Fiction Review

Greg Iles @ The Poisoned Pen

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Greg Iles’ concluding novel in his Natchez Burning trilogy, Mississippi Blood, has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for several weeks now.

Mississippi Blood

Rather than summarize the book, you can watch Iles discuss it with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, on Livestream.

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t make it to the program. Two hundred people did, and Iles offered them money to give up their seats.

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Signing copies of Mississippi Blood
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Barbara Peters and Greg Iles
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Ready for the in-person book signing
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The signing line

If you didn’t get to the event, you can still purchase a signed copy of Mississippi Blood through the Web Store.


Lisa Preston – An Interview

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Once in a while, I get the chance to interview authors. Today, I’m talking with Lisa Preston, author of The Measure of the Moon.

Lisa Preston

Lisa, would you introduce yourself to the readers?

I am, of course, a lifelong reader and I wrote in childhood, starting with horse stories because I couldn’t find enough of them. I still write what I’d like to read: character-driven revelations, stories moved forward by interesting people in interesting situations.

Introduce us to Greer and Gillian from The Measure of the Moon.

Greer is a rural boy, the youngest child in a rowdy family, with five grown siblings. Gillian is a thirties-something photographer and film rescuer in Seattle who is dysphoric in her marriage to a good guy, and she needs to figure that out.

Measure of the Moon

Tell us about The Measure of the Moon, without spoilers.

As a whole, this is a novel about protecting the people you love. Moon explores childhood post-traumatic stress through parallel stories. The link between Greer and Gillian’s lives is a good guess for some readers, while other reviewers are gobsmacked. I love those different reactions to Moon.

The Measure of the Moon has some very dark elements. How do you escape from the dark side in your daily life?

Realistically, I think many of us aren’t free of those dark slices of life, but living through tough events with healthy choices makes all the difference. Bringing that hope forward in my novels lets the reader find a satisfying resolution.

Alaska and Washington. You’ve lived both places as an adult. What are your favorite spots to take visitors?

I love open country. I take friends to the trails and the big views, whether on the shore, looking up to my mountains, or high in the hills, gazing out to the sea.

You’ve been a paramedic and a police officer. What was the most unusual work experience that you can tell us about?

Those jobs make you clean up after some of the most shocking, heartbreaking and unbelievable human behaviors. Delivering secret babies was a challenge. There was a teen who’d successfully hidden her pregnancy from her parents, and a bathtub birth from a woman who’d hidden it from her husband. The latter call necessitated police protection for the woman and for us in the Fire Department. Death notifications I delivered as a cop are stuck in my memory, as are so many bizarre and ugly events that I expect most civilians really do not want to know.

What made you decide to write fiction?

I’ve always been a reader and loved great fiction. As a child, I’d pause after finishing a good story and want to give back the pleasure that the novelist lavished on me. I love the timelessness of good books.

What authors have inspired you?

The first was in childhood, when Mrs. Kendall read Wilson Rawls’s Where the Red Fern Grows aloud to our class. It was my favorite part of third grade. Hearing a wonderful story unfold lets the mind run free. I’ve read countless good works since then, with many more to come.

What author would you like to recommend who you think has been underappreciated?

With a nod to my friend Jo-Ann Mapson who recommended this novel to me, I suggest Joyce Weatherford’s Heart of the Beast, which deserved its wonderful reviews.

You attended Left Coast Crime in Hawaii. What was your favorite experience at the conference?

Honolulu Havoc was a hoot. I got to: say hi to Barbara and Robert; give a talk at the ‘Meet the New Authors’ Breakfast; co-host a banquet table with the lovely Catriona MacPherson; moderate a roaring panel featuring Doug Lyle, Patty Smiley, Ellen Kirschman, AK Gunn, Bette Lamb and John Burley; then speak on a panel about specialized police work.

The big serendipity of this year’s Left Coast, however, was discovering that the wonderful Janet Rudolph may have been my high school English and Humanities teacher! We’re still combing back through the dates, but she was on her first job where I went to school, at around the same time.

Thank you, Lisa. Lisa Preston’s website is

You can see the book trailer for The Measure of the Moon here.

You can order a copy of the book or the audio book through the Web Store.

Matthew Quirk @ The Poisoned Pen

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Did you miss Matthew Quirk at The Poisoned Pen to talk about his latest novel, Dead Man Switch?

Dead Man Switch

Here’s the premise.

“WHEN IT COMES TO QUIRK, I FOLLOW A SIMPLE THREE-STEP PLAN: BUY, CANCEL PLANS, READ.” –Gregg Hurwitz, bestselling author of Orphan X and The Nowhere Man

Someone is hunting down America’s most elite special ops soldiers–in their homes.

A deadly fall on a rugged stretch of California coast. A burglary gone wrong in Virginia. These incidents seem unrelated, but the victims were living undercover, their true identities closely held secrets. They are members of a classified team, the last line of defense against foreign threats. Now, someone is assassinating them, one by one, taking out family members and innocent bystanders to make the deaths seem like accidents.

Captain John Hayes, a special operations legend, has left the military to settle down with his family. But when he pieces together a pattern behind the murders and discovers that his protégée Claire Rhodes, a brilliant assassin, is the prime suspect, he returns to duty to unmask the attackers.

With every success, the killers grow bolder. Their ultimate goal: Lure Hayes and his remaining fellow soldiers to Manhattan, to eliminate them all in a single devastating strike. To save his teammates and thousands of innocent lives, Hayes must find a way to stop a seemingly unstoppable weapon.

Dead Man Switch delivers nonstop twists, turns, and action in a high-stakes thriller about what happens when the fight abroad follows our covert operators home-and their painstakingly constructed double lives are shattered.

Because author Philip Kerr was in town, he attended the program. Some of the photos include both authors.
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Left to right – Philip Kerr, Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, and Matthew Quirk
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Matthew Quirk signing books
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Signing Dead Man Switch

You can order a signed copy of Dead Man Switch through the Web Store.

Hot Book of the Week – Christina Kovac’s The Cutaway

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Christina Kovac’s The Cutaway is The Poisoned Pen’s pick for “Hot Book of the Week”.


Here’s the description.

The Newsroom meets Gone Girl.” —Cosmopolitan

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.


Did it catch your attention? You can order The Cutaway through the Web Store.

Agatha Christie’s Sleuths

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How many of you fell into mysteries because you discovered Agatha Christie? Even if that wasn’t the reason, you may have read a number of her books. Radhika Jones discussed “In Praise of Agatha Christie’s Accidental Sleuths” in a recent New York Times article.

Now, you’re looking for Agatha Christie books, aren’t you? Check out the Web Store.


Anne Hillerman @ The Poisoned Pen

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Were you a fan of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn & Chee novels? If so, I hope you’ve discovered Anne Hillerman’s novels featuring Leaphorn, Chee and Manuelito. She’s on book tour for Song of the Lion.

Song of the Lion

Here’s the summary of the latest book.

A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings.

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon.

But what seems like an act of ecoterrorism turns out to be something far more nefarious and complex. Piecing together the clues, Bernadette and her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, uncover a scheme to disrupt the negotiations and inflame tensions between the Hopi and Dine tribes.

Retired Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn has seen just about everything in his long career. As the tribal police’s investigation unfolds, he begins to suspect that the bombing may be linked to a cold case he handled years ago. As he, Bernadette, and Chee carefully pull away the layers behind the crime, they make a disturbing discovery: a meticulous and very patient killer with a long-simmering plan of revenge.

Writing with a clarity and grace that is all her own, Anne Hillerman depicts the beauty and mystery of Navajo Country and the rituals, myths, and customs of its people in a mystery that builds on and complements the beloved, bestselling mysteries of her acclaimed father, Tony Hillerman.


Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, interviewed Anne Hillerman for the program. We have several photos.

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Anne Hillerman with Patrick Millikin in the back room as she signs books.
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Entering the store for the event.
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Anne Hillerman and Barbara Peters

If you would like to feel as if you were at the program, you can watch it on Livestream.

And, don’t forget. Anne Hillerman did sign copies of Song of the Lion, so we have signed copies available through the Web Store.

Philip Kerr @ The Poisoned Pen

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Did you miss Philip Kerr’s appearance at The Poisoned Pen? He’s at the end of his book tour for Prussian Blue.

Philip Kerr's Prussian Blue

Here’s the description of the book.

From New York Times–bestselling author Philip Kerr, the much-anticipated return of Bernie Gunther, our compromised former Berlin bull and unwilling SS officer. With his cover blown, he is waiting for the next move in the cat-and-mouse game that, even a decade after Germany’s defeat, continues to shadow his life.
The French Riviera, 1956: The invitation to dinner was not unexpected, though neither was it welcome. Erich Mielke, deputy head of the East German Stasi, has turned up in Nice, and he’s not on holiday. An old and dangerous adversary, Mielke is calling in a debt. He intends that Bernie go to London and, with the vial of Thallium he now pushes across the table, poison a female agent they both have had dealings with.

But chance intervenes in the form of Friedrich Korsch, an old Kripo comrade now working for Stasi and probably there to make sure Bernie gets the job done. Bernie bolts for the German border. Traveling by night, holed up during the day, Bernie has plenty of down time to recall the last time Korsch and he worked together.

It was the summer of 1939: At Hitler’s mountaintop retreat in Obersalzberg, the body of a low-level bureaucrat has been found murdered. Bernie and Korsch are selected to run the case. They have one week to solve the murder—Hitler is due back then to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. Lucky Bernie: it’s his reward for being Kripo’s best homicide detective. He knows what a box he’s in: millions have been spent to secure Obersalzberg. It would be a disaster if Hitler were to discover a shocking murder had been committed on the terrace of his own home. But the mountaintop is home to an elite Nazi community. It would be an even bigger disaster for Bernie if one of them was the murderer.

1939 and 1956: two different eras, seventeen years apart. And yet, not really apart, as the stunning climax will show when the two converge explosively.


If you missed the event, you might want to watch it on Livestream.

Or, you can check out the photos.

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The interview – Philip Kerr and Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen

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Book signing

We have signed copies of Prussian Blue in the Web Store.