Fiction Review

Kevin Hearne & Delilah Dawson, No Country for Old Gnomes

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There was a time when Kevin Hearne lived in the Valley. He started writing his Iron Druid series, and, in fact, celebrated the release of his fourth book, Tricked, at Rula Bula, an Irish pub in Tempe. The Poisoned Pen staff was there to take care of the book sales. Why do I mention that? In the video below, Hearne says it’s good to be back in the area because he could make a stop at Rula Bula. The party was “Atticus & Oberon’s Sausage Fest.”

Kevin Hearne has moved on. He and Delilah Dawson were recently at the Pen with the second book in their Pell series, No Country for Old Gnomes. The series has been described as a combination of Monty Python and Terry Pratchett. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Here’s a description of No Country for Old Gnomes.

Go big or go gnome. The New York Times bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy welcome you to the world of Pell, the irreverent fantasy universe that recalls Monty Python and Terry Pratchett.

War is coming, and it’s gonna be Pell.

On one side stand the gnomes: smol, cheerful, possessing tidy cardigans and no taste for cruelty.

On the other side sit the halflings, proudly astride their war alpacas, carrying bags of grenades and hungry for a fight. And pretty much anything else.

It takes only one halfling bomb and Offi Numminen’s world is turned upside down—or downside up, really, since he lives in a hole in the ground. His goth cardigans and aggressive melancholy set him apart from the other gnomes, as does his decision to fight back against their halfling oppressors. Suddenly Offi is the leader of a band of lovable misfits and outcasts—from a gryphon who would literally kill for omelets to a young dwarf herbalist who is better with bees than with his cudgel to an assertive and cheerful teen witch with a beard as long as her book of curses—all on a journey to the Toot Towers to confront the dastardly villain intent on tearing Pell asunder. These adventurers never fit in anywhere else, but as they become friends, fight mermaids, and get really angry at this one raccoon, they learn that there’s nothing more heroic than being yourself.

In No Country for Old Gnomes, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly tweak the tropes of fantasy and fairy tales. Here you’ll find goofy jokes and whimsical puns, but you’ll also find a diverse, feminist, and lighthearted approach to fantasy that will bring a smile to your face and many fine cheeses to your plate.


If you’re a fan, I think you’ll want to watch the video featuring Kevin Hearne and Delilah Dawson.

Hot Book of the Week – The Never Game

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You might have missed Jeffery Deaver’s appearance at The Poisoned Pen, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss the debut of his new series featuring Colter Shaw. The Never Game is the current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of The Never Game.

From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw.

“You have been abandoned.”

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a “reward seeker,” traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. 

“Escape if you can.”

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past–The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

“Or die with dignity.”

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark ‘net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn’t the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

The Never Game proves once more why “Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception” (Associated Press).


Piqued your interest? You can read more about The Never Game in a book review by The Real Book Spy.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Fellowships

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 | DEADLINE JUNE 15, 2019

The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing is proud to announce full and partial fellowships for individuals to teach at the 2020 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference at Arizona State University. By presenting alongside nationally recognized faculty, fellowships provide valuable opportunities to develop professional networks, increase profiles, and advance careers. Applications are relatively easy and consist of a session proposal, statement of merit, and supporting materials. Writers of all genres and any level of experience are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is May 30, 2019. Read the full guidelines, meet past fellows, and become a fellow today at

Hilary Davidson & Laird Barron in Conversation

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Hilary Davidson kicks off a new series, and Laird Barron discusses his second Isaiah Coleridge novel when Patrick Millikin interviews them at The Poisoned Pen. Davidson’s thriller is One Small Sacrifice, and Barron’s is crime novel is Black Mountain. You can order signed copies of both books through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of Hilary Davidson’s One Small Sacrifice.

An apparent suicide. A mysterious disappearance. Did one man get away with murder—twice?

NYPD detective Sheryn Sterling has had her eye on Alex Traynor ever since his friend Cori fell to her death under suspicious circumstances a year ago. Cori’s death was ruled a suicide, but Sheryn thinks Alex—a wartime photojournalist suffering from PTSD—got away with murder.

When Alex’s fiancée, Emily, a talented and beloved local doctor, suddenly goes missing, Sheryn suspects that Alex is again at the center of a sticky case. Sheryn dislikes loose ends, and Cori’s death had way too many of them.

But as Sheryn starts pulling at the threads in this web, her whole theory unravels. Everyone involved remembers the night Cori died differently—and the truth about her death could be the key to solving Emily’s disappearance.


And, here’s the summary of Laird Barron’s Black Mountain.

Ex-mob enforcer Isaiah Coledrige has hung out a shingle as a private eye in New York’s Hudson Valley, and in his newest case, a seemingly simple murder investigation leads him to the most terrifying enemy he has ever faced

When a small-time criminal named Harold Lee turns up in the Ashokan reservoir–sans a heartbeat, head, or hands–the local Mafia capo hires Isaiah Coleridge to look into the matter. The Mob likes crime, but only the crime it controls…and as it turns out, Lee is the second independent contractor to meet a bad end on the business side of a serrated knife. One such death can be overlooked. Two makes a man wonder.

A guy in Harold Lee’s business would make his fair share of enemies, and it seems a likely case of pure revenge. But as Coledrige turns over more stones, he finds himself dragged into something deeper and more insidious than he could have imagined, in a labyrinthine case spanning decades. At the center are an heiress moonlighting as a cabaret dancer, a powerful corporation with high-placed connections, and a serial killer who may have been honing his skills since the Vietnam War…


If you haven’t been to a Poisoned Pen event, you might think the discussions are all about the authors’ most recent books. You couldn’t be more wrong. Check out this conversation.

Hot Book of the Week – My Detective

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The current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen is Jeffrey Fleishman’s My Detective. You can order a signed copy of it through the Web Store.

With that title, I’m sure you’re curious about My Detective. Here’s the summary.

Los Angeles is booming. Money is pouring in. Buildings are going up. But someone is killing architects.

Detective Sam Carver journeys through sins scattered across the City of Angels, where hipsters, homeless, immigrants, producers, politicians, movie stars, and cops collide in mysterious ways. Every move Carver makes is anticipated by the killer, Dylan Cross. She has hacked his computer and knows his diaries and secrets. She sees in him a kindred and damaged spirit, a man who can understand her crimes, heal her scars, and love her. Dylan is reclaiming herself from a past of brutal injustices inflicted by a world of misogyny and power. Detective Carver is dealing with his own troubled history — an elusive and violent father.

My Detective is a story of obsession set against vengeance and prayers of forgiveness in a city that is as cruel as it is fantastical. It captures modern Los Angeles in real time, an eerie glide through the imagination, where winds gust high above the San Gabriel Mountains and neighborhoods stretch toward the ocean like the flash and tremor of a dream. The novel speaks to our sense of beauty in a new century and the demons we rouse when we dare to create a new metropolis.

Cozycon 2019

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It’s time for Cozycon 2019 at The Poisoned Pen. On Saturday, May 11 from 2-4 PM, five cozy authors will discuss and sign their books for customers. You can find the calendar event here.

And, if you can’t make it on Saturday, you can certainly check the Web Store for the authors’ books.

We hope you can join us, though, to welcome these authors.

Paige Shelton, author of The Loch Ness Papers.

Jenn McKinlay, author of Dying for Devil’s Food.

Jessica Ellicott, author of Murder Flies the Coop.

Jill Orr, author of The Bad Break.

Jane Willan, The Hour of Death.

It’s always a fun time when cozy mystery writers get together. You’re going to want to try to be at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday.

Chris Pavone’s The Paris Diversion

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Chris Pavone, author of the bestseller The Expats, brings Kate Moore back in his latest thriller, The Paris Diversion. Pavone will be at The Poisoned Pen on Monday, May 13 at 7 PM, joined by Jeffery Deaver who will discuss The Never Game. Signed books by both authors are available through the Web Store.

Here’s the summary of The Paris Diversion.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Expats. Kate Moore is back in a pulse-pounding thriller to discover that a massive terror attack across Paris is not what it seems – and that it involves her family

American expat Kate Moore drops her kids at the international school, makes her rounds of chores, and meets her husband Dexter at their regular café: a leisurely start to a normal day, St-Germain-des-Prés.

Across the Seine, tech CEO Hunter Forsyth stands on his balcony, wondering why his police escort just departed, and frustrated that his cell service has cut out; Hunter has important calls to make, not all of them technically legal.

And on the nearby rue de Rivoli, Mahmoud Khalid climbs out of an electrician’s van and elbows his way into the crowded courtyard of the world’s largest museum. He sets down his metal briefcase, and removes his windbreaker.

That’s when people start to scream.

Everyone has big plans for the day. Dexter is going to make a small fortune, finally digging himself out of a deep financial hole, via an extremely risky investment. Hunter is going to make a huge fortune, with a major corporate acquisition that will send his company’s stock soaring. Kate has less ambitious plans: preparations for tonight’s dinner party—one of those homemaker obligations she still hasn’t embraced, even after a half-decade of this life—and an uneventful workday at the Paris Substation, the clandestine cadre of operatives that she’s been running, not entirely successfully, increasingly convinced that every day could be the last of her career. But every day is also a fresh chance to prove her own relevance, never more so than during today’s momentous events.

And Mahmoud? He is planning to die today. And he won’t be the only one.


Here’s one more hint about The Paris Diversion.