Fiction Review

Chris Bohjalian’s Hot Book of the Week

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Chris Bohjalian will appear at The Poisoned Pen on Sunday, May 15 at 2 PM for a live in-person event. Signed copies of Bohjalian’s The Lioness, the bookstore’s Hot Book of the Week, are available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3wmcGGA

Here’s the description of The Lioness.

A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.
 
“The best possible combination of Hemingway and Agatha Christie — a gorgeously written story about the landscape and risks of Africa, whose edge-of-your-seat plot makes it impossible to put down.”
—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebras storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests—including Katie’s best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film Tender Madness—will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive.

What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: a kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding their hostages into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: to see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, The Lioness is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers.


CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three books, including Hour of the Witch, The Red Lotus, Midwives, and The Flight Attendant, which has been made into an HBO Max limited series starring Kaley Cuoco. His other books include The Guest Room; Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands; The Sandcastle Girls; Skeletons at the Feast; and The Double Bind. His novels Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers were made into movies, and his work has been translated into more than thirty-five languages. He is also a playwright (Wingspan and Midwives). He lives in Vermont and can be found at chrisbohjalian.com or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Litsy, and Goodreads, @chrisbohjalian

Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) & When She Dreams

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When She Dreams is the sixth book in Amanda Quick’s Burning Cove series, set in 1930s California. Quick, who is actually Jayne Ann Krentz, appeared for a virtual event for The Poisoned Pen, hosted by John Charles. You can order a copy of When She Dreams through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3PbEaHK There might even be some signed copies available.

Here’s the summary of When She Dreams.

Return to 1930s Burning Cove, California, the glamorous seaside playground for Hollywood stars, mobsters, spies, and a host of others who find more than they bargain for in this mysterious town.
 
Maggie Lodge, assistant to the reclusive advice columnist known only as Dear Aunt Cornelia to her readers, hires down-but-not-quite-out private eye Sam Sage to help track down the person who is blackmailing her employer. Maggie and Sam are a mismatched pair. As far as Sam is concerned, Maggie is reckless and in over her head. She is not what he had in mind for a client, but he can’t afford to be choosy. Maggie, on the other hand, is convinced that Sam is badly in need of guidance and good advice. She does not hesitate to give him both.
 
In spite of the verbal fireworks between them, they are fiercely attracted to each other, but each is convinced it would be a mistake to let passion take over. They are, after all, keeping secrets from each other. Sam is haunted by his past, which includes a marriage shattered by betrayal and violence. Maggie is troubled by intense and vivid dreams—dreams that she can sometimes control. There are those who want to run experiments on her and use her for their own purposes, while others think she should be committed to an asylum.
 
When the pair discovers someone is impersonating Aunt Cornelia at a conference on psychic dreaming and a woman dies at the conference, the door is opened to a dangerous web of blackmail and murder. Secrets from the past are revealed, leaving Maggie and Sam in the path of a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to exact vengeance.


Enjoy the conversation with Quick and Charles.


Amanda Quick is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, the author, under various pen names, of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. There are more than 35 million copies of her books in print. She is also the author of the Ladies of Lantern Street novels and the Arcane Society series.

Dana Stabenow Hosts Marc Cameron

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Dana Stabenow is the perfect host for Marc Cameron. As a fellow Alaska resident, she understands the Alaska connection in Cameron’s latest book, Cold Snap. Signed copies of Cold Snap, the fourth Arliss Cutter novel, are available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3NdQDJh

Here’s the summary of Cold Snap.

“Cameron’s books are riveting page-turners.” —Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The bestselling author of the latest Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan novels delivers an adrenaline-filled new thriller featuring Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter! Stranded with three violent prisoners in the deadly Alaskan wilderness, Cutter will become the hunter and the hunted…

After an early spring thaw on the Alaskan coast, Anchorage police discover a gruesome new piece of evidence in their search for a serial killer: a dismembered human foot.

In Kincaid Park, a man is arrested for attacking a female jogger. Investigators believe they have finally have their suspect. But one deputy is sure they have the wrong man.

In the remote northern town of Deadhorse, Alaska, Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Arliss Cutter escorts four very dangerous handcuffed prisoners onto a small bush plane en route to Fairbanks. Cutter’s expecting a routine mission and a nonstop flight—or so he thinks. When the plane goes down in the wilderness, all hell breaks loose. The prisoners murder the pilot and a guard and torch the plane. But their nightmare’s just beginning. Back in Anchorage, deputy Lola Teariki has traced the dismembered foot to a missing girl—and the serial psychopath who slaughtered her.

It’s one of the prisoners on Cutter’s flight…

Now it’s a deadly game of survival. With no means of communication, few supplies, and ravenous grizzly bears and wolves lurking in the shadows, Cutter has to battle the unforgiving elements while the killer wants his head on a stick. Here in Alaska, nature can be cruel—but this time, human nature is crueler…

“Well-developed characters complement the nonstop action. Cameron viscerally conveys Alaska’s austere beauty as well as its unexpected dangers.” – Publishers Weekly


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marc Cameron, a native of Texas and now a resident of Alaska, has spent over three decades in law enforcement. He is the award-winning author of the Arliss Cutter and the Jericho Quinn series, as well as the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan Sr. books, starting with Power and Empire in 2017. Early in his career, he served as a uniformed police officer, mounted (horse patrol) officer, and detective before accepting a position with the United States Marshals Service and serving as a Deputy, Fugitive Task Force Commander, Supervisory Deputy, Senior Inspector, and Chief. His assignments have taken him from rural Alaska to Manhattan, from Canada to Mexico and points in between. A second-degree black belt in jujitsu, he often teaches defensive tactics to other law enforcement agencies and civilian groups. Cameron presently lives in Alaska with his wife and his BMW motorcycle. Visit him online at MarcCameronBooks.com.


Enjoy the conversation between Marc Cameron and Dana Stabenow.

Claudia Gray & The Murder of Mr. Wickham

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John Charles from The Poisoned Pen recently hosted Claudia Gray for a virtual author event. Gray is the author of The Murder of Mr. Wickham. You can order copies of the book through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3MXD93W

Here’s the description of The Murder of Mr. Wickham.

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 


CLAUDIA GRAY is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 


Here’s the virtual event with the discussion of fan fiction and Gray’s writing.

Anna Lee Huber & A.M. Stuart in Conversation

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John Charles from The Poisoned Pen recently hosted historical mystery authors Anna Lee Huber and A.M. Stuart for a virtual event. Anna Lee Huber’s tenth Lady Darby mystery is A Perilous Perspective. Evil in Emerald is the third Harriet Gordon mystery by A.M. Stuart. You can order copies of both books through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Check out the summary of A Perilous Perspective.

An all-new historical mystery in this USA Today bestselling series featuring beloved inquiry agents Lady Kiera Darby and her dashing husband, Sebastian Gage.

Argyll, Scotland. July 1832. After a trying few months in Edinburgh, Kiera and her husband and investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, are eager to escape to the Highlands with their three-month-old child. Kiera is overjoyed for her cousin Rye and her detractor-turned-friend Charlotte who are being wed in a private ceremony at the estate of Rye’s great-uncle, the Marquess of Barbreck, in what seems to be the perfect wedding party.

But when Kiera is invited to peruse Barbreck’s extensive art collection, she is disturbed to discover that one of his most priceless paintings seems to be a forgery. The marquess’s furious reaction when she dares to mention it leaves her shaken and the entire house shocked. For it turns out that this is not the first time the word forgery has been uttered in connection with the Barbreck household.

Matters turn more ominous when a maid from a neighboring estate is found murdered  where the forged painting hangs. Is her death connected to the forgeries, perhaps a grisly warning of what awaits those who dare to probe deeper? With unknown entities aligned against them, Kiera and Gage are forced to confront the fact that they may have underestimated their opponent. For they are swiftly made to realize that Charlotte’s and Rye’s future happiness is not the only issue at stake, and this stealthy game of cat and mouse could prove to have deadly consequences.


Anna Lee Huber is the Daphne Award–winning author of the national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries and the Verity Kent Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she majored in music and minored in psychology. She currently resides with her family and is hard at work on her next novel.


Here’s the description of Stuart’s Evil in Emerald.

Craving a change of pace, Harriet Gordon, joins a local musical theatre production but when a fellow cast member is brutally killed, Harriet and Inspector Curran must turn the spotlight on murder in this all-new mystery from the author of Revenge in Rubies.

Between working at her brother’s school and typing up Inspector Robert Curran’s police reports, Harriet Gordon has little time for personal pursuits and she has been enjoying the rehearsals for her role in the Singapore Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society’s latest production – Pirates of Penzance. But Harriet quickly discovers tensions run deep within the theatre company and when the leading man is found murdered, suspicions abound, exposing scandalous behavior as well as some insidious crimes.

Inspector Curran once again turns to Harriet for help with this difficult case, but his own life begins to unravel as a mysterious man turns up on his doorstep claiming to know more about Curran’s painful past than he himself does. And after the one person he has always counted on delivers him some devastating news, the line between his personal and professional life begins to blur. Now, more than ever, Curran needs Harriet’s steadfast assistance, and when another cast member meets a violent end, Curran and Harriet will have to close in on a killer determined to make this case their final curtain call.


Australian author, A.M Stuart, creator of the popular Harriet Gordon Mystery series, lives in Melbourne, Australia but over her life she has travelled extensively and lived in Africa and Singapore, experiences which she brings to her writing. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a lawyer across a variety of disciplines including the military and emergency services.

As well as the Harriet Gordon series, she is also multi published in historical romance and short stories with settings in England and Australia and spanning different periods of history.


Enjoy the conversation.

Don Bentley & Chris Hauty in Conversation

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Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen recently hosted authors Don Bentley and Chris Hauty at the bookstore. Don Bentley’s Hostile Intent is his third Matt Drake novel. Storm Rising is Chris Hauty’s third Hayley Chill thriller. There are signed copies of both books available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Here’s the summary of Hostile Intent.

In the espionage community, Vienna is known as the City of Spies, and Matt Drake is about to learn why in the latest electrifying thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Target Acquired and The Outside Man.

When a mysterious walk-in to the US embassy in Vienna claims to have critical information about a Russian intelligence operation, he raises eyebrows. But when he asks for Matt Drake by name and calls himself the Irishman, he gets the DIA’s premier case officer on a one-way flight.

Matt arrives to find Austria’s charming capital lousy with intelligence officers, all swirling around Nolan Burke—a onetime member of the real IRA. But before Matt can debrief Nolan, the Irishman is kidnapped by a Russian direct action team. Now, Matt must find a way to repay the debt of honor he owes Nolan while stopping World War III in the process.


Don Bentley is the New York Times bestselling author of Tom Clancy Target Acquired and the Matt Drake series (Without Sanction & The Outside Man). Don is a former FBI Special Agent, SWAT Team member, and Army Apache helicopter pilot. Learn more at http://www.donbentleybooks.com


Here’s the description of Storm Rising.

Nationally bestselling author Chris Hauty leads fans into the depths of a dangerous white supremacy conspiracy that threatens to tear the country apart in his propulsive new thriller.

Former White House intern turned intelligence operative Hayley Chill is filling her time by training as an MMA fighter. When she’s convinced to pursue the truth about her father’s mysterious fate, she stumbles upon a ciphered document under the floorboards of her father’s house.

With permission from her handler to probe deeper, she is led into a terrifying subculture of white supremacy within the United States military. As her investigation intensifies, she uncovers an expansive conspiracy to bring about the secession of several states from the country. It’s up to Hayley to stop a second Civil War before it starts, while also confronting the ultimate truth about her own father’s role in this harrowing chapter of American history.


Chris Hauty is a screenwriter who has worked at all the major movie studios, in nearly every genre of film. He currently lives in Venice, California. Deep State, his debut novel, was an instant national bestseller in the USA. His second novel, Savage Road, published in 2021 and his third, Storm Rising, will publish in 2022. All of the Hayley Chill thrillers can be read as part of the series or as standalones. 


Enjoy the conversation, including the background on both books.

A Full Schedule of Events

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There are only twelve days covered in the following list of events at The Poisoned Pen, but it’s a full schedule. Check it out now. Put your favorite author events on the calendar, and look in the Web Store for the books by these authors. There’s a lot to anticipate! https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Marc Cameron
Nancy Atherton
Mike Lupica
Isabel Cañas
Christopher Reich
Alma Katsu
Dervla McTiernan
Emmeline Duncan / Jenn McKinlay
Chris Bohjalian
Linwood Barclay

Jennifer McMahon’s The Children on the Hill

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When Karen Shaver from The Poisoned Pen interviewed Jennifer McMahon, she stressed that McMahon’s latest novel combines genres. Copies of The Children on the Hill are available through the Web Store. https://tinyurl.com/ycksc4we

Here’s the description of The Children on the Hill.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Drowning Kind comes a genre-defying new novel, inspired by Mary Shelley’s masterpiece Frankenstein, that brilliantly explores the eerie mysteries of childhood and the evils perpetrated by the monsters among us.

1978: At her renowned treatment center in picturesque Vermont, the brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Hildreth, is acclaimed for her compassionate work with the mentally ill. But when she’s home with her cherished grandchildren, Vi and Eric, she’s just Gran—teaching them how to take care of their pets, preparing them home-cooked meals, providing them with care and attention and love.

Then one day Gran brings home a child to stay with the family. Iris—silent, hollow-eyed, skittish, and feral—does not behave like a normal girl.

Still, Violet is thrilled to have a new playmate. She and Eric invite Iris to join their Monster Club, where they catalogue all kinds of monsters and dream up ways to defeat them. Before long, Iris begins to come out of her shell. She and Vi and Eric do everything together: ride their bicycles, go to the drive-in, meet at their clubhouse in secret to hunt monsters. Because, as Vi explains, monsters are everywhere.

2019: Lizzy Shelley, the host of the popular podcast Monsters Among Us, is traveling to Vermont, where a young girl has been abducted, and a monster sighting has the town in an uproar. She’s determined to hunt it down, because Lizzy knows better than anyone that monsters are real—and one of them is her very own sister.

A haunting, vividly suspenseful page-turner from the “literary descendant of Shirley Jackson” (Chris Bohjalian, author of The Flight Attendant), The Children on the Hill takes us on a breathless journey to face the primal fears that lurk within us all.

******

Jennifer McMahon is the author of ten novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Promise Not to Telland The Winter People. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella. Visit her at Jennifer-McMahon.com or connect with her on Instagram @JenniferMcMahonWrites and Facebook @JenniferMcMahonBooks.

*****

Enjoy McMahon’s comments about her book and the background.

Jeneva Rose & One of Us is Dead

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Jeneva Rose recently appeared at The Poisoned Pen to discuss her latest thriller, One of Us is Dead. There are signed copies of the book available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3kzlLqa

The highly anticipated new thriller from the bestselling author of The Perfect Marriage.

Opulence. Sex. Betrayal … Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead—a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead—and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.


Jeneva Rose is the bestselling author of The Perfect Marriage, which has been published in nearly a dozen languages and optioned for film. Originally from Wisconsin, she currently lives in Chicago with her husband and stubborn English bulldog. One of Us Is Dead is her third novel.


Enjoy the conversation with Jeneva Rose.

Adriana Trigiani Discusses The Good Left Undone

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Any event with Adriana Trigiani is going to be fun. Larry Siegel had the good luck to host Trigiani for The Poisoned Pen, even though he admitted he probably wouldn’t get to say anything. Signed copies of her latest book, The Good Left Undone, are available through the Web Store. https://tinyurl.com/3dbxtvtn

Here’s the summary of The Good Left Undone.

“[An] immersive saga. . . . A celebration of family and a paean to the power of storytelling.”People, “Book of the Week”

“Trigiani conveys the beauty of Italy, the hardships of war, the taste of family recipes, and the enduring love of family.”Library Journal (starred)

“The beauty of any book by Adriana Trigiani is her ability to interweave life and fiction. . . . Don’t miss your chance to take this unforgettable journey with the Cabrelli women!” —Lisa Wingate, Book of the Month


From “a master of visual and palpable detail” (The Washington Post), comes a lush, immersive novel about three generations of Tuscan artisans with one remarkable secret. Epic in scope and resplendent with the glorious themes of identity and belonging, The Good Left Undone unfolds in breathtaking turns.


Matelda, the Cabrelli family’s matriarch, has always been brusque and opinionated. Now, as she faces the end of her life, she is determined to share a long-held secret with her family about her own mother’s great love story: with her childhood friend, Silvio, and with dashing Scottish sea captain John Lawrie McVicars, the father Matelda never knew. . . .

In the halcyon past, Domenica Cabrelli thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio until her beloved home becomes unsafe when Italy teeters on the brink of World War II. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland to the dangers of wartime Liverpool—where Italian Scots are imprisoned without cause—as Domenica experiences love, loss, and grief while she longs for home. A hundred years later, her daughter, Matelda, and her granddaughter, Anina, face the same big questions about life and their family’s legacy, while Matelda contemplates what is worth fighting for. But Matelda is running out of time, and the two timelines intersect and weave together in unexpected and heartbreaking ways that lead the family to shocking revelations and, ultimately, redemption.


Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Shoemaker’s Wife. Her books have been published in thirty-eight languages around the world. She is an award-winning playwright, television writer/producer, and filmmaker. Among her screen credits, Trigiani wrote and directed the major motion picture adaptation of her debut novel, Big Stone Gap. Adriana grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where she co-founded the Origin Project. Trigiani is proud to serve on the New York State Council on the Arts. She lives in New York City with her family.


Enjoy Adriana Trigiani’s conversation.