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.
In David Fingerman’s debut novel, Silent Kill, not only does Louise Miller have to deal with the good old boy mentality of the department, but she’s also a gay police officer who has to deal with harassment on a higher level. When one of her few friends on the force goes missing Miller investigates, despite her captain’s order to leave it to the detectives.
Miles Corwin’s first police procedural thriller, “Kind of Blue,” is filled with the raw, tough, and crude daily routine of police work and life on the meanstreets of Los Angeles. This adds a touch of honesty to the characters and situations Corwin presents. It shouldn’t be surprising that a first-time thriller writer can do this so well, for Corwin, an ex-crime reporter for the Los Angles Times has published three non-fiction books, two of them dealing with LAPD’s elite detective squads and one on student life in the inner-city.
Blond Run is the debut book in Jim Michael Hansen’s new series featuring San Francisco homicide detective Trane Ravenwood.
While frantically hunting for an elusive killer who is poised to take the next victim by the end of the week, San Francisco homicide detective Trane Ravenwood witnesses an unrelated murder from a place he shouldn’t be. Almost immediately, he is pulled into the edgy world of Trance St. Croix, a beautiful attorney who is too mysterious to trust and too hypnotic to resist.
In Next Time You See Me, the sequel to Katia Lief’s You Are Next, it is three years after Karin Schaeffer’s harrowing escape from the serial killer who took the lives of her husband and daughter, and Karin is married to her former partner Mac MacLeary. Just when their new life together has settled in, Mac vanishes, unearthing secrets and dangers that force Karin into a face-off with a deadly Mexican queenpin whose son has an agenda of his own.
Award-winning author Weyman Jones took a roundabout route to writing thrillers, as many of us do. After serving in the Navy, he worked in corporate communications for years. He began writing fiction for magazines and published three books for young readers, including The Edge of Two Worlds, which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf and the Western Heritage Awards and was selected as one of the best books of the year by both the School Library Journal and Book World. His thrillers include The Doublooner, Broken Glass, The Unexpected and the newly released Messages. I chatted recently with Weyman Jones about Messages and his writing process.
In Bob Doerr’s latest, Loose Ends Kill, once again a call from an old friend draws Jim West into the middle of a murder investigation. This time the police believe they already have the murderer in jail – Jim’s old friend. When Jim discovers that even his friend’s lawyers believe he is quilty, he knows he will have to go it alone.
Fans of Jeff Sherratt’s mystery series have come to expect certain things from his novels. Jimmy O’Brien books are clever, gripping, and addictive. Known for their multi-layered suspense, Sherratt’s novels immerse the reader in the politics, society, and industry of Los Angeles in the 1970s, all the while maintaining a style more reminiscent of 1940s who-dunnit narratives than anything else. They’re classy, surprising, and endearing – in a murder mystery kind of way.
In F. Paul Wilson’s latest Repairman Jack novel, Fatal Error, Munir Habib’s life has become a nightmare. His American wife and son have been taken hostage and he must perform cruel acts of self-debasement to keep them alive. His tormentor, who seems to want nothing more than to humiliate him, has warned him not to go to the police or his family will pay a terrible price. But a friend tells him of a guy who hires out to fix situations like this.
A guy known as Repairman Jack…
In debut author Todd Ritter’s Death Notice, a small-town police chief teams up with a state police detective and an obituary writer to stop a killer who is sending the local newspaper death notices of his victims — before they’re killed. For Chief Kat Campbell, the crimes threaten her town, her family and her very life.
By Dan Levy
Reed Farrel Coleman didn’t want to write–he had to write. “When you grow up in a household of people who scream, eventually nobody hears anything. As a kid, I searched for a voice to be heard.” Through the inspiration and encouragement of Mr. Isaacs, his seventh grade teacher, Coleman found it in poetry. And that sustained him until fate, or more accurately the scheduler of night classes at Brooklyn College, intervened.
Canadian author Michael Van Rooy introduces an appealing antihero, Montgomery Haaviko, in his debut, a gritty, offbeat suspense novel, An Ordinary Decent Criminal, that has been released this month by Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.
Haaviko is what the guards in London’s Wormwood Scrubs Prison call “an ordinary decent criminal.” It’s a way of differentiating the burglars and smugglers from pedophiles or terrorists. Only there’s very little about Haaviko that is ordinary.
The Story Behind the Story, by Lisa Black
In September of 1935, two boys were passing over the train tracks in a valley known as Kingsbury Run on the edge of Cleveland, Ohio, when they encountered a man. A very dead man, wearing nothing but a pair of socks and missing a head, not to mention a few of his more personal parts. Another victim lay about thirty feet away, this one missing even his socks. The heads of both men were found buried nearby, with just their hair sticking out among the weeds and grass. This killer wasn’t making any effort to hide his work; quite the contrary, he seemed to be making a statement which no one has ever been able to decipher, or perhaps just creating an extremely bizarre example of performance art.
Oliver Stark’s début novel, American Devil looks like it’s headed for the top of the best sellers lists judging by the reaction of the book reviewers. I caught up with Stark this month and the result is this in depth interview, which opens the pages up a little on his life, his plans and his writing.
Since the days of King Solomon’s Mines, Africa has provided the setting for an untold number of thrillers. Typically, though, the continent has been a backdrop for the exploits of foreigners who have come to the continent from somewhere else.
By Mary Kennedy
Recently I sat down with Kay Hooper, the author of Blood Ties, the latest in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series.
Your plots are wonderfully complex, do you map everything out ahead of time, or do you make changes as you go?
I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, so much so that I seldom know for certain what’s going to happen in the next chapter. I have realized over the years that my subconscious is working away on the plot, “seeding” bits and pieces of information that mean nothing to me consciously – until later in the book. It’s not at all uncommon for me to mutter, halfway through the book, some variation of, “Oh, that’s why he said that in Chapter 2!” Discovering the story pretty much as the readers do is, for me, a big part of the joy of writing.
By Aaron Brown
Who is Joe Hunter?
For a start, there are certain things he isn’t. He’s not a cop. He’s not a bounty hunter. He’s not a private detective.
Some people call him a vigilante, but even Joe will tell you that vigilantes take the law into their own hands, whereas there aren’t too many laws that define what Joe does to get a job done.
by Keith Raffel
Recently I sat down with Ridley Pearson to talk about his newest thriller, In Harm’s Way.
In Harm’s Way is the fourth book in your Walt Fleming series. Could you give us a sneak preview?
In Harm’s Way is more of a straightforward murder investigation than I’ve written in quite some time. It is part procedural, part psychological thriller, featuring murder, mayhem, love, and angst – a nice sample of life.
A teenage girl, brutalized and discarded. A rural sheriff, gunned down and left to die. Millions in narcotics and a killer full of hate. In Shane Gericke’s newest, Torn Apart, a tidal wave of murder is rushing full-speed toward the quiet Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL, and police detective Emily Thompson is locked and loaded to stop it. But she’s up against a deadly countdown that threatens everyone she loves … Her partner. Her best friend. Her whole world. In these final desparate hours, Emily will bring down the most diabolical killer she’s faced yet–or die trying.
By Keith Raffel
I met Rick Mofina at BEA in 2009. Rick was just launchingVengeance Road which has since been nominated for a 2010 Thriller Award. We got together again to discuss Rick’s latest book, The Panic Zone.
Dean Koontz calls The Panic Zone, your latest, “a headlong rush toward Armageddon.” Whew! Would you give us a sneak preview?
The Panic Zone tells the story of Emma Lane, an anguished mother from Wyoming who refuses to believe her baby died in a tragic car crash. Jack Gannon, a wire service reporter from New York, joins her in the hunt for a perfect killer whose trail leads around the world in a race against time.
By Derek Gunn
Jonathan “Digger” Grave is a free lance hostage rescue operative. When two teenage boys are inexplicably kidnapped from a Virginia residential school for children of incarcerated parents, Grave and his crew set out to locate the victims and apprehend the abductors.
When Hostage Zero by John Gilstrap came into my mailbox I wondered if I would have the time to read it all in time for this article. Hostage negotiation novels are not my first choice usually so I began it with a little trepidation. This novel was nothing like any hostage negotiation I have ever read before. In fact there was no negotiation at all, only blistering action and a taut plot that keeps you turning the pages. Two days later, and suffering from lack of sleep, I finished the book and immediately ordered the first one in this series, No Mercy. Hostage Zero was nothing like I had expected. The pace is frantic, the characters believable and you will end up shouting encouragement to the good guys as they dole out well-deserved punishment to the bad guys.
In New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver’s latest Lincoln Rhyme novel, The Burning Wire, the weapon is invisible and omnipresent. Without it, modern society grinds to a halt. It is electricity. The killer harnesses and steers huge arc flashes with voltage so high and heat so searing that steel melts and his victims are set afire.
When the first explosion occurs in broad daylight, reducing a city bus to a pile of molten, shrapnel-riddled metal, officials fear terrorism.
In James Hayman’s The Chill of the Night, Lainie Goff thought she had it all. The ambitious young attorney was brilliant, beautiful, and on a fast-track to a lucrative partnership at one of the top firms in New England. But a secret history of sexual abuse in Lainie’s past left scars that never healed and one cold night she pushes things too far. Soon her body is found, frozen solid in sub-zero temperatures at the end of the Portland Fish Pier.