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The May edition of THE BIG THRILL is here!

We have another exciting line up this month in The Big Thrill.

First up, a Between the Lines interview with the remarkable Jeffery Deaver. The #1 bestselling author talks about his long career, his innovative projects, and, of course, his amazing new thriller, Solitude Creek.

But what also makes this month special is that we’re celebrating the new releases of some of our own: the Contributing Editors. You may not know that most of the articles in The Big Thrill are written by writers who donate their time to support their ITW peers. This month several members of our team have new releases—so we hope you’ll return the support and buy their books:

There’s Nancy Bilyeau, who delivers another winner with The Tapestry, the third in her award-winning Joanna Stafford series set during the Tudor era.

John Clement is back with his cozy-fan-favorite Dixie Hemingway mystery series with The Cat Sitter’s Whiskers.

Let’s not forgot about hot debut author John A. Connell and Ruins of War, a thrilling tale set in Post WWII Germany where a predator is prowling the lawless streets of Munich.

Our International Thrills correspondent Layton Green, on the heels of his nomination for a 2015 Thriller Award, brings readers another explosive Dominic Grey story in The Shadow Cartel.

And third time is the charm for Wendy Tyson who returns with Dying Brand, book three in her haunting Allison Campbell mystery series.

Last but not least, James W. Ziskin delights fans with the return of 1960s heroine Ellie Stone in Stone Cold Dead.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Specials, the Africa Scene, this month’s International Thrills, and many more hot new releases from ITW members.

—The managing editors, Anthony Franze, Barry Lancet, and Dawn Ius​

CLICK HERE to read more!

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Featured Articles

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 →
The Killing Season by Mason Cross

The Killing Season by Mason Cross

By Mario Acevedo In Mason Cross’s new release, THE KILLING SEASON, the FBI calls upon Carter Blake, a modern high-tech bounty hunter, to track down Caleb Wardell, a serial-killer sniper who escaped during a botched prison transfer. Blake is teamed with veteran FBI agent Elaine Banner, and together they close upon Wardell, only to watch him slip away time and time again. The more Blake learns about the suspect, the more he’s convinced that the homicidal fugitive is acting on an agenda more sinister than simple murder. Worse, Carter and Banner discover too late that Wardell is actually at the center of monstrous conspiracy that could tear the country apart. Sounds thrilling, right? I caught up with Cross for this month’s The Big Thrill, to more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
International Thrills: Bestselling Nordic crime writer Leena Lehtolainen by Layton Green

International Thrills: Bestselling Nordic crime writer Leena Lehtolainen by Layton Green

By Layton Green If you enjoy international crime novels, and you have not yet heard of Leena Lehtolainen, then you’re in for a treat. Highly regarded in Europe, Lehtolainen is Finland’s bestselling female crime author, and her titles have sold millions of copies in twenty-nine languages, as well as winning a variety of awards. Lehtolainen skyrocketed to fame with My First Murder, a series featuring a down-to-earth, music-loving female detective named Maria Kallio. The series has been adapted for television, and remains her most popular creation. However, she is not a one-series-wonder: Leena has also published a nonfiction work on figure skating (voted sports book of the year in Finland in 2010), literary fiction, juvenile fiction (her first novel was published when she was all more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
A Crime Writer’s Guide to Raising Kids by Allison Brennan

A Crime Writer’s Guide to Raising Kids by Allison Brennan

By Allison Brennan While I was driving my twelve-year-old daughter home from softball practice last week, she told me about her day—including an irate commentary about her history lesson. “Did you know that in Athens, women were considered the property of their husbands?” Before I could respond, she continued. “I told Mr. B that if I lived in Athens back then, I’d kill my husband, hide his body, and tell everyone he disappeared.” While I appreciate her independence and strong sense of gender equality, I fear I’ve ruined my kids. That, after writing twenty-five crime novels including my latest, COMPULSION, I’m raising five children who are plotting the perfect murder. I reminded her that we believe in Heaven and Hell and while there may be more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Africa Scene: An interview with Colleen Higgs by Joanne Hichens

Africa Scene: An interview with Colleen Higgs by Joanne Hichens

By Joanne Hichens Joanne Hichens grills Colleen Higgs, the majority shareholder and managing publisher of Modjaji Books, an independent feminist South African publishing company, about the challenges of venturing into new territory. After publishing more than seventy home-grown literary and poetry titles, Modjaji Books, going strong, is now publishing crime and thriller fiction. First, tell us a little about the origins of the name of your publishing house. I know that Modjadji the Rain Queen, the hereditary Queen of Balobedu, a people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa, is a legend unto herself. The succession to the position of Rain Queen is matrilineal which means the Queen’s eldest daughter is the heir, and males have no claim to the throne. The Rain Queen is believed to have special powers, including more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →

Between the Lines

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 →
A Between The Lines Interview With Lisa Gardner

A Between The Lines Interview With Lisa Gardner

By Dawn Ius Resting prominently on Lisa Gardner’s desk is her International Thriller Writers Award for best thriller, a ceramic giraffe, and an article about how to identify a psychopath. The ITW hardware represents the much-appreciated recognition from Gardner’s peers, while the giraffe is a gift from her daughter who understands her mother’s obsessions. As for the article on how to identify a psycho (spoiler alert: They’re everywhere), the piece is just one of the many resources this self-proclaimed research junkie will use to write such twisted psychological thrillers as her latest, CRASH & BURN. With more than twenty-two million copies of her bestselling novels sold worldwide, one might think this is starting to feel old hat for Gardner. But while she’ll concede there’s a more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
A Between the Lines Interview with Tami Hoag

A Between the Lines Interview with Tami Hoag

By Julie Kramer Even with fifteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers to her name, Tami Hoag still feels a tinge of panic trying to figure out the identity of the killers in her gritty psychological thrillers. This was especially true with COLD COLD HEART, in which her protagonist, Dana Nolan, moves from abduction victim in Hoag’s previous bestseller, The 9th Girl, to a brain-damaged heroine trying to solve a cold case. The ending shocks, to be sure, but for me the real surprise comes in Hoag’s Author’s Note in which she reveals a personal secret. In the back of COLD COLD HEART, you share details about the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury you suffered as a child. What made you go public more »

By December 31, 2014 Read More →
A Between the Lines Interview with Phillip Margolin

A Between the Lines Interview with Phillip Margolin

By Anthony Franze Phillip Margolin had a storied career as a criminal defense lawyer—handling more than thirty murder cases and even arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. Though he’d published two novels early in his legal career, he wasn’t looking to leave his exciting law practice. In the early1990s, however, he was at a dinner party when the conversation turned philosophical. One of the guests had a question for him: If Adolf Hitler came to you and needed a lawyer, would you represent him? “I hadn’t really given much thought to that kind of question,” Margolin said. “But I was a believer in the system, and always thought I’d defend anyone. But it got me thinking whether I would represent someone who was pure evil.” more »

By November 30, 2014 Read More →

Special to the Big Thrill

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 →
A Crime Writer’s Guide to Raising Kids by Allison Brennan

A Crime Writer’s Guide to Raising Kids by Allison Brennan

By Allison Brennan While I was driving my twelve-year-old daughter home from softball practice last week, she told me about her day—including an irate commentary about her history lesson. “Did you know that in Athens, women were considered the property of their husbands?” Before I could respond, she continued. “I told Mr. B that if I lived in Athens back then, I’d kill my husband, hide his body, and tell everyone he disappeared.” While I appreciate her independence and strong sense of gender equality, I fear I’ve ruined my kids. That, after writing twenty-five crime novels including my latest, COMPULSION, I’m raising five children who are plotting the perfect murder. I reminded her that we believe in Heaven and Hell and while there may be more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
International Thrills: An Interview with Adrian McKinty

International Thrills: An Interview with Adrian McKinty

By Layton Green I love international crime fiction—thus this column—and I’d long wanted to read something set during the Troubles (the brutal internecine conflict over the constitutional status of Northern Ireland that I remember so vividly from my youth.) Adrian McKinty, an award-winning Irish writer who grew up in Belfast, was recommended to me by a friend, and so I picked up a copy of GUN STREET GIRL, Adrian’s latest novel featuring Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic police officer working the mean streets of Belfast during the Troubles. And what an inspired recommendation it was. A fascinating mystery grounded in historical events, a setting that taught me something about the world, and spare but beautiful prose: GUN STREET GIRL was just what I wanted. A more »

By February 28, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: Why We Love the Political Thriller by Steve P. Vincent

Special to the Big Thrill: Why We Love the Political Thriller by Steve P. Vincent

From Fleming to Clancy and Beyond: Why We Love the Political Thriller By Steve P. Vincent We love a political thriller. We love goodies and baddies, edge-of-your-seat suspense, epic stakes and politics far sexier than your average strongly-worded UN Security Council Resolution. But what’s remarkable is how robust the genre has proven to be in film and fiction; its evolution from James Bond through the Cold War to now. The political thriller remains a staple of pop culture storytelling. Things were easy right up until the fall of the Berlin Wall: Western (usually American) hero battles maniacal USSR villain with earth-scorching consequences if he loses. Yet after spinning its wheels through the mid-90s with nobody to worry about, the genre found the road again, with more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: The Long Road to Collaboration by Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas

Special to the Big Thrill: The Long Road to Collaboration by Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas

Done in Fifteen Years: The Long Road to Collaboration By Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas Whenever a substantial creative endeavor (novel writing, film directing, music composition, etc.,) is accomplished by two or more people working together to achieve a single voice, the first things people want to know is: How did you come together to write the novel? And how did you do it? In this Special to THE BIG THRILL, Grant Jerkins and Jan Thomas—co-authors of the police-sniper thriller, DONE IN ONE—take a look back at the unlikely circumstances that brought them together to write this “high-powered, bone-rattler of a novel.” * * * Grant Jerkins: In the late 90s, I was working primarily as a screenwriter. I’d written five spec scripts and managed more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →

Crime Fiction

Eraserbyte by Cat Connor

Eraserbyte by Cat Connor

By Sidney Williams What links a terror attack on Washington, D.C., missing girls, coded price lists, and a rogue Interpol operator? It’s up to FBI Special Agent Ellie Conway to figure that out in Cat Connor’s new novel ERASERBYTE, seventh in the “Byte” series. That’s if she can survive helicopter crashes and other threats. It’s a tale that sets the U.S. capital on fire with a series of explosions, and Ellie has to reach out to controversial connections to try and stop further terrorist attacks and horrifying deaths. It’s a great, page-turning challenge for the agent from the FBI’s Delta A, who has already won over fans in previous adventures and should earn new ones in this outing. Connor, who is from Cantabria, New Zealand, more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall

Skies of Ash by Rachel Howzell Hall

By Sandra Parshall Inspiration can come at a writer from any direction, but for Rachel Howzell Hall the stories that resonate most deeply are drawn from her own life and the lives of people close to her. SKIES OF ASH, her second thriller featuring Los Angeles Detective Elouise “Lou” Norton, reflects some of the turmoil she witnessed in her friends’ lives over the past few years. In a recent interview, Rachel said, “I remember having the realization about five years ago that my friends, and friends of friends, were starting to divide into two groups—still married (like me) or now divorcing. Everyone had hit those hard patches in life, late thirties, early forties, kids, private school bills, taxes owed, jobs, lay-offs, failing health, deaths.” At more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Double Vision by Colby Marshall

Double Vision by Colby Marshall

By E. M. Powell Of course I love thrillers (don’t we all?!), but I especially love a thriller that brings something new and different to the table. In DOUBLE VISION, Colby Marshall does just that. Her heroine, Dr. Jenna Ramey, is an FBI forensic psychiatrist whose brain is wired very differently to most of us. Jenna also comes to this book, the second in the series, with a heck of a backstory that I’m sure will bring new readers rushing to catch up on the first one too. DOUBLE VISION is a fast-moving, intriguing read that grabs the reader from the off and refuses to let go. Marshall is a multi-talented creative: writer by day, ballroom dancer and choreographer by night, and acting on stage more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything by Mike Craven

Assume Nothing, Believe Nobody, Challenge Everything by Mike Craven

By Laurence O’Bryan Although he was born in Cumbria, England in 1968, author Mike Craven grew up in the northeast and attended the same school as Newcastle and England center-forward, Alan Shearer, before running away to join the circus army. He believes, but has no proof, that his little sister moved into his bedroom before the train had even left the station. He trained for two years as an armourer (that’s gunsmith to you and I) before spending the next ten being paid to travel the world and drink ridiculous amounts of alcohol. In 1995, sick of writing postcards and having fun, he decided it might be time to do something a bit more sensible. And it doesn’t get more sensible than getting a law more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
Snatched from Home by Graham Smith

Snatched from Home by Graham Smith

By Richard Godwin Graham Smith’s SNATCHED FROM HOME is a searing thriller that plunges straight to the heart of fear—leaving you to ponder the terrifying question: What would you do to save your children? Nicholas and Victoria Foulkes’ children are kidnapped to force repayment of a gambling debt, but when the couple are unable to raise the ransom money in time, they turn to crime. The stakes are raised when their crime spree catches the attention of Harry Evans, a childless and recently bereaved detective trying to dodge enforced retirement. Smith writes tough-as-nails prose and delivers a page-turner that will leave you high on adrenaline. Graham took some time this month to answer a couple of key questions about what inspired his latest release, and more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Scent of Murder by James O. Born

Scent of Murder by James O. Born

By Linda Davies James O. Born has had a long and distinguished career as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and is still employed as an agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement where he has worked in a number of areas, including the Special Operations Team. This has given him experience that many writers would die for (figuratively, and probably literally too, if we ever stumbled into the path of clear and present danger!) After years trying to get published, Born hit the big leagues when Putnam published his first novel Walking Money in 2004. This year marks his ninth book, SCENT OF MURDER. It focuses on the use of canine units in law enforcement and detection: Two years after being tossed more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →

Adventure Thrillers

Black Scorpion by Jon Land

Black Scorpion by Jon Land

By Austin Camacho What can one man do against a huge criminal organization bent on world domination? Jon Land shows us in BLACK SCORPION: THE TYRANT REBORN, and thriller fans will love getting the answer. The man in question is Michael Tiranno, whose cunning and ruthlessness in business earned him the nickname “The Tyrant.” Land introduced him in The Seven Sins. In that novel, Tiranno saved Las Vegas from a terrorist attack. This impressive character fully deserved to return in an even bigger adventure. “You’d find him captivating, fascinating, charismatic, engaging, and a bit brash,” Land says. “The Tyrant inside him only emerges when he, someone close to him, or someone vulnerable, is harmed or threatened. The question, of course, then becomes which is the more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Snake Pass by Colin Campbell

Snake Pass by Colin Campbell

By Sidney Williams Colin Campbell’s Resurrection Man returns in SNAKE PASS, a new thriller that looks back on the protagonist’s deadly standoff during his police career in Yorkshire. Readers know Jim Grant, The Resurrection Man, as a special operative who stayed in the United States after a British case brought him to American shores. In Jamaica Plain, Montecito Heights, and Adobe Flats he’s been troubleshooting dangerous situations for an unnamed U.S. security agency. In the first novel in the series, Jamaica Plain, a press photo of Grant with his hands extended during a standoff with a gunman earned his nickname, and his adventures have earned praise from outlets such as Library Journal, which noted of SNAKE PASS: “Campbell’s gritty noir style and hard-hitting action scenes more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Aftershock by Philip Donlay

Aftershock by Philip Donlay

By Dawn Ius If you knew Philip Donlay in high school, you probably caught him just “flying around.” At seventeen, he was the only student in the school with his pilot’s license—a rare accomplishment for most, but for Donlay a somewhat natural progression in his life’s navigation. Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, the Air Capital of the World, coupled with the fact that Donlay’s grandfather was a pilot, Donlay’s love of flying was essentially part of his DNA, as natural as breathing air. Over the years, he’s been a flight instructor, flown a private jet for a Saudi prince, and for twenty-eight years, flew a corporate jet for a Fortune 500 company, logging almost 14,000 hours of flight time. Even still, he remembers his first more »

By February 28, 2015 Read More →
Big Mojo by Jack Getze

Big Mojo by Jack Getze

I write funny, or screwball, mysteries, but I scared myself writing BIG MOJO, the third novel in my Austin Carr series. Maybe the book really is a thriller. What happened, a supporting character—Angelina “Mama Bones” Bonacelli—took over as my favorite writing voice, and that is not supposed to happen. Austin Carr is my chosen speaker, the man whose strange ideas about life found voice inside the devil on my shoulder. Austin’s the star of the show. He talks in first person. It’s his series. Says so on the cover of every book. Looking back, examining Mama Bones’ creation and early appearances, it’s hard to say when and how the change-over occurred. Austin did all the talking in book one, Big Numbers. Mama Bones tickled my more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
Twelve Days by Alex Berenson

Twelve Days by Alex Berenson

By Jeremy Burns Ever since smashing onto the scene with his award-winning, bestselling debut, The Faithful Spy, Alex Berenson and series protagonist John Wells have thrilled readers, weaving dangerous plots ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, and offering high-speed windows into the world’s most exotic places. In his latest outing, TWELVE DAYS, Berenson leads readers on a breakneck adventure where Wells must prevent a terrible calamity where countless lives hang in the balance. But with only the titular twelve days to uncover the truth, is Wells in over his head this time? Alex Berenson sat down with The Big Thrill to offer some insight into his latest thrill ride, and into the man behind the magic himself. Tell us a little about yourself. I am a former more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
Done In One by Grant Jerkins & Jan Thomas

Done In One by Grant Jerkins & Jan Thomas

By Dawn Ius As the long-time wife of a SWAT sniper, Jan Thomas has lived most of her life under a cloak of anonymity, keeping her emotions—and close relationships—tight to her chest. She’s witnessed firsthand the darker side of humanity, and admits, it’s sometimes scary. Thriller author Grant Jerkins considers “scary” part of his job. His dark novels—A Very Simple Crime, The Ninth Step, and At the End of the Road—are known for their ability to take readers down disturbing, uncomfortable paths. But neither Jerkins nor Thomas ever considered those paths might one day cross. The two have never met, but together, they’ve written DONE IN ONE, a vivid, visceral look at the haunting world of a police sniper. Though fiction, the novel is very more »

By December 31, 2014 Read More →

Contemporary Thrillers

Ugly Young Thing by Jennifer Jaynes

Ugly Young Thing by Jennifer Jaynes

By Lynne Constantine UGLY YOUNG THING brings readers back to the town of Grand Trespass, Louisiana where sixteen-year-old Allie is trying to piece her life back together after the death of her mother and only brother. When the book opens, we meet Allie, a traumatized young girl forced to rely on her looks to survive. All she has left of her family are horrible memories from her traumatic upbringing, and disgrace from the infamy that now accompanies her name. That’s what happens when your mother and brother are both murderers, and you live in a small town. Allie gets a break when a kindly older woman takes her in as a foster child. But is her new situation too good to be true, or does more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
The Killing Season by Mason Cross

The Killing Season by Mason Cross

By Mario Acevedo In Mason Cross’s new release, THE KILLING SEASON, the FBI calls upon Carter Blake, a modern high-tech bounty hunter, to track down Caleb Wardell, a serial-killer sniper who escaped during a botched prison transfer. Blake is teamed with veteran FBI agent Elaine Banner, and together they close upon Wardell, only to watch him slip away time and time again. The more Blake learns about the suspect, the more he’s convinced that the homicidal fugitive is acting on an agenda more sinister than simple murder. Worse, Carter and Banner discover too late that Wardell is actually at the center of monstrous conspiracy that could tear the country apart. Sounds thrilling, right? I caught up with Cross for this month’s The Big Thrill, to more »

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
The Dead Play On by Heather Graham

The Dead Play On by Heather Graham

By E. M. Powell As a reader, how do you know you’re in for a treat before you even open the book at page one? A quick answer would be to say that it’s written by Heather Graham. Graham is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than one hundred books, boasting a career that has garnered her numerous awards. My treat this month was THE DEAD PLAY ON, which is the third book in Graham’s Danni Cafferty and Michael Quinn series. Based in New Orleans, Cafferty and Quinn solve unusual crimes that the cops can’t. In this latest outing, an apparent suicide turns out to be one of a number of musicians who have been murdered. The body count continues more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino

Blessed Are Those Who Weep by Kristi Belcamino

By John Clement BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP is the third book in Kristi Belcamino’s acclaimed series of thrillers chronicling the life of Gabriella Giovanni, an Italian-American crime reporter who happens to make a mean biscotti on the side. Not for nothing, Belcamino is herself Italian-American, and she knows a thing or two about baking biscotti as well, but it’s her career as a crime-beat reporter that imbues her fiction with a unique and rare note of authenticity. Her readers have come to expect suspenseful and gripping page-turners, and they’ll be happy to know that this new book does not disappoint. I sat down with Belcamino to talk about her life, her work, and her latest novel. BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO WEEP is out this month, more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
The Stranger by Harlan Coben

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

Known for capturing readers from the very first line and then surprising them with every carefully plotted twist and turn, what makes #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben’s books downright frightening is the underlying message reminding us just how frail the line is between order and chaos in our lives. With his latest, that message is as strong as ever. Coben once again reminds us there is a reason we call it the “American Dream” and the scary part is the possibility that we are all on the verge of waking up. THE STRANGER (Dutton; March 24, 2015) centers on the many secrets people keep when they think they’re anonymous – especially online – and how easily those secrets can be revealed when more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →
The One That Got Away by Simon Wood

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood

By John Darrin I was quite excited to get this assignment—Simon Wood, author of twelve novels, six short story collections, two audio books, and numerous non-fiction how-to articles. Quite a library of work. And I’m sure he’s sold a lot of them—over 500,000, I’m told. Five of those to me. In THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, Wood delves into the world of post-traumatic stress disorder, something we’ve all heard about and think we understand. His interest in the subject led him to study the subject with everyone from returning veterans and advocates for abused women, and he found that “PTSD is something people don’t understand generally. It’s something I didn’t really understand myself. I’ve attempted to highlight the issues and behaviors in the book with more »

By March 31, 2015 Read More →

The Best of the Rest

Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

Dressed to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More in the tucked-away town of South Cove, California—is not particularly thrilled to be portraying a twenties flapper for the dinner theater murder mystery. Though it is for charity… Of course everyone is expecting a “dead” body at the dress rehearsal…but this one isn’t acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor’s conniving girlfriend Sherry…who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill’s main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator…but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act…and by then, it may be far too late. “This is another delightful entry into the cozy mystery genre, an easy read and a wonderful collection of more »

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Forbidden Ground by Karen Harper

Forbidden Ground by Karen Harper

An anthropologist, Kate Lockwood makes her living studying the dead. A large burial mound of the ancient Adena civilization sits on Mason family land, but Grant Mason tells Kate to stay away from the mound. The more Kate researches the area, the more she is convinced Grant is hiding something. But when she comes under attack, Grant seems concerned for her safety. Despite their growing, explosive attraction to each other, can she trust the man she’s come to love, or will the wrong decision be her final act? “Masterfully drawing the reader in, Harper has delivered the best, once again.” Suspense Magazine on Upon a Winter’s Night. “Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.” Booklist, starred more »

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Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lawrence Kelter

Don’t Close Your Eyes by Lawrence Kelter

OVER 200,000 COPIES SOLD Three very different women have been murdered and NYPD Detective Stephanie Chalice wants to know why. Her case begins on the Roosevelt Island tram. The conductor has been shot, but lying next to him is the real mystery: a woman who might appear to have died of natural causes if not for the handwritten note stuffed in her mouth that simply reads “Look back!” When a second woman is found dead with a rag in her mouth and another cryptic note found nearby, Chalice realizes that a psychopath is stalking Manhattan, on the prowl for a very special type of woman. Part of the murderer’s twisted game is leaving intentional clues for the police, clues designed not only to taunt, but more »

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Shattered Secrets by Karen Harper

Shattered Secrets by Karen Harper

Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that tore her family apart. Now a grown woman, she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt Cold Creek. With Sheriff Gabe McCord, Tess hopes to shed new light on recent kidnappings of young girls. “Harper, a master of suspense, keeps readers guessing about crime and love until the very end.” Booklist, starred review on Fall From Pride. “A compelling story…intricate and fascinating…” Tami Hoag on Dark Road Home

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Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson

Cold Light of Day by Toni Anderson

Physicist Scarlett Stone is the daughter of the man considered to be the most notorious Russian agent in FBI history. With her father dying in prison she’s determined to prove he’s innocent, but time is running out. Using a false identity, she gains access to the Russian ambassador’s Christmas party, searching for evidence of a set-up. Former Navy SEAL, now FBI Special Agent, Matt Lazlo, is instantly attracted to Scarlett but life is too complicated to pursue a politician’s daughter. When he discovers she lied to him about her identity, he hunts her down with the ruthless efficiency he usually reserves for serial killers. Not only does Scarlett’s scheme fail, it puts her in the sights of powerful people who reward unwanted curiosity with brutality. more »

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Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones

With 12 hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally, since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums. Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just more »

By May 18, 2015 Read More →
City of Ice by John Farrow

City of Ice by John Farrow

Tortured, then murdered, a university student dressed up as Santa Claus is left hanging from a meat hook on Christmas Eve – a gift intended for one particular cop. Detective Emile Cinq-Mars, local hero and old-style cop, wants the truth – and his gripping search takes him through a bone-chilling Montreal winter and into the heart of the city’s colourful criminal underworld, where rival biker gangs, the Russian Mafia, and meddlers from the CIA all vie for a piece of the frozen city. “John Farrow’s City of Ice is vintage cop novel—literate, hard-edged, sharp, funny, and mean. All the street reality and ass-kicking you could want, set in Montreal in winter and chilling well beyond that.” (Alan Furst.)

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Cross Examinations by John Hegenberger

Cross Examinations by John Hegenberger

Crime in Columbus Meet Eliot Cross, Columbus-based P.I. in 1988. A series of serious crimes: Kidnapping. Murder. Art Thief. Blackmail. Comic Books? Never before published, CROSS EXAMINATIONS sets the stage for an exciting new novel coming from pop-culture author, John Hegenberger. Private Investigator Eliot Cross faces heartache, headache, backache, and a royal pain in the neck in these rollicking noir stories from the heart of the Heartland. Cross Examinations, Inc. established in 1988

By May 18, 2015 Read More →