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A clue is left at a murder scene: a page from a paperback novel. The title of the book is Murder by the Dozen, and local author T. L. McGinnis cannot provide any leads. Detectives Josh Riddell and Clint Weller of the Ottawa Police Service are worried about what lies ahead. It soon becomes evident their worst fears have been realized, and a serial killer is using the novel as a guide. It’s impossible to foresee and safeguard all the potential victims, and time is running out. But who is the killer’s real target?

A. J. McCarthy recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, BY THE BOOK:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope they can escape to a new setting with characters that engage them. I hope they try to solve the mystery within it, and when they discover the identity of the antagonist, they say, “Why didn’t I guess that?” I hope they get to the end and wonder if there will be a sequel, if they will meet these characters again.

A. J. McCarthy

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

I love to read many different genres, but my first love has always been mystery suspense. I love to be surprised by a plot twist, held on the edge of my seat by the unknown, and pulled into the solving of a mystery. The desire to discover “whodunit” will keep me turning the pages.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

As mentioned in my bio, as a young girl, I read Agatha Christie. In my mind, she is truly the master of mystery. There wasn’t a novel of hers that I didn’t enjoy. I dug my teeth into the suspense genre with Sidney Sheldon, devouring his books. I was very loyal to those authors, but eventually had to branch out and discover other styles and genres. David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, and many others became favorites and inspired me to write.


A. J. McCarthy grew up with books by Agatha Christie, Sidney Sheldon, and many other masters of mystery and suspense. She’s an award-winning author with four published suspense mysteries to her credit and plans to have many more to come. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Canada.

For more information about A. J. and her work, please visit her website.