Shhh – We Can’t Tell You

We can’t tell you the ending to Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes.


But, Pinborough will be talking about her book at The Poisoned Pen on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 2 PM. Here’s the summary of the book from the Web Store.

“Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes ?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar… who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong – and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

In Behind Her Eyes, Sarah Pinborough has written a novel that takes the modern day love triangle and not only turns it on its head, but completely reinvents it in a way that will leave readers reeling.”

But, we didn’t tell you the ending. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

April Smith & Michael Gamble at The Poisoned Pen

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, hosted two authors the other evening. April Smith is the author of Home Sweet Home.


That book is the Hot Book of the Week. Here’s the summary, from the Web Store.

“From the widely praised author of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey series and A Star for Mrs. Blake, this riveting epic drama follows the Kusek family from New York City to America’s heartland, where they are caught up in the panic of McCarthyism, a smear campaign, a sensational trial, and, ultimately, murder.

Calvin Kusek, a WWII pilot and attorney, and his wife, Betsy, escape the 1950s conformity of New York City to relocate to a close-knit town in South Dakota. They settle on a ranch and Betsy becomes a visiting nurse, befriending a quirky assortment of rural characters. Their children, Jo and her brother Lance, grow up caring for animals and riding rodeo. Life isn’t easy, but it is full and rewarding. When a seat in the State Assembly becomes available, Cal jumps at the chance to repay the community and serves three popular terms.
Things change when Cal runs for the U.S. Senate. The FBI investigates Betsy, and a youthful dalliance with the Communist Party surfaces to haunt the Kuseks. Mass hysteria takes over, inflamed by Cal’s political enemies. Driven by fear and hate, their neighbors turn, condemning them as enemies and spies. The American Dream falls apart overnight as the Kuseks try to protect their children from the nightmare that follows. The family is vindicated in a successful libel lawsuit, but the story doesn’t end there: years later, Lance Kusek and his wife and son are brutally attacked, and the mystery then unfolds as to who committed this coldblooded murder, and are they related to the stunning events of decades earlier?”

There are a few photos.

Left to right – April Smith, Barbara Peters


April Smith

Michael Gamble not only discussed his mystery, Murder By Tango, but also demonstrated the tango with his wife as his partner.

Michael Gamble and Barbara Peters




Listening to April Smith and Barbara Peters


If you would like to hear the authors, watch the program, and see the tango demonstration, you can watch the program on Livestream.

And, you can order the books through the Web Store.

Vicki Delany – “In the Bleak Midwinter”

I am not a fan of winter. Perhaps, it’s because when I think of winter, I think of Christina Rossetti’s poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter”.  The first stanza reads,

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.”

So, I turned to some authors to make suggestions as to what we could read on cold winter days (or warm ones if you’re in Arizona). Would these authors suggest books about warmth or cold?


Vicki Delany understands cold weather. She lives in Price Edward County, Ontario, Canada. She’s also the President of Crime Writers of Canada. One of her mystery series, the Year-Round Christmas books, is set in a community that always celebrates Christmas. Her Constable Molly Smith mysteries, including the most recent, Unreasonable Doubt, are set in British Columbia.


So, I was very interested to see what Vicki would say about the theme, “In the Bleak Midwinter”. Thank you, Vicki.


This February, the world seems colder and darker than usual.

For those of us in northern climes, it’s time to huddle by the fire, grab a comfy blanket, pour ourselves a hot (or cold as per one’s preference) beverage, and read. I love to read books “˜in season’. Beach reads at the beach and winter scenes in the winter. Some people love the contrast between what they’re reading and where they are, so some of these books might also suit you if you’re heading off to a Caribbean vacation, and like to get into a book when you have the time.

First up is White Heat by M.J. McGrath.


McGrath created a character and a location you don’t hear much about in crime fiction: An Inuit woman named Edie Kiglatuk living on Ellesmere Island. (In Canada’s North. Way, way north.) I loved the first book in the series, White Heat, and the third, The Bone Seeker. The second is called The Boy in the Snow, and it didn’t hit me as anything special, probably because its characters go to Alaska for that one, and it lost that spark of real originality. (Although I did get a chuckle out of how Edie just can’t understand these Southerners (The Alaskans) and their strange ways.) It’s been some years since The Bone Seeker, and I couldn’t find news of another, so it looks asthough the series might be finished. Which is a pity.

Want to continue to really get away from it all: Try The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni.


This one is set, unbelievably if we’re taking remote, off the coast of California. But on a very isolated archipelago accessible only for scientific research. Miranda, a nature photographer, spends a year living on a rock. A great crime novel, in which the nature studies are integrated and fascinating and don’t overwhelm the story. A fascinating portrait of a small group of people living in close quarters and isolation. One of the best “setting-based” books I’ve ever read.

Back to Canada now, and north again, although not quite as far as Ellesmere Inland, for Elle Wild’s debut novel, Strange Things Done.


If you’re enjoying the Icelandic police drama Trapped on Netflix, this is right up your alley. Set in Dawson City, Yukon, when winter arrives, the road to the outside closes, and the few remaining residents of the town hunker down. And, as in Trapped, when trouble arrives outside help is far, far away.

Winter is also, for me, the time for serious reading. And I mean serious. I have been recommending The War that Ended Peace by Margaret MacMillan to everyone I know.


She discusses the lead up to 1914, and her question isn’t why did war begin, but why did a peace that lasted for one hundred years end. And end so suddenly, in a period of only five weeks from the assassination of the Archduke to the outbreak of total war.


Thank you, Vicki, for kicking off “In the Bleak Midwinter”, a series with authors telling us what they’re reading this winter. There will be more posts during February on the subject.

Vicki Delany’s website is  You can find her books, and the books she recommended, at The Poisoned Pen’s Web Store.



Betty Webb, In the Hot Seat


Betty Webb is going to be at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday, February 4 at 2 PM. She’ll be talking about, and signing, her latest Lena Jones mystery, Desert Vengeance. I’ve mentioned before, it always feels funny to interview a journalist. But, I’ve known Betty Webb for a few years, so she was kind enough to answer questions.

Betty, would you introduce yourself to readers?

I was a journalist for 20 years, interviewing astronauts who walked on the moon, Nobel Prize-winners, and U.S. presidents. After such a deadline-intensive life, I decided to relax by writing mystery novels. Boy, was I wrong! Being an author is the opposite of “relaxing,” but I’ve learned a lot of fun facts that I didn’t know before ““ such as how long it takes a dead body to develop rigor mortis.

Lena Jones has an interesting background, or maybe non-background. Would you tell us about her?

At the age of four, Lena was found lying in a Phoenix street with a bullet in her head. The bullet erased all her memories, so she no longer knew her name or who her parents were. When no one claimed her she was turned over to the foster care system, where in one home she was raped by her foster father. She survived her horrible childhood, became a police officer, and eventually became a private investigator. Now, while tracking down murderers, she is also trying to find her birth parents.

Without spoilers, tell us about Desert Vengeance.


“Desert Vengeance” begins the day “Papa Brian,” the foster father who raped Lena when she was nine years old, is released from prison. In the prison parking lot, Lena is waiting for him with a knife. Days later, after the rapist and his wife are found murdered, Lena becomes the most likely suspect. But there are others who wanted the man dead. Chief among them are four women whose children disappeared from the area before “Papa Brian” went to prison.

Your Gunn Zoo mysteries are so different from the Lena Jones ones. How did you start writing the Gunn Zoo ones?

After I retired from the newspaper, I needed something to get me out of the house so I could have a more or less normal life. Since I’ve always loved animals, I decided to do volunteer work at the Phoenix Zoo. In my years working there, I learned so much about exotic animals that I wanted to share their lives and personalities with other animal-lovers, so I started writing about them ““ basically just for fun. The first was “The Anteater of Death,” about a wonderful giant anteater named Lucy who stole my heart. Little did I know that my “just for fun” books would become as successful as the Lena Jones books.

I could go on about some of your Desert books. I’m fascinated by the history behind Desert Run and Desert Wind. What’s your favorite book you’ve written, and why?

That’s like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most! I love the first book, “Desert Noir” because it started my career as a mystery novelist, but I also love the next book, “Desert Wives,” because it revealed the problem Arizona was having with a real-life polygamy cult. The publicity generated by “Desert Wives” was enormous ““ especially when the New York Times gave the book a rave review. Because of all that publicity, the book’s self-described “prophet” Warren Jeffs is now serving 25 years to life in prison for child rape. Yes, I love “Desert Run” and “Desert Wind,” too ““ as well as the other Lena books, but I love them all for different reasons.

Which book did you enjoy researching the most?

For the sheer fun of it I have to admit I loved researching “The Puffin of Death” the most because it took me to beautiful Iceland! Some people left their heart in San Francisco, but I left mine in Vik, Iceland, where much of the story takes place. However, the John Wayne research I did on “Desert Wind” really opened my eyes about the Nevada A-bomb testing during the “˜50s. I even took a trip to the A-bomb museum in Las Vegas.

Why did you want to write crime novels?

While I was still working for the newspaper they made me their book reviewer, and I started receiving around 100 books per week ““ no exaggeration! I could pick the books I wanted to review, and after a few months, I noticed that at least half of them were mysteries. That started me thinking, “Hey, I wonder if I could write a mystery.” So I wrote “Desert Noir.” Looking back, I see that my first five novels were all written while I was still at the paper ““ I’d get up at 4 in the morning, write until 8 a.m., then go to the newsroom, where I’d write all day. Then I’d come home and write some more. Of all literature genres (or non-genres) I find mysteries most often meet my desire for justice, because in mystery novels, the killer is caught and punished, therefore justice and balance are restored to the world. In real life, that doesn’t always happen.

What authors influenced you?

J.A. Jance, Tony Hillerman, Peter Robinson, Kate Atkinson, and writers of that ilk. I like writers who delve deeply into their characters while paying close attention to their physical environment.

Other than your own, name a couple books you would never part with.

David Morrell’s trilogy about English writer/opium addict Thomas De Quincey ““ “Murder As a Fine Art,” “Inspector of the Dead,” and “Ruler of the Night.” Morrell autographed them for me at a signing, and you’d have to shoot me dead to get them away from me.

As a journalist and reviewer, you’re well-read. What author would you like to recommend who you think has been underappreciated?

I know this will come out of left field but a mystery novelist I think is sorely unappreciated is Christopher Fowler, who writes the wild and wacky Peculiar Crimes Unit mysteries. They star two old coots (one who is obviously suffering from dementia) who solve “impossible” crimes in contemporary London. The books are both funny and compassionate, and unlike anything else I have read. Start off with “Full Dark House,” move on to “The Water Room,” and then read your way through them. Delightful! Now for “non-genre” novels, I’ve recently fallen in love with “Good Morning, Midnight” by Lily Brooks-Dalton, a novel that flips back and forth from the POV of a female astronaut coming back to Earth after a mission to Jupiter, and a lonely, elderly scientist stranded in the Arctic. This book that really makes you think. Another unsung writer I adore is Emily St. John Mandel, a genre-jumping Canadian author who wrote “Station Eleven,” “The Singer’s Gun,” and several other fine, fine novels.

Betty Webb’s website can be found at On Saturday, Feb. 4, she can be found at The Poisoned Pen at 2 PM. And, her books can be found at the Web Store,


Mindy Mejia & Everything You Want Me to Be

Looking for a thriller? How about Mindy Mejia’s Everything You Want Me to Be?


Just check out the summary from the Web Page.

People‘s Best New Books Pick

The Wall Street Journal‘s Best New Mysteries

“Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will devour this fast-paced story.”—InStyle

“Readers drawn to this compelling psychological thriller because of its shared elements with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2012) will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Mejia’s confident storytelling pulls those themes into an altogether different exploration of manipulation and identity.” —Booklist (starred review)

2017’s Best Fiction Books—Bustle

12 Books Gone Girl Fans Should Have on Their Wish List —BookBub

“Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?”

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, interviewed Mindy Mejia, and you can watch the interview on Livestream.

If you’d like to buy a signed copy of Everything You Want Me to Be, check the Web Store.

Jeff Guinn at The Poisoned Pen

Westerns usually have the good versus evil theme in common with detective stories. Just check out the summary of Jeff Guinn’s Silver City.


“Cash McLendon faces stone-cold enforcer Killer Boots in an Old West showdown, in New York Times bestselling author Jeff Guinn’s riveting follow-up to Buffalo Trail, winner of the TCU Texas Book Award.

Cash McLendon, reluctant hero of the epic Indian battle at Adobe Walls, has journeyed to Mountain View in the Arizona Territory with one goal: to convince Gabrielle Tirrito that he’s a changed man and win her back from schoolteacher Joe Saint. As they’re about to depart by stage for their new life in San Francisco, Gabrielle is kidnapped by enforcer Killer Boots, who is working on orders from crooked St. Louis businessman Rupert Douglass. Cash, once married to Douglass’s troubled daughter, fled the city when she died of accidental overdose—and Douglass vowed he’d track Cash down and make him pay.
Now McLendon, accompanied by Joe Saint and Major Mulkins, hits the trail in pursuit of Gabrielle and Killer Boots, hoping to make a trade before it’s too late.”

Jeff Guinn was recently at The Poisoned Pen, interviewed by Patrick Millikin.

Left to right – Patrick Millikin, Jeff Guinn

If you would like to see the event, you can watch it on Livestream.

You can order a signed copy of Silver City through the Web Store.

Clare Mackintosh – Tea & Conversation

Sometimes, afternoon programs at The Poisoned Pen become tea and conversation with the author. This time, it was Clare Mackintosh who was at the bookstore for a sneak preview of her book, I See You.


We have a number of photos.

Clare Mackintosh, before the program
Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, interviews Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh
Clare Mackintosh signing books
Clare Mackintosh, at The Poisoned Pen

Would you like to see the event? You can watch it via Livestream.

And, if you would like a signed copy of I See You, you can order it through the Web Store.

Gregg Hurwitz, On Tour for The Nowhere Man

Gregg Hurwitz is on tour for The Nowhere Man, the second Orphan X novel, and he appeared at The Poisoned Pen.


We have photos from the program.

Gregg Hurwitz coming over from the backroom where he was signing stock.
Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, introduces Hurwitz.
Hurwitz answering questions
Gregg Hurwitz


If you missed the program, and would like to see it, you can watch it on Livestream.

You can still buy a signed copy of Gregg Hurwitz’ The Nowhere Man through the Web Store.

Casey & Ramsay – Live at The Poisoned Pen

Two Poisoned Pen Press authors, Donis Casey (The Return of the Raven Mocker) and Frederick Ramsay (Copper Kettle), were recently at The Poisoned Pen to talk about their new books.

The books by both authors are set in the same period, 1918-1920. Here are a few photos of the event. The authors were interviewed by Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.

Patrick Millikin watches Frederick Ramsay pre-sign books
Fred and Donis before the event
Fred, Donis and Barbara

And, if you would like to “attend” the program, you can watch it via Livestream.

Signed copies of both books are available through the Web Store.