British Mysteries with Deborah Crombie & the Todds

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This is a program that I’m going to have to watch on Livestream. https://livestream.com/poisonedpen/events/7030347

I want to hear Deborah Crombie talk about Garden of Lamentations, and Charles and Carolyn Todd talk about the latest Ian Rutledge mystery, Racing the Devil.

We’re all fortunate in that we can watch Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, interview the three authors.

And, we can also order signed copies of the books through the Web Store. http://store.poisonedpen.com/

Lori Rader-Day, “In the Bleak Midwinter”

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Lori Rader-Day, author of the forthcoming novel, The Day I Died, immediately said yes when I asked for book suggestions.


I did have to tell her, though, that if she didn’t send me a photo, I’d find one somewhere. I’m sure that’s why she answered so quickly.

I’d like to introduce Lori Rader-Day.

Lori Rader-Day, author of The Day I Died (forthcoming 2017), The Black Hour, and Little Pretty Things, is the recipient of the 2016 Mary Higgins Clark Award and the 2015 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Lori’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Good Housekeeping, and others. She lives in Chicago, where she teaches mystery writing at StoryStudio Chicago and is the president of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter.

Before I turn this over to Lori for her book suggestions, I want to encourage you to come back at the end. I have a link and information you’ll want to see if you’d like to pre-order a copy of The Day I Died.


Thank you, Lori, for playing along.


If you’re looking for a winter book, does that mean you want a story that matches the (presumably) frigid temps outside? Or does it mean you’re after a story that has the scorch of summer on it, to warm the bones? The Poisoned Pen is in Arizona, so I’m going to assume some of you have enough warmth to get you through to spring already. Winter has a way of closing you in, so maybe the best winter reads are those that take you somewhere else, that take you out from under the pile of blankets to a new, big-hearted understanding of the world.

But if you want that chill of winter, along with a gentle mystery in the family tree, one of my favorite books of all time is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.


Proulx’s characters are real people, sometimes frustratingly so. A friend of mine did not like this book and asked me, “But what’s it about?” My answer: Lumpy people deserve love and friendship, too. Set in Newfoundland, Canada, the novel is at once expansive and claustrophobic and by the end of the book, your cheeks will be pink and wind-burnt from the story’s cold. Proulx is just that good.

Another of my all-time favorites is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.


Most of the aspects of this novel that make it stunning cannot be spoken of. You have to find out the old-fashioned way, by reading it. I love that a book written in 1938 can still claim a spoiler alert. Again, the setting is key. The first line: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Where is Manderley, and why aren’t we there now? The novel takes you, but like the protagonists, you might not want to stay.

If all this bleak winter travel has you brittle and ready for some sun, No Hurry to Get Home by Emily Hahn will take you ’round the globe.


A memoir in collected pieces the author wrote for The New Yorker, this book is the story of a woman living far ahead of her time and maybe ours. An early trailblazing feminist with a heart for travel, Hahn made her way around the world alone and often on foot. The wide-ranging author left generous footnotes to her own history so that we could stretch our legs and follow along.


Thank you, Lori. As promised, I have a second note from Lori Rader-Day, this one about her forthcoming book, The Day I Died. Lori’s having a pre-order contest. You can pre-order a copy of The Day I Died through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2loRJbl

Here’s the blurb from the Web Store.

“From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother’s desperate search for a lost boy.

Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d rewritten.”

If you read Lori’s information, you could be a lucky winner of a gift certificate to your favorite bookstore. (That is The Poisoned Pen, isn’t it?) Here are Lori’s details.

Have you pre-ordered The Day I Died?

If you’re that excited about the launch of The Day I Died, why not be rewarded for your enthusiasm?

If you have pre-ordered The Day I Died, take a snapshot of your receipt showing the title and the date of the sale and email the photo to contest (at) loriraderday (dot) com before March 31 for your chance to win a prize package of The Day I Died treats!

Eight winners will win:

• $25 gift certificate to the bookstore of the winner’s choice. (I encourage you to consider independent bookstores in your area, but any bookstore can be chosen.)

Any entrant will receive, if requested in the email:

• A signed bookplate for your book. If you want it personalized, please specify who the book is for. You may also have me sign your book if I’m having an event at your local library. See my events page to look for your town.

If you’re buying The Day I Died for a book club read, you may be interested in my contest for book clubs!


And, don’t forget to check out Lori Rader-Day’s website. http://loriraderday.com/


Ian Rankin, Hosted by Mark Pryor @ The Poisoned Pen

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Ian Rankin doesn’t get to the United States every year, so the audience showed up to hear him talk about his latest Inspector Rebus book, Rather Be the Devil.


Mark Pryor, author of the Hugo Marston books, hosted the program, after an introduction by Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.

Left to right – Ian Rankin with Patrick Millikin from The Poisoned Pen, in the backroom.
Left to right – Barbara Peters introduces Ian Rankin and Mark Pryor
Barbara Peters and Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin and Mark Pryor


Mark Pryor and Barbara Peters
Ian Rankin, signing books
The signing line went almost to the door

You can watch the program with Mark Pryor hosting Ian Rankin on Livestream. https://livestream.com/poisonedpen/events/6958538

You can find signed copies of Rather Be the Devil at the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2lmX40E

If you’re looking for Mark Pryor’s books, you can find those at the Web Store as well. http://bit.ly/2grxvLv

A Conversation – Cumming, Howe, Coonts @ The Poisoned Pen

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KJ Howe and Charles Cumming recently appeared at The Poisoned Pen while on book tour.

KJ Howe and Charles Cumming

Cumming’s A Divided Spy and Howe’s The Freedom Broker were the topics when author Stephen Coonts turned moderator.

They met Stephen Coonts in that mysterious backroom where authors sign books.

Left to right – Coonts, Howe and Cumming

Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, introduced the authors to the audience before turning moderator duties over to Coonts.

Left to right – Coonts, Howe, Cumming, Peters


Coonts and Howe



Cumming, ready to sign A Divided Spy
Stephen Coonts
KJ Howe
Charles Cumming

Did you miss this program? You can watch and hear it on Livestream. https://livestream.com/poisonedpen/events/6958518

If you’d like to buy signed copies of Cumming’s A Divided Spy or Howe’s The Freedom Broker, or pick up a copy of one of Stephen Counts’ books, check out the Web Store. http://store.poisonedpen.com

Craig Johnson – “In the Bleak Midwinter”

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I’m a little prejudiced. In person, Craig Johnson is one of the two best storytellers I’ve ever heard (the other – Rick Bragg). Since he lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five, I knew the author of the Longmire books knows what “In the Bleak Midwinter” means. So, I asked the storyteller to pick some books to recommend to readers.

Thank you, Craig.


A little winter reading… Sounds like a little night music, but I’ll play. The obvious thing to do is jump in with a number of books with settings that freeze the marrow like Winter’s Bone, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Gorky Park or even Bleak House–but I think I’ll do something different and pick three books from warmer climes that I stumbled onto that you might’ve missed and that will shake, not simply stir, your blood.

Lesser Evils, Joe Flanagan


I stole this book from my French publisher’s doorstop pile while in Reims for a few weeks when I began running low on English reading material. Sometimes, like everyone else, a cover snags me and the grim image of an empty chair on the Jersey shore caught my attention. Set in a tiny, seaside community, the growing horror of a child killer slowly awakens the local police force in a wonderfully intricate story that unravels this postcard setting. Gritty enough to make me put it down, but so marvelously written that I always picked it back up.

Wilderness, Lance Weller


You see a face on social media so many times you think you know them, but you don’t–so instead you pick up one of their books. Traveling the Great Northwest on my motorcycle, I was doing an event in Sunriver, Oregon where I stumbled across a name I knew and picked up a debut novel. Wilderness is one of those books that haunt you, during and after the time you read it. The poetry of the words captures a period and the people cleave your heart.

Darktown, Thomas Mullen


If you’re lucky you have one–one of those booksellers that when they hand you a book you take it. Pete Mock at McIntyre’s in Fearrington Village in North Carolina is one of those people for me. Hard to call this novel concerning some of the first black patrolmen in Atlanta unheard of with blurbs by the likes of Charles Frazier and enough starred reviews to fill up the Southern Cross, but I didn’t see it in many mystery book stores and the more’s the pity. If you’ve forgotten the invidious racism of a not so bygone era, but more important want to deliver yourself into the hands of a master storyteller at the top of his procedural game Darktown is the book for you.


If you read Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire books, adapted for TV first by A&E, and now by Netflix, you’ll also “deliver yourself into the hands of a master storyteller”. The latest book in his series is An Obvious Fact.


Craig Johnson’s website is http://www.craigallenjohnson.com, but I also recommend that you follow Craig on Facebook.

Craig’s books, and his book suggestions, can be found through The Poisoned Pen’s Web Store. http://store.poisonedpen.com/

Eric H. Heisner signing T.H. Elkman

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T. H. Elkman sounds as if it’s the name of the author, doesn’t it?


Actually, it’s Eric H. Heisner’s latest western. Here’s the blurb from the Web Store.

“1800’s American West—a place where men find themselves in harsh and cruel circumstances and where lives are short lived. Where women are hard as the steel of a gun, and the sweet burn of whiskey eases the rough, ratted edges. Where death is a pill that must be swallowed, and senses are developed beyond true human comprehension . . .

Honest work on the frontier was sometimes hard to acquire. Traveling independently on the expansive road through the west, cowboy and westerner Tomas H. Elkman is a man of the times. To ease the loneliness of the trail while searching for gainful employment, Elkman warily teams up with a fight-prone, good-timing gambler by the name of Jefferson McGredy.

This strange pairing of men is hired to deliver an assemblage of horses to a ranch in the untamed northern territory. The rancher sends his young son, Kent Martin, to accompany the horsemen on their travels through mountains and rivers, across primitive landscapes, and into remnants of mining boomtowns. The journey becomes a constant challenge to their moral fiber as they face the overwhelming hardships of hostile weather, rustlers, and natives . . .

T. H. Elkman is a story of frontier grit, moral simplicity, individuality and consequential violence in the American West.

Skyhorse Publishing is proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction that takes place in the old West. Westerns—books about outlaws, sheriffs, chiefs and warriors, cowboys and Indians—are a genre in which we publish regularly. Our list includes international bestselling authors like Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour, and many more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.”

And, to see what the humor might be like when Heisner appears at The Poisoned Pen Wednesday, February 22 at 7 PM, check out this note from the author.


“Most days when I’m writing or acting, I’m showing off my love of Westerns … except when I’m playing a Roman Legionnaire in “Hail Caesar” then I’m showing off my lovely sandals.

“If you love books and old-fashioned Bookstores that carry more diversity than the few titles on the NY Times Best Sellers list you’ll have to seek out the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale Arizona.  I will be doing an Author Event for my newest Western novel “T.H. Elkman” next week.  Join me, February 22nd from 7-8 pm where I will be signing books and sharing my adventures.

” I would love to see all my Arizona friends there!”

If you can’t make it, though, you can order a copy of T.H. Elkman through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2kXlVJW

Mark Greaney @The Poisoned Pen

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Mark Greaney, on book tour for Gunmetal Gray, appeared at The Poisoned Pen.


Before the photos, here’s the blurb about the book, as it appears at the Web Store.

Mark Greaney, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels, delivers another breakneck thriller following the world’s deadliest assassin—the Gray Man…

After five years on the run Court Gentry is back on the inside at the CIA. But his first mission makes him wish he had stayed on the outs when a pair of Chinese agents try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert?

Court’s high stakes hunt for answers takes him across Southeast Asia and leads
to his old friend, Donald Fitzroy, who is being held hostage by the Chinese. Fitzroy was contracted to find Fan Jiang, a former member of an ultra-secret computer warfare unit responsible for testing China’s own security systems. And it seems Fan may have been too good at his job—because China wants him dead.

The first two kill teams Fitzroy sent to find Fan have disappeared and the Chinese have decided to “supervise” the next operation. What they don’t know is that Gentry’s mission is to find Fan first and get whatever intel he has to the US.

After that, all he has to do is get out alive…

We have photos!

Mark Greaney waiting for the program
Greaney and Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen
Mark Greaney (And, don’t you love to see what is on display?)


The book signing line

Autographed copies of Gunmetal Gray are available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2kWKcjq