By David Healey
Welsh writer Math Bird works in a studio overlooking the Dee Estuary in the town of Holywell. The waterway serves as a boundary between Wales and England. Across the water, to the north, are Liverpool and Manchester, where local residents often commute for work.
These are the borderlands of Wales, and the writing that Bird does reflects this crossroads region with all of its history and angst.
Recently, Bird agreed to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill about his writing. (During the Skype session, he kindly explained that the name Math isn’t a shortened version of some exotic Welsh warrior’s name like Llywelyn or Cadwgan, but just the Welsh version of Matt.)
“It’s kind of seen its heyday,” Bird said of Holywell, an ancient and scenic place by the coast. In his writing, Bird adds elements to create his own brand of Welsh noir. The landscape and the Dee tend to run through all his writing.
“The estuary is in most of my stories,” he says. “There’s very few crime novels set in northeastern Wales. I wanted to make the region more accessible.”
To some extent, he’d already been doing that in his fiction. He has had some of his writing produced by the BBC, which he calls an interesting process in hearing someone else read what he’s written.
“I sometimes think that I would not have read it that way. It’s interesting how someone else puts emphasis on certain words, for example,” he says.
It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client—the sister of a murdered musician—seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.
As Galloway pieces together the final days of rock and roll legend Jimmy Spartan, he struggles to sort through his own issues, to include having the occasional hallucination. He’s not certain how bad his condition has deteriorated, but when Galloway is attacked in broad daylight by men he assumed were figments of his imagination, he realizes the threat is real and his condition is putting him and anyone nearby at risk. The stoic demeanor that earned Galloway the nickname The Tin Man is tested as he reunites with an old flame, becomes entangled in a Secret Service investigation, and does battle with old enemies.
A story is divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.
Award-winning author J. J. Hensley met with The Big Thrill to discuss the second installment in his Trevor Galloway series, RECORD SCRATCH:
On the cusp of pot legalization in California, Jerry runs afoul of some San Francisco bikers in the marijuana game. He flees straight up Highway 101 to Humboldt County to hide out deep in the hills at Vic’s, a reclusive pot farmer and old pal of his tough-as-nails mother. But trouble finds Jerry no matter where he goes and soon the bikers, a pair of stone killers, and a Russian weed tycoon named Vlad the Inhaler are all hot on Jerry’s trail.
Fallout from the unfolding chaos piques the interest of SFPD detective Roland Mackie when he learns Jerry’s host, Vic, is somehow involved. It opens a twenty-year-old wound, an unsolved case called the Fulton Street Massacre, and Mackie is willing to do whatever it takes to get a pair of cuffs on the elusive Vic.
When Jerry and his protectors are chased off the mountain and back down the 101 to an inevitable showdown back in the Bay, he learns Vic is much more than his host, he’s a mentor, his mother’s hero, and the toughest man he’s ever met.
With an unforgettable cast of characters and an action-packed plot, 101 is a wild ride through Northern California’s “emerald triangle.”
The Big Thrill caught up with author Tom Pitts to discuss his latest novel, 101:
When a man who appears mentally unstable holds a group of people hostage and dies in a shootout with the FBI, Special Agent Lucy Kincaid is assigned to investigate what happened. Up until two months ago, McMahon was a respected scientist—then his wife left him, he lost his job, and he was arrested for assaulting a former colleague. The one person who might have answers—his research assistant—has disappeared.
While Lucy is investigating this bizarre case, her husband Sean is on top of the world: his son Jesse is visiting for the summer. They are having a blast, until someone follows them. Sean is positive that the surveillance is connected to Jesse’s stepfather—a man who had once laundered money for a violent drug cartel. But when Lucy and Jesse are run off the road, they begin to wonder if the attack is connected to Jesse…or Lucy’s current case.
Nothing is what it seems—not the McMahon investigation or the car accident. As Sean and Lucy dig deep into the lives of everyone involved, one thing becomes clear: If they don’t find the truth fast, everyone they care about is in danger…
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Allison Brennan spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, TOO FAR GONE:
She has drive and ambition. What she doesn’t have is money.
She knows of a home in the upscale town of Mendham, NJ, that will be empty for more than a month. The rich people who live there go away the same time every year to spend time at their vacation home. Having cleaned the house, she also knows it contains a fair amount of cash and valuables.
Sitting with Ray, one of her co-workers one night, she casually mentions a “what if” scenario; Ray tells Skooley, a white trash drifter who recently moved to New Jersey from south Florida, and a plan is hatched.
It isn’t long before Esmeralda finds herself trapped by both circumstance and greed, forced to try and defend herself against one of her partners in crime, who she quickly discovers is far more dangerous than she ever thought possible.
Author Steven Max Russo spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his debut novel, THIEVES:
“Don’t get in the car,” her lieutenant says. But, of course, she gets into the car.
The killer thinks he is in love, but his idea of love is a little strange.
The Big Thrill caught up with Pulitzer Prize nominee Roger Angle to discuss his debut novel, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MAGGIE COLLINS:
But picking up the pieces in a place where he was once revered isn’t as easy as he hoped, especially for a convicted felon in the Bible Belt. And in no time Dan has landed squarely in the crosshairs of an old high school nemesis, the unctuous Judge Rick Hunter who warns Dan to “leave Echo now or be sent back where you came from.”
When Dan is offered a dream job—a coaching staff position with the Echo Junior College football team—he must decide between accepting the offer and risking his newfound freedom, or leaving Echo, tail between his legs, and breaking the promise he made to his dying father.
Meanwhile, Dan is falling fast for his college professor, a beautiful but enigmatic outsider who challenges him to stay in Echo. And in an odd twist of fate, Parrish’s final decision results in an outcome that splashes his name and face across every county news outlet in Kansas, forcing the former star to face off against his two most formidable adversaries: his age and his checkered past.
The Big Thrill caught up to co-authors Shawn Corridan and Gary Waid to discuss their collaboration, SPLINTER CITY:
It’s hiking season in Black Rock Falls and the small town in Montana is flooded with visitors. But when a hiker finds a human skull on a deserted trail in the woods that surround the town, Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.
With no missing persons reported, Jenna has no leads. Then her team makes a shocking discovery – the body of another hiker, a young man, tied to a tree and riddled with bullets. Could the two murders be linked?
As more bodies are found, Jenna and her deputy David Kane know that they must venture deep into the forest to find and face the killer. But nothing can prepare them for what awaits them there…
Author D. K. Hood took time out of her busy day to discuss her latest thriller, THE CRYING SEASON, with The Big Thrill:
By George Ebey
In SHOT OF LOVE, the next installment in R. J. Jagger’s Nick Teffinger crime series, Denver homicide detective Nick Teffinger crosses paths with an edgy little beauty who is either a killer or about to be killed—or both. Either way, she’s on the run, and now so is he.
The Big Thrill recently caught up with Jagger to gain insight into his main character, the Teffinger series, and his new release SHOT OF LOVE.
What first drew you to writing mystery and crime fiction?
My college degrees were in mathematics and then I went on to become a lawyer, so I never really read a book. Then one day, several years into my law practice, just for grins, I grabbed one of the current bestsellers off a Barnes & Noble shelf. I was immediately blown away, first by how good the book was, and second because I felt I could probably write a book myself if I wanted to. Fast forward a year or two, and I began to write a book on weekends and at night—a thriller. I got about 200 pages done and then my law practice escalated to 65 hours a week. The manuscript got shoved into the bottom of a drawer for more than three years. At that point, I’d actually forgotten I’d written it until I stumbled on it one day. I read it, decided it wasn’t half bad, and scrapped half of it, down to 100 pages or so. Then I wrote the rest of it in a flurry over two months. And then all of a sudden, there it was, an actual book (well, manuscript, actually) sitting in front of me on my desk. I’d done it. For better or worse, I was off and running.
By Karen Harper
Colin Campbell is a Brit with a British hero who has reinvented himself in U.S. law enforcement. Nothing like a long-time British cop writing about a British cop, solving crimes in America, no less.
Campbell took some out of his busy schedule to talk to The Big Thrill about the latest in his Resurrection Man series, SHELTER COVE.
Please tell us what SHELTER COVE is about.
Jim Grant is at it again. Knee deep in shit and shit deep in someone else’s past. So far so normal. Except this time it’s personal, and that’s why the past stings so much.
Trouble comes in threes. Always has and always will. If Cole Thornton had recognized that, he might have avoided much of what was to come. If he’d realized that the car crash was the start of his personal trifecta, he could have moved on before Shelter Cove became a killing jar instead of a safe haven. Before the bodies on the beach and the shootings. And before Jim Grant came looking for him.
That’s pretty much the “no spoiler” description. I’m trying not to say who Cole Thornton is or why Jim Grant is looking for him. And I don’t want to say too much about why the car crash is tied into all the other stuff that happens, or what that other stuff is. Some of it came as a surprise to me.
Ethan Harms is reluctant to talk about the crimes that earned him consecutive life sentences in a super-max detention facility. Instead, he trains his sharp eye and wry sense of humor on the realities of existence without freedom—deprived not just of movement but expression, distraction, and perhaps even absolution.
Harms is a brilliant autodidact, yet much eludes his grasp. For instance, how is it that his illiterate next-cell neighbor, Cooney, has authored a tell-all best-seller that is a finalist for the National Book Award? And how can Harms be having silent psychic “conversations” with Crow, a Native American mass murderer who has not uttered a word aloud in fifteen years?
With HARMS’ WAY, Rayfiel (author of Colony Girl, a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year) has created a darkly comic, literary novel rich with the pleasures of taut, psychological thriller.
The Big Thrill had an opportunity to meet with Rayfiel and discuss his latest novel, HARMS’ WAY:
Set at a Cuban resort, a mysterious blonde manipulates a restless dancer to perform her dirty deeds in exchange for freedom.
By day, Homero manages the towel hut at a beach resort on Cayo Guillermo. By night, he entertains in the theatrical show. But exposure to wealthy foreigners has come at a price. Homero now lusts for a life of fame and fortune beyond the ocean’s horizon line.
When a mysterious guest—known as the ‘White Lady’ due to her odd, bleached appearance—offers to whisk Homero out of Cuba, he jumps at the opportunity. But there are deadly strings attached to her proposal. As Homero performs the most dangerous dance of his life, he grapples with the unforeseen consequences of his most tragic decision.
The Big Thrill caught up with author Jennifer Soosar to discuss her latest novella, BEACH BODY:
Jeff Nichols — a man strong of conviction but weak of character — is fresh out of the Don Jail, looking for work — any kind of work — and a way back into Ann Ryan’s good graces. She waited for his return from prison but is quickly running short on patience. An ex-inmate and friend gets Jeff a job at Ted Bracey’s used car lot, selling cars for commission only. But it’s not enough to keep him and Ann afloat in mid-80s Toronto, and the lure of easy money soon gets Jeff involved in smuggling guns from upstate New York. With that sweet Poughkeepsie cash, now he can keep his promises to Ann; he even buys them a house, but conceals the source of the money. As Jeff gets in deeper and deeper, everyone around him learns how many rules he’s willing to bend and just how far he’ll go to get on the fast track to riches. That he’s a guy who doesn’t let lessons from past mistakes get in the way of a good score.
Dietrich Kalteis, the award-winning author of POUGHKEEPSIE SHUFFLE, met with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest thriller:
By David Healey
“I’m a working class kid from a generation that speaks in emojis,” says Ian Truman, a Montreal writer with a French accent who has been known to lapse from time to time into Franglais, a patois of English and French spoken by the young and hip in one of North America’s most European cities.
At 35, he is also an up-and-coming writer who is becoming known to audiences well beyond Montreal with the release of his second novel, DOWN WITH THE UNDERDOGS. Told in first person, the novel unwinds the story of D’Arcy Kennedy, a working-class tough guy drawn into employment with the Irish mob during a get-rich-quick gentrification boom that is seeing the old neighborhoods and criminal order of the city upended.
As a writer and Montreal native, Truman knows the subject well. He has watched the rising popularity of this city of 4 million with interest. He said that the city itself it a fascinating mix of languages and accents, with French-Canadians rubbing elbows with newcomers from places like Algiers, and even waves of transplants from France drawn by a lower cost of living and the comfort of French culture.
“You can walk down the street and hear all sorts of different accents,” he says.
While Montreal is a vibrant place to be based, he says that being a Canadian writer has its challenges: “It’s a different market. It’s smaller.” Also, given the travel involved, he says that it’s difficult to tour. “It’s harder to get your name out there.”
And did we mention the long, cold winters?
By Dan Levy
In one form or another, we all have families. So in one sense, we have a shared understanding of ideals like honor, loyalty, commitment, and legacy. But those values can look very different when viewed through the lenses of different families. Stories of warring clans are likely as old as storytelling itself, but we still can’t get enough of them.
AMERICAN HISTORY, due out this month from Down & Out Books, is J. L. Abramo’s ninth novel, and his first foray into the family saga. In AMERICAN HISTORY, about two families whose feud stretches from 19th-century Italy to modern-day America, Abramo weaves his unique perspective as a descendent of Italian immigrants into a novel he describes as a “sociological thriller.”
Abramo took some time to talk with The Big Thrill about the demands of writing a thriller that spans two continents and several generations.
What started you writing nine novels ago? Is that what keeps you writing today?
I have always been compelled to find outlets for my creative instincts. I believe artists are driven by a need to discover a route by which internal feeling, thought, and belief can escape. The impulse to continue writing remains constant. I can’t not write.
By Tim O’Mara
If the phrase “ripped from today’s headlines” weren’t so overused—and possibly trademarked by those Law & Order folks—I would use it to describe Liam Sweeny’s second Jack LeClere novel, PRESIDING OVER THE DAMNED (out now from Down & Out Books). Since I’m not going to use the phrase, let’s just agree that Sweeny’s novel could hardly be more timely than it is. Jack, a homicide detective in Upstate New York’s New Rhodes Police Department, not only has to deal with the lynching of a young black girl, he also has to navigate internal police politics and outside activists/agitators, all while recovering from the events of his last case, where his family was more than threatened.
Via email, I asked Sweeny to talk about one of the major themes of his latest novel: the role of race relations in today’s law enforcement field.
“That’s a tough one,” he said. “Especially in the context of a novel where the protagonist is a white detective written by a white author. I did a lot of research and found enough to fit on a flash drive. But the real experiences, the kind I can never have, would look like the Library of Alexandria.”
Sweeny pointed out that racial tension between police and the black community is a component of a broader social issue. “Police have the gun and a license to take life, liberty, and property,” he said. “At their worst, they’re the cut that slices the throat of the black community. I tried to get at this in PRESIDING OVER THE DAMNED—that racial tension between police and those they police is only one of the thousand cuts that make up institutional racism. It’s also dismal spending on black schools and businesses that don’t take a shot south of ‘that street.’ It’s the odds that the black offender has of doing jail time compared to the white offender who did the exact same thing. It’s the stop-and-frisks and the traffic stops because a black motorist ‘matches a description.’ Taken individually, you can explain them each away as harmless. But together, the net effect is a pervasive assault.”
Author Paul Marks’s follow-up to his Shamus Award Winning White Heat doesn’t waste any time setting the mood or the scene.
It’s 1994, two years after the Rodney King riots and the young TV actress Rebecca Schaeffer’s murder at the hands of a stalker. A political and social storm rages over California’s notorious anti-illegal alien Proposition 187.
When BROKEN WINDOWS opens, a young aspiring actress climbs atop the famed HOLLYWOOD sign and leaps to her death. At the same time, an undocumented day laborer is murdered, and a recently disbarred and desperate lawyer places an ad in a local paper headlined, “Will Do Anything For Money.”
It isn’t long before private investigator Duke Rogers finds himself smack in the middle of all this turmoil, when as a favor to Marisol, a housekeeper who works down the street, he offers to investigate the death of her brother, Carlos.
Ultimately, Duke must figure out what ties together Carlos’s murder, the ex-lawyer’s desperate ad, and the HOLLYWOOD sign jumper. With the help of his un-politically correct sidekick Jack, they’re catapulted into a labyrinth of murder, intrigue, and corruption of church and state that hovers around the immigration debate.
Charleston, Massachusetts, 1972: Rookie cop Michael Finnegan gets a call from his mother. His youngest sister, Susan, has disappeared, the same sister who ran away two years earlier. Anxious not to waste police resources, Finnegan advises his family to wait and search on their own. But a week turns into two decades, and Susan is never found.
Idyll, Connecticut, 1999: In the woods outside of town, a young woman’s corpse is discovered, and Detective Finnegan seems unusually disturbed by the case. When Police Chief Thomas Lynch learns about Finnegan’s past, he makes a bargain with his officer: He will allow Finnegan to investigate the body found in the woods–if Finnegan lets the bored Lynch secretly look into the disappearance of his sister.
Both cases reveal old secrets–about the murder, and about the men inside the Idyll Police Station and what they’ve been hiding from each other their whole careers.
Monday morning, as the clock strikes 9:00, Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.
Above his head are two plain white envelopes. They do not contain any answers – only further problems, especially when they find out the scar is hiding a very sinister secret.
Within twenty-four hours, they have one body, one suspect – with a motive but no evidence – and a number of other possible suspects.
But they’re all missing.
Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.
Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?
An estranged family member! A score to end all scores! Continued gastrointestinal issues! Five years after surviving the most harrowing heist of her life, Fantine Park is lured back to the United States by her aunt. The bait: a lead on the identity of her mother’s killer and a score known as the ‘pension plan’, a piece of software that can literally pay out in perpetuity if they can get their hands on it in time.
Working with a team of actual professionals with their own motivations, Fan’s loyalties and beliefs will be tested as nothing is as it seems, especially when one of the members of this crew may have been the last person to see her mother alive.
It’s going to be lies, murder, and gas station hot dogs all the way down as Fan races to get the answers about the day her mother died and maybe, just maybe, the kind of cash that will pull her away from a continued life of crime.
PULL & PRAY author Angel Luis Colón spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest novel:
By Tim O’Mara
In case you somehow missed it—maybe you were up to your neck in your latest WIP—there’s a big election this year. (When’s the last time we had a “small” election?) It seems like every group out there is doing their level best to scream louder than the other groups. Go on Facebook—or don’t—and it’s hard to find a post that’s not pro-this or anti-that and why you should feel the same way. At times, it just feels like so much cocktail party opinionating. (I may have made that word up.)
In an attempt to cut through all this noise, Mysti Berry has compiled and edited a dozen or so crime stories about the voting process in the anthology LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE. Many people may try to pigeonhole writers into a certain political group, but Berry doesn’t see it that way.
“It surprised me when people talked about LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE as political,” she writes via email. “Voting is the most important tool a citizen has to affect change or keep something that doesn’t need to be fixed in the first place, no matter what change or stasis that person thinks is best. To me, specific policy positions are political: pro-this or anti-that. And I do think that writers, regardless of their feelings on certain policy issues, try to avoid preaching from the page. My goal was to get to (some) level of common understanding, not stand on an apple box and shout my policy positions to the world.”
I asked contributor Mariah Klein, whose story “Bombs Away” takes a closer look at voter intimidation, if her entry was based on a real-life occurrence.
What at first appears to be a brush fire in some undeveloped bottom land yields the charred remains of a young African-American man. As sheriff’s detective Katrina Williams conducts her inspection of the crime scene, she discovers broken headstones and disturbed open graves in a forgotten cemetery.
As Katrina attempts to sort out a complex backwoods criminal network involving the Aryan Brotherhood, meth dealers, and the Ozarks Nightriders motorcycle gang, she is confronted by the sudden appearance of a person out of her own past who may be involved. And what seems like a clear-cut case of racially motivated murder is further complicated by rumors of hidden silver and dark family histories. To uncover the ugly truth, Katrina will need to dig up past crimes and shameful secrets that certain people would kill to keep buried…
The Big Thrill caught up to author Robert E. Dunn to discuss the third installment in his Katrina Williams mystery/thriller series, A DARK PATH:
It’s summer, 2016. Chelsea Farmer has awoken from one nightmare into another. Once a call girl with no control over her life, she’s lost even more control, becoming another statistic in the opioid epidemic eating America from the inside out. Shacking up with a woman she may or may not be in love with, and three men unaware of just how useless they’ve become, she participates in home invasions to steal material goods that can be traded for pills or, even better, heroin. In between hits, the gang finds other ways to scrape together money, such as getting paid to march in a protest-turned-riot against presidential candidate Donald Trump. As the habit increases, calling for more crimes to feed it, the boys get increasingly violent with the victims of their home invasions. How long will it be before they actually kill a homeowner who refuses to cooperate? Chelsea must decide whether or not she’s willing to hang around and find out.
Alec Cizak, author of BREAKING GLASS, sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel:
Bricks and Cam are back, this time fleeing from the East Coast after closing accounts with the mob. Planning a new life on the West Coast, the pair of hit men stop off in Ashton, a small, rural town in eastern Washington, only to immediately find themselves embroiled in trouble in typical fashion.
What starts in a bar as a simple intervention between an abusive boyfriend and his victim girlfriend quickly escalates into a blood feud between Cam and Bricks and the family of local backwoods royalty, the Crawfords. Once Cam and Bricks draw first blood, all of the force of the extended Crawford family and their militia-minded cohorts are brought to bear on them. The Crawfords have numbers and hometown advantage, but they’ve never gone up against anyone like Cam and Bricks before. Bricks’ lethal cunning and Cam’s penchant for successful messes wreaks havoc with the Crawfords’ attempts to bring them to small town justice.
Despite their talents, though, the two big city assassins soon find themselves struggling not just to win this war, but to make it out of town alive.
THE GETAWAY LIST is the explosive final Cam & Bricks Job.
The Big Thrill caught up with authors Frank Zafiro and Eric Beetner to discuss their latest thriller, THE GETAWAY LIST:
When you want someone found, you call bounty hunter Jake Halligan. He’s smart, tough, and best of all, careful on the job. But none of those skills seem to help him when a shadowy group starts taking his life apart piece by piece.
First Jake comes home to find a dead body in his gun safe. He thinks it’s a warning—and when you drag people back to jail for a living, the list of people who want to send that kind of message is very long indeed. With backup from his sister Frankie, an arms dealer and dapper criminal, Jake plunges into the Idaho underworld, confronting everyone from brutal Aryan assassins to cops who want his whole family in jail.
But as Jake soon discovers, those threats are small-time compared to the group that’s really after him. And nothing—not bounty hunting, not even all his years in Iraq—can prepare him for what’s coming next. Jake’s about to become a player in the most dangerous game ever invented…
BOISE LONGPIG HUNTING CLUB is a wild ride into the dark heart of the American dream, where even the most brutal desires can be fulfilled for a price, and nobody is safe from the rich and powerful.
The Big Thrill caught up with author Nick Kolakowski to discuss his latest novel, BOISE LONGPIG HUNTING CLUB:
By Karen Harper
Rachel Amphlett has lived and is moving back to my favorite place on the planet—England. It’s also the place in which her Kay Hunter Detective Series is set. Amphlett’s latest in the series, GONE TO GROUND, continues the adventures of a dynamic main character who lives a balanced domestic, yet dangerous life.
It was my pleasure to interview Amphlett for The Big Thrill.
Please tell us what your new book, GONE TO GROUND—#6 in the Kay Hunter Detective Series—is about.
While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery – a victim that has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown. When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realizes the disturbing truth—a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.
With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population and a scornful media. But when a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.
As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.
Although the sixth book in the Kay Hunter series, GONE TO GROUND can be read as a standalone novel.
I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF IN DREAMLAND by Ross Klavan
Bartok is left with scars from the army but something else, as well-the memory of a strange, mystical experience that he calls “Red River.” Back home and out of luck, he wanders through 1970’s New York hoping to recapture this strange state. But others see Bartok as an easy mark for some very dirty business and their plan is to use him for murder.
Aggie is back in business. He’s no longer smoking bootleg cigarettes as he did in “Smoked,” now he’s smuggling another usually legal-and quite valuable-product: maple syrup. Unfortunately, on the way from the Midwest to New York City, he’s picked up an unwanted traveling companion, the fifteen-year-old daughter of his latest boss. It seems she wants to get to NYC to meet up with her on-line boyfriend, who turns out to be much more than she expected. All Aggie wants to do is drop off the syrup, pick up a paycheck, and get on home. Before he does that, he’s gotta play hero. Again.
THE MAYBRICK AFFAIR by Charles Salzberg
As World War II rages in Europe, it’s a couple weeks before Pearl Harbor and rookie reporter Jake Harper, who works for a small Connecticut newspaper, is assigned a routine human interest story. A reclusive, elderly woman has quietly passed away in her small cottage upstate. As Jake investigates the old woman’s life and death he finds that years earlier she was tried and convicted of murdering her husband in a well-publicized, lurid trial in London, England. And, after digging further, he, unearths evidence that she might have had a connection to an even more famous British serial killer and that the ramifications of this story might affect America’s entry into the War.
The Big Thrill managed to catch up with two of the three authors to discuss this crime fiction bundle, THREE STRIKES, and here’s what they had to say:
DON’T BELIEVE IT follows Sidney Ryan, a crime series TV producer who investigates the case of a young med student convicted of murdering her boyfriend while on vacation in Saint Lucia ten years earlier.
DON’T BELIEVE IT reads like a cinematic behind-the-scenes exposé of the juiciest in-depth investigation series, as Sidney rushes to stay one episode ahead of her TV show’s weekly airings, jetting from network meetings in New York, to the scene of the cold case murder on a Saint Lucian island resort, to the prison where her series’ subject awaits exoneration. But as America watches her peel away the layers of deception on prime time, a troubling picture of the truth starts to unfold. Is Sidney working to free an innocent woman wrongfully imprisoned, or is she a pawn in a sinister game?
The Big Thrill caught up to international bestselling author Charlie Donlea to gain some insight into the creation of his latest release, DON’T BELIEVE IT:
In this crime thriller, KILLER BY THE ROAD, a distraught individual grows deeper into depression after losing his job and family. He resorts to drinking and his distorted mind turns to vengeance to fix his problems. An incident that has eaten at him for years becomes his internal focus.
With victims showing up in both Chicago, Illinois and Connersville, Indiana from a killer by the road, people are living in fear. With pressures building, both Detective Jack Revelle and Detective Frank Harris strive diligently to catch the killer.
Finally, a tip will send Detective Jack Revelle into a face-to-face game-ending confrontation with the killer.
Ronald E. Hignite, author of KILLER BY THE ROAD, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his new thriller:
By Tim O’Mara
In his new thriller, LAST YEAR’S MAN, Paul D. Brazill introduces us to Tommy Bennett, an aging hitman who grows increasingly troubled by his life in London. Hoping for a respite from his violent lifestyle, Tommy decides to head back to his more peaceful childhood seaside home in North East England, only to find the ghosts of his past have come back to haunt him.
Geez, what’s a veteran of multiple murders for hire have to do to catch a break?
Via email—Brazill lives in Poland and I’m in New York City, a seven-hour time difference—I asked Brazill what the deal is with readers’ continued fascination with hired killers. These are men—and occasionally women—who make a living ending people’s lives. Why are we so drawn to them and, at times, actually find ourselves rooting for them?
“Sometimes ties with the past are more like a leash or even shackles,” Brazill says. “Wouldn’t it be great to erase the past? But first, of course, you’d have to erase the people. I think it’s no surprise that hitmen are often referred to as ‘cleaners.’ We all would like someone to tidy up our lives for us from time to time, to tie up those annoying loose ends. Indeed, that’s what crime fiction—particularly the police procedural—does in many ways. It tidies up messy situations. (Noir, on the other hand, creates chaos from order.) The hitman is like an X-rated version of the Good Fairy in Cinderella.”
I ask why Brazill has chosen the novella form for this tale instead of turning it into a longer novel.