By Basil Sands
From the mind of bestselling writer and criminologist R. Barri Flowers, author of the Dean Drake hardboiled mystery Dead in the Rose City, comes the much-anticipated sequel, ALIVE IN THE ROSE CITY.
Dean Jeremy Drake, a six-foot-five Jamaican-Italian-American private eye nicknamed D. J., is once again up to his neck in danger, deception, and murder in 1990s Portland, Oregon. Packing a .40 caliber Glock, sharp detective skills, raw nerve, and gut instincts, Drake follows the clues wherever they lead, never giving up until he solves the case.
Flowers recently set aside some time to chat with The Big Thrill about creating his hardboiled hero, the demands of writing across multiple genres, and, of course, the Hardy Boys.
What inspired the character of Dean Drake?
All the wonderful, hardboiled, and hardnosed private detectives I grew up reading or watching in movies and television. I wanted a protagonist who was tough as nails, charming when he wanted to be, and able and willing to see any case to its end.
It’s been fun watching him take shape as a character, turning Portland into his own as he goes after bad guys and helps the good guys.
In a city where corruption is the norm and the drug kingpin is untouchable, the pull can sometimes be easy for hardworking street cops. In Eric Beetner’s ALL THE WAY DOWN, small mistakes quickly turn into real crimes for Detective Dale Burnett—until he gets in too deep to walk away.
Now, when the mayor’s daughter is kidnapped, Burnett is faced with a life-altering decision…suicide mission to save the girl, or life in prison as a crooked cop? Burnett chooses to risk everything for a chance at redemption—or at least death on his own terms.
With a career that includes more than 20 novels, Crime Fiction Lover calls Beetner the “hardest working man in noir.” Here, he takes time out of his busy schedule to chat with The Big Thrill about his latest release, ALL THE WAY DOWN.
ALL THE WAY DOWN is a story of redemption. In your opinion, is redemption only possible if you have to give up everything to get it?
I think we all seek redemption in small ways, quite often in one-on-one relationships. In those cases, I don’t think you need to give up anything, maybe a little ground in your argument or a little of your pride. But if you’re talking fiction, especially thriller fiction, I know I want to see characters who have to lose it all, or nearly so. And sometimes it’s an inverse equation: the amount you need to give up is directly related to how badly you screwed up and how far back your road to redemption runs.
Detective Barry Marshall hunts for a hardened serial killer with the ultimate endgame, one intended to strip Marshall of everything he holds dear—his career, his wife, and his reputation. Unbeknownst to Marshall, the killer had dated his wife years ago. Seeing Marshall with her, the killer is pushed over the edge. He wants to punish Marshall for stealing his beloved by playing a cat-and-mouse game of murder. As the body count rises, Marshall is forced to face his worst nightmare.
The Big Thrill caught up to author Alan Brenham and had a chance to discuss his latest thriller, GAME PIECE:
In the early 2000s, a string of abductions rocked the small upstate town of Reine, New York. Only one girl survived: Alex Salerno. The killer was sent away. Life returned to normal. No more girls would have to die. Until another one did.
It’s been 12 years since Kira Shanks was reported missing and presumed dead. Alex Salerno has been living in New York City, piece-mealing a livable wage, trying to forget those three days locked underground and her affair with the married detective who rescued her. When a hometown reporter requests an interview, Alex is drawn back into a dangerous game of show and tell in an insular town where everyone has a secret to hide. As details emerge about the night Kira Shanks went missing, Alex learns why so many are willing to kill to protect it. Can Alex Salerno escape the noose once more in time to reveal the horrific truth?
In the modern vein of Girl on the Train and The Bone Collector, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY is a dark psychological thriller featuring a compelling, conflicted heroine and a page-turning narrative that races toward its final, shocking conclusion.
Author Joe Clifford spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest novel, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY:
ROTTEN PEACHES is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two men. One happy ending. It takes place in Canada, the U.S., and South Africa. Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism, and old prejudices — these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions?
Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics — were they born rotten to begin with?
And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk?
What further havoc can be wreaked, with devastating familial consequences?
The Big Thrill spent some time with award-winning author Lisa de Nikolits discussing her latest thriller, ROTTEN PEACHES:
By Tim O’Mara
When asked to do an interview for The Big Thrill, I always say yes. Typically, I get a copy of the book, find a comfy place to read, and break out my notebook. While reading Tess Makovesky’s GRAVY TRAIN, I had so much fun, I never took a single note—that’s never happened to me before.
The story centers on Sandra, a barmaid who learns details of a betting scam that nets her and her husband a cool 80 thousand pounds. Crime pays, it would seem. Except they don’t anticipate the mugger waiting for them outside the betting shop, or the chaos that ensues.
Since Makovesky resides on the other side “of the pond,” our conversation about GRAVY TRAIN was conducted over the Internet—even that was fun, as you’ll see in the below interview.
One of the most interesting things about GRAVY TRAIN is how all of Sandra’s scenes—and only hers—are in the present tense. What led to that choice?
It just seemed to work out like that. I wanted to do chapters from several different characters’ points of view and was looking for ways to make them sound different enough that the readers could tell pretty much who was “talking” in each chapter. For example, crime boss Ball is a bit prissy, Todd-the-chauffeur swears a lot. It just seemed to happen that Sandra’s chapters ended up in present tense. Given that in many ways she’s the main character in GRAVY TRAIN, it adds to the immediacy of her scenes.
It’s something I used sparingly in my previous book, Raise the Blade, and that gave me the courage to try it in slightly longer passages here.
Set off the Gulf Coast of Florida, on the sleepy little island of Sanibel, HARBINGER is anything but sleepy. The storyline takes the reader to the origins of Frank Zafiro and Jim Wilsky’s character, Ania.
As they have throughout the series, the authors each voice one of the two main characters—lifelong friends Boyd Tomlin and Hicks Ledoux. Boyd is a straight shooter and the brains of the business. Hicks is the laid back and carefree one, who is always the life of the party. Boyd and Hicks own the Harbinger, a charter fishing boat passed down to them from their fathers.
When times get tough, Boyd and Hicks have to make some questionable decisions that put a strain on everything except their friendship. But when they meet sisters Ania and Karolyn, everything for them changes.
HARBINGER is the prequel to Zafiro and Wilsky’s Ania Series, which includes Blood on Blood, Queen of Diamonds, and Closing the Circle. The duo is also working together on a novella anthology, A Grifter’s Song, with several other authors.
Zafiro and Wilsky took time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions for The Big Thrill:
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 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.
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.
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:
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:
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: