Fiction Review

Crime and Humor, according to Tim Maleeny

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Any author who writes a book called Boxing the Octopus might know a little bit about crime and humor. Tim Maleeny recently wrote an article for CrimeReads called “The Art of Blending Crime and Humor”. You can find the article here.

Maleeny will be at The Poisoned Pen on Tuesday, November 5 at 7 PM to talk about his latest release, Boxing the Octopus. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of Boxing the Octopus.

If you’re gonna box an octopus, best bring some extra arms

At the height of tourist season, an armored car drives off a crowded pier and sinks to the bottom of San Francisco Bay. By the time divers find the wreck, the cash is gone and the driver has vanished. The police are convinced it’s an inside job, but local merchant Vera Young, whose boyfriend drove the armored car, claims it was much more than a simple heist.

Vera swears the missing driver is innocent and wants him found before the police can throw him in jail. Private investigator Cape Weathers reluctantly takes the case but warns Vera that her boyfriend is likely guilty-or dead. What starts as a manhunt uncovers a criminal conspiracy of money laundering, illegal drug testing, and a network of corporations willing to do anything to protect their stock price. It’s a case that Cape can’t get his arms around, and his relationship with Vera is getting complicated while the list of people who want him dead is getting longer.

Boxing The Octopus is a runaway tour of San Francisco’s underworld which reminds us that when things get out of hand, having eight arms is always better than two.


On Tuesday, November 5, Tim Maleeny will be joined by Michael Stanley and four authors from Australia – Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott, Jock Serong, and Ema Viskic. It’s a special opportunity because the Australian authors received a grant to do a short tour of the U.S. You might want to consider an evening at The Poisoned Pen.

Michael Connelly & Bosch

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the ticketed event at The Poisoned Pen with Michael Connelly, a short program and a book signing.

All of the details are in that post. The last I knew, there were a few tickets still available, but I can’t promise.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can still order a signed copy of Connelly’s new book, The Night Fire. Check the Web Store.

At least, you might want to take time to read Carolyn Kellogg’s excellent interview in The Washington Post.

Annie Hogsett – Surprised by Characters

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The third book in Annie Hogsett’s Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead mystery series has just been released from Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen Press. Hogsett takes readers back to Cleveland in The Devil’s Own Game. You can order all of the books in the series through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of the latest book.

The murder is the message

What you don’t see is what you get. When a sniper targets a blind man walking along the lagoon of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the bullet is a wake-up call aimed straight for Allie Harper and Tom Bennington, shattering their illusion that the Mondo Mega Jackpot Nightmare is over.

On the day Allie—sassy, lonely, broke—met Tom—smart, hot, blind—he won $500 million trying to show a kid that gambling doesn’t pay. Romance—and multiple murders—ensued, along with a new, opulent lifestyle that the couple had never dreamed possible. Then a ruthless man of formidable skills and resources hacked into the security system in their rented 9,000 square-foot lakeside mansion, and they learned just how far someone who begrudges their good fortune would go to destroy them. Now they know the past six months of peace and quiet were the calm before a rising storm of mayhem and revenge.

The new game begins tonight. An old devil. A new devil. And a new case for The T&A Detective Agency. (Yes. They should have put Allie’s initial first.) Tom and Allie aren’t on the case long before they discover a strong lead that takes them into the heights of Cleveland’s upper-crust, where husbands and wives weave webs of betrayal with unfathomable sums of money at the center. As the threats–and murders—multiply, Allie, Tom, and the T&A must fight to beat the devil’s own game. Will they get out alive?

Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead series:
Too Lucky to Live (Book 1)
Murder to the Metal (Book 2)
The Devil’s Own Game (Book 3)

Praise for Annie Hogsett:
“The original voice, humor, and unusual premise will appeal to Janet Evanovich readers.” —Library Journal STARRED review for Too Lucky to Live
“Fast pacing, multiple plot twists, and humor, including a Stephanie Plum-like main character, enliven the story and keep the pages turning.” —Booklist for Too Lucky to Live
“The bittersweet mystery, with the open-ended threat of a villainous mastermind, is reminiscent of P.J. Tracy’s early ‘Monkeewrench’ novels.” —Library Journal for Murder to the Metal


The reviews mention that original main character. The mysteries, and the characters themselves, sometimes come as a surprise to Hogsett. She talks about the surprises that come to the author in a recent article for You might want to check out Annie Hogsett’s piece, “When a Mystery Blindsides You”

Anne Perry’s New Series

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Anne Perry recently launched a new series set in pre-World War II Europe, and you can be there, via video. The first book in the series, Death in Focus, is available through the Web Store. You can also pre-order Perry’s annual Christmas book, A Christmas Gathering.

Because Death in Focus is just out, here’s the summary of that book.

In the start of an all-new mystery series set in pre–World War II Europe, an intrepid young photographer carries her dead lover’s final, world-shattering message into the heart of Berlin as Hitler ascends to power.

On vacation from London on the beautiful Italian coast, twenty-eight-year-old Elena Standish and her older sister, Margot, have finally been able to move on from the lasting trauma of the Great War, in which the newly married Margot lost her husband and the sisters their beloved brother. Touring with her camera in hand, Elena has found new inspiration in the striking Italian landscape, and she’s met an equally striking man named Ian. When Ian has to leave unexpectedly, Elena—usually the more practical of the sisters—finds she’s not ready to part from him, and the two share a spontaneous train trip home to England. But a shocking sequence of events disrupts their itinerary, forcing Elena to personally deliver a message to Berlin on Ian’s behalf, one that could change the fate of Europe.

Back home, Elena’s diplomat father and her secretive grandfather—once head of MI6, unbeknownst to his family—are involved in their own international machinations. Worried when Elena still hasn’t returned from Italy, her grandfather starts to connect the dots between her change in plans and an incident in Berlin, where Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich are on the rise. It seems the message Elena delivered has forced her into a dangerous predicament, and her grandfather’s old contacts from MI6 may be the only people who can get her out alive—if Elena can tell the difference between her allies and her enemies.

New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry merges family secrets with suspense on the world stage, as darkness bubbles under the surface of a Europe on the brink of change. In these complicated times, Elena emerges as a strong new heroine who learns quickly that when nothing is certain, she can rely only on herself.

Advance praise for Death in Focus

“Masterful! It’s exceedingly rare for an author to have the talent to blend classic elements of a thriller with compelling family dynamics and geopolitical intrigue, but Anne Perry pulls it off like the consummate pro that she is. And, on top of all that, Death in Focus is written in her unique literary voice. I guarantee you’ll love Elena Standish. Brava!” —Jeffery Deaver, author of The Never Game


You are there, now, for the conversation between Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, and Anne Perry.

John Connolly & A Book of Bones

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John Connolly is on tour for this week’s Hot Book of the Week, A Book of Bones. He’ll be at The Poisoned Pen on Friday, October 18 at 7 PM, where he’ll be hosted by John Sandford. Even if you can’t make it, you can order a signed copy of A Book of Bones through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of A Book of Bones.

“Complex, pulse-pounding…Connolly’s nuanced characterizations and facility at creating spooky atmospherics make it easy to suspend disbelief about the threat of cosmic horror from other dimensions.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Private Investigator Charlie Parker returns in this heart-pounding thriller as he seeks revenge against the darkest forces in the world, from the internationally bestselling author of the acclaimed The Woman in the Woods.

He is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On a lonely moor in northern England, the body of a young woman is discovered. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the darkness has heard the call.

Charlie Parker has also heard it and from the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast the world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil—but evil fears him.

With John Connolly’s signature “blend of crime and supernatural horror” (Crime Reads), A Book of Bones is a terrifying and suspenseful thrill ride that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Poisoned Pen Press Authors, in Conversation

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Well, mostly. Mark Coggins isn’t a Poisoned Pen Press author, but he’s a long-time friend of The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, recently hosted four authors at a Poisoned Pen Press Party. She actually split the group in two to make it easier to talk with them. Thomas Kies, Mark Coggins, Dennis Palumbo and Warren C. Easley participated. You can find their books in the Web Store.

Now, if you would like to “attend” the Poisoned Pen Press party, you can watch the video.

Deborah Crombie, In Conversation

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Deborah Crombie is doing a limited book tour for her eighteenth Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James book, A Bitter Feast, but, of course she came to The Poisoned Pen. This is also the mystery for October’s British Crime Club. You can still order a signed copy of the book through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of A Bitter Feast.

“Crombie’s characters are rich, emotionally textured, fully human. They are the remarkable creations of a remarkable writer.”—Louise Penny

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie returns with a mesmerizing entry in her “excellent” (Miami Herald) series, in which Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are pulled into a dangerous web of secrets, lies, and murder that simmers beneath the surface of a tranquil Cotswolds village.

Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most enchanting regions, famous for its rolling hills, golden cottages, and picturesque villages.

Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant. The Talbot family is wealthy, prominent, and powerful—Melody’s father is the publisher of one of London’s largest and most influential newspapers. The centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity harvest luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After fifteen years in London’s cut-throat food scene, Viv has returned to the Gloucestershire valleys of her childhood and quickly made a name for herself with her innovative meals based on traditional cuisine but using fresh local ingredients. Attended by the local well-to-do as well as national press food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.

But a tragic car accident and a series of mysterious deaths rock the estate and pull Duncan and Gemma into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the killer has a connection with Viv’s pub—or, perhaps, with Beck House itself.

Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it closer to home, tied up in the tangled relationships and bitter resentments between the staff at Beck House and Viv’s new pub? Or is it more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv and those closest to her?


If you’re an Anglophile or a fan of Crombie’s books, or want to learn more about British cuisine, you’ll want to pick up A Bitter Feast. Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, has hosted Deborah Crombie for all of her books, and she’s interviewed her at conferences as well. Now, you can also enjoy the latest book conversation between the two.