Poetry Night with Dorothy Chan and Richard Siken

According to Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen, Dorothy Chan approached him to suggest they do a poetry night at the bookstore. Chan read from her new book, Return of the Chinese Femme. Richard Siken, the author of War of the Foxes, read from his 2025 forthcoming book, I Do Know Some Things. Check the Webstore for books by both poets. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Here’s the summary of Return of the Chinese Femme.

An unabashed exploration of queerness, excess, identity, and tenderness from award-winning poet Dorothy Chan.

The speaker in Dorothy Chan’s fifth collection, Return of the Chinese Femme, walks through life fearlessly, “forehead forever exposed,” the East Asian symbol of female aggression. She’s the troublemaker protagonist—the “So Chinese Girl”—the queer in a family of straights— the rambunctious ringleader of the girl band, always ready with the perfect comeback, wearing a blue fur coat, drinking a whiskey neat. They indulge on the themes of food, sex, fantasy, fetish, popular culture, and intimacy.

Chan organizes the collection in the form of a tasting menu, offering the reader a taste of each running theme. Triple sonnets, recipe poems, and other inventive plays on diction and form pepper the collection. Amidst the bravado, Return of the Chinese Femme represents all aspects of her identity—Asian heritage, queerness, kid of immigrants’ story—in the most real ways possible, conquering the world through joy and resilience.

Dorothy Chan (she/they) is the author of multiple poetry collections, including BABE (Diode Editions, 2021), Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). They were a 2023 finalist for the Roethke Poetry Award for Revenge of the Asian Woman, 2022 finalist for the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize from the New England Poetry Club for BABE, a 2020 and 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a 2020 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry for Revenge of the Asian Woman, and a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Their work has appeared in POETRYThe American Poetry ReviewAcademy of American Poets, and elsewhere.

Chan is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Book Reviews Co-Editor of Pleiades, and Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Honey Literary Inc., a 501(c)(3) BIPOC literary arts organization, run by women, femme, and queer editors of color. Chan was the 2021 Resident Artist for Toward One Wisconsin. They were a 2022 recipient of the University of Wisconsin System’s Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People. Visit their website at dorothypoetry.com

Here’s the description of War of the Foxes.

“His territory is [where] passion and eloquence collide and fuse.’—The New York Times

“Richard Siken writes about love, desire, violence, and eroticism with a cinematic brilliance and urgency.”—Huffington Post

Richard Siken’s debut, Crush, won the Yale Younger Poets’ Prize, sold over 20,000 copies, and earned him a devoted fan-base. In this much-anticipated second book, Richard Siken seeks definite answers to indefinite questions: what it means to be called to make—whether it is a self, love, war, or art—and what it means to answer that call. In poems equal parts contradiction and clarity, logic and dream, Siken tells the modern world an unforgettable fable about itself.

The Museum

Two lovers went to the museum and wandered the rooms.
He saw a painting and stood in front of it
for too long. It was a few minutes before she
realized he had gotten stuck. He was stuck looking
at a painting. She stood next to him, looking at his
face and then the face in the painting. What do you
see? she asked. I don’t know, he said. He didn’t
know. She was disappointed, then bored. He was
looking at a face and she was looking at her watch.
This is where everything changed . . .

Richard Siken works as a social worker, dealing primarily with developmentally disabled adults. He is a poet, painter, and co-founded and currently edits the magazine spork. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Enjoy the conversation with the poets, and their readings.

Ashley Weaver discusses Locked in Pursuit

John Charles welcomed Ashley Weaver back for a Poisoned Pen virtual event. Locked in Pursuit is the fourth book in Weaver’s Electra McDonnell series, featuring the safecracker. There are still some signed copies available to order through the Webstore. https://bit.ly/3UKkFtb

Here’s the summary of Locked in Pursuit.

The fourth instalment in Ashley Weaver’sdelightfulseries, Locked in Pursuit follows safecracker Electra McDonnellfighting Nazis at every turn as World War II looms over London.

Safecracker Ellie McDonnell hasn’t seen Major Ramsey—her handsome but aloof handler in the British government—since their tumultuous mission together three months before, but when she hears about a suspicious robbery in London she feels compelled to contact him. Together they discover that a rash of burglaries leads back to a hotbed of spies in the neutral city Lisbon, Portugal, and an unknown object brought to London by a mysterious courier.

As the thieves become more desperate and their crimes escalate, it becomes imperative that Ellie and Ramsey must beat them at their own game. Fighting shadowy assailants, enemy agents, and the mutual attraction they’ve agreed not to acknowledge, Ellie and Ramsey work together to learn if it truly takes a thief to catch a thief.

ASHLEY WEAVER is the Technical Services Coordinator at the Allen Parish Libraries in Oberlin, Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She is the author of Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask, and A Most Novel Revenge. Weaver lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Enjoy Ashley Weaver’s conversation with John Charles.

Nicola Solvinic’s Hot Book of the Week

Nicola Solvinic’s debut mystery, The Hunter’s Daughter, is the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. There are signed copies of this debut available in the Webstore. https://bit.ly/4dQQWrw

Here’s the description of The Hunter’s Daughter.

A hypnotic, sinister debut mystery about a seemingly good cop who is secretly the daughter of a notorious serial killer.

Anna Koray escaped her father’s darkness long ago. When she was a girl, her childhood memories were sealed away from her conscious mind by a controversial hypnosis treatment. She’s now a decorated sheriff’s lieutenant serving a rural county, conducting an ordinary life far from her father’s shadow. 

When Anna kills a man in the line of duty, her suppressed memories return. She dreams of her beloved father, his hands red with blood, surrounded by flower-decked corpses he had sacrificed to the god of the forest. 

To Anna’s horror, a serial killer emerges who is copying her father – and who knows who she really is. Is her father still alive, or is this the work of another? Will the killer expose her, destroying everything she has built for herself? Does she want him to?

But as she haunts the forest, using her father’s tricks to the hunt the killer, will she find what she needs most…or lose herself in the gathering darkness?

Nicola Solvinic has a master’s degree in criminology and has worked in and around criminal justice for more than a decade. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and cats, where she is surrounded by a secret garden full of beehives.

Lawrence Goldstone discusses Imperfect Union

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently welcomed author and scholar Lawrence Goldstone to the bookstore. His latest book is Imperfect Union: How Errors of Omission Threaten Constitutional Democracy. Goldstone talks about the mystery of the Constitution. There are signed copies of the book available in the Webstore. https://bit.ly/4aiulkG

Here’s the summary of Imperfect Union.

In this new and original study of the origins of the United States Constitution, award winning scholar Lawrence Goldstone demonstrates that what was left out of the document by the Framers is of equal importance to what was included. Because of the deep divisions present in the United States at the beginning of the Republic, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were unwilling, and often unable, to forge a plan for government that would be both comprehensive and sufficiently acceptable to competing interests to achieve ratification. Rather than risk rejection, they chose to leave many key areas of governance vague or undefined, hoping the flaws could be dealt with after the Constitution had become the “supreme law of the land.” Although successful in the short term, that strategy left the Constitution excessively prone to subjective interpretation and, as a result, the United States was rendered vulnerable to anti-democratic initiatives and the perpetuation of minority rule, both of which plague the nation today. Thus, a constitution drafted to ensure “a more perfect union” has instead begotten dysfunction and disunion. The ossification of America’s political process is to a significant degree due not to what the Constitution says but rather from what it fails to say. The only way to address the threat these omissions engender is to identify the flaws and then complete the Constitution by fashioning legislative solutions to fill the gaps.

Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of two dozen books of both fiction and non-fiction, six with his wife Nancy. He has written extensively on Constitutional law and equal rights. His On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravishing of African American Voting Rights won the highly prestigious Lillian Smith Book Award. Other books include Inherently Unequal: The Betrayal of Equal Rights by the Supreme Court, 1865-1903; Dark Bargain: Slavery Profits, and the Struggle for the Constitution; and The Activist: John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and the Myth of Judicial Review. He currently writes a weekly opinion column for The Fulcrum. Goldstone’s fiction has also been highly praised. His first novel, Rights, won a New American Writing Award, and his third, Anatomy of Deception, was a New York Times notable mystery. Goldstone has been widely interviewed on both radio and television, with appearances on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, To the Best of Our Knowledge, and The Faith Middleton Show; The Takeaway (PRI); Make It Plain with Mark Thompson (SiriusXM); Tavis Smiley (PBS); and CSPAN’s BookTV. Goldstone’s work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, Salon, Slate, and numerous regional newspapers. His articles, reviews, and opinion pieces have appeared in, among other periodicals, The Atlantic, New Republic, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Hartford Courant, and Berkshire Eagle. Goldstone holds a Ph.D. in constitutional history from the New School.

For those of us who love history, Goldstone’s discussion is fascinating. Enjoy!

Harlan Coben discusses Think Twice

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, welcomed Harlan Coben to talk about his forthcoming book, Think Twice. He brings back Myron Bolitar and Win in his thirty-sixth book. You can still order one of the last signed copies of Think Twice through the Webstore. https://bit.ly/3yhQtOv

Here’s the summary of Think Twice.

A man presumed dead is suddenly wanted for murder in this thriller of secrets, lies, and dangerous conspiracies that threaten to cover up the truth.

Three years ago, sports agent Myron Bolitar gave a eulogy at the funeral of his client, renowned basketball coach Greg Downing. Myron and Greg had history: initially as deeply personal rivals, and later as unexpected business associates. Myron made peace and moved on – until now, when twofederal agents walked into his office, demanding to know where Greg Downing is.

According to the agents, Greg is still alive—and has been placed at the scene of a double homicide, making him their main suspect. Shocked, Myron needs answers.

Myron and Win, longtime friends and colleagues, set out to find the truth, but the more they discover about Greg, the more dangerous their world becomes. Secrets, lies, and a murderous conspiracy that stretches back into the past churn at the heart of Harlan Coben’s blistering new novel.

Harlan Coben is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of the world’s leading storytellers. His suspense novels are published in forty-six languages and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries, with eighty million books in print worldwide. His Myron Bolitar series has earned the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, and several of his books have been developed into Netflix original series, including the #1 global hit Fool Me OnceThe StrangerThe InnocentGone for GoodThe WoodsStay Close, and Hold Tight, as well as the Amazon Prime series adaptation of Shelter. He lives in New Jersey.

Enjoy Harlan Coben’s discussion of his books.

Ellen Crosby discusses Dodge and Burn

Ellen Crosby’s Sophie Medina series is set in Washington, D.C., and features the photojournalist. In Dodge and Burn, the third book in the series, there’s more revealed about Sophie’s past. You can order signed copies of Dodge and Burn through The Poisoned Pen’s Webstore. https://bit.ly/4dy95tV

Here’s the description of Dodge and Burn.

Washington, D.C.-based photojournalist Sophie Medina is not a murderer – but someone is determined to make sure she goes down for a crime she did not commit in this gripping mystery.

When billionaire philanthropist and art collector Robson Blake hires Sophie Medina to take photographs for him, she doesn’t expect to show up and find her client dead. It seems he was the victim of a burglary gone wrong. But why was his state-of-the-art security system turned off . . . and why, in a house full of priceless Old Masters, is the only thing missing a beautiful but insignificant Ukrainian religious icon?

Before long, Sophie finds herself in the crosshairs of a D.C. homicide detective who suspects she knows more than she is saying about Blake’s murder – and he’s not wrong. To Sophie’s mixed delight and horror, she’s recently learned she has a half-brother . . . who might also be an international art thief, with eyes on Blake’s collection.

As the police get closer to finding Blake’s killer, Sophie is certain someone is trying to frame her for his murder. Can she find the real killer in time – even if it means turning in her own brother to prove her innocence?

The latest instalment in this gripping series featuring fearless photojournalist Sophie Medina is a great choice for readers who enjoy high-flying female sleuths, deft red-herrings, page-turning plot twists, and glamorous settings.

Ellen Crosby is a former reporter for the Washington Post, foreign correspondent for ABC News Radio and economist at the U.S. Senate. She has spent many years overseas in Europe, but now lives in Virginia with her husband. She is the author of the Wine Country mysteries and the Sophie Medina mysteries.

Enjoy the conversation with Ellen Crosby.

Linwood Barclay discusses I Will Ruin You

While Linwood Barclay actually appeared for The Poisoned Pen to discuss his latest thriller, I Will Ruin You, Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore had wonderful things to say about Canada and Canadians. That’s just minor in the book discussion, but they were warm stories leading up to the conversation. You can order copies of I Will Ruin You through the Webstore. https://bit.ly/3WBFHNj

Here’s the description of I Will Ruin You.

In the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Linwood Barclay, a teacher’s act of heroism inadvertently makes him the target of a dangerous blackmailer who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

How would you react in a life-or-death situation?

It’s a question everyone asks themselves, but few have to face in real life. English teacher Richard Boyle certainly never thought he would find himself talking down a former student intent on harming others, but when Mark LeDrew shows up at Richard’s school with a bomb strapped to his chest, Richard immediately jumps into action. Thanks to some quick thinking, he averts a major tragedy and is hailed as a hero, but not all the attention focused on him is positive.

Richard’s brief moment in the spotlight puts him in the sights of a deranged blackmailer with a score to settle. The situation rapidly spirals out of control, drawing Richard into a fraught web of salacious accusations and deadly secrets. As he tries to uncover the truth he discovers that there’s something deeply wrong in the town—something that ties together Mark, the blackmailer, and a gang of ruthless drug dealers, and Richard has landed smack in the middle of it. He’s desperate to find a way out, but everyone in his life seems to be hiding something, and trusting the wrong person could cost him everything he loves.

What price will he pay for one good deed?

Linwood Barclay is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous previous novels and two thrillers for children. His books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. He wrote the screenplay adaptation for his novel Never Saw it Coming and his book The Accident has been made into a TV series in France. His novel No Time for Goodbye was a global bestseller. A native of Connecticut, he now lives in Toronto with his wife, Neetha.

Enjoy the conversation with Linwood Barclay.

Clea Simon’s “Boston Noir” Novel

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, welcomed Clea Simon to talk about her latest book, Bad Boy Beat. Simon said it could be called Boston noir, and it’s her darkest one yet. You can order copies through the Webstore. https://bit.ly/4btUyO7

Here’s the description of Bad Boy Beat.

A page-turning journalistic thriller starring a rookie female reporter for the Boston Standard who’s determined to chase down a big story…with potentially deadly consequences.

Boston Standard journalist Emily – Em – Kelton is desperate for a big story. As a new reporter Em covers the police beat, which has her responding to every crime that comes across the newsroom scanner. Despite the drudgery and the largely nocturnal hours, it’s a beat that suits her – especially with her affinity for the low-level criminals she regularly interacts with and what she considers a healthy scepticism for the rules.

But she’s sick of filing short news briefs about random street murders that barely merit a byline, and when she sets out to cover yet another shooting of a low-level dealer, she begins to wonder if these crimes are somehow connected.

With not much to go on but her instincts, Em sets out to uncover the truth behind these sordid crimes. But the more she investigates and uncovers a pattern, the more she digs herself into a hole from which she might not come out of alive . . .

Drawing on her career as a journalist, Clea Simon delivers a fast-paced, intricate plot and intriguing characters that bring the city of Boston to life. Mystery fans who love a strong female protagonist, unexpected twists and turns and a mind-blowing ending won’t want to miss Bad Boy Beat!

Clea Simon grew up in New York, before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard. She fell in love with the city and lives there still with her husband and their cat, Musetta. She is the author of the Dulcie Schwartz, Theda Krakow, Pru Marlowe, Blackie and Care and, most recently, Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery series.

Enjoy the conversation about journalism and her book with Clea Simon.

Jayne Castle, People in Glass Houses

Jayne Ann Krentz recently appeared at The Poisoned Pen with her latest book, People in Glass Houses, written as Jayne Castle. Christina Dodd acted as guest host. There are signed copies of People in Glass Houses available in the Webstore. https://bit.ly/4dxB4K2

Here’s the description of People in Glass Houses.

Two people desperate for answers wade through smoke and mirrors within the alien world of Harmony in this new novel by New York Times bestselling author Jayne Castle.

His name is Joshua Knight. Once a respected explorer, the press now calls him the Tarnished Knight. He took the fall for a disaster in the Underworld that destroyed his career. The devastating event occurred in the newly discovered sector known as Glass House—a maze of crystal that is rumored to conceal powerful Alien antiquities. The rest of the Hollister Expedition team disappeared and are presumed dead.

Whatever happened down in the tunnels scrambled Josh’s psychic senses and his memories, but he’s determined to uncover the truth. Labeled delusional and paranoid, he retreats to an abandoned mansion in the desert, a house filled with mirrors. Now a recluse, Josh spends his days trying to discover the secrets in the looking glasses that cover the walls. He knows he is running out of time.

Talented, ambitious crystal artist Molly Griffin is shocked to learn that the Tarnished Knight has been located. She drops everything and heads for the mansion to find Josh, confident she can help him regain control of his shattered senses. She has no choice—he is the key to finding her sister, Leona, a member of the vanished expedition team. Josh reluctantly allows her to stay one night but there are two rules: she must not go down into the basement, and she must not uncover the mirrors that have been draped.

But her only hope for finding her sister is to break the rules…

Jayne Castle, the author of Sweetwater and the Witch, Guild BossIllusion Town, Siren’s CallThe Hot ZoneDeception Cove, and more, is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She writes contemporary romantic suspense novels under the Krentz name, as well as historical novels under the pseudonym Amanda Quick.

Enjoy the conversation with Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle.