By J. N. Duncan
Welcome to another ITW Q&A, this time with debut author, Anna Lee Huber, whose historical/mystery novel, THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE comes out next month at a store/site near you. Anna Lee Huber was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN, where she majored in Music and minored in Psychology. THE ANATOMIST’S WIFE, the first book in the Lady Darby historical mystery series and will be released by Berkley Publishing on November 6th, 2012. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband and troublemaking tabby cat. When not hard at work on her next novel, she enjoys reading, singing, travel, and spending time with her family. Visit her website. And now on to the fun stuff!
By Mary Leo
Last year, Agatha Award-winning author G. M. Malliet charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees with WICKED AUTUMN, the first mystery featuring her captivating protagonist, Max Tudor, and the small English village of Nether Monkslip.
In A FATAL WINTER, Max—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and village heartthrob—investigates two deaths at Chedrow Castle. But his growing attraction to Awena Owen complicates his case, as does the recent arrival at Chedrow Castle of a raucous group of long-lost, greedy relatives, any one of whom has a motive for murder. With a cozy setting, intricate puzzles, and a handsome (non-celibate) priest doing the sleuthing, the books in this series are destined to become instant classics in the mystery world.
If you love an English village mystery, G.M. Malliet delivers. Charlaine Harris praised her work on NBC’s Today Show as being “fun, not too serious…a wonderful read.”
Private Investigator Dick Moonlight returns to chase down a cop gone bad in BLUE MOONLIGHT, the next installment of author Vincent Zandri’s clever and cunning Moonlight series.
Moonlight has hit some turbulence. Sure, his bar burned to the ground; his significant other, Lola, left him for another man; the private eye business is slow; and his evenings are now spent with his new pal, Jack Daniels. But this is real turbulence—in a plane, going down fast, and he’s waking up handcuffed to an FBI agent. How he got there is a little fuzzy, thanks to the sliver of a .22 caliber hollow-point bullet lodged in his brain.
Once on the ground, and after a few bumps and bruises, things become clearer and more dangerous. Thinking he’s been brought to FBI headquarters for drunk-dialing the IRS, Moonlight learns that he’s got some unfinished business: his last case, which had him up against Russian mobsters in search of a zip drive loaded with government secrets, isn’t exactly closed. The cop who was supposed to deliver the goods to the FBI went rogue, bringing along a crooked agent and Moonlight’s ex, and now he’s out to sell the hardware to the highest bidder. The FBI wants Moonlight’s help in tracking down the trio—all the way to Florence, Italy—and wooing Lola into handing over the zip drive. He’s just going to have to outwit, outrun, and outshoot the Russian thugs who have their own big plans for the zip drive, and for Moonlight.
By Cathy Clamp
Thefts . . . vandalism . . . murder. Toss in an overly curious reporter and a suspicious cop, then spice things up with a talented, clever woman and a psychic cat and you get the beginning of a great new series. Veteran mystery writer Carolyn Hart has created a terrific new series that readers are going to love. THE BIG THRILL sat down with the author, who has multiple AGATHA, ANTHONY and MACAVITY awards to her credit (along with a RIDLEY PEARSON AWARD for significant contribution to the mystery field!) to find out more about this great new series debut:
This is the first of a new series for you. For readers who may not have read your other books, how would you catagorize it?
WHAT THE CAT SAW is a suspense novel.
Tell us a little more about the book and characters.
After the death of her fiance in Afghanistan, Nela Farley feels an eerie connection when she looks into the eyes of a cat. She convinces herself she is simply avoiding painful memories, but one night she looks into the eyes of a cat and learns more than it is safe for her to know.
Each year the residents of Nether Haddon celebrate the village’s founding with performances by their sword dancers. But something new is added to the fancy footwork this year: a team member is murdered. While the CID team investigates, King Roper, a career criminal, has escaped from prison. Free and eager to settle the score for his capture, Roper tracks down the team, ready for revenge…
By Jamie Rush
Mark, how exciting it must be to see your first book come out! Congratulations! Even more, this is the first in a new mystery series. Tell us what this story is all about and what drove you to write it.
Exciting is an understatement, I’m thrilled to pieces. It’s something I’ve worked so hard for, and hoped so much for, that now it’s happening I can scarcely believe it!
Here’s a summary of the story (forgive me if I use my publisher’s summary): Max—an elderly Paris bookstall owner—is abducted at gunpoint. His friend, Hugo Marston, head of security at the US embassy, looks on helplessly, powerless to do anything to stop the kidnapper.
Marston launches a search, enlisting the help of semiretired CIA agent Tom Green. Their investigation reveals that Max was a Holocaust survivor and later became a Nazi hunter.
By Jeremy Burns
Dogs, cats, and other pets are such a natural part of many of our lives that we often take them for granted. Sheila Boneham, an award-winning author and expert on domestic animals, gives readers a fresh take on Fido as she delves into the world of elite dog shows, pet antics, and, of course, murder most foul in her debut novel, DROP DEAD ON RECALL. I got to sit down with Sheila for this month’s THE BIG THRILL and ask her some questions about her new book.
Deborah Reed, who writes under the pen name Audrey Braun, has followed up her critically acclaimed debut novel A SMALL FORTUNE with FORTUNE’S DEADLY DESCENT, a mystery novel involving the same characters: Celia Hagen, her son Oliver, Benny, Celia’s lover Benicio (and, of course, the bad guys, who kidnap Benny from a train in this book).
Jessica Anya Blau (THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES) called the first book in this trilogy “a sexy, mysterious romp.” It was praised by Indiereader as “a polished page-turner.” The second book in the trilogy, FORTUNE’s DEADLY DESCENT, opens with Celia on a train with Benny, traveling through the French Provencal countryside. When Benny disappears, the plot shifts into high gear, with Celia to the rescue.
By Karen Harper
Karen Harper recently chatted with M.C. Grant (alias Grant McKenzie) about the release of his new thriller, ANGEL WITH A BULLET. It was great fun because the heroine is not really an angel, and the author is multi-talented in several genres.
Can you tell us a bit about ANGEL WITH A BULLET?
Wisecracking reporter Dixie Flynn thinks fast and talks even faster — it’s the only way to survive the San Francisco crime beat. When she’s assigned to look into the death of her former lover, artist Diego Chino, Dixie’s instincts tell her there’s more behind the apparent suicide than the police are letting on.
Dixie’s canvassing of the Bay Area art district reveals it to be a perfect picture of corruption, with a handsome art dealer and a reclusive patron in the foreground. After a romantic evening in Chinatown ends in a brush with death, Dixie is more determined than ever to expose the truth. But when a fire in her vicinity turns out to be more than just performance art, it’s clear the perpetrators would rather see Dixie dead than let her destroy their criminal masterpiece.
Just two days after Valentine’s, the assault on a friend gets the Nayak brothers started on a journey of their life… But who’s keeping a tab on their every move? And why are they being hunted?
Unscrambling the truth on their investigation trail leads them through catacombish underground tunnels, high-altitude caves, and scary carcass structures. It soon turns into a mystery far more than they could handle…
And just when the dots seem to get connected, the bad guys move in for the kill. Now, it’s a race against time to save a life, without a clue of where and how to begin.
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise!
This children’s picture book is a suspenseful and imaginative story with a humorous twist.
By Gary Kriss
Sandra Parshall, whose new book, BLEEDING THROUGH (Poisoned Pen Press), will be released on September 4, is a living, breathing, royalty-collecting example of what can happen when you set aside the rote rules of writing and, instead, go with your gut.
Even if it’s painful.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt if you have a penchant for over-indulging in pecan pie. Well, actually, in Parshall’s case, it did hurt, but the pain led to gain. You see, a few years ago, Parshall—oh, hell, let her explain it.
Michael Haskins is the author of a series of Key West crime novels featuring colorful Mick Murphy, a journalist who can’t seem to keep his nose out of trouble. Haskins, a long time resident of Key West, brings an insiders view to his fast paced stories, always keeping the reader on edge, guessing until the final pages.
Here, Haskins answers a few questions about the writing process, his experiences with readers, and his upcoming Mick Murphy mystery – CAR WASH BLUES.
Beyond the jacket blurbs and reviews, what do you think readers will enjoy the most from CAR WASH BLUES?
If you’ve been to Key West you will recognize the streets, bars and marinas, as I try to stay true to the island and its culture and its characters.
In Carole Nelson Douglas’s CAT IN A WHITE TIE AND TAILS, hard-boiled feline PI Midnight Louie goes along as chaperone when PR whiz Temple Barr and her fiance, rising media star Matt Devine, head to Chicago so she can meet his family. Matt’s mother has a tragic past primed to rise and bite anybody in reach, even the ex-alley cat sleuth. When Louie is snatched and takes down the two local mobsters who did the deed, the catnapping’s surprising motive loops back to Vegas and a string of unsolved murders connected to magic…and ex-magician Max Kinsella, Temple’s former significant other.
MISTRESS OF MOURNING is a historical mystery set in early Tudor England. Two women, Queen Elizabeth of York, and merchant class Varina Westcott, fight to defeat the enemies of the precarious Tudor monarchy by uncovering the secrets of the dead. Who killed the Princes in the Tower and was Arthur, Prince of Wales, poisoned? Varina and royal assistant to the queen, Nicholas Sutton, travel into the Welsh wilderness to investigate.
A drive-by shooting, according to the police report. A random bullet fired on a foggy, pre-dawn morning. But…what did the prairie cowboy know that he wasn’t telling? And what about the eccentric cousin in the sprawling old B&B? What secrets were they keeping? Perhaps the answer lies behind a forbidden blue door in a Kansas City alley…
By Rick Reed
Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh. He practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm before leaving to establish his own New York City firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos.
The Greek Press has called his work “prophetic,” and he was awarded the City of San Francisco’s Certificate of Honor, citing that his “acclaimed books have not only explored modern Greek society and its ancient roots but have inspired political change in Greece.”
His newest and fourth book in the Inspector Kaldis series, TARGET: TINOS will be released in June, 2012 as a hardback original. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY awarded it a starred review, calling it “superb…a winner.” The story begins in an isolated olive grove on the idyllic Aegean island of Tinos, revered by pilgrims around the world as the Lourdes of Greece, where the remains of two bodies charred beyond recognition are discovered chained together amid bits and pieces of an incinerated Greek flag. An enraged press screams out for justice for the unknown victims, until the dead are identified as gypsies and the story simply falls off the face of the earth.
By Ian Walkley
Sharon Linnea’s latest Movie Mystery series launches with THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, which weaves a mystery around the re-release of a movie, TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, one of those movies that defined a generation. Twenty years after its original run, as the studio plans a major re-release of the film, the actress who played Isolde realizes how many members of the cast and crew have died or disappeared. Can the killer be stopped before the reunion––or will the rest of the cast face a similar fate?
By J. H. Bográn
In GUILT TRIP, antique dealer Griff Tripp is preoccupied with a problem he won’t share with his partner and adoptive granddaughter Lina Townend. To cheer him up, she encourages him to join an amateur theatre group premiering the play CURTAIN CALL. Lina is pursued by a sinister businessman who won’t take no for an answer when she refuses to work for him. Then apparently innocent pranks at the theatre turn nasty, and Lina wonders if the play’s title might be a terrible omen…
By Don Helin
In Ines Eberl’s novel, HUNTER’S BLOOD, a young physician, Emma Canisius, takes over a practice in the Austrian mountains. It’s fall and the hunting season. One day, her landlord is found dead with a dagger in his chest and the head of a white chamois on his face. When Emma is attacked herself, she knows that she has to find the murderer before he gets to her.
Biography: Ines Eberl is an Austrian law historian and practicing lawyer as well as a crime author. She lives and works in Salzburg. Her first novel, SALZBURG DEATH DANCE, released in 2011, has met a great reception. Now she’s looking for a publisher for an English language edition. Richard Godwin gave her an interview at The Slaughterhouse. Her new novel, HUNTER’S BLOOD, is based on an old case.
By Cathy Clamp
Many people long for adventure in the outdoors. Camping, hiking, even fishing are how many people plan their vacations. But what to do when a seemingly innocuous sport like fly fishing turns deadly?
Beth Groundwater, author of the Claire Hanover Gift Baskets series (including the Agatha Award finalist A REAL BASKET CASE) first introduced Colorado river ranger Mandy Tanner in the 2011 debut DEADLY CURRENTS. In WICKED EDDIES, Mandy’s life grows even more difficult. She knew the Arkansas River could be a man-eater, but the rapids weren’t responsible for driving a hatchet into the neck of would-be competitor Howie Abbott―a secretive man who may have been cheating. While casting about for suspects, Mandy seeks clues from Abbott’s family members, including her best friend, bartender Cynthia Abbott. But when Cynthia becomes the prime suspect, Mandy realizes she’s wading into deeper, more hazardous waters than ever.
We all have secrets . . . Jodie Garrow is a teenager from the wrong side of the tracks when she falls pregnant. Scared, alone and desperate to make something of her life, she adopts out the baby illegally – and tells nobody.
Twenty-five years on, Jodie has built a new life and a new family. But when a chance meeting brings the adoption to the notice of the authorities, Jodie becomes caught in a nationwide police investigation, and the centre of a media witch hunt.
What happened to Jodie’s baby? And where is she now? The fallout from Jodie’s past puts her whole family under the microscope, and her husband and daughter must re-examine everything they believed to be true.
Annie Darling recruits another volunteer to take her place at a local charity so Annie can host a book signing at Death on Demand. Annie’s cell gets several calls from the volunteer with complaints about a charity employee, hints of scandal, and a plea for Annie to come. Annie drops by Better Tomorrow and finds death has been there first.
Annie enlists the help of her husband Max, old friend and mystery reader Henny Brawley, island mystery author Emma Clyde, and Annie’s ditzy mother-in-law Laurel to try and solve the crime when an innocent man is suspected. Their investigation focuses on an overturned kayak, a stolen motorboat, an illicit love affair, and a rebellious teenager. Annie sets out in the fog, hoping to find the final piece of the puzzle and instead confronts a killer.
By Jeff Ayers
Linda Rodriguez’s novel, EVERY LAST SECRET, won the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. Linda’s also published books of poetry, HEART’S MIGRATION and SKIN HUNGER, received the KC Arts Fund Inspiration Award, Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Midwest Voices and Visions Award, and Ragdale and Macondo Fellowships. Her poems were broadcast on THE WRITERS ALMANAC WITH GARRISON KEILLOR (NPR) AND NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR (NPR).
IN EVERY LAST SECRET, Half-Cherokee Marquitta “Skeet” Bannion fled a city police force and family entanglements for a Missouri college town as chief of campus police. Now, the on-campus murder of the student newspaper editor puts Skeet on the trail of a killer who will do anything to keep a dangerous secret from being exposed, and everywhere she turns she uncovers hidden sins. College administrators demand that she conceal all college involvement in the murder, and in the midst of her search for the killer, Skeet takes up responsibility for a vulnerable teenager while her jealous ex-husband and seriously ailing father wind up back on her hands. Bannion has her hands full, and readers will be enthralled. Rodriguez spoke to THE BIG THRILL.
Retired forensic psychologist Ben Long is lured out of his academic retreat by old friend D.A. Sidney Kingsley to perform a competency evaluation on Junior Torrence, charged with killing his brother’s fiancee, Amber Coolidge. Torrence’s attorney, who fifteen years earlier defended the man who killed Long’s mother, has hired Long’s former practice partner to prove Torrence mentally retarded, which would prevent him from getting the death penalty.
Kingsley wants Long to prove otherwise. He assigns a middle-aged law clerk named Paula Paige to help Long. She finds this difficult, because–besides being brilliant–Long has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. Paula has to learn to cope with Long’s eccentric and occasionally bizarre behaviors as he explores Junior Torrence’s mental functioning.
C.J. Box takes his bestselling Joe Pickett series in a new direction with FORCE OF NATURE, which focuses on Joe’s reclusive friend and sometime sidekick Nate Romanowski. Joe, a game warden, has never pried into the troubled past that drove Nate into a solitary life in the Wyoming wilderness, but now that past has followed him and it threatens not only Nate but the entire Pickett family.
In 1995, Nate was in a secret Special Forces unit abroad when a colleague did something terrible. Now high up in the government, the man is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it, and Nate knows exactly how he’ll do it — by striking at Nate’s friends to draw him out. When the entire Pickett family is targeted, the only way to fight back is outside the law. Nate can do it, but he isn’t sure about his straight-arrow friend — and all their lives could depend on what Joe does.
By Don Helin
In her novel, COOKING THE BOOKS, Bonnie Calhoun writes a story so thrilling that 2010 and 2011 Carol Award Finalist S. Dionne Moore says, “Bonnie S. Calhoun pens a heroine with snap and pizzazz. Sloane Templeton wonders why an old book is cause for bullets, and whether her refusal to sell her business justifies harassment. A fast-paced mystery full of colorful characters and a last minute twist – what’s not to love.”
After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also “inherits” a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the story once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should ask, “What else can go wrong?”
The fifth Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery: Could a missing book be haunted? Dulcie Schwartz doesn’t want to think so, but ever since it disappeared from the university, things have gone from bad to worse – one of her colleagues accused of homicide, and another revealed as an impostor. To top it all off, both the ghost cat Mr Grey and the kitten Esmé seem to have switched their allegiance to her boyfriend. Deprived of feline assistance, Dulcie must uncover the truth by herself, or else find herself on the hook for the theft – and murder.
By Rick Reed
“My mother tells me I was born in Texas a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted.” This is how Vegas resident and writer, Deborah Coonts, begins her biography on her website. Now close your eyes, and imagine the fun I had interviewing her for this article.
Her newest and third book in the Lucky series, SO DAMN LUCKY, was released in February, 2012 as a hardback original. Imagine…Halloween in Vegas—a “clothing optional” weekend where body paint and a tail earn carte blanche at the finest clubs. Lucky O’Toole, the chief “problem solver” for the Babylon is up to her armpits in UFO aficionados looking for “close encounters,” Houdini fans lured to Sin City for the annual séance hoping this is the year the master communicates from the Great Beyond, and magicians on a witch hunt for a traitor in their midst who is selling secrets for fifteen minutes of fame.
She’s strong. Skilled. Smart. Sexy.
She’s the Alpha Female.
And readers love her.
Why? I’ve got my theories, and I think the reasons readers love reading about these types of female characters are the same reason we writers enjoy writing about them.