Fiction Review

Benjamin Percy Discussed The Ninth Metal

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Let’s talk science fiction, apocalyptic fiction, and comic books. That’s what host Patrick King from The Poisoned Pen discussed with Benjamin Percy, author of The Ninth Metal. That first book in The Comet Cycle is available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3wIgkK1

Here’s the summary of The Ninth Metal.

“[In THE NINTH METAL] debris from a comet drops a fabulously valuable new metal on Northfall, MN., turning it into a bloody, brawling boomtown. Great characters, fine writing, totally engrossing.”
—Stephen King

“Take one part dystopia, one part sci-fi, two parts apocalypse, then ride them roughshod through a bleak and bloody western, and it still wouldn’t get close to what Ben Percy does here, which is blow open the core of humanity’s dark heart.”
—Marlon James, Booker Prize award-winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

“Whether you choose to think of him as the Elmore Leonard of rural Minnesota or the Stephen King of Science Fiction, Ben Percy—with his extraordinary and unrelenting eye—dishes up humanity like some kind of otherworldly blue plate special, at once deeply familiar and wildly new.”
—Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Caster Chronicles

“When Benjamin Percy publishes a novel, I have got to read that novel. The Ninth Metal continues his streak of thrilling, incisive genre bending goodness. It’s a sci-fi novel, a crime novel and a super-hero novel, too. Audacious and intelligent and exactly what I was dying to read.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling


IT BEGAN WITH A COMET…

At first, people gazed in wonder at the radiant tear in the sky. A year later, the celestial marvel became a planetary crisis when Earth spun through the comet’s debris field and the sky rained fire.

The town of Northfall, Minnesota will never be the same. Meteors cratered hardwood forests and annihilated homes, and among the wreckage a new metal was discovered. This “omnimetal” has properties that make it world-changing as an energy source…and a weapon.

John Frontier—the troubled scion of an iron-ore dynasty in Northfall—returns for his sister’s wedding to find his family embroiled in a cutthroat war to control mineral rights and mining operations. His father rightly suspects foreign leaders and competing corporations of sabotage, but the greatest threat to his legacy might be the US government. Physicist Victoria Lennon was recruited by the Department of Defense to research omnimetal, but she finds herself trapped in a laboratory of nightmares. And across town, a rookie cop is investigating a murder that puts her own life in the crosshairs. She will have to compromise her moral code to bring justice to this now lawless community.

In this gut-punch of a novel, the first in his Comet Cycle, Ben Percy lays bare how a modern-day goldrush has turned the middle of nowhere into the center of everything, and how one family—the Frontiers—hopes to control it all.


BENJAMIN PERCY has won a Whiting Award, a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, an NEA fellowship, and the iHeartRadio Award for Best Scripted Podcast. He is the author of the novels The Ninth Metal, The Unfamiliar Garden, The Dark Net, The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding, three story collections, and an essay collection, Thrill Me. He also writes Wolverine and X-Force for Marvel Comics. He lives in Minnesota with his family.


Enjoy the conversation with Benjamin Percy.

Kristan Higgins & Pack Up the Moon

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John Charles from The Poisoned Pen introduces Kristan Higgins, author of Pack Up the Moon. (She will also introduce her dog in the video.) There are some signed copies of her book still available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/35wwF8G

Here’s the summary of Pack Up the Moon.

Every month, a letter. That’s what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she’s dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.

Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness. 
 
As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.
 
But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line. 
 
Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life’s greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.


Kristan Higgins is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two children, and dogs. If you want to know when Kristan’s next book will be out and hear news of her appearances, subscribe to her mailing list at www.kristanhiggins.com.


Enjoy John Charles’ discussion with Kristan Higgins.

Connie Berry in Conversation with Jane Cleland

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I’ve been waiting to share this conversation with you because it was so much fun if you enjoy traditional mysteries set in England. Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton mysteries, featuring an American antiques dealer in England. Her latest book, The Art of Betrayal, was the topic, along with antiques, when she spoke with guest host Jane Cleland. You can find signed copies of The Art of Betrayal, along with copies of Berry’s other mysteries, in the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2w8VlGd

Here’s the description of The Art of Betrayal.

In Connie Berry’s third Kate Hamilton mystery, American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s spring is cut short when a body turns up at the May Fair pageant.

Spring is a magical time in England–bluebells massing along the woodland paths, primrose and wild thyme dotting the meadows. Antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is spending the month of May in the Suffolk village of Long Barston, enjoying precious time with Detective Inspector Tom Mallory. While attending the May Fair, the annual pageant based on a well-known Anglo-Saxon folktale, a body turns up in the middle of the festivities.

Kate is even more shocked when she learns the murder took place in antiquity shop owner Ivor Tweedy’s stockroom and a valuable Chinese pottery jar that she had been tasked with finding a buyer for has been stolen. Ivor may be ruined. Insurance won’t cover a fraction of the loss.

As Tom leads the investigation, Kate begins to see puzzling parallels between the murder and local legends. The more she learns, the more convinced she is that the solution to both crimes lies in the misty depths of Anglo-Saxon history and a generations-old pattern of betrayal. It’s up to Kate to unravel this Celtic knot of lies and deception to save Ivor’s business.


Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. You can learn more about Connie and her books at her website http://www.connieberry.com.


Enjoy the conversation!

Don Bentley in Conversation with Brad Taylor

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The background of author Don Bentley fits perfectly for the latest Jack Ryan, Jr. novel, Tom Clancy: Target Acquired. And, guest host Brad Taylor has an interesting background as well, but you’ll have to watch the virtual event to hear about their backgrounds. I’m not sure there are any signed copies of Target Acquired still available, but you can certainly order a book through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3t6USvV

Here’s the summary of Tom Clancy: Target Acquired.

Jack Ryan, Jr., will do anything for a friend, but this favor will be paid for in blood in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Ryan, Jr. would do anything for Ding Chavez. That’s why Jack is currently sitting in an open-air market in Israel, helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding’s Army days. Ding hadn’t seen his friend since Peter’s transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior, and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It’s a cushy assignment–a trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.

Jack is here merely as an observer, but when he hastens to help a woman and her young son, he finds himself the target of trained killers. Alone and outgunned, Jack will have to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.


Tom Clancy was the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than eighteen books. He died in October 2013.

Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military, Bentley worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.


Enjoy the conversation about the authors’ background, Jack Ryan, Jr., and writing.

Sujata Massey in Conversation with Nev March

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Oh, what a fascinating conversation about Sujata Massey’s latest book, The Bombay Prince. Massey discussed her book, her series, and Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, with author and host Nev March. You can order a copy through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Vo7Ub4

Here’s the summary of The Bombay Prince.

Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule. Sujata Massey is back with this third installment to the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series set in 1920s Bombay.

November 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a fourmonth tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Feeling guilty for failing to have helped Freny in life, Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest. When Freny’s death appears suspicious, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?


Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before becoming a full-time novelist. The first Perveen Mistry novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, was an international bestseller and won the Agatha, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark Awards. Visit her website at sujatamassey.com.


I think you’ll enjoy the conversation.

A Podcast Fan?

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Are you a podcast fan? You do know about The Poisoned Pen’s library of podcasts, don’t you? They’re available via Podbean. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, had this note in her recent newsletter.


Our Podcast Library Keeps Growing
Visit our  Podcasts.   92,000 downloads show your interest

Easy download links are provided. They are also available on iTunes and Google Music

Enjoy conversations from our storied past
AND more new conversations: Laurie R. King; Bill Clinton and James Patterson with Lee Child; Don Bentley with Brad Taylor’ Sujata Massey with Nev March. Coming up: Kristan Higgins, Ben Percy.

John McMahon’s A Good Kill

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John McMahon’s latest book in the P.T. Marsh series, A Good Kill, will be released on Tuesday, June 15. He appears on Facebook Live at The Poisoned Pen’s site on Wednesday, June 16 at 5 PM PT, 8 PM ET, to discuss the book. You can order a signed first edition through the Web Store, http://bit.ly/2FplGl1.

Here’s a teaser, the book trailer for A Good Kill.

John McMahon. A Good Kill (Putnam, $27.00 Signed). An electrifying mystery featuring a troubled small-town police detective faced with three interwoven crimes that reveal sinister secrets about his community–and the deaths of his family, by the Edgar Award-and Thriller Award- short-listed author whose novels have been described by the New York Times Book Review as “pretty much perfect.”


In the years since the mysterious deaths of his wife and child, P.T. Marsh, a police detective in the small Georgia town of Mason Falls, has faced demons–both professional and personal. But when he is called to the scene of a school shooting, the professional and personal become intertwined, and he suspects that whoever is behind the crime may be connected to his own family tragedy.


As Marsh and his partner Remy investigate the shooting, they discover that it is far from straightforward, and their search for answers leads them to a conspiracy at the highest levels of local government–including within the police force. The stakes in the case become increasingly high, culminating in a showdown that has Marsh questioning everything he knows, and wondering if some secrets are better left undiscovered. 



John McMahon
 is the author of The Good Detective and The Evil Men Do. In his role as an ad agency creative director, he has won a Gold Clio for his work with Fiat, and he’s written a Superbowl spot for Alfa Romeo. He currently lives in Southern California with his family and two rescue animals.

Ashley Weaver’s New Series

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Ashley Weaver, author of the Amory Ames mysteries, introduces a new historical mystery series set in World War II. A Peculiar Combination is the first Electra McDonnell novel. You can order the new book, and Weaver’s other ones, through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3xbWYfU

The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author’s signature wit.

Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but World War II is in full swing, Ellie’s cousins Colm and Toby are off fighting against Hitler, and Uncle Mick’s more honorable business as a locksmith can’t pay the bills any more.

So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in the empty house of a wealthy family, he and Ellie can’t resist. All goes as planned—until the pair are caught redhanded. Ellie expects them to be taken straight to prison, but instead they are delivered to a large townhouse, where government official Major Ramsey is waiting with an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints that will be critical to the British war effort, before they can be delivered to a German spy, or he turns her over to the police.

Ellie doesn’t care for the Major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice, and besides, she’s eager to do her bit for king and country. She may be a thief, but she’s no coward. When she and the Major break into the house in question, they find instead the purported German spy dead on the floor, the safe already open and empty. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double-agent, as they try to stop allied plans falling into German hands.


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 the discussion with Ashley Weaver.

Laurie R. King & Castle Shade

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A few years ago, Laurie R. King shared a trip with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.That trip provided some of the background for King’s latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, Castle Shade. You can order copies of Castle Shade through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3g6WjXD

A queen, a castle, a dark and ageless threat—all await Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this chilling new adventure.

The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter of Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania’s young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country’s long-lost provinces, singlehandedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.

The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thank-you from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat is . . . well, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may be only accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won’t take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West . . . vampires.


Laurie R. King is the award-winning, bestselling author of sixteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and many acclaimed stand-alone novels such as FollyTouchstoneThe Bones of Paris, and Lockdown. She lives in Northern California, where she is at work on her next Mary Russell mystery.


Enjoy Laurie R. King’s conversation with Barbara Peters.

The National Release – Clinton, Patterson & Child

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It’s hard to top this lineup for a national book release. The Poisoned Pen recently held the virtual national release for President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, authors of The President’s Daughter, hosted by Lee Child. There is a limited supply of signed copies still available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3ggUIxq

All Presidents have nightmares.  This one is about to come true.

A rocket ride of a thriller—the new blockbuster by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, “the dream team” (Lee Child).

Every detail is accurate—
because one of the authors is President Bill Clinton. The drama and action never stop—
because the other author is James Patterson.

Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEALand a past presidenthas always defended his family as staunchly as he has his country. Now those defenses are under attack.

A madman abducts Keating’s teenage daughter, Melanie—turning every parent’s deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches in real time, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

The authors’ first collaboration, The President Is Missing, a #1 New York Times bestseller and the #1 bestselling novel of 2018, was praised as “ambitious and wildly readable” (New York Times Book Review) and “a fabulously entertaining thriller” (Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ron Chernow).


Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change. He is the author of a number of nonfiction works, including My Life, which was a #1 international bestseller. With James Patterson, he is co-author of the #1 international bestselling novel The President Is Missing.

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Maximum Ride. Among his notable literary collaborations are The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton, and the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. For his prodigious imagination and championship of literacy in America, Patterson was awarded the 2019 National Humanities Medal. The National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and nine Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.


Even if you missed this unusual program, you can now watch the event.