Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats–and one very dead Annie.
Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie’s family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie’s fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie–if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.
Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before its too late in Cat Got Your Cash, the endearing second Kitty Couture mystery from Julie Chase.
CAT GOT YOUR CASH author, Julie Chase, sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel:
Philomela Nightingale visits her sister in the town of Saltaire. While coping with a thieving museum volunteer and a charlatan psychic, the two women become involved with an identity theft, a hit-and-run car accident, and a murder. Will Philomela’s powers of observation and intuition be strong enough for her to help the police solve these serious puzzles?
The Big Thrill had a chance to speak with author Benni Chisholm about SHOWMAN OR SHAMAN:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they enjoy light entertainment and feel good after finishing the book. If they glean a bit of new information, that is a bonus.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
It will provide pleasant, escape reading while the reader also solves the puzzle of whodunit. Hopefully tid-bits of new information will be passed on to the reader.
Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?
Cat vs. Dog . . .
After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?
Alicia is worried . . .
While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.
When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.
Will they survive . . . . or is their ending written in stone?
Author Debbie De Louise discussed her latest novel, WRITTEN IN STONE, with The Big Thrill:
By Karen Harper
Karen Katchur writes suspense novels that beautifully blend a compelling setting with a realistic story. Her background in criminal justice makes her work feel “you-are-there” authentic. The focus on family also moves her novels into the realm of psychological fiction.
This month, Katchur took time out of her busy schedule to provide insight into her thrilling new release, THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN, and share with The Big Thrill some of the secrets behind her success.
Please tell us what THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN is about.
For Linnet, owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Mountain Springs, Pennsylvania, life has been a bit complicated lately. Hundreds of snow geese die overnight in the dam near the B&B, sparking a media frenzy, threatening the tourist season, and bringing her estranged younger sister, Myna, to town. If that isn’t enough, the women’s father has been charged with investigating the incident. But when a younger expert is brought in to replace him on the case and then turns up dead on Linnet’s property, their father becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the sisters will have to confront each other, their hidden past, and a side of Mountain Springs not seen before.
As tense and fast-paced as an episode of Headbanger’s Ball, HEAVY METAL is a gripping, nostalgi- riddled story that urges you to shovel this short book into your eyes. Dealing with family, and mental and societal pressures that we all face, Danny sheds light on the inner thought process of a struggling freshman living in his brother’s shadow.
But first, Danny must overcome Bourelle’s version of the 1980s without the campy TV, heartwarming movies or colorful outfits. Though I grew up in a later decade, this accurately depicts what high school kids were dealing with on some level. We were just punching walls and faces to a different soundtrack.
Here, The Big Thrill chats with Bourelle about getting into character and taking readers on a trip down memory lane.
The protagonist Danny is a depiction of 1980s youth and the book starts with a first person present, angsty voice and a literal gun in his mouth. Did you have to do anything to get into character while writing this, from playing with small firearms or blasting metal on a cassette player?
I tapped mostly into my own experiences: shooting a pistol years ago, listening to hard rock music as a kid (and still today), remembering cold walks on winter days growing up in Ohio. The novel is not autobiographical, but I did grow up in a small town in the 1980s. Setting the story in a familiar world helped me capture the tone. HEAVY METAL actually began as a short story with the same title that was published by the literary journal, Jabberwock Review. When I decided to try writing a novel, I thought there was more of Danny’s story to tell. Writing in his voice felt natural because I was already familiar with the character.
Armand Rosamilia has a lot going on in his head. At any given moment, he could be writing a crime thriller, a zombie novel, an over-the-top humor book, or a paranormal thriller. With more than 150 stories published—from shorts to novellas to novels—the only time he’s not writing is when he’s sleeping.
“I keep it all in my head,” the New Jersey boy and Florida transplant says. “I usually write three to five projects at once. I’m not sure how I do it. I just do it. “
Rosamilia’s latest, DIRTY DEEDS 3, continues a crime thriller series starring main character James Gaffney. This time around he’s called upon to give testimony against The Family, a branch of the New Jersey mob operating in Philadelphia. The Philly crew takes exception to Gaffney’s impending testimony and attempts to eliminate him. At the same time, the FBI is working hard to implicate him on kidnapping and child deaths spanning many years.
You don’t have to read Gaffney’s two prior adventures to enjoy this one, but Rosamilia admits it helps to know his full backstory, so we started there.
Who is James Gaffney and what drives him?
James Gaffney is a man hired to kill children. If you’re a sports star or a rock star or a millionaire and you’ve had a baby with someone and it’s making your life complicated, James Gaffney will take care of it. Only he doesn’t actually kill the child. He saves them, gives them a new life. He’s part of this system himself, so he knows what it’s like to have a parent or parents who want you dead. It has guided him into his mid-forties.
Author Cara Putman introduces a bright new protagonist in her latest novel BEYOND JUSTICE, a legal thriller that is both suspenseful and unique.
When Hayden McCarthy is assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership in her law firm or the case that will guarantee she never gets it.
The woman knows firsthand the pain that comes when justice is not served. That’s why she became a lawyer. But as Putman explains, Hayden is not a crusader, at least not in her own mind: “She’s a hardworking gal with vision for where she wants to go. She doesn’t see herself as a heroine but someone just taking the next step forward.”
Most legal thrillers set the hero against a crazed maniac or evil corporation. In this case, the bad guys are federal, and Putman notes that making the government the enemy actually complicated the plot. “I really needed the case to be tried in the Court of Federal Claims,” Putman says, “but that meant I had to put on my legal hat and come up with a novel but believable legal theory. Only the government can be the defendant in that particular court, but that court doesn’t hear murder or wrongful death cases. So that became a big, but not insurmountable, challenge for Hayden.”
When I was a child, we had a cat named Boots, a shy gray-and-white girl who used to read with me. Her whole head would move from left to right as she scanned each line, and when she got to the bottom of the right-hand page, she’d look up to tell me to turn the page. If I started to turn it too soon, she would stop me with a paw. As you can imagine, I have a soft spot for cat stories.
PURR M FOR MURDER, the first of T.C. (Toni) LoTempio’s Cat Rescue mystery series, is a worthy addition to the cat mystery genre, with big-hearted sympathetic characters and a lovable sleuthing feline. It’s a playful romp published by Crooked Lane and written by a cat lover who, along with her uncredited partner, Rocco, also pens the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
Asked about her writing journey and how she came to be a mystery writer, Toni says her lifelong love of mysteries was sparked when she read her first Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret in the Old Attic, at the age of ten.
“I’ve always loved making up stories,” she says, “ever since I was little. I’d read Superman comics and if I didn’t like the end I’d rewrite it! My tastes in reading have always gravitated toward mystery/true crime. I devoured Erle Stanley Gardner and Agatha Christie early on—so I guess you could say it was a natural progression.”
DiAnn Mills wrote her first book on a Big Chief notepad with a #2 pencil. Asked about her journey toward becoming a bestselling author of Christian romantic suspense, she says, “I always enjoyed creating story, deepening characterization, and placing heroes and heroines in difficult places. The older I got, the more trouble those characters got into. But I didn’t take writing seriously until 1996 when my husband said, ‘Stop telling me you’re going to write a book one day. Just do it. Quit your job. I give you one year to see if anything is published.’”
A Type A personality, Mills took his challenge seriously.
“My new job was writing,” she says, “and I approached it with passion and enthusiasm.” She read how-to books, attended writing workshops and conferences, became involved in writing and critique groups, and wrote a set number of words every day. Two years later, her first book was released. “Not sure if my husband ever regretted the challenge, but I will say he’s my best cheerleader. He believed in me when I didn’t.”
DiAnn believes her readers should expect an adventure, and she does her best to deliver. To ensure an authentic experience, she once rode the line with the Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. Another time, she traveled to Southern Sudan to research a novel.
By Wendy Tyson
Canadian author Vicki Delany last sat down with The Big Thrill in December, during the release of her holiday-themed mystery We Wish You a Murderous Christmas. This time Delany is back with ELEMENTARY, SHE READ, the first in a delightful new series featuring Gemma Doyle, the owner of a bookstore in Cape Cod that specializes in all things Sherlock Holmes. Like the great fictional detective, Gemma, a transplanted Englishwoman, uses heightened powers of deduction to root out evil intentions and solve murders.
I had the pleasure of talking with Delany about her new Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, her thoughts on the cozy genre, and the importance of networking for writers.
ELEMENTARY, SHE READ is a fresh, smart, engaging whodunit with an interesting premise: an amateur sleuth (Gemma Doyle) not only owns the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium but also has impressive detective skills in her own right. What was the inspiration for this new series?
There isn’t much hotter in popular culture these days than Sherlock Holmes; people can’t seem to get enough of him, so when I was looking for an inspiration for a new series, I intended to create a fairly traditional cozy about a woman who owns a speciality bookshop. I planned to throw in bits of Sherlock-ania and references to the modern pastiche novels as well. But almost as soon as I began writing, the Gemma Doyle became Sherlock-like. And that’s been an enormous amount of fun.
THE STOLEN CHILD is a different take on a thriller. There is no violence in the first few pages. No swearing. No explicit sex. And still, Kay manages to create a high level of gotta-turn-the-page-and-find-out-what-happens-next tension.
Kay’s thriller influences.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a favorite. In Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, Kay loves the plot, the chillingly Machiavellian characters and the pitch-perfect prose. She thinks Flynn’s previous novel, Sharp Objects—another favorite—is edgier with a searing twist: perfect Southern gothic-noir. Other influences are Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, Jane Shemilt’s Daughter and Gilly MacMillian’s Burnt Paper Sky.
If you are a fan of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn you should find both of Kay’s books an outstanding reason to read all night.
An example of her style.
“The moor has always been part of my life. It’s like a muse: the colours of the heather and the sky; how you can see the savagery of the wind in the way the dwarf pine trees are bent double, the bleak lines of the landscape in winter when everything save the moss and the grass are dead, stones like bones, poking through a thin skin of bilberry bushes, rushes reflected in black bog water. “
When an international ring of sex traffickers kidnaps an eight-year-old girl in Boston, FBI Agent Lucas Randall heads undercover. But his rescue operation goes disastrously wrong and Lucas barely escapes with his life. Now the ruthless traffickers are hunting him down, along with everyone else who threatens their operation.
Computer expert Ashley Chen joined the FBI to fight against evil in the world—evil she experienced firsthand. She has mad skills, and deadly secrets, and once she starts working with Lucas, she also has big trouble, because after years of pushing people away, she’s falling for the guy. The feeling is more than mutual, but as Ashley intensifies her online pursuit of the trafficking ring, her traumatic past collides with her present and suddenly Lucas can’t tell which side she’s on. And as the case escalates into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, it turns out Ashley isn’t the only one with something to hide.
If neither can trust the other with their secrets, how can they trust each other with their hearts?
Bestselling author Toni Anderson recently discussed writing COLD SECRETS with The Big Thrill:
By George Ebey
DERANGED by Jacob Stone is the first in a brand new thriller series featuring former LAPD detective turned consultant Morris Brick.
They call him the Skull Cracker Killer. He drugs his victims. Breaks open their skulls with a hammer and chisel. The rest is inhuman. Five years ago he terrorized New York City, claiming twelve victims before the killing stopped. Now he’s racking up victims on a fresh hunting ground. Where former LAPD homicide detective Morris Brick is working as a consultant on a serial-killer film. Where a desperate mayor pleads with Brick to take on the case. And where the only way he can stop the next wave of murders is by outsmarting a madman—before he strikes again, this time much too close to home . . .
The Big Thrill recently caught up with the author to learn more about this exciting new series.
What first drew you to writing crime stories?
I’ve been an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction since I was a teenager. Some of my favorite writers include Dashiell Hammett, Rex Stout, James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Donald Westlake, and Ross Macdonald, and so it made sense that when I started writing I’d be drawn to crime fiction, although I also write horror. So far I’ve had eleven novels published (DERANGED will be my 12th), as well as dozens of short stories, and I’ve written everything from lighthearted and amusing mysteries to pitch-black noir. While there’s a big difference between my lighthearted Julius Katz stories and my noir novels, like Small Crimes and Pariah, what they have in common is that the stories are driven by tension and suspense, and even humor, and those elements are partly why I enjoy writing crime fiction so much.
Arriving at her secluded cabin to find her brother missing, Olivia Kendricks follows his trail into the woods—until two shooters take aim at her. She only escapes when ex-detective Zachary Long, her brother’s friend—and Olivia’s first love—comes to her rescue. Now as they run for their lives in the snowbound wilderness, they must search for her brother while figuring out why someone wants them dead. And though Zach’s police force training may be what will save them, it’s also what once drove them apart when he gave Olivia up to chase his dream. In a freezing landscape as deadly as it is beautiful, they’ll have to let go of the past…and face down powerful men willing to kill to keep secrets buried.
Bestselling author, Elizabeth Goddard, recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss writing FALSE SECURITY with The Big Thrill:
By David Healey
The West Coast in the year 2017 may seem a long way from the English countryside of 1946, but in THE SECRET OF BRAMBLE HILL, California-based mystery author Sue Owens Wright has authored a classic English cozy right down to the tea, crumpets, and drafty manor house.
There are dark secrets best swept under his lordship’s rug, and perhaps a ghost lurking in the forgotten rooms of Bramble Hill.
There is also a dog, Gemma, who steals a scene or two. This makes sense, considering that Wright is best known for a slew (or is that a pack?) of mysteries featuring a basset hound.
Wright is a true dog lover and is active in pet welfare organizations in California. Her Beanie & Cruiser basset hound mysteries include Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking On Murder and Braced For Murder. (The term “braced” has to do with a team of basset hounds working a trail together.) Her nonfiction books include several titles for dog owners (150 Activities for Bored Dogs) and she also writes for magazines for pet owners. She has been nominated 11 times for the Maxwell, awarded by the Dog Writers Association of America.
Crime reporter Julia Gooden covers the grittiest stories in Detroit while raising her two sons in the suburbs. But beneath her accomplished façade, she is still consumed by the tragedy of her brother’s abduction years earlier.
Julia’s marriage is also a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking and bribery, but the story becomes more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims the prosecution’s key witness and leaves David critically injured.
Julia is sure Rossi ordered the attack, but the case against him is collapsing. With the help of Detective Ray Navarro, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback and political ambition, and as Julia digs deeper, innocent lives—including her children’s—hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters.
Author, Jane Haseldine, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest novel, DUPLICITY:
But questions gnaw at his gut: Where have his folks disappeared to? Why do old friends want him gone? And who wants him dead?
Teaming with his high school sweetheart turned legal Valkyrie, a hulking body shop bodybuilder, and a razor-wielding gentleman’s club house mother, Jay will unravel a tangle of deception all the way back to the bayous where he was born. With an iron-fisted police chief on his tail and a ruthless mob captain at his throat, he’ll need his wits, his fists, and his father’s trusty Vietnam war hatchet to hack his way through a toxic jungle of New Jersey corruption that makes the gator-filled swamps of home feel like the shallow end of the kiddie pool…
The Big Thrill had a chance to catch up with Thomas Pluck to discuss his latest novel, BAD BOY BOOGIE:
Jackson Donne has spent the last year in prison, where his mentor, Kenneth Herrick, has kept him safe. One night, Kenneth tells Donne a “friend” has bought them out of their sentence. Confused, Donne goes along. And finds himself in the clutches of a partner from Kenneth’s past.
Learning of the release, Matt Herrick decides to pursue his father. But when he finds that his terminally ill mother is now married to Kenneth’s old partner, Herrick turns his investigation into overdrive. And that could cost him everything.
Kenneth’s old partner gives him an ultimatum: steal millions of dollars from the Federal Reserve in New Jersey, or let the disease kill his ex-wife. Donne has no choice but to help his new mentor.
Now Matt Herrick is faced with a choice: Can he let his dad and Donne save his mother, while letting the heist go off without a hitch? Or can Matt Herrick save his mother, and stop the the heist before everyone ends up in prison—or worse—dead?
Award-winning author, Dave White, recently discussed his latest novel, BLIND TO SIN, with The Big Thrill:
When the McCray’s, a family of backwoods Missouri marijuana farmers, signature strain begins to infringe on the St. Louis market, a Mexican Cartel that had recently taken over the city’s drug trade, sends a dozen Cartel soldiers to dispatch the small time growers. The McCray’s slaughter the hit squad and desecrate the bodies, kicking off a war between the two crime families. Unbeknownst to the McCray’s, one of the Cartel soldiers they killed was an undercover F.B.I. agent. Jill Murphy, a bi-racial F.B.I. agent, is chosen to lead a team to the McCray’s hometown to investigate them for the murder of the agent, Jill assumes the identity of a local girl who left town as a child by blackmailing the girl’s father to pass her off as his long lost daughter. With her cover established, she is accepted into the community and quickly establishes a surprisingly easy and comfortable bond with the McCray’s. Things come to a head on a steamy Missouri night when the McCray’s, the Cartel ,and the F.B.I. collide in an explosion of violence that will change all of their lives forever and end some altogether.
Author Jesse James Kennedy took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss MISSOURI HOMEGROWN with The Big Thrill:
Dark, gritty, disturbing. Those are the types of characters you’ll encounter in the award-winning stories within this collection. Tough people in a tough world. But also real people, struggling with difficult decisions when faced with unthinkable circumstances. What happens when you discover a dead body but can’t go to the police because of your own dark past? Or your father’s dark past? What might a woman resort to when her husband doesn’t hold up his end of a bargain? What frightening surprises lie buried beneath the beaches of North Carolina? Or in the desolate hills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains? Or in the swamps of the New Jersey Pine Barrens?
These are stories that are as dark, gritty, and disturbing as the characters who inhabit them, yet there is a pervasive humanness which forces us to empathize. That asks us to understand why people sometimes do what they do. Perhaps that’s the reason these stories have been chosen for the Best American Mystery series, honored by The Atlantic Monthly’s Student Writing Contest, not to mention various other awards and honors. Perhaps that’s why these stories will stick with you well after the reading has commenced. Always gnawing at you, unrelenting, asking, “What would you have done in that situation? Would you have behaved any differently?”
Scott Loring Sanders took some time to discuss his latest book, SHOOTING CREEK AND OTHER STORIES, with The Big Thrill:
When the Jarrett Creek Fire Department is called to douse a blaze on the outskirts of town, they discover a grisly scene: five black young people have been murdered. Newly elected Chief of Police Samuel Craddock, just back from a stint in the Air Force, finds himself an outsider in the investigation headed by the Texas Highway Patrol. He takes an immediate dislike to John Sutherland, a racist trooper.
Craddock’s fears are realized when Sutherland arrests Truly Bennett, a young black man whom Craddock knows and respects. Sutherland cites dubious evidence that points to Bennett, and Craddock uncovers facts leading in another direction. When Sutherland refuses to relent, Craddock is faced with a choice that will define him as a lawman—either let the highway patrol have its way, or take on a separate investigation himself.
Although his choice to investigate puts both Craddock and his family in danger, he perseveres. In the process, he learns something about himself and the limits of law enforcement in Jarrett Creek.
JOHNNY CASINO is a love story and a thriller. It’s about Old Vegas and gangsters, toddlers and in-laws and terrorists, and the heartbreak and joys of falling in love, getting married, and starting a family. About impossible choices and incredibly dark secrets. About finding courage and thus Ffnding yourself. About saving your family and maybe saving even the world. Or at least Las Vegas.
Johnny Caine is just twenty-three and a sweetheart of a guy. Happily married, he is a wonderful dad. He thinks he has a future in the hotel-casino industry, even if it is Mob-owned. But the glitzy, glamorous world he lives in no longer a safe place to raise a family.
Johnny Caine thought the violent shooting deaths of his father and other bystanders was a casually cruel byproduct of some turf war among San Francisco’s gangs. The drive-by killers didn’t care who died amid the gunfire. But that night when Johnny is ducking bullets for a second time, he realizes he was the real target.
Johnny suffers from synesthesia. A rare neurological “gift” where his senses are all screwed up and his “conclusions” are all jumbled up. Johnny always knows where the cops are. All of them. How many cops there are and how fast they’re approaching. A useless “gift” to anybody but the Mob. To the Bovadiglia family of Las Vegas, Johnny Caine is their secret weapon keeping the cops and Feds at arm’s length. Johnny Caine has been on their leash for nine years; he is also their Top Secret. Even as they have started taking him for granted.
Back in Vegas Johnny discovers the killings are here, too. The Bovadiglia familia is being taken out one-by-one in the most unusual ways. The Mob thinks it’s a turf war, too, that these killings just go with the territory, and “for now we got time to retaliate.” But Johnny learns he can identify, even trail the killers by their particular auras. Like following a pretty girl who uses too much perfume. Or hating the cloud a cigarette smoker leaves behind in an elevator. He learns how these killings are part of a very personal vendetta, a most vicious political payback for the family’s role with the CIA in Latin America. And he is terrified when he finds out why the killers have spotlighted him as one of them.
Hell has released its ravening horde of demons, leaving most of humanity a puke-spewing, head-spinning mess of possession.
Humanity’s last hope? A team of misfit gargoyles—including a cigar chomping, hard-ass grotesque—come alive and ready for battle during the End of Days. They guard the last cathedral-turned-sanctuary atop a bald knoll in the North Carolina mountains.
Gargoyle protection grudgingly extends to any human who can make it inside the sanctuary, but the power of the stonecutter blood magic, which protects the sanctuary, may not be enough when a rogue grotesque and his badly-wounded ward arrive.
All the hounds of hell are on their heels. The last sanctuary is about to fall.
Author Jake Bible stopped by The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, STONE COLD BASTARDS:
Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years before. In Skagway, Alaska, the usual crimes faced by the police department’s small force are DUIs and missing bikes. With the chief in the hospital and one officer missing, they’re not prepared for the kidnapping of a billionaire’s daughter.
Misty Morgan thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention. Now she and another teenager are praying for their lives. Stuck in China, Misty’s father knew his daughter was up to something, so he asked his longtime friend Vince Nanini to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is, Vince arrives too late. The college boy is dead, Misty is missing, and the police aren’t eager to let him help.
When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months resurfaces. Vince finds her drunk and in tears, and he’s with her when she realizes the kidnapper has struck again. Together they must figure out where this man has taken three people, and they must find him fast.
Maris Soule spent time with The Big Thrill this month to discuss her novel, ECHOES OF TERROR:
A tragic twist of fate takes away everything that really matters to Peter Watson. After such a profound loss, he can’t make sense of his life anymore. So he takes to the road—alone—to put some time and distance between himself and what happened. He hopes the solitude will help him find a reason to go on, a way to heal.
When he stops to check in at the remote Quarry Resort, he expects to wrestle with painful, intense memories. He does not expect to spend the night fighting for his life.
No matter how far you travel, the darkness inside will find you…
The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to discuss MOON OVER RUIN with Lisa Von Biela:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
This book is a novella, so it’s a relatively short ride, but I hope my readers empathize with Peter Watson, his loss, and the way he tries to cope with it. Of course, he gets more than he bargained for, and that’s what makes this a thriller!
Innocents are being sacrificed in the name of greed, retribution, passion and the lust for power — and the only worthy opponent of this senseless evil is the uncompromising resolve to rise above it, rather than descend to its depths.
The heart pounding sequel to the acclaimed novel Gravesend— from Shamus Award-winning author J.L. Abramo—CONEY ISLAND AVENUE continues the dramatic account of the professional and personal struggles that constitute everyday life for the dedicated men and women of the Six-One—and of the saints and sinners who share their streets.
Award-winning author, J.L. Abramo, spent time discussing CONEY ISLAND AVENUE with The Big Thrill:
Ken Sligo returns in THE KILLERS ARE COMING, a cat-and-mouse investigation across the backstages and back alleys of “The Block,” Baltimore’s red-light district. Forged by the criminals and police, to isolate criminal activity, it can’t contain the various mobsters and shake-down artists sticking their toes outside the perimeter.
The paint hasn’t dried on the door to Sligo’s detective agency, and he’s contemplating closing shop. When Rudy Cohan offers him a cash-filled envelope in Baltimore’s Penn Station, Sligo crosses his fingers and hopes for the best. Is Rainy Dawn cheating on her producer boyfriend? Where does she get her extra spending money? The answers don’t align with the questions, and Sligo realizes his client is holding out, but not before a mob hit points the finger right at him …
Prolific author, Jack Bludis, discussed his latest novel, THE KILLERS ARE COMING, with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A sense of what it is like to be a fledgling Private Investigator.
The downward spiral begins when Jake’s client, Miami Dolphins’ running back Thunder Thurston, is cleared of murdering his wife. Jake didn’t expect to win, didn’t want to win, since he is sure his client is guilty. When Thurston walks free, Lassiter vows to seek his own kind of justice. Vigilante justice.
Law partners Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord can’t believe their friend has become so obsessed with killing Thurston. Convinced Jake’s unhinged behavior is due to concussions suffered during his pro football career, they beg him to seek treatment. But as Lassiter’s fixation on vengeance grows, Solomon and Lord wonder if they’re too late to help. Is it game over for Jake’s career…and his life?
Author Paul Levine recently spent time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest novel, BUM LUCK:
Framed for ordering a hit on mobster Tony DeMarco, Tina Adler is forced to re-enter the shadowy world of computer hacking she thought she’d left behind. In order to clear her name, she reluctantly joins an FBI team led by her old flame, Zeke Chapman, tasked with scouring the deep web to unearth DeMarco’s darkest secrets.
The trail will lead Tina to the person who framed her—but it may also reveal other secrets that she would rather not know. DeMarco might be the least of Tina’s worries. Could her true enemy be someone much closer to home?
The Big Thrill interviewed author Karen E. Olson about her novel, BETRAYED:
In October 1959, a young, hard-luck P.I. is lost in America, determined to untangle a series of grisly murders spreading like a disease from the set of The Alamo. Fighting for his life from a dry desert storm, to a mind-bending fog in San Francisco, and a snow-blinding mountain top outside Hollywood, Stan Wade gropes his way through drug-induced, false trails to outwit an aggressive, obsessive mass killer.
Author John Hegenberger took some time out of his busy schedule to discuss his latest novel, STORMFALL, with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Delight and joy from a wonderful journey from Texas to San Francisco to Los Angeles, all in late 1959.
The Empire ruled by a King who would swallow the world in his madness.
The Warrior who chose to rise against her own kind in order to defeat him.
Discover the extraordinary beginnings of the Immortals and the unforgettable story of the Princess who would become a Legend.
Author A.D. Starrling recently answered some questions for the The Big Thrill about her novel, ORIGINS:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A spellbinding story that combines history with adventure and fast-paced action. The genesis story of the supernatural action thriller series Seventeen.
Mike Reardon, the Repairman, hates to mess his own nest—to work anywhere near where he lives. If you can call a mini-storage and a camper living. But when terrorists bomb Vegas, and a casino owner’s granddaughter is killed…the money is too good and the prey is among his most hated. Then again, nothing is ever quite like it seems. Now all he has to do is stay alive—tough when friends become enemies and enemies far worse, and when you’re on top the FBI and LVPD’s list. Another kick-ass Repairman novel.
Author L.J. Martin recently answered some questions about his novel, OVERFLOW:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A few laughs, a few chills, a sense of completion, redemption and satisfaction.
Detective Errol Coutinho of the Hawaii County Police has a serial killer of prostitutes to catch and a shortage of leads to pursue. Office Jessie Hokoana of the Honolulu P.D. has an undercover assignment that tests her loyalties and takes her to the brink of death.
When their cases collide in the rainforest of the Big Island, family ties turn deadly, and there may be no pu’uhonua—no place of refuge—for anyone.
The Big Thrill had the opportunity to interview author Albert Tucher about his latest novel, THE PLACE OF REFUGE:
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
The rainforest of the Big Island of Hawaii is a unique setting for dark crime fiction. Lightly policed, the region known as Puna is home to marijuana farmers, meth cookers, fugitives, survivalists, and 60s holdovers. While several local cases have attracted the attention of true crime writers, I know of no novelist who has used the setting.
Dean Goodnight, the first Choctaw Indian employed by the Oklahoma County public defender’s office, pulls a new case—the brutal murder of a once-promising basketball star. The only witness is Caleb, the five-year-old son of the prime suspect. Investigating the murder, Dean draws four strangers into his client’s orbit, each of whom becomes deeply involved in the case—and in Caleb’s fate.
There’s Aura Jefferson, the victim’s sister, a proud black nurse struggling with the death of her brother; Aura’s patient Cecil Porter, a bigoted paraplegic whose own dreams of playing professional basketball were shattered fifty years ago; Cecil’s shady brother, the entrepreneur and political manipulator “Big” Ben Porter; and Ben’s wife Becca, who uncovers a link between the young Caleb and her own traumatic past.
As the trial approaches, these five are forced to confront their deepest disappointments, hopes, and fears. And when tragedy strikes again, their lives are forever entwined.
Armed with a healer’s skill and a witch’s art, Elisha hurries to warn the Holy Roman Emperor and discover how to stop the mancers’ plans. A one-eyed priest, a seductive traitor, a stern rabbi, a merchant of bones—how can he tell friend from foe when he no longer recognizes himself? Every blow Elisha strikes draws him toward the wrong side of the battle. When the enemy retaliates in blood, he fights to keep his humanity lest he be consumed by the spreading darkness and become. . .Elisha Mancer
The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to discuss ELISHA MANCER with author E. C. Ambrose:
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
ELISHA MANCER combines historical research with a fast-paced thriller approach—and an approach to magic that exploits the beliefs and fears of the Middle Ages.
It starts with the unthinkable. A school under siege. A shooter in the classroom. A nightmare scenario that has become all too common in today’s United States. But this time, former Delta Captain Jake Mahegan is there when it happens, face to face with a merciless gunman rigged as a suicide bomber. Without warning, the school is attacked from the outside as well—and all hell breaks loose.
When the smoke clears, Mahegan is left with a long list of unanswered questions—and a deeply personal mission. Racing against the clock, his search will take him from the tech-fueled think-tanks of a North Carolina factory to the top-secret nerve centers of embedded Iranian agents. It’s all part of a bigger, darker conspiracy that’s taking domestic terrorism to a whole new level. And it’s up to Mahegan to stop what could be the most devastating attack in U.S. history.
By Dawn Ius
After taking his exams for the New Jersey Bar back in 1929, Harry I. Heller set off on a hitchhiking cross-country adventure, journaling his escapades in a notebook that was published posthumously a few years ago by his daughter, bestselling cozy mystery and romance author, Nancy J. Cohen.
Thumbs Up was not only a thoughtful way for Cohen to help her father’s publishing dream come true, but also a tribute to what she says is his excellent writing. Cohen honors her father again with excerpts from another of his travel stories, which are peppered throughout the thirteenth book in her Bad Hair Day mystery series, FACIALS CAN BE FATAL.
“I always try to look for a historical angle for each of the books because I think that adds a lot of depth,” she says. “In this case, the journal was real—I pulled bits from my father’s 1935 trip to Florida with friends.”
Of course, the book also includes all of Cohen’s usual suspects—salon owner and amateur sleuth Marla Vail, her police detective husband Dalton, a full cast of characters with murderous means and motive, and enough twists and turns to earn you a well-deserved spot at the spa. (Though, Cohen suggests avoiding “body treatments that have nothing to do with herbal scrubs and hot rock massages…”)
Sarah Appleton has been kidnapped from her university campus in Cambridge, England. When she escapes, killing her abductor, she sets in motion a chain of events that has repercussions all across the world. Sarah and her father, Martin Appleton, flee the Russian mafia, from whom Martin stole twenty million dollars in bearer bonds, leaving authorities to unravel the threat of a terrorist plot using biological weapons of mass destruction stolen from a Russian lab and sold to Middle Eastern extremists. As the authorities scramble to unravel the scant clues left by people who make few mistakes, terrorists gear up for an attack that will leave millions of innocent people dead and the governments of several Middle Eastern nations in chaos.
Paul Howard recently discussed his thriller, DISCIPLES OF DEATH, with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope any reader ofDISCIPLES OF DEATH will finish it and conclude that it was a page-turning novel that was exciting and entertaining from the beginning to the end.
Life is good for Catholic schoolteacher Terrence Muldoon. He owns his own house in Astoria, New York, and a one-year-old Volvo, both paid for. His only dependent is a rescued greyhound, and his avocation as a club fighter, under the ring name of Seamus Muldoon, provides all the excitement he needs.
Then all that changes when his jockey girlfriend is killed during a race at Belmont. Unable to save her, Terry is driven to find out who wanted her dead, and why. Or was she just collateral damage? He teams up with a NYPD detective friend in a quest for answers that takes him to Myrtle Beach, the rural environs of South Carolina, into the world of Queens gangsters, down to the Brooklyn waterfront, and out to Fire Island. As if his mission isn’t fraught with enough danger, he’s training all the while for a bout with a man being touted as the next Ali. ESPN gives Terry only a “puncher’s chance.” But even if Terry survives the match, the investigation is winding up for a knockout punch as well, with Terry facing the toughest fight of his life…
Author Paul A. Barra recently spent some time with the Big Thrill staff discussing his novel, ASTORIA NIGHTS:
Caleb Crowe is back as a professor of archaeology with psychic abilities. A cross between Indiana Jones and the X-Files, THE TESLA OBJECTIVE pulls directly from actual secret government experiments and historical facts in a perfect blend of action and suspense.
With some conspiracy theories being more than just theory, David Sakmyster takes us on a wild ride. He explores some of the greatest mysteries in history. From cover-ups to secret societies, it becomes hard to tell which events are fiction and which seem too strange to be true.
The TESLA OBJECTIVE is the fourth book in the Morpheus Initiative Series. It revolves around psychic archaeologists, which I didn’t know could be a thing. Are they archaeologists who became psychic or is this a niche field?
Psychic archaeology is a real thing, although obviously very rare (and disputable, I’m sure), but back when I was researching the first book, The Pharos Objective, I came across the term in relation to work being done as part of a scientific team exploring various mysteries in Egypt. The key to that team was that they were using “remote viewers” with claimed psychic powers to visualize the precise location, for example, of Cleopatra’s sunken palace.