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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
By Clea Simon
Down on Primrose Lane lived a strange old man who always wore mittens. Not much was known about him – until he was murdered. Four years later, a true-crime author, David Neff, starts looking into the case. Neff has his own demons: a best-selling author, he is still reeling from his wife’s suicide. And as he begins to investigate the murder, he finds that his own demons may be as dangerous as those in the outside world. Real-life award-winning short-story writer and journalist James Renner took the time to discuss his debut thriller, THE MAN FROM PRIMROSE LANE, which will be published this month by Sarah Crichton Books.
After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.
Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to pursue the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help.
The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did?
1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found.
One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere…but her body was never recovered.
Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies.
All young women, many of them long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now.
Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city’s most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.
Dr. Sophie Knowles is a professor with a way of making even the most complex math problems fun for her students. But when the school’s beloved librarian is found shot to death in the stacks, Sophie learns that her friend was more complex than she ever knew. Now, Sophie must take on some rigorous deduction homework before the chances for another murder on campus increase exponentially…
Hollywood + Mystery with a nice dash of noir. Meet the author of DEADLY FARCE, Jennifer McAndrews, whose novel will be released in hardback this February through Avalon Books
When Hollywood heavyweight Shepard Brown suspects someone has poisoned his pizza, he calls on long-time friend Lorraine Keys to keep him safe. Newly licensed and eager to prove to her boss she’s capable of guarding more than vacant banks, Lorraine takes the job. Amid the chaos of a film set — where threats against Shepard are escalating — Lorraine has to separate the divas from the dangerous before the killer succeeds in knocking off Shepard and anyone who gets in the way – including Lorraine herself.
By Brett King
There was a time when the face of crime fiction was a hardscrabble detective—a loner, usually—who solved crime after crime on a shoestring budget and a diet of black coffee, whiskey, and cigarettes. Hardboiled fiction was born during the Jazz Era and came of age during the Great Depression when iconic characters such as Sam Spade, The Continental Op, and Philip Marlowe enthralled readers of pulp magazines like Black Mask and Dime Detective.
Almost a century later, the legacy of hardboiled fiction is very much alive in the work of Reed Farrel Coleman. As a student at Brooklyn College, he discovered his calling during a night class in detective fiction, studying grandmasters like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Since that time, Reed has published fourteen books including two stand-alones and three series. His novels have made an impact. National Public Radio’s Maureen Corrigan called him a “hard-boiled poet”and the Huffington Post has named him a “noir poet laureate.”
If a mysterious murder, an exotic locale and a heroine obsessed with justice sound to you like the ingredients of a great crime novel, then NEXT ONE TO FALL by Hilary Davidson is the book for you.
In the Lost City of the Incas in Peru, travel writer Lily Moore finds a dying woman who names her killer with her last breath. From that premise Davidson spins a tightly wound tale that will keep you guessing to the end.
Like Lily Moore, author Davidson is a travel journalist. While she shares some similarities with her fictional character, Davidson says there are also definite differences.
By Rick Reed
Police Detective Sam Reeves, a 34-year-old martial arts instructor, has a solid fifteen-year record as a good police officer with the Portland Police Department. For the first time, Sam is forced to take a life in the line of duty and despite the findings of “good shoot” he struggles to recuperate psychologically from the killing.
Recently retired homicide detective Hank Moran and his wife Helen buy a new motorhome to travel and see the country, only to become involved in a bizarre and dangerous situation.
I recently had an opportunity to interview L.D Knorr about his upcoming mystery, THE LEVITICUS MISSION. Here’s what he had to say:
By Don Helin
In his novel, DEADLY CAMPAIGN, Alan Orloff does it again, taking the reader on a wild ride so thrilling that NEW YORK TIMES best selling author P.J. Parrish says, “DEADLY CAMPAIGN has it all—political intrigue, family warfare and, best of all, a hero. If the line between comedy and tragedy is indeed thin, then Alan Orloff is a master tightrope walker.”
In the story, comedy club owner and occasional performer, Channing Hayes, thought the comedy business was tough, but it’s a stroll in the park compared to politics. When he and his business partner, Arnie, attend a congressional campaign event for Thomas Lee’s nephew, masked thugs storm in and break up Lee’s restaurant with baseball bats. The candidate’s people insist that the police not be involved, so Lee asks Channing to investigate. As Channing searches for answers, he finds himself immersed in a corrupt world of payoffs, gangs, illicit affairs, blackmail—and murder.
By Jaime Rush
Having foiled sabotage of Project: Tesseract, Sherlock Holmes and Skye Chadwick try to find the spies responsible. But they don’t even know what the spies want! Their relationship complicates matters; both feel strong attraction, but Holmes especially refuses to admit it. Can they work out their relationship? Can they determine why the spies are after the tesseract? And can they stop it?
When Dr. Hank Lawson’s conscience cost him his distinguished position in a New York City emergency room, he ended up losing everything he thought he wanted.
Now, as a concierge doctor to the rich and fabulous of the Hamptons, he’s going to get everything he never knew he needed—if he doesn’t lose his patients….
By Andy Straka
After a long and successful career in business, Steve Forman turned to writing private eye novels. BOCA DAZE is his amusing third mystery featuring retired Boston cop Eddie Perlmutter (after 2010’s BOCA MOURNINGS).
BOCA DAZE finds the 61-year-old bantam weight PI, dubbed “the Boca Knight,” tackling the local “pill mills,” which inappropriately supply people with powerful narcotics. Eddie also looks into the beating of a homeless man called Weary Willie as well as a financial fraud case involving an investment company head, B.I. Grover, who Eddie’s business partner, Lou Dewey, a reformed computer fraudster, suspects is running a Ponzi scheme. When a confrontation with gun-toting hoods leaves innocents dead, Eddie gets some unexpected help from gang leader Mad Dog Walken and a spunky homeless woman known as Three Bag Bailey.
By Gary Kriss
First, I’m going to let J. Sydney Jones use his own words to give you the nitty-gritty about his just-published novel, THE SILENCE (Severn House), the third of his Viennese Mysteries:
Vienna, 1900. Lawyer and private inquiries agent Karl Werthen is puzzling over the high-profile suicide of a city councilman–former client, next in line to Vienna’s powerful Mayor Karl Lueger, and the last man Werthen would think capable of suicide. Werthen, however, has little time to ponder, as he is summoned by wealthy industrialist Karl Wittgenstein (father of the future philosopher Ludwig) to find his oldest son, Hans, who has gone missing. Werthen soon discovers the whereabouts of the musically-minded Hans, and the case appears to be solved. But appearances are deceiving, and a simple missing person’s case soon leads back to the councilman’s suicide. Werthen—once again ably assisted by his wife, Berthe, and real-life father of criminology, Dr. Hanns Gross—journeys into a sinister web of deceit and violence that threatens not only his life, but also the very heart of the city and the empire.”
Steven M. Forman is the author of two well-received Eddie Perlmutter novels, BOCA KNIGHTS and BOCA MOURNINGS. Much like Perlmutter, Forman is a Boston native and now spends much of his time in Boca Raton, Fl. Unlike Perlmutter, Forman is a semi-retired businessman who remains involved in his business and not a decorated ex cop. EDDIE THE KID is Forman’s first e-Book and novella. His writing uses the Florida landscape like Carl Hiaasen at his best and has the open humor equal to that of Dave Barry. Forman’s writing can be as serious and thrilling as any thriller out there, and his use of humor—both dark and light—makes him stand-alone in his field.
You wouldn’t think taking a vacation would be a dangerous endeavor, but for Douglas Abledan it is. Getting mixed up in a murder is the last thing this blind computer technologist expects when he travels to Chicago. But, as an ancient corn plague is reborn in Mexico, and a group of scientists meet to discuss a cure…one of them is about to die.
The year is 2021. Natural forces have changed our world. As the Earth’s magnetic poles have shifted, pressure on the planet’s mantle layer is building. The bottom line…earthquakes now wreak havoc in areas they have never occurred before.
By Karen Harper
In summer 1880, many come to the fast-rising health resort of Manitou, Colorado, at the foot of Pike’s Peak to “chase the cure” for tuberculosis. But Inez Stannert, part-owner of the Silver Queen Saloon in Leadville, travels for a different reason—to reunite with her young son, William, and her beloved sister, Harmony. However, the stagecoach journey to Manitou turns lethal when East Coast businessman Edward Pace mysteriously dies under the horrified gaze of Inez and Pace’s wife and children. As Inez digs deeper into the businessman’s sudden demise, she uncovers shady business dealings by those hoping to profit from the coming bonanza in medicinal waters and miracle remedies, medical practitioners who kindle false hopes in the desperate and the dying, and deception that predates the Civil War. Pace’s death is not the only event that tarnishes Inez’s hopes of a happy reunion with her son and sister: Inez’s husband, Mark Stannert, has reappeared after a year-and-a-half absence, after Inez has made other plans for her future.
Even as she fights to hold on to her child and the life she has built for herself, Inez comes to realize there is no “cure” for murder….
What’s so funny about trying to catch tax cheats? The best way to find out is by reading Diane Kelly’s new novel, DEATH, TAXES, AND A FRENCH MANICURE. You’ll also learn what’s exciting about tax cases, thanks to a cool new character named Tara Holloway.
Tara is a CPA who is also a newly-hired special agent for the Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. Good fiction is driven by good characters and, as her creator explains, Tara Holloway is a lady you’ll be happy to meet.
“Tara is smart and spunky, with a strong sense of justice,” Kelly says. “If you met her at a cocktail party, you’d be intrigued. She’s pretty and petite, but looks can be deceiving. Underneath the benign exterior is a tough-as-nails federal agent with the marksman skills of Annie Oakley.”
Jim West’s plans for a relaxing golf trip to Colorado Springs fall apart when he and friend Edward “Perry” Mason discover a dead body in a men’s room at a rest stop just outside their destination. A heart attack and two more dead bodies put West squarely in the DA’s sights. Worse yet, he has become an annoyance to the killer, and this guy is someone no one should annoy!
Louise Miller is an ex-cop whose life could not be more of a mess. Unemployed and addicted to gambling, she comes home from the casino to find her front door unlocked and a corpse sitting on her sofa. Even worse, the dead man is Walter Farkos, a man she arrested shortly before resigning from the Minneapolis PD.
Now Farkos’ murderer is obsessed with a sadistic game of cat and mouse. The ultimate goal: to destroy Miller piece by piece. If Miller doesn’t stop this madman she may not only forfeit her own life, but the lives of everyone she cares about.
By Derek Gunn
On the same night that Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, ten-year-old Charlie Olmstead jumped on his bike to see if there was some way he could get a better look. It was the last anyone ever saw of him. After Perry Hollow Police Chief Jim Campbell found Charlie’s bike caught in the water above Sunset Falls, he assumed the worst. Everyone did—except Charlie’s mother.
Todd Ritter’s next book in the Kat Campbell begins in 1969 when Charlie Olmstead disappears on the night Neil Armstrong steps out onto the moon and continues into the present day as China launches its own mission to the Moon. The past and present continue to be closely interlinked throughout the novel as Kat and Nick Donnelly reopen the investigation into the boy’s disappearance long after everyone had forgotten. Cold Case stories are popular at the moment but this stands above anything I have read before. The writing is crisp, the characters are strong and the story tight. Everything you want in a thriller.