Fiction Review

Diana Gabaldon hosting KC Dyer

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It’s not too early for a heads-up about our Thursday, May 5 evening event at The Poisoned Pen. Diana Gabaldon will host KC Dyer, author of Finding Fraser, a novel inspired by Gabaldon’s Outlander series.


Both authors will sign copies of Finding Fraser. All the details of the 7 PM event on Thursday, May 5 are linked.

Just a note, though. No outside books will be signed at the event. Only books purchased that day or pre-ordered through the Poisoned Pen will be signed at the event. Thank you for your cooperation. Here’s where you can order your signed copy.

This title’s going to be hot (in more ways than one).

Edgar Award Winners – 2016

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Are you a fan of the mystery awards? The Edgar Awards were announced tonight at the Mystery Writers of America’s annual banquet. The 2016 winners are below. Remember, if you want any of these, we hope you consider ordering them through The Poisoned Pen’s store.

Mary Higgins Clark Award – Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day

Best Juvenile Book – Foster Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught

Best Young Adult – A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

Best Critical/Biographical – A Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards

Best Fact Crime – Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil

Best Short Story – “Obits” by Stephen King in The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Best Paperback Original – The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Best First Novel by an American Author – The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Best Mystery Novel – Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy

And, Walter Mosley is this year’s Grand Master.

Let Me Die



John Sandford & Douglas Preston, Livestream

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Here’s an event you’ll want to see and hear live. John Sandford, on his book tour for Extreme Prey, the latest Lucas Davenport novel, was joined by Douglas Preston at The Poisoned Pen. Store owner Barbara Peters led the discussion of the election year thriller. It was a packed house, and through Livestream, you can almost feel as if you were there.

So, join the event. And, afterwards, you might want to buy your signed copy of Extreme Prey. It comes with an exclusive, specially signed campaign button, “Lucas Davenport for President”, perfect for this election year thriller.

Hot Book of the Week (12)

John Sandford with Douglas Preston at The Poisoned Pen

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As you can see, it was a packed house when John Sandford was joined by Douglas Preston at The Poisoned Pen.

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Sandford is on his book tour for Extreme Prey, the latest Lucas Davenport novel.

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Left to right – Barbara Peters, Douglas Preston, John Sandford

Sandford’s book is timely, dealing with a Presidential campaign.

Sandford-Preston 007 Does it surprise anyone that Peters, Preston and Sandford had a good time talking about Davenport, who has now left the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension? Of course, since he’s dealing with a political campaign, Davenport finds himself dealing with some pretty crazy people.

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Sandford signs Extreme Prey while Preston waits with his copy of the book.

This audience was lucky to be able to hear and meet both authors, John Sandford and Douglas Preston. If you would like to hear the conversation, I’ll have the Livestream linked here tomorrow, and you can come back and see and hear it.

In the meantime, you can order your signed copy of Extreme Prey

Our copies come with an exclusive, specially designed campaign button, “Lucas Davenport for President”, perfect for an election year Davenport thriller.

Hot Book of the Week (12)

Fresh Ink from Tammy Kaehler

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It’s not too early to discuss Cozy Con. Saturday, May 7, from 1-5 PM, John Charles will host Cozy Con for The Poisoned Pen, a celebration of cozy mysteries. This year’s guest authors include Jenn McKinlay, Paige Shelton, Hannah Dennison, C.S. Harris, Cameron Harvey, Tammy Kaehler, Annette Mahon, and Paul Charles.

To stir up your interest in the event, I’ve asked a few of the authors to write guest posts for the blog. Tammy Kaehler is the author of the Kate Reilly mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. Tammy  has an interesting take on cozy mysteries.


The Darker Side of Cozy

I go back and forth on the question of whether or not my books are cozies. Yes, she’s an amateur sleuth.Yes, she’s female. And yes, any sex and violence happens off-screen. But my mysteries are borderline on the other classic criteria—a small-town setting and language—and they don’t have what I think of as the classic calm cozy environment.

You see, I write a series about a female racecar driver and set each book at a different race, track, and city. It’s true that the setting (the racing world) is its own mobile small-town, but rarely are the victims, suspects, or mystery confined to that world. In fact, my latest, Red Flags, is set in Southern California, and my protagonist, Kate Reilly, chases all over Los Angeles, Long Beach, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills after clues.

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Tammy Kaehler. (Photo credit: PB Shoots)

I’ll also cop to some bad language on occasion, all coming out of Kate’s mouth—though I’m conscious of keeping it limited. But realistically, if Kate’s doing 150 m.p.h. and wrecking her racecar, I figure she’s allowed some strong language!

There’s also a lot more action, tension, and drama to be found on the racetrack than in your average small-town bakery or craft store—and note that I don’t confuse “action” with drama or emotion, because even the most sedate settings can be fast-paced and can seethe with violence and passion. But the day-to-day action of a race—not to mention glimpses of Kate’s work behind the wheel—is a much different vibe from the classic cozy. I’ve got no little old ladies, no cats, and no tea or recipes in my books.

Still, I think of what I’m writing as cozy’s harder edge. Its darker side. Because I’m still giving readers what I love about cozy mysteries: a puzzle solved by someone who doesn’t have all the tools or answers; a sometimes-bumbling, sometimes-successful, and ultimately relatable female character; and a look at a world I know nothing about. I wrote the book I wanted to read, and I’m a huge fan of cozies and traditional mysteries—of Dick Francis, in particular.

So from now on, I’m expanding my definition of cozy mysteries to include more flavors—because who says a cozy can’t feature a psychologist, a student of the occult, or a racecar driver? Plus, I’ll also enjoy the idea that I write the dark side of anything.

Tell me, what are your favorite types of cozies? What’s your definition of a cozy mystery? And do racecars have a place?


Tammy Kaehler is the author of the Kate Reilly Mystery Series, published by Poisoned Pen Press. She’ll take part in Cozy Con at The Poisoned Pen on May 7. She’ll be signing Red Flags.

Red Flags

Livestream from The Poisoned Pen

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I recently mentioned how jealous I am that I can’t attend the author events at The Poisoned Pen. Actually, we do have the opportunity to feel as if we are there. Have you ever watched one of the Livestream events? It’s almost like being there, hearing the conversations and the laughter.

The Pen does plan Livestream events ahead of time. At the moment, there are upcoming appearances by John Sandford, Diana Gabaldon with KC Dyer, Nevada Barr, and Craig Johnson, among others.

Although you can see the list, you can also find the archives of events from the past.

It’s a great opportunity to hear authors you might have missed, or to discover new authors. Try it sometime!

The Girl on the Train trailer

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Paula Hawkins’ book, The Girl on the Train, was a blockbuster. Emily Blunt will be starring in the movie, scheduled for release in October. Have you seen the trailer yet?