Fiction Review

Hot Book of the Week – The New Iberia Blues

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James Lee Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel, The New Iberia Blues, is the latest Hot Book of the Week at the Poisoned Pen. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

There’s so much to share about this book, beyond the description. But, I’ll start with that.

The shocking death of a young woman leads Detective Dave Robicheaux into the dark corners of Hollywood, the mafia, and the backwoods of Louisiana in this gripping mystery from “modern master” (Publishers Weekly) James Lee Burke. 

Detective Dave Robicheaux’s world isn’t filled with too many happy stories, but Desmond Cormier’s rags-to-riches tale is certainly one of them. Robicheaux first met Cormier on the streets of New Orleans, when the young, undersized boy had foolish dreams of becoming a Hollywood director.

Twenty-five years later, when Robicheaux knocks on Cormier’s door, it isn’t to congratulate him on his Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. Robicheaux has discovered the body of a young woman who’s been crucified, wearing only a small chain on her ankle. She disappeared near Cormier’s Cyrpemort Point estate, and Robicheaux, along with young deputy, Sean McClain, are looking for answers. Neither Cormier nor his enigmatic actor friend Antoine Butterworth are saying much, but Robicheaux knows better.

As always, Clete Purcel and Davie’s daughter, Alafair, have Robicheaux’s back. Clete witnesses the escape of Texas inmate, Hugo Tillinger, who may hold the key to Robicheaux’s case. As they wade further into the investigation, they end up in the crosshairs of the mob, the deranged Chester Wimple, and the dark ghosts Robicheaux has been running from for years. Ultimately, it’s up to Robicheaux to stop them all, but he’ll have to summon a light he’s never seen or felt to save himself, and those he loves.

Stephen King hailed New York Times bestselling author James Lee Burke “as good as he ever was.” Now, with The New Iberia Blues, Burke proves that he “remains the heavyweight champ, a great American novelist whose work, taken individually or as a whole, is unsurpassed” (Michael Connelly).


On Facebook, James Lee Burke shared a conversation from Authors on the Air on the Global Radio Network. He’s in conversation with Reavis Z. Wortham, Poisoned Pen Press author of Gold Dust.

And, The Real Book Spy recently shared “Five Questions with James Lee Burke”.

Poisoned Pen’s Hot Book of the Week, the topic of a conversation for Authors on the Air, and an interview with The Real Book Spy. All reasons you might want to pick up a signed copy of The New Iberia Blues.

The Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2019

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According to CrimeReads editors, this is the list of the most anticipated crime books of 2019. You’ll want to check it out, and then check the calendar for Poisoned Pen events. Many of the authors on the list are already scheduled to appear at the Pen, or will be scheduled when their books are released. Here’s the calendar link.

Last night, Thomas Perry was here. His novel, The Burglar, is on the list. You can still order a signed copy through the Web Store.

We’ve already mentioned that Lyndsay Faye will be here Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 PM. You might want to pre-order The Paragon Hotel.

Wednesday, January 16 at 7 PM, the Pen hosts authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. Their novel, An Anonymous Girl is on the list. You can order a signed copy.

That’s just two weeks of author appearances at the Poisoned Pen. If you’re looking for exciting reading for the next year, check that list, match it up with author appearances, and check the Web Store.

In Tribute to Brian Garfield

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Brian Garfield, the Edgar Award-winning author of Hopscotch, who was best known as the author of Death Wish, died at the end of December. The New York Times published the obituary of the prolific suspense writer. According to his literary agent, Garfield was the only person to have served both as president of Mystery Writers of America and Western Writers of America.

Although some of Garfield’s works are carried in the Web Store, they come with a cautionary note that they may be slow to be obtained.

Crime Fiction of the 1920s

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Tessa Lunney is fascinated by the 1920s. In fact, she set her first novel, April in Paris, 1921, in that decade.

She also wrote an article for CrimeReads that discusses authors who wrote about that period, dividing it in two parts, the Masters, such as Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett, and the Modern Masters, including Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher mysteries. Once you read the article here, you’ll want to come back to the Poisoned Pen’s Web Store to search for titles.

Beth Kendrick’s In Dog We Trust

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The latest book in Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series, In Dog We Trust, is scheduled for release on January 8. If you haven’t read any books by the Phoenix author, this particular series is set in Black Dog Bay because it’s been named “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup”. Because Kendrick is one of our local authors, many of her books, including In Dog We Trust, are available as signed copies. Check out the Web Store.

Here’s the summary of In Dog We Trust.

From the author of Once Upon a Wine, a new novel set in the charming seashore town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware.

When everything has gone to the dogs . . . 

When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she’s confronted at every turn by her late benefactor’s estranged son, Liam, who thinks he’s entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she’s determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the “Best in Show” standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.


Joyce Lamb recently interviewed Beth Kendrick for the “Happy Ever After” column in USA Today. You can read the interview here.

Further News about Miss Fisher

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In July, I wrote a post about Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher series. You can read the entire post here, but, this was the summary.

Are you familiar with the Miss Fisher mysteries written by Kerry Greenwood? The books, set in Australia in the 1920s, are published by Poisoned Pen Press. You can order them through the Web Store. Of course, the books have also been made into an Australian television series. Here’s just a little information about the first book in the series, Cocaine Blues.

Cocaine Blues

This is where it all started! The first classic Phryne Fisher mystery, featuring our delectable heroine, cocaine, communism and adventure. Phryne leaves the tedium of English high society for Melbourne, Australia, and never looks back. The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the green-gray eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions—is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia. Almost immediately from the time she books into the Windsor Hotel, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, cocaine smuggling rings, corrupt cops and communism—not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse—until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.


Now, we have further good news for fans of the Miss Fisher series. Ani Bundel wrote an article called “Ms Fisher’s MODern Murder Mysteries” Confirmed for 2019.”

“When we first reported on Every Cloud Productions’ aim to bring a Miss Fisher movie trilogy into theaters, it was notable that the big screen version wasn’t the only Miss Fisher-related production the company was looking to launch. There were also rumors producers that Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger were looking to find a way to bring the series back to TV, with talk of pitching a prequel series to Australia’s ABC, focusing on Miss Fisher’s younger years, not unlike the current Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour. At the time, the proposed synopsis was as follows:

That will be a younger Phryne Fisher. She is 18, her family has come into money, and she’s in the UK at a finishing school. She gets word that her best friend from Melbourne is charged of murder and is heading for the gallows. She escapes (from the finishing school) and comes back (to Australia) to save her friend. On the run is where she learns a lot of her (sleuthing) skills.

But then the Kickstarter for the Miss Fisher film happened, and in all the excitement of bringing Phryne to the big screen, the talk of a spinoff prequel was drowned out. But this didn’t mean it disappeared altogether. It seems, like the movie, ABC was not initially sold on the idea of a “Young Miss Fisher” series. But instead of Kickstartering like they did for the movie, Every Cloud Productions merely shopped the idea around, tweaking it until they found a buyer. It wound up landing on The Seven Network, who quietly confirmed it had greenlit a new series back over the summer.

This week, the first trailer dropped ahead of the show’s premiere in the new year. But this is no Edwardian set prequel series. Instead, it moves forward in time to introduce audiences to a whole new “Ms” Fisher.”

According to the press release:

Set in 1964, audiences will meet the gorgeously reckless Peregrine Fisher who inherits a windfall when the famous aunt she never knew goes missing over the highlands of New Guinea. Peregrine must prove herself brilliant enough to become a world-class private detective in her own right.

The new Ms. Fisher will star Geraldine Hakewill as Peregrine, best known as Chelsea Babbage from the Australian TV series Wanted. Costars include Catherine McClements, whom most Australians know for her starring turn in Rush, but Americans will recognize better as part of the original stage cast of Baz Luhrmann‘s Strictly Ballroom before it became a film. Fisher’s semi-love interest will be played by Joel Jackson, who is best known as the title character in Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door.

According to Deb Cox, all the things fans love about the old Miss Fisher will transfer to the new, just set in a different era.

Ms Fisher, next generation, will be as glamorous as her aunt, brandishing her signature pearl-handled pistol and bantering endlessly with the main man in her life – but her stylish apartment, her sleek sports-car and her cutting-edge wardrobe have certainly moved with the times.”

Here’s the first trailer for you to watch. Let’s hope the series will eventually be shown in the U.S.

Lyndsay Faye & The Paragon Hotel

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Lyndsay Faye, author of Jane Steele, will be back at the Poisoned Pen on Tuesday, January 15 at 7 PM with her new historical thriller, The Paragon Hotel. You can order copies of Faye’s books, including a signed copy of The Paragon Hotel, through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of The Paragon Hotel.

The new and exciting historical thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Edgar-nominated Jane Steele and Gods of Gotham, which follows Alice “Nobody” from Prohibition-era Harlem to Portland’s the Paragon Hotel.

The year is 1921, and “Nobody” Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line.

She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. Her unlikely sanctuary turns out to be the only all-black hotel in the city, and its lodgers seem unduly terrified of a white woman on the premises. But as she meets the churlish Dr. Pendleton, the stately Mavereen, and the unforgettable club chanteuse Blossom Fontaine, she begins to understand the reason for their dread. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers–burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new “family” of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods.

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom Fontaine seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?


Lyndsay Faye was recently featured on the cover of the January issue of BookPage, and Jay MacDonald interviewed her for that publication. We thought you’d like to read the interview.