By Lee Lindauer
Your worst nightmare just went viral. After being involved in a road accident and assault, Beth Jordan awakes to find the aftermath being recorded by students with their phones and attacks the crowd. Awaking from a coma she is horrified to discover the event has been shared online by millions of viewers. Beth must use the clips to find out what happened to the driver of the other car but somebody is murdering the owners of the clips. Can Beth track them down before the digital fragments of the event disappear forever?
Just like the riveting way the plot untangles in Richard Parker’s STALK ME, I had to rely on electronic means for this interview. I would have preferred to visit Richard in person in the Salisbury area of the United Kingdom, but alas, it had to be by email. Curses, foiled again!
Please give us a brief bio of yourself and how you ended up writing novels.
My professional writing career began in my late teens when I started submitting comedy scripts to TV. I had a few pieces used and then was offered commissions. I eventually became head writer, script associate, script editor, and then producer. Having ticked all those boxes I needed a new challenge and started writing novels around 1998.
As with your previous two novels, STOP ME and SCARE ME, this one is titled STALK ME. Is there any significance to the similar titles?
I was pleased that my first publisher stuck with my STOP ME title. When I’d finished my second book I had a different title for it but Exhibit A were keen to carry on the ‘Me’ theme. STALK ME seemed like a gift. It fits in with my S&M brand (!)
By Jeff Ayers
International bestselling author Rick Mofina is known for delivering intense suspense and stories with emotional impact. In his latest, WHIRLWIND, investigative reporter Kate Page joins the search for a baby who vanished in the arms of a stranger following a devastating tornado near Dallas, Texas.
RT Book Reviews declared WHIRLWIND a Top Pick and said, “Another stellar read that demonstrates Mofina’s one of the best thriller writers in the business.”
Rick Mofina recently chatted with THE BIG THRILL.
What sparked the idea for WHIRLWIND?
No one incident sparked the idea. It came to me when I cast back to some of the toughest moments I’ve ever faced during the years I worked as a news reporter. I was often parachuted into the lives of people at the most difficult times in their lives, often during natural disasters. I’d talked to many people, who’d suffered horrible losses. As I considered the enormous emotional toll, a fictional story began to take shape. I imagined a young wife and mother of two small children, already facing hard times. I saw her at the moment she’d accepted a kind stranger’s help to protect her baby boy as a killer tornado rips through a Texas flea market. But in the aftermath, that mother can’t find her son or the woman who’d been holding him. Then I imagined a reporter, a single mom herself, discovering this tragedy at a time when she’s fighting for her job and trying to hold her life together. I envisioned her vowing to find the truth behind the baby boy’s disappearance, no matter where it led, no matter the cost. I saw their stories, and those of others involved, coming together in a whirlwind of forces so powerful that it surpassed all of their fears and changed them all forever.
Heather Graham knows how to weave elements of mystery, romance, and the paranormal into a story that hooks your heart and mind, and she proves it again in her latest novel, WAKING THE DEAD.
Graham gives this contemporary thriller an appropriately timeless feel, as it revolves around a painting whose creator was friends with Lord Byron and Mary Shelley. And like Mary Shelly’s famous creation, the painting appears to have come to life and brought death to those around it.
When the painting appears in modern day New Orleans death seems to still follow it. Mystery arises, but even great props don’t make great stories. For that you need fascinating characters, and few are more interesting than Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn. Quinn is a private detective while Cafferty owns an antiques shop, but they seem to make the best of their differences and their complex histories.
“They have all kinds of interests,” Graham says. “They’ve made a lot of mistakes in life and learned from them as I think we all do.”
Their very different talents combine to make them surprisingly effective when investigating unusual situations, and this book certainly presents one. These two occasional partners in solving crime quickly make connections between present-day spring in Louisiana and the summer of 1816 when the painting was created, a summer in which the artist and the Shelleys met in Switzerland to explore themes of horror and depravity in their art.
The story works so well because of Graham’s talent for combining elements of multiple genres. And for her, it seems to come naturally.
“I have read across all kinds of genres all my life,” she says. “I love today in publishing more than ever, because we do cross all kinds of genres!”
At the heart of every crime there is a family . . . the fact driving Barbara Taylor Sissel’s fiction. Her novels are issue oriented, threaded with elements of suspense and defined by their particular emphasis on how crime affects families—the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family. The focus of the stories is not crime per se, but how quickly and irrevocably lives can be altered in one single, shattering moment of misjudgment and how difficult it then is for family members to find their way back onto solid ground.
In SAFE KEEPING, Emily Lebay’s thirty-four-year-old son, Tucker is arrested for murder after yet another woman is found dead in the woods near the Lebay home. Neither Emily nor her daughter, Lissa, can reconcile their Tucker with these brutal crimes. Terrified and convinced there’s been a tragic mistake, Emily and Lissa set out to learn the truth about Tucker, once and for all. And while his life hangs in the balance, what they discover proves far more shocking than their darkest fears . . .
The book has garnered some wonderful reviews:
“Past secrets contribute to present-day angst in this solid suspense novel, and the even pacing keeps the reader’s interest until the captivating conclusion.”—Publishers Weekly
“…impressive writing and affecting subject matter.”—Kirkus Reviews
Reading a book by Barbara Taylor Sissel always begs certain questions. What is justice? Where is the line? What’s the nature of forgiveness? Why is it so hard? And in SAFE KEEPING, what would you do if your grown son was accused of a capital crime?
By Jeremy Burns
He’s got more than a dozen books, including six #1 New York Times bestsellers, under his belt, and now Andrew Gross is set to release his next emotionally-charged thriller. EVERYTHING TO LOSE incorporates everyman heroes thrust into impossible situations, tense familial drama, and a gripping murder mystery set amidst the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. The author sat down with THE BIG THRILL to take readers behind the curtain of his latest thriller.
Tell us about your new thriller, EVERYTHING TO LOSE.
A desperate, determined mom, with a deadbeat husband and a son with Asperger’s, suddenly loses her job and faces a moral dilemma when she bravely tries to rescue a man in an auto accident and comes upon a trove of cash. The question is how far you would go to save your own child? Maybe even something criminal? Of course she takes it, out of desperation, and there are always consequences. In seconds, Hilary’s life goes from the moral high ground to total freefall. Throw in dealing with a behaviorally challenged son with the heartbreak and fear of what’s become known as “C-U kids,” callous and unemotional, thought to be the personality disorder that leads to psychopaths. Combined with a twenty-year-old murder in Staten Island that’s been brought back to life by Superstorm Sandy, including some stories of friends of mine devastated by the storm, and you get the nucleus of character and plot that became the novel.
Much of the book’s setting centers around the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a unique and timely backdrop. What were your own experiences with the storm and its aftermath, and how did you integrate those experiences into your new book?
My own experience was, in one way, inconvenience and irritation, having to go eleven days without power (and plumbing), although we did sneak off to our place in Florida. Trust me, everyone in our neighborhood has invested in generators now. But some close friends suffered greatly. Maybe not in loss of life, but one particular friend had her mother’s house on the Jersey shore completely devastated: everything inside—valuables, family photos, mementos, antiques, china, scrap books, every marker of their lives and history, lost forever, washed out to sea. This was a very poignant story to me, and so in the book, I had one crucial piece of evidence that, seen again, exposes the crime at the heart of my story, which was taken by the storm and then, months later, washed back onshore. It’s what sets everything in motion. I also set much of the book in Midland Beach, on Staten Island, where eleven people lost their lives and to me was like Ground Zero for the storm.
New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award winning author Lisa Scottoline is loved by millions of readers for her suspenseful novels about family and justice. Scottoline delivers once again with Keep Quiet, an emotionally gripping and complex story about one man’s split-second decision to protect his son – and the devastating consequences that follow.
Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all.
Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.
By A.J. Colucci
Brad Parks is a funny guy. Five books ago, he attended the debut author breakfast at ThrillerFest and used his one minute to give a now-infamous serenade to Brad Meltzer, and last year he performed a hilarious song at the awards banquet with Michael and Daniel Palmer.
However, Brad’s comedic talent shines best in his crime novels, featuring Carter Ross the charismatic, khaki-wearing, street-wise news reporter with a conscience, who stumbles upon murders and investigates crimes with the grit and doggedness of a New Jersey sleuth. THE PLAYER is his fifth book in the series, which mixes actual headlines with colorful characters, plenty of action, and surprising twists.
It’s no coincidence Brad’s main character has a nose for news. Before embarking on a successful career in fiction, Brad spent a dozen years as a journalist working for THE WASHINGTON POST and THE NEWARK STAR-LEDGER, where he covered everything from the Super Bowl to Hurricane Katrina to a quadruple homicide.
In Brad’s latest novel, THE PLAYER, residents of a Newark neighborhood are getting sick—and even dying—from a strange disease. Carter Ross dives into the story—so deep he comes down with the illness himself. With even more motivation to track down the source of the disease, Carter soon hits upon a nearby construction site. But when the project’s developer is found dead, and his mob ties surface, Carter knows he’s looking at a story much bigger—and with even more dangerous consequences—than an environmental hazard.
Brad took some time to chat about his characters, news reporting, and New Jersey, the jackpot state for crime novelists.
NYPD Detective Kat Donovan, the protagonist of Harlan Coben’s compelling new novel MISSING YOU, is smart, driven, brave, and persistent. She’s also alone. So when a well-meaning friend submits Kat’s name to an online dating service, she reluctantly logs onto the website. After searching through all too many unappealing profiles, she comes upon a photograph of her ex-fiancé Jeff, who eighteen years earlier broke off their engagement, leaving her heartbroken and desolate. Once the shock wears off, Kat feels a rekindled spark, a renewed hope that she can recapture lost love. But when she reaches out to Jeff, he rebuffs her and disappears into the shadows of cyberspace.
As Kat probes into Jeff’s past, her affection turns into suspicion and then terror. He appears to be entangled in a nightmarish conspiracy, in which monstrous predators prey upon weak and trusting victims. Meanwhile, the body count continues to rise, and Kat must act to save lives, including her own. Her investigation forces her to confront dark events in her past and to re-examine her feelings about those closest to her—her ex-fiancé, her mother, her boss and longtime friend, and her father, a cop whose decades-old murder remains unsolved.
MISSING YOU chronicles a woman’s struggle to survive as her most firmly held beliefs are called into question. Coben graciously agreed to answer some of our questions about the book.
MISSING YOU explores the dark side of the Internet, and particularly cyber-dating sites. What interested you about this topic?
What doesn’t? We go online, we look at a profile pic, we may even converse—but we have no idea who the person is, do we? So I asked the what-if. What if you went on one of those dating sites and saw the person who broke your heart years ago? What if you reached out and everything went wrong?
By A.J. Colucci
J.T. Ellison’s latest contemporary thriller, WHEN SHADOWS FALL, is the third novel in her series featuring forensic pathologist Dr. Samantha Owens. For J.T., it’s been quite a journey to NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author, from her roots in the rural back roads of Colorado and then Washington D.C., where she attended George Washington University and held a succession of über-cool jobs that included White House staffer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Since then, she’s had a stellar career producing eleven novels, including the Taylor Jackson series, which was critically-acclaimed, published in over twenty countries and provided the spin-off for the Samantha Owens books.
In WHEN SHADOWS FALL, Sam Owens finds that life is at last returning to normal after she suffered a terrible personal loss. Settling into her new job at Georgetown University, the illusion is shattered when she receives a disturbing letter from a dead man imploring her to solve his murder. There’s only one catch. Timothy Savage’s death was so obviously the suicide of a demented individual that the case has been closed. Sam’s own postmortem discovers clear signs that Savage was indeed murdered. And she finds DNA from a kidnapped child whose remains were recovered years earlier. The investigation takes Sam into the shadows of a twenty-year-old mystery that must be solved to determine what really happened to Timothy Savage. Nothing about the case makes sense but it is clear someone is unwilling to let anyone, especially Samantha Owens, discover the truth.
J.T. graciously offered to answer a few questions about her new book and her life as a writer.
You seem like an author who is not afraid to throw your characters into dark disturbing places, and that includes Sam Owens. Can we expect the same level of suspense, terror, and twists in WHEN SHADOWS FALL?
Even more so, actually. Not only is Sam reluctantly drawn into Timothy Savage’s case, she is faced with an interesting dilemma. She wants to walk away from her career helping law enforcement discover the truth about crimes, but no one wants to see her go. SSA John Baldwin plays a big role in this book, giving Sam a major opportunity to be a part of the FBI, and this case if the perfect jumping off point. This book has a killer at its heart who is so real and so frightening for it, I think it’s one of the tenser stories I’ve told.
By Jeff Ayers
Terri Nolan wowed the thriller world with her first novel that featured investigative journalist Birdie Keane, titled BURDEN OF TRUTH. Now Birdie is back in another terrific thriller, GLASS HOUSES.
When investigative journalist Birdie Keane’s latest story reveals the shocking truth about a famous cold case, she teams up with her cousin, homicide detective Thom Keane, to deal with the aftermath. The story also gets the attention of a serial killer armed with a revolver and a house key who is killing people in their sleep and finds it amusing to taunt the cousins.
Terri Nolan took some time to chat with THE BIG THRILL.
What sparked the idea for Glass Houses?
I decided to marry two separate ideas. First, I wanted to delve into the Keane family as character and explore how families shape individuals within a clannish environment. I was especially taken with the idea of pairing two members as dual protagonists. Second, I continue to be fascinated and repelled by the complicated housing issues here in Los Angeles and how corporations and investor groups are driving the home ownership market further away from families.
My son’s grandmother, Juana Maria Guruceta, was a young teen the day Generalissimo Franco’s planes rained bombs over the Basque Country, the fiercely independent, highly industrialized and culturally rich region of the Pyrenees, which spreads across Northern Spain and the southwestern corner of France.
Her father, Vicente, a custom gun maker and the trade representative of a group of sporting rifle manufacturers famously established in the Basque Country, was forced to flee with his wife, daughter, and young son. They barely escaped before their house was destroyed, taking a boat from Bilbao to the coast of France, and then inland, where they hoped to find refuge at a convent.
The convent did not expect a boy to be in the party of refugees and would not allow him to stay within its walls beyond a brief visit. So yet again they were on the run, this time to Nicaragua where Vicente had visited often in his role as trade emissary.
Vicente subsequently established himself in Nicaragua, resuming his role as a trade representative for gun manufacturers in Europe and the Americas. Tragedy still dogged the family when Vicente’s young wife died of cancer, then his son of a brain tumor. To make a bad situation worse, his daughter Juana, my son’s grandmother, became the object of the affections of the Nicaraguan dictator’s son, Anastasio Somoza.
Asian-American Lin Mere follows her father’s trail to New Zealand to try to establish a relationship with her father’s estranged family, and maybe rekindle a romance, but she gets distracted by the offer of a job as chief executive. When danger enters Lin’s life from an unexpected source, she has to face an ordeal even more challenging than the battles in the boardroom.Confronting a trilemma—a choice between three bad options—Lin must make her move.
“An utterly engaging tale, with a pitch-perfect plot, jam packed with surprises. This book will bring Jennifer Mortimer front and center onto the thriller stage.”—Steve Berry, NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author of THE KING’S DECEPTION.
“It starts off as a conventional piece of modern literature about the corporate world. It interweaves elements of romance and the uncertainties of family relationships. And, in retrospect, it’s a thriller. Notice the key word, ‘retrospect’. Such is the strength or weakness of first-person narration. Since our protagonist is oblivious to the danger, so are the readers. The result is a clever piece of writing.”—David Marshall, THINKING ABOUT BOOKS.
Interview by Pearce Barnard
Is the book any good?
Who asks that? Yes of course it’s good!
By Karen Harper
It was great fun to get back in touch with Carla Buckley for this interview. We lived in the same city before she moved, so it’s fun to catch up with her at ThrillerFest and other conferences. As a board member and Vice-President of awards for ITW, she’s one busy lady, but she made time to answer these questions about her new thriller, THE DEEPEST SECRET. Get ready for another Buckley all-night read!
Tell us about your new February release.
Diagnosed with XP, a rare medical condition which makes him lethally sensitive to light, Tyler is a fourteen-year-old who desperately wants just one thing: to be normal. His mother Eve also wants just one thing: to protect her son. As Tyler begins roaming their cul-de-sac at night, cloaked in the safety of the darkness, he peers into the lives of the other families on the street—looking in on the things they most want hidden. Then, the young daughter of a neighbor suddenly vanishes, and Tyler may be the only one who can make sense of her disappearance…but what will happen when everyone’s secrets are exposed to the light? As Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control—and some secrets that not even love can conceal.
Your starred review for THE DEEPEST SECRET in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY stressed what I have always noted is one of your great strengths as a writer: your flawed yet sympathetic suburban family characters. Do you create your characters from your own past at all, from observation or totally your imagination?
Thank you, Karen. It’s the flaws in my characters that make me want to write about them. I love creating worlds of shifting grays, where everything is held in question, where nothing is taken for granted, and where the best decision is not always the right decision. My characters stumble; they make mistakes and do terrible things. But they’re not evil. They’re just human.
By Don Helin
Kathleen George’s seventh installment in her Richard Christie thriller series is A MEASURE OF BLOOD. In the story, the major crimes commander collects his best detectives to investigate the murder of a woman—an investigation that centers around the son she left behind. The police have just one clue—the man who killed Maggie Brown claims he was the boy’s father. But is it true? The puzzle turns out to be very complex and culminates in a race to save the boy. A MEASURE OF BLOOD is brimming with page-turning action, much of it on the road, some of it set in the theater department at the University of Pittsburgh where George is a professor.
Kathleen George is the author of TAKEN, FALLEN, AFTERIMAGE, THE ODDS (Edgar finalist for best novel), HIDEOUT, and SIMPLE. She is also the editor of PITTSBURGH NOIR. A MEASURE OF BLOOD is her seventh thriller set in Pittsburgh. As mentioned, she is a professor of Theatre Arts at Pitt and has directed many plays, including several by Shakespeare who is always thrilling. She credits her theatre background with giving her the tools to write thrillers.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Kathleen George and ask her a few questions.
By George Ebey
Action and commerce combine in author David O’Neil’s latest thriller, MINDING THE STORE.
Freemantle’s was the store in New York, and probably in the United States. Like Harrods in London it occupied a privileged position in the minds of the public. When David Freemantle returned from his service as a SEAL, he was expected to take over the operation of the business, up to then, run by his grandmother. But there was trouble all around as the mob decided to invest in department stores as a money laundering ploy. The resulting confrontation resulted in mob mayhem when David and Sam, his friend and ex-SF colleague, have to fall back on their lethal training to survive and maintain the integrity of Freemantle’s.
I recently checked in with David to find out more about MINDING THE STORE as well as his numerous other works.
Your story takes place in an established department store in New York City. What inspired you to choose this as a setting for your thriller?
The choice of a department store as the subject of my story was more or less serendipity. Since I was a boy, the department stores of London and Glasgow were places of wonder and interest to me. Something of that feeling remains with me despite advancing years. The idea of money laundering is of course not new, and it occurred to me that a store would be a real possibility for the movement of considerable cash, especially an old established one. The store in my story, despite its reputation, has been deliberately allowed to start “fraying around the edges” to make it at once, more vulnerable, and more likely to be open to financial help (at a price).
By J. H. Bográn
What is the true story behind the fabled lost continent of Atlantis, and what power did the Atlanteans wield? That’s the question behind David Wood’s new novel, ATLANTIS.
When archaeologist Sofia Perez unearths the remains of an Atlantean city, she unwittingly gives the Dominion the power to remake the world after its own design. From the depths of the Caribbean to the streets of Paris, to Japanese islands and beyond, join former Navy SEALs turned treasure hunters Dane Maddock and “Bones” Bonebrake on a race to stop the Dominion from unleashing its greatest threat yet in the thrilling adventure, ATLANTIS!
Wood graciously agreed to answer a few questions for THE BIG THRILL.
What can you tell us about the plot?
ATLANTIS is a globe-hopping adventure story in which the heroes must find the lost city of Atlantis before their enemies can gain control of an Atlantean weapon that just might have the power to remake the world. We visit multiple sites that are reputed to be the source of the Atlantis myth, plus several other exotic and interesting locales.
Raymond Benson is the award-winning author of thirty-two published titles. He’s also a film historian/instructor, musician, and stage director.
Benson’s THE BLACK STILETTO is back in the fourth novel of his five-book saga with SECRETS & LIES. It’s 1961. Judy Cooper, the Stiletto, moves to Los Angeles after meeting Leo, a charismatic man who has many secrets—could he be the father of Martin, Judy’s son? And is Leo the connection to a near-fatal incident that terrorizes Martin and his daughter Gina in the present? The Black Stiletto story takes a dark left turn with even more mysteries, secrets, and lies.
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY says Benson’s appealing fourth novel is “reminiscent of heroes from the Golden Age of comics like the Black Canary and Lady Luck, thrill-seeking Judy makes an endearing protagonist.” And Pam Stack, Authors on the Air Radio, notes that Benson “ratchets up the suspense, demands answers to questions, and continues to capture the imagination of the reader so that we are begging for the book not to end.”
Sounds like THE BLACK STILETTO: SECRETS & LIES is just the thing to get readers off to an exciting New Year. Let’s talk with Raymond Benson on how he continues to keep readers on the edge of their seats in his well-received series.
By Karen Harper
It was a long time coming, but this January a debut author who is receiving a lot of buzz releases the first of five novels that sold to Mira and Harlequin Intrigue. In HUNTED, Heiter introduces FBI profiler Evelyn Baine who gives Clarice Starling a run for her money as one of the most interesting new heroines on the block.
Heiter was kind enough recently to answer some of my questions.
What is your book about?
HUNTED is about an FBI profiler who discovers just how deadly it can be to get inside the head of a killer.
My heroine, FBI agent Evelyn Baine, gets assigned to profile the “Bakersville Burier,” a killer who abducts and murders young women, leaving them buried up to their heads deep in the woods. He’s savvy, and Evelyn knows he’s killed before. She also knows that unless she can help the police find him, he’ll strike again. But as she digs deeper into the case, the Bakersville Burier begins to track her too. Suddenly, she’s the one being hunted!
Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, and Macavity winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan said about HUNTED: “Relentless suspense, non-stop surprises, and a twist around every corner. So taut, so tense…I dare you to put this down! I could not turn the pages fast enough.”
Since you are a debut author, can you share a bit about your path to publication? Finding the right home for a book, especially a series, can be daunting.
My path to publication took nine years, six completed manuscripts, and many more partially finished manuscripts, as well as several opportunities that I didn’t take, until I found the right home for HUNTED. I actually pitched the book to my editor at MIRA while at an RWA Conference, and a year later, I got the call that she was interested. A year and a half after that, the book will be out in stores! But the best advice I ever received while pursuing this dream was to keep at it. I’m stubborn, and I love to write way too much, so I did!
By Cathy Clamp
Former government agent John Brynstone barely survived his last encounter with assassin Erich Metzger while uncovering the secret of an ancient relic coveted by the descendants of the infamous Borgia family (THE RADIX, June 2013, which NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver called, “A topnotch thriller . . . roller-coaster storytelling at its best.”).
In Brett King’s latest, Brynstone and assassin Metzger again go head-to-head in the page-turning sequel, THE FALSE DOOR. From an ancient Egyptian catacomb to a mysterious Parisian grave, Brynstone must race against determined adversaries to trace a chain of events that has spanned millennia and a string of murders dating back to the ancient world.
THE BIG THRILL recently sat down with the Brett King to talk about his electrifying new historical thriller.
Does THE FALSE DOOR stand alone as an introduction to John Brynstone or should readers first read THE RADIX?
This is a direct sequel. In fact, the first scene in THE FALSE DOOR takes place in the same moment as the last scene in THE RADIX, only told from the perspective of a different character. The setting is a famous cemetery in Washington D.C. on New Year’s Eve. It was fun to write, creating a concluding scene in one book and then going back to see that moment through the eyes of a very different character. That opening scene also answers an important question raised in the last few sentences of the first book, so it will bring some resolution for my readers. In the second book, former government agent John Brynstone faces the consequences of the darkest choice of his life, one he made in the first book. However, I wrote THE FALSE DOOR so it would all make sense even if the reader hasn’t touched THE RADIX.
Network journalist turned novelist Julie Kramer writes media thrillers set in the desperate world of TV news. Kramer has won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery/Suspense, RT Reviewer’s Choice for Best First Mystery, and the Minnesota Book Award. Her work has also been nominated for the Anthony, Barry, Shamus, Mary Higgins Clark, and RT Best Amateur Sleuth Awards.
In DELIVERING DEATH, the sixth in Kramer’s series, notorious white-collar criminal Jack Clemens is transferred to a state prison that houses violent offenders. Soon thereafter, TV reporter Riley Spartz receives a package of human teeth in the mail. Riley’s investigation into the horrifying discovery reveals that Clemens, the leader of a lucrative identity-theft ring, is the prime suspect in a homicide. But Clemens also has the ultimate alibi—when the murder occurred, he was behind bars.
While Riley pushes to keep the homicide in the news and to report on the potentially tragic consequences that identify theft can have on its victims, her boss, news director Bryce Griffin, focuses on providing entertainment, not news. Bryce is convinced that coverage of the Mall of America’s unique version of a royal wedding is key to the Channel 3 winning the ratings. In the course of her search for the truth about the murder, Riley confronts issues of journalistic integrity, animal cruelty, and gay rights, all at great personal risk. Ultimately, Riley’s investigation leads to a shocking conclusion.
Chase Baker is a true Renaissance Man. He’s also a man who knows how to find trouble. A part-time resident of Florence, Italy, his resume reads like a modern day Da Vinci or Casanova. Writer, private investigator, tour guide, historian, treasure hunter, adventurer, and even archaeological sandhog, Chase is also a prolific lover. Unfortunately for him, his dangerous liaisons all too often make him the target of a jealous husband.
Now, at the direct request of the Florence police, he finds himself on the trail of an archaeologist by the name of Dr. Andre Manion who’s gone missing from his teaching post at the American University. But having worked for the archaeologist several years ago as a sandhog on a secret but failed dig just outside the Great Pyramids in the Giza Plateau, Chase smells a renewed opportunity to uncover what just might be the most prized archaeological treasure in the world: The mortal remains of Jesus.
But how will Chase Baker go about finding both the archaeologist and the Jesus Remains? With the help of Manion’s beautiful ex-wife, Chase will manage to secure an up-close and personal examination of the Shroud of Turin, not only to view the famous image of the crucified Christ, but to unlock the relic’s greatest secret which is none other than a map, or a key, detailing the precise location of Jesus’s body.
By Jeff Ayers
Readers are finding that Melissa Groeling’s latest e-book, LIGHTS OUT, is difficult to put down. The synopsis is even suspenseful!
Even when the lights are out, he can still see you…
Paul Holten’s profession doesn’t leave much room for doubt or conscience but he’s reaching his breaking point. The nightmares are getting worse, the jobs are getting harder to finish, and the volatile relationship with his boss, Aaron, is falling apart. Now faced with the possibility of an impending death sentence, Paul makes the fatal decision to run. Drawn into one hellish situation after another, he’s forced to confront his dark past—and wonder if perhaps dying isn’t the better option.
Melissa chatted with THE BIG THRILL.
What sparked the idea for LIGHTS OUT?
The idea for LIGHTS OUT actually came to me in pieces. One was my “Introduction to Art” class in college. There was a guy named Aaron who sat a few rows over from me and for some weird reason, I remember thinking, “Hey, there’s a name I haven’t used yet.” So I had a name for a character but no plot. Then I ended up taking a course called, “Aztecs and Mayans” which was, hands-down, one of my favorite classes. I always thought that was a little odd since I was an English major but it had a lot to do with the professor. I wish I could remember his name. He was so informative, so completely absorbed in what he was teaching us. Every class was a slide show of pictures of far-away places he’d visited: temples, museums, artifacts. There were stories about gods, battles, bloody worship, and the end of the world. How could you not get a story from something like that?
By Nate Kenyon
The author of more than forty novels, Stuart Woods has been penning thrillers for over thirty years. The NEW YORK TIMES has called him “the Nora Roberts of mystery best-sellerdom.” His latest bestselling series features Former NYPD detective and lawyer Stone Barrington. Woods won an Edgar Award with his first novel, CHIEFS, which was made into a TV miniseries starring Charlton Heston. He has written a sailing memoir, BLUE WATER, GREEN SKIPPER, which chronicles the birth of his longtime passion for sailing and the first race he competed in, the ’76 Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race. Boats and sailing feature prominently in a number of his novels, as does flying: Woods is a licensed pilot and flies a Cessna Citation M-2 jet. He splits his time between Florida, Maine, and New York City.
THE BIG THRILL sat down recently with the author to discuss his career and upcoming Barrington novel, STANDUP GUY:
Stone Barrington’s newest client does not seem the type to bring mayhem in his wake. A polite, well-deported gentleman, he comes to Stone seeking legal expertise on an unusual—and potentially lucrative—dilemma. Stone points him in the right direction and sends him on his way, but it’s soon clear Stone hasn’t seen the end of the case. Several people are keenly interested in this gentleman’s activities and how they may relate to a long-ago crime . . . and some of them will stop at nothing to find the information they desire.
The 14th-century poet Dante depicted Hell as nine circles of suffering. In Jon Land’s THE TENTH CIRCLE, Jeremiah Rule, a charismatic, bigoted preacher with a dark past, threatens to open up Hell’s tenth circle in America. Rule has inflamed half the world with his hateful rhetoric. The United States has been hit with a series of unprecedented terrorist attacks, resulting in the nation’s virtual shutdown. Worse, Rule isn’t acting alone, but rather has the support of a powerful, violent cabal. Only Blaine McCracken can stop Rule and his supporters from unleashing a weapon as devastating as any known to man.
Over the course of the novel, McCracken faces danger not only from Rule, but also from a malevolent foreign power bent on revenge and a lethal assassin whose motivations are unclear. Epic in scope, THE TENTH CIRCLE takes the reader to colonial Roanoke, where all the settlers mysteriously disappeared, to the ghost ship Mary Celeste, and from Iran to rural Florida. Maintaining a break-neck pace throughout, the novel, through Blaine McCracken, explores the nature of courage, duty, and friendship.
THE TENTH CIRCLE marks the second return engagement of Jon Land’s longtime series hero Blaine McCracken on the heels of last year’s PANDORA’S TEMPLE, which was nominated for a Thriller Award and received the 2013 International Book Award for Best Adventure Thriller.
C.T. Jorgensen (aka Christine Jorgensen) is a multi-published crime fiction writer. Her first six novels were humorous amateur sleuth mysteries—five in the Stella the Stargazer series and one standalone. MISSING is Jorgensen’s debut thriller, the first in a series featuring Detective Casey Jansen.
In MISSING, a young single mother, Karen Preston arrives to pick up her daughter from her first sleepover to discover her daughter missing. When she returns home to get a picture of her child for Detective Jansen, she finds her apartment stripped of all evidence of a child. It’s not a spousal kidnapping, the child’s father left the country before knowing of the pregnancy. Then secrets about Karen’s past begin to surface. Jansen is skeptical of her story, and she takes it upon herself to find her missing daughter while trying to keep her own secrets hidden and untangle the truth about a terrible crime.In this race against time, a young mother risks her life and a detective risks his career in a race against time to save a young girl.
For the new series, Jorgensen draws on her professional background as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in the fields of child abuse and neglect, and in pediatric rehabilitation. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Jorgensen and ask her a few questions.
Missing is a real change from your first six novels. It’s much darker. What prompted such a dramatic change in direction?
I was writing very dark stories when I first started writing. But when the demands of my then job (a child protective social worker at first Denver Social Services and then at The Children’s Hospital) became so dark and depressing, I turned to humor for a relief. Now that I’m retired from that position, I am a much happier person and can go back to my first love—the dark side.
I got to connect with Karen Robards to discuss her upcoming Christmas Thriller, THE HUNTED. A few quick facts about Robards: Karen Robards resides in Louisville, Kentucky in a big old fashioned home. She has three sets of three. Kids, Cats and Dogs!
For being a regular on the NEW YORK TIMES, PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY and USA TODAY bestseller lists, she’s wonderfully down to earth. Robards was truly touched by my complimenting her books. Her books are known for being exciting, steamy, and real page turners! She’ll have you staying up hours past your bed time just to find out what happens next.
Below you’ll find my interview with her to talk about a variety of topics ranging from her newest book to one of her secret talents.
Tell me about the Hunted.
HUNTED is a fast-paced romantic thriller that RT BOOK REVIEWS described as having “plenty of action, danger, and sexy sizzle” in a 4 1/2 star review. At a glittering Christmas party in New Orleans, model homicide detective gone rogue Reed Ware takes the city’s movers and shakers hostage. When hostage negotiator Caroline Wallace is called in to talk Ware into standing down, the situation is complicated by the fact that she once had an enormous crush on Ware – and her father, the superintendent of police, is among the hostages. The negotiations go spectacularly wrong, and Ware goes on the run with Caroline as his hostage. But as Caroline starts to piece together the truth behind Ware’s actions, she discovers that the more she learns, the more danger she’s in – and not necessarily from Ware.
By Nate Kenyon
Gregg Loomis has been publishing for more than twenty years, with over half a million copies of his books in print. He is the author of VOODOO FURY, THE JULIAN SECRET, THE PEGASUS SECRET, and THE GATES OF HADES, among others. NEW MYSTERY READER called THE PEGASUS SECRET“highly entertaining,” while PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said “The international setting and fast-paced action grip.” Loomis has also published articles in FLYING and SCUBA DIVING magazines. He was a nominee for Writer of the Year by the Georgia Writers Association.
Loomis is a former race car driver both in and out of the United States and a licensed commercial pilot. He has traveled extensively in Europe and the Caribbean. Loomis is also a lawyer specializing in commercial litigation. He practices law in his native Atlanta, where he lives with his wife Suzanne, also a lawyer, and their golden retriever, Harry. Between court dates, Gregg works on his next novel.
THE BIG THRILL sat down with the author to discuss his career and his new blockbuster thriller, THE FIRST CASUALTY, which continues the story of Jason Peters, a private operative agent. When a terrorist group threatens the United States, armed with a powerful laser, Peters knows he’s the only man for the job. Bored with retirement and fueled by his own reasons for revenge, Peters must race against time to recover the deadly weapon before it’s too late. Ending this threat may mean blood will be shed, but Peters has never minded getting dirty for the sake of Uncle Sam.
By E. A. Aymar
Weekends in Baltimore
The 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.
In October 1943, a U.S. destroyer sailed out of Philadelphia and supposedly vanished, the result of a Navy experiment with electromagnetic radiation. The story was considered a hoax—but now Juan Cabrillo and his Oregon colleagues aren’t so sure.
There is talk of a new weapon soon to be auctioned, something very dangerous to America’s interests, and the rumors link it to the great inventor Nikola Tesla, who was working with the Navy when he died in 1943. Was he responsible for the experiment? Are his notes in the hands of enemies? As Cabrillo races to find the truth, he discovers there is even more at stake than he could have imagined—but by the time he realizes it, he may already be too late.
New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.