Crime Fiction

I’m Dying As Fast As I Can by Jerry Kennealy

By Dan Levy

Many writers have made careers creating characters and situations around big-city law enforcement—several based in the San Francisco area. But rarely has a former San Francisco cop and private investigator, a guy like Jerry Kennealy, taken to writing mysteries. The result is a series of novels rich with real-life authenticity and experience.

The Big Thrill talked with Kennealy about his 26th novel, I’M DYING AS FAST AS I CAN, which takes readers inside the world of assisted suicide. Kennealy explains that the idea for the book came from a fan who approached him in the library.

You were both a policeman and a private investigator in San Francisco. How did those experiences inform your novels? Were there “truth is stranger than fiction” situations to work through?

Having been a policeman made working as a private eye much easier. The PI job took me to some interesting places, including San Quentin and Soledad prisons. I never knew where the next case would send me—to meetings with attorneys, judges, bankers, bookies, hookers, a Pacific Heights mansion, an S&M bar, The Fairmont Hotel, or a Tenderloin rooming house.

Many of the characters I bumped into along the way made it into my books, including some rough encounters, word for word.
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Follow You Down by Geoff Hyatt

A missing shipment of drugs, an underground ring of camgirls, and the Knights of Satan motorcycle club are all caught in a tangle of deals gone bad with one thing in common: Bree Wells, a small-town teenager who recently vanished into the summer night.

When Deputy Meg Shaw finds a connection between the missing girl and a murdered backwoods drug dealer, she fears the worst. As she follows Bree’s trail, she enters a web of exploitation and violence in a place where everyone has something to hide.

Bree’s heartbroken boyfriend, Russ McCreech, is desperate to be the first to find her. The gentle, youngest son of an outlaw biker family, he won’t quit the search despite their ominous warnings. Soon, he discovers how dangerous it can be to ask the right questions of the wrong people.

Meg and Russ come from different sides of town and different sides of the law. Their search for the same truth will make them either the greatest of allies or the worst of enemies…if they live long enough to find it.

The Big Thrill welcomes author Geoff Hyatt to discuss his latest crime fiction thriller, FOLLOW YOU DOWN:
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I May Kill You by Keith Dixon  

Serial killers are secretive animals. They keep their deeds to themselves and hope never to be found.

But there’s a new man in town—a killer who warns people in advance he’s going to kill them, then does it, in a variety of unusual, even bizarre, ways.

Ex-policeman Ben Buckland wants to catch this man not because he’s on the list … but because his 15-year-old daughter is. And that’s just not fair.

Especially when the killer has sent out warnings to several hundred people …

The Big Thrill caught up with Keith Dixon, author of the award-winning Sam Dyke Investigations and Paul Storey Crime Thrillers, to learn more about I MAY KILL YOU:
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Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…

Author Noelle Holten took time out of her busy schedule to chat with The Big Thrill about her writing career and the second book in her Maggie Jamieson thriller series, DEAD WRONG:
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The Starr Sting Scale by C. S. O’Cinneide

By Azam Gill

C. S. O’Cinneide’s second thriller, THE STARR STING SCALE, introduces Candace, a six-foot-three former hitwoman and ex-con who upholds her professional ethics. O’Cinneide’s first book in the Candace Starr crime series is already being lavishly praised.

Publishers Weekly writes about “Candace’s appealingly amoral worldview coupled with her vast range of eccentric acquaintances and family is sure to provide more murderous fun as the series develops.”

Kirkus describes Candace as “a tough, deadly type who just might surprise you.”

R. M. Greenaway, author of the B. C. Blues Crime series, says, “scalding, irreverent, endlessly surprising—Candace Starr will make you laugh out loud while knocking your morality just slightly askew. A dazzling newcomer to the crime fiction scene.”

Candace Starr likes to think of herself as retired since she got out of prison. That’s until society maven Kristina Corrigan asks her to permanently remove her daughter’s boyfriend, 17-year-old Tyler Brent. Yet Candace draws the line at a target who doesn’t shave yet and refuses the contract.

But then the boy turns up dead, the victim of a professional hit. After being made an offer she cannot refuse, Candace agrees to partner with ambitious police detective Chien-Shiung Malone to help find Tyler’s killer, even though she might have to face the murder charge.
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Trust Me by Richard Z. Santos

By Tim O’Mara

TRUST ME, author Richard Santos’s debut novel, could have been, as they say on TV, ripped from today’s headlines.

The story follows Charles O’Connell and Gabriel Luna. A disgraced political campaign staffer, Charles is eager to leave Washington, DC after his last job dissolved amidst legal trouble. He’s desperate for a fresh start when he receives an unexpected offer to do public relations for an airport development in Santa Fe. Almost as soon as he lands, a skeleton is found on-site, and the local Apache Tribe claims it is none other than the body of Geronimo.

One of the laborers who uncovered the remains, Gabriel Luna, falls ill—his mushroom dealer says it’s cancer—and he’s desperate to regain his son’s respect before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Cody Branch, a crass Texas developer, plans to leverage the deal to enrich himself. His wife, Olivia, is hiding a connection to Charles’s past. And his fixer, Mallon, is on the brink of discovering Olivia’s plot. With the ground shifting under his feet, Charles realizes that everyone has an agenda, and numerous dark secrets threaten to erupt.

Bestselling author Tim O’Brien called TRUST ME “a suspenseful and thoroughly enjoyable novel that explores the themes of betrayal, deceit, redemption, and cultural collision in modern-day New Mexico. Santos draws on his own political background to create a web of manipulation and intrigue that ensnares his characters in a world in which trust itself becomes dangerously suspect. Even the New Mexico landscape, which Santos carefully paints, seems to hold its eerie and misleading secrets.”
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Con Me Once by J. L. Delozier

By Don Helin

When Frank Lambda, a bumbling superhero wannabe, witnesses a mob hit gone wrong, he ends up running for his life.

Enter the mysterious Keira, whose secret academy claims to turn wannabes like Frank into real heroes. Frank knows a con when he sees one. But desperate for an escape, he joins three other recruits for training in Las Vegas. Against the backdrop of a thousand spandex-clad cosplayers, Keira’s true agenda—a multimillion-dollar heist from her mobster brother—is exposed. With their lives and a fortune at stake, Frank and his team of misfits fight to become the heroes they always wanted to be.

J. L. Delozier has practiced rural and disaster medicine for 25 years. For inspiration, she turns to science that exists on the edge of reality—bizarre medical anomalies, new genetic discoveries, and anything that seems too weird to be true. She’s published three thrillers, the first of which was nominated for a “Best First Novel” award by the International Thriller Writers. Her short fiction has appeared in the British crime anthology Noirville: Tales from the Dark Side, in NoirCon’s official journal, Retreats from Oblivion, and in Thriller Magazine. Her first sci-fi short story won the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” prize of the Roswell Award and appeared in Artemis Journal. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three rescue cats.
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I Know Where You Sleep Alan Orloff 

By Rick Reed

Alan Orloff is the author of nine novels and numerous short stories. Most recently he won the 2019 ITW Thriller Award for Best E-Book Original, Pray for the Innocent.

His debut mystery novel, Diamonds for the Dead, was an Agatha Award finalist. His story “Dying in Dokesville” won a 2019 Derringer Award. And writing as his darker half, Zak Allen, he’s published The Taste, First Time Killer, and Ride-Along.

In his newest novel, I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, Private Investigator Anderson West takes on the pro-bono case of Jessica Smith, a 20-something restaurant hostess who is being stalked. The last thing he expects is the investigation spiraling into breaking and entering, assault, and legal threats from the suspects and the victim.

Everyone seems to be a suspect—Jessica’s ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend, her incredibly creepy boss, and the suspicious reverend at her church who is definitely hiding something.

The closer Anderson gets to an answer, the more Jessica is in danger. Her stalker’s notes become increasingly threatening, and scary phone calls ramp up to terrifying photographs left at her gym, work, and home. Like everyone, Jessica has a backstory. Could the secrets of her past potentially solve everything? Only a seasoned PI like Anderson West can solve the mystery.

Orloff took some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions about his new novel for The Big Thrill.
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The Lantern Man by Jon Bassoff

By Charles Salzberg

Begin reading Jon Bassoff’s latest novel, THE LANTERN MAN, and you’re immediately drawn into an odd, idiosyncratic David Lynch-like world. Everything seems slightly off-kilter.

The Greiners are certainly not your typical American family. We’ve got the three kids, the two girls, Lizzy and Shannon and their brother, known as Stormy. Mom’s around, but she isn’t too much help. And Dad? Well, he went out for the proverbial pack of cigs and never came back.

Tragedy strikes early, then often. Shannon drowns right in front of her two helpless siblings. Stormy is convicted of the brutal murder of a classmate, and finally Lizzy is found dead in an abandoned mountain shack, the result of an apparent suicide by fire.

Next to Lizzy’s charred body, investigators find several of her journals stored inside a fireproof box. These journals tell the world the truth Lizzy wants them to know…and to believe. Detective Russ Buchanan is on the case and it’s his job to determine what’s true and what isn’t—not an easy task when it comes to the Greiners, especially when it comes to Lizzy’s obsession with the mysterious and murderous Lantern Man.
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In the Cut by Frank Zafiro

Boone has been prospecting with the Iron Brotherhood outlaw motorcycle gang for almost a year, trying to earn his patch with the club. When a simple muscle job goes terribly wrong, his world changes forever.

He is quickly plunged deeper into a world of drugs and intimidation, and the lines between right and wrong blur. The bonds of brotherhood that he forges with other members clash with the dark actions they take. His girlfriend, Faith, represents a danger of another kind, but Boone can’t stop himself where she is concerned, either.

When someone close to him dies, and rampant rumors of a rat in the clubhouse puts everyone in danger, Boone comes to learn what it really means to live his life in the cut.

Author Frank Zafiro sat down with The Big Thrill for a quick chat about book two in his SpoCompton crime novel series, IN THE CUT:
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Broken Woman: A Jinx Ballou Novel by Dharma Kelleher 

Jinx never cared if a fugitive was innocent. Until now.

Months after a series of bombings shattered the city of Phoenix, bounty hunter Jinx Ballou still struggles to rebuild her life, haunted by the people she’s lost.

When a new job offer comes her way, she is forced to choose between returning a fellow transgender woman to custody or taking on a legal system that provides justice only to those society deems worthy.

In the third book of her highly acclaimed and groundbreaking Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series, author Dharma Kelleher once again takes readers on a thrill-a-minute ride through the sun-scorched streets of Phoenix, Arizona.

Author Dharma Kelleher spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing the third installment in her Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series, A BROKEN WOMAN:
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How to Kill Your Friends by Phil Kurthausen

By Basil Sands

HOW TO KILL YOUR FRIENDS is the latest high energy, thought-provoking, and downright cool release by Phil Kurthausen. Phil is an award-winning thriller and crime novelist from Liverpool who now lives in Barcelona.

His novel The Silent Pool won the Crime & Thriller section in the Harper Collins People’s Novelist Competition broadcast on national TV in the UK in 2011. It was later shortlisted for the Dundee International Literary Prize. His other titles include the follow up in the Erasmus Jones series, Sudden Death, and the standalone psychological thriller Don´t Let Me In.

Kurthausen lives with his wife and a cat which, for legal reasons, bears no resemblance to the cat, ´Lil´Bitch,´ from ´Don’t Let Me In.’ He took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for The Big Thrill.
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Let Justice Descend by Lisa Black

Three days before a key election, US Senator Diane Cragin is electrocuted on her own doorstep—a shocking twist in an already brutal political race. Cragin’s chief of staff is quick to blame rival Joey Green, a city development director who’s had his hand in every till in town for over 20 years.

Maggie and Jack have their own theories, especially after discovering a fortune in cash in the senator’s safe. But as they follow the money through the treacherous landscape of Cleveland politics, they find many more millions in play—and more suspects.

As Jack says, “Anyone can be dangerous, when they have what they think is a good reason.” He should know. Now a Herald reporter is perilously close to discovering the truth about Jack’s penchant for acting as both detective and executioner. With each passing hour, the stresses of the impending election expose new fractures and corruption at the city’s highest levels. And as one murder leads to another, and another, Maggie and Jack’s only hope of stopping a killer is an alliance that’s growing ever more fragile.

The Big Thrill caught up to New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black to learn more about her latest thriller, LET JUSTICE DESCEND:
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The Dead Don’t Sleep by Steven Max Russo

By Tim O’Mara

In the opening scene of Steven Max Russo’s new thriller, THE DEAD DON’T SLEEP, we meet Frank, a Vietnam veteran who’s trying to enjoy a day of trap shooting with his nephew. Oddly, they meet a man who claims to have known Frank during the war, and that night, a murderous plan is put into place. Frank must fight for his life as he prepares for the violent reckoning that takes him back to the war he’s never been able to escape.

Russo seems a bit young to have fought in the Vietnam War, so where did the idea for Frank’s character come from? “The inspiration for the character and the story came from an afternoon I spent shooting trap with a friend. His uncle was visiting from Maine and joined us unexpectedly that day. He had served in Vietnam—I believe he was in the Air Force, and supposedly involved in intelligence. My friend and his family always wondered what exactly his uncle did in the war and because his uncle didn’t speak much about it, there was much speculation.”

Where did Frank’s experiences in Vietnam come from?

“The characters in this novel evolved as I began writing. I had no idea who or what they’d turn out to be until the words hit the page. Regarding Frank, I am always quick to point out that I never served in the military, and this is obviously a work of fiction. But I inserted some of my memories to hopefully give parts of the story a feel of authenticity.
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Skunk Train by Joe Clifford  

By Jaden Terrell

Joe Clifford’s author photo shows a bearded man in a black T-shirt. Tattooed arms, one a colorful sleeve. He looks strong. Tough. Kind. He looks like a man who’s been through a lot, and he has. His first book, Junkie Love, draws on his battle with drugs and his life on the streets as a homeless heroin addict in San Francisco in the 1990s. His next, Lamentation, started as a sequel and ended up as a series of crime novels featuring handyman Jay Porter. They’re gritty and edgy, character-driven books that come across as unflinching.

Clifford’s latest book has a much younger protagonist. “SKUNK TRAIN is a strange genre,” Clifford says. “I mean, I’d call it ‘YA thriller,’ but you don’t see much of that. Add to it there’s still a lot of drugs, killing, profanity (it’s still a ‘Joe Clifford’ book, I don’t think it’s going to land in a Highlights magazine excerpt…But at heart, this one is about growing up and falling in love and discovering who you are.)”

Joe, thanks for joining us to talk about SKUNK TRAIN. Why don’t we start with a little bit about your writing journey and how you came to write crime novels?

Sure! Thanks for having me. I’m happy to talk about my journey. Although I must admit I am feeling a little like I’m beating a dead horse. (That’s a heroin joke.) It’s impossible to talk about my writing journey without mentioning the drug addiction. Which I am sure people are as sick of hearing about as I’m recapping. But, yeah, without that life as a scumbag, I probably am not carving out a career writing about … scumbags. Although that’s not entirely true either. The authorial depiction part at least.

There is a perception that every addict and criminal is a scumbag. And, yeah, a lot of them are. Then again, a lot of bankers and CEOs are scumbags. Just a different, more socially palatable breed. I met some really good people out there when I was using and on the streets, and this isn’t excusing drug abuse. I was wrong. I made the bad decisions. The onus falls on me and me alone.

But there is also beauty out there. I think there is beauty everywhere. Some places it’s tougher to find it. You think of the most harrowing events in history, how miserable people must’ve have been, how hard they’ve suffered—and again this isn’t to compare my own foolishness with true tragedy—but I do think that the worse the night gets, the more we search for the light of dawn. That is what noir and crime fiction is all about, really—this world of darkness and pain, life en extremis—and finding a glimmer of hope to go on. That’s what draws people to the genre. Some people. Others just want a good mystery. And I try to deliver that too.
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Lost Tomorrows by Matt Coyle

A phone call thrusts Rick Cahill’s past and all its tragic consequences into his present. Krista Landingham, his former partner on the Santa Barbara Police Department, is dead. When Rick goes to the funeral in the city where his wife was murdered and where he is seen as guilty for her death in the eyes of the police, he discovers that Krista’s death may not have been a tragic accident, but murder. Hired by Krista’s sister, Leah, to investigate, Rick follows clues that lead him to the truth, not only about Krista’s death, but about the tragedy that ruined his life. Along the way, Leah shows him that his life can be salvaged and he can feel love again if he can just move beyond his past. But the past is Rick’s present and will always be until he rights his one great wrong. In the end, Rick is left with a decision that forces him to confront the horrific actions he’ll need to take to exact revenge and achieve redemption.

Award-winning author Matt Coyle gave The Big Thrill a few minutes to pick his brain about his latest thriller, LOST TOMORROWS:
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Cradle to Grave by Rachel Amphlett

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity—and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in bloodstains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time—but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett took some time out to talk to The Big Thrill about the eighth installment of her Detective Kay Hunter series, CRADLE TO GRAVE:
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The Big Crescendo by Jonathan Brown

Lou Crasher is a black Canadian rock drummer living and gigging in Los Angeles. When not playing shows he works at the L.A. Practice Joint, a low-rent rehearsal space for musicians. Angela, the most beautiful African American woman Lou’s ever seen, puts Lou’s inner pinball machine on tilt. Her band books time at the “Joint” and with each encounter Lou pursues her with heat.

When the “Joint” gets robbed Lou volunteers to hunt for Angela’s stolen gear because to him the math is easy: get the gear = get the girl. Armed with his music contacts and detecting skills learned from television hero Jim Rockford, Lou pounds the pavement and winds up uncovering a dangerous gear-theft ring. Lou goes deep undercover and while the case heats up to the boiling point, a coke-snorting celebrity music producer hires Lou to find his prized snare drum: a colonial-era drum once owned by famous social reformer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The two cases become deeply entangled, forcing Lou to duck bullets, navigate around sultry double-talking dames, and control his cocktail intake. As Lou forges ahead he finds that something may be off with Angela. Who is she really?

Author Jonathan Brown stopped by The Big Thrill for a quick discussion about the first installment of his new Lou Crasher series, THE BIG CRESCENDO:
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Maxine Unleashes Doomsday by Nick Kolakowski

The United States has collapsed. Bandits stalk the highways, preying on the weak and unaware.

In order to transport goods between heavily fortified cities, companies hire convoy escorts. Maxine is the best of these new road warriors: tough, smart, and unbelievably fast. But she also has a secret: She’s the niece of New York’s most notorious outlaw, a man hunted by what’s left of the nation’s law enforcement.

Maxine wants to live a normal, upstanding life. But a bad incident on the road leaves her mauled, penniless…and fired. If she wants to survive, she’s going to need to embrace her outlaw roots—and carry off the biggest heist that the post-apocalypse has ever seen. It’s a journey that will take her through obstacle after obstacle to the edge of death itself—and beyond.

The Big Thrill caught up with author Nick Kolakowski to find out more about his post-apocalyptic thriller, MAXINE UNLEASHES DOOMSDAY:
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The Cobalt Sky by Keith Dixon

By Dan Levy

Advertising copywriter. Organization psychologist. Online course writer. Lecturer in American literature. Author. Keith Dixon has held a number of titles in his professional career, but there’s always been one at the center of it all: writer.

“The way it works for me is that if I don’t write for a while, I get like an itch that has to be scratched,” Dixon says. “Even when I’ve finished a book and think I’m done for the foreseeable future, after only a couple of weeks my brain’s turning over ideas again and I start the plotting routine.”

Dixon’s insatiable need to write has led to 15 published works, including the 10th and newest release in Dixon’s Sam Dyke series. The Big Thrill recently caught up with Dixon to discuss THE COBALT SKY, which finds Dyke investigating the theft of a famed painting.
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The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge

By Cathy Perkins

Honolulu-born thriller writer Tori Eldridge launched her debut, THE NINJA DAUGHTER, with high praise. Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Shape of Night, says “If you love a heroine who’s tough, brilliant, and never runs from a fight, look no further. Tori Eldridge introduces the warrior-sleuth you’ll want fighting by your side.”

The first book in the Lily Wong Ninja Mystery Series, THE NINJA DAUGHTER was inspired by Eldridge’s debut short story, which was featured in Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2014.

Like many authors, Eldridge’s debut isn’t her first book. She’s written short stories and screenplays—and she cut her novel-writing teeth on one of those screenplays. But with other areas of life taking precedence, she put the manuscript on a shelf. After raising two sons, becoming obsessed with the martial arts—more on that later—and writing a non-fiction book on empowerment, she was ready to dive back in when the yearning to write fiction struck again.

In addition to joining ITW, she built relationships and used that shelved manuscript to hone her craft before approaching THE NINJA DAUGHTER.

Returning to those martial arts, Eldridge holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninjutsu and has traveled the US teaching seminars on the ninja arts, weapons, and women’s self-protection. While I was intrigued by thefifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninjutsu,” I confessed my knowledge of ninja skills was missing a lot of points. So I asked her what she would like readers to know about ninjas in today’s world.
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Let It Snow by Nigel Bird 

By Charles Salzberg

It’s Christmas time and, in the midst of a record snowstorm, a police officer is murdered by a suicidal teenager. At virtually the same time, a rhino is killed at the zoo and its horn is removed, and the largest store in the city is robbed by a mannequin. As detectives try to solve these crimes, they reflect on their lives, each one realizing that changes have to be made. This is how Nigel Bird’s LET IT SNOW begins and, in juggling these cases, Bird manages to create more than enough suspense to keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens.

Bird is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short story collections, including In Loco Parentis and Dirty Old Town. Somehow, he manages to juggle his 30-year career as a teacher in both mainstream and special schools.

In this The Big Thrill interview, we get to the nitty gritty of Bird’s path to publication, starting from his childhood.
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The Olympian by Mark Atley

Five people travel to a Mexican, Cartel-owned, all-inclusive resort for different reasons: Johnny, who escaped his bondsman and stole a trunkload of money from his bookie, hides at his uncle’s resort. Gage, the bondsman, travels to Mexico to get his daddy’s handcuffs back from Johnny. Murdock, the bookie, travels to Mexico with two associates to get Johnny, the money, and his 10 percent fine. To do so, Murdock attempts to blackmail Samuel, an Olympic athlete, who’s facing possible sanctions and attempting the Olympics for the sixth time. Samuel is in Mexico for a family vacation and to contemplate his future; he meets a girl. Jeanie, a reporter and Samuel’s ex-girlfriend, travels to Mexico with her cameraman to get an exclusive interview with Samuel about his future, and, at the request of Samuel’s family, attend Samuel’s intervention.

The Big Thrill managed to catch up with author Mark Atley and had a chance to discuss his debut thriller, THE OLYMPIAN:
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Disappeared by J. T. Brannan

The shocking disappearance of little Katie Morgan two years ago horrified the nation. Snatched from a holiday beach-house in the sleepy Californian town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, six-year-old Katie was never seen again. One of the cops involved in the case is convinced the parents are to blame; but when they are completely exonerated by his own department, there is only one man he can turn to.

Maxwell Knight is a private investigator like no other. An ex-cop who threw in his badge when the corrupt system kept on letting criminals escape justice, Knight now works for himself, re-investigating cases which have been thrown out of court, or which never came to court in the first place. And when he’s convinced that someone is guilty, he serves them his own kind of justice, old-school style.

Knight is hired to prove the parents’ guilt, and to punish them as he sees fit. But as the investigation unfolds, he discovers that nothing is as it seems – and to find out what happened to the missing girl, he must reluctantly enter a world darker than any he has experienced before.

Bestselling author J. T. Brannan took time out of his busy schedule to meet with The Big Thrill and discuss his latest thriller, the first installment of the Maxwell Knight series, DISAPPEARED:
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Black Summer by M. W. Craven

By Charles Salzberg

M. W. (Mike) Craven’s latest novel, BLACK SUMMER, the latest in the Washington Poe series, is a wonderfully rich and twisty mystery/thriller that takes place in Cumbria, England, where he lives with his wife, a bookkeeper and a “qualified proofreader,” along with their springer spaniel, Bracken, the real-life inspiration for Poe’s dog, Edgar.

His father, who was a cigarette salesman, died when he was 14, and his mother, a nurse who then became a full-time mother and unfortunately passed away three years before he became a published author. He has two sisters, one an ex-police officer who lives in York, and a theater nurse who lives in Devon.

In this The Big Thrill interview, Craven spends some time discussing his path to publication and the latest installment of his Washington Poe series, BLACK SUMMER.
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Countdown by Matt Phillips  

Welcome to California. Weed is legal. Grow it. Sell it. Smoke it. Eat it. But the money you make off it—there’s the rub. Bank it, and the Feds will ask questions. Keep it around, and you’ll get robbed. LaDon and Jessie—two hustlers who make selling primo weed a regular gig—hire a private security detail to move and hold their money. Ex-soldiers Glanson and Echo target the cash—they start a ripoff business.

It’s the wild, wild West. Except this time, everybody’s high.

With their guns and guts, Glanson and Echo don’t expect much trouble from a mean son-of-a-gun like LaDon Charles. But that’s exactly what they get. In this industry, no matter how much money there is for the taking—and no matter who gets it—there’s always somebody counting backwards…to zero.

Acclaimed pulp writer Matt Phillips spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing COUNTDOWN, his head-spinning take on Southern California’s lucrative and not-quite-regulated marijuana industry.
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Charlie 316 by Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro

Tyler Garrett is a model SWAT officer whose good looks, education and familial status add to that image. The fact that he is a black man in the predominately white Spokane Police Department only adds to the city administration’s pride in one of their own. He’s often pointed to as an example of the department’s best and brightest—a young man on the rise.

One summer evening, Garrett stops a reckless driver. It’s something he’s done a thousand times except this time, gunfire erupts from a nearby house. As Garrett dives for cover, the driver turns and begins shooting as well. Garrett survives the ambush by killing the driver and chasing off the additional shooter.

The legend of Tyler Garrett grows and the community rallies around him.

Until the initial investigation determines the driver was shot in the back and his gun has somehow disappeared. Suddenly, the police department, city hall, and even the national news media are wondering just what happened that night. In a nation where police brutality dominates the headlines, Garrett’s case has suddenly become a flashpoint.

Now, Officer Tyler Garrett must take matters into his own hands. Time is quickly running out for him to find the second shooter and clear his name.

The Big Thrill had the opportunity to sit down with the authors Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro to gain some insight into the process of writing of CHARLIE 316:
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Borrowed Time by Tracy Clark

In Tracy Clark’s electrifying new mystery featuring Cassandra Raines, the former Chicago cop turned private investigator looks into a suspicious death as a favor to a friend—and makes some powerful enemies . . .

Sitting in cold cars for hours, serving lowlifes with summonses…being a PI means riding out a lot of slow patches. But sometimes the most familiar paths can lead straight to danger—like at Cass’s go-to diner, where new delivery guy Jung Byson wants to enlist her expertise. Jung’s friend, Tim Ayers, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, has been found dead, floating in Lake Michigan near his luxury boat. And Jung is convinced there’s a murderer on the loose…

Cass reluctantly begins digging, only to discover that Jung neglected to mention one crucial fact: Tim Ayers was terminally ill. Given the large quantities of alcohol and drugs found in his body, Ayers’ death appears to be either an accident or suicide. Yet as much as Cass would like to dismiss Jung’s suspicions, there are too many unanswered questions and unexplained coincidences.

Why would anyone kill a dying man? Working her connections on both sides of the law, Cass tries to point the police in the right direction. But violence is escalating around her, and Cass’s persistence has already attracted unwanted attention, uncovering sinister secrets that Cass may end up taking to her grave.

The Big Thrill caught up with author Tracy Clark to discuss the second installment of her Cassandra Raines mystery series, BORROWED TIME:
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The Furious Way by Aaron Phillip Clark

Lucy Ramos is out for blood—she needs to kill a man, but she has no clue how. Lucy calls on the help of aged hit-man, Tito Garza—also known as El Perro of Pedro. Garza’s signature method of killing? Using dogs to maul his targets to death. Now, in his golden years, Garza lives a mundane life in San Pedro, a port town south of downtown Los Angeles. With a backpack full of cash, Lucy persuades Garza to help her murder her mother’s killer, Assistant District Attorney Victor Soto. Together, the forgotten hit-man hungry for a comeback and the girl whose life was shattered as a child set out to kill the man responsible.

But killing Victor Soto may prove to be an impossible task. The newly elected assistant district attorney’s wealth and political clout keep him well-insulated. Lucy and Garza’s plan is further complicated when Lucy begins to develop feelings for Victor Soto’s son, Martin. With their romance threatening to derail the mission, Lucy fights to keep Martin out of Garza’s cross-hairs when his violent urges become more unpredictable.

Will Lucy’s feelings for Martin jeopardize everything she’s worked for? Will Garza’s unchecked rage cause innocent people to die? Lucy Ramos and Tito Garza are furious, deadly, and driven by vengeance—but vengeance comes at a price.

Novelist and screenwriter Aaron Phillip Clark took a few minutes to discuss his latest thriller, THE FURIOUS WAY, with The Big Thrill:
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Outcry Witness by Thomas Zigal

When a Catholic priest is found murdered in his New Orleans rectory, the aging pastor who discovers the body calls on his loyal nephew to help conceal evidence that might implicate the dead priest as a child sex offender.

As Father McMurray and his nephew, Peter Moore, become enmeshed in a cover-up that involves the Church hierarchy and an obliging district attorney, the two men grapple with the moral consequences of their participation, which has compromised their integrity and threatens to shatter their faith.

In the course of their own private investigation, Father McMurray and Peter Moore eventually discover who murdered the priest and are confronted by the killer in a chilling finale.

OUTCRY WITNESS provides an insider’s view of how sex abuse crimes have taken place for decades among the Catholic clergy and how innocent lives have been destroyed.

Award-winning author Thomas Zigal spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, OUTCRY WITNESS:
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