Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.
Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves.
The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to chat with Alexandra Ivy about her latest novel, KILL WITHOUT SHAME.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
The power of friendship. I have created a group of ex-soldiers who have survived the hell of being prisoners of war, to come home and offer their skills to those in need. InKILL WITHOUT SHAME, I also added in a layer of friendship with Mia and the man who turns up dead in the first chapter. I’m fascinated with the idea of people willing to sacrifice everything for those who they love.
When a mysterious package lands on Louisa Hancock’s doorstep, the Philadelphia museum curator can hardly anticipate the nightmare that’s about to envelop her. The package is addressed to her father—an expert in Viking culture—and inside is a ninth-century sword, a chilling thank-you note, and photos of two dead bodies in a tableau evoking a Nordic funeral. The gruesome images match a recent crime scene. But before the police can investigate the killer’s connection to Louisa’s father, Ward Hancock vanishes.
Sports bar owner Conor Sullivan wants nothing more than to spend his life with Louisa. Devoted and protective, he refuses to leave her side after her father’s disappearance. When a troubled young boxer he’s been coaching is suspected of the murders, Conor is pulled in even deeper. Desperate, Louisa and Conor take it upon themselves to find her father, but soon another ritualistic slaying makes it clear there’s a Viking-obsessed serial killer on the loose. And he has a new target: Louisa.
Melinda Leigh recently spent some time discussing her latest novel, MIDNIGHT OBSESSION, with The Big Thrill.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
MIDNIGHT OBSESSION explores the darkness in humanity and how one person’s choices can spiral out of control and have tragic consequences far beyond their expectations.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
I love to cross genres.MIDNIGHT OBSESSION brings elements of thriller, romance, drama, and even horror together into one package.
From Thriller Award winner and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Vincent Zandri, comes the long awaited sequel to the No. 1 Overall Amazon Bestselling suspense thriller, THE REMAINS.
HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started.
How will he get to Rebecca?
He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.
HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.
But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.
Horrifying question is: will she live long enough to save the children?
Vincent Zandri recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, THE ASHES.
That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.
Secrets can be deadly…
One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Author Elizabeth Heiter recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel, STALKED.
Before the criminals they were tracking headed underground, evidence pointed toward two organizations as key to an epic art heist. Despite their best efforts, Laurel Beacham and her team haven’t caught a break in months—even Jack Hawkes’s unofficial intel stuttered to a halt. But on New Year’s, as Big Ben’s bell tolls midnight, the guilty return and nowhere is safe. A source in Rome is killed within hours. Other allies are attacked in Rome and London, and a contact in Germany reports dangerous shadows closing in. The nearer the answers, the higher the stakes. Worse, Jack may not be the only one Laurel must learn to trust to avoid another brush with death.
Author Ritter Ames recently discussed ABSTRACT ALIASES with The Big Thrill.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Because the character is an art recover expert who operates primarily in Europe, I hope readers see art in new ways. The books are fast paced and the dialogue witty (and sometimes a bit snarky), so I hope readers enjoy these characters and love to see how they solve the crimes they’re charged to solve. I also hope readers love the settings used in the story, as much of the information on locations and culture are not made up just for the story.
Fantine Park is not the woman her mother was—she’s certainly not the safecracker her mother was either. Hell, she’s not much of anything useful these days. Fresh off parole after a stint in the joint for a poorly thought out casino robbery, Fantine finds herself confronted by an old partner of her mother’s and right back in the thick of it.
Unfortunately, the man dragging her back to the life she left behind, one Aleksei Uryvich, is a complete bully and an idiot—content to believe he can get anything he wants with his brutish nature and the threat of a bullet for Fan’s elderly father, Jae.
The score: semen. Yes, semen. Gallons of it. Particularly, the genetic man-batter from supposed Ivy Leaguers and other elite. The material nets top dollar from Asia, and Aleksei is foaming at the mouth at the profit potential.
The plan: there is no real plan. Fantine has to get it out of Evensight Storage; a sperm bank situated right by the Battery Park Tunnel in Manhattan. A place barely anyone but a sad sack with an empty sack sees the inside of on a day-to-day basis.
There’s no guarantee anyone involved in this mess is getting out alive, especially when Fantine finds herself face to face with the psychopath known as O Leiteiro—The Milkman.
Angel Luis Colón recently spent some time discussing his latest novel with The Big Thrill.
Annabel Taylor, a beekeeper’s daughter, grows up wild and carefree on the moors of England in the late 1860s, following in the footstep of her mother, a beautiful witch. Annabel’s closest friend is Jevan Wenham, the son of the blacksmith, who lives his life on the verge of destruction. His devotion to Annabel is full of twists and turns as brutality melds with deepest desire. But when Jevan is forced to travel to London to receive an education, Annabel is devastated. Then Alex—the heir to the Saltonstall legacy and son of Cerberus Saltonstall, the wealthy landowner of the foreboding Gothelstone Manor house—comes into her life.
Alex is arrogant and self-assured, although he cannot stop thinking about the outspoken girl he encounters on the road to Gothelstone. Not only is he bewitched by Annabel’s beauty, he feels drawn to her by something he can’t explain. Alex and Annabel are worlds apart socially, but that doesn’t stop him from demanding her hand in marriage. When Annabel refuses, she is forced into an impossible situation, which leads Jevan to believe she has betrayed him, regardless of the fact that her decision saves him from the hangman’s noose.
As a devastating love triangle unfolds, disturbing revelations thrust Annabel into a startling reality, where nothing is as it seems. Now both her life and Jevan’s are in danger, and her fledging powers may not be enough to save them…
Author Jane Jordan recently took time to discuss her latest novel with The Big Thrill.
Haunted by the disappearance of his mother when he was eight years old, detective Hud Matthews begins his own investigation to find out what really happened so many years before. When a rare murder occurs in the lakeside community, Hud’s veteran skills are called upon to capture the killer. Pulled deep into the threads of the community with ties to the past, Hud quickly becomes a target, not only of the killer, but of those who wish the past to be left alone. As Hud gets closer to discovering the truth about the crimes, he has to face a choice of enforcing the law, or stepping outside of it to make sure that his version of justice is served.
Larry D. Sweazy recently discussed WHERE I CAN SEE YOU with The Big Thrill.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Detective Hud Matthew’s mother disappeared when he was eight years old and was never heard from again. That loss not only changed his life in a deep, inexplicable way, it also taught him how to ask questions and to look differently at the world from a very young age. He had no choice but to grow up to become a detective. So, I hope readers will root for Hud and see a little of themselves in his story. The experiences of our entire lives puts us where we are now.
It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.
Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.
As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.
Author Caroline Mitchell recently discussed her new novel with The Big Thrill.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I’d like readers to be shocked, thrilled, and moved by this story, and take away a new understanding of domestic abuse and the ripple effect it has on the victims and their family.
Lisa had changed, pushing away everyone close to her, even Vanessa. She had quit soccer. Started wearing dark and dismal clothes. She refused every offer to talk and suffered whatever she was going through in silence. Now she’s really gone. Suicide they claim, but Vanessa knows that isn’t right. It can’t be.
Vanessa blames herself for letting Lisa chase her off. She wants answers so that she can put to rest the rumors surrounding Lisa’s death, and so that she can move on, heal. But Lisa left no note and the journal she was always scribbling in—which might tell all—is mysteriously missing.
As Vanessa struggles to come to terms with the loss of her friend and to reconstruct the last months of Lisa’s life, someone calling themselves “Poetic Justice” begins taking revenge against those he or she thinks drove Lisa to suicide. Everyone at school believes Vanessa is this mysterious “Poetic Justice.” It’s easy to blame the former best friend, and Vanessa makes an obvious target.
Struggling with her own guilt, Vanessa is determined to ignore the threats and allegations aimed her way. But as the Poetic Justice’s vengeance takes a darker turn, retaliation against Vanessa begins to escalate, from cyber bullying to violence, putting both her and the little sister she adores in the line of fire. To protect them both, she has to find out who’s behind the attacks before things turn deadly. And hope she can survive the truth.
Lucienne Diver recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss FAULTLINES with The Big Thrill.
Much like a story from one of the original masters of psychological suspense— Charlotte Armstrong—author Holly Brown’s latest thriller, THIS IS NOT OVER, draws its suspense from what might otherwise be a deceptively ordinary event.
Miranda and Dawn are two women from very different walks of life. Miranda, the owner of a Santa Monica beach house which she rents out for profit, refuses to return a complete deposit to Dawn and her husband, accusing them of having caused damage to her property. What begins as a minor dispute ensues and escalates, taking on a life of its own.
In this interview with The Big Thrill, Brown chats about the inspiration for her new book and how her “day job” can sometimes spill over into her fiction.
What inspired you to write THIS IS NOT OVER?
Oddly enough, personal experience! I stayed in a house rental with my family, and afterwards, received an email from the host saying that she wasn’t returning my deposit because of a “child-sized gray stain” on her white sheets. I was totally offended, and sure she had to be lying (she didn’t include a photograph). She was offended that I’d suggest she was lying. We went back and forth a few times, with increasing righteous indignation on both sides, and then she kept the deposit and I left a pointed review. That was that.
Except that the writer in me recognized how much both the host and I were getting into our own anger, with a virtual stranger. It got me thinking about people’s raw spots, and how strangers can mutually rub against those, and about how we project things onto others. I also thought: What kind of characters, under what type of circumstances, would have just kept going, even to their own peril?
I came up with Miranda and Dawn.
By Dan Levy
At one point or another, every writer has questioned his or her commitment. Maybe it was when the alarm went off again at 4:30 AM because it’s the only writing time available. Maybe it’s after the latest rejection letter, because you lost count of how many you’ve received. Maybe it was during that moment when the words just wouldn’t come.
How serious am I about my writing? the struggling writer wonders yet again.
For Rachel Amphlett the question burned inside, Then, one day “I made the decision that my writing was more important than my job.” The Brisbane, Australia-based author decided the time was right for a five-week writing sabbatical. “My boss was really shocked. I think my friends and my family were too. I feel like this is it. I’m on the tipping point, and I want to make such a good go of this. I’ve got one chance at this. If I let it go, I don’t think it’s going to come around again.”
The end result was Amphlett’s Kay Hunter series, and the debut novel SCARED TO DEATH appeared on bookshelves last month.
With seven previous published novels to her credit—including the Dan Taylor espionage series—it could be argued that Amphlett had developed a good set of thriller-writing chops. But in her own mind, there was still a lot of untapped potential waiting to break out. “Writing in different sub-genres of crime, you do learn more. You give yourself stretch targets.”
Before she began writing the Jamie Sinclair thrillers, Nichole Christoff was a broadcaster and a military spouse, living and working in an ever-changing succession of states and countries. Her experiences ranged from attending the birthday party of the King of Thailand and learning to make sushi from the chef to the Japanese Ambassador, to working on-air and behind the scenes in radio, TV, and the public relations industry.
Some of these experiences have helped to inform Christiff’s popular series featuring Jamie Sinclair, an army brat who grew up to be a security specialist and private eye. THE KILL SIGN, releasing this month, is Christoff’s fourth in the series and finds Jamie on the Mississippi Gulf Coast visiting her would-be boyfriend—a military police officer at a fictional military post—when a dirty bomb explodes on a river boat packed with military personnel.
Christoff took some time this month to talk to The Big Thrill about her new book, the progression of her main character, and what readers can expect from her next.
THE KILL SIGN is set in coastal Mississippi. You’re well-travelled and can pick from dozens or even hundreds of settings—why this one?
The Gulf Coast region is a cultural crossroads of sorts, and outside the gates of its military installations, it really is home to those infamous lingerie stores, antebellum plantation houses converted for other uses, and private hunting camps you’ll find in THE KILL SIGN. It’s the perfect place to let a thriller writer’s imagination run wild.
By Karen Harper
Davie Richards is a female Homicide detective, a petite redhead, a second-generation LAPD cop, an expert marksman who carries a Smith & Wesson .45, and a composite of every strong woman author Patricia Smiley has ever known.
She’s also the protagonist in a new hardboiled detective series that begins with PACIFIC HOMICIDE.
Most cops spend their entire careers without firing a weapon in the line of duty. Davie is an outlier, a cop who killed a suspect to save her partner’s life. While she waits for the police commission to rule on the shooting, she’s called out to probe the gruesome homicide of Anya Nosova, a nineteen-year-old Russian beauty whose body is found in the Los Angeles sewer system.
With her own case in limbo, Davie knows any mistakes in the investigation could end her career. As she hunts for the murderer, somebody begins to hunt her…and it’s no longer just her job that’s on the line.
In PACIFIC HOMICIDE, Smiley has crafted a tight story with a great female lead that seems destined for the big or small screen. In this interview with The Big Thrill she talks about her longstanding work with the LAPD and how it contributes to her career as an author.
This new series is considered “hardboiled,” whereas you have written detective/amateur sleuth novels previously. What do you see as the major differences in these subgenres, and is one more challenging to write than the other?
The difference in subgenres can be boiled down to tone, attitude, and subject matter. All writing is a challenge, but the bigger issue for me wasn’t switching subgenres, it was changing from first person narration to third person. My previous four novels are traditional mysteries with a first-person protagonist who has a sense of humor. It’s an intimate way to tell a story because we always know what the character sees, hears, and feels. The tone in PACIFIC HOMICIDE is darker and the writing is more serious, although for me humor is essential to a satisfying read, so you’ll find some of that in the new book too. The story is told in third person mostly in Davie’s point of view. I chose a less intimate POV to tell the story because of Davie’s stoic nature and her inclination to keep people at a distance. The change was an interesting learning experience.
By George Ebey
In her latest novel, CHILLED TO THE BONES, author Linda Kane takes her readers on an adventurous and chilling ride through the small town of Setauket, New York where four high school friends find themselves embroiled in a historical mystery more than a century old. Secret codes, murder, and lurking evil lead them almost to the point of no return.
The Big Thrill recently caught up with Kane to learn more about this thrilling new story.
What location and time period is your story set in and why did you choose it?
CHILLED TO THE BONES is set in today’s time period but has a ghost and a demon from the American Revolutionary War. I choose the time period because in all of my books I have some history that I think is important to impart to people. In this one I have Tallmadge’s code for the Culper spy ring and Agent 355, a female spy who was instrumental in capturing Benedict Arnold. Most people don’t know the important role that women played in the War.
Who is your main protagonist and what has their journey been like?
My main protagonist is Dealer, an ancestor of Robert Townsend who was believed to have been the father of Agent 355’s baby. Dealer has had a bumpy road. Simcoe caused an accident that killed Dealer’s mom. Her father has a drinking problem and this gives Simcoe an opportunity to acquire the farmland of one of the relatives of the Culper Spy Ring. Dealer is a fighter, she has spunk, and with her friends she tries to save the town of Setauket, New York.
Fina Ludlow is a Boston detective who debuted in Loyalty, then starred in Identity and Brutality, which won the Shamus Award for the best private investigator novel.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer describes the series as, “Sexy, modern noir… [with] a new generation kick-ass heroine” while the Associated Press said, “One could imagine Fina becoming fast friends and colleagues with Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan.” That last bit is funny, since Sara Paretsky is the one who presented that Shamus Award to Thoft at Bouchercon.
The latest novel, DUPLICITY, kicks off when a mother hires Fina’s firm to go after a hip new church, one that she claims brainwashed her daughter. Things only get worse from there, with the death of a prominent church member and the investigation turning complex and explosive, forcing her to face the true meaning of faith.
Thoft now lives in Seattle but grew up in Boston, making the setting completely natural and easy. The detective part wasn’t natural or easy, so she graduated from the University of Washington with a certificate in private investigation.
What do you hope readers take from DUPLICITY?
My top priority is always providing readers with a “good read.” I want them to close the book with a sense of satisfaction, having been engaged and entertained. In DUPLICITY, in particular, I would be thrilled if the themes of faith and loyalty prompt readers to reflect even just a little on their own allegiances. Fina is forced to grapple with the questions of what and who she believes in, and also, how best to respect those whose belief systems are so very different from her own.
As I was writing the book, it struck that in a time of enormous dissent and disagreement in our country, these are questions with which we are all forced to contend.
The best fiction goes beyond entertainment to make a statement or observation about society. A. J. Davidson does both jobs well in his latest novel, JOB’S COMFORT.
The book opens with Deputy Val Bosanquet returning from Guatemala planning to resign from the East Feliciana Sheriff’s Department. Before he can, he is drawn into two investigations that he can’t refuse. Pursuit of the hit-and-run killer of a thirteen-year-old girl, and help a friend framed for murder.
Bosanquet, a decorated former New Orleans homicide cop, has been a wayward and troubled detective for most of his career. After the loss of his unborn child he was eventually lured back to law enforcement as an East Feliciana deputy sheriff, where he puts his detective skills to good use.
“He prefers to work alone to protect those close to him,” Davidson says, “fearing a repeat of the earlier tragedy. Unlike the majority of his peers, Val does not view criminality in terms of black and white, appreciating that everyone is capable of acting out of character if sufficiently incited.”
Bosanquet does not see himself as a hero. Rather, he suspects he has more in common with the criminals he pursues.
By J. H. Bográn
Cats were revered as gods in ancient Egypt. Although we can’t know if cats realize those days are gone, some cats still get special treatment. If you don’t believe me, just ask Rocco. Rocco is not only the quintessential muse for author Toni Lotempio, but also this particular feline became a character in the Nick and Nora series for Berkley Prime Crime.
Nick and Nora aren’t just pussyfooting around this time as they deal with a missing person’s case and murder. While catering a gala for the Cruz Museum, Nora Charles agrees to look into the disappearance of director Violet Crenshaw’s niece, a case previously undertaken by her frisky feline friend Nick’s former owner, a private eye whose whereabouts are also currently unknown.
CRIME AND CATNIP is the third book in the series, and TBT had the opportunity to catch up with the cat-loving author.
What is different/new with Nora in this adventure?
Well, since Nora’s old college crush, Leroy Samms, is now in Cruz there’s a bit of romantic conflict there since she’s dating FBI guy Daniel Corleone. Also, she’s a bit more focused on this mystery because of it’s possible tie to her cat’s owner. The reporter in her would like to solve the mystery of his strange disappearance, and the cat owner in her wants resolution about feline Nick’s ownership.
By Dawn Ius
Never kill a character the same way twice.
Wise advice for all authors, perhaps, but a strict code by which James Rollins writes. For a guy that pens at least two novels a year that are rife with death and mayhem, that isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds.
Rollins lives by this same creed when writing the page-turning action for which the New York Times bestselling author is known. And after more than a dozen novels in his Sigma Force series alone, finding a balance between breakneck pacing and character development can still be a delicate process.
“You can’t just have action for the sake of action,” Rollins says. “I always look for ways of tweaking the action in a different way. You don’t want to exhaust your reader.”
It should come as no shock then that THE SEVENTH PLAGUE, Rollins’ sixteenth story in the Sigma Force collection, is a breathtaking race through time and history in an effort to answer a harrowing question: If the biblical plagues of Egypt truly happened, could they happen again—on a global scale?
When the leader of a British archeologist expedition is found murdered and an autopsy report reveals that his body had begun to mummify—while he was still alive—his remains are sent to London for further study. But back in Egypt, the medical team in charge of the autopsy has fallen ill to a strange disease that is quickly spreading across Cairo. The situation is dire—and most alarming—because the archeologist had vanished while searching for proof of the ten plagues of Moses.
To unravel a secret that goes back millennia and stop a global crisis, the Sigma Force team must confront an ancient threat that is made more dangerous—and deadly—by modern science. A threat that could very well decimate mankind forever.
But the long-standing heroes of Sigma Force are more than simple “men of action.” THE SEVENTH PLAGUE continues Rollins’ tradition of creating compelling characters that demand an emotional response from the reader.
“If I’m going to dangle a character over a cliff, the reader has to be invested,” Rollins says. “They need a good reason to hang in there and finish the story.”
Deck the Halls With Saws Sub-Machine Guns
By Dawn Ius
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring—cuz everyone was dead, yo!
For most people, Christmas is a time to share cookies, yuletide cheer, and kisses under the mistletoe. That all sounds lovely, but not everyone adores sipping on hot cocoa while watching a Charlie Brown Christmas with the kids. For those who prefer their holiday spirit dashed with murder and mayhem, thriller writers have found plenty of ways to conjure up some frights amongst the good cheer.
Perhaps even more so than Halloween, the Christmas season plays into the psychology of really great horror. Travel, extended visits from family, the ever-growing pile of expenses and bills—the simple chaos of the season can leave us vulnerable, on edge, susceptible to irrational fear. Suddenly the idea of that Elf on the Shelf coming to life and exacting murderous revenge doesn’t feel so far-fetched. (Seriously, that guy is creepy.)
A simple Google search will net dozens of books about Krampus, the half-demon, half-goat mythical creature that takes care of Santa’s “Naughty List” by doling our punishment far worse than lumps of coal, and last year’s Krampus movie fared not too shabby at the box office. Admit it, you’ve dreamed of sending a special breed of holiday cheer to that former high school bully, the “best friend” that stole your guy, or that creep at the office who steals your lunch.
Thriller writers feed off that, and according to book sales and publisher promotions, Ho Ho horror and yuletide mysteries are a hot commodity throughout the holiday season. Chantel Williams, an employee at Coles Books in Edmonton, Alberta, says while her shelves are obviously stocked with the classics—Dickens, Dr. Seuss, and Clement C. Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, to name a few—there are quite a few titles that skew more toward mystery and suspense, such as those by author Joanne Fluke, a staple at her store.
Finding the Hot Spots for Storytelling
By Karen Harper
Since we have been snowbirds, flying from Ohio to Naples, Florida, for 30 winters, I feel Southwest Florida is my second home. I’ve written three standalone suspense novels set there in my writing career (I’ve been published since 1982) but had always wanted to set a series there. And so was born The South Shore Series with the launch this month of CHASING SHADOWS and the next two books to follow every other month.
Southwest Florida always stayed in my veins, even when we were back home. Of course, Naples is full of snowbirds from the Midwest, but the area manages to remain unique and quirky, very much its own place. Our condo is a ten-minute drive from downtown chi-chi Naples, but it is also 20 minutes from the deep and dangerous Everglades; historic Seminole villages; glitzy Marco Island, and retro Goodland Island, all of which I have used in my writing. The beaches of Naples are wide and walkable for miles with the famous Naples pier jutting out into the water. The glittering Gulf of Mexico beckons, so what suspense or thriller writer could ask for more?
CHASING SHADOWS begins with a shooting at the Collier County Courthouse and takes in numerous other sites I know well. Although I revisited most of them to get telling details, I probably could have written most of the scenes from memory—and heart. I also used the setting of St. Augustine in the first novel, although it is in the northeast section of the state. Our son and daughter-in-law own two shops in Olde Town, so I knew that area well also. A Gothic mansion near St. A on a cypress-tree-studded, Spanish-moss-hung river was a contrast to seaside Naples, and the great setting for a ghost and a murder—or was it a suicide?
The female lead in the new series is Claire Britten, a forensic psychologist who does not dissect bodies but does dissect the lives of possible murderers. Working with Naples criminal lawyer, Nick Markwood, her cases take her deep into South Florida and people’s messy, dangerous lives.
A Visceral Perspective
By Layton Green
We’re off to the fringe of Eastern Europe this month, discovering the fascinating world of modern Poland through the fiercely intelligent writing of Zygmunt Miloszewski. Not a writer to shy away from big questions and taboo subjects, Zygmunt tackles the hidden world of domestic abuse in RAGE, the third novel in his crime series featuring Warsaw prosecutor Teodor Szacki. Though I’ve read plenty of legal thrillers, Szacki assumes an almost detective-like role in the investigations, including visiting the crime scenes right from the start. It makes for a visceral perspective and a thrilling book.
Zygmunt’s first two novels featuring prosecutor Szacki have received international recognition, making him the #1 bestselling author in Poland and one of the world’s best-known contemporary Polish writers. Zygmunt has won the Polityka Passport for Polish literature, the High Calibre Award for the best Polish crime novel (twice!), and earned two nominations to the French Prix du Polar Européen for the best European crime novel.
I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to chat, Zygmunt. First off, I thought RAGE was fantastic, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the first two in the series. Before I ask you a few questions about the novel, let’s chat about your background. This is International Thrills, after all. Which part of Poland are you from, and how does it inform your writing?
Thanks! It’s always nice and surprising when someone appreciates your work from thousands of miles away. There’s something magical about literature in translation, about the way it crosses borders and cultures. I was born and raised in Warsaw, also known as Europe’s ugliest capital, and I still live there. Is it different from other places in Poland? I guess it; the whole country is trying to catch up with Western civilization as fast as possible, and Warsaw is the monstrous locomotive at the head of it, with an energy that’s remarkable and cruelly unforgiving all at once. The reasons for the city’s ugliness lie in its difficult past (you only have to Google images of Warsaw 1945, Warsaw 1968, and Warsaw 1981, and you’ll understand) and I guess that being raised there, being forced to walk across the scars of history on a daily basis, means that I’m always looking over my historical shoulder. I’m always asking, “but what happened before that?” Our present and future actions are usually more closely connected to our personal and national history than we’re ready to admit.
Paige Nick has been a copywriter for 22 years and writes columns for South Africa’s national Sunday paper—The Sunday Times. A Million Miles From Normal was the title of her debut novel. She is one-third of the Helena S. Paige threesome who write the internationally successful “A Girl Who Walks Into…” series of choose your own erotic adventure novels. DEATH BY CARBS is something quite different—a murder mystery that is intriguing, satirical, and a huge amount of fun. Be sure not to have your mouth full while you laugh! Shortlisted for the Nielsen’s Booksellers’ Choice Award, it’s a perfect holiday season read.
DEATH BY CARBS revolves around dieting and how it affects people for good or ill. The dedication is “to anyone who has ever struggled to lose weight, and knows how murderous it can be.” What attracted you to this as a theme for a murder mystery?
I’ve been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember. Haven’t we all? But that wasn’t what attracted me to this subject. I became fascinated by the idea of all these people that have it in for Prof Noakes. The more I thought about it, the longer the list grew, and the funnier I found it. So that was the itch I had to scratch. I needed to find out who wanted him dead enough to actually go out there and do it?
Professor Tim Noakes, who popularized the Banting diet in South Africa, is a big celebrity here just as he is in your book. In fact I read a newspaper headline about him while I was reading DEATH BY CARBS. On the first page of the book, we are introduced to Detective September who is investigating Noakes’ murder and cheating on the Noakes diet with donuts. Yet Professor Noakes not only went along with a humorous book around his diet and his death, but he even blurbed it: ‘I was breathless right until the end’. How did you get him on board?
For some crazy reason, I only decided to ask The Prof for permission once the book was written. So I had a lot riding on his response. But he’s a real gentleman and really understands marketing. When I first got in touch to explain that I had written a book about him and wanted his permission, he said he would never get in the way and I should go ahead. I told him he dies on the first page, so he may want to read it before he gave me permission. At that he said I’d better come in and meet him.
A Journey into Heroism
The driving force behind heroes has always interested me. Although “hero” has a male intonation, in this article I use the word interchangeably with heroine because male or female, a hero’s qualities are the same.
So, what are heroes? Why do they risk their lives to help others, and what makes them tick?
A basic definition of hero is: A person admired for his achievements and noble qualities. Sounds a little flat, doesn’t it?
The mythological definition is slightly different: A legendary figure endowed with great strength, courage, or ability favored by the gods. Now, we’re getting somewhere!
The Greek notion of a hero basically says: Heroism comes with great sacrifice. The Greeks also gave birth to the concept that a hero is—by nature—unable to live among man and therefore both isolated and alienated. In a single word, alone.
Here’s our modern literary definition: The principal character in a drama, novel, story, or narrative poem. A protagonist.
It’s fair to say that a heroine possesses abundant bravery. She’s resolute in taking risks. She faces danger or endures pain without giving into fear. A heroine steps up to the plate when the situation warrants it and puts herself in danger, often without regard for her own safety. She’s not reckless or suicidal, but her actions go beyond what a “normal” person would do.
Fear is the true enemy of a protagonist.
By E.M. Powell
Not everyone may be aware that there is more to the magnificent Yellowstone National Park than meets the eye. For the park, all 1,500 square miles of it, is actually a supervolcano that last erupted over 640,000 years ago. Not to get anybody concerned or anything, but that monster is still active and may erupt again. In Tim Washburn’s CATACLYSM, it does.
In this fast-paced read, park scientist Tucker Mayfield is trying to not only get the park visitors to safety but his own family, too. His is just one thread in the classic disaster format used by Washburn: multiple points of view and story lines, cuts between locations so we get different perspectives on the unfolding mayhem, and hugely exciting set pieces.
Washburn says he actually wasn’t a big fan of the disaster genre until he started writing it in a complete departure from his previous style. Powerless was the one that got him a publishing contract. “Powerless deals with a solar storm slamming into Earth and scientists say it’s only a matter of when, not if, that happens. We are woefully unprepared for such an event and are making little progress in improving our electrical grids.”
Disaster is where it’s at for him now. “It’s fun finding gruesome ways to destroy parts of the world! The key, though, is the concept must have a grain of truth to it. In CATACLYSM, the Yellowstone caldera is real and could erupt someday. The caldera lurks beneath the surface, unlike most volcanoes people visualize in their minds. Basically, it’s hidden in plain sight and that’s what fuels all of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features. Scientists didn’t know the volcano was there until the early 1970’s. The Yellowstone caldera has erupted three previous times, and all three make the top 10 for the largest volcanic eruptions on earth.”
By J. H. Bográn
The abominable snowman has filled the imagination—and nightmares—of people for years, and has achieved a certain measure of Pop Culture status. More than a few movies deal with the monster, including the one being portrayed as an outcast in Monsters Inc. And whether he admits it or not, George Lucas paid it an indirect tribute to the yeti with the creature that attacked Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back.
Authors Rick Chesler and Jack Douglas bring us a new tale of adventure about the yeti in their book. When evolutionary biology professor Dr. Zack Hitchens loses his wife in a senseless accident, he decides to follow her dreams all the way to the “roof of the world”—the peak of Mount Everest. On the infernal mountain, Zack and his teammates battle sickness, whiteout conditions, avalanches, the oxygen-starved minds of other climbers—and something else. Something primitive and consumed with rage and seeking revenge. Something downright abominable.
The Big Thrill had the chance to chat with the authors about the new release.
What is it about the yeti that intrigued you enough to devote a whole book to it?
Jack Douglas: The initial spark of inspiration was actually the Expedition Everest ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The yeti on that coaster is portrayed as a ferocious beast, a likeness that popular culture has largely moved away from. Between the monster and the perils inherent in attempting to ascend the world’s tallest mountain, it seemed at the time like the story would write itself. But that turned out not to be the case. Instead the book required nearly two years of grueling research on mountaineering, cryptozoology, and the rich history and culture of South Asia.
By Don Helin
Phyllis Smallman’s debut novel, Margarita Nights, won the inaugural Unhanged Arthur Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, and was short-listed for the Debut Dagger in the U.K. She has been awarded both silver and gold medals by the Independent Publishers book awards in the U.S. Her work has appeared in Spinetingler and Omni Mystery magazines. She was a potter before turning to a life of crime. She lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
Smallman has written seven novels that were traditionally published, six in the Sherri Travis mystery series, and one in the Singer Brown mystery series. BEACH KILL the second in the Singer Brown mystery series, but the first to come out as an ebook as well.
I asked Smallman a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about BEACH KILL?
The setting is a small island off the west coast of British Columbia. At the very edge of the continent, and straddling the border of two countries, the Gulf Islands are playgrounds for the very rich. Policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with only six officers to handle ten thousand residents and a few thousand visitors, resources are stretched thin. On this May holiday weekend, the town of Kilborn is full of tourists and pleasure boats for the round-the-island regatta.
This month at The Big Thrill we’re joined by thriller author Ashley Elston, whose novel THIS IS OUR STORY was released on Nov.15 by Disney-Hyperion. The story is an interesting take on a childhood hunting accident, told in a unique way through the use of transcripts, text messages, interviews, and viewpoint characters.
Please tell us a little about your new book.
In THIS IS OUR STORY, five boys go on an early morning hunt after a late night of partying and drinking, but only four come out alive. Accident or not, the boys know the one who pulled the trigger could face jail time, so they make a pact in the woods—they won’t tell who used the gun that killed their friend. The story is told from the perspective of a girl who works as an intern for a local assistant district attorney and the unknown shooter.
You tell the story through a mix of point of view characters, transcripts, text messages and interviews. What were the challenges of this type of storytelling?
The biggest challenge was finding the right balance. I wanted to tell this story from different perspectives but I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader. The transcripts were a great way to revisit the night before the hunt and see the events that went down through the eyes of different people at the party. My favorite part was writing the unknown shooter’s POV. He’s really creepy and I think his POV adds so much to this book.
By Wendy Tyson
National bestselling author Amanda Lee crafts another seamless mystery in BETTER OFF THREAD, her tenth novel in the Embroidery Mystery series. The series follows Marcy Singer, the smart, resourceful owner of The Seven-Year Stitch, an embroidery specialty store in quaint Tallulah Falls, Oregon.
This time, Marcy takes a break from her shop during the holidays to play elf while her friend volunteers to be Santa at a local hospital. Celebrations sour when the hospital’s administrator is murdered and evidence points to Santa—and it’s up to Marcy to unravel the truth before the real killer strikes again.
Leerecently sat down with The Big Thrill to chat about her latest novel and her incredible journey to publication.
Congratulations on the publication of BETTER OFF THREAD. No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Thank you so much! There are a few new characters introduced in this book, and one of them in particular makes Marcy pretty nervous.
When a man disappears, his wife is always the prime suspect. But not every woman will take that accusation lying down, as Joan Hall Hovey shows us in her new thriller, AND THEN HE WAS GONE.
The man is Adam. The woman, Julie Raynes, believes Adam has been murdered. While the police suspect she’s the culprit, Julie is determined to hunt down whoever is responsible for her husband’s death. As Hovey describes, Julie is an unlikely thriller hero.
“Most people would be drawn to Julie’s warmth and sincerity,” sh says. “She’s struggled through much pain in her life, deepening her own inherent compassionate for others. She’s generally a behind the scenes woman—enjoys her photography, works the clerical side of her husband’s woodworking business, and although she’s friendly enough, perhaps not the type to draw you out at that cocktail party.”
But in this dire situation, her courage will be tested. Julie doesn’t see herself as a heroine, but she does have a good sense of who she is and will battle if she has to, even in the midst of her terrible grief.
But what makes her think she can go after her husband’s killer?
“Her sense of justice and her love for her husband are her only qualifications,” Hovey says. “She doesn’t know if she’s capable, but she does know she has to try.”
A Story Too Good to Pass Up
Simon Wood is a born problem-solver. As a petrochemical engineer, he was tasked with preventing oil-rig leaks and keeping drinking water clean; as a racecar driver and a pilot licensed in two countries, he’s generally expected to use his skills and instincts to avoid scenarios involving words like “fiery” and “crash.” (If you’re hoping his resume will get less interesting as we go along, I’m sorry to tell you that Wood, along with his wife, has also done undercover work as a private investigator in California and Nevada.)
So when he turned his attention to writing in 1998–a professional shift that Wood attributes, at least in part, to the lengthy bureaucratic process of immigrating to America from his native UK–it seems only natural that it was the thriller genre, with its puzzle-box plot contortions, that called to him. His first novel, Accidents Waiting to Happen, was published in 2002; since then, Wood has gone on to pen more than a dozen thrillers, including two horror titles written under his pseudonym, Simon Janus. His knack for embroiling his characters in serpentine cons, violent cat-and-mouse games, and Hitchcockian conspiracies has certainly paid off: Since 2011, the Anthony Award-winning author has racked up a sales tally somewhere north of one million books.
Wood’s latest thriller is DECEPTIVE PRACTICES, a stand-alone published by Thomas & Mercer. The book centers on Olivia Shaw, a woman who turns to an underground organization called Infidelity Limited for a bit of rough justice after she discovers that her husband has been cheating on her. When things take an unexpectedly bloody turn and her husband ends up dead, Olivia sets out to exonerate herself of his murder–and exact revenge on his killers.
Faced with the choice of challenging Wood to a high-speed road race or interviewing him about his latest novel, The Big Thrill chose the latter.
By Anne Tibbets
“WALK INTO SILENCE is the debut in a series featuring Texas police detective Jo Larsen,” says thriller writer Susan McBride. “I wrote it almost a decade ago, but put it aside. I was deep in the midst of my Debutante Dropout Mysteries for HarperCollins at the time, and had also signed with Random House to do a non-mystery series about debutantes in Texas. So I forgot about WALK INTO SILENCE until last spring, when I dusted it off and did a major rewrite. A lot had changed in ten years, particularly regarding technology, but the plot felt pretty timeless: a missing woman with a tragic past and a detective determined to find her.”
“Jo Larsen is kind of my own Jack Reacher without the military background and the penchant for drifting,” McBride goes on to add. “She’s had a lot of bad things happen in her life, but she hasn’t let them destroy her. They’ve made her incredibly strong and empathetic. She truly feels for the victims and fights for them, because no one fought for her. I love that she’s very controlled on the outside, but roiling with emotion on the inside. Those who know her well—and there are few—understand her need for privacy but keep knocking on the door, asking to be let in. When she believes something, she believes it fiercely, which is why the term ‘dogged’ comes up so often when other characters in the book address her. She is like a dog with a bone: she won’t let go.”
As with any thriller, research and accuracy can be a key component to the book’s success and authenticity.
“I definitely do a lot of Internet research, and I kind of go wherever Google takes me when I have a particular question come up. While researching WALK INTO SILENCE, I needed to know about quarries and what happened to them when they weren’t viable anymore. What does one do with a gigantic pit? I also looked up various laws relating to missing persons, gun ownership, et cetera. Since the book is set in Texas, and I don’t live there any more (although I did for twenty years), I checked back on locations and directions. But I do love hands-on research as well and returned to the Dallas area to talk to folks at the Frisco police department and get a tour of the facilities. I put my notes to good use when I set up my fictional Plainfield P.D. So I do whatever it takes in order to feel like I’m getting things right.”
Even with research and craft, a writer can still have favorite scenes in each of their books.
Following a Dark Path
By Dawn Ius
Carter Wilson’s writing style is a bit like asking Jesus to take the wheel. With barely a spark of an idea, he sits at the keyboard and says, “Characters, tell me a story.”
An unabashed pantser, Wilson is comfortable with letting the book unfold organically, allowing himself to get caught up in the plot—and the darkness—without the pressure of following an outline. No one reading over his shoulder. No guidelines on content. Nothing to obstruct the story’s flow.
Things aren’t quite so lucky for Harden Campbell, the protagonist in Wilson’s stunning new thriller, REVELATION. When Harden wakes cold and beaten in a dirt-floor cell, he finds only three things in the room with him: the mutilated corpse of his friend, an antique typewriter, and a stack of blank paper, the top sheet of which someone has typed: Tell me a story.
And unlike Wilson’s writing process, each of Harden’s draft words will be carefully analyzed by his captor—Harden’s old college roommate, Coyote, a sociopath now at the head of a terrifying new religion.
“Writing this book was a little different because I had more of a general idea of what I wanted the story to be about,” Wilson says. “I wanted to know how difficult it would be to start a religion.”
Hollywood 1931. A place where bulls interrogate frails, and dewdroppers hang around waiting for their big break. A place where finishing a movie can take precedent over blackmail or even murder. These are some of the challenges that face film studio security chief Neil Brand, ex-cop and former stuntman, in Ray Dyson’s THE NAKED NYMPH IN THE DARK FLICKERS. This hard-boiled crime story is a dazzling mix of noir and Hollywood history, told with the gritty light and shade of a classic black-and-white motion picture.
Ray Dyson studied journalism at Ohio State University and spent many years as a newspaperman, covering crime and sports. I’ve met many thriller authors who began their writing careers in journalism. So that was where I started a spirited conversation with Dyson for The Big Thrill.
How did working as a crime journalist help your approach to crime fiction?
A good reporter must be a good observer. Those two things go hand-in-hand for investigative reporters. The same is certainly true—and to a far greater extent—for criminal investigators. There isn’t a homicide dick in the world worth a lick if he isn’t a first-class observer. Those boys understand a crime is solved by paying attention to the details. I’ve spent a great deal of time watching them at work—or at least exploring the details of those efforts—developing a good understanding of how they go about their duties. It can be a slow, painstaking affair as they work to crack a tough case, but when you talk to them afterward it can be fascinating to learn how they put the puzzle together. Hopefully, that carries over to my stories.
Step into 1920s Hollywood, where murder awaits . . .
RENTING SILENCE, the third in the Roaring Twenties mystery series by Mary Miley takes Jessie from silent films back into the world of vaudeville to track down a performer with something to hide. At the request of her silent film star boss, Mary Pickford, Jessie uses her vaudeville talents to investigate the murder of an extra by a Hollywood actress already sentenced to death for the crime. Her inquiries lead to the discovery of a blackmailer and more than a dozen actors facing ruin or even death if their secrets are exposed. If the convicted actress is innocent, then who killed the blackmailer?
Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine—he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.
Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers—and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague—but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.
With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem. But will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?
Bestselling author, Ronie Kendig, took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with The Big Thrill about her latest book:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will have an excellent reading experience that will not make them think, but take a second (or third) look at historical events and artifacts.
Keith Dixon, UK author of the popular Sam Dyke tales, kicks off a new series with the story of a man trying to escape an event that ruined his professional life, and leaves him vulnerable to the kind of riff raff that put him in a tight spot in the first place.
But when he finds himself drawn to a manipulative con-woman and is dragged into a high-profile antiquities scam, Storey realizes escaping his past may not be as easy as he’d hoped. In fact, it could turn deadly.
In this interview with The Big Thrill, Dixon shares his inspiration for this new series, talks about his love for Elmore Leonard, and what it’s like to start with a fresh new character.
What can you tell us about your new series protagonist, Pail Storey?
Paul Storey is a man who has been extremely good at his job in law enforcement but an unfortunate event undermines his self-belief. Storey has come home to Coventry because he feels his professionalism has been compromised by what transpired in London, and he can’t get his head straight to function properly in that former role. He wants to reset, find something different to do—returning to Coventry to take care of his father’s property is a good prompt to do just that.
What’s your relationship with Coventry?
I was born in Yorkshire but raised in Coventry. When I was growing up it was a dynamic place, the home of many car manufacturing companies, and called a “boom town” by the press, partly because of the rebuilding it underwent after the German bombing of World War II. My previous crime novels had all been set in the North West of England, where I’d spent many years, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit my home town almost as a stranger. Because I had a new character to deal with, it seemed sensible to give him a different location to roam around in, a place where he could best the bad guys.
WILL THEY DIG UP THE TRUTH?
When a rash of college students falls seriously ill after ingesting Molly, a “club drug” also known as ecstasy, Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit are tasked with tracking down the dealers. Going undercover at the university leads Megan closer and closer to infiltrating the drug trafficking ring. But when the investigation implicates her former partner and workplace nemesis, Officer Derek Mackey, Megan’s powers of discernment are put to the test.
OR ARE THEY BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE?
Thwarted when the Feds seize control of the investigation and frustrated by the lack of attention the DEA is putting into the case, Megan continues her own unofficial investigation with Brigit’s help. But when the trail leads them in an unexpected and dangerous direction, Megan and Brigit find their own lives at risk. Can the K-9 team take down those in power? Or are some criminals simply above the law―and paw?
ABOVE THE PAW is the fifth book in Diane Kelly’s series featuring Police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 dog partner, Brigit.
Author Diane Kelly took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest book with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will learn some fun and interesting things about K-9s and their handlers. I also hope the funny parts will brighten their day.
Private Investigator Rick Cahill fears the next knock on his door will be a cop holding a warrant for his arrest. For murder. La Jolla Chief of Police Tony Moretti is convinced Rick killed a missing person. No body has been found, but the evidence that’s piling up says murder and it all points to Rick. With Moretti on his tail and the bank about to foreclose on his house, Rick takes a paying case that will stave off the bank, but pits him against Moretti and the La Jolla Police Department.
Brianne Colton, a beautiful country singer, is convinced her estranged husband’s suicide was really murder. Rick is unconvinced, but the mortgage has to be paid. Each new piece of evidence convinces him she’s right. He breaks his number one rule and falls for Brianne, even as he begins to question her motives.
As Moretti cinches the vise tighter, with Rick unable to trust the FBI, evil forces emerge from the shadows who will do anything, including torture and murder, to stop Rick from uncovering the truth.
Author Matt Coyle recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, DARK FISSURES:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
An enjoyable read. A greater sense of who Rick Cahill is, but to still have a few questions about what makes him tick. To put themselves in Rick’s place and wonder if they’d make the same decisions he did.
When Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death ten years ago wasn’t an accident, his world begins to unravel. New evidence links her to a young woman, whose body was found dolled up like a movie star and tossed in the gutter like an abandoned plaything. With the help of part-time English translator Yumi Hata, Kenji begins to piece together what really happened the night his mother died. But the closer he gets to discovering who killed the Painted Doll, the more he fears that the truth will destroy all that’s left of
his fractured family.
Author Jonelle Patrick recently discussed her latest novel with The Big Thrill:
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
Not many books are able to step behind the tourist curtain in Japan. This book gives readers a chance to meet the kind of characters they couldn’t get to know without learning the language, and pulls them inside the eye-popping subcultures that are usually hidden from outsiders.