Conversations with Betty Webb, Lena Jones’ Creator

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It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a beloved character. Betty Webb, author of the Lena Jones mysteries, provides answers in the final book in the series, Desert Redemption. You can order the series, including a signed copy of Desert Redemption, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2uhnpCs

Because it’s the last book, several people interviewed Webb about this book and the series. You’ll want to catch both articles. Michael Barson did a Q&A for Suspense Magazine. http://bit.ly/2UhrVk7

Elise Cooper interviewed Webb for Crimespree Magazine. http://bit.ly/2YK0pu0

Once again, here’s the description of Desert Redemption.

“In Jones’s electrifying 10th…Scottsdale, Arizona, PI Lena is approached by Harold Slow Horse, one of Arizona’s leading artists…[and] gets on a trail that leads her at long last to answers about her troubled past…” —Publishers Weekly

At the age of four, Scottsdale private eye Lena Jones was shot in the head and left to die on a Phoenix street. After her rescue, she spent years in the abusive foster care system, never knowing who her parents were and why they didn’t claim her. When Desert Redemption begins, she still doesn’t know her real name.

Lena’s rough childhood—and the suspicion that her parents may have been members of a cult—keeps her hackles raised. So when Chelsea, the ex-wife of Harold Slow Horse, a close friend, joins a “new thought” organization called Kanati, Lena begins to investigate. She soon learns that two communes—polar opposites of each other—have sprung up nearby in the Arizona desert. The participants at EarthWay follow a rigorous dietary regime that could threaten the health of its back-to-the-land inhabitants, while the more pleasure-loving folk at Kanati are dining on sumptuous French cuisine.

On an early morning horseback ride across the Pima Indian Reservation, Lena finds an emaciated woman’s body in the desert. “Reservation Woman” lies in a spot close to EarthWay, clad in a dress similar to the ones worn by its women. But there is something about her face that reminds Lena of the Kanatians.

While investigating, Lena’s memory is jolted back to that horrible night when her father and younger brother were among those murdered by a cult leader named Abraham, who then vanished. Lena begins to wonder if either EarthWay or Kanati could be linked to that night, and to her own near-death. Could leaders of one or both shed light on what had happened to Lena’s mother, who vanished at the same time as Abraham?

All these mysteries are resolved in Desert Redemption, the tenth and final Lena Jones case, which can also be enjoyed on its own.

Lefty Award Winners

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The winners of the Lefty Awards were announced this past weekend. The Lefty Awards are presented annually at the Left Coast Crime convention, voted on by the attendees. Check the Web Store for copies of the books. https://store.poisonedpen.com

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel j

Catriona McPherson, Scot Free

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel (Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1960

Sujata Massey, The Widows of Malabar Hill

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel

Dianne Freeman, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel (not in other categories)

Lou Berney, November Road

Isabella Maldonado Discusses Death Blow

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If you only know of Isabella Maldonado from her three novels, including Death Blow, you’d expect a serious former police officer. That’s one more reason you should go back and read her previous interview, done by Detective Veranda Cruz, Maldonado’s protagonist. http://bit.ly/2J0ZOjE

Or, you can watch a professional, Patrick Millikin, interview Maldonado.

Copies of Isabella Maldonado’s books, including signed copies of Death Blow, are available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Vxff4A

An Interview with Wendall Thomas

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Wendall Thomas is the author of the Cyd Redondo mysteries. The latest adventure takes Cyd to Australia in Drowned Under. You can order a copy of the first book in the series, Lost Luggage, and reserve a copy of Drowned Under through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2TBqB6v

Michael Barson recently interviewed Wendall Thomas for Suspense Magazine. You can catch that interview here. http://bit.ly/2TBufgz

Here’s the summary of Drowned Under, the second Cyd Redondo escapade.

“Fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will cotton to Cyd.” —Publishers Weekly

Eggnog notwithstanding, travel agent Cyd Redondo is not looking forward to the holidays. The borough of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn—along with most of her family—holds her responsible for landing her Uncle Ray in a minimum security prison.

So, when Cyd’s ex-husband, Barry Manzoni, announces his parents have disappeared from an Australian cruise, she rushes Down Under to enlist the help of travel liaison and friend Harriet Archer, who offers a free cabin on the Tasmanian Dream and insider assistance with the search.

Cyd’s flights are delayed, so she hitches a helicopter ride to the ship—which lacks a heli-pad. She and her Balenciaga bag barely survive the harrowing drop, landing on a gorgeous man in a Speedo. When she finally makes it to her cabin, she finds Harriet dead, lying in a pool of blood.

The ship’s doctor/coroner—now wearing a tux instead of his Speedo—declares the death an accident. While Darling Cruises hurries to cover up the “unfortunate event” and sanitize the crime scene, Cyd scrambles to preserve evidence, terrified the murder is connected to the Manzonis’ disappearance, and to prevent the heist of the world’s last Tasmanian tiger.

Bluff – Jane Stanton Hitchcock’s Hot Book of the Week

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The Hot Books of the Week turn over quickly at The Poisoned Pen. On Wednesday, March 27 at 7 PM, the bookstore will welcome Jane Stanton Hitchcock, author of the current Hot Book of the Week, Bluff. Hitchcock will be joined by Linda Fairstein, author of Blood Oath. You can order copies of books by both authors, as well as a signed copy of Bluff, through the Web Store, https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Here’s the description of Bluff.

“An irresistible social noir.” —New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein

There has never been a better time for revenge

One-time socialite Maud Warner polishes up the rags of her once glittering existence and bluffs her way into a signature New York restaurant on a sunny October day. When she walks out again, a man will have been shot. 

Maud has grown accustomed to being underestimated and invisible, and she uses her ability to fly under the radar as she pursues celebrity accountant Burt Sklar, the man she believes stole her mother’s fortune and left her family in ruins. Her fervent passion for poker has taught Maud that she can turn weakness into strength to take advantage of people who think they are taking advantage of her, and now she has dealt the first card in her high-stakes plan for revenge.

One unexpected twist after another follows as Maud plays the most important poker hand of her life. The stakes? To take down her enemies and get justice for their victims. Her success depends on her continuing ability to bluff—and on who will fold.

Can she win?

A tale of deceit, seduction and revenge, perfect for fans of Mary Kubica and Jeffery Deaver!

Additional Praise for Bluff:
“This delicious novel of sweet revenge reveals, with wit and stylish vigor, a world – New York high society – that the author clearly knows intimately.”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
“A smartly plotted upper-crust caper.”—Booklist

Poisoned Pen Press Award Nominees

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Congratulations to two Poisoned Pen Press/Sourcebooks award nominees!


Sourcebooks announced this on their recent blog. “We’re ​happy to share that Forty Dead Men by Donis Casey and Undercurrents by Mary Anna Evans are finalists for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards!

​The Oklahoma Book Awards are sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and honor books from Oklahoma-based authors, or those books that feature Oklahoma.”

The series by both Donis Casey and Mary Anna Evans are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Charles McCarry, R.I.P.

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Charles McCarry, credit to Reg Innell/Toronto Star, via Getty Images

This must be the week to discuss spies. Author Charles McCarry, who was a CIA operative, may have been forgotten in recent years. However, the Associated Press referred to him as the “dean” or “poet laureate” of American spy writers. Most of his books, including the bestselling The Tears of Autumn, about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, have to be special ordered through the Web Store. However, readers who are curious can find some titles immediately available. http://bit.ly/2VFQTWC

Charles McCarry died Tuesday at the age of 88. The New York Times carried his obituary under the title “Charles McCarry, 88, Spy Turned Master Spy Novelist, Is Dead.” https://nyti.ms/2EEv0B6

They also carried a second article in the Arts section, “Charles McCarry, Prescient Spy Novelist, Dead at 88”. https://nyti.ms/2EGf69y

May he rest in peace.