Special To The Big Thrill

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 →
Industry Focus: Being Published in France, by Anne Trager

Industry Focus: Being Published in France, by Anne Trager

Anne Trager has over a quarter of a century of experience working with the French in translation and publishing. She founded Le French Book, a mystery and thriller publishing house dedicated to translating French mysteries and thrillers into English. She is frequently asked about going the other way around, from English to French. Here she shares insights, in Part One. France—the name itself evokes the good life, with food, wine, lovely countryside, and a huge network of independent booksellers and readers who love authors. Better yet, France is a country where one out of four books sold is a mystery or thriller, one out of five books published is a mystery or thriller, and a quarter of the bestsellers are mysteries or thrillers. The country more »

By November 30, 2015 Read More →
In the News: Florida Benefit for Navy SEALs

In the News: Florida Benefit for Navy SEALs

By A. J. Tata Like the protagonists in their own novels, 25 suspense writers descended on Tampa, Florida, in full force on November 7th to support the SEAL Legacy Foundation inaugural fundraiser at the Tampa Bay Book Festival. From No. 1 New York Times bestsellers to debut authors, the writers first rallied at the home of Jeff and Wendy Wilson for an evening of renewing and forging friendships in the name of a worthy cause. Jeff, who is the co-author with Brian Andrews of the Nick Foley Series and the Tier One Series as well as a medical doctor and Navy veteran, spent countless hours organizing and fundraising for the event. “While on active duty in the Navy, my greatest pride was to have served in more »

By November 30, 2015 Read More →
Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds, edited by Kenneth Wishnia

Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds, edited by Kenneth Wishnia

By Dawn Ius Some of today’s best-known crime writers have come together to create JEWISH NOIR, an anthology of new stories that examine the re-emergence of noir in Jewish culture. Edited by Kenneth Wishnia, the book’s 32 compelling offerings tackle issues such as the long-terms effects of the Holocaust, sexual abuse in an insular ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn community, amoral  businessmen, and, much to Wishnia’s surprise, multiple stories on bullying. “No less than three of the contributions focus on characters having been bullied for being Jewish,” he says. The anthology is truly a diverse collection of work by an eclectic group of authors—some of whom aren’t even Jewish. “This is a compilation of ‘not the usual suspects,’ ” Wishnia says, noting that among the stories by the more more »

By November 30, 2015 Read More →
Novelist Guided Tour: Mark Alpert on the IBM Lab

Novelist Guided Tour: Mark Alpert on the IBM Lab

By Mark Alpert I love visiting laboratories. I’m a science journalist as well as a novelist, and I’ve discovered that the best way to fully understand a complex scientific subject is to meet the researchers in their labs and encourage them to explain their work. So in 2011, when I was seeking story ideas for Scientific American, I arranged to get a tour of the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York. Set on a low hill thirty miles north of Manhattan, the IBM lab is a legendary incubator of innovations. For instance, it’s the birthplace of DRAM circuits, the memory chips at the heart of most laptop and desktop computers. The lab is also where I got the idea for more »

By November 1, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: ThrillerFest X by Kimberley Howe

Special to the Big Thrill: ThrillerFest X by Kimberley Howe

By Kimberley Howe The mood at the Hyatt was exhilarating and energizing this year—what better testament to ten years of dynamic success at Thrillerfest? We’ve grown from a small event in Arizona to a widely respected international conference for writers, industry professionals, and enthusiasts of the thriller genre. As co-founder Gayle Lynds shares: “ITW was based on a dream.  Author organizations come and go, and there were no guarantees ITW would not only survive but thrive.  What a thrill (truly) to see so many happy people hurrying down the halls of ThrillerFest and sitting in audiences and talking animatedly on panels.  I particularly loved Daniel Palmer’s song at the banquet, which seemed to encapsulate the extraordinary experience of young ITW and ten ThrillerFests, from that first more »

By August 31, 2015 Read More →
Special to The Big Thrill: The Big Break with Joseph Finder

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

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

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

Special to The Big Thrill: Dual Time Line Thrillers

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Years of ThrillerFest: The Masters Speak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By April 30, 2015 Read More →
A Crime Writer’s Guide to Raising Kids by Allison Brennan

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

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

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

International Thrills: An Interview with Adrian McKinty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: The Importance of the Historical Thriller by Jerry Amernic

Special to the Big Thrill: The Importance of the Historical Thriller by Jerry Amernic

By Jerry Amernic From my observations, people, especially the young, are surprisingly ignorant of history. When I taught writing courses to college students, I was dumbfounded by how little they know about historical events. That got me thinking about some important periods in history, and what a travesty it would be if they were forgotten, only to suffer the risk of history, as they say, repeating itself. Thus became THE LAST WITNESS, a novel about the last living survivor of the Holocaust. In the book, the character’s one hundredth birthday takes place in 2039, but the world has all but forgotten. Like many novels, it was first turned down by various publishers, one of whom said he had to “suspend disbelief” with the premise that more »

By January 31, 2015 Read More →
Special to the Big Thrill: The Room by Tim O’Mara

Special to the Big Thrill: The Room by Tim O’Mara

In something new for THE BIG THRILL, Barry-nominated author Tim O’Mara, a special education teacher in New York public schools, wrote this great vignette.  It isn’t hard to see how his teaching led him to the world of detective fiction, with a series centered around a teacher / ex-cop who often gets involved with cases involving students or former students. —Eds The Room By Tim O’Mara There’s something not quite right about the guy sitting across the table from me. He knows it. I know it. But he’s not talking. That’s why they called me. I have a rep for being good at getting guys like this to open up. If they go silent, it’s my job to pick up on the body language, subtle gestures, non-verbal clues. After five more »

By December 31, 2014 Read More →
Special to The Big Thrill: Thrilling Holiday Gifts

Special to The Big Thrill: Thrilling Holiday Gifts

Six Mystery Bookstores Recommend Novels You May Have Missed By Barry Lancet With the holidays approaching, the rush is on to find a seemingly endless string of perfect gifts. If you are passionate about thrillers and mysteries, why not pass on your enthusiasm to others? And what better way to do so, then introduce them to a new voice or a new discovery? With that thought in mind, THE BIG THRILL asked a half dozen renowned mystery bookstores across the country to recommend the perfect gift. Our only criteria: they had to be books the stores loved—novels they regularly recommend to customers—that might have slipped below the radar this year. The bookstores responded enthusiastically with an impressive array of twenty titles. So if you’re looking more »

By November 30, 2014 Read More →
SPECIAL TO THE BIG THRILL: The 1000 Thriller Giveaway

SPECIAL TO THE BIG THRILL: The 1000 Thriller Giveaway

The Biggest & Best Book Contest Ever By Jenny Milchman It won’t come as a surprise to readers of THE BIG THRILL that the International Thriller Writers is about to sponsor a contest the likes of which nobody has ever seen before. After all, this is an organization known for innovation; for vastly expanding the thriller world and building a unique community of readers, writers, authors, and fans. But giving away a thousand books? That seems like a tall order—a tall stack, that is—even for a group as envelope-pushing as this one. Yet that is what’s about to happen. For the past six months, titles by ITW members have been sent to an office in California that must by now resemble Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory…with more »

By October 31, 2014 Read More →