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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Andrew Zack
Lori Armstrong knows what it means to be cold. As in bone-achingly cold. You see, she lives in western South Dakota—the “modern West” she calls it—just like her main character, Mercy Gunderson, the “star” of her latest novel, MERCILESS. What’s really neat about Mercy is that she’s former military, and a sniper at that! (Down boys! She’s a fictional character.) And what’s need about Armstrong is that she’s not just writing about a cool character, but she’s also writing well about a cool character, as evidenced by her 2010 Shamus Award for Best Hardcover Novel. Here’s the pitch on MERCILESS.
Newly minted agent Mercy Gunderson is back and ready for action— unfortunately, she’s stuck doing paperwork in an overheated government office building. But she gets more than she bargained for when she’s thrown into her first FBI murder case, working with the tribal police on the Eagle River Reservation, where the victim is the teenage niece of the recently elected tribal president. When another gruesome killing occurs during the early stages of the investigation, Mercy and fellow FBI agent Shay Turnbull are at odds about whether the crimes are connected.
The idea of “humorous noir” is so rife with contradiction that it’s difficult to know what to make of an author who attaches that label to some of his work. But after talking with Vincent Zandri, author of MURDER BY MOONLIGHT, his latest release in the Dick Moonlight series, “humorous noir” starts to make sense.
Moonlight is a cop-turned-private detective who spends an inordinate amount of time making bad decisions in his personal and professional lives and getting into all sorts of trouble. That happens to a lot of us, but Moonlight’s got a pretty good excuse for his shortcomings, a fragment of a .22 caliber hollow point bullet lodged against the cerebral cortex in his brain. The injury affects his memory and compromises his ability to make rational decisions, and, for good measure, keeps him at death’s door.
A near-fatal brain injury that almost guarantees one disaster after another for the detective accounts for the “noir” part of the equation.
Readers pick up a thriller novel when they feel the urge to explore the dark, sordid depths of human behavior and psychology. Thriller novels allow readers to venture – vicariously – into the dangerous corners of the world and face the most nefarious of villains, all while remaining in the comfort and safety of their favorite reading chair. Given the ominous and bone-chilling nature of thrillers, it might seem there would be no place for humor in these novels. Yet, touches of humor can make a nail-biting read all the more engrossing.
An old proverb says “it is always darkest before the dawn.” Similarly, a dark scene can be even more terrifying when contrasted against an adjacent scene at the other end of the spectrum – light. The movie ZOMBIELAND used this technique perfectly, by juxtaposing light, funny scenes in which one of the main characters is on a quest for the last Twinkie with violent action scenes in which the group of survivors is pursued by undead intent on eating their flesh.
By Jeremy Burns
A new year is upon us, and so too is a new literary talent in debut author Lynne Raimondo. Her thriller, DANTE’S WOOD, is set to launch later this month, and Lynne was gracious enough to give BIG THRILL readers a sneak preview into the mind of a rising star.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Staten Island, New York, attended college and law school at New York University, and had a twenty-five year career as a lawyer before retiring to write full-time. I live in Evanston, Illinois with my husband, another lawyer. We have three grown children and two truculent cats.
Tell us about your debut thriller, DANTE’S WOOD.
I can’t really come up with a better description than my publisher’s, so here it is:
A troubled psychiatrist turns investigator when his young patient confesses to murder.
Psychiatrist Mark Angelotti knows that genes don’t lie. Or do they?
Back at work after a devastating illness, Mark believes he has put his past behind him when he is asked to examine Charlie Dickerson, a mentally handicapped teenager whose wealthy mother insists he is a victim of sexual abuse. Mark diagnoses a different reason for Charlie’s ills, but his prescription turns deadly when a teacher is murdered and Charlie confesses to the police.
By J.N. Duncan
I would like to welcome Tace Baker (the pen name of author Edith Maxwell), the author of SPEAKING OF MURDER. In the nine-to-five world, she is a technical writer, mother, and transplanted, fourth-generation Californian living in an antique house north of Boston, with her beau and three cats. Let’s get right to the good stuff.
Give us a twitter style (140 character) blurb for SPEAKING OF MURDER.
Quaker linguistics prof with ear for accents tracks down suspicious chairwoman, heroin ring, to find star student’s killer.
Clearly, your background in linguistics, in video editing, and your involvement with the Society of Friends informed your choice of character and story for this novel. This is a fascinating choice for a mystery. Why the interest in using this particular topic within the genre?
I am well acquainted with the world of academia and with the field of linguistics, and I’ve been a Quaker for several decades. Being a linguistics professor informs Lauren Rousseau’s character – she’s smart, she’s lived overseas, she loves languages and dialects. She’s also a Quaker and brings that sensibility into how she proceeds when in danger. Nobody else had written about that kind of character as far as I know. And then her boyfriend’s job as a video forensics expert let me use a really cool software application that police departments employ to help solve the murder.
By Jeff Ayers
In Mike Befeler’s fourth mystery, CRUISING IN YOUR EIGHTIES IS MURDER his octogenarian hero Paul Jacobson becomes involved in a series of crimes while struggling with the problems of his short-term memory loss. He must deal with mayhem, missing people and murder and use all his geezer resources to solve a case of international intrigue.
Mike talked to The Big Thrill about discovering his love of writing later in life, plus his “geezer-lit” books.
What sparked the writing bug?
I started writing late in life at the age of 56. I was sitting in my easy chair in the living room one evening, thinking over things I had really enjoyed over my life, which included painting and writing–creative activities. That evening I made the decision that I wanted to pursue fiction writing as something I could retire into. I negotiated with my boss to work three days a week and took two semesters of fiction writing at the University of Colorado (I had learned that if you’re 55 or older, you can audit any class at CU with the instructor’s permission). That jump-started my writing.
Sydni Simone: A secret avenger delivering justice to those the system has failed – for a price. Her cover is as a gallery assistant to her boss and former lover, Oscar. When his partner is arrested for murder Sydni intervenes, uncovering a massive insurance fraud scheme that the principals will kill to protect. Sydney must reveal her secret identity to protect Oscar. Together they bring down the bad guys and finally resolve their own relationship.
R.F. Sharp recently took time out of his busy schedule to discuss his debut novel.
Your mystery, NO REGRETS, NO REMORSE, was your first novel in print. What was your path to publication?
I had already published two non-fiction books. Consumer guides on divorce and trusts. But publishing non-fiction gives you no credit when trying to publish fiction. I was unpublished as far as the agents and editors were concerned. So I followed the recommended procedure. After writing and rewriting until I felt the manuscript was ready, I read all the books and articles on what to do next. Getting a literary agent was the standard advice. So I ordered the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS by Chuck Sambuchino and Jeff Herman’s GUIDE TO PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS. The advice from both came down to writing a terrific query letter and sending it to agents who represented work in your genre.
By Andy Straka
Timothy Hallinan’s comedic PI novel CRASHED launches what may well be one of the most exciting new private eye series to come along in years. Already optioned for television and film, CRASHED introduces Junior Bender, “the favorite burglar-turned-private-investigator of Hollywood crooks.”
Since he first started breaking into houses when he was fourteen years old, Junior’s never once been caught by the law. In CRASHED he is blackmailed by Trey Annunziato, one of the most powerful crime bosses in LA, into acting as a private investigator on the set of Trey’s porn movie venture, which someone keeps sabotaging. The star Trey has lined up to do all that’s unwholesome on camera is Thistle Downing, America’s beloved child star, who now lives alone in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. Her starring role will be the scandalous fall-from-grace gossip of rubber-neckers across the country. Junior knows what that he should do—get Thistle out and find her help—but doing the right thing will land him on the wrong side of LA’s scariest mob boss. With the help of his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Rina, and his criminal sidekick, Louie the Lost (an ex-getaway driver), Junior has to figure out a miracle solution.
CRASHED is Hallinan at his comedic best. Not that Hallinan is any stranger to success. A 2011 Edgar Nominee, Hallinan’s ten previous novels, all thrillers, have received high critical praise. In the 1990s he wrote six mysteries featuring the erudite private eye Simeon Grist, a series which made several Ten Best lists, including that of The Drood Review. Now regarded as a cult favorite, the other books in the series were widely and well reviewed, and several of them were optioned for motion pictures.
HAND FOR A HAND – DCI Andy Gilchrist is thrust into a murder investigation when a woman’s amputated hand is found in a golf course bunker, clutching a note addressed to him. The note contains only one word – MURDER. When other single-word clues are served up to Gilchrist with other body parts, he is forced to confront the ghosts of his past. With time running out, Gilchrist must solve the cryptic clues and find the murderer before the next victim, a woman whose life means more to him than his own, is served up to him piece by slaughtered piece.