Meet Our Staff

Barbara Peters – Store Owner & Event Coordinator


Barbara Peters was born in Evanston, raised in Winnetka, Illinois,spent way too much time in graduate school, and founded The Poisoned Pen in 1989. With her husband Robert Rosenwald, she gambled on Poisoned Pen Press in 1997 where she is Editor in chief. Barbara has won the Raven and Quill Awards from the Mystery Writers of America (and been nominated for an Edgar for Best Biographical Work) and is a Bouchercon Fan Guest of Honor and Lifetime Achievement honoree as well as a lifetime honoree from Malice Domestic. Meaning she’s turning into an antique…

Patrick Millikin – Customer Service Manager


I’ve been here at the PP since 1995 and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m just not cut out for a traditional job.   I’m the big noir fan here on the staff but I read pretty widely.   I have a special interest in Southwestern history, blues and jazz music, etc.   When I’m not here I enjoy working on various restoration projects for the 1920′s house where I live with my wife, Sandra, and a whole brood of animals.  I’ve also become an amateur mechanic in my spare time, and am currently trying to bring a massive 1960 Cadillac Sedan Deville back to life.

John Goodwin – Chief Financial Officer


I lived my early life in Ohio and Pennsylvania and moved to Arizona thirty years ago. I have been interested in books all my life, in fact, my employment at one valley bookstore chain virtually paid for my college education at Arizona State University. I have been involved in politics and real estate but have returned to my roots. My reading is diverse, usually literature or history, or gritty well written mysteries that have well developed characters and locales.


David Brooks – Order Processing Manager

My love of reading came from my father, who read constantly. Agatha Christie was always his long time favorite, so her books always lined the bookshelves. Indeed, the first ‘adult’ book I ever read was Christie’s, The A.B.C. Murders. Of course, dad had to help me with the Belgian/French phrasing, but I got through it in the end, and it still remains as one of my favorite books of all time. As for my current crop of authors, Peter Lovesey, Christopher Fowler and Camilla Lackberg are who I collect, but I also read everything that’s published by Peter Robinson and Peter James.

 John Charles – Bookseller

Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, John moved to Arizona in the 1970s where he attended college and eventually received his MLS from the University of Arizona. After working in public libraries for more than thirty years, John “retired” and came to work for the Poisoned Pen, where he enjoys being around books and people who love them.

Patrick King – Bookseller


I was born in Colorado, but moved down here with my folks when I was 15 years old. It wasn’t long after we moved here, that I volunteered and then was hired by Phoenix Public Library. During that time, Patricia Harrington (one of the Poisoned Pen’s former staff and a co-worker of mine at PPL) introduced me to the store; Barbara would occasionally call me up for the odd job (helping the store move, pack books etc) and eventually I ended up staying on permanently.

During my time here as an employee of the Poisoned Pen, I obtained my Bachelors in Biology and a Masters in Library Science (through the University of North Texas). I am a devout reader and enjoy reading just about anything; however, for pure enjoyment I love reading Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Graphic novels. My mystery tastes are very eclectic- from cozy to high action to noir- if it’s good, I’ll read it!

Tracy Kingsley – Bookseller


Although I’m a recent addition to the Poisoned Pen staff, I have been a customer for years.  I first started coming to the store to attend author signings and got caught up in all things Poisoned Pen.  For a book lover, this store is like cat nip to a cat.

I worked at a public library for 12 years but am now in recovery (don’t worry, I don’t own a gun). I enjoy the fact that I now have time to actually talk about books with people while working.  I’ve been an avid reader since grade 1 (go spot!) and a fairly dedicated mystery reader for about 15 years now.  I love so many authors and books that it is impossible for me to pick favorites, but I always recommend wonderful writers like John Connolly, Greg Rucka, Dana Stabenow, A.E. Maxwell, Thomas Perry, Donald Westlake, Ross Thomas, Elmore Leonard, and . . . . . this list could be endless.
I am also a movie buff. I really have no other hobbies since I am a complete klutz and have injured myself trying to learn new things (my husband said no more sharp objects). So reading and movies are my comfort zone – quiet and immobile.

 Sharon Leonard- Bookseller


‘Born in Sharon, North Dakota and retired to Arizona, with stops along the way in Lincoln, Nebraska; Staten Island, New York; Chicago, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ‘Have always been a reader once I finally learned how after being forced into it when my older sister and parents refused to read the comics to me any longer!  My Mom was an English teacher and our family did not have a television until I was in high school so reading was the family hobby.  My parents – when I was a teen – bribed me to start reading the classics by paying me a quarter for every classic read.  My first was “Jane Eyre” and I was entranced – a lunatic in the attic, pretty heady stuff for a sheltered 13-year old preacher’s kid!

I read fiction with an occasional memoir (“Hunger” by Roxanne Gay was excellent) or bio thrown in, and non fiction when something is highly recommended such as recent favorites “The Boys in the Boat” and “Unbroken.”  
Often expressed throughout my 44-year career as an Administrative Assistant was my wish to work in either a flower shop or a book store after retirement.  After moving to Phoenix in June of 2017, that wish has come true and I couldn’t be happier to work at The Poisoned Pen! 

 Miles – Web/Media Content Coordinator

11096691_10204428601047561_1809672519449600844_nBorn in Northern California. Called to the desert to go to Art School. I’ve worked at Poisoned Pen in many capacities over the last 4 yrs. I love this store and the staff is like family. Such a cool job to hang out with books and meet amazing authors!? I’m a big fan of Joe Hill, Blake Crouch, Diana G. and the list goes on.

When I’m not working I enjoy always learning, working on cars, a good book, time with my family & friends, a good laugh, reclaiming projects, art, collecting vinyl and treasure adventures!

Susan Kelly – Bookseller

A Michigan native, Susan moved to Arizona from Detroit, where she worked for the Detroit Public Library. She misses water but not winter. When she isn’t reading or working, she enjoys eating, drinking, cooking, and traveling.

Karen Shaver – Bookseller

karen shaver

I started out in Minnesota and lived in other northern states, as well. After college, I got married, had kids, and tried to master the art of living on nine acres of land. I learned the challenges and humor in planting my first vegetable garden, failed to tame a temperamental Shetland pony named Flicka, but was successful in repairing an electric fence without harm to self or others. My careers have included retail, print production, magazine layout and typesetting. All of which led me to a book addiction, thus, the bookstore. After a few years, I went back to graduate school, earned a degree, and immersed myself in the world of Community Behavioral Health. In 2007 I suffered a serious brain injury that put me in a medically induced coma for a while and my children became my parents. I credit them and their persistent advocacy for my medical care, in making sure I didn’t leave them permanently. Barbara graciously let me come back to the bookstore where I am now engaged in “book therapy”. I have learned that God really does have a sense of humor and I’ll be fine if I just get out of my own way.

Ian Schiefelbein – Shipping & Receiving Associate