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The September edition of THE BIG THRILL is here!

The September issue showcases writers who tackle topics of real meaning. Yes, these books are page-turners, and they’re written with depth and heart too. Andrew Gross, our cover story, talks about what path he followed that led to The One Man, his thriller set in World War II. Karin Slaughter talks about The Kept Woman and how humor helps when she must travel to dark places of the soul. Other must-reads: Brenda Novak, Reed Farrel Coleman, Clare Mackintosh, and the trio of Tim O’Mara, Charles Salzberg and Ross Klavan on their book of crime-fiction novellas. Plus, Dawn Ius on her young adult car-heist thriller and Donna Galanti on her middle grade suspense adventure.

It’s one of our favorite times of year: Kimberley Howe’s report on ThrillerFest 2016, so we can relive the high points! Another story related to Thrillerfest: our interview with hot military-thriller team Brian Andrews and Jeff Wilson, who met as debuts at the ITW conference in 2012.

In this month’s “Guided Tour,” J.H. Bográn reveals the beauty and rich history of Honduras, and in “Get It Right,” R.G. Belsky sets us straight on writing about the newsroom. (Such as, Stop writing “Stop the presses!”)

Other compelling interviews in the issue: Wendy Walker, Sally Andrews, Grant McKenzie, Paul Kemprecos and more.

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Featured Articles

Industry Focus: Kimberley Howe’s Report on Thrillerfest

Industry Focus: Kimberley Howe’s Report on Thrillerfest

Industry Focus: On the Frontlines  By Kimberley Howe ThrillerFest attendees are still buzzing from this year’s memorable conference.  We kicked off the week with a day at the FBI where participants were fortunate to meet canine agent, Iris, a specialist in discovering electronics and computers, along with several human agents whose expertise ranged from counterterrorism to gangs to cyber crime. We held a record eight classes for Master CraftFest where authors studied with New York Times bestselling authors Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, and Gayle Lynds, in addition to screenwriting instructor Richard Krevolin.  And we have exciting news to share from CraftFest Director D.P. Lyle M.D. about next year: “Master CraftFest will again offer eight classes, each with more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
International Thrills: Clare Mackintosh

International Thrills: Clare Mackintosh

Exploring the Inevitability of Fate By Joanna Penn Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel, I Let You Go, was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller for 12 weeks, and was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in the UK in 2015. It also won the Theakston Old Peculier crime novel of the year award for 2016. Translated into more than 30 languages, it has sold over 500,000 copies. Clare’s latest book, I SEE YOU, is for sale now. You were in the police for 12 years. How does that experience shape your crime writing? I loved my police career, particularly the variety. I spent time as a community beat officer, a detective, a custody sergeant, shift sergeant, and operations inspector, including qualifying as a public order more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Author Guided Tour: J.H. Bográn on Honduras

Author Guided Tour: J.H. Bográn on Honduras

A Rich History, a Vibrant Culture  By J. H. Bográn  Honduras’ flag inspired a motto used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup: “Un país, una pasión, ¡cinco estrellas en el corazón.” The rough translation is: “One country, one passion, five stars in the heart!” I like to refer to my birthplace as a five-star country. When I released my novel Firefall, I posted a blog entry titled “Take a tour to Honduras.” To this date, it remains the most visited page. In the still-unnamed sequel, my main character—insurance fraud investigator Sebastian Martin—returns to Honduras in spite of the stinging torture he had to endure during his last visit. The city that Martin travels to? My nation’s capital:  Tegucigalpa. The Andrews Sisters were a popular all-female signing group of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Among their hits they released a song dedicated to—you guessed it—Tegucigalpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhJm1Ps6vdM The core of the city is nestled at the bottom of a valley. more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Get It Right: R.G. Belsky on the Job of Journalists

Get It Right: R.G. Belsky on the Job of Journalists

“Stop the Presses!” and Other Newsroom Myths  By R.G. Belsky A lot of people think the news business is like All the President’s Men: Woodward and Bernstein bringing down Richard Nixon. Or Spotlight, where crusading Boston Globe reporters expose scandal in the Catholic Church. Or countless other movies and novels and TV shows where someone dramatically yells “Stop the presses” just before breaking the big story that catches the bad guys. Except it doesn’t really happen like that for reporters most of the time. I’ve spent most of my life in newsrooms, working as an editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and—most recently—NBC News. I now write thrillers about a fictional newspaper reporter named Gil Malloy. Let me share more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Up Close: Karin Slaughter by Dawn Ius

Up Close: Karin Slaughter by Dawn Ius

Using Humor to Crawl From the Darkness By Dawn Ius One of the most memorable moments at Thrillerfest this past year took place during an interview between Karin Slaughter and Gillian Flynn. It was more than just two superstar authors sharing the stage, but the way in which the conversation unfolded—candid, funny, and at times, perhaps, wildly inappropriate. Obviously the authors are great friends, but for the millions of Karin Slaughter fans around the world, the interview wouldn’t have come as a shock. That’s the persona this internationally bestselling author has cultivated, someone who is approachable, honest, and unabashedly unflinching in delivering a blunt—and often hilarious—speech to audiences of all sizes. Of course, that kind of crowd comfort didn’t come naturally. “I clearly remember attending more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Author Guided Tour: Dawn Ius in Las Vegas

Author Guided Tour: Dawn Ius in Las Vegas

Can You Take the Sin Out of Sin City? By Dawn Ius I remember my first time to Las Vegas like it was yesterday, even though I was 14 years old. My family stopped there overnight on our way to Disneyland. I was too young to go into the casinos, obviously not old enough to drink, and, admittedly, a bit naïve. I recall being fascinated—and horrified—by the number of flyers depicting half-naked women that littered the streets. As we strolled along the infamous Strip, I could barely take a step without crushing someone’s boobs. I found one of those flyers stuck to the bottom of my shoe when we got back to our camper—the girl in the picture looked about 16, her shiny white hair more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →

Between the Lines

Between the Lines: Interview with Andrew Gross

Between the Lines: Interview with Andrew Gross

A Thriller of Heartbreaking Realism By Josie Brown Real thrillers are a part of everyday life. Proof of this is Andrew Gross’s personal connection with concentration camp survivors, which inspired the creation of his latest novel, THE ONE MAN. Critics are already praising this sixth novel from the New York Times bestselling author as his finest book to date, and for good reason. It’s a page-turner that embodies the heartbreaking realism of one of recorded history’s most appalling crimes against humanity. Here, the novelist shares with The Big Thrill his process for creating a story filled in equal parts with sorrow, despair, courage, and hope: The Holocaust and World War II are sensitive topics for many of its survivors. In fact, you mention in your author’s note that your more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Between the Lines: Megan Abbott

Between the Lines: Megan Abbott

Finding Darkness in Bright, Shiny Places   By Nancy Bilyeau A video went viral after the London Olympics, taken of the parents of American gymnast Aly Raisman as they watched her compete on the uneven bars. The couple flinched, drew together and leaned back as one, fixated on their daughter. Although sitting in the spectators’ area, the gymnast’s parents seemed to move as she moved, utterly unaware of how they might appear. Reaction to the video on the Internet was amused, scornful, and appalled. How could it be healthy for parents to be that identified with their daughter? Novelist Megan Abbott had an altogether different response. Could she explore the world of female competitive gymnastics—specifically, the family of the gymnast—in her next novel of suspense? more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Between the Lines: Joseph Finder

Between the Lines: Joseph Finder

Building the Perfect Hero By James W. Ziskin Joseph Finder writes high-octane bestselling novels of suspense, conspiracy, and ruthless corporations. His books have garnered top industry awards including the ITW Award for Best Novel (Killer Instinct 2006), both the Barry and Gumshoe Awards for Best Thriller (Company Man 2005), and the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel (Buried Secrets 2011). Two of his standalone thrillers, High Crimes and Paranoia, have been made into major motion pictures. Following up on last year’s standalone New York Times bestseller, The Fixer, Finder is back this month with GUILTY MINDS. Featuring the bruising and brilliant “private spy” Nick Heller, GUILTY MINDS is the third novel in this popular series (after Vanished and Buried Secrets). This time, Heller is hired more »

By June 30, 2016 Read More →
Between the Lines with Daniel Palmer

Between the Lines with Daniel Palmer

Embracing the Legacy—and Setting a New Mark By Austin S. Camacho I’ve heard that varied experiences, an artistic temperament, or even genetics could predict writing talent. By any of those measures it’s no surprise that Daniel Palmer has turned out a steady flow of bestsellers. After earning his master’s degree from Boston University, he spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer. He’s an accomplished blues harmonica player. And he’s the son of bestselling author Michael Palmer, whose legacy lives on because Daniel’s been asked to continue his father’s oeuvre. Which means now two of Daniel’s novels are being released at the same time. MERCY is the second Michael Palmer medical thriller Daniel’s written in the tradition of his late father. In it, Dr. Julie Devereux more »

By May 31, 2016 Read More →
Between the Lines with Charlaine Harris

Between the Lines with Charlaine Harris

Extraordinary Characters Hiding Among the Ordinary By Nancy Bilyeau The place is Texas. We find ourselves in a small town, and by that I mean a very small town. One streetlight, a diner, a few stores. It’s quiet. And the people … well, this is a Charlaine Harris book, and the people are definitely not what they seem. It doesn’t stay quiet for long. Harris’s latest book, NIGHT SHIFT, is the third in her new series. These exciting mysteries revolve around the residents of Midnight, Texas: an Internet psychic named Manfred who may or may not be a real psychic; Fiji, a woman who runs a New Age witchcraft shop for a good reason; a gay couple, Chuy and Joe; a pawnshop owner, Bobo; another couple, more »

By April 30, 2016 Read More →
Between the Lines: Interview with Lisa Scottoline

Between the Lines: Interview with Lisa Scottoline

Finding the Monstrous in the Ordinary By Robert Rotstein The best thrillers begin with ordinary, even joyous events and explore how one unfortunate turn can threaten everything that a person holds dear. And “best thriller” describes Lisa Scottoline’s compelling new novel MOST WANTED, in which a couple’s dream—to have a child—becomes a nightmare, placing at risk a woman’s unborn child, her marriage, and ultimately, her life. Christine Nilsson is a devoted school teacher and a loving wife. She and her husband, Marcus, desperately want a baby, but Marcus suffers from fertility problems. After much soul-searching and research, they decide to use a sperm donor, and Christine becomes pregnant. Then, after two months, she discovers that her donor might be a serial killer. Against her husband’s more »

By March 31, 2016 Read More →

Special to the Big Thrill

Up Close: Eric Van Lustbader by Jessica Driscoll

Up Close: Eric Van Lustbader by Jessica Driscoll

Inspired By Real-Life Corruption and War By Jessica Driscoll From the prolific author of the Bourne series comes a new standalone thriller, ANY MINUTE NOW, a dark tale ripped from the headlines and inspired by Eric Van Lustbader’s fascination with the occult, the continuing war in the Middle East, and the “terrible price soldiers are asked to pay.” “The ongoing corruption obscured by the fog of war both frighten and anger me,” he says. ANY MINUTE NOW kicks off with Red Rover, the blackest of black ops teams, losing one of its own on a top-priority mission. The group is unexpectedly disbanded, leaving Greg Whitman and Felix Orteño to replace their lost team member with Charlize Daou. Daou, a brilliant and talented arms expert, becomes more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Turning Point: F. Paul Wilson

Turning Point: F. Paul Wilson

Tossing Off the Security Blanket By Ann Voss Peterson F. Paul Wilson, a physician who has written numerous international bestsellers—from the Repairman Jack urban mercenary series to science thrillers and iconic horror novels like The Keep—tells Ann Voss Peterson why he’s changing course with his new release PANACEA. Okay, it seems every time you turn around, someone is starting a new series, and here you’ve gone and stopped one. Repairman Jack has such a wide and loyal fan base, all I can do is scratch my head and ask why? Yeah, I know. It seems like a dumb idea. I remember mentioning to Lee Child that I was planning on shutting down the series and he said, “Why would you ever want to do that?” more »

By June 30, 2016 Read More →
Author Guided Tour: Simon Toyne Explores Arizona

Author Guided Tour: Simon Toyne Explores Arizona

In Search of Redemption in 118-Degree Heat A man walks barefoot from a burning plane wearing an elegant suit jacket with his name stitched into the label. Ahead of him, a small town shimmers in the desert heat. He doesn’t know where he is, or who he is, or even if he was on the crashed plane—the only thing he knows for sure is that he has come to the town to save someone. This is the opening scene of THE SEARCHER and also the first solid image I had of the story. A new book often starts this way for me, with a scene or an image, and from this glimpse I knew I needed to find a desert town, so I booked a trip to more »

By May 31, 2016 Read More →
Trend Report:  Can the Devil Make Us Do It?

Trend Report: Can the Devil Make Us Do It?

By Dawn Ius From Paradise Lost to Rosemary’s Baby, Satan hasn’t exactly been hiding in hell when it comes to storytelling. But in the last decade, with supernatural fiction cycling through vampire/werewolf/zombie, it seems the Prince of Darkness lingered in the shadows of society’s fascination, waiting to take his moment in the cultural spotlight. Could the time be now? “Horror fiction—and genre fiction generally—feeds upon the anxieties of the moment, and spits them back at us in transfigured, mythologized forms,” says Andrew Pyper, bestselling author of several literary horror stories, including The Demonologist, winner of the ITW award for Best Hardcover Novel in 2014. “Even on the intimate level of the people in our immediate lives and the conversation around the ‘sociopath next door,’ we turn, more »

By April 30, 2016 Read More →
Author Guided Tour: E.M. Powell Takes Us to Medieval Ireland

Author Guided Tour: E.M. Powell Takes Us to Medieval Ireland

By E.M. Powell The island of Ireland occupied a unique place in the medieval world. It was, as far as the millions of inhabitants of Europe were concerned, It. Nothing else existed to the west (sorry, Americas). In a 7th Century letter to the Pope, Saint Columbanus refers to the Irish as the ‘Dwellers at the Earth’s Edge.’ And even by the 12th Century, Gerald of Wales, royal clerk to England’s King Henry II, still confirmed Ireland as ‘the farthest western lands…Beyond the whole horizon only the ocean flows and is borne on in endless space.’ Now, Henry had a keen interest in Ireland and, as it happens, so do I—it being the land of my birth and all. But I also have a keen interest in more »

By February 22, 2016 Read More →
Turning Point: Gregg Hurwitz Launches a Series

Turning Point: Gregg Hurwitz Launches a Series

A Compelling Protagonist for ORPHAN X By R.G. Belsky So why does a best-selling thriller writer like Gregg Hurwitz decide to launch a new series now, after putting out a string of hugely successful stand-alone books? Hurwitz, author of the highly anticipated ORPHAN X, says it’s because it took him 15 novels to find a character he wanted to spend that much time with–but he finally has one in Evan Smoak. “A book series is a huge step,” Hurwitz said when we interviewed him about the debut of this exciting series hero, who is already being compared to the likes of Jack Reacher and Jason Bourne. “It’s not just who you’re living with that book and that year. It’s the next book. And the next. more »

By January 31, 2016 Read More →

Domestic Thrillers

The Butcher’s Son by Grant Mckenzie

The Butcher’s Son by Grant Mckenzie

By Jaden Terrell Grant McKenzie’s book blurbs read like a Who’s Who in the thriller world, earning high praise from the likes of Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, and Andrew Vachss, just to name a few. Naturally I picked up his latest, THE BUTCHER’S SON, with high expectations. It didn’t disappoint. The voice is strong, a distinctive blend of blunt force and poetry that perhaps should come as no surprise from a man who grew up in Scotland, lives in Canada, and is currently writing about a child protection officer living in Oregon. Asked about his writing journey, McKenzie says he was always naturally curious and imaginative, fascinated with the “What If” hook of mysteries. As a child, he devoured Enid Blyton’s Famous Five YA mystery more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

By Karen Harper An attorney and former investment banker raising three sons in suburban Connecticut, Wendy Walker has written a novel that blends suspense and harrowing family drama, set in the “picture perfect” town of Fairview, Connecticut. ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN, described as “twisty and spellbinding” by People magazine, was also optioned for development by Reese Witherspoon, who will star in the film. Please tell us what your book is about.   ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN is about the aftermath of a violent rape in a small New England town when the victim is given a drug to erase her memory of the attack. It was inspired by recent, cutting edge memory science and treatments for trauma that target memory through a process called reconsolidation. In the novel, an affluent Connecticut family struggles more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Love Her Madly by M. Elizabeth Lee

Love Her Madly by M. Elizabeth Lee

By Vivian Rhodes LOVE HER MADLY, the debut novel by author, M. Elizabeth Lee, is more than a thriller—it examines the demands inherent in meaningful relationships and just how much one is willing to sacrifice for the sake of true friendship. Glo, Cyn, and Raj are college students whose lives become entwined through the love they feel for one another. At first, their unorthodox relationship seems to work, but when Cyn disappears while on a trip to Costa Rica, things get complicated. This month, I chatted with Lee to get the scoop on what inspired this thrilling debut, and what readers can expect from her next. What inspired you to write LOVE HER MADLY? The seed of the novel came to me when I was more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Still Mine by Amy Stuart

Still Mine by Amy Stuart

By April Snellings Hard-boiled detective fiction and domestic suspense are two genres that, at least historically, have rarely intersected. With some notable exceptions, the former has long been the province of macho, lone-wolf antiheroes; the latter, by contrast, is dominated by protagonists wrestling with relationships that bind to the point of suffocation. But the most exciting genre writers delight in obscuring or altogether obliterating such distinctions, and that brings us to Amy Stuart. With her debut novel, STILL MINE, Stuart has delivered a powerful thriller that blurs the lines between the hard-drinking detective and the fragile abuse victim. Stuart’s protagonist is both, and the novel is just as concerned with unraveling the mystery of her past as uncovering the fate of the missing woman she’s trying to find. STILL MINE centers on Clare, a woman who has carefully engineered her own disappearance. Fleeing from her husband, Clare arrives in the insular mountain more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt

Little Girl Gone by Gerry Schmitt

By Cathy Perkins Gerry Schmitt, New York Times bestselling author of multiple cozy mysteries, has released her first thriller, Little Girl Gone. In an advance review, St. Paul Pioneer Press said, “Schmitt has a great sense of the creepy.” LITTLE GIRL GONE is indeed creepy. On a frozen night in an affluent Minneapolis neighborhood, a baby is abducted from her home, and her teenage babysitter assaulted. The parents are frantic, the police are baffled, and, with the perpetrator already in the wind, the trail is getting colder by the second. Enter Afton Tangler, the family liaison officer who pulls together random clues and sniffs out a sinister woman who creates “reborn” dolls. Suspense magazine put it succinctly—Schmitt is “a real pro.” The author shared some more »

By June 30, 2016 Read More →
Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts

Someone Must Die by Sharon Potts

When the past haunts the present, the solution may be deadly Award-winning author Sharon Potts’s much anticipated domestic thriller was recently released with a rave review in Publishers Weekly. The story revolves around Aubrey Lynd, whose six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, raising suspicions about who abducted him. Could it have been Aubrey’s mother?  As Aubrey begins to expose a series of lies, she is thrown into a high-stakes game where her nephew’s life is at risk—and time is running out. Potts took some time this month to share with The Big Thrill her inspiration for this pulse-pounding story, and why “family” is often at the core of her work. What makes SOMEONE MUST DIE different from most domestic thrillers? SOMEONE MUST DIE revolves more »

By June 30, 2016 Read More →

International Suspense

Outside the Lines by Sheila Lowe

Outside the Lines by Sheila Lowe

By Sheila Lowe In the sixth book of the Forensic Handwriting mysteries, what should have been a routine afternoon on the witness stand for handwriting expert Claudia Rose turns into a shocking assault that leaves her traumatized. Then her getaway to the UK lands her in trouble with the FBI and New Scotland Yard—Detective Joel Jovanic’s homicide case has followed Claudia to London where she finds herself unexpectedly allied with the chief suspect. I’m not a good traveler. More to the point, I’m a hermit who is happiest home alone behind my computer keyboard. But last year, when I learned that my younger son was getting married in Germany, of course I had to leave my hermitude and make the trip. Ben, who was a more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Tier One by Brian Andrews & Jeff Wilson

Tier One by Brian Andrews & Jeff Wilson

Writing a Military Thriller with Potent Authenticity By Nancy Bilyeau Something interesting happened at Thrillerfest 2012. A spark turned into a flame, and that flame now blazes atop Amazon’s bestseller list. What specifically happened at said conference? The get-together for the debut-author class. As Jeff Wilson puts it: “Brian and I met in 2012, when we were both debut authors. Honestly, I’m not all that comfortable in those kinds of social situations, and so I had made an effort to seek out other military veterans, thinking these would be men and women I would have things in common with.” It looks like Jeff Wilson and Brian Andrews did find that common ground. September 1st is the publication date for their book written together, TIER ONE, winning more »

By August 30, 2016 Read More →
When the Music’s Over by Peter Robinson

When the Music’s Over by Peter Robinson

Crime Fiction Ripped From the Headlines By Nancy Bilyeau In 1987, Inspector Allan Banks made his first appearance in the crime novel Gallows View. Canadian author Peter Robinson won glowing reviews for his novel, which followed Banks’ move from London to the Yorkshire town of Eastvale. This summer marks the 23rd outing for the tenacious Banks, in the novel WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER.  In between the two publications, Robinson’s series has earned a loyal following, consistently good reviews, and awards ranging from the Anthony and the Barry to the Edgar and CWA’s Dagger in the Library. WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER is set in Eastvale, as were its predecessors. Robinson, who was born in Leeds, draws on his childhood memories of Yorkshire, in part, to create the more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Cambodia Noir by Nick Seeley

Cambodia Noir by Nick Seeley

By J. H. Bográn PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA: the end of the line. Lawless, drug-soaked, forgotten—it’s where bad journalists go to die. For once-great war photographer Will Keller, that’s kind of a mission statement: he spends his days floating from one score to the next, taking any job that pays; his nights are a haze of sex, drugs, booze, and brawling. But Will’s spiral toward oblivion is interrupted by Kara Saito, a beautiful young woman who shows up and begs Will to help find her sister, June, who disappeared during a stint as an intern at the local paper. Cambo offers a hundred kinds of trouble a young reporter could get mixed up in—but June came with secrets and terrors of her own. Cambodia is not the only more »

By March 31, 2016 Read More →
Lost King by H.B. Moore

Lost King by H.B. Moore

By H.B. Moore At the age of 14, I met the Coptic pope, Patriarch Shenouda III, who lived in exile in Alexandria. The Coptic Church is the largest Christian religion in the Middle East, and according to tradition, the church was established by St. Mark in the first century, taking on a different position over Christology from that of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. I’d traveled to Egypt with my father on a business trip, and for an American teenager from Utah, this trip was the beginning of my fascination with ancient Egypt. As an elementary school student, I’d lived in Maadi, Egypt, but those memories had well faded by my teen years, limited to over-crowded trains and the dark soulful more »

By February 29, 2016 Read More →
The Capitalist by Peter Steiner

The Capitalist by Peter Steiner

By J. H. Bográn In THE CAPITALIST, St. John Larrimer’s fraudulent financial investment is revealed and he flees to his luxurious Caribbean retreat.  The money of course has been safely laundered in real estate and off-shore accounts.  “It’s how capitalism works,” says Larrimer.  It’s Darwin, with cash.  Unfortunately for him, Louis Morgon, a defrocked CIA operative, is one of Larrimer’s victims.  Louis didn’t lose much, but Pauline, his lover, did, and worse, her brother, who was responsible for their investments, took his own life.  For Louis Morgon, injustice on this order is an itch that has to be scratched.  And he’s not above a little fraud of his own to bring Larrimer down. Besides writing novels, the author has made a living as cartoonist for more »

By February 29, 2016 Read More →

Contemporary Thrillers

The Breastplate of Faith and Love by Paul McGoran

The Breastplate of Faith and Love by Paul McGoran

Paul McGoran’s chronicle of the elegant but toxic Chitworth clan continues in THE BREASTPLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE (New Pulp Press)—his follow-up to the 2015 noir thriller, Made for Murder. The action begins in old-money Newport, then shifts to a contrasting pair of upscale and hardscrabble neighborhoods in San Francisco. While the new novel stands alone as a psychological thriller/murder mystery combo, it also marks the start of a series featuring P.I. Stafford Boyle, a small-time gumshoe from Rhode Island. His keynote is a kind of sophisticated naivety. He’s the kind of fellow who relates his clients and their cases to his favorite film noir plots and the actors who starred in them. He’s also a dogged sleuth. Stymied at first by a job that more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Turning Point: Hank Phillippi Ryan by Wendy Tyson

Turning Point: Hank Phillippi Ryan by Wendy Tyson

Writing a Gutsy Heroine From the Heart By Wendy Tyson Hank Phillippi Ryan is well known on several fronts. She’s an award-winning on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate and an award-winning bestselling crime author. Fans love her Charlotte McNally series and her Jane Ryland thrillers—as well as her anthologies and short stories. How does she do it all? This month in The Big Thrill, Hank shares a few of her secrets. She also gives us a glimpse into AIR TIME and DRIVE TIME, her two summertime releases from the popular Charlotte McNally series. Thanks to some innovative moves, Charlotte is back. Congratulations on the recent release of AIR TIME and the upcoming release of DRIVE TIME. What an exciting summer—two releases in the Charlotte more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Free Fall by Rick Mofina

Free Fall by Rick Mofina

By James W. Ziskin Hailed as “one of the best thriller writers in the business” by Library Journal, Rick Mofina is the acclaimed author of 19 novels and many short stories. Mofina writes standalones and four series (Reed-Sydowski, Jason Wade, Jack Gannon and Kate Page). He has garnered numerous nominations and awards, including the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in 2003 for Blood of Others. A 30-year veteran journalist for the Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald and Southam News wire service, among others, Mofina uses his journalistic experience to write tight, white-knuckle thrillers. Reporter Kate Page returns in Mofina’s latest thriller, FREE FALL, a terrifying race against time as airplanes start falling out of the sky for unknown reasons. Kate Page is a tenacious heroine more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth

Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth

By E. M. Powell I’m sure we all treasure the wisdom of our friends. But I’m equally sure we envy Christopher Farnsworth this particular relationship: “A good friend of mine says that writing is painting yourself into a corner—and then flying out.” Even better is that Farnsworth has acted upon this advice. His latest release, KILLFILE, most definitely flies and then some. For starters, it has such an original and compelling premise. Psychic John Smith was trained by the CIA to weaponize his unusual talents. Not only can he hear people’s thoughts, he can also bend the will of others to his own. He has moved on from government service to private consultancy to the very wealthiest. Hired to investigate a young software genius and more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Dancing With the Tiger by Lili Wright

Dancing With the Tiger by Lili Wright

Lili Wright’s debut novel, DANCING WITH THE TIGER, is set in Mexico, a country the author knows well. Wright lived in Mexico twice, and she infuses this rollicking novel of art and addiction with her reporter’s eye for vivid detail. The story begins when a meth-addicted looter digs up what he believes is Montezuma’s funerary mask, a priceless artifact. A tense chase ensues as an eclectic cast of characters pursues the treasure for very different reasons. In addition to the meth-addicted looter, there is a masked tiger, an expat art collector, a dying drug lord, a lesbian housekeeper, and most importantly—Anna Ramsey, a 30-year-old American with a history of bad choices. Ramsey needs the mask to redeem her father—and save herself. Here, Wright chats with more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →
Brain Storm by Elaine Viets

Brain Storm by Elaine Viets

By Joe Moore Changing course in the middle of a successful writing career is a big gamble. Especially moving from light, humorous novels to much darker, serious subject matter. When I heard that my friend Elaine Viets was doing just that with her new novel, BRAIN STORM, I had to find out why. It came as no surprise that her motivation grew from events in her life. Now I know that this course change will be just as successful as her previous path. Here’s what I learned. Elaine, why write a dark psychological suspense novel? You’re best known for your funny Dead-End Job mysteries and cozy Mystery Shopper novels? I started writing dark novels, the Francesca Vierling newspaper mysteries for Bantam Dell. Then the publisher’s more »

By July 31, 2016 Read More →

The Best of the Rest

September 5 – 11: “What is the best point of view for a thriller?”

September 5 – 11: “What is the best point of view for a thriller?”

What is the best point of view for a thriller? This week we’re joined by ITW Members Paul McGoran, Judy Penz Sheluk, Sheila Lowe, Ron Parham, Wendy Walker and David McCaleb as they discuss the best point of view for a thriller.

By September 4, 2016 17 Comments Read More →
The September 2016 Edition of The Big Thrill is Here!

The September 2016 Edition of The Big Thrill is Here!

The September issue showcases writers who tackle topics of real meaning. Yes, these books are page-turners, and they’re written with depth and heart too. Andrew Gross, our cover story, talks about what path he followed that led to The One Man, his thriller set in World War II. Karin Slaughter talks about The Kept Woman and how humor helps when she must travel to dark places of the soul. Other must-reads: Brenda Novak, Reed Farrel Coleman, Clare Mackintosh, and the trio of Tim O’Mara, Charles Salzberg and Ross Klavan on their book of crime-fiction novellas. Plus, Dawn Ius on her young adult car-heist thriller and Donna Galanti on her middle grade suspense adventure. It’s one of our favorite times of year: Kimberley Howe’s report on more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Blood of Brothers by Richard Edde

Blood of Brothers by Richard Edde

BLOOD OF BROTHERS, recently released by Black Opal Books, is set in the steamy jungles of Nicaragua during the country’s civil war. Fortunately for us, Richard Edde had not tucked himself away in such a secluded location, and willingly talked with The Big Thrill about his latest work. What got you interested in the Nicaraguan civil war? I have always been interested in jungles. As a child I was fascinated by the Tarzan movies.  Still watch them as a matter of fact. I’m intrigued by their exotic locales and the danger that lurks within them. During the Vietnam War, my friends returned with tales of the jungle. Civil wars are always interesting—people struggling for democracy and freedom, for a better way of life.  In writing more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Africa Scene: Sally Andrew by Michael Sears

Africa Scene: Sally Andrew by Michael Sears

When Murder’s In the Recipe By Michael Sears With a master’s degree in adult education, Sally Andrew was a social and environmental activist before she and her partner decided to move to the Klein Karoo.  Now they live on a nature reserve with a giant eland and a secretive leopard for company.  Along the way, Andrew created Tannie Maria, a delightful character, fixated on cooking, who has to give up her recipe column to become the local newspaper’s agony aunt.  She finds she has a talent for that too, but it leads her into a nasty series of murders.  Andrew’s debut novel, RECIPES FOR LOVE AND MURDER, became an instant success around the world.  Alexander McCall Smith said it was “a vivid, amusing and immensely more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Recall by David McCaleb

Recall by David McCaleb

By Anne Tibbets Tony “Red” Harmon’s life is a lie. In RECALL, Red discovers the hidden truth – he’s not a construction worker and suburban father – he’s a special ops veteran for an elite military squad with a dormant memory. Now, when tragedy strikes, Red’s buried skills are put to the test and he must rejoin his old team to prevent an international incident. Veteran, U.S. Air Force Academy grad, and author David McCaleb isn’t messing around when it comes to writing military action – his love of the genre runs deep. “I’ve always gravitated toward thrillers and action-adventure movies,” says McCaleb. “My father held a deep regard for the military and helped instill it in me. I feel my military background is more more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
A Living Grave by Robert E. Dunn

A Living Grave by Robert E. Dunn

By R.G. Belsky Robert E. Dunn’s last book was a horror novel about motorized monsters in a small town. His previous novels have featured aliens and zombies. He’s also published an erotic romance novel. And he has written TV scripts for commercial spots, documentary productions and travelogues. So why did he decide to put out a thriller now? “I love horror but a diet of French fries, no matter how much you love them would become both boring and stifling,” Dunn said when we asked him about A LIVING GRAVE, the first book in his new Katrina Williams thriller series. “I don’t see much difference between horror and thriller except the adversaries and the rules of the fictional world. In a thriller you have real more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
MJ-12: Inception by Michael J. Martinez

MJ-12: Inception by Michael J. Martinez

By Michael J. Martinez Humanity has always embraced new and exciting ways to inflict harm upon itself. How long did it take for the first bow-and-arrow hunters to turn their aim against a fellow Stone Age man? The over/under has to be measured in months, if not weeks. Which came first—the ploughshare or the sword? And let’s not even get started on atomic energy. We embrace the new with gusto and quickly turn it against one another, even if we don’t know all that much about it. Remember, there were a few scientists out there who thought there was a chance, however small, that the A-bomb would fry the world’s atmosphere. We used it anyway. These themes of novelty, responsibility, power and destruction were all more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
Wanted by Marissa Garner

Wanted by Marissa Garner

Marissa Garner is celebrating the release of WANTED, the third book in her sexy, edgy FBI Heat series. Although each story stands alone, readers will enjoy reconnecting with several favorite characters from Hunted and Targeted. In WANTED, Special Agent Dillon O’Malley teams up with a fascinating heroine, Kat MacKenzie, the woman who left him at the altar (literally) two years ago. The thrilling action revolves around the sabotage of a nuclear power plant, but readers will also be holding their breath to see if Dillon discovers why Kat originally abandoned him, and whether their second chance at love will lead to a happy ending. Like Hunted and Targeted, WANTED required careful balance of the suspense and romance. Garner’s editor—who’s been in publishing far longer than more »

By August 31, 2016 Read More →
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