Fiction Review

CrimeReads Launches

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Announcing CrimeReads, a new site from the makers of Literary Hub, at Poisoned Pen Press is one of the publisher partners with CrimeReads.

On March 7th, Literary Hub is launching CrimeReads, a new website showcasing the best writing from the worlds of crime, mystery, and thrillers.

Crime writing is more popular than ever before. From psychological thrillers to true crime to international noir, these titles fill the world’s bookshelves. Every year, new masters of suspense come to the fore, and with the rising popularity of podcasts, TV, and film adaptations, we consume more crime and mystery stories all the time. The culture that has sprung up around these stories is vibrant, diverse, and growing.

CrimeReads will be the singular online destination where readers can find the highest quality crime content from across the web, the publishing world, and the crime community. With help from its partners, CrimeReads will publish a daily slate of features, profiles, and excerpts from established and emerging writers, as well as a weekly newsletter, curating the best of today’s crime, mystery, and thriller scene.

“It’s been exciting to watch the success and growth of Literary Hub,” said Morgan Entrekin, the site’s co-founder and Publisher of Grove Atlantic. “Now, using the same model of partnering with content producers and having our editors commission original work, we’re expanding to cover crime writing.”

CrimeReads will partner with major publishers and independent presses, booksellers, librarians, thriller festivals, author organizations, journals, blogs, crime-solving communities, and more. CrimeReads will be advised by a board of authors, among the most widely read and influential voices in the field, including Megan Abbott, Lee Child, Lyndsay Faye, Meg Gardiner, Alison Gaylin, Rachel Howzell Hall, Carl Hiaasen, Joe Ide, Craig Johnson, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Laura Lippman, Attica Locke, Val McDermid, Kyle Mills, Walter Mosley, Lori Rader-Day, Ruth Ware, and Daniel Woodrell.

“The crime fiction community has always been friendly, engaged and deeply passionate,” said author Megan Abbott. “CrimeReads promises to offer a ‘gathering place’ (a corner bar, if you will) to discuss and debate, to share ideas and talk craft, and to discover new books and new writers. I can’t wait.”

Literary Hub was launched in 2015 and has become the world’s most popular independent literary site, with over 2 million monthly readers and 250+ partners. It was conceived by Morgan Entrekin and ASME Hall of Fame editor, Terry McDonnell, and created in collaboration with Andy Hunter, Electric Literature, and founding editor Jonny Diamond.

Hot Book of the Week – Charles Todd’s The Gate Keeper

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The Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen is Charles Todd’s The Gate Keeper. The mother-and-son writing team of Caroline and Charles Todd will be at the bookstore on Monday, March 12 at 7 PM, when they’ll be interviewed by author Francine Mathews. Joining the group will be Sophie Hannah, author of Keep Her Safe. You can order a signed copy of The Gate Keeper now through the Web Store.

Gate Keeper

**Exclusive for Poisoned Pen Customers with the purchase of a signed copy of The Gate Keeper, you will receive a specially designed “wedding invite”…..while supplies last**

Why a “wedding invite”? Here’s the summary of The Gate Keeper.

On a deserted road, late at night, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge encounters a frightened woman standing over a body, launching an inquiry that leads him into the lair of a stealthy killer and the dangerous recesses of his own memories in this twentieth installment of the acclaimed New York Timesbestselling series.

Hours after his sister’s wedding, a restless Ian Rutledge drives aimlessly, haunted by the past, and narrowly misses a motorcar stopped in the middle of a desolate road. Standing beside the vehicle is a woman with blood on her hands and a dead man at her feet.

She swears she didn’t kill Stephen Wentworth. A stranger stepped out in front of their motorcar, and without warning, fired a single shot before vanishing into the night. But there is no trace of him. And the shaken woman insists it all happened so quickly, she never saw the man’s face.

Although he is a witness after the fact, Rutledge persuades the Yard to give him the inquiry, since he’s on the scene. But is he seeking justice—or fleeing painful memories in London?

Wentworth was well-liked, yet his bitter family paint a malevolent portrait, calling him a murderer. But who did Wentworth kill? Is his death retribution? Or has his companion lied? Wolf Pit, his village, has a notorious history: in Medieval times, the last wolf in England was killed there. When a second suspicious death occurs, the evidence suggests that a dangerous predator is on the loose, and that death is closer than Rutledge knows.

James Patterson @ The Poisoned Pen

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James Patterson loves bookstores. So he will appear at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday March 10 at 6:00 PM. There will be a chat,  and then there will be a book signing. To make this fun and comfortable, attendance is limited to 125.

To do that please register by buying one of the 125 vouchers for $25. Call us at 480 947 2974 or 888 560 9919 or

 You will be able to spend the $25 voucher, given to you when you arrive at the store, on any Patterson book in stock. The signing is limited to books bought at the event; please do not bring any personal books with you.

Fifty Fifty 

This will include the Harriet Blue thriller Fifty Fifty (Little Brown $28). By happy chance his coauthor Candice Fox joins us on March 9, so all our copies will be signed by both authors. And we’ll give you a special price at the event only of $25.

 You can also spend the $25 by ordering a Signed copy of Red Alert: NYPD #5 now for delivery on publication date, March 26If you can’t attend you can order either book in the usual way, through the Web Store.

Jack Carr, Navy Seal turned Writer

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Former Navy Seal turned writer, Jack Carr, will sign copies of his debut novel, The Terminal List, at the Poisoned Pen on Tuesday, March 6 at 7 PM. He’ll be in conversation with J. Todd Scott. Signed copies of The Terminal List are available for order through the Web Store.

Terminal List

Here’s the summary of The Terminal List.

“Double the trouble, twice the action, and quadruple the enjoyment. Careful while reading this one, it could leave a mark.”—Steve Berry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Order

A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller.

On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.

Now, with no family and free from the military’s command structure, Reece applies the lessons that he’s learned in over a decade of constant warfare toward avenging the deaths of his family and teammates. With breathless pacing and relentless suspense, Reece ruthlessly targets his enemies in the upper echelons of power without regard for the laws of combat or the rule of law.

An intoxicating thriller that cautions against the seduction of absolute power and those who would do anything to achieve it, The Terminal List is perfect for fans of Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Stephen Hunter, and Nelson DeMille.


What led Jack Carr to be a Navy Seal and then a writer? He talks about it here.

NPR, Kent Anderson & Green Sun

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It’s been twenty years since Kent Anderson’s last novel. Now, he’s at the Poisoned Pen on Sunday, March 4 at 2 PM with his third crime novel, Green Sun. Signed copies are available through the Web Store.

Green Sun

Michael Schaub just reviewed Green Sun for NPR (National Public Radio). Schaub says, “Green Sun succeeds on so many levels, it’s hard to keep count.” You can read his entire review here. He says it’s worth waiting for two decades for this book.

What have you been waiting for? Here’s the summary.


“One of the unsung heroes of crime fiction” (Chicago Tribune), Kent Anderson returns after two decades with this dazzling novel about justice, character and fate, set against the backdrop of an American city at war with itself.

Oakland, California, 1983: a city churning with violent crime and racial conflict. Officer Hanson, a Vietnam veteran, has abandoned academia for the life-and-death clarity of police work, a way to live with the demons that followed him home from the war.
But Hanson knows that justice requires more than simply enforcing the penal code. He believes in becoming a part of the community he serves–which is why, unlike most officers, he chooses to live in the same town where he works. This strategy serves him well…to a point. He forges a precarious friendship with Felix Maxwell, the drug king of East Oakland, based on their shared sense of fairness and honor. He falls in love with Libya the moment he sees her, a confident and outspoken black woman. He is befriended by Weegee, a streetwise eleven-year-old who is primed to become a dope dealer.
Every day, every shift, tests a cop’s boundaries between the man he wants to be and the officer of the law he’s required to be. At last an off-duty shooting forces Hanson to finally face who he is, and which side of the law he belongs on.

Brad Parks – Guest Author

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You never know what you’ll get when you ask Brad Parks to write a guest post. But, it will probably be funny. The author of Closer Than You Know will be at The Poisoned Pen on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 PM. He’ll be joined by Christopher Rice, author of Bone Music. Signed copies of their books are available through the Web Store.

Brad has a few things to say about the event.


I’m a big fan of group signings and an even bigger fan of the Poisoned Pen. So I was thrilled to learn that for my annual visit to Scottsdale’s world famous bookstore, I’d be teamed up with. . .

Wait, what?!?

They want me to appear with Christopher Rice?

Oh hell.

Hell no.

I hate that guy. And when I say hate, I mean it’s deeply, deeply personal. And when I say deeply personal, I mean we’ve barely met. We were introduced briefly at ThrillerFest one year. He probably doesn’t even remember it. So it’s more accurate to say while I go around telling people I’ve met Christopher Rice, he’s like, “Who?” Which is not at all embarrassing for me.

Point is, you can take your Christopher Rice and shove him down a hole; then fill the hole with a thousand hungry rats; then make sure the rats have rabies; then subject him to repeated viewings of White House press briefings, which he then has to retweet with a line of dancing kissy face emojis and the comment, “And that’s no lie!”

That’s how much I hate that guy.

I have this thing going, you see. Me, and some other guys who also write thrillers, we’re what I call Gregg Hurwitzes. A Gregg Hurwitz is young (which is to say: at least ten years from needing our first hip replacement). We’re decent-looking by crime fiction standards (which is to say: neither horribly disfigured nor hunched by a bone-wasting disease). We’re successful (which is to say: the publishing companies are still printing our novels, mostly because they haven’t yet figured out how to replace us with manuscript-writing robots whose egos they don’t need to constantly stroke).

But Christopher Rice? He’s not just young. He’s obnoxiously young. Go ahead. Ask him about what it’s like to turn forty. He’ll just stand there with a coquettish smile because he doesn’t have a clue.

He’s not just decent-looking by crime fiction standards, he’s actually attractive. I mean, yeah, I was once named one of Crime Fiction’s Sexiest Authors by noted book blogger Jen Forbus. Christopher Rice was named one of the Sexiest Men Alive by People Freakin’ Magazine.

And successful? Stop already. By the age of thirty, he had written four New York Times bestsellers. By the age of thirty, I hadn’t even written four complete New York Times crossword puzzles.

Beyond that, he’s charming, polite, a snazzy dresser, a terrific writer, and—by all accounts—a really nice guy. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about him.

I’ll still go to the signing, of course, but only because I live in mortal fear of offending Barbara Peters.

I won’t like it though. I plan to spend the entire event sitting in the corner with a menacing look on my face, muttering thinly veiled threats, seething at that infernal pestilence Christopher Rice.

And that’s no lie.
Brad Parks is an American author of crime fiction who is chiefly known for not being worthy of carrying Christopher Rice’s laptop. Brad’s soon-to-be released next novel, Closer Than You Know, won starred reviews from Kirkus and Library Journal. Nevertheless, he’ll be the tiny, flickering candle sitting next to the supernova that is Christopher Rice when they jointly appear at The Poisoned Pen on March 7.


True Crime – I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

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Way back when I introduced myself, I mentioned I work for a public library. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark is one of the books in high demand at the library right now. There’s a waiting list. You can order Michelle McNamara’s book about her search for the Golden State Killer in the Web Store.

I'll Be Gone

Here’s the summary of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.

Introduction by Gillian Flynn
Afterword by Patton Oswalt

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark will undoubtedly be stocked in the True Crime section, which is fine, but in so many ways it’s a brilliant genre-buster. It’s propulsive, can’t-stop-now reading, which makes it all too easy to ignore the clean and focused writing. 

What readers need to know—what makes this book so special—is that it deals with two obsessions, one light and one dark. The Golden State Killer is the dark half; Michelle McNamara’s is the light half. It’s a journey into two minds, one sick and disordered, the other intelligent and determined. I loved this book.”   —Stephen King

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

“You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.”

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Kille