Fiction Review

Robert Pobi Discusses Do No Harm

Posted on Updated on

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently hosted Robert Pobi for a virtual event. Pobi is the author of the Lucas Page novels, and Do No Harm is the third in the series. There are copies of it available in the Web Store. https://tinyurl.com/2p96v79d

In Robert Pobi’s thriller Do No Harm, a series of suicides and accidental deaths in the medical community are actually well-disguised murders and only Lucas Page can see the pattern and discern the truth that no one else believes.

Lucas Page is a polymath, astrophysicist, professor, husband, father of five adopted children, bestselling author, and ex-FBI agent—emphasis on “ex.” Severely wounded after being caught in an explosion, Page left the FBI behind and put his focus on the rebuilding the rest of his life. But Page is uniquely gifted in being able to recognize patterns that elude others, a skill that brings the F.B.I. knocking at his door again and again.

Lucas Page’s wife Erin loses a friend, a gifted plastic surgeon, to suicide and Lucas begins to realize how many people Erin knew that have died in the past year, in freak accidents and now suicide. Intrigued despite himself, Page begins digging through obituaries and realizes that there’s a pattern—a bad one. These deaths don’t make sense unless the doctors are being murdered, the target of a particularly clever killer. This time, the FBI wants as little to do with Lucas as he does with them so he’s left with only one option—ignore it and go back to his normal life. But then, the pattern reveals that the next victim is likely to be…Erin herself.


Robert Pobi is the author of several novels, including the international bestsellers Bloodman and Harvest, as well as the Lucas Page thrillers, which begin with City of Windows. He lives in Canada.


Enjoy the conversation with Robert Pobi.

Rhys Bowen Discusses Where the Sky Begins

Posted on Updated on

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently hosted a favorite at the bookstore, Rhys Bowen. There are signed copies of both the hardcover and paperback of Bowen’s Where the Sky Begins available in the Web Store. https://tinyurl.com/2p9crc5n

Here’s the description of Where the Sky Begins.

A woman’s future is determined by fate and choice in a gripping WWII novel about danger, triumph, and second chances by the New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook and The Tuscan Child.

London, 1940. Bombs fall and Josie Banks’s world crumbles around her. Her overbearing husband, Stan, is unreachable, called to service. Her home, a ruin of rubble and ash. Josie’s beloved tearoom boss has been killed, and Josie herself is injured, with nothing left and nowhere to go.

Evacuated to the English countryside, Josie ends up at the estate of the aristocratic Miss Harcourt, a reluctant host to the survivors of the Blitz. Awed as she is by the magnificent landscape, Josie sees opportunity. Josie convinces Miss Harcourt to let her open a humble tea shop, seeing it as a chance for everyone to begin again. When Josie meets Mike Johnson, a handsome Canadian pilot stationed at a neighboring bomber base, a growing intimacy brings her an inner peace she’s never felt before. Then Stan returns from the war.

Now a threat looms larger than anyone imagined. And a dangerous secret is about to upend Josie’s life again. Her newfound courage will be put to the test if she is to emerge, like a survivor, triumphant.


Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Venice SketchbookAbove the Bay of AngelsThe Victory GardenThe Tuscan Child, and her World War II novel In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. Bowen’s work has won twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world, including an online following of over two hundred thousand fans worldwide. A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona. To learn more about the author, visit http://www.rhysbowen.com.


Enjoy the conversation as Rhys Bowen and Barbara Peters discuss trends in mysteries, World War II, and Bowen’s books.

Karen Rose with Jayne Ann Krentz

Posted on Updated on

Jayne Ann Krentz was recently guest host for The Poisoned Pen’s virtual event with Karen Rose. Rose is the author of Quarter to Midnight. Signed copies of the book are available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3BJSqTH

Here’s the description of Quarter to Midnight.

Discover New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose’s brand-new series set in the sultry city of New Orleans and featuring a tough team of high-end private investigators who are after justice—no matter what they have to do to get it.

Good cops. Bad cops. Only one will win.

After completing her tours with the Marines in Iraq, Molly Sutton knew she could take down any bad guy she met. But when a family tragedy exposes the dark side of her local police, she joined up with her former CO Burke Broussard, who left New Orleans PD to set up a private investigative service for people who couldn’t find justice elsewhere.

Gabe Hebert saw the toll that working for the NOPD took on his dad and decided instead to make a name for himself as one of the best young chefs in the French Quarter. But when his father’s death is ruled a suicide after a deliberately botched investigation by his former captain, Gabe knows his dad stumbled onto a truth that someone wants silenced.

Gabe goes to his father’s best friend, Burke, for help. Burke assigns the toughest member of his team, Molly, to the case. Molly can’t believe she’s being asked to work with the smoking hot chef whose chocolate cake is not the only thing that makes her mouth water. Sparks fly as they follow the leads Gabe’s dad left them, unraveling a web of crimes, corruption, and murder that runs all the way to the top.


Karen Rose is the award-winning, #1 international bestselling author of twenty-six novels, including the bestselling Sacramento, Baltimore, and Cincinnati series. She has been translated into twenty-three languages, and her books have placed on the New York Times, the Sunday Times (UK), and Germany’s der Spiegel bestseller lists.


Enjoy Karen Rose’s conversation with Jayne Ann Krentz.

2022 Shamus Award Winners

Posted on Updated on

The Private Eye Writers of America announced the 2022 Shamus Award Winners earlier this week. The awards are presented for private eye novels and short stories originally published in 2021. Congratulations to the winners! Check for their books in the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Here are the winners.

BEST PI HARDCOVER – Family Business by S.J. Rozan

BEST ORIGINAL PI PAPERBACK – Every City is Every Other City by John McFetridge

BEST FIRST PI NOVEL – Lost Little Girl by Gregory Stout

BEST PI SHORT STORY – “Sweeps Week” by Rick Helms (July/August EQMM)

And, you might want to watch S.J. Rozan’s appearance for The Poisoned Pen last December when she talked with Barbara Peters about her award-winning novel, Family Business.

John Charles Welcomes Kensington Cozy Authors

Posted on

John Charles from The Poisoned Pen recently welcomed four cozy mystery authors published by Kensington for a virtual event. Gabby Allan, Darci Hannah, Cheryl Hollon, and Angela M. Sanders all appeared to talk about their careers and their books. You can order copies of their books through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Check out the latest books by the mystery authors.

In Gabby Allan’s second Santa Catalina Island-set mystery series with a rom-com twist, boat tour guide Whitney Dagner, her chonky cat Whiskers, and Whitney’s not-so-ex police diver boyfriend must lead a dangerous investigation into years of scandal and bad blood…

Take in the wild beauty of Santa Catalina Island with tour guide and eclectic gift shop owner Whitney Dagner. On the itinerary: dramatic Pacific coastlines, diverse marine life, and murder!

Since returning home from mainland California and finding her groove with the family tourism business, Whitney Dagner’s daily routine has become a wonderfully chaotic adventure. She and her nimble kitty, Whiskers, often find themselves at the center of the action on Catalina, from staged treasure hunts to gossipy birdwatchers. But before Whit can get too comfortable in the place where she grew up, a gift shop order leads to a stunning discovery—someone’s dead body . . .

One of Whit’s best boat tour client’s, Leo Franklin was young and newly engaged when he unceremoniously took his own life. Only it doesn’t seem like that’s what really happened—not after the suspicious activity displayed by his family’s old rivals at the scene of his death. As a bitter, generations-long feud between Leo’s kin and the local Ahern clan comes to a head, Whit and her police diver not-so-ex-boyfriend must lead a dangerous investigation into years of scandal and bad blood to figure out who’s innocent . . .and who’s covering a killer’s tracks.


Gabby Allan is a California girl who now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania. A member of Sisters in Crime, she’s previously published romances and cozy mysteries under another pen name. Visit her at GabbyAllan.wordpress.com.


Living in a lighthouse with her dog, Lindsey Bakewell is lulled to sleep at night by the sound of Lake Michigan’s waves—and gets up at the crack of dawn to start the day at her bakery café.  But someone in Beacon Harbor is about to rock the boat with murder…

After a career on Wall Street, Lindsey is making a different kind of dough in a pretty lakeside village, and the upcoming blueberry festival—including the pie-eating contest her bakery is hosting—is the highlight of the summer. But soon Beacon Harbor runs into a patch of trouble.

A local real estate agent gets pranked. A parade float gets pelted with water balloons. It’s all laughed off until the stunts start escalating—and looking more like sabotage. As the event turns into a debacle complete with rampaging goats, Lindsey’s sweetheart, a former SEAL, starts investigating. But the juicy mystery takes a bitter turn when a man—dressed up as a Viking—is found dead in a boat, and it’s no longer mischief but murder…


Darci Hannah grew up in the northwest suburbs of a Chicago, is a graduate of Indiana University, and currently lives in a small town in Michigan with her husband, three sons and two dogs. She has lived around the Great Lakes all her life and considers them a source of inspiration. When she’s not engaged in a rollicking family adventure, walking her dogs, or working at the historic Howell Carnegie District Library, she’s either baking up a storm or hard at work on her next Beacon Bakeshop Mystery. Visit her at DarciHannah.com.


In rural Kentucky, business is booming for Miranda Trent’s unique Appalachian adventure tour company, Paint & Shine. But sometimes murder lurks amid the peaceful mountains, scenic views, and moonshine …

Miranda’s business—combining Appalachian adventure tours with art and a bit of moonshine—is the perfect place for an outdoor sporting goods company to hold an employee retreat.  It’ll be a challenge, but the money they’re paying will definitely help with building her new distillery.

Miranda has lots of teamwork-fostering activities planned, from sketching classes to Southern cooking, but the executive running things prefers a more competitive spirit.  In fact, after the workers are split into teams, they’re told that only the winners will keep their jobs, and tensions begin to spike. Even after a participant is found dead, the contest continues—while Miranda starts drawing her own conclusions about the ambitious attendees. Now she just has to find the proof . . .


Cheryl Hollon writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Tampa Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C., and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, Massachusetts. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, Florida. Visit her online at CherylHollon.com or on Twitter @CherylHollon.


Set in small-town Oregon, the latest in the witty, charming Witch Way Librarian series from bestselling and acclaimed author Angela M. Sanders features a spellbinding heroine, a clever cat familiar, a glamorous movie star—and of course, murder. The perfect read for fans of Bailey Cates, Adele Abbott, Juliet Blackwell, and all mystery lovers with a taste for the witchy.

For a tiny town, picturesque Wilfred, Oregon, has everything, including an impressive library housed in a Victorian mansion, a touch of magic in new librarian and fledgling witch, Josie Way, a visiting movie star—and a curious tendency toward murder…

Josie and all of Wilfred are buzzing with excitement. A-list movie star Daphne Morris has chosen to interview Roz, assistant librarian and novelist, for her book club. But when the glamorous actress quickly charms both Roz’s long-time love and Sheriff Sam, the object of Josie’s unrequited affection, Josie turns to the whispers from her beloved books for ideas on revising the plot. Yet soon there’s another twist . . .

At a party to celebrate the interview, Daphne’s personal chef is found dead in a scene that all too closely echoes one in Roz’s novel. It’s clear to Josie that someone’s idea of a happy ending means framing her friend. She’ll have to read between the lines with the help of the library’s enchanted stacks, guidance from her magical grandmother’s letters, and her cat familiar, Rodney, to solve this murder before someone decides to stage a deadly sequel . . .


Angela M. Sanders is the author of the bestselling Joanna Hayworth Vintage Clothing Mysteries, the Witch Way Librarian Mystery series, The Booster Club Capers, and the Kite Shop Mysteries, written under the name Clover Tate. In addition to cozy mysteries, she regularly writes articles on food, vintage clothing, personalities and perfume for Portland Monthly, Now Smell This, the French perfume magazine Nez, and various food magazines. A former congressional investigator, she now writes full-time and is a member of Novelists, Inc., International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime. Angela has two cats—one of whom is black of course—a witch’s freckle in her left eye, and learned to read tarot cards from a pagan priestess. She lives in Portland, Oregon and can be found online at AngelaMSanders.com.


Enjoy John Charles’ conversation with the Kensington authors as they talk about cozy mysteries.

Rhys Bowen’s Hot Book of the Week

Posted on Updated on

Rhys Bowen’s Where the Sky Begins is the current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. In fact, Bowen will be appearing for a virtual event on Friday, August 5 at 2 PM (5 PM ET). You can watch it on YouTube or Facebook. In the meantime, you can order a signed copy of the book through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3zqIoUQ

Here’s the description of Where the Sky Begins.

A woman’s future is determined by fate and choice in a gripping WWII novel about danger, triumph, and second chances by the New York Times bestselling author of The Venice Sketchbook and The Tuscan Child.

London, 1940. Bombs fall and Josie Banks’s world crumbles around her. Her overbearing husband, Stan, is unreachable, called to service. Her home, a ruin of rubble and ash. Josie’s beloved tearoom boss has been killed, and Josie herself is injured, with nothing left and nowhere to go.

Evacuated to the English countryside, Josie ends up at the estate of the aristocratic Miss Harcourt, a reluctant host to the survivors of the Blitz. Awed as she is by the magnificent landscape, Josie sees opportunity. Josie convinces Miss Harcourt to let her open a humble tea shop, seeing it as a chance for everyone to begin again. When Josie meets Mike Johnson, a handsome Canadian pilot stationed at a neighboring bomber base, a growing intimacy brings her an inner peace she’s never felt before. Then Stan returns from the war.

Now a threat looms larger than anyone imagined. And a dangerous secret is about to upend Josie’s life again. Her newfound courage will be put to the test if she is to emerge, like a survivor, triumphant.


Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Venice SketchbookAbove the Bay of AngelsThe Victory GardenThe Tuscan Child, and her World War II novel In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Left Coast Crime “Lefty” Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. Bowen’s work has won twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans around the world, including an online following of over two hundred thousand fans worldwide. A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona. To learn more about the author, visit http://www.rhysbowen.com.


Don’t forget to check the website for a copy of the book. And, I hope to be able to share the virtual event sometime next week so you can watch it if you can’t catch it on Friday.

Dwyer Murphy’s Debut, An Honest Living

Posted on Updated on

Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen welcomed Dwyer Murphy with his debut noir novel, An Honest Living. Signed copies of Murphy’s first novel are available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3OOJNtL

Here’s the description of An Honest Living.

“Like the best noir practitioners, Murphy uses the mystery as scaffolding to assemble a world of fallen dreams and doom-bitten characters . . . Murphy’s hard-boiled rendering of the city is nothing short of exquisite . . . For anyone who wants a portrait of this New York, few recent books have conjured it so vividly.” —The New York Times Book Review

A sharp and stylish debut from the editor-in-chief of CrimeReads in which an unwitting private eye gets caught up in a crime of obsession between a reclusive literary superstar and her bookseller husband, paying homage to the noir genre just as smartly as it reinvents it

After leaving behind the comforts and the shackles of a prestigious law firm, a restless attorney makes ends meet in mid-2000s Brooklyn by picking up odd jobs from a colorful assortment of clients. When a mysterious woman named Anna Reddick turns up at his apartment with ten thousand dollars in cash and asks him to track down her missing husband Newton, an antiquarian bookseller who she believes has been pilfering rare true crime volumes from her collection, he trusts it will be a quick and easy case. But when the real Anna Reddick—a magnetic but unpredictable literary prodigy—lands on his doorstep with a few bones to pick, he finds himself out of his depth, drawn into a series of deceptions involving Joseph Conrad novels, unscrupulous booksellers, aspiring flâneurs, and seedy real estate developers.

Set against the backdrop of New York at the tail end of the analog era and immersed in the worlds of literature and bookselling, An Honest Living is a gripping story of artistic ambition, obsession, and the small crimes we commit against one another every day.


Dwyer Murphy is a New York-based writer and editor. He is the editor-in-chief of CrimeReads, Literary Hub‘s crime fiction vertical and the world’s most popular destination for thriller readers. He practiced law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, where he was a litigator, and served as editor of the Columbia Law Review. He was previously an Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The Common, Rolling Stone, GuernicaThe Paris Review Daily, Electric Literature, and other publications. 


If you like noir crime fiction or New York City, check out this virtual event.

Sarah Pearse and The Retreat

Posted on Updated on

Sarah Pearse follows up her bestselling novel, The Sanatorium, with The Retreat. She recently appeared for The Poisoned Pen for a virtual event, hosted by Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore. Here’s the link to the Web Store so you can purchase a copy. https://bit.ly/3zEADMj

Check out the description of The Retreat.

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium,a Reese’s Book Club pick, here, Detective Elin Warner uncovers the truth behind the suspicious deaths on a stunning island getaway

They couldn’t wait to stay here.

An idyllic wellness retreat has opened on an island off the English coast, promising rest and relaxation—but the island itself, known locally as Reaper’s Rock, has a dark past. Once the playground of a serial killer, it’s rumored to be cursed.

But now they can’t leave.

A young woman is found dead below the yoga pavilion in what seems to be a tragic fall. But Detective Elin Warner soon learns the victim wasn’t a guest—she wasn’t meant to be on the island at all.

And they would do anything to escape.

The longer Elin stays, the more secrets she uncovers. And when someone else drowns in a diving incident, Elin begins to suspect that there’s nothing accidental about these deaths. But why would someone target the guests at this luxury resort? Elin must find the killer—before the island’s history starts to repeat itself.

Most came to recharge and refresh. But someone’s here for revenge.


Sarah Pearse grew up in Devon, England, and studied English literature and creative writing at the University of Warwick before completing a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism. The Sanatorium, her debut, was an instant New York Times bestseller and a #1 Sunday Times bestseller, and was selected as a Reese’s Book Club Pick. The Retreat is her second novel.


Enjoy the conversation about books and writing.

Kicking Off August

Posted on Updated on

I’ve been waiting to share the events of early August. Just check out this slate of authors! Then, don’t forget to check the Web Store for copies of their books, some signed. Enjoy! https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Karen Rose/JA Krentz
Rhys Bowen
Robert Pobi
Natasha Pulley
Ramon Emerson
Hayley Scrivenor
Catherine Coulter
Martin Walker
Brian Freeman
Spencer Quinn

Cozy Mystery Authors, Kate Carlisle & Vicki Delany

Posted on Updated on

John Charles recently welcomed two cozy mystery authors, Kate Carlisle and Vicki Delany, to The Poisoned Pen. Kate’s latest book is The Paper Caper, and Vicki’s is Murder Spills the Tea. You can order copies of both books through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

The Paper Caper is the latest in Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile mystery series. Here’s the summary.

San Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright loves a good book festival except when murder is the main event in this thrilling new addition to the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn is excited to be included in the Covington Library’s first annual Mark Twain Festival. She’ll rebind a rare first edition of The Prince and the Pauper before an enthusiastic audience of book nerds—her favorite people. The festival is the passion project of wealthy media mogul, book lover, and newspaper owner Joseph Cabot, who considers himself Twain’s biggest fan. Brooklyn’s hunky husband, Derek, and his security team once rescued Joseph from a corporate kidnapping attempt. Now Derek and his agents are charged with keeping Joseph and his beautiful young wife safe during the festivities taking place all over town. 

The centerpiece of the festival is a citywide contest based on The Prince and the Pauper: one lucky look-alike will trade places with Joseph for a few days—with access to all the money and power that Joseph commands. Brooklyn and Derek worry that the contest might be generating some dangerous attention. And when someone is mysteriously poisoned right before Brooklyn’s eyes, she’s not convinced that the victim was the intended target. Now she and Derek must frantically chase clues and suspects through the streets of San Francisco before another murder becomes front-page news. . . .


Kate Carlisle is the New York Times bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries, including Little Black Book and The Grim Reader, as well as the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, including Absence of Mallets.


Murder Spills the Tea is Vicki Delany’s new Tea by the Sea mystery. Check out the description.

Lily Roberts pores over the clues in a piping hot new case when a confrontational celebrity chef is murdered at her Cape Cod tearoom during the filming of a popular baking show in the latest Tea by the Sea mystery from national bestselling author Vicki Delany . . .

The country’s hottest TV cooking show is coming to Cape Cod. And against her better judgment, Lily Roberts is entering America Bakes! with her charming tearoom, Tea by the Sea. Filming is already proving disruptive, closing the tearoom during Lily’s busiest season. But tensions really bubble over when infamous bad-boy chef and celebrity judge, Tommy Greene, loses his temper with Lily’s staff, resulting in an on-camera blowup with Cheryl Wainwright. Just as Lily thinks the competition can’t get more bitter, Tommy is found dead in Tea by the Sea’s kitchen . . . murdered with Lily’s rolling pin.

Suspicion immediately falls on Cheryl, but the temperamental star has racked up plenty of culinary clashes in the past, both on- and off-screen. And nearly anyone associated with Tommy or the show could be the killer: be it one of Lily’s fierce competitors, a member of the beleaguered film crew, or even one of Tommy’s fellow judges—struggling cookbook maven, Claudia D’Angelo or beauty contest winner, Scarlet McIntosh. Now, while she’s baking up a storm for the show, Lily must also whip up an impromptu investigation . . . before the murderer rolls someone else away.


Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the US. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: The Tea by the Sea mysteries, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, the Year Round Christmas mysteries, and as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series. A past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and a co-organizer of Women Killing it, a crime writing festival, her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. She is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario and can be found online at VickiDelany.com.


Meet the authors and their books.