Monday morning, as the clock strikes 9:00, Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.
Above his head are two plain white envelopes. They do not contain any answers – only further problems, especially when they find out the scar is hiding a very sinister secret.
Within twenty-four hours, they have one body, one suspect – with a motive but no evidence – and a number of other possible suspects.
But they’re all missing.
Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.
Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy?
An estranged family member! A score to end all scores! Continued gastrointestinal issues! Five years after surviving the most harrowing heist of her life, Fantine Park is lured back to the United States by her aunt. The bait: a lead on the identity of her mother’s killer and a score known as the ‘pension plan’, a piece of software that can literally pay out in perpetuity if they can get their hands on it in time.
Working with a team of actual professionals with their own motivations, Fan’s loyalties and beliefs will be tested as nothing is as it seems, especially when one of the members of this crew may have been the last person to see her mother alive.
It’s going to be lies, murder, and gas station hot dogs all the way down as Fan races to get the answers about the day her mother died and maybe, just maybe, the kind of cash that will pull her away from a continued life of crime.
PULL & PRAY author Angel Luis Colón spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest novel:
By Tim O’Mara
In case you somehow missed it—maybe you were up to your neck in your latest WIP—there’s a big election this year. (When’s the last time we had a “small” election?) It seems like every group out there is doing their level best to scream louder than the other groups. Go on Facebook—or don’t—and it’s hard to find a post that’s not pro-this or anti-that and why you should feel the same way. At times, it just feels like so much cocktail party opinionating. (I may have made that word up.)
In an attempt to cut through all this noise, Mysti Berry has compiled and edited a dozen or so crime stories about the voting process in the anthology LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE. Many people may try to pigeonhole writers into a certain political group, but Berry doesn’t see it that way.
“It surprised me when people talked about LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE as political,” she writes via email. “Voting is the most important tool a citizen has to affect change or keep something that doesn’t need to be fixed in the first place, no matter what change or stasis that person thinks is best. To me, specific policy positions are political: pro-this or anti-that. And I do think that writers, regardless of their feelings on certain policy issues, try to avoid preaching from the page. My goal was to get to (some) level of common understanding, not stand on an apple box and shout my policy positions to the world.”
I asked contributor Mariah Klein, whose story “Bombs Away” takes a closer look at voter intimidation, if her entry was based on a real-life occurrence.
What at first appears to be a brush fire in some undeveloped bottom land yields the charred remains of a young African-American man. As sheriff’s detective Katrina Williams conducts her inspection of the crime scene, she discovers broken headstones and disturbed open graves in a forgotten cemetery.
As Katrina attempts to sort out a complex backwoods criminal network involving the Aryan Brotherhood, meth dealers, and the Ozarks Nightriders motorcycle gang, she is confronted by the sudden appearance of a person out of her own past who may be involved. And what seems like a clear-cut case of racially motivated murder is further complicated by rumors of hidden silver and dark family histories. To uncover the ugly truth, Katrina will need to dig up past crimes and shameful secrets that certain people would kill to keep buried…
The Big Thrill caught up to author Robert E. Dunn to discuss the third installment in his Katrina Williams mystery/thriller series, A DARK PATH:
It’s summer, 2016. Chelsea Farmer has awoken from one nightmare into another. Once a call girl with no control over her life, she’s lost even more control, becoming another statistic in the opioid epidemic eating America from the inside out. Shacking up with a woman she may or may not be in love with, and three men unaware of just how useless they’ve become, she participates in home invasions to steal material goods that can be traded for pills or, even better, heroin. In between hits, the gang finds other ways to scrape together money, such as getting paid to march in a protest-turned-riot against presidential candidate Donald Trump. As the habit increases, calling for more crimes to feed it, the boys get increasingly violent with the victims of their home invasions. How long will it be before they actually kill a homeowner who refuses to cooperate? Chelsea must decide whether or not she’s willing to hang around and find out.
Alec Cizak, author of BREAKING GLASS, sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel:
Bricks and Cam are back, this time fleeing from the East Coast after closing accounts with the mob. Planning a new life on the West Coast, the pair of hit men stop off in Ashton, a small, rural town in eastern Washington, only to immediately find themselves embroiled in trouble in typical fashion.
What starts in a bar as a simple intervention between an abusive boyfriend and his victim girlfriend quickly escalates into a blood feud between Cam and Bricks and the family of local backwoods royalty, the Crawfords. Once Cam and Bricks draw first blood, all of the force of the extended Crawford family and their militia-minded cohorts are brought to bear on them. The Crawfords have numbers and hometown advantage, but they’ve never gone up against anyone like Cam and Bricks before. Bricks’ lethal cunning and Cam’s penchant for successful messes wreaks havoc with the Crawfords’ attempts to bring them to small town justice.
Despite their talents, though, the two big city assassins soon find themselves struggling not just to win this war, but to make it out of town alive.
THE GETAWAY LIST is the explosive final Cam & Bricks Job.
The Big Thrill caught up with authors Frank Zafiro and Eric Beetner to discuss their latest thriller, THE GETAWAY LIST:
When you want someone found, you call bounty hunter Jake Halligan. He’s smart, tough, and best of all, careful on the job. But none of those skills seem to help him when a shadowy group starts taking his life apart piece by piece.
First Jake comes home to find a dead body in his gun safe. He thinks it’s a warning—and when you drag people back to jail for a living, the list of people who want to send that kind of message is very long indeed. With backup from his sister Frankie, an arms dealer and dapper criminal, Jake plunges into the Idaho underworld, confronting everyone from brutal Aryan assassins to cops who want his whole family in jail.
But as Jake soon discovers, those threats are small-time compared to the group that’s really after him. And nothing—not bounty hunting, not even all his years in Iraq—can prepare him for what’s coming next. Jake’s about to become a player in the most dangerous game ever invented…
BOISE LONGPIG HUNTING CLUB is a wild ride into the dark heart of the American dream, where even the most brutal desires can be fulfilled for a price, and nobody is safe from the rich and powerful.
The Big Thrill caught up with author Nick Kolakowski to discuss his latest novel, BOISE LONGPIG HUNTING CLUB:
By Karen Harper
Rachel Amphlett has lived and is moving back to my favorite place on the planet—England. It’s also the place in which her Kay Hunter Detective Series is set. Amphlett’s latest in the series, GONE TO GROUND, continues the adventures of a dynamic main character who lives a balanced domestic, yet dangerous life.
It was my pleasure to interview Amphlett for The Big Thrill.
Please tell us what your new book, GONE TO GROUND—#6 in the Kay Hunter Detective Series—is about.
While attending a crime scene on the outskirts of Maidstone, DI Kay Hunter makes a shocking discovery – a victim that has been brutally cut to pieces, his identity unknown. When more body parts start turning up in the Kentish countryside, Kay realizes the disturbing truth—a serial killer is at large and must be stopped at all costs.
With no motive for the murders and a killer who has gone undetected until now, Kay and her team of detectives must work fast to calm a terrified local population and a scornful media. But when a third victim is found, her investigation grows even more complicated.
As she begins to expose a dark underbelly to the county town, Kay and her team are pulled into a web of jealousy and intrigue that, if left unchecked, will soon claim another life.
Although the sixth book in the Kay Hunter series, GONE TO GROUND can be read as a standalone novel.
I TAKE CARE OF MYSELF IN DREAMLAND by Ross Klavan
Bartok is left with scars from the army but something else, as well-the memory of a strange, mystical experience that he calls “Red River.” Back home and out of luck, he wanders through 1970’s New York hoping to recapture this strange state. But others see Bartok as an easy mark for some very dirty business and their plan is to use him for murder.
Aggie is back in business. He’s no longer smoking bootleg cigarettes as he did in “Smoked,” now he’s smuggling another usually legal-and quite valuable-product: maple syrup. Unfortunately, on the way from the Midwest to New York City, he’s picked up an unwanted traveling companion, the fifteen-year-old daughter of his latest boss. It seems she wants to get to NYC to meet up with her on-line boyfriend, who turns out to be much more than she expected. All Aggie wants to do is drop off the syrup, pick up a paycheck, and get on home. Before he does that, he’s gotta play hero. Again.
THE MAYBRICK AFFAIR by Charles Salzberg
As World War II rages in Europe, it’s a couple weeks before Pearl Harbor and rookie reporter Jake Harper, who works for a small Connecticut newspaper, is assigned a routine human interest story. A reclusive, elderly woman has quietly passed away in her small cottage upstate. As Jake investigates the old woman’s life and death he finds that years earlier she was tried and convicted of murdering her husband in a well-publicized, lurid trial in London, England. And, after digging further, he, unearths evidence that she might have had a connection to an even more famous British serial killer and that the ramifications of this story might affect America’s entry into the War.
The Big Thrill managed to catch up with two of the three authors to discuss this crime fiction bundle, THREE STRIKES, and here’s what they had to say:
DON’T BELIEVE IT follows Sidney Ryan, a crime series TV producer who investigates the case of a young med student convicted of murdering her boyfriend while on vacation in Saint Lucia ten years earlier.
DON’T BELIEVE IT reads like a cinematic behind-the-scenes exposé of the juiciest in-depth investigation series, as Sidney rushes to stay one episode ahead of her TV show’s weekly airings, jetting from network meetings in New York, to the scene of the cold case murder on a Saint Lucian island resort, to the prison where her series’ subject awaits exoneration. But as America watches her peel away the layers of deception on prime time, a troubling picture of the truth starts to unfold. Is Sidney working to free an innocent woman wrongfully imprisoned, or is she a pawn in a sinister game?
The Big Thrill caught up to international bestselling author Charlie Donlea to gain some insight into the creation of his latest release, DON’T BELIEVE IT:
In this crime thriller, KILLER BY THE ROAD, a distraught individual grows deeper into depression after losing his job and family. He resorts to drinking and his distorted mind turns to vengeance to fix his problems. An incident that has eaten at him for years becomes his internal focus.
With victims showing up in both Chicago, Illinois and Connersville, Indiana from a killer by the road, people are living in fear. With pressures building, both Detective Jack Revelle and Detective Frank Harris strive diligently to catch the killer.
Finally, a tip will send Detective Jack Revelle into a face-to-face game-ending confrontation with the killer.
Ronald E. Hignite, author of KILLER BY THE ROAD, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his new thriller:
By Tim O’Mara
In his new thriller, LAST YEAR’S MAN, Paul D. Brazill introduces us to Tommy Bennett, an aging hitman who grows increasingly troubled by his life in London. Hoping for a respite from his violent lifestyle, Tommy decides to head back to his more peaceful childhood seaside home in North East England, only to find the ghosts of his past have come back to haunt him.
Geez, what’s a veteran of multiple murders for hire have to do to catch a break?
Via email—Brazill lives in Poland and I’m in New York City, a seven-hour time difference—I asked Brazill what the deal is with readers’ continued fascination with hired killers. These are men—and occasionally women—who make a living ending people’s lives. Why are we so drawn to them and, at times, actually find ourselves rooting for them?
“Sometimes ties with the past are more like a leash or even shackles,” Brazill says. “Wouldn’t it be great to erase the past? But first, of course, you’d have to erase the people. I think it’s no surprise that hitmen are often referred to as ‘cleaners.’ We all would like someone to tidy up our lives for us from time to time, to tie up those annoying loose ends. Indeed, that’s what crime fiction—particularly the police procedural—does in many ways. It tidies up messy situations. (Noir, on the other hand, creates chaos from order.) The hitman is like an X-rated version of the Good Fairy in Cinderella.”
I ask why Brazill has chosen the novella form for this tale instead of turning it into a longer novel.
We might as well get something out of the way right now. There is no Ellison Cooper. That’s right—Ellison Cooper does not actually exist. And yet, she does. How do I know? Because CAGED is a first novel written by none other than Ellison Cooper.
Sounds like a riddle, doesn’t it? When is Ellison Cooper not Ellison Cooper?
Allow me to put you out of your misery. Ellison Cooper is the nom de plume of—well, there isn’t much point using a nom de plume if someone like me is going to spill the beans and tell you who Ellison Cooper really is, right?
So I won’t. But what I will tell you is that the facts of Ellison Cooper’s life are startlingly similar to the facts about another woman, who shall remain anonymous but who also claims to have written CAGED.
First, let me tell you something about this new thriller.
Sayer Altair is a Washington, D.C.-based neuroscientist who works for the FBI. (Oddly enough, Ellison Cooper is also a neuroscientist, as is her alter ego, but neither of them work for the FBI, so I’m sure this is merely one of those weird coincidences.) Still reeling from the death of her fiancé, Sayer specializes in analyzing the brains of serial killers. When local police stumble onto a gruesome murder involving a young girl later identified as the daughter of a high-profile senator, Sayer gets a chance to put her knowledge to work as she struggles not only to find the killer but also to find another young girl who, like the earlier victim, is being slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage.
O’Rorke is called to San Francisco City Hall to meet with Film Commissioner Audrey Pebble. Warner Brothers is preparing to film a major motion picture, Dirty Harry, in San Francisco, with Frank Sinatra set for the starring role as Inspector Harry Callahan.
Pebble knows that O’Rorke has worked as a bodyguard for Sinatra. She hired Harly Walker, a local young artist and musician, to scout the city for locations that would appeal to Warner Brothers. Walker has disappeared and Pebble is desperate for O’Rorke to find him.
The hunt takes O’Rorke and Cosmo to the famed Haight Ashbury Medical Clinic and to some of the darkest, most dangerous areas of the city, including porno movie studios, drug dens, bathhouses and hardcore leather bars.
While searching for Walker, O’Rorke learns that several of Harly’s friends have been murdered in such a painful manner that even the medical examiner is shocked.
O’Rorke races to find the killer—and then comes the hard part: Telling Frank Sinatra that he is not right for the role of Dirty Harry.
Award-winning author Jerry Kennealy spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing the second installment of his Johnny O’Rorke series, DIRTY WHO?:
Once a police detective in St. Paul, Minnesota, Rushmore McKenzie has become an unlikely millionaire and an occasional unlicensed private investigator, doing favors for friends. The favor, this time, is for a friend of a friend – Erin Peterson, a local business person and owner of a growing food company called Salsa Girl. Someone seems to have a beef with her: the outside locks on her factory having been systematically filled with superglue. But for some reason, Erin doesn’t want to report this harassment to the police. As a favor to his poker buddy and hockey teammate Ian, McKenzie agrees to stop by and chat with Erin.
At first Erin denies there’s anything going on and then, when the harassment escalates and threatens her business, she also asks for McKenzie’s help. The further McKenzie digs into the situation, the more complicated – and deadly – it becomes. And somewhere, in the middle of it all, is Erin, playing all sides against the middle, leading McKenzie to wonder if you ever really know who your friends are.
The Big Thrill caught up with award-winning author David Housewright to discuss the latest installment in his P.I. Mac McKenzie series, LIKE TO DIE:
A drowning in a local park is originally written off as suicide by the police until freelance journalist Hannah Weybridge is asked to investigate by the girl’s distraught aunt. Hannah discovers a pattern of Asian girls going missing and is convinced that Amalia was killed. But there seems to be no motive. And all the while Hannah is being stalked by her past, threatening her present.
The Big Thrill caught up with author Anne Coates to discuss the latest release in her Hannah Weybridge series, SONGS OF INNOCENCE:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
So far I am delighted that readers have been swept along by the narrative and are engaged with Hannah and her life. There is cause for hope and optimism at the end which is more uplifting than the previous book, Death’s Silent Judgement.
A 4MK Thriller.
Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.
Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.
Bestselling author J.D. Barker carved some time out of his busy schedule to meet with The Big Thrill and discuss the fourth installment of his 4MK series, THE FIFTH TO DIE:
By Tim O’Mara
Charter boat captain. Diver. Private detective. Ex-Marine. Ex-Boston detective. Lives in converted boathouse on Cape Cod. Philosophical. Witty. Smart. Rule-breaker. Irreverent. Distrust of authority. Trying to do the right thing often lands him in trouble. Despises bullies. Favors the underdog and cats. Guilt-ridden over failure to live up to expectations of his close-knit, Greek-American family.
And yes, readers, Aristotle “Soc” Socarides is available. Currently he’s available in Paul Kemprecos’ latest, SHARK BAIT (Suspense Publishing, April 2018). The eighth installment in Kemprecos’ Soc series finds the charter fishing boat captain/part-time private investigator up to his neck in trouble, this time trying to solve an oyster poaching scheme, captaining a boat for a film crew working on a movie based on a romantic legend involving a witch and a pirate, and trying to figure out whether the guy who had the job before him was really killed by a great white shark named Emma (whom Soc’s ex-girlfriend would like to see proven innocent).
When I first encountered Soc, I thought, Gee, a private eye who lives in a boathouse who’s good with the ladies and drinking buddies with the men? Obviously, Kemprecos was inspired by John D. MacDonald and the Travis McGee novels.
I was wrong.
“I was really inspired to try my hand at detective fiction by the books of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Ross Macdonald,” Kemprecos tells me. “Their detectives had a sense of humor and I thought I could pull that off.”
In the darkening days of autumn, a woman’s body is found in the isolated terrain near Glacier National Park. The victim was a journalist who had been interviewing a reclusive researcher about his work for a program that trains dogs to track scientific data. Now he is the prime suspect.
Without friends or family to turn to, he seeks help from his ex, an FBI investigator and the mother of his young daughter. Though she is not assigned the case, she is deeply invested, driven by the knowledge that if she can find out what really happened, she might save her child from the trauma of losing a father.
Assuming the worst possible outcome, the researcher flees into the woods with his dog. As the evidence mounts against him and his resources dwindle, the FBI agent isn’t sure how far she’ll go to find answers.
Propulsive and suspenseful, evoking the stark, breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park, A SHARP SOLITUDE demonstrates that we can never outrun our demons, even in the vast, indomitable wild.
Award-winning author Christine Carbo took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest installment of the Glacier National Park thrillers, A SHARP SOLITUDE:
When an open-and-shut burglary case lands on DCI Warren Jones’ desk, he suspects it’s come to the wrong detective – until he learns a tantalizing detail. Despite the suspect having admitted to the crime after being found with the stolen goods, DNA found at the scene does not match the man currently on bail – but is a match to an unsolved violent rape case dating back to 1992.
With their man in custody refusing to talk, Warren must embark on a manhunt for the mystery accomplice. And so begins a game of cat and mouse that will test Warren’s rawest instincts and resolve – and throw up a shocking twist.
The Big Thrill caught up with author Paul Gitsham to get some insight into his latest thriller, A CASE GONE COLD:
Eric Matheson, an idealistic rookie cop trying to break from his powerful family, is plunged into the investigation of a brutal crime in his first weeks on the job in Angra Dastrelas, the corrupt capital city of the corporate-owned planet Gattis. A newcomer to the planet, Matheson is unaware of the danger he’s courting when he’s promoted in the field to assist the controversial Chief Investigating Forensic Officer, Inspector J. P. Dillal, the planet’s first cybernetically enhanced investigator. Coming from a despised ethnic underclass, the brilliant and secretive Dillal seems determined to unravel the crime regardless of the consequences. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. But in a system where the cops enforce corporate will, instead of the law, the solution could expose Gattis’s most shocking secrets and cost thousands of lives–including Matheson’s and Dillal’s.
Bestselling author K.R. Richardson spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, BLOOD ORBIT:
Someone is strangling disabled people in the small town of Baxter, Connecticut. Detective Courtney Lang and her ex-partner and ex-lover, wheelchair-bound Bill Thompson, are paired up again and put in charge of the investigation. During the course of their search, Courtney uncovers information that points toward a connection between the murders and an unsolved series of muggings by a masked man, the same man who shot and disabled Bill a year ago on the night he proposed marriage to her.
Complicating matters for Courtney is her guilt about Thompson’s shooting, her affair with her new partner, Mark Farrell, and her unresolved feelings over the deaths of her mother and sister who perished in a fire while she was away from home.
As the deaths accrue and the “Handicapped Strangler” as the killer is coined by the press continues to rampage the town, adding victims of different ages, sex, and disabilities to the murder count, Courtney discovers a clue that could crack open the case but may put her and Bill’s life in jeopardy.
Award-winning author Debbie De Louise stopped by The Big Thrill to discuss her latest thriller, REASON TO DIE:
By George Ebey
A REASON TO LIVE by R. Barri Flowers is the first book in his emotional four book contemporary romance series, Reasons for Loving.
In this first installment, Nora Sheridan, a loving wife and mother and talented artist in the countryside of Akers Ridge, Oregon, sees her world shattered by a senseless crime, one that takes the lives of those dearest to her. Years later, she reunites with her first love, Robert Logan, at a 20-year high school reunion in Portland. A successful art dealer, Robert is dealing with a failed marriage and has custody of a precocious teenage daughter. Slowly, but surely, Nora and Robert try to reclaim their long ago romance, get past their difficulties, and find a reason to live again.
The Big Thrill recently checked in with Flowers to learn more about this emotionally-charged story.
What first drew you to writing crime fiction?
With a B.A. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University, I began my writing career as a criminologist, writing criminology textbooks. This evolved into writing historical true crime books. The natural next step was to use my knowledge on real crime and criminals to turn to crime fiction.
Combining insight into criminality with verisimilitude in my storylines and three-dimensional characters has made my crime, mystery, and thriller fiction stand out from the crowd. Of course, my latest novel, A REASON TO LIVE, is a favorite, as I take a look into the dangerous, deadly, and addictive world of methamphetamine use and its devastating consequences.
Ana Rocha is a woman on fire. Being talented and from a well-off family, Ana could have become anything. But driven by her sister’s murder, Ana chose the path of an undercover narcotics officer. Ana has made a vow to help clean up the streets of Houston. The journey her duty takes her on forces her to confront her worst nightmares and face the city’s most ruthless criminals. The further she goes down this path, the more the line between her two lives begins to blur. And soon, this journey brings her face-to-face with a monster from her past.
The Big Thrill was fortunate to catch up with award-winning author Ammar Habib to & discuss the thriller, ANA ROCHA: SHADOWS OF JUSTICE, co-written with Glenda Mendoza.
Dominick Prince has been a magnet for trouble his entire life. A series of poor life choices and his natural tendency to attract the wrong kind of people have resulted in two failed bids at grad school, a failed writing career, and a failed marriage to the contested successor of a crumbling criminal family. These failures persuade Dominick to accept an offer he SHOULD refuse from an old high school classmate, Dutchy Kent, who wants to mount a stage version of one of Dominick’s stories in New York City. In reality, Dutchy is trying to track down a missing $1.2 million, and needs someone else to do the dirty work, someone who attracts trouble and is easily manipulated. Cue Dominick…
Unfortunately for Dutchy, the Dominick who shows up at his office is not the kid he used to know. Because for 29 years Dominick has played the role of patsy, fall-guy, cautionary tale, understudy, and joke. But he’s about to break character and go off script to show the world the true effect of violence and bullying. His old dreams may be dead, but a million dollars and the satisfaction of making an old bully suffer seem like a fair trade-off.
Author and editor Bryon Quertermous stopped by The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, TRIGGER SWITCH:
Two nuns murdered. Two elderly, wonderful women brutally stabbed to death outside their ghetto mission as they went into the streets to gather the addicts and human waste for a night’s rest. Motive? None. If scum are willing to come out of the shadows just to kill, they get paid in little more than blood. In this neighborhood, blood is gold.
Private detective Richard Dean Buckner aids his best friend and former homicide partner Graham Clevenger in working the case. The local priest sees Buckner’s handiwork—and rage—firsthand and hires him with the intention of hopefully saving the killer from the worst of the bare knuckle detective’s rampage.
Buckner develops a lead and hunts the suspect down, but as Clevenger develops a second, less likely and more earth-shattering suspect of his own, friend is pitted against friend as they race to prove who really did it. All the while Buckner is trying to ignore a similar case from his past where he allowed his pride to railroad the suspect into an early grave. Fearing Clevenger is about to do the same thing, Buckner realizes just how bleak his mistake was.
To hunt a man who slaughtered two nuns, Buckner needs to use a junkyard dog as a landing cushion, make a victim remember the worst night of her life and undo years of therapy, smoke PCP and use a barnyard blow-up doll to strangle a man. So be it. Just another day.
By George Ebey
Author S.A. Stovall brings us the next installment in his Vice City crime series featuring ex-mob enforcer Nicholas Pierce.
Holding on to a life worth living can be hard when the nightmares of the past come knocking.
Eight months ago, Pierce faked his death and assumed a new identity to escape sadistic mob boss Jeremy Vice. With no contacts outside the underworld, Pierce finds work with a washed-up PI. It’s an easy-enough gig—until investigating a human trafficking ring drags him back to his old stomping grounds.
Miles Devonport, Pierce’s partner, is top of his class at the police academy while single-handedly holding his family together. But when one lieutenant questions Pierce’s past and his involvement in the investigation, Miles must put his future on the line to keep Pierce’s secrets.
The situation becomes dire when it’s discovered the traffickers have connections to the Vice family. The lives of everyone Pierce cares about are in danger—not least of all his own, if Jeremy Vice learns he’s back from the dead. Pierce and Miles face a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels—one that will gladly destroy them to keep operating. As Pierce uses every dirty trick he learned from organized crime to protect the new life he’s building, he realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he might never escape his past.
But he’s not going out without a fight.
The Big Thrill recently caught up with Stovall to discuss his book as well as what it takes to craft great suspense.
By David Healey
Florida and crime fiction go together like windshields and bugs on a summer night while speeding down Alligator Alley. A good plot is like that oddly satisfying smack against the glass, leaving an imprint on the mind.
One such book that hits with a satisfying smack is TUSHHOG by Florida native Jeffery Hess, who continues the adventures of his protagonist, Scotland Ross. Ross is a veteran who finds himself caught up in the underbelly of the Fort Myers area, and tries to do the right thing, even if there are a few bodies along the way.
So what exactly is a Tushhog? To set the record straight, the term is defined in a note at the start of the novel. Rather than give that away here, the definition is best left up to Hess.
Recently, Hess took some time out from his favorite writing spot on the screen porch of his Tampa home to talk about his own brand of Sunshine State noir.
Hess is a Florida native and has set his novels in the early 1980s, a period that was just starting to see meteoric development. At that time, Hess was a teenager.
“Back in the ’80s it was kind of the Wild West,” he says. “Florida was half the size in terms of population. The growth has been nonstop.”
Back then, the popular TV show Miami Vice glamorized the East Coast lifestyle of fast cars, Ray Bans, and pastel-colored clothing—often paid for with drug money. Hess recalls that the West Coast—of Florida—wasn’t like that, but had its own vibe, which is why he chose to set his novels in that time and place.
Cooper and Davis are a couple of jam band-obsessed Texas ex-pats growing some of Denver’s finest organic cannabis and living the good life on tour. Or, at least they were, until legal weed put the squeeze on their market and cramped their playboy lifestyle.
When their last out-of-state distributor gets busted by an Illinois task force, they’re left with no choice but to turn to their reckless former associate Elroy “Sancho” Watts to unload one last crop down in Teller County, Texas.
But Sancho Watts has troubles of his own in the form of Texas Ranger Russ Kirkpatrick, tasked under the table with nailing Watts for anything that will stick because of his involvement in the drug-induced suicide of a state senator’s son.
Not to mention his infamous new business partner, Heisman quarterback and NFL burnout Bobby Burnell, a man working to rise from the ashes of his self-destructed football career by making a name for himself in his criminally inclined Teller County family, no matter who he has to double-cross to get there.
What ensues is a pine-curtain criminal jamboree where everyone involved keeps their cards close to their vest, and all the high-stakes two-stepping is sure to result in bloodshed.
TEXAS TWO-STEP author, Michael Pool, met with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel:
Returning to work after an enforced absence to recover, she discovers she wasn’t the only victim of that investigation.
DI Devon Sharp remains suspended from duties, and the team is in turmoil.
Determined to prove herself once more and clear his name, Kay undertakes to solve a cold case that links Sharp to his accuser.
But as she gets closer to the truth, she realises her enquiries could do more harm than good.
Torn between protecting her mentor and finding out the truth, the consequences of Kay’s enquiries will reach far beyond her new role…
Bestselling author Rachel Amphlett spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing the latest installment in her Detective Kay Hunter series, CALL TO ARMS: