The April edition of the Big Thrill is here!

29 new thrillers this month from ITW Members, plus a Between the Lines interview with Andrew Peterson by Brett King, the Top Ten Firearms Mistakes in Fiction by Chris Grall and News from South Africa by Michael Sears. Go behind the scenes as seven bestselling authors tell you about their courses at ITW's first-ever Online Thriller School. Have you registered yet? There are still a few spots left. Classes start April 7th!

CLICK HERE to read more!

Debut Authors

Country Hardball by Steve Weddle

Country_Hardball_coverBy Robert Rotstein

debut-authorThe title of Steve Weddle’s debut novel, COUNTRY HARDBALL, comes from a baseball term that refers to a player’s willingness to play the game at an elemental level, to inflict and absorb punishment when necessary. Weddle’s series of linked stories recounts the lives of residents of an Arkansas town who, because of the devastating economic downturn, must play “good old country hardball” to survive.

After a family tragedy and years in prison, Roy Alison returns to his rural hometown, determined to become a better person, a different person. But the town’s grim economic circumstances, along with events from Roy’s dark past, conspire to force him back into his old ways. As he chronicle’s Roy’s quest for redemption, Weddle tells the story of a single father struggling to raise a sensitive, frightened son; of parents who hope that sports will save their child from a life of poverty; of a shy teenager who misses the chance to express his love to the girl he adores, with dire consequences; and of families devastated by drugs, financial hardship, and war.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I have an MFA in poetry, taught college for a while, then settled into newspapers. My family and I live in Virginia.

Give us an elevator pitch for COUNTRY HARDBALL.

A young man tries to leave behind the jails and halfway houses by moving in with his grandmother, back to his Arkansas hometown, but he’s caught up in a devastated economy and a past that won’t let go. Working with a family friend, he finds his chance to make a positive difference, a redemption of sorts. The question is whether he’ll make the right choice—or whether it’s already too late.
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I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead by E.A. Aymar

illsleepwhenyouredeadBy E. A. Aymar

Weekends in Baltimore

debut-authorThe first time I went to Baltimore was on a date, so that’s probably why my view of the city is tinged with romance…even though that date ended with a handshake. But, as a hopeful writer in my twenties, Baltimore was an endless book of stories, and I kept going back. And I did my homework. I read histories, guidebooks, walking tours; for a few years, I spent every weekend in the city, walking around neighborhoods with a pen and a notebook, learning about locations that my characters would later visit. I remembered Flannery O’Connor’s dictum, that the best American fiction is regional, and it seemed like this region had been given to me.

I wanted to see the city without influence, so I avoided Baltimore-based thriller writers. But then I read Laura Lippman, and realized that her reporter-turned-detective Tess Monaghan had already walked these streets. And, dammit, Lippman wasn’t the only one. Terrific writers like Sujata Massey and Tim Cockey, not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and a host of others, had all set stories in the city or region. And then David Simon introduced THE WIRE and not only sketched the city, he etched it in stone. For a time, I worried whether another viewpoint would ever be accepted.

But a city isn’t a stone or a ruin; it changes. It grows. And any city that can house all those voices, as well as the eccentric films of John Waters, Anne Tyler’s quietly powerful work, and the short stories and essays of Rafael Alvarez, and many, many others, will always have room for more. A city, like a story, belongs to both no one and everyone.
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Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard

ProjectCainDebut author to publish two novels (one for adults, one for teens) on the same day.

debut-authorDebut ITW author Geoffrey Girard will have his first two novels published on the same dayas Simon and Schuster gets a little extra creative and releases both CAIN’S BLOOD (a dark techno thriller) and PROJECT CAIN (a Young Adult companion novel) simultaneously on September 3rd.

Both novels center around a secret Defense project to develop bioweapons built from the genetics of violence, a program which includes dozens of young men who are the clones of infamous serial killers. When the most dangerous teens are set free by their creator, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail and enlists the help of a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As this unlikely pair races across the country after the rampaging teens, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears, and who may also be his last hope.

Initially submitted as a standalone novel for teens, Girard’s agents — Peter McGuigan and Stephen Barbara, at Foundry Literary + Media — felt they could have two books on their hands and asked Girard to rework his story.  The result was a dark thriller for adults told from multiple POVs and centered primarily on Castillo and also a YA novel told in first-person by teen Jeffrey Jacobson, the clone of Dahmer.
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Cain’s Blood by Geoffrey Girard

cainsbloodDebut author to publish two novels (one for adults, one for teens) on the same day.

debut-authorDebut ITW author Geoffrey Girard will have his first two novels published on the same dayas Simon and Schuster gets a little extra creative and releases both CAIN’S BLOOD (a dark techno thriller) and PROJECT CAIN (a Young Adult companion novel) simultaneously on September 3rd.

Both novels center around a secret Defense project to develop bioweapons built from the genetics of violence, a program which includes dozens of young men who are the clones of infamous serial killers. When the most dangerous teens are set free by their creator, former black ops soldier Shawn Castillo is hot on their trail and enlists the help of a boy who has just learned he is the clone of Jeffrey Dahmer. As this unlikely pair races across the country after the rampaging teens, Castillo must protect the boy who is the embodiment of his biggest fears, and who may also be his last hope.

Initially submitted as a standalone novel for teens, Girard’s agents — Peter McGuigan and Stephen Barbara, at Foundry Literary + Media — felt they could have two books on their hands and asked Girard to rework his story. The result was a dark thriller for adults told from multiple POVs and centered primarily on Castillo and also a YA novel told in first-person by teen Jeffrey Jacobson, the clone of Dahmer.
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The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton

edge of normalBy Michael Haskins

debut-authorCarla Norton’s first thriller, THE EDGE OF NORMAL, will be released this month from St. Martin’s Minotaur. Norton is an accomplished journalist with a number of non-fiction publications out there. This is her first attempt at fiction and it has garnered some great reviews.

Please give us an elevator pitch for THE EDGE OF NORMAL.

“Reeve is a survivor—not a victim—of kidnapping and captivity. True, this 22-year-old is a damaged individual. She’s scarred. She’s flawed. She’s psychologically unbalanced. But when a lurking predator threatens her young friend, Reeve quells her fears, sidesteps the law, and follows her instincts down a dark trail. But he’s watching her every move. He’s more deadly than she knows. And when she treads to close, she stumbles into the predator’s trap.”

That’s the long elevator pitch. The short one? “Think Elizabeth Smart meets Clarice Starling.”

THE EDGE OF NORMAL is your first published novel, but you have a few non-fiction books published. Did that earlier writing experience help or hinder your fiction and how?

THE EDGE OF NORMAL is actually inspired by the crime I wrote about in my first book, PERFECT VICTIM, which is about a true case of kidnapping and prolonged captivity. That case haunted me,that was the seed. But this transition from nonfiction to fiction took a while. THE EDGE OF NORMAL is debut fiction, but it’s also the fifth novel I’ve written. The others never made it to publication. It’s been a long road, and I’ve given up many times, but writing is like an addiction I can’t quit.
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The Impersonator by Mary Miley

debut-authorTake one missing heiress, an unscrupulous uncle, and a young vaudeville performer fallen on hard times; add several murdered girls, a mysterious Chinese herbalist, and a handsome bootlegger; then move from the seamy world of Prohibition-era vaudeville to Oregon’s rugged coast, and what do you have?

A formula for suspense, as Jessie finds herself torn between her deceitful charade and her determination to find out what really happened to the girl she is impersonating.

In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he’s found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece.

But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he’s wrong: orphaned young, Leah’s been acting since she was a toddler. Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition–with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she’s let go from her job, Oliver’s offer looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con, but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There’s only one problem: Leah’s act won’t fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie’s disappearance.
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Deadstick Dawn by S.L. Menear

Deadstick Dawn-jpeg finalFlight Attendant to Airline Pilot to Author

By S.L. Menear

debut-authorDuring college, I worked as a water sports model. Afterwards, I began a career as a Pan Am flight attendant. I was based at JFK Airport in New York and flew to eighty-eight countries spanning the globe. Those were the glory days of the airline industry. Pan Am stewardesses were treated like movie stars—when I was in uniform, people stopped me on the street and asked for my autograph—no idea why. Airline pilots were revered as sky gods. Gourmet food was cooked to order in first class, and baked Alaska was served flaming. Hollywood legends and international tycoons were frequent passengers.

In the early 1970s, I transferred to Miami and joined the Pan Am Flying Club. Three months later, I earned my private pilot license. The Pan Am sky gods (pilots) were kind to me. They let me hand fly a Boeing 707 for two hours over South America on a flight with few passengers and good weather. I also enjoyed flying a Boeing 747 en route from JFK to Frankfurt, Germany. The jumbo jet felt as steady as flying a big house. That was my light-bulb moment. I wanted to fly jet airliners.

When I began my quest, there were no female pilots with major airlines. I spent the next few years earning an instrument rating, commercial pilot license, multi-engine rating, and flight and ground instructor certificates, and logging flight time instructing and flying charter flights. After enough flight experience, I was the first woman hired by a small commuter airline. I loved flying Shorts 330s and 360s and STOL Twin Otter prop jets. My copilot job included plenty of experience flying in bad weather, hundreds of instrument approaches, and lots of landings. I was well prepared when the time came to apply to USAir a year later.
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Japantown by Barry Lancet

japantown-225By John Raab

debut-authorBarry Lancet brings us his debut novel “Japantown”.  Barry has spent many years in Japan, and his latest thriller combines Japan and the United States together in a thriller set in San Francisco. One incident in particular started him on his present course of writing, and led to JAPANTOWN and the Jim Brodie series (the next book is in the editing stages; the third is in the works). Early on during his return to Japan, Lancet was directed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to come down to the stationhouse for a “voluntary interview.” The MPD proceeded to interrogate him for three hours over what turned out to be a minor, noncriminal infraction. All authors should take notice that by just opening up their eyes during their everyday lives, they will find inspiration all around them. Barry also has some very exciting news already with his series. While I would love to announce the news in this newsletter, I would suggest visiting his website to find out what is going on. Let’s take a look inside JAPANTOWN.

When an entire family is senselessly gunned down in San Francisco’s Japantown, antique dealer and reluctant private eye Jim Brodie receives a call from a friend at the SFPD. As an American born and raised in Japan, Brodie has advised the local police in the past, but the near-perfect murders in Japantown are like nothing he’s ever encountered.

Using his extensive Asian contacts and fluency in Japanese, Brodie follows leads gathered from a shadow powerbroker, a renegade Japanese detective, and the elusive tycoon at the center of the murders. Step by step, his search takes him from a crime scene in California to terrorized citizens in Japan.
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Come Hell or High Desire by Misty Dietz

debut-authorFramed for a series of brutal murders, rebel-turned-CEO Zack Goldman must go to ground. When he discovers that sexy boutique owner Sloane Swift has a shocking gift—terrifying visions that connect her to his mentor’s missing daughter—he can’t believe her refusal to help him.

Aiding and abetting an accused killer ranks low on Sloane’s to-do list, no matter how hot the attraction burns between them. But putting to rest her overwhelming guilt over the missing woman’s fate proves more difficult than she ever imagined.

As the real sociopath locks in on Sloane, Zack will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even if that means becoming her psychic anchor. And as they earn each other’s trust—with danger in hot pursuit—they just may lose their hearts in the process…if the killer doesn’t put them six feet under first.
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The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

butterflysister PB CBy Michael Haskins

debut-authorAmy Gail Hansen’s THE BUTTERFLY SISTER, an original trade paperback, comes out this month from Harper Collins. She has a BA in English from Carthage College in Wisconsin and  taught English in a community college before becoming a freelance writer and arts and entertainment journalist. THE BUTTERFLY SISTER is her debut novel.

THE BUTTERFLY SISTER has received some great reviews from the likes of Meg Cabot. Can you give us an elevator pitch for the book, please?

It’s about twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau, emotionally fragile after dropping out of a small women’s college, who gets involved in the case of a missing girl after receiving a mysterious suitcase. To solve the mystery, Ruby must also revisit the demons of her past, including a heartbreaking affair with her English professor and an unhealthy obsession with women writers who killed themselves. But will finding the truth set Ruby free…Or send her off the edge of sanity?

What experience led you to come up with the plot of THE BUTTERFLY SISTER?

My honeymoon to Italy in 2004…Moments before I checked my luggage for that trip, I realized the tag on my suitcase bore someone else’s name and address. That’s because I’d lent it five years prior to a college acquaintance and hadn’t used it since. Removing her leather tag at the last minute and replacing it with one of those flimsy paper ones the airlines give out, I thought, “What if my bag had gotten lost? Would it have gone to her instead of me? And isn’t that a good idea for a story?” Thus, THE BUTTERFLY SISTER starts with the delivery of a mysterious suitcase, and the story spirals out from that jumping off point.
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Playing Tyler by T. L. Costa

Playing TylerBy Michael Haskins

debut-authorT.L. Costa’s first thriller PLAYING TYLER is released this month from Angry Robot Ltd as a trade paperback. Costa is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and has a Masters of Teaching from Quinnipiac University. Author Sean Cummings, POLTERGEEKS, said, “Wildly original storytelling that is as authentic as it is engaging. PLAYING TYLER is one of the best YA books 2013.”

T.L. recently discussed her novel with the BigThrill:

Give us an elevator pitch about PLAYING TYLER.

I like to describe it as SAY ANYTHING meets ENDER’S GAME. When gamer Tyler MacCandless gets the opportunity to beta-test a drone piloting game to try and win a spot in flight school, he takes it.  But when the game seems too real, he teams up with the game’s designer to uncover the truth, questioning everything he knows about morality while having to fight for love in a world at war.
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Sandstorm by Alan L. Lee 

By Michael F. Stewart

This June, Alex Koves, a cunning and lethal U.S. Intelligence asset, will be unleashed on the world. This is what happens when a journalist with three decades of experience conceives a thriller. He births a ripped from the headlines page turner. And if events play out as they do in the novel, nothing will ever be the same.

Lurking in the shadows, away from any government oversight, a secret partnership has been formed between an Israeli spymaster pulling the strings of the most efficient killing machine the Mossad has to offer and an exclusive billionaire boys club that wants to dictate the New World Order. In their pocket is a powerful U.S. senator who aspires to the presidency. Success means vast wealth and increased power, and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

CIA operative Nora Mossa is trained to kill when the situation calls for it. She’s also capable of disappearing into thin air. Being efficient, deadly, and beautiful, however, won’t be enough to protect her after her mentor Erica Janway is assassinated in her Maryland home. With everyone in the Agency suspect, Nora turns to the only person capable of keeping her alive while she uncovers the truth behind Janway’s demise—her former lover and ex–CIA agent Alex Koves. That is, if he will even speak to her.

With danger lurking in every corner of the globe, Koves and Nora must stay alive long enough to piece together the clues to a deadly plot capable of killing thousands in the Middle East. And the clock is ticking….
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Anonymous Sources by Mary Louise Kelly 

By Brian Knight

Thom Carlyle had it all: the rowing trophies, the Oxbridge education, the glamorous girlfriend. But on a glorious summer evening in Harvard Square, Thom is murdered—pushed from the top of a Harvard bell tower. The New England Chronicle sends a beautiful, feisty, but troubled reporter named Alexandra James to investigate. It is the story of a lifetime. But it is not what it seems. Alex’s reporting takes her abroad, from the cobbled courtyards of Cambridge, England…to the inside of a network of nuclear terrorists…to the corridors of the CIA…and finally, to the terrorists’ target itself.

Mary Louise Kelly’s debut novel, ANONYMOUS SOURCES, is available soon, and she’s graciously agreed to tell us about it.

Tell us a bit about your new release, ANONYMOUS SOURCES.

It’s a spy thriller, complete with assassins, double-agents and terrorists. But it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are scenes that some of my early readers say had them doubled over in laughter.

My protagonist, Alexandra James, really carries the story. She’s a fascinating mix of sass and vulnerability. André Breton once described one of Frida Kahlo’s paintings as “a ribbon around a bomb.” That pretty much sums up Alex James.

How much research goes into a story like ANONYMOUS SOURCES?

A surprising amount, actually. Given that it’s fiction, you would think you could just make everything up.

But – perhaps because of my training as a reporter – I was obsessed with getting the details right. I visited every setting described in the book personally, from the Eliot House bell tower at Harvard, to the room where they serve tea at Claridge’s Hotel, to CIA headquarters.
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Legal Heat by Sarah Castille

Katy Sinclair made it to the brink of partnership at her high-powered law firm with hard work, dogged determination, and the ruthless self-discipline to cultivate a conservative public image. But when she follows an evasive witness into a sex club, she can’t deny herself a red-hot sexual encounter with the seductive bartender who sets her body on fire. She’s sure no one will ever know about her indiscretion —until she walks into the courtroom to find her dirty little secret is the opposing counsel in the most important case of her career.

As the managing partner in a struggling law firm, hot-shot attorney Mark Richards can’t afford any mistakes that might cost him his biggest client, like getting involved with his beautiful, determined opponent—the mystery woman he hasn’t been able to forget. But when Katy’s quest for justice leads to death threats, Mark will sacrifice everything to protect her.

Now they’re risking their hearts…and their lives…in a race to catch a killer. Little do they know, the greatest danger lies closer to home.
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Follow Her Home by Steph Cha 

By Michael Haskins

Stephanie Cha’s debut novel,  FOLLOW HER HOME, is released this month from St. Martin’s Minotaur.  Stephanie is a graduate of Yale Law and a practicing attorney in Los Angeles. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said of her book “Intriguing…it’s clear that Song, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, and nourish young woman with a Raymond Chandler fixation is well on her way to being a first-rate investigator.”

She recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the BigThrill:

FOLLOW HER HOME has garnered some impressive reviews. As a debut author, that must make you excited. Has it overwhelmed you?

Yes! I’m thrilled with my early reviews, and yes, the actual process of seeing my book in the world is a bit overwhelming. I sold it almost two years ago, so I spent a long time accustomed to the idea that the release was in the distant future.
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The Libra Affair by Daco 

By L. Dean Murphy

In this romantic suspense thriller, nothing can stand in the way of Jordan Jakes launching a missile in a remote desert of Iran—not even Ben Johnson, the NASA scientist she’s targeted. Against all odds, Ben follows Jordan, placing not only the mission at risk, but also the world’s fate. Everything hinges on the strength of their love.

Daco added, “On a larger scale, THE LIBRA AFFAIR is about finding balance, a home-brewed war to alter international allies and rebalance global economic powers. It focuses on obstacles Jordan Jakes faces to complete her mission successfully, but on a deeper level these impediments also parallel the difficulties faced in her personal life.

“In our personal lives, like yin chasing yang, we constantly seek balance. In the story, Jordan is too guarded. She chooses a career to hide from life; as a result, her need to control what enters her world leaves her scaling the perimeter of life when all she really wants is to find love and happiness.”
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A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins 

By Thomas Pluck

Susanna Calkins is the author of A MURDER AT ROSAMUND’S GATE, a mystery set in turbulent 17th Century London, in a time of great religious and social upheaval. When someone she loves is accused of murder, chambermaid Lucy Campion interprets the clues herself, all while avoiding the murderer, the law, and the everpresent cold hand of the Great Plague itself.

Those of us without a PhD in history often have a homogenized view of the past- so tell us a bit about England during the time A MURDER AT ROSAMUND’S GATE is set.

Great question!  A MURDER AT ROSAMUND’S GATE was set in the mid-1660s, a period of great political, social and religious contrasts. On the one hand, after years of civil strife and warfare, the Stuart line was restored with the return of King Charles II to the throne, ending years of joyless Puritan rule.  The theatres were reopened, long-squashed festivals were revived, and a sense of frenzied pleasure and merriment returned to the kingdom. On the other hand, with the ousting of the Puritans from power, there emerged great religious tensions among the re-established Anglican Church, the much-disparaged Catholics, as well as the many dissenting religious groups, especially the Quakers. New political conflicts between Parliament and the King were an additional source of tension and stress as well. Within all these tensions, England faced an ongoing struggle for order.

Exacerbating this struggle, between 1664 and 1666, two great disasters befell England, London most catastrophically. First, the plague struck heavily, killing thousands and thousands of people. Then, before the society could recover, the Great Fire of London swept through much of the city, destroying nearly 13,000 homes and rendering thousands homeless.  Consequently, a remarkable–if temporary–social mobility and gender fluidity occurred among the survivors, as servants and apprentices took over their master’s homes and livelihoods, and women found new ways to speak.
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Run To Me by Diane Hester 

By Michael Haskins

Before commencing her career in writing, Diane Hester was a professional violinist. Born in New York, she attended the Eastman School of Music and went on to play in the Rochester Philharmonic. In 1978, she secured a position in the Adelaide Symphony and has lived in Australia ever since.

Since discovering writing, Diane has done little else. When she isn’t hard at work at her latest novel, she’s planning her critique group’s next retreat or a workshop for her local writing club. RUN TO ME, her debut novel, combines a love of Hitchcock-style suspense with memories of summer vacations in New England, her favorite place on earth.

From professional concert violinist to thriller writer is quite a leap, what lead you to do it?

When I married, I left the Adelaide Symphony and moved to Port Lincoln (a small country town on Australia’s south coast) where my husband was teaching. My performing options were limited there so I began to explore other creative outlets. Once I discovered writing, however, I never looked back.
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Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

By Thomas Pluck

Waking up one wintry morning in her farmhouse in the Adirondack Mountains, Nora Hamilton’s world is shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide. The first hours following Nora’s devastating discovery pass in shock. Why would a rock-solid police officer and husband suddenly kill himself? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them.

Unraveling Brendan’s final days, Nora searches for an explanation—but finds bewildering resistance from everyone in town. Nora realizes that she is asking questions no one will answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a conspiracy that will do anything to keep its darkest secrets hidden.

Jenny Milchman is the author of COVER OF SNOW due out January 15th from Ballantine Books. With a starred review from PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY, and effusive praise from Harlan Coben, Laura Lippman, Lee Child, and Hank Philippi Ryan, it may be set in the frigid winters of the Adirondacks but it is white hot.

First, let’s get everyone on the edge of their seats. Tell us about COVER OF SNOW.

The book came to life when one question grabbed me around the throat and wouldn’t let go. What would make a good man do the worst thing he possibly could to his wife? And what would that thing be?

OK. Two questions!
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Town Red by Jennifer Moss 

By Selena Robins

After his partner is killed and girlfriend takes off, Chicago homicide detective Ryan Doherty has one last chance to save his career with the double murder of two ad executives. He quickly learns that life wasn’t so lush at this agency.

Ryan becomes obsessed with Catharine, the Vice President of this agency. She lures him in with her charm, intelligence, wealth, and abilities even he can’t understand. Catharine draws Ryan into her unconventional world where he will risk the case–and his life–to find out if she’s for real, or if she’s the real killer.

The author recently took time to answer some questions for the BigThrill:

What propelled you to make the leap from your successful Baby Names website to writing a thriller?

I wrote several articles about the internet industry which had been published, and subsequently wrote a non-fiction book as a companion to our website, www.BabyNames.com.  I found that I loved writing and wanted to try my hand at fiction. The mystery/thriller genre is my favorite, as a reader, and so that was my natural choice.
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Chain of Command by Colby Marshall 

By J. H. Bográn

In CHAIN OF COMMAND, the simultaneous assassinations of the President and Vice President catapult the Speaker of the House into the White House as the first female President of the United States. Evidence points to a former Navy SEAL as one of the assassins.

Relegated to writing sidebar stories instead of headlines, journalist McKenzie McClendon composes a scathing story about the Navy training killers.

Former Navy SEAL Noah Hutchins doesn’t believe his partner could have committed the heinous crime. They’d endured the horrors of Afghanistan together. His buddy was a hero, not a murderer.

Thrown together in a search for the truth—and a career-making story—McKenzie and Noah must unravel a dangerous web of lies that includes a radical foreign faction, a violent ultra-feminist group, and corrupt politicians willing to kill to keep their secrets.
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Speaking of Murder by Tace Baker 

By J.N. Duncan

I would like to welcome Tace Baker (the pen name of author Edith Maxwell), the author of SPEAKING OF MURDER. In the nine-to-five world, she is a technical writer, mother, and transplanted, fourth-generation Californian living in an antique house north of Boston, with her beau and three cats. Let’s get right to the good stuff.

Give us a twitter style (140 character) blurb for SPEAKING OF MURDER.

Quaker linguistics prof with ear for accents tracks down suspicious chairwoman, heroin ring, to find star student’s killer.

Clearly, your background in linguistics, in video editing, and your involvement with the Society of Friends informed your choice of character and story for this novel. This is a fascinating choice for a mystery. Why the interest in using this particular topic within the genre?

I am well acquainted with the world of academia and with the field of linguistics, and I’ve been a Quaker for several decades. Being a linguistics professor informs Lauren Rousseau’s character – she’s smart, she’s lived overseas, she loves languages and dialects. She’s also a Quaker and brings that sensibility into how she proceeds when in danger. Nobody else had written about that kind of character as far as I know. And then her boyfriend’s job as a video forensics expert let me use a really cool software application that police departments employ to help solve the murder.
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Dante’s Wood: A Mark Angelotti Novel by Lynne Raimondo 

By Jeremy Burns

A new year is upon us, and so too is a new literary talent in debut author Lynne Raimondo.  Her thriller, DANTE’S WOOD, is set to launch later this month, and Lynne was gracious enough to give BIG THRILL readers a sneak preview into the mind of a rising star.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Staten Island, New York, attended college and law school at New York University, and had a twenty-five year career as a lawyer before retiring to write full-time.  I live in Evanston, Illinois with my husband, another lawyer.  We have three grown children and two truculent cats.

Tell us about your debut thriller, DANTE’S WOOD.

I can’t really come up with a better description than my publisher’s, so here it is:

A troubled psychiatrist turns investigator when his young patient confesses to murder.

Psychiatrist Mark Angelotti knows that genes don’t lie.  Or do they?

Back at work after a devastating illness, Mark believes he has put his past behind him when he is asked to examine Charlie Dickerson, a mentally handicapped teenager whose wealthy mother insists he is a victim of sexual abuse.  Mark diagnoses a different reason for Charlie’s ills, but his prescription turns deadly when a teacher is murdered and Charlie confesses to the police.
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Hushed by Kelley York 

By Grant McKenzie

While Hurricane Sandy was taking a bite out of the East Coast, Dixie and I were trying to decide what exactly the Chinese buffet at San Francisco’s Hong Kong Phooey Buffet was trying to pass off as chicken. Chewing vigorously, Dixie was thinking a genetic cross between octopus and hamster — gamey with lots of little legs — while I was thinking it might be better to just pick around it. We were soon joined by thriller writer Kelley York who took one look and decided whatever it was, it couldn’t be any more dangerous than the glow-in-the-dark sauce. We couldn’t argue with that logic, but to take our minds off the squeamish possibilities, we quizzed Kelley about her new YA thriller HUSHED.

What can you tell us about HUSHED?

HUSHED is about a guy named Archer Pond making his way through a hit list, of sorts, compiled of people who hurt his childhood best friend/love when they were kids. It’s a dark book, and falls into that weird little category between young adult and adult fiction. (“New adult,” if you want to call it that.)
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An Affair of Vengeance by Jamie Michele

By George Ebey

If you are a fan of romantic suspense, you won’t want to miss AN AFFAIR OF VENGEANCE, an exciting new novel by debut author Jamie Michele.

Undercover agent Evangeline Quill knows the dangers of getting personally involved in her cases. But this one is unavoidable: someone murdered her parents, and she’s sure she knows the killer. To hunt him down, she’ll need evidence…and someone to lead her straight into the murderer’s lair. Enter handsome and elusive Oliver McCrea, a man with ties to the criminal world.

I had a chance to catch up with Jamie and find out more about what it takes to write a rousing story of romantic suspense.
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Lenin’s Harem by William Burton McCormick

By L. Dean Murphy

This historical thriller is about a young Latvian-German aristocrat swept up in the turbulence of World War I, told by the point of view of outsiders, from the perspective of those living in Latvia. By twist of fate, he finds himself a member of the Russian Revolution’s Red Riflemen, a group known colloquially as “Lenin’s Harem.” Aristocratic Wiktor Rooks adapts, survives, finds friendship and love among the Communists, and is betrayed in Stalin’s purges. The tale is comprised of three tragic seductions—an unscrupulous woman, a doomed nation, and a treacherous ideology.

McCormick added, “In short, LENIN’S HAREM is the story of a ruined aristocrat swept up in the chaos of war, who by twist of fate finds himself a member of the elite guard of the Russian Revolution. He hides in plain sight amongst his enemies while the Russian Empire crumbles, but where does he go when the revolutionaries win?”

“William Burton McCormick takes us inside lives that would otherwise be unimaginable,” said Suzannah Dunn, author of THE CONFESSION OF KATHERINE HOWARD.
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The Colony by A. J. Colucci 

By Rick Reed

A.J. Colucci grew up in a suburb outside of New York City.  She spent fifteen years as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and writer for corporate America. Today she is a full-time author and self-proclaimed science geek who lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and a couple of cats.

THE COLONY is her first published novel, but I have a good feeling we will be seeing more from this New York native.

THE COLONY begins with a series of gruesome attacks that have been sweeping New York City where three men are found dead, their bodies nearly dissolved from the inside out. The culprit is a supercolony of ants: An army of one trillion soldiers with razor sharp claws and flesh-eating venom.

The desperate mayor turns to the greatest ant expert in the world, Paul O’Keefe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist in an Armani suit.  Paul is baffled by the insects.  Their morphology isn’t linked to any other genus and they have no recognizable DNA.  Paul sends the FBI into the desert to bring back the one person he thinks can help save the city—his ex-wife.  Kendra Hart.

When the ants launch an all-out attack, Paul and Kendra hit the dangerous, panic-stricken streets of New York, searching for a coveted queen.  It’s a race to unlock the secrets of this indestructible new species, before the President nukes Manhattan.
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No Regrets, No Remorse by R.F. Sharp 

By Susannah Keith

Sydni Simone: A secret avenger delivering justice to those the system has failed – for a price. Her cover is as a gallery assistant to her boss and former lover, Oscar. When his partner is arrested for murder Sydni intervenes, uncovering a massive insurance fraud scheme that the principals will kill to protect. Sydney must reveal her secret identity to protect Oscar. Together they bring down the bad guys and finally resolve their own relationship.

R.F. Sharp recently took time out of his busy schedule to discuss his debut novel.

Your mystery, NO REGRETS, NO REMORSE, was your first novel in print. What was your path to publication?

I had already published two non-fiction books. Consumer guides on divorce and trusts. But publishing non-fiction gives you no credit when trying to publish fiction. I was unpublished as far as the agents and editors were concerned. So I followed the recommended procedure. After writing and rewriting until I felt the manuscript was ready, I read all the books and articles on what to do next. Getting a literary agent was the standard advice. So I ordered the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS by Chuck Sambuchino and Jeff Herman’s GUIDE TO PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS. The advice from both came down to writing a terrific query letter and sending it to agents who represented work in your genre.
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The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber 

By J. N. Duncan

Welcome to another ITW Q&A, this time with debut author, Anna Lee Huber, whose historical/mystery novel, THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE comes out next month at a store/site near you. Anna Lee Huber was born and raised in a small town in Ohio.  She is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, where she majored in Music and minored in Psychology.  THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE, the first book in the Lady Darby historical mystery series and will be released by Berkley Publishing on November 6th, 2012.  She currently lives in Indiana with her husband and troublemaking tabby cat.  When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family. Visit her website. And now on to the fun stuff!


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Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

By Aimee and David Thurlo

Amy Shojai is the award-winning  author of 24 nonfiction pet books and a certified animal behavior consultant.  Her expertise has resulted into her being featured in THE NEW YORK TIMES and publications such as the READER’S DIGEST. She’s also appeared on radio and television, including CNN and ANIMAL PLANET.

Her first fiction work is a thriller called LOST AND FOUND. This story gives Amy the opportunity to incorporate her intimate understanding of the relationship between people and their pets into an exciting, entertaining story full of fun, adventure, and intrigue.

Fortunately for us, the author has taken some of her busy day to answer a few questions about herself and her work, her writing process, and her debut thriller, LOST AND FOUND.
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