games, as well as a weekly column on bridge for the Financial Times. He has interviewed business leaders, written about travel, and contributed on more »

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Shadow Hunt by Michael Pedicelli

Shadow Hunt by Michael Pedicelli

­­Max Barrett, the protagonist of this espionage thriller, is an elite intelligence operative driven hard by events from his past. He is a member of a military unit so covert that its code name is changed every few years to remain hidden. Barrett’s new assignment is to lead a team that will secretly protect Sara, the President’s only daughter, during a U.N. humanitarian trip to Nigeria. The problem is that the Secret Service does not want him or his team anywhere near the First Daughter. Infighting ensues but soon gives way to reluctant cooperation when she is kidnapped during a deadly ambush. Worse yet, her true identity had been hidden for this trip, which gives Barrett his second bit of bad news: an insider has more »

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The Ultimate Threat by James Osborne

The Ultimate Threat by James Osborne

Debut novelist James Osborne has thrown a new twist into those tales of domestic terrorism with his version of guerilla warfare waged by religious extremists in America. The main protagonist in THE ULTIMATE THREAT is repeatedly challenged by skeptical allies as he charges forward to build an unlikely but plausible alliance to battle the spreading menace posed by freshly trained homegrown extremists. Osborne says there’s a purpose in all of this—a five-alarm purpose. The novel is a true-to-life account about the rapid spread of religious extremism but with a chilling twist, Osborne explained: “I’ve superimposed this fictional story of terrorism onto genuine surroundings in American cities. The objective is to bring home to everyone in the West the very real danger created by the rapid more »

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Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

By Matt Maxwell Elizabeth Lowell has quietly been stirring up a revolt in both romance and thrillers since the late 1980s. She was one of the leading innovators in the field of romantic suspense, having mastered relationship-driven romance and suspense novels in her earlier career. With Tell Me No Lies, she combined the two genres, giving readers an unexpected ride that continues to today. Her newest romantic suspense novel is PERFECT TOUCH, which tells a tale of family and betrayal set against a backdrop of the rugged Wyoming landscape. High-stakes art deals, murder, and the unexpected dance of new love all come together, satisfying readers of thrillers and contemporary romance alike. The Big Thrill sat down with Mrs. Lowell to talk about her writing career more »

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Lethal Elements by Joel Gomez-Dossi

Lethal Elements by Joel Gomez-Dossi

Growing up in the 1960s, I enjoyed watching science-fiction TV, like Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel, and especially The Invaders. Those shows gave me everything I wanted. They took me to another world filled with adventure and thrilling escapades. In the 1970s, I started reading science fiction instead of just watching it on TV. I loved books like The Forever War, Dune, and The Stand. They had the adventure I longed for, but they also portrayed larger-than-life battles that pitted good against evil. Then one day I checked The Andromeda Strain out from the library. It was about a microorganism from space that invaded our world. I loved it. A few weeks later I borrowed The Terminal Man, and then Congo. Michael Crichton more »

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The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello

The Einstein Prophecy by Robert Masello

History and horror make for a potent mix in THE EINSTEIN PROPHECY. In the literary sense, I’m afraid I’ve never grown up. For a lot of writers, all you have to do is look at what they were reading as kids to see what they’ll write as adults. Back when I shared a freezing bedroom with one of my brothers in Evanston, Illinois (I remember ice on the inside of the handle that cranked the windows shut), my half of the bookcase was packed with two kinds of books. First, there were books I could count on to scare me, including the Alfred Hitchcock anthologies for young readers I bought at the annual Orrington Grammar School Book Fair. The jubilation I felt at landing a more »

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The Flawed Dance by Laura Elvebak

The Flawed Dance by Laura Elvebak

THE FLAWED DANCE is a story that has been simmering on my memory burner for 50 years. I finally decided that Erin Matthews, my protagonist, has been waiting too long. She literally demanded I tell her story. I’ve hesitated this long because, in essence, her story parallels mine. Erin’s story begins in 1968 upon her arrival in Philadelphia, after convincing a co-worker at the restaurant where she worked as a waitress to drive her from New Jersey. She has run away from her long-time lover after hitting him over the head with an iron skillet, rendering him unconscious, if not dead. After being submissive and quiet most of the five years she spent with him, nursing him back to health after he experienced a fall more »

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