A Crooked Lane Thriller Quartet

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Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently hosted four thriller authors who are published by Crooked Lane Books. Those authors are Andrew Bourelle, Richard Chiappone, Robert Justice, and Claire Kells. Their books are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Each author was asked to give their book pitch.

Andrew Bourelle’s thriller is 48 Hours to Kill.

A prison inmate on furlough learns a terrible secret about his sister’s mysterious death—and descends back into the criminal underworld to uncover the truth, in this action-packed thrill ride James Patterson calls “the best thriller I’ve read all year.”
 

Serving a ten-year sentence in a Nevada prison for armed robbery, Ethan Lockhart hopes that he can one day become a productive, law-abiding member of society. But society has other plans for Ethan. When he’s given a forty-eight-hour furlough to attend his sister Abby’s funeral, he learns that her body was never found—just enough blood to declare her dead instead of missing—and he begins to suspect that there’s more to her death than was reported. Ethan decides to use his forty-eight-hour window to find out what happened. But to get to the bottom of the mystery, he’ll have to return to his unsavory past.

Ethan teams up with his sister’s best friend Whitney in a search for the truth. United in their shared grief, their chemistry—both emotional and physical—also begins to heat up. But romance goes on hold as the suspects mount. Ethan’s old boss, Shark, a mid-level loan shark now heads a criminal empire. As Ethan and Whitney uncover more clues, they become convinced that Shark is responsible for the murder, but they have no proof.

If Ethan is going to solve his sister’s murder in forty-eight hours, he will have to become the criminal he swore he’d never be again.


Andrew Bourelle is the author of the novel Heavy Metal and coauthor with James Patterson of Texas Ranger and Texas Outlaw. His short stories have been published widely in literary magazines and fiction anthologies. He is an associate professor of English at the University of New Mexico.


Here’s Richard Chiappone’s The Hunger of Crows.

For fans of Dana Stabenow and The Frozen Ground, Richard Chiappone’s debut novel is a chilling chase through rural Alaska, in which a woman running from her past must outwit the deadly assassins on her tail.

Thirty-something Carla Merino finds herself living in her camper shell in Homer, Alaska, waitressing to stay afloat and hiding from ruthless billionaire military contractor Gordon McKint, who has a secretive personal army and eyes on the presidency. McKint is determined to recover a memento Carla acquired on a one-night-stand that went terribly wrong—an item that could bring his whole world down. When McKint’s men track her to Homer she leaves for another hideout by boat, unprepared and unaware of the dangerous Alaskan weather headed her way.

Cosmo D’Angelo (a former CIA gunslinger) is a man grieving his daughter, living with the sins of his past, and in search of a certain woman (and a good meal) in small-town Alaska. In the era of political secrets and deep fake technology, he was foolish to let Carla take a memento of their tryst. Now, he needs to get it back before McKint’s men find her.

Scott Crockett is a stand-up guy, nursing a broken heart, out fishing alone. But when he finds an overturned boat and a nearly-drowned woman in the rough water, his life will get infinitely more complicated—and dangerous. Together he and Carla must outwit the professional killers sent to recover the deadly memento that threatens both McKint’s political career and her life.


Two time winner of the Robert Traver Award, Richard Chiappone is the author of three collections of stories or essays. His fiction has appeared in several anthologies and in national magazines. One story was made into a prize winning short film featured at international film festivals. Other stories have been dramatized on BBC Radio. Chiappone is a former senior associate editor at Alaska Quarterly Review, and a long-time organizer of the Kachemak Bay Writer’s Conference.


They Can’t Take Your Name is Robert Justice’s debut thriller.

Laced with atmospheric poetry and literature and set in the heart of Denver’s black community, this gripping crime novel pits three characters in a race against time to thwart a gross miscarriage of justice—and a crooked detective who wreaks havoc…with deadly consequences.

What happens to a deferred dream—especially when an innocent man’s life hangs in the balance? Langston Brown is running out of time and options for clearing his name and escaping death row. Wrongfully convicted of the gruesome Mother’s Day Massacre, he prepares to face his death. His final hope for salvation lies with his daughter, Liza, an artist who dreamed of a life of music and song but left the prestigious Juilliard School to pursue a law degree with the intention of clearing her father’s name. Just as she nears success, it’s announced that Langston will be put to death in thirty days.

In a desperate bid to find freedom for her father, Liza enlists the help of Eli Stone, a jazz club owner she met at the classic Five Points venue, The Roz. Devastated by the tragic loss of his wife, Eli is trying to find solace by reviving the club…while also wrestling with the longing to join her in death.

Everyone has a dream that might come true—but as the dark shadows of the past converge, could Langston, Eli, and Liza be facing a danger that could shatter those dreams forever?


Robert Justice is a Denver native. His first novel, They Can’t Take Your Name, was named a runner-up for the 2020 Sisters in Crime Eleanor Taylor Bland Award. He believes that together we can right wrongful convictions.


Claire Kells’ latest thriller is Vanishing Edge.

For fans of Christine Carbo and Scott Graham, an ex-FBI agent is on a desperate hunt for a party of vanished campers while a killer is on the loose.

The rugged landscape of Sequoia National Park is a challenge on the best of days—but when a park ranger discovers an abandoned exclusive campsite with an empty tent and high-end technical gear scattered on the shores of an alpine lake, the wilderness takes on a sinister new hue.

Thirty-two-year-old Felicity Harland—a former FBI agent who left the service in the wake of a personal tragedy and has taken her skills off the grid—is brought in as chief investigator. As a federal agent with the Investigative Services Bureau, she tackles crimes that occur on National Parks lands: unexplained falls, domestic disputes, and now a possible murder case. 

The private company that set up the exclusive camp won’t reveal their client list, leaving Felicity with zero clues. As she struggles to find a lead, she’s also haunted by a painful past that dogs her at every step. But when she meets Ferdinand Huxley, a Navy SEAL turned park ranger, she begins to see the value in not just working with a partner, but trusting one, too.

The investigation takes Felicity and Hux deep into a wilderness that tests their physical limits to the extreme—and to the mean streets of Los Angeles, where they begin to learn the grisly truth behind the campers’ disappearance.

Bad things happen in the wilderness—and sometimes they’re not accidents.


Claire Kells is a physician and writer, whose best-selling debut adventure novel Girl Underwater was released in 2015. An avid open water swimmer and outdoor enthusiast, Claire gravitates toward stories of survival, struggle, and redemption. Her experiences as a practicing physician also play an important role in her novels, and she’s grateful for all the fascinating stories her patients have told her over the years. Vanishing Edge is the first installment in a new series featuring a partnership between an ISB agent and park ranger, who solve mysteries set in the National Park system.


Barbara Peters had questions for all of the authors in the recent virtual event.