Fiction Review

Guest Authors & Summer Reading

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Friday is the first day of fall, so it’s time to ask that age-old question. What did you do on your summer vacation? Actually, I asked ten authors to tell us what they read over the summer. You’ll have to come back for the next ten days to read their answers. It’s a delightful collection. And, most of the books are available through the Poisoned Pen’s Web Store if the author entices you and you’re looking for your autumn reading.

Here’s the schedule for the blog for the next ten days. I hope you come back every day, but, if you can’t, mark your calendar for the day your favorite author will appear.

Friday, Sept. 22 – Martin Edwards

Saturday, Sept. 23 – Donis Casey

Sunday, Sept. 24 – Jeffrey Siger

Monday, Sept. 25 – Reed Farrel Coleman

Tuesday, Sept. 26 – Lisa Unger

Wednesday, Sept. 27 – Jenn McKinlay

Thursday, Sept. 28 – Cara Black

Friday, Sept. 29 – Con Lehane

Saturday, Sept. 30 – Naomi Hirahara

Sunday, Oct. 1 – Betty Webb

Thank you to all the authors who took time out of their busy schedules to write about their summer reading.

Hot Book of the Week – Anne Perry’s An Echo of Murder

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I know this is really unrelated, but I love the cover of Anne Perry’s new William Monk novel, An Echo of Murder. It’s the Hot Book of the Week. Signed copies are available through the Web Store.

Echo of Murder

In this riveting new William Monk novel, Anne Perry delves into the diverse population of Victorian London, whose disparate communities force Monk to rethink his investigative techniques—lest he be caught in the crosshairs of violent bigotry.

In the course of his tenure with the Thames River Police, Commander Monk has yet to see a more gruesome crime scene: a Hungarian warehouse owner lies in the middle of his blood-sodden office, pierced through the chest with a bayonet and eerily surrounded by seventeen candles, their wicks dipped in blood. Suspecting the murder may be rooted in ethnic prejudice, Monk turns to London’s Hungarian community in search of clues but finds his inquiries stymied by its wary citizens and a language he doesn’t speak. Only with the help of a local pharmacist acting as translator can Monk hope to penetrate this tightly knit enclave, even as more of its members fall victim to identical brutal murders. But whoever the killer, or killers, may be—a secret society practicing ritual sacrifice, a madman on a spree, a British native targeting foreigners—they are well hidden among the city’s ever-growing populace.

With the able assistance of his wife—former battlefield nurse Hester, who herself is dealing with a traumatized war veteran who may be tangled up in the murders—Monk must combat distrust, hostility, and threats from the very people he seeks to protect. But as the body count grows, stirring ever greater fear and anger among the Hungarian émigrés, resistance to the police also increases. Racing time and the rising tide of terror all around him, Monk must be even more relentless than the mysterious killer, or the echoes of malice and murder will resound through London’s streets like a clarion of doom.

Crime on the Comstock – Naomi Hirahara

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Left Coast Crime is in Reno in 2018, March 22-25.  The slogan is Crime on the Comstock. Naomi Hirahara is a Guest of Honor. (She’s also going to have a guest post here on Saturday, Sept. 30.) If you’ve already registered, you would have received the newsletter and her news. You can still register at

If you haven’t registered, Hirahara’s news might tempt you.


News from Guest of Honor Naomi Hirahara

Dear LCC Renoites!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of the festivities in March 2018. The convention coincides with the publication of my seventh and final Mas Arai mystery, Hiroshima Boy. This novel is set entirely in contemporary Hiroshima, mostly on a small island that is a fifteen-minute ferry ride from the city. The mystery has a bit of a Shetland or Broadchurch kind of vibe to it, in spite of being set in Japan and not the United Kingdom. It’s been exhilarating and emotional to complete the series. My biggest concern was to finish well and properly serve my protagonist, the aging gardener, Mas Arai. I believe that I have done so and am looking forward to sharing this book with you all in Reno.

I’m also doing research for a new series set in historic Chicago. This will be a stretch for this native Los Angeleno. But one thing I’ve learned from Hiroshima Boy is that it’s our job as writers to not always tread on what is easy or familiar. By pushing ourselves mentally and yes, sometimes physically, new doors open. I’ll also be stepping into telling stories in another medium – film. No, I’m not going to be a filmmaker, but I’ll be working as a producer for a small independent film adaptation of my first Mas Arai novel. Learning new things is certainly invigorating, introducing me to a younger generation of storytellers.

I’ve also been thinking of all the fun and mischief we’ll be having in Reno. Since we will be together as friends and readers, I want us to have plenty of opportunities to laugh. I took an improv class this summer and some of those skills will be put to good use at the convention. And there will be karaoke, too, but no worries – nothing like the karaoke you’ve been exposed to in the past.

So get ready for the unexpected in Reno. It will be a wonderful party celebrating the diversity of our genre.

Much love,
Naomi Hirahara


So, watch for Hiroshima Boy next year in the Web Store. I hope you come back for Naomi’s post on September 30.

October’s Cozy Mysteries

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I don’t often mention cozy mysteries here, although you can order them through the Poisoned Pen’s Web Store. Every month, there are cozy mysteries that celebrate holidays or ones with entertaining characters that bring readers back for book after book. Donna Andrews and Miranda James are just two of the bestselling authors who have books due out in October.

Looking for a list of the forthcoming cozy mysteries? has a monthly list. Check out Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List at Then, check for your favorite titles in the Web Store.

Thomas Mullen & Lightning Men

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Lightning Men banner

Thomas Mullen, author of Lightning Men, will be at The Poisoned Pen on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6:30 PM. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Why would you want a signed copy? How about this?

Lightning Men ad

Here’s the summary. “Writes with a ferocious passion that’ll knock the wind out of you.” —The New York Times, on Darktown

“Reads like the best of James Ellroy.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Darktown

“Mullen is a wonderful architect of intersecting plotlines and unexpected answers.” —The Washington Post, on Darktown

From the acclaimed author of The Last Town on Earth comes the gripping follow-up to Darktown, a “combustible procedural that will knock the wind out of you” (The New York Times).

Officer Denny Rakestraw and “Negro Officers” Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith have their hands full in an overcrowded and rapidly changing Atlanta. It’s 1950 and racial tensions are simmering as black families, including Smith’s sister, begin moving into formerly all-white neighborhoods. When Rake’s brother-in-law launches a scheme to rally the Ku Klux Klan to “save” their neighborhood, his efforts spiral out of control, forcing Rake to choose between loyalty to family or the law.

Across town, Boggs and Smith try to shut down the supply of white lightning and drugs into their territory, finding themselves up against more powerful foes than they’d expected. Battling corrupt cops and ex-cons, Nazi brown shirts and rogue Klansmen, the officers are drawn closer to the fires that threaten to consume the city once again.

With echoes of Walter Mosley and Dennis Lehane, Mullen demonstrates in Lightning Men why he’s celebrated for writing crime fiction “with a nimble sense of history…quick on its feet and vividly drawn” (Dallas Morning News).


Or maybe Marilyn Stasio can convince you. Lightning Men is the first book she reviews in her column in the Sept. 13th New York Times. The Crime Column this week is called, “Bad Neighbors, Bad Husbands and Very Bad Behavior.” Check out her comments about Lightning Men.

Attica Locke @ The Poisoned Pen

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The Poisoned Pen hosted Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird, for the first time. The award-winning author was the subject of a recent article in The Guardian.

You can order signed copies of Bluebird, Bluebird through the Web Store.

Here’s the summary.

A powerful thriller about the explosive intersection of love, race, and justice from a writer and producer of the Emmy winning Fox TV show Empire.

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

When his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders–a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman–have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes–and save himself in the process–before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt. A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.
Best of all, you can watch the event on Livestream. Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen interviews Attica Locke. She has a fascinating story to tell.

David Lagercrantz, A Preview

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If you’ve been to an author event at The Poisoned Pen, or, if you’ve watched one on Livestream, you know Barbara Peters and the staff do wonderful, entertaining interviews. You’ll have the chance to meet and hear David Lagercrantz, author of The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 PM. You can order a signed copy through the Web Site.

Girl and eye

Here’s the summary.

From the author of the #1 international best seller The Girl in the Spider’s Web: the new book in the Millennium series, which began with Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others—even she has never been able to uncover the most telling facts of her traumatic childhood, the secrets that might finally, fully explain her to herself. Now, when she sees a chance to uncover them once and for all, she enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of the muckraking, investigative journal Millennium. And she will let nothing stop her—not the Islamists she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the prison gang leader who passes a death sentence on her; not the deadly reach of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry. Once again, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, together, are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the most insidious problems facing the world at this very moment.


Why am I talking about this book so early? USA Today will host a live chat with David Lagercrantz several days before the program at The Poisoned Pen. It’s part of their #BookmarkThis program. The event will be held at 9 AM Arizona time on Sept. 22. Here’s the link.

I like to share author information with all of you. But, remember, Lagercrantz will be here in person. You’ll be able to meet him on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 7 PM, and have him sign your book. There’s nothing like meeting the author in person.