Fiction Review

Laurie R. King, A Giveaway & News

Posted on Updated on

Laurie R. King’s latest newsletter includes information about a giveaway. It ends November 17, so there’s not much time. The good news is, if you don’t win, you can always order King’s books through the Web Store.

Here’s Laurie R. King’s latest newsletter, as shared by Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen.

Hello all!

Writing historical novels as I do, I see even today how thoroughly the Great War changed the 20thcentury, and our own as well. The war ended 100 years ago today, the guns going through a final orgy of violence as if not to waste a bullet…and men died.

To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, my US publishers are giving away ten copies of my book that is most about the War, Justice Hall.

It’s set in the closing days of 1923, when Russell and Holmes have a case literally fall into their arms—a mystery that reaches back to the Great War, when young Lieutenant Gabriel Hughenfort was one of the 700,000 British soldiers who died in service of King and country.

But it’s not until they arrive at Justice Hall, a Duke’s home of unearthly perfection, that they fully understand the irony of the family motto:

Justicia fortitudo mea est: “Righteousness is my strength.”


Deadline November 17
(For US readers only, sorry.)


Travels with Laurie

Where will I be next year?  In March, at Left Coast Crime in Vancouver, BC. This is always a hugely entertaining conference—join me there!

And at the end of October, it’ll be BoucherCon in Dallas.

Closer in—on December 8, in fact—I’ll be at Scottsdale’s Poisoned Pen Books with two of my best friends, Les Klinger and Dana Stabenow, to celebrate both Dana’s gorgeous new novel about Cleopatra, Death of an Eye,

and the new collection Les and I edited:

For the Sake of the Game

With amazing stories by Peter S. Beagle, Rhys Bowen, Reed Farrel Coleman, Jamie Freveletti, Alan Gordon, Gregg Hurwitz, Toni L. P. Kelner, William Kotzwinkle & Joe Servello, Harley Jane Kozak, D. P. Lyle, Weston Ochse, Zoe Sharp, Duane Swierczynski, and F. Paul Wilson.

If you can’t make it, you can order a signed copy from The Poisoned Pen—or get an unsigned one from your local Indie, or Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

I hope to see some of you in Scottsdale—or maybe next year at one of the Cons.  In the meantime, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, with all the trimmings!

Tim Hallinan’s Fields Where They Lay

Posted on Updated on

Today, I’m going to do a throwback blog post. Tim Hallinan will be at the Poisoned Pen on Tuesday, November 13 at 7 PM. He’ll be talking about the seventh Junior Bender mystery, Nighttown. You can order signed copies of that book, or copies of Timothy Hallinan’s other books through the Web Store.


But, I really want to mention another one of Hallinan’s books. Two years ago, on Dec. 1, 2016, Bill Crider wrote a post for the blog. We lost Bill Crider this year, so it’s a tribute to Crider and Tim Hallinan to rerun this post. Bill wrote about his favorite Christmas mystery.

“My new favorite Christmas crime novel is Tim Hallinan’s Fields Where They Lay.  The narrator is a semi-reformed thief named Junior Bender, who’s hired by a thug to figure  out what’s going on with with an elaborate caper being carried out in a dying shopping mall three days before Christmas.  Bender has to find the solution . . . or else.


Junior has issues with Christmas, so that’s another problem.  Something’s going on with his girlfriend, too,  and the constant Christmas music in the mall doesn’t make him feel merry and bright, either.

There’s another Christmas story in the book, and it’s told to Bender by none other than Santa Claus.  Sure, it’s a mall Santa, but that counts.  It’s a powerful story, and its ending ties in with the title of the book, which is, as I’m sure you know, a line from a famous carol, “The First Noel.”

A whole lot is going on in this fast-paced novel.  It’s tough, it’s funny, and like all of Hallinan’s books, it has heart.  The ending is as satisfactory as any fan of Christmas could ask for, so this isn’t just my new favorite Christmas book.  It’s one of my favorite books of the year.”


I thought it was perfect timing to remind readers how much Bill Crider loved Fields Where They Lay. If you’re going to be at The Poisoned Pen on Tuesday evening, maybe you’ll want to buy a copy of that book as well, and have Tim Hallinan sign it.

Love Your Bookstore

Posted on Updated on

Would you like to show your love for The Poisoned Pen Bookstore? The Love Your Bookstore Challenge is running now until November 16.

“As a booklover, bookstores have shaped you, whether you were a child learning to read or an adult looking for connections through the written word. We want to celebrate bookstores from coast to coast because we know that booklovers are in every city in the country. From Kodiak to Key West, from Seattle to Sarasota, there are readers everywhere! Celebrate your favorite bookstore by posting a photo from inside the store with a favorite book (or bookseller!) and use #loveyourbookstore in the caption to share the love!”

You can share your pictures on Instagram or Twitter. Here’s all the information.

Tim Hallinan & Nighttown

Posted on Updated on


Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen, said in her recent newsletter that she’s going to ply Tim Hallinan with sangria and ask him questions about burglary. She “says” the questions are about security, not how to do it. Hallinan will be at the Poisoned Pen on Tuesday, November 13 at 7 PM to discuss and sign his latest book featuring burglar Junior Bender, Nighttown. Can’t make it? You can order Hallinan’s books, including a signed copy of Nighttown, through the Web Store.


Of course, there will be a summary of Nighttown at the end of this piece. First, though, you might want to read Marilyn Stasio’s remarks about the book in her recent column. She says, “This one’s good for what ails you.”

Here’s the description of Tim Hallinan’s Nighttown.

Reluctant P.I. to the perfidious, Junior Bender, may be L.A.’s smoothest operator but when he breaks one of the cardinal rules of burglary (don’t take scores that you’re being paid way too much for) he finds himself once again on the wrong side of, well, the wrong side. 

Los Angeles burglar Junior Bender has a rule about never taking a job that pays too well: in the criminal underworld, if you’re offered more money than a job is worth, someone is going to end up dead. But he’s bending his rule this one time because he and his girlfriend, Ronnie, are in desperate need of cash to hire a kidnapper to snatch Ronnie’s two-year-old son back from her ex. The whole thing is pretty complicated and has Junior on edge.

The parameters of the job do nothing to calm his nerves. A nameless woman in an orange wig has offered Junior fifty grand—twenty-five up front—to break into the abandoned house of a recently deceased 97-year-old recluse, Daisy Horton, and steal a doll from her collection. Junior knows no doll is worth 50K, so he figures there must be something hidden inside the doll that can get him in a heap of trouble. It doesn’t take long for Junior to realize he’s not the only one looking for the doll. When an old friend ends up murdered, Junior decides he will stop at nothing to figure out who the woman in the orange wig is, and why she wants the doll badly enough to leave a trail of bodies in her wake.

Dana Stabenow and More Cleopatra

Posted on Updated on

Cleopatra is the subject of Dana Stabenow’s new mystery series, The Eye of Isis Mysteries. The first book, Death of an Eye, will be released as an ebook on December 6. But Stabenow will be at the Poisoned Pen on Saturday, Dec. 8 to sign the physical book. She’s joined by Laurie R. King and Leslie Klinger. You can pre-order a signed copy of Death of an Eye through the Web Store. You can also order copies of Stabenow’s other books.

Death of an Eye

While you’re waiting for Death of an Eye, you can read Dana Stabenow’s ongoing remarks about Cleopatra. She’s sharing the link from her website as she answers the question, “Why Cleopatra?”.

If you missed the earlier article, you can catch it here.

Here’s the description of Death of an Eye.

Alexandria, 47BCE: Cleopatra shares the throne with her brother Ptolemy under the auspices of Julius Caesar, by whom Cleopatra is heavily pregnant with child. A shipment of new coin meant to reset the shaky Egyptian economy has been stolen, the Queen’s Eye has been murdered and Queen Cleopatra turns to childhood friend Tetisheri to find the missing shipment and bring the murderer to justice.

Amina Akhtar & #FashionVictim

Posted on Updated on

Jason Kiel recently interviewed debut author Amina Akhtar for Phoenix New Times The author of #FashionVictim is a long way from New York City in her present home in Cottonwood, Arizona, but she still uses her knowledge of the fashion industry for her darkly comic novel. Akhtar will be at the Poisoned Pen on Monday, November 12 at 7 PM to discuss and sign her book. Signed copies of #FashionVictim are available through the Web Store if you can’t make it Monday night.

Fashion victim

Here’s the summary of #FashionVictim.

“A new fashionably vicious read.”—Martha Stewart Living
“A diabolical page-turner . . . impossible to put down.”—Forbes
“Darkly funny.”—Fashionista
“As awesome as it sounds.”—Book Riot

A thrilling take on the fashion world,#FashionVictim isDexter meetsThe Devil Wears Prada.

Fashion editor Anya St. Clair is on the verge of greatness. Her wardrobe is to die for. Her social media is killer. And her career path is littered with the bodies of anyone who got in her way. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but she doesn’t have everything.

Not like Sarah Taft. Anya’s obsession sits one desk away. Beautiful, stylish, and rich, she was born to be a fashion world icon. From her beach-wave blonde hair to her on-trend nail art, she’s a walking editorial spread. And Anya wants to be her friend. Her best friend. Her only friend.

But when Sarah becomes her top competition for a promotion, Anya’s plan to win her friendship goes into overdrive. In order to beat Sarah…she’ll have to become her. Friendly competition may turn fatal, but as they say in fashion:One day you’re in, and the next day you’re dead.

Arizona with Trimble & Talton

Posted on Updated on

It was all about Arizona when Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s state historian, chatted with Jon Talton. Trimble is the author of Arizona Oddities and Talton wrote A Brief History of Phoenix. Signed copies of both books, and copies of their others, are available through the Web Store.

Interested in the odd facts about Phoenix and Arizona? You can watch the entire event online.