Anna Lee Huber is the author of the award-winning Lady Darby historical mystery series. Her debut, THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE, has been nominated for numerous awards, including two 2013 RITA® Awards and a 2013 Daphne du Maurier Award. Her second novel, MORTAL ARTS, releases September 3rd. Anna was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently lives in Indiana, and enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.
MORTAL ARTS takes place in Scotland, 1830. Lady Kiera Darby is no stranger to intrigue—in fact, it seems to follow wherever she goes. After her foray into murder investigation, Kiera must journey to Edinburgh with her family so that her pregnant sister can be close to proper medical care. But the city is full of many things Kiera isn’t quite ready to face: the society ladies keen on judging her, her fellow investigator-and romantic entanglement – Sebastian Gage, and ultimately, another deadly mystery.
Kiera’s old friend Michael Dalmay is about to be married, but the arrival of his older brother-and Kiera’s childhood art tutor-William, has thrown everything into chaos. For ten years Will has been missing, committed to an insane asylum by his own father. Kiera is sympathetic to her mentor’s plight, especially when rumors swirl about a local girl gone missing. Now Kiera must once again employ her knowledge of the macabre and join forces with Gage in order to prove the innocence of a beloved family friend-and save the marriage of another…
For Janet MacPhail, photographing retrievers in training is the perfect way to spend an evening. But a photo session at Twisted Lake takes a peculiar turn as Drake, her friend Tom’s Labrador, fetches a blood-soaked bag holding an exotic feather and a torn one-hundred-dollar bill.
When one of her photography students turns up dead at the lake, Janet investigates a secretive retreat center with help from Australian Shepherd Jay and her quirky neighbor Goldie. Between dog-training classes, photo assignments, and romantic interludes with Tom, Janet is determined to get to the bottom of things before another victim’s wings are clipped for good.
Lester Calvin enjoys a comfortable living helping the average joe get what he needs, get out of trouble, or avoid trouble in the first place. He operates out of his favorite cigar bar, makes his own hours, and never has to wear a tie. Best of all, he occasionally lands a gig where a beautiful woman lays $500 in his lap for, literally, nothing.
But when an angry FBI agent pays him a wake-up call the next morning, Lester begins to wonder if he made a huge mistake. Before long, Lester finds himself in the midst of a life-and-death struggle, with a giant target painted on his back.
Amy Gail Hansen’s THE BUTTERFLY SISTER, an original trade paperback, comes out this month from Harper Collins. She has a BA in English from Carthage College in Wisconsin and taught English in a community college before becoming a freelance writer and arts and entertainment journalist. THE BUTTERFLY SISTER is her debut novel.
THE BUTTERFLY SISTER has received some great reviews from the likes of Meg Cabot. Can you give us an elevator pitch for the book, please?
It’s about twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau, emotionally fragile after dropping out of a small women’s college, who gets involved in the case of a missing girl after receiving a mysterious suitcase. To solve the mystery, Ruby must also revisit the demons of her past, including a heartbreaking affair with her English professor and an unhealthy obsession with women writers who killed themselves. But will finding the truth set Ruby free…Or send her off the edge of sanity?
What experience led you to come up with the plot of THE BUTTERFLY SISTER?
My honeymoon to Italy in 2004…Moments before I checked my luggage for that trip, I realized the tag on my suitcase bore someone else’s name and address. That’s because I’d lent it five years prior to a college acquaintance and hadn’t used it since. Removing her leather tag at the last minute and replacing it with one of those flimsy paper ones the airlines give out, I thought, “What if my bag had gotten lost? Would it have gone to her instead of me? And isn’t that a good idea for a story?” Thus, THE BUTTERFLY SISTER starts with the delivery of a mysterious suitcase, and the story spirals out from that jumping off point.
By Ian Walkley
Harlan Coben describes Vincent Zandri’s novels as “Gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting…” Vincent’s latest mystery thriller THE GUILTY finds former prison warden and private eye Jack Marconi investigating a local restaurateur who’s not only obsessed with the sexy, dark romance novel, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, he’s accused of attempting to murder his school teacher girlfriend. As the now brain-damaged young woman begins recalling events of that fateful winter night when she was allegedly pushed down the stairs of a West Albany mansion, she becomes the target of the angry foodie/sex-obsessed boyfriend once again. Only this time, he’s cooking up a plot to keep her silenced forever.
Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, THE CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES, and more. The bestselling author of SAVAGES, Don Winslow, says of Zandri: “He’s a terrific writer and he tells a terrific story.” Zandri’s work has been published in many languages including Dutch, Russian, and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for LIVING READY, RT, GLOBALSPEC, as well as several other news agencies and publications, Zandri lives in New York.
Aliens descending on Las Vegas? That is hardly news to anyone familiar with the exotic sights on the Las Vegas Strip. In CAT IN AN ALIEN X-RAY, hovering UFOs have been caught on tourist cell-phone cameras, and the unveiling of a new “Area 54” Strip attraction comes complete with its own dead body. Has an abducted human fallen back to earth? Or is this just the usual inhumanity to humans by humans?
While UFO nuts and conspiracy theorists mob the site, homicide lieutenant C.R. Molina must work with the project’s public relations woman, amateur sleuth Temple Barr. These two dames mix like olive oil and holy water. Not to mention that a vengeful former IRA terrorist is stalking Temple’s ex (the magician-counterterrorism agent) and current fiancé (the ex-priest radio shrink).
My co-author uses the phrase “cozy-noir” to describe our works. Here’s a handy summary of our modus operandi:
“So in this typically fun-filled, witty and comic Midnight Louie outing, Douglas tackles a multitude of serious and topical issues [including] sexual addiction and obsession, monogamy, celibacy, sexual responsibility and familial responsibility, theology, stalking, sanity and lack of same, honor and commitment, romantic triangles and rectangles, and the keeping of vows and trusts. No small accomplishment for a thoroughly entertaining mystery with occasional chapters ‘written’ by an anthropomorphic tough-guy private-eye cat with more than a taste of Damon Runyon in his writing voice.”—MOSTLY MURDER
By George Ebey
Terry Shames’ debut novel, A KILLING AT COTTON HILL, is the first in a new mystery series featuring the exploits of Samuel Craddock, the former police chief of a small Texas town.
When Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend Craddock steps in, only to discover that a lot of people had it in for her. The conniving rascals on the farm next door want her land for nefarious purposes; her estranged daughter could be seeking vengeance; her grandson wants money for art school; and then there’s that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. Does Craddock still have what it takes to find the killer?
I recently checked in with Terry who was happy to share her insights into how A KILLING AT COTTON HILL came to be.
What led you to write A KILLING AT COTTON HILL?
Over the years I’ve written a few short stories about the fictional town of Jarrett Creek, but never in the mystery genre. It’s a fictionalized version of the small Texas town where my grandparents lived when I was growing up. I always loved visiting there and still feel a connection with it when I go back.
A few years ago, I took an amazing crime writing workshop put together by authors Sophie Littlefield and Cornelia Read. On the last day Sophie made an impassioned speech describing how after writing more than half a dozen unpublished novels, she shifted into hyper-drive and made getting published the most important goal in her life. And it worked for her.She said it took more than perseverance—it required determination and focus. She urged writers to dig really deep for “the book that only you can write.”
Like Sophie, I had written several novels, but publication had eluded me. Within a month of taking the course, I began work on A KILLING AT COTTON HILL—which was totally different from anything I’d ever written.
By Rick Reed
SUGAR POP MOON introduces Jersey Leo, a quintessential outsider and most unusual noir hero. He’s an albino of mixed race; he makes his living as the bartender at a speakeasy in Prohibition-era Hell’s Kitchen. Being neither black nor white, he has no group to call his own. His mother abandoned him as a baby. And his father—a former boxing champ with his own secrets—disapproves of Jersey’s work at a dive owned by one of New York’s most notorious gangsters. When Jersey inadvertently purchases counterfeit moonshine (“sugar pop moon”) with his boss’s money—a potentially fatal mistake—he goes undercover to track down the bootlegger who ripped him off. The journey leads him to some dark places—and forces him to confront his past in order to move forward.
Best-selling author Rebecca Cantrell says, “In SUGAR POP MOON, John Florio’s powerful use of historical detail slams you into the gritty world of 1930s bootleggers, where his hero, albino Jersey Leo, holds you down for the count. Harsh as a slug of 190-proof moonshine.”
BOOKLIST says, “This is a hard-boiled, Prohibition-era novel and Jersey Leo is a well-developed, engaging character. The story moves fast, the violence is appropriate to the times, and there are laugh-out-loud moments amid the mayhem. Sure to appeal to fans of Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, and, more currently, Robert Fate’s edgy Baby Shark series.”
HER BOYFRIEND’S BONES is the fourth book in the Dinah Pelerin series of international mysteries. This time Dinah travels to Greece expecting a romantic holiday with her boyfriend and an opportunity to learn more about ancient Greek culture. She discovers that the 21st Century Greece is reeling from a juggernaut of debt, an influx of illegal immigrants, arms smuggling, and resentments stemming from the military junta forty years ago. Corruption abounds, no one can be trusted, and when her boyfriend’s car plunges off a cliff and he disappears, it falls to her to find him on her own.
I’m a sucker for an adventure, a globetrotter by choice—a choice that often means I can’t stay in one place for more than a couple of years then I just have to move… which annoys the wife no end… So, figuring I’d found a kindred spirit I couldn’t wait to chat to Jeanne about Dinah’s adventures.
Each of your books is set in a different country. Why the international theme?
The short answer is wanderlust. I’m addicted to travel so it made sense to give my main character, Dinah Pelerin, a great curiosity about the world and nothing or no one to tie her down. The name Pelerin means pilgrim in French and that pretty much establishes the theme. Another of my addictions which I’ve transferred to Dinah is mythology. I’m fascinated by the strange gods and superstitions the ancients invented to explain the workings of the universe. Dinah is part Native American with an instinctive empathy for the aboriginal peoples of the countries she visits and as an aspiring cultural anthropologist, she is drawn to the mythical past.
Author of the critically acclaimed Red River mystery series, prizewinning outdoor photographer, magazine writer and venerable educationist, Texan Reavis Z. Wortham’s intimate knowledge of the Texas outdoors and Texans enthralls his readers.
In THE RIGHT SIDE OF WRONG, third in the Red River Mystery series, the threat to a small community’s tranquility challenges the integrity of an experienced law officer and head of a close-knit family. Sandra Brannan, author of WIDOW’S MIGHT, says: “Reavis Z. Wortham has masterfully reinvented the true meaning of ‘heart pounding’ by bringing fears to life right where we live.”
A Texan born and bred, Reavis Z. Wortham’s writing is a synthesis of his own life as book lover, explorer and photographer. Bitten by the bug at an early age, he tenaciously ignored a pile of rejection slips to claim his place among novelists who choose to treat the Scriptural theme of the law being made for man and not otherwise: “… sometimes the line is blurred between right and wrong, and we occasionally have to slip over to the other side when it’s necessary,” he says.
Summer is upon us. Time for great summer beach reads!
At its core, summer is all about setting. Vacations in tropical or foreign locales, backyard barbecues next to a swimming pool, Fourth of July fireworks viewed from a blanket on a grassy field. Just as a good setting can make our summer break more fun, a good setting takes a reader on a virtual vacation and makes a thriller pack all the more punch.
Perhaps more than any other genre, thriller books rely on spectacular settings to create atmosphere. A dark, frigid alley on a winter night chills in the reader. A chase along a dangerous mountain trail or a highway perched precariously above a roiling ocean makes for a fantastic chase scene. Guts clench when heroes search homes or buildings with shadowy hallways and closed doors hiding only God knows what. Crowd scenes terrify readers, too, given so many lives can be at stake.
When Holly Price’s father runs off with his yoga instructor, she strikes a bargain with her mother. If Holly will leave her Seattle-based mergers-and-acquisition company and run the family’s accounting business for a year, her mother will never again mention the words “marriage” and “children” in Holly’s presence. Finding a friend’s body beside the Snake River isn’t supposed to be part of the deal. She certainly didn’t expect to end up a Person of Interest, having to deal with JC Dimitrak, a vengeful Franklin County detective—who happens to be her jilted ex-fiancé.
To protect her reputation, business, and freedom, Holly follows the money through a web of inter-connecting companies. A few too many accidents later, someone apparently decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass. If she doesn’t back off, the next body found beside the river could be Holly’s.
“Cathy Perkins is one of those authors whose talent you spot immediately and latch onto as she becomes one of your must-reads. Her Holly and JC are fun (and hot) in FOR LOVE OR MONEY and you’ll not only laugh and enjoy the ride, you’ll be looking Perkins up to see what else she has out right now.” ~Toni McGee Causey, bestselling author of the Bobbie Faye series
“…an entertaining read, filled with funny snappy dialogue.” ~ RT REVIEW
“CPA Holly Price juggles dodgy clients, flakey parentS, ex-lovers and a murdered friend before she gets to the bottom line in this fast and fun read.” ~ Patricia Smiley, bestselling author or COOL CACHE
By George Ebey
Richard Godwin is the author of the bestselling novels, APOSTLE RISING and MR. GLAMOUR. Now he is back with his latest thriller, ONE LOST SUMMER, a noir story of fractured identity and ruined nostalgia.
When Rex Allan moves into a new house in a heat wave, he has few possessions apart from two photographs of his dead daughter. His next door neighbour, beautiful Evangeline Glass, invites him over to one of her many summer parties, where he meets her friends and possessive husband Harry. Rex feels he knows Evangeline intimately. He starts to spy on her and becomes convinced she is someone other than who she pretends to be. When he discovers she has a lover, he blackmails her into playing a game of identity that ends in disaster.
Richard took some time recently to tell us more about his latest thriller and what elements are needed to tell a good crime story.
Can you tell us a little about ONE LOST SUMMER?
ONE LOST SUMMER is a novel about obsession, love, memory and identity, and much more. It explores the things that make us feel we have an identity and what happens when those things are removed from us, as well as the extent to which we can know anyone, even ourselves. It also about how much we understand the irrational impulses that drive us.
Rex Allen, the protagonist, might say it is about what happens when you forget. Evangeline, his beautiful next door neighbour, might say it is about being trapped and the things you do to escape. Coral, the character around whom much of the drama revolves, might say it is about reality and how easy it is to manipulate it. Harry, Evangeline’s husband, might say it is about lies and liars.
By Rick Reed
THE TROJAN COLT, the newest Eli Paxton PI mystery from award winning author Mike Resnick, revolves around the down-on-his-luck private eye who is hired to guard the high-priced yearlings of the Lexington Kentucky classic winner, Trojan, and is no sooner on the job than he must respond to a fracas in the horse barn. Rushing in, he’s just in time to thwart a vicious attack on a young groom. The assailants get away, leaving the groom bloodied and too terrified to talk. The next day the groom doesn’t show up for work, and the Trojan colt that was in his keeping sells for a record price.
Now assigned to investigate the boy’s disappearance, Paxton focuses on the Lexington breeding farm. It turns out that two other staff members have disappeared in the past couple of months. The owner of the farm, while denying it, appears to be in financial straits.
As Paxton worries that all three missing boys may never be found, he runs smack into a multimillion-dollar plot that the perpetrator will kill to keep secret.
Two years ago, Lori Roy floored critics and readers alike with her debut novel BENT ROAD, a haunting and spellbinding thriller which won the 2011 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and was chosen by the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW as “Favorite Suspense Novel” of the year. In June, Roy returns with another haunting literary thriller which delves into the darker side of Detroit in the 1950s, an area and time rife with conflict. In UNTIL SHE COMES HOME (Dutton: June 13, 2013) Roy transforms a small Detroit community into a tense and sometimes frightening environment, a place that becomes as much of a character as those living in the neighborhood. Her setting is believable and meticulous and her writing delicate and provocative.
UNTIL SHE COMES HOME is the story of Alder Avenue, a respectable place where neighbors care for one another amid a once peaceful community. But all of that is set to change when two seemingly unrelated events, the disappearance of childlike Elizabeth Symanski and the murder of a local African American woman, collide to create a domino effect of strained relationships and unearthed scandals. As the residents of Alder Avenue frantically try to preserve their quiet lives, they continue searching day and night for Elizabeth. Fearing their world will be forever changed without her, no one can look beyond Elizabeth’s search; nothing will be good again, nothing will be as it should, until she is found.
By Jeff Ayers
Catriona McPherson is the author of the Dandy Gilver series, set in Scotland in the 1920s, which has won a Macavity, a Lefty and recently an Agatha. AS SHE LEFT IT is her first standalone. The story focuses on Opal Jones who left home at twelve to escape her mother’s drinking. After her mum dies, when Opal comes home to the little house on the dead end street, it seems as if exactly the same. But under the surface nothing is how it used to be. Ten years ago a child disappeared and everyone knows more than they’re telling. At first, the mystery of the missing boy is a fine distraction from Opal’s own troubles but soon enough the secrets of her past begin to rise and with them a growing fear that Baby Craig never left Mote Street at all.
Catriona McPherson talked to the BIG THRILL about her work.
Who is Dandy Gilver?
Dandy Gilver is one of those figures so familiar from the British Golden Age – the gently born, female, accidental sleuth turned private detective. I don’t suppose there’s ever been one in real life but we’ve met them so often in fiction that the disbelief is fairly pre-suspended. THE GUARDIAN, in one of my favourite ever pull-lines, called her “brisk, baffled, heroic, kindly, scandalized and – above all – very funny.” I’ll take that.
By Rick Reed
Mark Pryor is a former newspaper reporter from England, and now an assistant district attorney with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, in Austin, Texas. He is the creator of the nationally recognized true-crime blog, D.A. Confidential. He has appeared on CBS Newsshow, 48 HOURS, and Discovery Channel’s Discovery ID: COLD BLOOD. As an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, he authored the nationally recognized true-crime novel, AS SHE LAY SLEEPING, the true account of a ‘cold’ murder case he helped investigate and prosecuted. PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY gave this novel a starred review and called it “compelling” and “riveting.”
THE BOOKSELLER: THE FIRST HUGO MARSTON NOVEL was his first mystery novel and received a starred review in Library Journal’s Debut of the Month. That book also received 4 ½ stars from RT BOOK REVIEWS, and was listed on Oprah.com as an “unputdownable mystery.”
Now, all of that talent shines in his newest novel, THE CRYPT THIEF: A HUGO MARSTON NOVEL, to be released in May 7, 2013 by Seventh Street Books.
It’s summer in Paris and two tourists have been killed in Pere La Chaise cemetery in front of Jim Morrison’s grave. The killer leaves the bodies untouched but moves deeper into the cemetery, where he breaks into the crypt of a long-dead Moulin Rouge dancer. In a bizarre twist, he disappears into the night with part of her skeleton. One of the tourists proves to be an American and the other a woman linked to a known terrorist; so the U.S. Ambassador in Paris sends his best man, former FBI Agent and embassy head of security—Hugo Marston—to help the French police with their investigation. Hugo cracks the secrets of the graveyard, but soon realizes that old bones aren’t all this serial killer wants: his ultimate plan requires the flesh and organs of the living. And when the crypt thief spots the former FBI agent on his tail, he decides that Hugo’s body will do just fine.
There’s no shortage of excitement in this second Hugo Marston mystery-thriller, set in modern day Paris. So strap in, it’s going to be a ride you won’t forget.
By Derek Gunn
Michael Stanley is actually two people, and no, that is not a reference to Schizophrenia. Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip are the two men involved. Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. The detail on their website informs us that Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing, and Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa.
This last fact is more than obvious when you begin to read DEADLY HARVEST. Their numerous visits to the African continent and their knowledge of local history and beliefs make this an intriguing read.
This is the fourth book in the Detective Kubu series and the differences between it and other police procedurals will hit you from the first page. First of all the series is set in Botswana, a long way from CSI NEW YORK I can tell you, and this is where the series comes into its own. The setting is interesting, compelling and so different that you will lose yourself in the pages.
The book begins with a young girl going missing in Botswana. Local police quickly lose interest as many children run away from their lives. There are persistent rumours of muti, a black magic potion that can be made more potent by adding human remains, so the case is passed to Botswana’s first female Dectective, Samantha Khama.
Humor and murder. Oil and water?
Thrillers are supposed to thrill, keep you on the edge of your seat, the world as we know it hanging in the balance, right? So, exactly where is the “funny” in all of that?
If it’s me telling the story, then the funny is everywhere. Sarcasm and irony are tightly wound in my DNA. And I use them both to deflect when things get tense—just ask some of my exes. That’s simply the way it is. I used to fight against the urge to snark … now I’ve learned to roll with it.
And, as an author, if I’m going to open a vein and bleed all over the page, then it’s gonna be funny, or at least snarky (okay, tempered with some tenderness from time to time) cuz that’s where I live these days. Figuratively and literally.
You see, I live in Vegas… the epicenter of weird and wonderfully raunchy mischief.
At eh beginning of my fiction adventure, I was told to write what I know, and I took it to heart … sorta.
Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work… again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die.
As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences and secrets begin to emerge. When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily teams up with guest speaker, eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel, to find out.
Offbeat and engaging, this entertaining comic mystery is the first full-length novel featuring amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.
Stephanie Cha’s debut novel, FOLLOW HER HOME, is released this month from St. Martin’s Minotaur. Stephanie is a graduate of Yale Law and a practicing attorney in Los Angeles. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said of her book “Intriguing…it’s clear that Song, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, and nourish young woman with a Raymond Chandler fixation is well on her way to being a first-rate investigator.”
She recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the BigThrill:
FOLLOW HER HOME has garnered some impressive reviews. As a debut author, that must make you excited. Has it overwhelmed you?
Yes! I’m thrilled with my early reviews, and yes, the actual process of seeing my book in the world is a bit overwhelming. I sold it almost two years ago, so I spent a long time accustomed to the idea that the release was in the distant future.
By J. N. Duncan
I’d like to welcome Pamela Beason to this month’s The Big Thrill for the release of the third book in her Summer Westin series, UNDERCURRENTS. Pamela writes novels and screenplays and works as a private investigator in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not hiding behind a computer or a bush, you can find her exploring the wilderness on foot, in her kayak, or in her scuba gear. So let’s get to the good stuff and see what Pamela has to say.
Give us a Twitter version of your newest book, UNDERCURRENTS.
Outdoor adventure writer Summer ‘Sam’ Westin dives into deep trouble when she accepts a dream job reporting on a marine survey in the Galapagos Islands.
This is the third book in your Summer Westin series. How relevant are the first two books to this one? If readers haven’t read them, will they be missing out?
Of course they’d be missing out! Everyone needs to read them! Buy them right now!
No, seriously, readers might understand a bit more about Sam’s background, her developing relationship with her FBI lover, and her penchant for getting into trouble if they read the first two books, but I do my best to write my books so that each one can stand alone (if it has to).
By Brian Knight
A young ski area owner in Flagstaff, AZ is determined to use man-made snow, an energy tycoon has his own reasons for promoting it, environmentalists and tribes may use any means to stop it. But the Hopi spirits of the mountain just might have the last say.
Shannon Baker’s latest mystery novel, TAINTED MOUNTAIN, is available this month, and she’s agreed to spend a little time with me to talk about it.
Tell us about your new novel, TAINTED MOUNTAIN.
Well, Brian, I’m glad you asked. When I moved to Flagstaff several years ago I discovered this huge controversy about pumping treated wastewater onto the ski resort outside of town. That mountain range is sacred to 13 tribes who are not happy about “potty water” sprayed on their holy ground. One of the tribes involved is the Hopi, and let me tell you, that is one fascinating culture. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to write the story.
The Dark Side of Paradise
Neil Plakcy writes a mystery series about an unusual detective in an unusual place: Kimo Kanapa’aka is an openly gay crime-solver, a surfer who trolls the dark side of paradise on the island of O’ahu.
His latest book is NATURAL PREDATORS, with Kimo fighting to bring the killer of an island patrician to justice while protecting his partner and their foster son — and preparing to become a father himself.
PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY praised the series, writing, “Engrossing … a sharp whodunit,” while the HONOLULU ADVERTISER said, “Spotless pace, intriguing plots twists, and an earnest depiction of challenges faced by people transitioning out of the closet.”
Neil Plakcy recently agreed to answer some questions for the BigThrill:
With so many books in the series now, how has your hero changed and grown from the first novel to the latest?
The Mahu Investigations track the coming-out process of Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka. In the first book, he is dragged out of the closet while investigating a case. At the time, I didn’t realize it was going to become a series – but he kept talking to me, even though I didn’t sell that first book for a few years.
Kimo went through several stages – beginning to make gay friends and understanding what it meant to be part of a community, then meeting a boyfriend and falling in love. Then the inevitable breakup and despair, followed by an angst-laden reunion. Then he and his partner moved in together, creating a household filled with testosterone and a whole new set of issues. And now, as many gay men of their generation are, they are creating a family—first with a teenaged foster son, and now, in NATURAL PREDATORS, by becoming sperm donors to a lesbian couple.
By Jeremy Burns
Veteran author LJ Sellers is poised to unleash her tenth thrilling novel upon the world – RULES OF CRIME. The seventh in her bestselling Detective Jackson series, RULES OF CRIME combines intriguing characters with riveting plot twists to create another solid police procedural that will appeal to longtime fans and new readers alike. She took time out of her busy writing schedule to sit down with THE BIG THRILL and discuss her writing and her latest book.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve spent most of my life as a journalist and editor, working for newspapers, magazines, and an educational publisher. So I’ve been writing and publishing since college. But I didn’t start writing fiction until I was 30, and it took me 20 years to break in, and I did that by going around the wall and self-publishing. I’m tenacious and don’t take no for an answer.
Personally, even though my vocation is sedentary, I’m energetic and a compulsive exerciser, with biking being my main activity. And the scenery couldn’t be more beautiful because I live in Eugene, Oregon, one of the best places on earth…beside Maui.
Tell us about your new thriller, RULES OF CRIME.
Here’s the short description: His ex-wife is kidnapped for ransom, and a college girl is beaten and dumped at a hospital—disparate crimes that challenge Detective Jackson to dig for the shocking secret they share. As the ransom goes horribly wrong and the suspects refuse to crack under interrogation, Jackson fears that his ex-wife will be lost forever and that their daughter, Katie, may never forgive him.
Gordon MacAlpine has a new novel out. HAMMETT UNWRITTEN, written under his pen name Owen Fitzstephen, is about Dashiell Hammett closing his final case as a private eye. A dangerous maze of events takes Hammett from 1930s San Francisco to the glamorous Hollywood of the 1940s, a federal penitentiary at the time of the McCarthy hearings, and finally to a fateful meeting on New Year’s Eve, 1959, at a Long Island estate. There the dying Hammett confronts a woman from his past who proves to be his most formidable rival. And his last hope.
I interviewed Gordon MacAlpine about his latest release.
Tell us about HAMMETT UNWRITTEN.
I have always been intrigued by the seam where fact meets myth and, even more, by the dynamic exchange between the two, which is sometimes strong enough to rip the seam apart, leaving us unable to discern where one ends and the other begins. That the great mystery writer Dashiell Hammett actually worked in his early twenties as a private detective presents opportunities for such exploration. However, it was not until I came upon the following Hammett quote in a 1934 edition of the NEW YORK EVENING JOURNAL that I conceived a truly original way into his story: “All of my characters are real. They are based directly on people I knew, or came across.” This put me in mind of his classic novel THE MALTESE FALCON, which I admire not only for its craft but also for the audacious revelation at its conclusion that the sought after black bird was still out there. So I wondered: who had been the “real life” models for the Fat Man, Joel Cairo, and Bridget O’Shaughnessy, all of whom must have known Samuel Dashiell Hammett in his P.I. days and may have drifted in and out of his life thereafter, witnessing his transition from gumshoe to bestselling novelist to blocked writer? And, if they were real, might the young Hammett have actually worked a case involving a black statuette, the mysterious nature of which exceeded even the fictionalized jeweled version in his famous novel? And, finally, might that “real” statuette have haunted Dashiell Hammett in unexpected ways long after he achieved fame and fortune, its presence covertly tangled among the known elements of his celebrated and dramatic life? Good questions. So I wrote HAMMETT UNWRITTEN to find the answers.
Merry Jones, known for her complex characters, multiple plot twists, and plenty of suspense, is at it again with a new mystery novel, THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE.
As the story opens Elle Harrison is preparing to divorce Charlie. A good friend invites her out to help her prepare to rejoin the single world. When Elle returns home she learns the trouble with Charlie: he’s dead. He’s in her den. Her kitchen knife is sticking out of his back. Suddenly, Elle has a murder to solve. So she becomes an amateur sleuth, but not by choice.
“When she finds her soon-to-be-ex-husband murdered in her house, she becomes the logical suspect,” Jones says. “In order to clear herself and prove her innocence, she begins to investigate who else might have wanted to kill Charlie, and one discovery leads to another until she’s over her head in Charlie’s secrets and trouble.”
But even after his murder Elle has more trouble with Charlie. He doesn’t seem to want to STAY dead. Charlie’s ghost appears to her, blaming her for his death. Or does he? It’s never really clear if the apparition is real or just a figment of Elle’s imagination, and the author says that’s no accident.
After his partner is killed and girlfriend takes off, Chicago homicide detective Ryan Doherty has one last chance to save his career with the double murder of two ad executives. He quickly learns that life wasn’t so lush at this agency.
Ryan becomes obsessed with Catharine, the Vice President of this agency. She lures him in with her charm, intelligence, wealth, and abilities even he can’t understand. Catharine draws Ryan into her unconventional world where he will risk the case–and his life–to find out if she’s for real, or if she’s the real killer.
The author recently took time to answer some questions for the BigThrill:
What propelled you to make the leap from your successful Baby Names website to writing a thriller?
I wrote several articles about the internet industry which had been published, and subsequently wrote a non-fiction book as a companion to our website, www.BabyNames.com. I found that I loved writing and wanted to try my hand at fiction. The mystery/thriller genre is my favorite, as a reader, and so that was my natural choice.
By Amy Shojai
What in the world does a math-loving, Ph.D.-toting, doll house miniature-doting author write? Why, anything she wants! with a little murder mixed in for fun, of course.
Ada Madison is the pen name of Camille Minichino, author of 17 mysteries in three series. A FUNCTION OF MURDER is the third book in The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries, featuring a college professor.
A story set on a college campus adds up (get it?) since Camille has a degree in math and a Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and on the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
With such an illustrious educational background, I couldn’t wait to find out more about the author and her work. I asked Camille about her latest cozy mystery and her multi-book career.