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Don Bentley in Conversation with Brad Taylor

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The background of author Don Bentley fits perfectly for the latest Jack Ryan, Jr. novel, Tom Clancy: Target Acquired. And, guest host Brad Taylor has an interesting background as well, but you’ll have to watch the virtual event to hear about their backgrounds. I’m not sure there are any signed copies of Target Acquired still available, but you can certainly order a book through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3t6USvV

Here’s the summary of Tom Clancy: Target Acquired.

Jack Ryan, Jr., will do anything for a friend, but this favor will be paid for in blood in the latest electric entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Ryan, Jr. would do anything for Ding Chavez. That’s why Jack is currently sitting in an open-air market in Israel, helping a CIA team with a simple job. The man running the mission, Peter Beltz, is an old friend from Ding’s Army days. Ding hadn’t seen his friend since Peter’s transfer to the CIA eighteen months prior, and intended to use the assignment to reconnect. Unfortunately, Ding had to cancel at the last minute and asked Jack to take his place. It’s a cushy assignment–a trip to Israel in exchange for a couple hours of easy work, but Jack could use the downtime after his last operation.

Jack is here merely as an observer, but when he hastens to help a woman and her young son, he finds himself the target of trained killers. Alone and outgunned, Jack will have to use all his skills to protect the life of the child.


Tom Clancy was the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than eighteen books. He died in October 2013.

Don Bentley spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot, and while deployed in Afghanistan was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military, Bentley worked as an FBI special agent focusing on foreign intelligence and counterintelligence and was a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team member.


Enjoy the conversation about the authors’ background, Jack Ryan, Jr., and writing.

Sujata Massey in Conversation with Nev March

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Oh, what a fascinating conversation about Sujata Massey’s latest book, The Bombay Prince. Massey discussed her book, her series, and Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, with author and host Nev March. You can order a copy through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Vo7Ub4

Here’s the summary of The Bombay Prince.

Bombay’s first female lawyer, Perveen Mistry, is compelled to bring justice to the family of a murdered female Parsi student just as Bombay’s streets erupt in riots to protest British colonial rule. Sujata Massey is back with this third installment to the Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning series set in 1920s Bombay.

November 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a fourmonth tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn’t surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she’s horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince’s grand procession is passing by her college.

Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Feeling guilty for failing to have helped Freny in life, Perveen steps forward to assist Freny’s family in the fraught dealings of the coroner’s inquest. When Freny’s death appears suspicious, Perveen knows she can’t rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?


Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany, grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She was a features reporter for the Baltimore Evening Sun before becoming a full-time novelist. The first Perveen Mistry novel, The Widows of Malabar Hill, was an international bestseller and won the Agatha, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark Awards. Visit her website at sujatamassey.com.


I think you’ll enjoy the conversation.

A Podcast Fan?

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Are you a podcast fan? You do know about The Poisoned Pen’s library of podcasts, don’t you? They’re available via Podbean. Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore, had this note in her recent newsletter.


Our Podcast Library Keeps Growing
Visit our  Podcasts.   92,000 downloads show your interest

Easy download links are provided. They are also available on iTunes and Google Music

Enjoy conversations from our storied past
AND more new conversations: Laurie R. King; Bill Clinton and James Patterson with Lee Child; Don Bentley with Brad Taylor’ Sujata Massey with Nev March. Coming up: Kristan Higgins, Ben Percy.

Ashley Weaver’s New Series

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Ashley Weaver, author of the Amory Ames mysteries, introduces a new historical mystery series set in World War II. A Peculiar Combination is the first Electra McDonnell novel. You can order the new book, and Weaver’s other ones, through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3xbWYfU

The first in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, set in England during World War II, A Peculiar Combination is a delightful mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and the author’s signature wit.

Electra McDonnell has always known that the way she and her family earn their living is slightly outside of the law. Breaking into the homes of the rich and picking the locks on their safes may not be condoned by British law enforcement, but World War II is in full swing, Ellie’s cousins Colm and Toby are off fighting against Hitler, and Uncle Mick’s more honorable business as a locksmith can’t pay the bills any more.

So when Uncle Mick receives a tip about a safe full of jewels in the empty house of a wealthy family, he and Ellie can’t resist. All goes as planned—until the pair are caught redhanded. Ellie expects them to be taken straight to prison, but instead they are delivered to a large townhouse, where government official Major Ramsey is waiting with an offer: either Ellie agrees to help him break into a safe and retrieve blueprints that will be critical to the British war effort, before they can be delivered to a German spy, or he turns her over to the police.

Ellie doesn’t care for the Major’s imperious manner, but she has no choice, and besides, she’s eager to do her bit for king and country. She may be a thief, but she’s no coward. When she and the Major break into the house in question, they find instead the purported German spy dead on the floor, the safe already open and empty. Soon, Ellie and Major Ramsey are forced to put aside their differences to unmask the double-agent, as they try to stop allied plans falling into German hands.


ASHLEY WEAVER is the Technical Services Coordinator at the Allen Parish Libraries in Oberlin, Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She is the author of Murder at the Brightwell, Death Wears a Mask, and A Most Novel Revenge. Weaver lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.


Enjoy the discussion with Ashley Weaver.

Laurie R. King & Castle Shade

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A few years ago, Laurie R. King shared a trip with Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.That trip provided some of the background for King’s latest Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, Castle Shade. You can order copies of Castle Shade through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3g6WjXD

A queen, a castle, a dark and ageless threat—all await Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this chilling new adventure.

The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter of Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania’s young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country’s long-lost provinces, singlehandedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force.

The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thank-you from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children.

The threat is . . . well, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may be only accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep.

When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won’t take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi?

Or, as they are known in the West . . . vampires.


Laurie R. King is the award-winning, bestselling author of sixteen Mary Russell mysteries, five contemporary novels featuring Kate Martinelli, and many acclaimed stand-alone novels such as FollyTouchstoneThe Bones of Paris, and Lockdown. She lives in Northern California, where she is at work on her next Mary Russell mystery.


Enjoy Laurie R. King’s conversation with Barbara Peters.

The National Release – Clinton, Patterson & Child

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It’s hard to top this lineup for a national book release. The Poisoned Pen recently held the virtual national release for President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, authors of The President’s Daughter, hosted by Lee Child. There is a limited supply of signed copies still available through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3ggUIxq

All Presidents have nightmares.  This one is about to come true.

A rocket ride of a thriller—the new blockbuster by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson, “the dream team” (Lee Child).

Every detail is accurate—
because one of the authors is President Bill Clinton. The drama and action never stop—
because the other author is James Patterson.

Matthew Keating, a one-time Navy SEALand a past presidenthas always defended his family as staunchly as he has his country. Now those defenses are under attack.

A madman abducts Keating’s teenage daughter, Melanie—turning every parent’s deepest fear into a matter of national security. As the world watches in real time, Keating embarks on a one-man special-ops mission that tests his strengths: as a leader, a warrior, and a father.

The authors’ first collaboration, The President Is Missing, a #1 New York Times bestseller and the #1 bestselling novel of 2018, was praised as “ambitious and wildly readable” (New York Times Book Review) and “a fabulously entertaining thriller” (Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ron Chernow).


Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change. He is the author of a number of nonfiction works, including My Life, which was a #1 international bestseller. With James Patterson, he is co-author of the #1 international bestselling novel The President Is Missing.

James Patterson is the world’s bestselling author and most trusted storyteller. He has created many enduring fictional characters and series, including Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and Maximum Ride. Among his notable literary collaborations are The President Is Missing, with President Bill Clinton, and the Max Einstein series, produced in partnership with the Albert Einstein Estate. For his prodigious imagination and championship of literacy in America, Patterson was awarded the 2019 National Humanities Medal. The National Book Foundation presented him with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, and he is also the recipient of an Edgar Award and nine Emmy Awards. He lives in Florida with his family.


Even if you missed this unusual program, you can now watch the event.

The Poisoned Pen’s Hot Book of the Week

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It’s been seven years, but Miss Fisher is back, and Kerry Greenwood’s latest book in the Phryne Fisher series, Death in Daylesford, is the Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. You can order copies of it, and other books in the series, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2JfL7W5

The 7 year wait is over—Miss Fisher is back in a new adventure!

“The real star is Phryne with her Jazz Age fashions, devil-may-care attitude, and dry narrative wit.”—Booklist

Taking the waters has never been more delicious—or dangerous…

When a mysterious invitation for a spa vacation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown retired Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is piqued. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s rural spa country for shell-shocked veterans of World War I. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart, but what can Spencer want from her?

Phryne and her faithful servant Dot set out for Daylesford, viewing their rural sojourn as a short holiday. While Dot gets to know the remarkable women who run the hotel where they are lodging, Phryne enjoys an enticing meal—and dessert—with the attractive Captain Spencer. But their relaxation is short-lived as they are thrown into treacherous Highland gatherings, a mysterious case of disappearing women, and a string of murders committed under their very noses. Meanwhile, back at home, Phryne’s three wards are busy solving a mystery of their own when a schoolmate is found floating facedown near the docks—and pregnant at the time of her death.

Read the novels that inspired both the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries and the Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries streaming series on AcornTV.

Phryne Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood
Cocaine Blues
Flying Too High
Murder on the Ballarat Train

Praise for the Phryne Fisher Mysteries
“Anyone who hasn’t discovered Phryne Fisher by now should start making up for lost time.”—Booklist
“Phryne handsomely demonstates once more that even a compulsion to explore every mystery that comes her way needn’t interfere with her appetite for life.”—Kirkus Reviews


Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has degrees in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant. Kerry has written three series, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D’Arcy, is an award-winning children’s writer and has edited and contributed to several anthologies. The Phryne Fisher series (pronounced Fry-knee, to rhyme with briny) began in 1989 with Cocaine Blues which was a great success. Kerry has written twenty books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry says that as long as people want to read them, she can keep writing them. In 2003 Kerry won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Association.

Macavity Award Nominees 2021

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The 2021 Macavity Award nominees are nominated from books published during 2020. Members of Mystery Readers International as well as subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal nominate the books and stories. The winners will be announced during the opening ceremonies at Bouchercon In New Orleans in August. Check the Web Store for the nominated books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

Congratulations to the nominees!

Best Novel 

Before She Was Helen, by Caroline B. Cooney (Poisoned Pen Press) 

Blacktop Wasteland, by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron Books) 

Blind Vigil, by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing) 

All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny (Minotaur) 

These Women, by Ivy Pochoda (Ecco) 

When She Was Good, by Michael Robotham (Scribner) 

Best First 

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, by Deepa Anappara (Random House) 

Murder in Old Bombay, by Nev March (Minotaur) 

The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books) 

Winter Counts, by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (Ecco Press) 

Darling Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel (Berkley) 

Best Critical/Biographical 

Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy, by Leslie Brody (Seal Press) 

Howdunit: A Masterclass in Crime Writing by Members of the Detection Club, edited by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins) 

Ian Rankin: A Companion to the Mystery Fiction by Erin E. MacDonald (McFarland)

H R.F. Keating: A Life of Crime, by Sheila Mitchell (Level Best Books) 

Southern Cross Crime: The Pocket Essential Guide to the Crime Fiction, Film & TV of Australia and New Zealand by Craig Sisterson (Oldcastle Books) 

Best Short Story 

“Dear Emily Etiquette” by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Sept/Oct 2020) 

“The Boy Detective & The Summer of ‘74” by Art Taylor (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2020) 

“Elysian Fields” by Gabriel Valjan (California Schemin’: The 2020 Bouchercon Anthology, edited by Art Taylor; Wildside Press) 

 “Dog Eat Dog” by Elaine Viets (The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, edited by Josh Pachter; Untreed Reads Publishing) 

“The Twenty-Five Year Engagement,” by James W. Ziskin (In League with Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon, edited by Laurie R. King; Pegasus Crime) 

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen (Berkeley) 

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart (Minotaur) 

The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson (Quercus) 

Mortal Music by Ann Parker (Poisoned Pen Press) 

The Mimosa Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu (Constable) 

Turn to Stone by James Ziskin (Seventh Street Books)

Michael Punke in Conversation with CJ Box

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Michael Punke, the author of The Revenant, just released a new novel, Ridgeline. Ridgeline was last week’s Hot Book of the Week. CJ Box just hosted him for The Poisoned Pen. You can order signed copies through the Web Store. https://bit.ly/2S8eClX

Here’s the description of Ridgeline.

The thrilling, long-awaited return of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant

In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier—a clash of cultures between the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries and a young, ambitious nation. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming’s Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota’s most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. For the Lakota, the stakes are their home, their culture, their lives.

As fall bleeds into winter, Crazy Horse leads a small war party that confronts Colonel Carrington’s soldiers with near constant attacks. Red Cloud, meanwhile, wants to build the tribal alliances that he knows will be necessary to defeat the soldiers. Colonel Carrington seeks to hold together a US Army beset with internal discord. Carrington’s officers are skeptical of their commander’s strategy, none more so than Lieutenant George Washington Grummond, who longs to fight a foe he dismisses as inferior in all ways. The rank-and-file soldiers, meanwhile, are still divided by the residue of civil war, and tempted to desertion by the nearby goldfields.

Throughout this taut saga—based on real people and events—Michael Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.


Michael Punke is the author of several books including The Revenant, a #1 New York Times bestseller and basis for the Academy Award–winning film. In his diverse professional career, Punke has served as the US ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, history correspondent for the Montana Quarterly, and an adjunct professor at the University of Montana. As a high school and college student, he worked summers as a living history interpreter at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Wyoming. He lives with his family in Montana and is an avid outdoorsman.


Enjoy the conversation.

Debut – J.A. Jance Discusses Unfinished Business

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J.A. Jance debuted her latest Ali Reynolds mystery, Unfinished Business, for a Poisoned Pen virtual event. Signed copies of the book are going fast, so check the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3fQACe6

Here’s the summary of Unfinished Business.

In this heart-pounding and sharply written thriller from J.A. Jance, the “grand master of the genre” (The Providence Journal), Ali Reynolds’s personal life is thrown into turmoil just as two men show up on the scene—a former employee of her husband’s who has just been released from prison and a serial killer who sets his sights a little too close to home.

Mateo Vega, a one-time employee of Ali Reynold’s husband, B. Simpson, has spent the last sixteen years of his life behind bars. According to the courts, he murdered his girlfriend. But Mateo knows that her real killer is still on the loose, and the first thing he’s going to do when he gets a taste of freedom is track him down.

After being granted parole, a wary Mateo approaches Stu Ramey of High Noon Enterprises for a reference letter for a job application, but to his surprise, Stu gives him one better: He asks him to come on board and work for B. once again. Just as Mateo starts his new job, though, chaos breaks out at High Noon—a deadbeat tenant who is in arrears has just fled, and tech expert Cami Lee has gone missing.

As Ali races to both find a connection between the two disappearances and help Mateo clear his name with the help of PI J.P. Beaumont, tragedy strikes in her personal life, and with lives hanging in the balance, she must thread the needle between good and evil before it’s too late.


J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, and the Joanna Brady series, as well as five interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. Visit her online at JAJance.com.


Here’s the virtual event with J.A. Jance and Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen.

And, for J.A. Jance’s fans, here’s a little extra, an article she wrote for http://CrimeReads.com. You can find it here. https://crimereads.com/the-art-of-balancing-multiple-mystery-series/