By Lee Lindauer
It’s summer in the Valley of the Sun; the temperature’s rising and so is the body count. One of the city’s most exclusive escorts has misplaced her little black book and someone’s turned it into a hit list. Now Phoenix homicide detective Sean Richardson must stop a clever and elusive killer who’s bent on administering a very personal form of justice, until he can, some of the city’s most affluent citizens will pay the ultimate price for their sexual indiscretions…
Now that the jacket excerpt to the novel, UNTIL DEATH, has my attention, I really wondered how hot it would get in Phoenix snuggled up with this whodunit. So what better way to answer that question than to get a few answers from the author himself, James L. Thane.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your assortment of interesting jobs you’ve held over the years? From gas station attendant to PhD is pretty impressive, care to elaborate?
I went to work at a very early age as the janitor in my father’s dry cleaning plant and as I got older, I graduated through most of the other jobs in the plant, including delivery boy, dry cleaner and presser.
Once in college, I held a number of jobs including selling parts at an auto dealership and working at a couple of gas stations. I also worked the swing shift at a lumber mill where I was a sawyer and also the ambulance driver on my shift. That was the hardest physical work I’ve ever done, as well as the scariest. Being nineteen years old and having to first race some poor guy to the hospital and then call his wife at 1:00 in the morning to tell her that her husband had just cut off some vital body part was absolutely no fun at all.
Lisa Black could never be accused of writing the same story over and over. Her thriller series featuring Cleveland forensic scientist Theresa Maclean has tackled topics ranging from serial killers (including Cleveland’s version of Jack the Ripper) to a hostage situation in a bank to the murder of a former escort to a little girl nicknamed Ghost who has witnessed her mother’s murder – and more.
As a working crime scene and death investigator, first in Cleveland and now in Cape Coral, Florida, Black uses realistic procedural details in her fiction and doesn’t bend the truth the way television crime shows often do. A string of rave reviews praising her quick pacing and absorbing plots indicate that realism doesn’t have to slow down a story.
Black’s latest novel, THE PRICE OF INNOCENCE, begins with Theresa caught in an explosion that might have been intended to kill a local inventor/entrepreneur. When federal investigators take over the case, Theresa tries to settle back into the normal run of cases at work, only to have a police officer murdered in front of her. Theresa’s investigation draws her into the world of methamphetamine production, where she uncovers a circle of new money and power, a conspiracy of silence going back twenty years – and connections between the explosion and the cop killing.
What inspired her new book? Was it a situation, a person, an intriguing real-life crime?
By George Ebey
Quentin Bates’ latest thriller, CHILLED TO THE BONE, is the fourth book in his series featuring Iceland-based police sergeant, Gunnhildur Gisladottir.
When a ship-owner is found dead, tied to a bed in one of Reykjavik’s smartest hotels, Sergeant Gunnhildur Gisladottir of the city police force sees no evidence of foul play but still suspects things are not as cut and dried as they seem. As she investigates the ship-owners untimely – and embarrassing – demise, she stumbles across a discreet bondage society whose members are being systematically exploited and blackmailed.
But how does all this connect to a local gangster recently returned to Iceland after many years abroad, and the unfortunate loss of a government laptop containing sensitive data about various members of the ruling party? What begins as a straightforward case for Gunnhildur soon explodes into a dangerous investigation, uncovering secrets that ruthless men are ready to go to violent extremes to keep.
I recently caught up with Mr. Bates to learn more about the background of Sargent Gisladottir and the world of Iceland-based crime fiction.
Fisherman, diver and part-time PI Aristotle Socarides is hired to help in the defense of a deranged homicide suspect from an old Nantucket family. Complicating his job is his feud with a Russian KGB mogul, a case of cannibalism on the high seas, the search for a whaling artifact with a bloody past, Cold War secrets and underwater technology with deadly potential.
“What a character. Aristotle Socarides….can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He’s the brainchild of a genius-Paul Kemprecos-who knows a thing or two about writing action and adventure. I bow to the master.” –Steve Berry
“#1New York Times best-selling author Paul Kemprecos shows once again that he is the undisputed master of high-action adventure, better on his own than his former co-author Clive Cussler period. Masterfully paced and brilliantly constructed, this is reading entertainment of the highest order.” –Jon Land
The title of Steve Weddle’s debut novel, COUNTRY HARDBALL, comes from a baseball term that refers to a player’s willingness to play the game at an elemental level, to inflict and absorb punishment when necessary. Weddle’s series of linked stories recounts the lives of residents of an Arkansas town who, because of the devastating economic downturn, must play “good old country hardball” to survive.
After a family tragedy and years in prison, Roy Alison returns to his rural hometown, determined to become a better person, a different person. But the town’s grim economic circumstances, along with events from Roy’s dark past, conspire to force him back into his old ways. As he chronicle’s Roy’s quest for redemption, Weddle tells the story of a single father struggling to raise a sensitive, frightened son; of parents who hope that sports will save their child from a life of poverty; of a shy teenager who misses the chance to express his love to the girl he adores, with dire consequences; and of families devastated by drugs, financial hardship, and war.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I have an MFA in poetry, taught college for a while, then settled into newspapers. My family and I live in Virginia.
Give us an elevator pitch for COUNTRY HARDBALL.
A young man tries to leave behind the jails and halfway houses by moving in with his grandmother, back to his Arkansas hometown, but he’s caught up in a devastated economy and a past that won’t let go. Working with a family friend, he finds his chance to make a positive difference, a redemption of sorts. The question is whether he’ll make the right choice—or whether it’s already too late.
By Jeff Ayers
When a woman’s skeleton is discovered in a shallow grave DCI Andy Gilchrist is tasked with finding her murderer. But a psychic’s warnings and markings on a rusted cigarette lighter found among the rotted remains take Gilchrist on a journey into his own past that brings him closer to discovering the identity of his brother’s killer from a hit-and-run case some thirty-five years before.
When dental records from an extracted tooth force Gilchrist to confront the unthinkable—that his brother was her killer—he keeps his fears to himself, only to be suspended on suspicion of destroying evidence.
New Orleans Homicide Detective Cliff St. James and his partner Honey are still trying to piece their lives together a year and a half after a killer storm decimated the city. Having fully recovered from near death at the hands of assassins, St. James is now in top fighting form and his sideline martial arts dojo is thriving. But physical ability plays little importance in the bizarre case he and Honey are now ensnared in—a succession of baffling deaths tied to a secretive occult group.
The investigation not only proves frustrating, but also drives a wedge between St. James and Honey, putting tremendous pressure on their relationship. As they probe the puzzling, ritualistic deaths, they uncover high strangeness in the freakish New Orleans netherworld of alternative spiritual beliefs.
Pushing forward an investigation fraught with strange occurrences and brutal death, St. James and Honey catch nothing but bad breaks as they struggle to determine which of their suspects is the killer, or perhaps the next victim.
The author recently answered a few questions for The BIG THRILL:
Burnt Black is your third novel in the Cliff St. James series. The description sounds like a mystery concerning the occult. Is this a supernatural thriller?
No. My heroes face some baffling events, but the killer is all flesh and blood. New Orleans is a city rich with kind of a scary, voodoo/hoodoo/woowoo past, as evidenced that its cemeteries are huge tourist attractions. Strange things happen there. Since my detective hero and his pal Honey are such physically tough characters, I thought it would be interesting to place them in opposition to what appear to be non-physical threats that can’t be overcome with fists or guns. Their investigation forces them to examine their own beliefs toward the occult, but the book isn’t fantasy or sci-fi.
L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery series—a two-time Readers Favorite Award winner—as well as provocative standalone thrillers. Her novels have been highly praised by reviewers, and her Jackson books are the highest-rated crime fiction on Amazon. L.J. resides in Eugene, Oregon where her novels are set and is an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes.
In CRIMES OF MEMORY, the eighth in her Detective Jackson series, Jackson returns to the Eugene, Oregon Police Department after a leave of absence resulting from a personal tragedy. He’s immediately assigned to investigate the homicide of a man who lived in a storage unit. Another homeless man is on the scene, his face covered in blood. Jackson soon learns that the murder victim was involved in an old bank robbery that hasn’t been fully solved. While Jackson is off investigating the crime, his troubled daughter runs away from home. Without a full taskforce, distracted with worry, Jackson must work the homicide around the clock.
Across town, a firebomb explodes at a bottled water factory. Undercover FBI agent Jamie Dallas suspects a violent eco-terrorist group of committing the crime and fears that the group is about to strike again.
In the course of investigating the homicide, Detective Jackson discovers a shocking connection between the murder and the eco-terrorist crimes.
This is the finale that fans have been waiting for. In TAKING EVE, the game began. In HUNTING EVE, the chase was on. Now, in SILENCING EVE, the prey is cornered. Will Eve Duncan survive? Will those she loves take the fall with her? And will the secrets of Eve’s past ultimately become her undoing? In Silencing Eve, all the questions will be answered in a shocking, you never saw it coming conclusion.
Iris Johansen’s 2012 trilogy, Eve, Quinn, Bonnie was a phenomenal success, reaching number one on bestseller lists nationwide. Now, with this newest trilogy, the stakes are even higher because it’s a question of capture and escape, hunter and prey, life and death.
Detective Lacy Powers and her partner John Demmings are stalking a sadistic killer down the rainy streets and back alleys of Providence. Together they go undercover into a dark and perverse subculture, where pimps, hookers and sexual deviants gather at an underground nightclub called Hell’s Door. There they come face-to-face with their prime suspect, a charismatic and dangerous woman named Ramsay Wolfe.
But Ramsay might be working in concert with a tortured soul who calls himself Gabriel, an elusive drifter who records each detail of the killings, leaving notebook pages spattered with victims’ blood as evidence.
As the headless bodies and blood-soaked crime scenes continue to mount, Lacey and John have few leads and minimal evidence. Will they catch the real killer before it’s too late…or will they meet their demise at Hell’s Door?
By Don Helin
In FIREFALL, J. H. Bográn unleashes a plot so exciting that Joe Moore, international bestselling co-author of THE BLADE and THE PHOENIX APOSTLES says, “From the power plays of an international band of car thieves to the behind-the-scenes of insurance fraud cases, all topped with a riveting and suspenseful climax, FIREFALL is an action-packed thriller. The small-dosed chapters, amidst exotic locations, won’t let you put the book down until you reach the end of this hell of a ride!”
After losing his wife and son in an air crash, former NYC firefighter Sebastian Martin is spiraling downward into alcoholic oblivion. Then his brother sets him up with a last-chance job investigating insurance fraud, but his first case takes a deadly turn as he crosses paths with an international ring of car thieves. Sebastian ends up strapped to a chair facing torture at the hands of a former KGB trainee who enjoys playing with fire on his victims to get answers.
J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributing editor for their official e-zine, THE BIG THRILL.
I had a chance to catch up with Jose and ask him a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about FIREFALL?
Although FIREFALL is not my first novel, it is in fact the first one where I use my home country as a setting. For a long time, the working title of the book was Highland Creek which is an actual place in Tela, Honduras. It is also the place where the events of the climax occur.
“Mr. Diamond, I came here to talk about my husband.”
“Of course you did, Evelyn,” I said. I think my voice may have cracked. “Have you thought about going to the police?”
“Finding my husband is already of interest to the Los Angeles Police Department, Mr. Diamond. I was hoping you could help me locate him before they do.”
“Why are the police interested in locating your husband?” I plowed on.
“They suspect he killed his business partner.”
“And why would they think that?”
“My husband’s gun was found beside the body.”
“Did he do it?”
“I don’t believe so.”
“But the murder weapon was found at the scene, and it belonged to your husband. Any theories about that?”
“My husband kept the gun in his office. The victim was killed in the office adjacent to his. The police have little else to go on.”
“They seem unwillingly to grant that almost anyone could have taken the weapon and killed my husband’s associate.”
There you go, it could have been anyone. That should convince a jury.
Some of the best thrillers are written by people who have stared down evil themselves. For that reason, Allison Leotta is eminently qualified to write a bone-chilling novel about current, real-life villains. She proves that in her latest exciting book, SPEAK OF THE DEVIL.
The novel follows Anna Curtis as she works to stop a vicious street gang before it destroys more lives, including her own family. Curtis is an inspiring protagonist, having worked her way up out of a dark and difficult childhood to attend law school. She has become a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C. dealing with some of the worst criminals.
“She handles sex-crime and domestic violence cases,” Leotta says. “She is very intense and passionate about her career – but she can have a good time when she leaves the office. She has a complicated love life, and doesn’t always make the best decisions about men.”
But in this novel Curtis gets engaged. And on that same night, a terrifying man known as Diablo leads a vicious attack on a brothel. Anna is assigned to investigate and bring “the devil” to justice. The investigation soon leads Anna to MS-13, one of America’s most brutal street gangs. This is no fictional gang of killers, as Leotta knows well. For many years she held the job she has written Curtis into and brings her real-life experience into the novel.
By L.J. Sellers
“Undercover work is a great opportunity to be somebody else and be someplace else,” says Karin Slaughter about her new thriller UNSEEN, the eighth in the Will Trent series. The title comes from the protagonist’s assignment, in which he disappears, even from his love, Sara Linton, and the novel pits detectives, lovers, and enemies against one another in an unforgettable standoff between righteous courage and deepest evil.
Slaughter says a main motivation for writing the story was to see her character in the undercover role, both for herself and her readers, who know about his background as a UC agent, but had never seen him act out that role. “It was challenging for him,” Slaughter says, because his character had “finally reached a good place and he had to temporarily walk away from all of it.”
Talented writers like to challenge themselves and their characters, so in addition to putting Will into a new role, the author also set the story in a new location, Macon, Georgia, and brought back Grant County series character Lena Adams. “Lena has a habit of making readers really pleased or really annoyed,” Slaughter says, then adds, “But there’s lots of sex and violence, so readers looking for that should be happy.”
For the uninitiated, here are two chunks of the back cover copy: Will Trent is a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent whose latest case has him posing as Bill Black, a scary ex-con who rides a motorcycle around Macon, Georgia, and trails an air of violence wherever he goes…. Although she has no idea where Will has gone, or why, Sara herself has come to Macon because of a cop shooting: Her stepson, Jared, has been gunned down in his own home. Furious, Sara finds herself involved in the same case that Will is working without even knowing it, and soon danger is swirling around both of them.
By Nate Kenyon
Alex Kava is the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Maggie O’Dell series of thrillers, beloved by millions of fans worldwide. Kava’s novels have been translated into over twenty-five languages and have been bestsellers in Australia, Germany, Poland, Italy and the UK. She is a founding member of the International Thriller Writers.
Tell us about your upcoming novel STRANDED. What inspired this idea of a prolific serial killer hunting the nation’s rest stops?
In the past ten years I’ve traveled a lot. A good deal of it has been driving the interstates and of course, using rest stops or truck stops. When I was researching FIREPROOF I discovered that the FBI has something called the Highway Serial Killings Initiative. They started it in 2009 in an effort to track and share data of unsolved murders along the interstate systems. That was all I needed for my imagination to take off – that, and another road trip.
After eleven novels your beloved character Maggie O’Dell is still going strong. How do you keep her fresh and interesting in your own mind—and in the minds and hearts of your fans?
She wasn’t always “beloved” by me. I didn’t start off writing a series. My first publisher and readers loved the character and insisted on a sequel and then another and another. I didn’t even read very many series novels, so the whole time I was writing those first novels, I was learning about Maggie along with the readers. Now I realize that was a good thing. It kept me poking and prodding Maggie to see what made her tick.
In December 1958, Castro and Che march to depose Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Miami private eye Cormac Loame heads to Havana to locate the missing daughter of former heavyweight fighter turned mob money-launderer Cecil “Madman” Hacker. In Havana, Loame loses old friends, tangles with notorious gangsters, mingles with movie stars and a Nobel laureate, finds betrayal and murder, and rekindles a long-lost love while staying a step ahead of the Grim Reaper. Nothing seems to go according to plan along the Mojito Coast.
Richard Helms added, “I’m fascinated by pre-Castro Cuba, which was a strange mix of corruption and capitalism. This book examines the Batista regime’s fall in late ’58 as witnessed by a private eye at a critical point in history. Many themes interact with one another in this book: lost opportunities, personal regrets, fate, love, desire, betrayal, and existential futility.”
Bruce DeSilva, Edgar Award-winning author of CLIFF WALK and ROGUE ISLAND, said, “Helms’s tight, muscular prose is reminiscent of the largely-forgotten [Richard] Prather, whose work is still very much worth reading. Read THE MOJITO COAST for the fine writing, the taut suspense, and as a fitting homage to crime fiction’s golden age.”
By Basil Sands
Howdy folks, let me introduce you to crime writer Sean Lynch, whose hard-core, fast-paced debut novel WOUNDED PREY becomes available May 28th from Exhibit A Books.
Sean was born and raised in the billowing green corn seas of Iowa, served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, attended college on the GI Bill and received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Sociology and Criminology. He spent nearly three decades in various positions, including patrol officer and commander of the Detective Division.
He began writing as a rookie cop to relieve stress and as an outlet to process the unique experience of being a rural Iowa kid working a police beat in urban California.
Tell us about your debut novel WOUNDED PREY.
It’s a novel of the hunt. It’s about the slaying of a dragon, really. I wanted to write a story about real people, and how they come to grips with encountering a monster; not a police procedural where Dragnet-inspired enforcers of the law doggedly seek justice. WOUNDED PREY is about trauma, and the journey towards redemption. It’s about making things right. In many ways it’s a contemporary western. But it’s a bloody tale, and the hunt in WOUNDED PREY reflects the ‘eye for an eye’ perspective of those personally touched by the monster, instead of merely assigned to apprehend him.
By Cathy Clamp
Edgar award winning writer David Housewright is known for consistently engrossing mysteries, and the tenth installment in his popular Rushmore McKenzie series is no exception. Even though Minnesota ex-cop McKenzie really doesn’t need the money from taking jobs, he misses putting bad guys behind bars where they belong. So when the ATF approaches him and ask him to help find a cache of stolen firearms, he can’t help but say yes. But things take an awkward turn when instead of the band of vicious crime lords he was expecting to find taking the guns, the thieves are part of a struggling family, including retirees who lost their life savings who have little to lose in their attempt to survive. In typical Housewright style, things go from bad to hilariously worse as McKenzie begins to care what happens to the family when real crime lords, along with crooked cops, want in on the scheme. Taking on the serious subjects of gun running and corporate downsizing while blending in deft humor and action, this book satisfies on multiple levels.
Big Thrill editor Cathy Clamp sat down with the two time winner of the Minnesota Book Award to talk about his inspiration and what’s next in the series:
You’re digging right into the headlines for the topic of this book. What sparked your interest in writing about this subject?
While touring a book, I met an elderly man in a small town in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. He had done quite well for himself and was looking forward to his retirement. The plan was the sell his house and use the proceeds to buy a house in a bigger city. But when the time came, he found he couldn’t get anyone to buy his house - a four bedroom house and he was willing to sell it for $40,000 yet there were no takers. That’s because all the jobs had moved away and what few people who were left in town couldn’t find work – the community had a high school built for 2,000 yet had only 160 students attending.
By Ian Walkley
Jarkko Sipila is a Finnish author and journalist. He has reported on Finnish crime for more than 20 years, has written 15 books, and co-wrote a TV-series based on the Takamäki books. The Ilta-Sanomat describes Sipila as “One of the great Finnish crime novelists.” His style is strong on action and realism, and through his complex characters and story lines he explores current topics surrounding life in contemporary Finland.
COLD TRAIL is Sipila’s fourth in his prize-winning Helsinki Homicide series, and joins NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, AGAINST THE WALL, and VENGEANCE, which are all available in English. COLD TRAIL is a story about Timo Repo, who escapes from prison where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife. Detective Lieutenant Kari Takamäki and his team have the task of finding Repo. But why has he escaped? Generally one-time offenders are not considered particularly dangerous, but does Repo have revenge on his mind, and if so on whom?
The series protagonist, Detective Kari Takamaki, is a professional cop and family man. We’re used to reading about cops with flawed characters. How did you develop Takamaki’s character?
I created Takamaki around 2000 and at that time I had worked as a crime reporter for ten years. Of course I had met dozens of policemen and knew quite a few very well. Of course there are problems among policemen and –women. You see alcoholism, divorces, family problems, misuse of drugs etc, but you never see all the problems in a same person. In those cases he or she would be on a sick leave or forced to quit the job.
Fifteen years ago, a psychotic killer abducted seventeen-year-old Melissa Walker. For 83 days she was raped, tortured, and then left for dead in a deserted churchyard . . . but she was still alive.
Melissa begins a new life as homicide inspector Sabrina Vaughn. With a new face and a new name, it’s her job to hunt down murderers—a job she does very well. But when Michael O’Shea, a childhood acquaintance with a suspicious past, suddenly finds her, he brings to life the nightmare Sabrina has long since buried.
Believing his sister was recently murdered by the same monster who attacked Sabrina, Michael is dead set on getting his revenge—using Sabrina as bait.
Adrian McKinty is the real deal. McKinty blurs the line between genre writing and literary fiction with his thriller mystery series about The Troubles in Northern Ireland. I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is the second book in that series, and Ian Rankin, author of the Inspector Rebus novels, said, “I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET blew my bloody doors off!”
Praise such as “McKinty is a big new talent” (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH) and “McKinty’s literate expertly crafted crime novel confirms his place as one of his generation’s leading talents” (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY) make it clear that readers are in for a treat when they select a McKinty novel. The first book in The Troubles series, THE COLD, COLD GROUND was expertly done. Sean Duffy (a “peeler,” or policeman, in the slang McKinty uses with such familiarity) has once again intrigued us in the second novel, with the convoluted plot of I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET, the first book’s follow-up.
I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET was published by Prometheus Books in May of 2013. Sean Duffy, crime-fighting policeman, finds a torso in a suitcase. The torso turns out to be all that’s left of an American tourist who once served in the U.S. military. In time, Duffy turns up at the doorstep of a beautiful, flame-haired, twenty-something widow, whose husband died at the hands of an IRA assassination team just a few months prior. Duffy is bound and determined to pursue the case, no matter what. Set against the backdrop of Northern Ireland’s most tumultuous of times, readers are taken back to the eighties, when John DeLorean was going to bring Northern Ireland’s economy back by establishing his futuristic auto company in that troubled land.
By Thomas Pluck
It’s 1967 and Moe Prager’s girlfriend has been beaten into a coma and left to die on a Brooklyn street. The same day, someone tries to run down his best friend. Moe, a college student, sets out to find the people behind these attacks, but is surprised at every turn as he pieces together the connection between the local mob, a radical student group, and an undercover cop. All roads, it seems, lead to ONION STREET.
Reed Farrel Coleman has been called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the “noir poet laureate” in the HUFFINGTON POST. He is the author of sixteen novels, three time recipient of the Shamus Award and a two-time Edgar Award nominee, winner of the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards and a founding member of MWA U.
Hi, Reed. For readers who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Moe Prager, give us the lowdown on him, and what he’s up against in ONION STREET.
Moe is both what you’d expect from a hard-boiled ex-cop turned PI and nothing you would expect from one. He’s a deep thinker and has a longstanding struggle with the subjects of God and religion. He has aged through the course of the series and undergone all sorts of growth, change, and tragedy. I thought it was a good time to tell the story of how he went from being an aimless college student in the late ‘60s to a cop. And that’s where we find Moe in ONION STREET. Unlike in the earlier books, this is Moe with no law enforcement experience. We watch him come to grips with the harsh realities of crime.
By George Ebey
James Thompson is the author of three previous novels in his explosive Finnish-based crime series featuring Inspector Kari Vaara. Now he is back with his fourth installment, HELSINKI BLOOD.
This time around, Inspector Vaara is recovering from the physical and emotional toll of solving his previous case when he’s approached with a plea: an Estonian woman begs him to find her daughter, Loviise, a young woman with Down syndrome who was promised work and a better life in Finland . . . and has since disappeared.
One more missing girl is a drop in the barrel for a police department that is understaffed and overburdened, but for Kari, the case is personal: it’s a chance for redemption, to help the victims his failed black-ops unit was intended to save, and to prove to his estranged wife, Kate, that he’s still the man he once was. His search will lead him from the glittering world of Helsinki’s high-class clubs to the darkest circles of Finland’s underground trade in trafficked women . . . and straight into the path of Loviise’s captors, who may be some of the most untouchable people in the country.
I recently got in touch with Jim who provided plenty of insight in the world of HELSINKI BLOOD and what it takes to write a great crime story.
It takes courage for a best-selling author to change up their writing, but it can pay off big. In THE PERFECT GHOST, award winning author Linda Barnes steps outside the box to take the mystery thriller to another level.
The story centers on Em Moore who is co-writing a celebrity biography with her charismatic partner, Teddy. Teddy does all the socializing, interviewing and negotiating for both of them. Being extremely shy and timid, Em is understandably devastated when Teddy dies in a car accident. As the author points out, Em is not your typical thriller heroine.
“She’s a recluse, a non-partier, the ultimate wallflower,” Barnes says. “A clever perfectionist, she is protagonist if not heroine.”
Teddy’s death leaves Em alone in a world she doesn’t understand. To try to cope with her loss, Em decides to honor Teddy’s memory the only way she knows – by finishing their current book — an “autobiography” of renowned film director Garrett Malcolm. His character brings us around to the spectral title.
“The title has a double meaning,” Barnes says, “referring both to the profession of the protagonist, a ghostwriter by trade, and to the ghost of Hamlet’s father, the role played by another main character, the actor-director-screenwriter, Garrett Malcolm.”
CONFLUENCE is Stephen J. Gordon’s second novel featuring his hero Gidon Aronson that follows his debut novel, IN THE NAME OF GOD.
In both novels, we find Gidon going about his daily life—running his martial arts dojo and substitute teaching at a local private school. On the surface it appears to be a rather normal life. Fortunately for some people, like a visiting Israeli diplomat or a young rabbi’s family, his specialized training leaps to the forefront when needed.
This is the double-edged sword Gidon deals with. He is learning to live with the consequences of his life as an elite member of the Israeli special forces and finding that living a quiet life is harder than anticipated. In both books, as Gidon tracks the perpetrators, he finds the assaults have roots in Israel and the United States, particularly his hometown of Baltimore.
Gordon had specific goals in mind when he created Gidon. “It’s important to note the hero is not Israeli. He’s an American who moved to Israel to serve in the army and help a country that has meaning to him and is surrounded by enemies. On the world stage, Israel and her people are, really, the good guys routinely fighting an extremist enemy.
Sometimes the darkest moments of our lives give us the brightest chance at our redemption.
Estranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. And when his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, all the evidence points to Mallen as the prime suspect.
Now Mallen’s former colleagues on the force are turning up the heat and Russ’s survivors are in desperate need of answers. But if he wants to serve justice to the real killer, Mallen knows he’ll have to get clean. Turning a life around is murder for a junkie, especially when two low-life thugs want him dead. Bruised, battered, and written off by nearly everyone, Mallen must make amends for his damaged past and restore hope for a better future.
I’d like to welcome Thomas Perry, the best-selling author of twenty-one novels, including POISON FLOWER and THE BUTCHER’S BOY, which won the Edgar Award. METZGER’S DOG, STRIP and THE INFORMANT were all named NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOKS, and VANISHING ACT was named by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of their “100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century.” With a Ph.D. in English and work as a writer/producer in television, Mr. Perry brings a unique background to the writing of his intense, suspenseful stories. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Give us a quick rundown on what THE BOYFRIEND is about.
Summary of THE BOYFRIEND: Jack Till, a retired LAPD homicide detective, now works as a private detective, taking routine cases, mainly because of his love for his 24-year-old daughter, Holly. She has Down syndrome and lives in a house she shares with several friends from the school she attended. Till is trying to build savings to help fund her life after he’s gone. When the parents of a murdered girl about her age want to pay him well to look into the case, he accepts. The police department has given up on the case because the victim had been working as an escort, advertising on-line, when she was shot in her apartment. It could have been a robbery, an argument with a customer, a jealous rival, or almost anything. She was in a risky way of life, and sometimes that ends badly. Till begins to ask questions, and finds that she was one of several young women, all strawberry blondes, murdered in that way in different cities recently. He finds that the world of prostitution has changed in the few years since he retired, and now he must learn to navigate in that unfamiliar world and find the killer. When he does, the man turns out to be something much more deadly than he imagines.
By Don Helin
In her latest novel, THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN, Erin Hart unleashes a plot so powerful that Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN and WHAT WE SAW AT NIGHT says, “Can the arcane science and lore of the Irish ‘bog people,’ who often died alone and in agony, be fuel for a mystery that actually does what THE DA VINCI CODE tried to do? A thousand times yes, if Erin Hart’s storytelling witchery is at work. Intelligent, eerie, utterly compelling.”
After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?
While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists’ colony and organic farm and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh’s death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect.
By Ethan Cross
Sara J. Henry’s book, LEARNING TO SWIM, won the 2012 Anthony Award and 2012 Agatha Award for best first novel and the 2012 Mary Higgins Clark Award, was an Emerging Author pick at Target, and was a finalist for the Barry and Macavity awards. The BOSTON GLOBE named it one of the best crime novels of the year: “Compulsively readable, this is all about what we do for love.” And now its sequel, A COLD AND LONELY PLACE, has cemented her status as a “powerful new voice” in literary mystery.
Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body – someone she knows. A COLD AND LONELY PLACE follows Troy on a powerful emotional journey as she discovers the damage left by long-hidden secrets, and catches a glimpse of what might have been.
By John Rabb
Author Hilary Davidson comes out with her third book EVIL IN ALL ITS DISGUISES. Hilary is published by Forge books, and her first book THE DAMAGE DONE won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel and the Crimespree award for Best First Novel. Lily Moore is Hilary’s character in all three of her books. Lily is a successful travel writer and is thrust into a deadly situation when her younger sister Claudia is found dead in a bathtub on the anniversary of their mother’s suicide, in THE DAMAGE DONE. In February 2012 THE NEXT ONE TO FALL was the second book in the Lily Moore series. Hilary’s background is as a travel writer and got her start in journalism in 1995, being an intern for HARPER’S MAGAZINE. Hilary’s is no stranger to writing books, having published 18 nonfiction books (17 of them for Frommer’s Travel Guides). It is however great for thriller fans that she has moved over to write fiction. The time has come now to check out a little more within EVIL IN ALL ITS DISGUISES:
Lily Moore joins a group of journalists for an all-expenses-paid press junket to Acapulco. Lily begins to suspect something rotten under her hotel’s opulent façade, but she is not the only one. Skye McDermott, another journalist on the trip, asks Lily for help with an article she’s working on about fraud and corruption in the hotel industry. After Sky disappears suddenly, Lily suspects that her friend is in grave danger. The hotel’s staff insists that everything is fine and refuses to contact the police. Only after Lily tries and fails to leave the Hotel Ceron, does she discover the truth: the journalists are prisoners in a gilded cage. Too late, Lily realizes that she has been maneuvered into a role of bait in a vicious, vengeful plot. Faced with unthinkable choices, Lily must summon all her strength to survive, confront the past she’s still running from, and save other lives.