Author Archive: Sandra Parshall
Sandra Parshall is the award-winning author of the Rachel Goddard mystery-suspense novels. Her latest title is POISONED GROUND. She lives in the Washington, DC, area. Visit her website at http://www.sandraparshall.com and read her blog at http://www.livingonthepage.blogspot.com.
By Sandra Parshall When Hallie Ephron was ten years old, living in Beverly Hills with her screenwriter parents and three sisters, an extraordinary event in her own community seized her imagination: Cheryl Crane, the 14-year-old daughter of Lana Turner, stabbed her mother’s lover, Johnny Stompanato, to death. Young Hallie devoured all the information she could find about the case—“My parents never censored our reading; they just encouraged us to read and ask questions,” she said in a recent interview—and decades later it became the starting point for NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT, a thriller coming out this month. NIGHT NIGHT, set in 1986, isn’t a retelling of the Cheryl Crane story, but a similar murder figures prominently in the background of main character Deirdre Unger. When more »
By Sandra Parshall Susan Froetschel’s 2013 novel Fear of Beauty and its just-released sequel, ALLURE OF DECEIT, mark a strong departure from her previous mysteries, leaving more conventional settings behind and immersing readers in the daily life of a village in Afghanistan. Fear of Beauty, the story of an illiterate Afghani woman who must circumvent the rules of her society to learn the truth about her young son’s death, received numerous honors, including the Youth Literature Award from the Middle East Outreach Council, a best mystery-suspense award from the Military Writers Society of America, and a nomination for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. ALLURE OF DECEIT continues the story of these Afghan characters. After a tech entrepreneur dies in a terrorist attack, organizations in developing more »
By Sandra Parshall Like her protagonist in the new thriller COLOR BLIND, author Colby Marshall has synesthesia, a neurological condition characterized by involuntary perceptions and associations—associating colors with emotions or individual people, for example. Although she had published two previous thrillers, The Trade and Chain of Command, Marshall hadn’t written about synesthesia until COLOR BLIND, the first in a new series about forensic psychiatrist and criminal profiler Dr. Jenna Ramey. Synesthesia can’t solve crimes, but it can guide Jenna in her dealings with suspects and witnesses who want to hide what they know. In COLOR BLIND, Jenna sets aside her private practice temporarily to assist her former employer, the FBI, in solving murders committed by a team dubbed the Gemini Killers. One of the killers, more »
By Sandra Parshall Lisa Black writes what she knows. Like her heroine, Theresa MacLean, she is a crime scene investigator, a forensics specialist who collects and analyzes the physical evidence that will help convict the guilty. In her forensics thriller series, though, she lets Theresa take an active role in tracking down killers, while always striving to keep the stories as realistic as possible. Lisa is now a forensic scientist for a police department in Florida, but she sets her novels in Cleveland, where she worked previously. In CLOSE TO THE BONE, the latest in the series, Theresa faces death and destruction in the one place where she’s always felt safest: the quiet coroner’s office where she has worked for the last fifteen years. Returning more »
By Sandra Parshall EVERYONE LIES, first in a series by A.D. Garrett, was a hit in the UK, delivering vivid characters, an intricate story set in the violent Manchester, England underworld, and forensics details with the ring of authenticity. The American edition, recently released by St. Martin’s, received raves from Kirkus and Booklist and a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which praised the novel’s brisk pace and its balance between the intricacies of forensics and the cerebral instincts of criminal investigation. In EVERYONE LIES, two former colleagues who almost destroyed each other’s careers in the past reunite to solve a string of murders that no one else is taking seriously. Kate Simms has spent five years rebuilding her life after being demoted for giving forensics more »
By Sandra Parshall Kelli Stanley is easy to spot in any gathering, with her friendly smile and one of her trademark fedoras perched atop blond hair. She’s a thoroughly modern woman—but she has made her name as a novelist by living in the past. Kelli arrived on the mystery scene with NOX DORMIENDA (“a long night of sleeping”), set in Roman Britain and featuring Arcturus, a half-British, half-Roman doctor who ferreted out killers as a sort of Philip Marlowe in ancient times. This “Roman noir” debut won the Bruce Alexander Award for Best Historical Novel and earned Kelli a Certificate of Honor for literary achievement from her hometown of San Francisco. Following THE CURSE-MAKER, the sequel to NOX DORMIENDA, she fast-forwarded in time to 1940 more »
By Sandra Parshall Connie Archer’s Soup Lover’s Mystery series has the requisite cozy ingredients: a picturesque Vermont village setting, a cast of likable recurring characters, a smart and plucky heroine who runs a soup café called By the Spoonful and hears all the local gossip. But with two national bestsellers, A SPOONFUL OF MURDER and A BROTH OF BETRAYAL, the author has proven that today’s readers of traditional mysteries will accept the occasional on-scene murder, a realistic depiction of a crime scene, and a sensitive portrayal of the aftermath of violent death. The fourth book in the series, A ROUX OF REVENGE, is out this month. Connie talked recently about her books and her view of modern traditional mysteries. Murder is the most terrible act more »
By Sandra Parshall Lisa Black could never be accused of writing the same story over and over. Her thriller series featuring Cleveland forensic scientist Theresa Maclean has tackled topics ranging from serial killers (including Cleveland’s version of Jack the Ripper) to a hostage situation in a bank to the murder of a former escort to a little girl nicknamed Ghost who has witnessed her mother’s murder – and more. As a working crime scene and death investigator, first in Cleveland and now in Cape Coral, Florida, Black uses realistic procedural details in her fiction and doesn’t bend the truth the way television crime shows often do. A string of rave reviews praising her quick pacing and absorbing plots indicate that realism doesn’t have to slow more »
By Sandra Parshall Richard L. Mabry had a long and successful career as a physician before a personal loss made him turn to journaling as a source of solace. That first experience with writing led to THE TENDER SCAR, a book about coping with grief that is still in print and has helped many people through similar situations. It also gave him the writing bug, and he has gone on to publish a series of medical thrillers that gains new fans with each book. Richard’s books have been finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. LETHAL REMEDY won a 2012 Selah Award from the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. His medical thriller STRESS TEST garnered rave reviews from more »
By Sandra Parshall Dennis Palumbo’s love of writing took him to Hollywood, where he enjoyed a successful career as a screenwriter, with credits that include the feature film MY FAVORITE YEAR. He was also a staff writer on the television series WELCOME BACK, KOTTER and wrote episodes and pilots for other series. Eventually, his interest turned to psychotherapy, and after training he developed a private practice specializing in helping show business clients deal with creative issues. He never stopped writing, though. His first novel, CITY WARS, was published by Bantam, and his short fiction has appeared in ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, THE STRAND and elsewhere. He contributes articles and reviews to national publications, and his popular Hollywood on the Couch column for writers and other creative more »
By Sandra Parshall British writer Matt Hilton burst onto the thriller scene when his first novel, DEAD MEN’S DUST, became an instant bestseller in the U.K. He has since built up a loyal readership all over the world for his fast-paced tales featuring vigilante-for-hire Joe Hunter. His eighth book, RULES OF HONOUR, is out in the U.K. and many other countries this month. The fifth, BLOOD AND ASHES, will be released in the U.S. in June. Although he’s British – he lives in Cumbria, where he worked as a police officer before his writing career took off — Hilton favors the action-oriented style of American thrillers. In an interview, he talked about his latest book, his many years of struggling to break into print, and more »
By Sandra Parshall Robin Burcell’s 27 years in law enforcement as a uniformed officer, detective, and forensic artist lend an unmistakable authenticity to her two crime fiction series, one featuring San Francisco Inspector Kate Gillespie and the other starring FBI Special Agent and forensic artist Sydney Fitzpatrick. Sydney is back in THE DARK HOUR (December), racing against time to prevent a biological nightmare that could kill millions around the world. When you finish THE DARK HOUR, you’ll want to reach immediately for the next in the series, THE BLACK LIST, out this month. Recently Robin talked about her latest thrillers and offered a glimpse of the training she received from the FBI for her work as a forensic artist.
By Sandra Parshall Susan Sleeman has proven again and again that if a writer knows how to put the reader’s imagination to work, she can crank up nail-biting suspense without indulging in excessive violence and gore. She has become a bestselling author by writing the kind of romantic suspense and inspirational mysteries she loves to read. Her first romantic suspense title, HIGH STAKES INHERITANCE, earned a spot on the ECPA bestseller list and her Garden Gate Mystery series, which includes NIPPED IN THE BUD and READ BETWEEN THE TINES, has made the Amazon Bestseller lists as well. THE CHRISTMAS WITNESS was a finalist in the 2011 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to writing, Susan hosts the popular internet website TheSuspenseZone. more »
By Sandra Parshall Dan Mayland didn’t make things easy for himself with his debut novel, THE COLONEL’S MISTAKE, passing up familiar professions and settings to write about a retired CIA agent caught in deadly international intrigue in Baku, Azerbaijan. Mayland’s protagonist, Mark Sava, has settled into a new life as a university professor in Baku after retiring as CIA station chief for Azerbaijan. His tranquil existence is threatened when he learns that a young female CIA operations officer of Iranian-American descent has been jailed for a crime Sava is sure she didn’t commit. He sets out to help her and becomes embroiled in a lethal “shadow war” over oil involving Iran, China, and the United States. Kyle Mills, N.Y. Times bestselling author of THE IMMORTALISTS, more »
By Sandra Parshall After more than two dozen bestselling action thrillers that focused mostly on male protagonists, Jon Land is stretching his creativity and his audience with his series about Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong. Calling Caitlin, a fifth generation Ranger, “arguably my greatest and most complex hero ever,” Land promises that she’s well-equipped to do battle with the homegrown Islamic terrorists in his fourth novel built around her, STRONG VENGEANCE. To stop a devastating attack against the U.S., Caitlin must first solve a mystery dating back to the lost treasure of the pirate Jean Lafitte, while also battling her personal demons and acting as a surrogate parent to the teenage sons of her imprisoned lover, Cort Wesley Masters. Harlan Coben declares STRONG VENGEANCE “gripping” and more »
By Sandra Parshall James Conway is the pseudonym of James P. Othmer, a hedge fund insider and global strategy director at a major advertising firm. He published two satirical novels (THE FUTURIST and HOLY WATER) about the corporate world and a humorous nonfiction book (ADLAND) about the advertising business before turning his hand to a deadly serious financial thriller, THE LAST TRADE. Conway’s hero, Drew Havens, is a young star at one of the world’s most successful hedge funds who feels guilty about getting rich from other people’s devastating financial losses. When Havens suspects that his boss is orchestrating a crash that could bring down the U.S. economy, he races to stop the scheme – and the string of stock broker murders left in its more »
By Sandra Parshall C.J. Box takes his bestselling Joe Pickett series in a new direction with FORCE OF NATURE, which focuses on Joe’s reclusive friend and sometime sidekick Nate Romanowski. Joe, a game warden, has never pried into the troubled past that drove Nate into a solitary life in the Wyoming wilderness, but now that past has followed him and it threatens not only Nate but the entire Pickett family. In 1995, Nate was in a secret Special Forces unit abroad when a colleague did something terrible. Now high up in the government, the man is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it, and Nate knows exactly how he’ll do it — by striking at Nate’s friends to draw him out. When the entire more »
By Sandra Parshall M.J. Rose’s new novel, THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES, arrives on a wave of extraordinary praise, including a starred PUBLISHERS WEEKLY review that called it a “deliciously sensual” tale featuring “characters with rich internal lives in a complex plot that races to a satisfying finish.” NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Douglas Preston described it as “Amazing…utterly engrossing. Elegantly written, with unforgettable characters.” Like Rose’s previous suspense novels, THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES blends elements of several genres. Mixing history, international intrigue, an eternal romance, murder mystery, and a touch of the paranormal, the story spans several centuries and circles the globe, but at its heart is a modern heroine, young Jac L’Etoile. Along with her brother, Jac is heir to a famed more »
By Sandra Parshall C.E. Lawrence, aka Carole Bugge, writes it all – cozies, prize-winning plays and poetry, Sherlock Holmes pastiches – but for now she’s concentrating on her series set in New York City and featuring serial killer profiler Lee Campbell. In her new book, SILENT KILLS, which follows SILENT SCREAMS and SILENT VICTIM, Lawrence pits Campbell against a unique killer, a modern-day Steampunk vampire who uses technology to drain his victims of blood. Publishers Weekly calls SILENT KILLS “a dark, intriguing thriller” and J.T. Ellison describes it as “an intense psychological ride.” Cody McFadyen says the third Lee Campbell novel is “startlingly suspenseful… an extraordinary page-turner.” Recently Lawrence answered our questions about her new book and her writing life.
by Sandra Parshall Marc Cameron draws on decades of law enforcement experience—and his love of motorcycles—in his new Jericho Quinn series, which debuts this month with NATIONAL SECURITY. Hand picked for a global task force, Air Force OSI agent Jericho Quinn and US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Jacques Thibodaux answer directly to the President’s Director of National Intelligence. Riding modified BMW R1200 GS Adventure motorcycles, they join CDC epidemiologist Dr. Megan Mahoney in a desperate race against the clock to find a Saudi terrorist set to unleash the most devastating biological weapon the world has seen. Bestselling author Brad Thor calls Cameron “one of the hottest new authors in the thriller genre” and describes NATIONAL SECURITY as “terrifying…in one word: Awesome.”
By Sandra Parshall Pascal Marco grew up on Chicago’s gritty East Side, where the smokestacks of steel mills belched particulates and education often ended with high school. Marco, however, went on to attend the University of Illinois Chicago, and he set aside a childhood interest in writing while he pursued a career in business. After he moved to Arizona with his wife and children, the desire to write began to stir again. Using both his childhood home and his adopted state as settings, he wrote his debut thriller, Identity: Lost, the tale of a boy who witnesses the brutal gang murder of a former Chicago Black Sox player. The boy comes forward to testify, only to see the prosecution bungle the case. When the five more »
by Sandra Parshall Gregg Hurwitz, author of the new thriller You’re Next, wrote his first book while he studied for a B.A. from Harvard and a Master’s from Trinity College, Oxford, and he’s been multi-tasking ever since. In addition to serving as writer and consulting producer on ABC’s science fiction series V, he has written comics and movie scripts, taught fiction writing at the college level, and published academic articles on Shakespeare’s tragedies. His main job, though, is writing the fast-moving, character-based thrillers that regularly make bestseller lists around the world. Recently he talked about his new novel and his life as a writer.
By Sandra Parshall Steven Pressfield began his career as a novelist with The Legend of Bagger Vance, about a golfer who is haunted by his wartime experiences. He has been writing about war and soldiers ever since, in such historical novels as Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Killing Rommel, and others. His new military thriller, The Profession, is set in the Middle East in 2032 and depicts a future in which war is contracted out to mercenaries. Recently he spoke about his work and his vision of war, past and present.
by Sandra Parshall Steve Berry became, in his own words, “an expert on rejection” during the years he spent learning his craft and trying to get published, but since the publication of his first thriller, The Amber Room, his career has never faltered. After three stand-alone thrillers that sold well, he introduced his series character, Cotton Malone, an antiquarian book dealer whose former life in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and the Justice Department keeps drawing him back into dangerous investigations in exotic locales. The Jefferson Key brings Malone home to the U.S. to uncover a diabolical plot that has changed the course of history more than once.