by Nate Kenyon
As Amanda Kyle Williams will freely admit, struggling writers do a lot of things to pay the bills while waiting for their big break. According to her website, Williams has been a freelance journalist, house painter, a property manager, a sales rep, a commercial embroiderer, a courier, a VP of manufacturing at a North Georgia textile mill, and owned Latch Key Pets, a pet sitting and dog walking business. She also worked with a PI firm in Atlanta on surveillance operations, and became a court-appointed process server.
But everything changed for her when Bantam bought the rights to the first three books in her new Keye Street series. The Big Thrill sat down with Williams recently to learn more.
By Andy Straka
In Chuck Hustmyre’s fast-paced new thriller A KILLER LIKE ME New Orleans homicide detective Sean Murphy and his partner Juan Gaudet track a ritualistic serial killer calling himself the Lamb of God.
Still-reeling a year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, city officials want the murders kept quiet. With yet another hurricane lurking in the gulf, Murphy does his best to try to get inside the madman’s head and guess his next move. But the Lamb of God is already one step ahead of him. Before Sean knows it, the killer has learned his own secret—a secret that could send Sean to prison. The Lamb of God sees in Sean a worthy adversary . . . maybe even one of a like mind.
In the late eighties and nineties, the legal thriller was King, and many hoped that the financial thriller would become just as big. However, as the nineties progressed, this didn’t happen. In fact, the legal thriller began to wane in popularity.
Michael Ridpath, author of Where The Shadows Lie, is undoubtedly a brave writer. Having previously written eight successful financial thrillers, he took a risky decision to switch genres. In part, this was a personal decision, but it was also a decidedly commercial one.
Ridpath’s writing had improved with each novel, yet, he found himself wanting to move beyond the narrow world of finance, which he knew intimately, stretch himself further, and explore the wider world. With sales of his financial thrillers slowly declining, he spent time thinking about what he could do next. After his research, he came to the conclusion that he wanted to write a series of crime novels, rather than the stand-alone thrillers he had become known for. He was going to write about an unusual detective, and a foreign land.
By J. N. Duncan
I’d like to welcome crime writer, Jarkko Sipila, whose crime fiction story, Helsinki Homicide: Nothing But The Truth, comes out this August, from Ice Cold Crime. Mr. Sipila is part of the growing wave of Scandanavian crime fiction writers getting published in the U.S., and I’d like to give him a warm welcome here at ITW. I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his interesting journey to getting published here in the U.S. and about his new release.
Here is a short synopsis for Nothing But The Truth:
A young cocaine dealer is gunned down at the door of his apartment on the outskirts of downtown Helsinki, Finland. Detective Lieutenant Kari Takamäki and his homicide team find the trigger man but need the help of a witness to try to figure who was working behind the scenes. The witness is torn between her principles and her desire to keep her family safe. How much should an ordinary citizen sacrifice for the benefit of society as a whole?
By Don Lafferty
When bestselling author John Lutz isn’t writing he’s…well, according to Lutz, he’s always writing.
“Being a writer is like being a cop; you’re always one, even off duty,” explains Lutz.
It’s no surprise that Lutz should frame his choice of vocation in the cop analogy; he’s been living with cops, private eyes, and all manner of bad guys running around in his head for his whole adult life, and doing his best to get their stories out of his head and into one of his more than forty novels and two hundred plus short stories.
His latest book, SERIAL, is the sixth in the Frank Quinn series of suspense thrillers, and finds Quinn and his team of brilliant law-enforcement misfits on the trail of yet another serial killer, this time in New York City.
The stories feature the same two characters: Crip and Henrietta, some of the same bad guys, good guys and, as in a novel, the characters develop over time. Neil Smith of Plots With Guns says the pair “are a hoot – a pierced-punk babe with an attitude and a paraplegic private eye make a winning team. Other characters include Alvin, Henrietta’s racist boyfriend who we first meet while he is doing time at Pelican Bay; Ralph and Patsy, two massive Presa Canario fighting dogs that eat nothing but raw steak and an occasional human ear; Allison, a vet who extracts a bullet from Patsy and becomes Crip’s lover; Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones of the Mafia.
In the middle of a withering heat wave, the murder of a top NFL cornerback draft pick in a house owned by developer Kent Kramer presents a puzzle for his best friend and Prosperity, NC, police chief Judd Wheeler. First, while the athlete was murdered naked in the kitchen, there are bloodstained bills in the pocket of his pants upstairs. Second, the stains aren’t from the player, but rather link to a second murder that took place in Morgan, the Bliss County seat, days earlier.
To solve the puzzle, Wheeler deals with a paroled sex offender, con games perpetrated by an itinerant tent preacher with a dark secret, a burgeoning motorcycle gang war, a phantom suspect who is always just beyond his grasp. In the small town of Prosperity, NC, it seems that nothing ever comes to a good end in the month of the Thunder Moon.
An ex-New Orleans vice cop fights to prove his innocence after being framed for a robbery and murder at the Mafia-owned brothel and casino where he works.
Now a motion picture from Lionsgate, starring Dave Bautista, Amy Smart, Dominic Purcell, and Danny Trejo.
Watch the HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN movie trailer.
“A gritty, action-packed read.” –Edgar Award winner Julie Smith
“Chuck Hustmyre writes with a gritty realism that makes turning each page an act of bravery — you never know what gut wrenching danger lurks in the forthcoming paragraphs! This guy can do no wrong when it comes to suspense thrillers, and House of the Rising Sun proves it.” –Edgar Award winner Burl Barer
“Hustmyre brings to life the dark underworld of The Big Easy reminiscent of Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles. Detective fiction doesn’t get any better than this!” –Gary C. King, author of RAGE and AN ALMOST PERFECT MURDER
“House of the Rising Sun is a great ride. Grab this book and head down to the wrong side of New Orleans. You won’t regret it.” –Criminal Profiler Pat Brown, author of THE PROFILER: MY LIFE HUNTING SERIAL KILLERS AND PSYCHOPATHS
“The hard-boiled tale, the disgraced ex-vice cop, the bloody, filthy underworld of the New Orleans French Quarter. This is classic gritty crime fiction.” –Matthew Randazzo V, author of MR. NEW ORLEANS: THE LIFE OF A BIG EASY UNDERWORLD LEGEND
“House of the Rising sun is lean, mean, and nasty. Hustmyre’s spare, hardboiled prose instantly grabs hold and takes you on a great ride. A book for those who like their thrillers grim and dirty.” –Simon Read, author of WAR OF WORDS: A TRUE TALE OF NEWSPRINT AND MURDER
Chuck Hustmyre wrote the screenplay for the new Lionsgate movie HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, which he adapted from his own novel. He also wrote the new novel A KILLER LIKE ME and the true crime books KILLER WITH A BADGE and UNSPEAKABLE VIOLENCE.
To learn more about Chuck Hustmyre, please visit his website.
Helping out at a church fete, antiques dealer Lina Townend comes across a tatty snuff-box, which seems to be valuable enough for someone to try to snatch from under her nose. Then the would-be thief attacks Griff, her dear mentor and business partner, frames Lina for a crime she didn’t commit, and killls an old friend – and maybe other people too. Because the police officer in charge of the case can’t give it her full attention, Lina reluctantly seeks help from a former boyfriend, now married with a baby. When her father, the alcoholic Lord Elham gets involved too, things coud easily descend into chaos and tragedy.
Critically acclaimed author Ken Mercer follows up his best selling Slow Fire with another suspenseful tour de force, East on Sunset. The book features the return of narcotics detective Will Magowan, now retired from law enforcement and starting over with his estranged wife.
Magowan is a vulnerable man not prone to sharing his feelings, but a good man nonetheless with all the makings of a hero, according to Mercer.
“You’d like him once you got to know him,” Mercer says, “but he’s a little hard to get to know. If you invited him to a party, I don’t know that he’d show up. Once you get to know him, he’s a great person to have in your corner, because he’s loyal and stands up for what he believes is right–even when it costs him personally.”
Maureen Coughlin, a New York City cocktail waitress, sees something she shouldn’t involving a co-worker and a local politician. When her co-worker turns up dead the next morning, Maureen goes on the run through the seedy underbelly of Staten Island, to protect herself and her mother.
Neil S. Plakcy offers a tightly-plotted police procedural mystery in his latest novel, MAHU BLOOD. But what sets this 6th outing in the Mahu series apart from all the others is that he also serves up an emotionally charged thriller about family values in Hawaii.
In MAHU BLOOD, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka must learn who killed Aunty Edith Kapana at a Hawaiian nationalism rally. The death sets off competition between several groups for control of the millions of dollars at stake in reparations for the US takeover of Hawaii in 1893. One of the groups competing for the chance to lead a sovereign Hawaii bases its claim on the familial descent of its leader.
by Virna DePaul
A DANGEROUS CHAIN OF EVENTS…
Fall From Grace by Wayne Arthurson marks the debut of Leo Desroches, one of the most unusual amateur detectives ever to appear in Canada or points south. This fast-paced, enthralling mystery is the story of a man who had everything, lost it all, and is trying to get it back.
Journalist Leo Desroches doesn’t look like a native, but his mother was Cree, and he understands the problems of indigenous Canadians of the First Nations. When he’s assigned to cover the murder of a young native prostitute, it’s just one more story…until the cop in charge lets him view the corpse, something the Edmonton police never do.
By Brett King
J.T. Ellison’s latest novel, So Close The Hand Of Death, pits Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson against her greatest enemy. The Pretender is a brilliant psychopath who kidnapped and tortured her mentor and father figure, Sergeant Pete Fitzgerald, in Ellison’s previous novel, The Immortals. The killer returns in her latest book, this time working with disciples recruited to execute a series of disturbing crimes that echo the work of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer, and the Son of Sam. Isolating herself to protect her loved ones, Taylor Jackson is “tripwire-tense and ready to snap” as she prepares for an inevitable showdown with The Pretender.
Alone except for his beloved bulldog, Churchill, a despondent man who’s failed at his career, his marriage, and his own simple hopes makes his way across the fierce American landscape and the spectacle of his own bitter past. As he heads home to his distant brother, he witnesses various tragedies and crimes which bring out the killer in him.
Tom Piccirilli brings us a suspense story for our current struggling times, taken directly from a broken heart. It is full of realism, grit, and a depth of the dark streets that give voice to the fears most of us can barely imagine. The terror of loss, the overwhelming dread of failure, the desperate push towards crime, the horror of missed-out, mediocre dreams. And the all-too-average explosive rage.
Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian accountant who collects massive debts for a living. Her partner and mentor is Uncle, an elderly Chinese who lives in Hong Kong and may or may not be attached to the Triads.
In The Water Rat of Wanchai (the first book in what will be a series), Ava is persuaded by an old friend of Uncle’s to help a Hong Kong-based nephew, who is owed $5 million from a seafood company. The nephew financed a major U.S. retailer of cooked shrimp. The deal went sideways, the money disappeared, and Hong Kong wants justice—any way it can be fixed.
By Brett King
Carter Ross is back. Brimming with street smarts and charisma, the investigative reporter charmed readers in Brad Parks’ award-winning debut novel, FACES OF THE GONE. Like his protagonist, Parks was a journalist during a twenty-year career that included stops at The Washington Post and The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. Beginning as a sportswriter before switching to news, he reported on everything from the Super Bowl to the Masters, from small-town pizza wars to Hurricane Katrina. As in his debut, Parks draws upon keen observation skills and a piercing wit to tell his second novel, EYES OF THE INNOCENT.
Thriller author Mark Myhneir—ex-Marine, real-life homicide detective, narcotics officer, and SWAT officer during 23 years in law enforcement—has earned praise and endorsements from many leading thriller writers.
Mark Mynheir belongs to that rarified group of talented writers who have also made careers as professional policemen. Like Joseph Wambaugh and select few other members of that elite group, Mark Mynheir writes from both professional experience and a razor-sharp vision that easily exercises all the best nuances of classic detective fiction. Mark has served as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. His biography follows below.
In New Zealand crime fiction author Cat Connor’s newest, Exacerbyte, after the violent death of a close friend, Supervisory Special Agent Ellie Conway realizes a child trafficker known as Hawk is back. She believes Hawk killed her husband and was responsible for her friend’s death.
A request for help sends Ellie to New Zealand, on Hawk’s trail. Her job; to locate missing children before they disappear forever. Meanwhile, back in Virginia a child with ties to Ellie is in danger.
Can she uncover the hidden agenda of the suspected terrorist and his real identity in time to save the children?
In British crime fiction writer Matt Hilton’s newest, Blood and Ashes, Brooke Reynolds died in a car crash. Tragic accident, the police say. But her father knows otherwise. And he wants Joe Hunter to find the men responsible. Trouble is, they find Joe first. The ensuing blood bath is only the beginning of a trail of death that leads to the heart of a racist conspiracy.
Back in 2004 I was approaching my 20th year working as a software engineer. A little over a year and a half earlier the large network equipment company I was working for killed the product line we were on and laid off everyone in my division. The company I was with looked like they were struggling and would be going out of business (and they did). I had finished writing Small Crimes in between being laid off and starting this new job, and this time I wanted to write a book a little closer to my heart; touching on subjects important to me like software jobs being outsourced out of this country and engineers being made obsolete due to technologies they’ve mastered being rapidly replaced by newer ones. Since I was working 10-12 hours each day at this new struggling company, I didn’t have much time to work on Outsourced, no more than a half hour to an hour each night, but it provided a good emotional release to what I was dealing with and what I was seeing happening to friends of mine in the industry.
Good news! Mick Murphy is back.
I was introduced to Mick back in 2008, (that was in Chasin’ the Wind) and I’ve been chasin’ a sequel ever since.
Now, finally, in February of 2011, author Michael Haskins, is giving us one.
It’s called Free Range Institution.
Mick, for those of you who haven’t met either one of them, bears a striking physical resemblance to his creator.
Today you die. Today you are reborn. Today you hunt the man who killed you. When Secret Service agent Ronan “Methusaleh” Dooley is brutally murdered, he’s brought back from the dead yet again to hunt his killer, and in doing so uncover a terrible conspiracy.
Mike Stackpole says, “In Amortals, Matt Forbeck does what all great science fiction authors do: weave thought-provoking concepts through a cracking good story. The morality of immortality is a fascinating idea with which Matt Forbeck deals deftly. If you are looking for a great story with action, politics, great characters and an eye toward what might well be our future, Matt Forbeck’s Amortals is not to be missed!”
The extraordinary new crime novel from New York Times bestselling author Robert Crais.
Dru Rayne and her uncle fled to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina; but now, five years later, they face a different danger. When Joe Pike witnesses Dru’s uncle beaten by a protection gang, he offers his help, but neither of them want it-and neither do the federal agents mysteriously watching them.
By Mark Terry
T. Jefferson Parker has a fascination with Conrad’s THE HEART OF DARKNESS. So much so, that his latest novel to feature ATF agent Charlie Hood, makes a nod to the classic novel about a rogue soldier that has gone native and the soldier that is sent deep into the jungle to retrieve him. In this novel, THE BORDER LORDS, an ATF agent, Sean Ozburn, has gone so deep undercover into the Baja drug Cartel in Mexico that no one has heard from him. The only communication is through digital videos he sends his wife, Seliah. Charlie Hood, who has appeared in three previous Parker novels, has to decide whether Oz has gone deeper under cover than anyone ever has, or whether the man has gone rogue.
Leighton Gage’s fourth Chief Inspector Mario Silva thriller, Every Bitter Thing, is a fine companion to his three other books in the series. Gage fills the pages with murder and mayhem as well as a plane full of suspects and corrupt Brazilian politics and police.
Silva and his small team of dedicated federal investigators’ frustrations and triumphs turn this book into a page-turner as the agents track down leads, discover more bodies and deal with political kibitzing.
By John Darrin
Edgar-nominated author David J. Walker could be one of his own characters. Ex-priest, ex-cop (of a sort), ex-lawyer. Maybe in a new series of hard-boiled mysteries to complement the ten books he’s already published. He could even use his own name, just drop the David and he’d be J. Walker, flouter of traffic laws, scourge of ne’er-do-wells everywhere.
By John Darrin
Judith Cutler is Birmingham, England’s Queen of Crime. Not committing them, you understand, but writing about them. All perfectly legal. And wholly enjoyable for us, her readers.
As she’s the reigning Queen of Crime, I was looking forward to interviewing royalty. I had questions about coronations and crowns and polo and general debauchery (that’s part of it, right?). Here’s a couple of samples of what I got:
- “I’ve got to go and retrieve the new-baked bread from the oven.”
- “I collect spectacle cases, homely but very intimate artifacts.”
- “No, don’t get me started on politics.”
- “I was Birmingham’s Queen of Crime because I was the only one available.”
Not exactly a trove of exciting and interesting topics. And since she’s already had two profiles done here at The Big Thrill, it kind of leaves me speechless. Or, in this case, contentless.
by Virna DePaul
In Michelle Gagnon’s Kidnap and Ransom, the hero becomes the victim…
When the world’s foremost kidnap and ransom negotiator is snatched by a ruthless drug cartel, Jake Riley becomes ensnared in the effort to save him. But he’s up against Los Zetas, an elite paramilitary organization renowned for its ferocity and skill. Now he and his colleagues must navigate the dark underbelly of Mexico, from raging street wars to perilous jungles, in an effort to rescue him before time runs out.