By Ian Walkley
To get to the truth, she’ll have to break the code of the hills.
THE CODE OF THE HILLS is a powerful legal thriller from Nancy Allen, who practiced law for fifteen years, prosecuting over thirty jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses. It tells the story of ambitious Missouri prosecutor Elsie Arnold who anticipates a huge career boost when appointed to prosecute a high-profile case of incest. But the case soon begins to go sour. The star witness has gone missing; the three girls are reluctant to talk, their father terrorizes the courtroom; their tough-as-nails mother has ulterior motives, and mom’s new boyfriend raises suspicion that there’s more going on in this household than meets the eye. To make matters worse, Elsie begins to receive gruesome threats from religious extremists. With her job at stake, her personal life is taking a one-two punch. And the safety of three young girls hangs in the balance.
Nancy served as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and as Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks (the second woman in Southwest Missouri to serve in that capacity). She is now an instructor of law at Missouri State University. THE CODE OF THE HILLS is her first novel.
Nancy, you must have a bundle of interesting cases and characters from your years as a prosecutor?
It can’t be denied: the hill country of the Ozarks has more than its share of colorful characters, and in the practice of criminal law, I was exposed to the underbelly of the community. And because I was the only woman in the prosecutor’s office when I joined the staff, I was assigned a great many sex cases. Handling those terrible offenses, I saw patterns that appear time and again: the generational history of abuse and the code of silence that surrounds it. It’s important that people see the challenges of prosecuting these cases from the inside, and I wanted to tell a story that would shed light on the subject.
By Rick Reed
With his powerhouse blend of imagination and legal expertise, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author James Grippando has become the go-to novelist for readers seeking intellectually provocative, relentlessly suspenseful, and tremendously entertaining thrillers that capitalize on his unique ability to anticipate tomorrow’s headlines and make nail-biting “what if” scenarios frighteningly real.
Now Grippando brings back Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck for his most dangerous and politically charged case yet in BLACK HORIZON, the latest entry in the wildly popular Swyteck series.
As this exciting page-turner kicks off, Jack and his wife, undercover FBI agent Andie Henning, are honeymooning at a luxury resort in the Florida Keys when breaking news interrupts their idyllic getaway. Just three years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, once again millions of gallons of oil are spewing from a hole in the ocean floor after a deadly explosion aboard a massive rig. Only this time, the circumstances are even more nightmarish. The rig was in Cuban waters, just sixty miles from Key West, and the biggest manmade environmental catastrophe in history is headed not toward Havana, but straight for the U.S. coastline. The Cuban navy threatens to fire upon American cleanup equipment as “hostile invaders,” and a geopolitical crisis looms, since the venture received its mineral lease from Cuba and its funding from a consortium that includes China, Russia, and Venezuela.
Not long after Andie’s sudden departure for a secret assignment, Jack files a wrongful death suit on behalf of a young widow who lost her Cuban husband in the blaze. Jack expected an uphill legal battle, but his relentless search for the real cause of the catastrophe puts him, his career, and even his new marriage at risk. Was Andie called from their honeymoon because terrorists are behind the spill? Has the battle between Big Oil and environmental extremists reached a catastrophic fever pitch? Has the Cuban regime finally found the ultimate leverage against its capitalist neighbor? Is this an even broader political showdown on the world stage in which America’s most powerful adversaries—China and Russia—intend to bring the White House to its knees? Jack is caught in the crosshairs of ruthless adversaries with a high-stakes agenda, pressured even by his own government to drop the case for the sake of national security.
Fighting for much more than his client’s rights in a Key West courtroom, Jack plunges through a maze of international intrigue to find that the “accident” was indeed no accident—and that the force behind this raging disaster is an act of desperation more shocking than anyone could have imagined.
SUDDEN IMPACT is more than a tale about a hit and run.
One rainy night in Sacramento, a cop never sees the car that struck him. The victim, Officer Tommy Ensor, is no ordinary cop. He’s a hero, a devoted family man, and a coach to at-risk kids. When he dies as a result of the accident, the public, not to mention the Sacramento Police Department, want his killer.
But the driver who didn’t stop isn’t ordinary either. He’s a judge. And in that split second, he did something so totally uncharacteristic it changed his life and the lives of everyone close to him.
The case is spearheaded by Terry Nye, head of Major Crimes, whose retirement is just weeks away. He is joined by his partner, Rose Tafoya, a smart, ambitious, and young detective who recently joined the unit. Adding to the difficulties of the case is the intense public scrutiny coupled with inter-departmental politics over the next chief of police—either of which could be career-enders.
As Nye and Tafoya search for Officer Ensor’s killer, Judge Stevenson is presiding over a criminal case as if nothing is wrong. Stunned by the fact he didn’t stop, he nevertheless has steeled himself to do what has to be done: compelled, he believes, to break the law in choreographing his cover-up.
This is William P. Wood’s new page-turner, SUDDEN IMPACT.
By Ian Walkley
KIRKUS REVIEWS describes E.C. Diskin’s debut mystery-thriller THE GREEN LINE as “a satisfying, suspenseful novel with an engaging heroine…well drawn characters, knotty and believable puzzles, and an easy, confident writing style.” After self-publishing the novel, successful sales and reviews on Amazon led to Thomas & Mercer approaching E.C. with an offer to publish under the Amazon imprint.
The story finds Chicago attorney Abby Donovan with her decade-long dream of partnership just months from fruition. But after a late-night train mishap leaves her stranded on Chicago’s west side where drugs, gangs, and violence fill the streets, everything changes. Abby is haunted by what she’s seen and the mysterious death of a kind stranger. Though her work suffers, deadlines are missed, and her promotion hangs in the balance, she’s compelled to investigate with the help of an unlikely new friend. But Abby’s investigation jeopardizes more than her career. Someone is watching. Someone willing to do anything to protect his secrets.
E.C. Diskin, a former Chicago attorney, spent several years in practice while fantasizing about chucking firm life for a more artistic one. After six years, and with a drawer full of story ideas and two toddlers at home, she finally did it. Diskin joined a writers group and began work on what became THE GREEN LINE. Though it took nearly a decade from start to publication, Diskin is now focused on a sequel and the completion of other works in progress.
Does the GREEN LINE really exist? Or is it fictionalized or symbolic in some way?
Oh, it’s real. Though I wouldn’t call it a uniformly “unsafe train”—it’s a busy commuter train during the day, filled with all kinds of people. The fear for the character, and the real danger for any woman in particular, is being alone late at night in a dangerous neighborhood.
My new thriller THE ADVERSARY deals with the very real threat posed by the sophisticated new generation of computer viruses exemplified by the Stuxnet virus. As reported in David Sanger’s 2012 book CONFRONT AND CONCEAL Stuxnet was created through a collaboration between the U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies that succeeded in disrupting the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment center, the heart of the Iranian nuclear program.
But a “smart bomb” computer virus like Stuxnet is different from a traditional weapon that is destroyed when it is detonated. A computer virus is made up of computer code that, once deployed, is out there in the world. THE ADVERSARY considers what might happen if a computer virus like Stuxnet was retooled by black hat hackers and turned back against our country as a weapon of cyberterrorism.
THE ADVERSARY is the first book in my new series featuring Chris Bruen, a former Department of Justice cybercrimes prosecutor who is now in private practice helping his clients combat hackers and cybercriminals. In what should have been a routine assignment in Amsterdam, Bruen finds a hacker’s dead body and uncovers a hidden flash drive that contains the code for a remarkably sophisticated computer virus known as Lurker. Upon returning home, Bruen finds himself the target of a shadowy group of hackers who plan on unleashing Lurker, which will bring a major US city to its knees in seven days. Suddenly, Bruen finds that he’s become the top suspect in an international manhunt and he must stay ahead of the FBI and CIA while he tries to decode the virus, find the hackers, and clear his name. With the lives of tens of thousands of people hanging in the balance, Bruen must go beyond the brink to stop the hackers.
DEADLY DIAMONDS begins innocently enough. Michael Knight, a young lawyer, is asked to prevent an all-out mob war by brokering a deal between competing mobs over a stolen vehicle. As both sides respect his tough but fair method of operating, he seems an ideal choice. But to Michael things just don’t add up. Knowing this, he never expected to find himself involved with diamonds and learning more than is comfortable with the evil circumstances surrounding the blood diamond trade.
John Dobbyn brings back the entire Michael Knight/Lex Devlin crew in his fourth novel, DEADLY DIAMONDS. The car stolen for a joy ride has the misfortune of having a dead body in the trunk. Then there is the question of why the son of an Irish mobster decides to steal an Italian mafia car for his joy ride in Italian mafia territory. And yes, the dead man belongs to the Italian mafia. Michael knows there is more than meets the eye in all of this. As he tries to make sense of it all he finds himself involved in life-threatening situations and a quest for information that leads from Boston to Dublin, to Sierra Leone, to Antwerp, and back again. And in this journey he finds an incredible man, a survivor of the diamond pits, who will move heaven and earth to reunite his family.
Robert Rotstein grew up in Culver City, California. He earned an undergraduate degree from UCLA and graduated with honors from the UCLA School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review. After graduation, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy, then Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and currently Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Robert then went into private practice with a Beverly Hills law firm whose practice focused on the entertainment industry and copyright law. His first trial involved a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a well-known science fiction writer against a major movie studio. He authored a law review article that explores the relationship between literary theory and copyright law, and has taught as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California. Robert is currently a partner in a major Los Angeles law firm, where he co-chairs the firm’s intellectual property department. During his career, he’s represented many well-known writers, producers, and musicians, and all the major studios. CORRUPT PRACTICES is his first novel and comes out this month from Seventh Street Books.
Walter Walker, a high-powered attorney writing outstanding legal thrillers, is back after a self-imposed, sorely missed absence of almost twenty years with the publication of CRIME OF PRIVILEGE, rated “a stunning thriller” by GoodReads. His “god-given talent,” recognised by James Lee Burke, is focused on a concern for social justice embodied in American values inculcated by family, church and school.
CRIME OF PRIVILEGE “ is not only a first-class legal thriller, it is an astute examination of our society and how we are corrupted by power and money” –Nelson DeMille.
The nephews of a famous politician rape a woman in Palm Beach. Young George Becket is a silent witness. His reward comes in the form of admission to law school and then a low level prosecutor’s job with the Cape Cod District Attorney.
Years later, the father of a murdered girl approaches a lonely, unfulfilled George Becket. Nobody seems to want to investigate her brutal death. Increasingly certain that the same person who committed the rape is responsible for the murder, George sets off on an investigation that takes him to Idaho, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and France, and that is as much about restoring his own self-worth as it is about finding the killer. As William Landay writes, “a twisting, engrossing, irresistible detective story.”
By Josie Brown
When a political candidate with a wandering eye wakes up naked in a stranger’s home, where a priceless painting has been stolen, the first person he calls isn’t his campaign manager, his press officer, or even his lawyer:
It’s Jack MacTaggart.
GREEN-EYED LADY, the second novel in Chuck Greaves’ mystery series, has all the elements readers loved in the first book, HUSH MONEY: slick sleuthing, snappy dialogue, a cavalcade of characters who leave you laughing, keep you guessing, and keep you up all night.
Here’s what Chuck has to say about writing relatable heroes, and stories that keep you on the edge of your seat…
Wow, GREEN-EYED LADY sounds like my kind of book! I love mixing mystery with politics–and humor. So, how did the plot come to you?
During my 25 years as an L.A. trial attorney, I had occasion to handle a few cases with political implications, plus I served for many years as campaign treasurer for a friend who’s an L.A.-area city councilman. But the genesis of GREEN-EYED LADY was actually a short story I wrote on spec, about an art heist. As I sat down to plot the next installment in my Jack MacTaggart series, I realized that the short story would be a perfect jumping-off point for a work of book-length fiction. So the man in the story – the sting victim – became a U.S. Senate candidate, and I was off to the races.
James Grippando treats his fans to a new Jack Swyteck legal thriller, BLOOD MONEY. After a sensational trial with Swyteck as her attorney, a single-mom party girl is acquitted of murder charges over the death of her child daughter. Swyteck is caught in a media firestorm that accuses him of setting up million-dollar book and movie deals–blood money–for his notorious client. On the night of her release from jail, an angry rob attacks another woman who bears a striking resemblance to the infamous mom…who then disappears. As Swyteck deals with the aftermath of the trial and both the mysterious circumstances behind the stranger’s assault and his former client’s whereabouts, he untangles clues that led to the truth of the little girl’s death and puts him in the crosshairs of her killer.
Previews of DEAD PEASANTS have been unanimous in their praise:
Set in Fort Worth and skipping murderously across Texas, Houston attorney Larry Thompson has whipped out another legal thriller that will propel readers on a riveting ride. It adds up to another masterpiece with more twists than a cauldron of Lone Star rattlesnakes.
It’s a five-star thriller that will keep you on edge until the shocking conclusion.
It’s a must read for lovers of legal thrillers.
Thompson draws on his vast knowledge of the law and the courtroom to create colorful characters and spin a tale with twists at every turn of the page.
Douglas Corleone’s LAST LAWYER STANDING is a gritty, edge-of-your-seat crime novel set in a Hawaii that is unrecognizable to probably everyone but the criminal underworld of Oahu.
In this third Kevin Corvelli mystery, the hotshot defense lawyer takes on a pair of high-profile cases. In the first, Corvelli represents the governor of Hawaii who’s had the misfortune of having his mistress turn up dead in an election year. In the second, Corvelli defends a career criminal, a man who once saved Corvelli’s life, who’s now on trial for murder.
The novel races along as the two cases ultimately intersect. Along the way, Corvelli is up against police corruption, Justice Department politics, an international assassin, and a shadowy figure who local criminals describe as “Keyser Söze’s evil twin.” Will Corvelli risk everything—including his life—to protect his clients? Will he be the last lawyer standing? You’ll have to buy the book to find out.
Lawyer Kate Lange remembers Kenzie Sloane. The former wild child was part of the same crowd that attracted her little sister, Imogen, before her death. Now Kenzie needs her help. And Kate needs answers.
But there are others who know about the tattoo and its history. And one of them is watching Kenzie’s every move, waiting for the perfect moment to fulfill a dark promise that had been inked in her skin.
Lawyer David Sloane is desperate to get through to his troubled teenaged son Jake and to keep him out of jail. So when his old friend, detective Tom Molia, suggests taking their sons on a guys-only camping trip, Sloane gratefully accepts. But the perfect excursion turns into a horrifying nightmare when the boys are arrested for vandalizing a general store, quickly convicted, and sentenced to the county-owned wilderness detention camp, Fresh Start.
Chuck Greaves’s award-winning novel, HUSH MONEY, is no ordinary mystery. To be sure, it’s got all the usual markings of a bestseller: fast-paced, suspenseful, authentic, beautifully written. But what makes the novel so special is that it also manages to be both touching and hilariously funny.
The story begins when Jack MacTaggart, a new lawyer at an elite white-shoe Pasadena law firm, is assigned to represent a socialite whose champion show horse, Hush Puppy, dies under suspicious circumstances. What starts out as a routine litigation over an insurance claim, turns anything but as MacTaggart uncovers a blackmail scheme that implicates not only his client, but also the upper echelon of his law firm.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But what if you can’t tell which is which?
When attorney Izzy McNeil’s home is broken into, right after her boyfriend, Theo, moves in, she ignores the coincidence. When Theo is arrested on charges of fraud, she wants to believe he’s innocent. But when a neighbor is found dead, she can’t ignore that something is very, very wrong.
Izzy also can’t forget how Theo was inexplicably turned down for a mortgage. Or his recent moody silences. Or how a stranger warned her that Theo needs to “accept responsibility ”
By Derek Gunn
…and this is in the very first chapter. I read this one in two sittings, in fact my son was lucky to get collected at all. I don’t normally read court room thrillers, although this can’t really be described as taking place in the court room. It takes place in and around the complex working of the US legal system. The killing of six Justices has left a huge hole in the legal system and the investigation is ongoing through a combined task force of FBI, Homeland Security etc., but little head way is being made.
By George Ebey
John F. Dobbyn is the author a series of legal thrillers featuring attorneys Lex Devlin and Michael Knight. His first book, NEON DRAGON, had Lex and Michael going up against the Chinese Tong. The second book, FRAME UP, put them in a clash between the Italian and Russian mafias. Now Lex and Michael are back in their latest thriller, BLACK DIAMOND.
This time around, the intrepid duo agrees to defend a jockey accused of murdering a fellow jockey during a race at Boston’s Suffolk Downs. A personal attachment to the murdered jockey thrusts Michael and Lex into the midst of a conflict between Boston’s Irish mafia and criminal remnants of the terrorist branch of the Irish Republican Army. As Michael and Lex uncover layer after layer of deception involved in the underside of horse racing, they become a liability to both gangs. In action that shuttles between Ireland and Boston, the lives of both lawyers and those close to them are in the crosshairs of the gangs on both sides of the Atlantic.
By Gary Kriss
If silence is indeed golden, attorney R. J. Jagger may be one of the world’s richest men. And while lawyers tend to be circumspect, Jagger, who practices in Colorado, makes Miho seem like SinCity’s most garrulous gasbag.
Which is just as well, since sawing off a woman’s head is probably cause for disbarment in the Centennial State.
And beheading’s just a starter.
The full litany of grisly crimes can be found in LAWYER TRAP, Jagger’s latest novel, which is being released on November 16 by Pegasus. Jagger might be close-mouthed about his personal life, but he’s perfectly willing to let everything all hang out in his books.
In L.A. practicing law can be hell. Especially if you’re dead.
In an increasingly hellacious L.A., zombie criminal lawyer Mallory Caine defends a vampire hooker accused of the crime Mallory herself committed, even as a zombie-killer closes in and the love of her former life comes back as the Deputy DA she must oppose. And as Lucifer himself begins setting up L.A. as his headquarters for a new attack on heaven and earth, Mallory slowly discovers she may be the one who has to stop him.
By Paul Levine
“When is Jake Lassiter coming back?”
I get the question at bookstores and Bouchercon, at Thrillerfest and Sleuthfest, at Left Coast Crime…and even my dentist’s office.
“Where the heck is Jake?” I’m asked.
I wrote seven Lassiter novels between 1990 and 1997. Since then, I’ve written three stand-alone thrillers, the four-book “Solomon vs. Lord” series, and a bunch of episodes for two CBS-TV dramas, “JAG,” and “First Monday.” I still get some e-mail about a sermon I wrote for a Navy chaplain in the “JAG” Christmas episode nine years ago, but what most people want to talk about is that linebacker-turned-lawyer, a tough guy with a tender heart.
By Andy Straka
Bestselling author Laura Caldwell’s books have been published in over 22 countries and translated into more than 13 different languages.
In her latest thriller, Claim of Innocence, Valerie Solara has been charged with poisoning her best friend. The prosecution claims she’s always been secretly attracted to Amanda’s husband…and with Amanda gone, she planned to make her move. Attorney Izzy McNeil left the legal world a year ago, but a friend’s request pulls her into the murder trial. Izzy knows how passion can turn your life upside down. She thought she had it once with her ex-fiance, Sam. Now she wonders if that’s all she has in common with her criminally gorgeous younger boyfriend, Theo. It’s Izzy’s job to present the facts that will exonerate her client-whether or not she’s innocent. But when she suspects Valerie is hiding something, she begins investigating-and uncovers a web of secret passions and dark motives.
Claim of Innocence, has just been released by Mira. Caldwell took a moment to tell us a little more about the book.
Pascal Marco grew up on Chicago’s gritty East Side, where the smokestacks of steel mills belched particulates and education often ended with high school. Marco, however, went on to attend the University of Illinois Chicago, and he set aside a childhood interest in writing while he pursued a career in business. After he moved to Arizona with his wife and children, the desire to write began to stir again. Using both his childhood home and his adopted state as settings, he wrote his debut thriller, Identity: Lost, the tale of a boy who witnesses the brutal gang murder of a former Chicago Black Sox player. The boy comes forward to testify, only to see the prosecution bungle the case. When the five killers go free, the boy enters the Witness Protection Program to save his own life. After growing up with a false identity in Arizona, the witness emerges from hiding to confront the killers—and to reveal a secret he’s hidden for thirty years.
by Dana Granger
Adam Mitzner may be brand new to the “legal thriller” scene, but he’s already getting rave reviews for his debut novel, “A Conflict Of Interest”. Publishers Weekly said “This gifted writer should have a long and successful career ahead of him,” and Perri O’Shaughnessy described “A Conflict Of Interest” as “Psychological And Legal Suspense At Its Finest.”
The cover tells the story of what to expect. It’s a jury box with wooden chairs from an old courthouse. Then the R in the title has a slash through the bottom leg of the letter. So, any thriller reader knows the story is a legal thriller about a prescription drug.
by Milton Toby
Pleadings, briefs, memos, and correspondence all are essential parts of the job and it a rare day when an attorney does not spend some time at a keyboard. Many lawyers think that their writing skills are exceptional and that their cases are riveting books just waiting to be written, even though neither may be true. A difficulty is that the skills necessary for effective legal writing do not necessarily carry over to writing fiction.
For over two decades, Linda Fairstein was the Chief of Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan and is America’s foremost legal expert on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence. She’s a New York Times Bestseller and author of thirteen novels, including her latest thriller, Silent Mercy, which exposes the dark side of New York City’s diverse religious history.
Alexandra Cooper and Mike Chapman are on the hunt for a brutal killer scattering women’s mutilated bodies on the steps of religious institutions throughout Manhattan. Together they track a skillful and malicious murderer through the churches, cathedrals, and synagogues that were at one time centers of great power in New York City.
By Keith Raffel
Canadian thriller writer Pamela Callow and I have been pals since the 2009 Thrillerfest. Recently, I caught up with her to get the inside scoop on her latest novel, Indefensible.
KR: Pam, RT Book Reviews gives Indefensible its highest rating and says, “The suspense is intense, the action shocking and the plot intriguing.” Give us a sneak preview, please.
PC: In Indefensible, a case of domestic homicide explodes when the accused killer is none other than the managing partner of one of the premier law firms in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Held in prison for the murder of his ex-wife, Randall Barrett is shunned by his partners and friends. His defense lies in the hands of the one person who understands only too well the taint of criminal scandal: Kate Lange. As Kate races to stay a step ahead of the prosecution, a silent predator is waiting for the perfect time to deal the final blow.
By Dan Levy
Any good story will delve into life’s “big questions.” This story actually delves into two. The first of which renowned New York Times Bestselling author John Lescroart answered in a Web video about his 22nd novel, DAMAGE, due out January 4, 2011.
“(My last name) is pronounced less-kwah. Like the opposite of more kwah,” quipped Lescroart, who during the interview for this story, joked that if he had to do it all over again he would have used a nom de plume.
By Nate Kenyon
Recently I sat down with Alan Dershowitz to talk about his new novel, The Trials of Zion.
First of all, tell us what inspired you to write it.
I desperately want to see peace in the Middle East. I can’t achieve it in reality (despite having been asked to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations—an offer I had to refuse because I am a patriotic American). So I decided to bring about peace at the beginning of my novel.