Fiction Review

Hot Book of the Week – A Debut

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The Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen is a debut by the screenwriter of “Jurassic Park”. Check out Cold Storage by David Koepp. It’s available through the Web Store.

“On every level, Cold Storage is pure, unadulterated entertainment.” —Douglas Preston, The New York Times Book Review

For readers of Andy Weir and Noah Hawley comes an astonishing debut by the screenwriter of Jurassic Park: a wild and terrifying adventure about three strangers who must work together to contain a highly contagious, deadly organism

When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.

Now, after decades of festering in a forgotten sub-basement, the specimen has found its way out and is on a lethal feeding frenzy.  Only Diaz knows how to stop it.

He races across the country to help two unwitting security guards—one an ex-con, the other a single mother.  Over one harrowing night, the unlikely trio must figure out how to quarantine this horror again.  All they have is luck, fearlessness, and a mordant sense of humor.  Will that be enough to save all of humanity

Martin Edwards’ Gallows Court

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Violence is Golden
 Martin Edwards is on fire, with multiple starred reviews and  widespread acclaim for his new mystery series set in 1930s London, featuring a whip-smart amateur sleuth Rachel Savernake and her unlikely cohort, journalist Jacob Flint (Gallows Court, Sept. 2019).

Check out the excellent Q&A with this powerhouse mystery author, editor, critic, and expert in Golden Age crime fiction, printed by Publishers Weekly in July.

 Click here to read the article

Edwards’ Gallows Court is available through the Web Store.

Here’s the summary of Gallows Court.

“Superb—a pitch-perfect blend of Golden Age charm and sinister modern suspense, with a main character to die for. This is the book Edwards was born to write.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

London, 1930

Sooty, sulphurous, and malign: no woman should be out on a night like this. A spate of violent deaths—the details too foul to print—has horrified the capital and the smog-bound streets are deserted. But Rachel Savernake—the enigmatic daughter of a notorious hanging judge—is no ordinary woman. To Scotland Yard’s embarrassment, she solved the Chorus Girl Murder, and now she’s on the trail of another killer.

Jacob Flint, a young newspaperman temporarily manning The Clarion‘s crime desk, is looking for the scoop that will make his name. He’s certain there is more to the Miss Savernake’s amateur sleuthing than meets the eye. He’s not the only one. 

Flint’s pursuit of Rachel Savernake will draw him ever-deeper into a labyrinth of deception and corruption. Murder-by-murder, he’ll be swept ever-closer to its dark heart—an ancient place of execution. Twisted family relationships add to a trust-no-one narrative positively reeking with atmosphere.

Walter Mosley’s Opinion Piece

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In the September 6, 2019 New York Times, Walter Mosley is identified as “a novelist and screenwriter”. Yes, he is, and his opinion piece stems from his experience as a screenwriter. However, in the mystery field, he is the recipient of the 2016 Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America. He is the author of numerous novels, including the award-winning Easy Rawlins mysteries. His books can be found in the Web Store.

However, today, it’s more important that he’s the author of an opinion piece, “Why I Quite the Writers’ Room”. The subject? “The worst thing you can do to citizens of a democracy is silence them.” You might want to read the article.

New Zealand – A Crime Writer’s Dream

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Debut mystery writer Sara E. Johnson appears at The Poisoned Pen on Monday, September 9 at 7 PM. She’ll introduce her book, Molten Mud Murder, and her protagonist, Alexa Glock. If you can’t make it, you can order signed copies of the book through the Web Store.

You can read the summary of Molten Mud Murder here.

Is the past better left undisturbed, or unearthed?

When a body is found half-submerged in a molten mud pot in one of Rotorua’s famous geothermal wonderlands, forensics expert Alexa Glock spots a way to prolong her stay in New Zealand, which she has been visiting for work. Teeth are her expertise, and the investigation needs her help, as other ways of identifying the body may have… melted away.

Joining Detective Inspector Bruce Horne and his team, Alexa discovers that the murder victim, a city councilman, had trespassed on an island sacred to the Maori. The ancient punishment for such a transgression is disaster, demonic possession, or death… and when she visits the island to investigate, the same outcome is promised for her. Alexa doesn’t believe in ancient spirits returning to exact revenge, and when another victim turns up dead she begins to wonder whether the real threat is something—or someone—much closer to home.


Better yet, you can read how Johnson’s year in New Zealand inspired murder. That’s a murder mystery, of course. She wrote about it for

The Making of Outlander

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Tickets are still available as of today, but they might not be for long. If you’re interested, you should call soon.

Diana Gabaldon and Tara Bennett discuss and sign

The Making of Outlander The Series: The Official Guide to Seasons Three and Four

Saturday, October 19th at 6:30pm

WHEN:October 19, 2019 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

WHERE:DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paradise Valley- Scottsdale
5401 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale AZ 85250

COST:$55.00, $60.00 CONTACT: Patrick Millikin 480 947 2974


The Doubletree Resort by Hilton Hotels Paradise Valley-Scottsdale

5401 N Scottsdale Rd,  Scottsdale AZ 85250 

Doors open at 5:30pm

Cash Bar, Valet Parking available

Diana Gabaldon

Ms Gabaldon will only sign copies of MAKING OF OUTLANDER and any of her titles purchased at the event.  She will not be able to sign previously-purchased books.

Tara Bennett


See how the story of Jamie Frasier and Claire Beauchamp Randall comes to life on the screen with this official, photo-filled companion to the third and fourth seasons of the hit Starz television series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander novels.

Karin Slaughter in Conversation

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I’ve been lucky enough to hear Karin Slaughter a couple times, and even sit at her table for a tea, so I can tell you she’s entertaining and you’ll definitely want to watch the YouTube video of her recent appearance at The Poisoned Pen. It was her last stop on her book tour for The Last Widow. Even with kittens to play with, she signed copies of the book, so you can still order a signed copy through the Web Store.

With so many people in the audience who were new to the bookstore, owner Barbara Peters talked about the newsletter and the 250 events the store hosts every year. You’ll want to listen to her conversation with Karin Slaughter.

If you don’t want to watch the event, here’s the summary of The Last Widow.

New York Times bestselling author Karin Slaughter brings back Will Trent and Sara Linton in this superb and timely thriller full of devious twists, disturbing secrets, and shocking surprises you won’t see coming

A mysterious kidnapping

On a hot summer night, a scientist from the Centers for Disease Control is grabbed by unknown assailants in a shopping center parking lot. The authorities are desperate to save the doctor who’s been vanished into thin air. 

A devastating explosion

One month later, the serenity of a sunny Sunday afternoon is shattered by the boom of a ground-shaking blast—followed by another seconds later. One of Atlanta’s busiest and most important neighborhoods has been bombed—the location of Emory University, two major hospitals, the FBI headquarters, and the CDC.

A diabolical enemy 

Medical examiner Sara Linton and her partner Will Trent, an investigator with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, rush to the scene—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to destroy thousands of innocent lives. When the assailants abduct Sara, Will goes undercover to save her and prevent a massac

William Kent Krueger on Tour – This Tender Land

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If you only know William Kent Krueger from his beautiful standalone, Ordinary Grace, or his Cork O’Connor mysteries, now you have the chance to meet him at The Poisoned Pen on Thursday, September 5 at 7 PM. Krueger’s on tour for his new standalone, This Tender Land. If you can’t make it to the event, you can order a signed copy through the Web Store. (William Kent Krueger is one of the few authors who makes me cry when he talks about books. You’ll want to attend the event if you can.)

Before the summary, here’s a note from William Kent Krueger.

The best stories are those that come most deeply from an author’s heart. This Tender Land is a story that began to take shape in my heart long ago. At first, it whispered to me gently. With each passing year, its voice became a bit louder, more insistent, until finally it fairly shouted at me to be written. I knew it would be the most ambitious project I’ve ever undertaken, epic in proportion and intimate in detail. I wanted to use this story to talk about things important to me—family, home, our capacity for generosity in the face of great privation, and the difficulties that confront us all in our spiritual journey. I knew there would be great risks in this undertaking, that I would be asking a lot of myself and of my readers, but that lovely voice from my heart told me I had no choice. The story had to be written.

Although I care about the characters in every novel I compose, I fell deeply in love with the four Vagabonds. As I prepared to have them embark on their long river odyssey in the summer of 1932, I knew they would be greatly challenged by the experiences ahead of them and dramatically changed, but because I cared for them all so very much, I wanted only the best for them in the end.

The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and it often deals with the hardships endured by so many during that tragic era. I tried to be realistic in that portrayal, but also compassionate. And because I’m a child of the Midwest, I did my best to paint the Heartland landscape with loving strokes.

It’s an old-fashioned kind of storytelling, and I wasn’t certain if it would find an audience among modern readers, but I decided not to worry about this. I believe that if, as Hemingway put it, you write true, you will find your audience. I have tried to write the story as truly as it spoke to me from my heart. My hope is that it will speak to you in the same way.


Here’s the summary of This Tender Land.

For fans of Before We Were Yours and Where the Crawdads Sing, a magnificent novel about four orphans on a life-changing odyssey during the Great Depression, from the New York Times bestselling author ofOrdinary Grace

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, big-hearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.