Fiction Review

David P. Wagner

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Are you familiar with David P. Wagner, author of the Rick Montoya mysteries set in Italy? You can order them through the Poisoned Pen Web Store.

David P. Wagner, author of the Rick Montoya mystery series, has written an article on plotting your mystery for the Killer Nashville website.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve always wondered how some authors can just sit down and begin writing without having any idea where their book is going, and especially if they write mysteries. Such writers are called “pantsers” in the literary lexicon since they write by the seat of their pants. Tony Hillerman was a pantser, and did pretty well, so it certainly can be done—just not by me.     

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From Poisoned Pen Press & Michael Barson

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This month, our perennially under-dressed publicity director Michael Barson plumbs his personal archives to bring you a special treat: his reminiscence about interviewing the late, great Mickey Spillane for his Master’s thesis, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth and beer cost a nickel (okay, I’ll admit I’m exaggerating; a tall neck probably cost a whole  quarter then—!). The year in question is 1976, when ancient mariner Barson was but an eager 24-year-old grad student at Bowling Green State U., his illustrious future career a mere twinkle in his baby blues…
Click here to read the article

A “Thrilling” Conversation – Gregg Hurwitz & Joseph Finder

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Did you miss it, or do you want to watch it again? Gregg Hurwitz, author of Out of the Dark: An Orphan X Novel, and Joseph Finder, author of Judgment, were both here recently. They had a conversation with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen. You can still order signed copies of either or both books through the Web Store.

You can also still catch the event.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf – Hot Book of the Week

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Have you heard of Marlon James’ first book in the Dark Star trilogy, Black Leopard, Red Wolf? It’s the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen, but it’s a hot book nationally as well. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Here’s the description of Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

“A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made.” –Neil Gaiman

“Gripping, action-packed….The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings

In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child. 

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that’s come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.

Ian Rankin in Conversation with Linwood Barclay

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It’s a conversation you won’t see very often. Ian Rankin is in the United States, touring for this latest Rebus novel, In a House of Lies. Linwood Barclay, author of A Noise Downstairs, is this quarter’s writer-in-residence at The Poisoned Pen. You can find books by both authors in the Web Store.

And, you can watch and listen to this conversation, even when you couldn’t make it to The Poisoned Pen for the event.

New England vs. Los Angeles

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No matter what I write for today, it can’t compete with the Super Bowl. It appears that Dwyer Murphy felt the same way, and he wrote an entertaining piece for CrimeReads, “Predicting the Super Bowl with Crime Fiction.”

Who would you pick? Michael Connelly?

Or, Dennis Lehane?

I’m not going to give away the final score, but, if you’re a regular at the Poisoned Pen, you’ve probably met some of the current team from LA.

James Rollins & Crucible

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Did you miss James Rollins’ recent visit to The Poisoned Pen? He appeared on release day for his latest Sigma Force novel, Crucible. There was a champagne toast, and a discussion with Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store.

Here’s the summary of Crucible.

In the race to save one of their own, Sigma Force must wrestle with the deepest spiritual mysteries of mankind in this mind-expanding adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, told with his trademark blend of cutting edge science, historical mystery, and pulse-pounding action.

Arriving home on Christmas Eve, Commander Gray Pierce discovers his house ransacked, his pregnant lover missing, and his best friend’s wife, Kat, unconscious on the kitchen floor. With no shred of evidence to follow, his one hope to find the woman he loves and his unborn child is Kat, the only witness to what happened. But the injured woman is in a semi-comatose state and cannot speak—until a brilliant neurologist offers a radical approach to “unlock” her mind long enough to ask a few questions.

What Pierce learns from Kat sets Sigma Force on a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition and to one of the most reviled and blood-soaked books in human history—a Medieval text known as the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches. What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?


Here’s your opportunity to “attend” the James Rollins event. It was recorded.