Bestselling mystery author Sue Grafton is best known for her Kinsey Milhone novels (also affectionately called the alphabet mysteries for their clever titles). The series is 22 books in and still going strong. The latest book in the series, 2011's V is for Vengeance, was rated an RT Top Pick! In today's interview with RT's Stephanie, Grafton shares her views on the psychology of violence, talks about the narrative directions she's taken with her stories and the ways that she keeps the series fresh. (One of these ways is that she works hard to capture Kinsey "in the moment" and not think too far ahead, in fact she doesn't even know what the title for her W mystery will be!) Plus, find out what the author thinks she'll do after she wraps up Kinsey's final alphabet adventure!
Panel moderator and RT Editor Stephanie Klose with authors Gregg Hurwitz, Kevin O'Brien and James Rollins
Have you ever wondered what it was like to crawl inside the dark and twisted mind of a mystery and thriller author? These authors craft terrifying stories complete with grisly murders, horrific kidnappings and a slew of truly desperate characters. Today RT convention attendees got a chance to find out exactly what it’s like to be Gregg Hurwitz, Kevin O’Brien and James Rollins. These authors chatted about one of their all-time favorite scary authors, how they were inspired to write, and of course — what’s coming next!
Some of our favorite moments of the event took place as the authors were chatting together and bonding over their shared love of Hitchcock. (And it’s no surprise that the conversation moved at a fast and furious pace, considering the quick minds of all three authors.)
Prepare to be entranced by this week’s Dish story, the multifaceted mystery from M.J. Rose, The Book of Lost Fragrances. This spellbinding book features Jac, a struggling heroine desperately holding onto her sanity as her hallucinations of other people's lives take her back in time. However, when Jac's brother becomes entangled in a scheme to recreate an ancient memory aid which could spark a foreign revolution, it has never been more important for Jac to hold onto her sense of the here and now. But what will she do when it turns out she’s been remembering her own past lives?
Morgan: We are going to have an especially hard time getting through the description this novel. It is so layered, like a mystery grounded in some harsh realities, shrouded in mysticism.
Whitney: But despite the different narratives that span centuries and the globe-trotting from New York to Paris and even China, it all comes back to the main protagonist Jac L’Etoile.
Morgan: Jac’s a scholar turned TV host who has dedicated her life to uncovering myths.
When I read that there was going to be a graphic novel adaptation of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, my eyes rolled so hard I thought they were going to fall out of my head. No more, I thought. The Dragon Tattoo wave has crashed, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Stieg Larsson is turning in his grave, wishing that he were able to enjoy the financial benefits of his internationally successful Millennium trilogy.
RT Managing Editor Liz French (left) with author Alison Gaylin
Allow me to gloat just a little bit here. I love living in New York! Well, at least this week I do. I went to see March Seal of Excellence winner Alison Gaylin sign and read from her bestselling suspense novel, And She Was, Tuesday at NYC’s Mysterious Bookshop, and fell in love with the author's new heroine all over again.
Brenna Spector has some weird neurological condition, which Alison actually pronounced several times last night but I can’t wrap my mind around. I’m going to call it thingamajig syndrome. Here’s the gist: Brenna Spector remembers EVERYTHING, all five senses engaged, every damn detail. Of every day in her life since her sister disappeared one day when Brenna was 11. Yeah. Heavy! The good memories, the bad memories ... why her marriage broke up, the pain of childbirth, what kind of tie her therapist was wearing in 1985 ... so, perfect syndrome for a PI to have, right?
We all know that when it comes to writing mysteries, it’s all about the details. And sometimes, there is simply no substitution for research that's done by asking a professional. Today, thriller author Andrew Peterson shares a look into the hearts and minds of ATF agents — and talks about what it was like to be attacked by one of their dogs (don’t worry, he volunteered for it!) during the 2011 RT Booklovers Convention. Then, find out how you can get your questions answered by — and an up close look at — these fearless agents.
Looking for some laughs along with a fun mystery? Then you will definitely want to check out Deborah Coonts' Lucky O'Toole series. Today the author sits down with RT's Morgan to talk about her sleuthing heroine. Get an insider's look at Lucky's unusual upbringing and find out how it made her into a problem solver extraordinaire. Plus find out about Lucky's unusual love interest and what makes Las Vegas this author's favorite city, all before you enter for a chance to win her latest mystery, So Damn Lucky.
Author Laura Childs pens the Tea Shop series, treating readers to delightful, lighthearted mysteries featuring Theodosia Browning. This heorine is the crafty, clever owner of Indigo Tea Shop and in her spare time, she also happens to be an amateur sleuth. In the newest mystery, Agony of the Leaves, Theodosia stumbles onto the body of her ex-boyfriend, drowned in a tank at the local aquarium. The police think this is an accident, but she knows its murder. Today read an excerpt of this new release, and get the author's take on Theodosia's reaction to uncovering this aquatic crime.
From Agony of the Leaves, Chapter 1:
Theodosia clapped a hand to her mouth, horrified but unable to look away. Her rapidly darting eyes took in the entire bizarre scene of a man gently bobbing in the huge aquarium tank, hopelessly entwined in some kind of net. His facial expression was a death grimace. Then, a floating, almost disembodied hand seemed to slowly rise up and scratch tentatively at the glass.
Oh no! Please, no!
The e-book publisher Samhain, which is best known for releasing romance novels, launched a new imprint, Samhain Horror, in late 2011. It might seem odd that a romance publisher would launch a horror line, since the two genres seem to be on the opposite ends of the fiction spectrum. It’s happily ever afters versus unhappily, even, bloody, terrifying ever afters. However, both genres have very distinct, dedicated communities. Samhain Horror editor Don D’Auria, who previously spearheaded Dorchester’s horror line, shared on the line’s website, “[fan] response exceeded our expectations, and we have big plans for continuing to build readership and generate excitement in 2012.” Being an avid horror fan, I decided to take a look at three recent releases from Samhain Horror, to see if they meet my (admittedly high) expectations for stories in a genre, which, like romance, is full of familiar tropes and sometimes predictable plot lines.
B-Movie Reels by Alan Spencer
When recent film school grad Andy’s uncle dies, the young man inherits an old, ramshackle house in his uncle’s small town. He promptly moves there and lands a job working on the sets of B-horror movies. But when the creatures in Andy’s movies start coming to life and terrorize the town, Andy realizes that there was more to his uncle than he ever thought ... With plenty of gore and an abundance of monsters, B-Movie Reels was written by someone who clearly knows and loves the genre. Unfortunately this book reads like a mash-up of every horror film Spencer has probably ever seen, which lends the tale an air of predictability. But that is not all together a bad thing, as this easy read was also entertaining, much like the B-movies it’s named for.
Good news mystery readers, Penguin’s Dutton imprint is re-launching their pulp noir offshoot Guilt Edged Mysteries as a digital line. Over fifty years after the GEM line was retired, the books will be coming back with Ben Seiver, Dutton’s editor-in-chief, responsible for the line’s e-publishing venture.
Readers can expect to see familiar titles in the list of Guilt Edged Mysteries’ new books; the imprint will be breathing e-life into several beloved classics. The imprint’s original stable of authors included Mickey Spillane, Fredric Brown, Glyn Carr and Sam S. Taylor. But don’t expect to see only old favorites from this revitalized line. Readers will be treated to e-originals as well. GEM will be releasing both e-shorts and full-length digital reads. These will include “Murder in Mumbai” a debut novella from NPR news editor Krishnadev Calamur and a new installment in John Lescroart’s Dismas Hardy series.
Sevier forecasted what’s ahead for the line saying, “The new imprint is built to find fresh voices in crime fiction and publish them using distinctly 21st-century techniques.”