A French Evening @ The Poisoned Pen

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Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen, recently hosted a French evening. Cara Black, whose Aimee Leduc Investigations are set in Paris, was one guest author with her nineteenth book in the series, Murder in Bel-Air. Nina Laurin is a Canadian author from Montreal, but her latest novel, The Starter Wife, is set in Ohio. (If you watch the recorded event, she explains why it’s not set in Canada.) Signed copies of both books are available through the Web Store. https://store.poisonedpen.com

Here is the summary of Cara Black’s Murder in Bel-Air.

Cara Black’s riveting 19th installment in her New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series entangles private investigator Aimée Leduc in a dangerous web of international spycraft, post-colonial Franco-African politics, and neighborhood secrets in Paris’s 12th arrondissement. 

Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc is about to go onstage to deliver the keynote address at a tech conference that is sure to secure Leduc Detective some much-needed business contracts when she gets an emergency phone call from her daughter’s playgroup: Aimée’s own mother, who was supposed to pick Chloe up, never showed. Abandoning her hard-won speaking gig, Aimée rushes to get Chloe, annoyed that her mother has let her down yet again.

But as Aimée and Chloe are leaving the playground, Aimée witnesses the body of a homeless woman being wheeled away from the neighboring convent, where nuns run a soup kitchen. The last person anyone saw the dead woman talking to was Aimée’s mother, who has vanished. Trying to figure out what happened to Sydney Leduc, Aimée tracks down the dead woman’s possessions, which include a huge amount of cash. What did Sydney stumble into? Is she in trouble?


Nina Laurin’s The Starter Wife is described below.

From the bestselling author of Girl Last Seen comes “a spine-tingler” (Booklist) of a psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Jessica Knoll. Local police have announced that they’re closing the investigation of the suspected drowning of 37-year-old painter Colleen Westcott. She disappeared on April 11, 2010, and her car was found parked near the waterfront in Cleveland two days later, but her body has never been found. The chief of police has stated that no concrete evidence of foul play has been discovered in the probe.
I close the online search window, annoyed. These articles never have enough detail. They think my husband’s first wife disappeared or they think she is dead. There’s a big difference. 

My phone rings, jarring me away from my thoughts, and when I pick it up, it’s an unknown number. The only answer to my slightly breathless hello is empty static. 

When the voice does finally come, it’s female, low, muffled somehow. “Where is it, Claire? What did you do with it? Tell me where it is.”

A woman. A real flesh-and-blood woman on the other end of the phone. She’s not just in my head.

A wave of panic spreads under my skin like ice water. It’s Colleen.

“Laurin knows how to ratchet up the suspense.” —Publishers Weekly


Now, if you would like to spend some time with the authors, check out the video of the event.

James Ellroy Discusses This Storm

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Did you miss James Ellroy when he appeared at The Poisoned Pen on book tour for This Storm? You can still order signed copies through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2KUNy3y

Here’s the description of This Storm.

A massive novel of World War II Los Angeles. The crowning work of an American master.

It is January, 1942. Torrential rainstorms hit L.A. A body is unearthed in Griffith Park. The cops rate it a routine dead-man job. They’re grievously wrong. It’s a summons to misalliance and all the spoils of a brand-new war.

Elmer Jackson is a corrupt Vice cop. He’s a flesh peddler and a bagman for the L.A. Chief of Police. Hideo Ashida is a crime-lab whiz, caught up in the maelstrom of the Japanese internment. Dudley Smith is an LAPD hardnose working Army Intelligence. He’s gone rogue and gone all-the-way Fascist. Joan Conville was born rogue. She’s a defrocked Navy lieutenant and a war profiteer to her core.

They’ve signed on for the dead-man job. They’ve got a hot date with History. They will fight their inner wars within The War with unstoppable fury.


And, here’s James Ellroy discussing his work, including This Storm.

Debut Author – Kelsey Rae Dimberg

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Barbara Peters, the owner of The Poisoned Pen, would be the first person to remind you that you want to be in the audience when debut authors appear there. It may mean bragging rights in future years. On Monday, June 24 at 7 PM, debut author Kelsey Rae Dimberg will join Ellen LaCorte, author of The Perfect Fraud. Dimberg’s debut novel is Girl in the Rearview Mirror. The debut is a thriller set in Phoenix. You can order a signed copy through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2xad3Wx

Dimberg recently was interviewed by Kerry Lengel for The Arizona Republic. You can read the article about the author, her book, and the Phoenix setting here. http://bit.ly/2Y3aWzR

Here’s the description of Girl in the Rearview Mirror.

“With hairpin twists and immense psychological acuity, Kelsey Rae Dimberg’s Girl in the Rearview Mirror is as seductive as the glamorous, privileged family at its center—and as cunning. An exciting, intoxicating debut, it will hold you until its startling final pages.”

 — Megan Abbott, bestselling author of Dare Me and Give Me Your Hand

I never meant to lie. That is, I never wanted to.

They are Phoenix’s First Family: handsome Philip Martin, son of the sitting Senator, an ex-football player who carries himself with an easy grace and appears destined to step into his father’s seat when the time is right; his wife Marina, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum; and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful and precocious and beloved. 

Finn Hunt is working a dull office job to pay off her college debt when she meets Philip and charms Amabel. She eagerly agrees to nanny, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. Though the glamour of the Martins’ lifestyle undeniably dazzles Finn, her real pleasure comes from being part of the family: sharing quick jokes with Philip in the kitchen before he leaves for work; staying late when Marina needs a last-minute sitter; and spending long days with Amabel, who is often treated more like a photo op than a child.

But behind every façade lurks a less attractive truth. When a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn isn’t exactly innocent herself: she too has a background she has kept hidden, and under the hot Phoenix sun, everything is about to be laid bare. . . . 

Michael Stanley’s Guest Post

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Stanley Trollip (left) with William Kent Krueger at Once Upon a Crime

Stan Trollip, half of the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip who write under Michael Stanley, recently appeared at Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis to launch the new book, Shoot the Bastards. The book is published by Sourcebooks/Poisoned Pen Press. You can order copies of that book, and Stanley’s other ones, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Mwmkml

Stanley discussed Shoot the Bastards, writing a guest post, for the blog Type M for Murder. You can read it here. http://bit.ly/31IpHu2

Here’s the summary of Shoot the Bastards.

“From Minnesota to South Africa to Mozambique to Vietnam, Michael Stanley’s Shoot the Bastards is an extraordinary tale of the extreme measures taken to combat international poaching and smuggling.”—C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wolf Pack

The black market feeds all appetites…

The dark winter nights of Minnesota seem to close in on investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen as she realizes that her close friend Michael Davidson has disappeared while researching a story on rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling in Africa. Crystal, fearing the worst, wrangles her own assignment on the continent. Within a week in Africa she’s been hunting poachers (“Shoot the bastards,” she’s told), hunted by their bosses, and questioned in connection with a murder—and there’s still no sign of Michael.

Crystal quickly realizes how little she knows about Africa and about the war between poachers and conservation officers. What she does know is she must find Michael, and she’s committed to preventing a major plot to secure a huge number of horns… but exposing the financial underworld supporting the rhino-horn market is only half the battle. Equally important is convincing South African authorities to take action before it’s too late—for the rhinos, and for Crystal.

Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu Mysteries series, introduces an intriguing new protagonist while exposing one of southern Africa’s most vicious conflicts in Shoot the Bastards.

Adrian McKinty’s The Chain

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Adrian McKinty

I just pre-ordered my copies of Adrian McKinty’s forthcoming book, The Chain, and you might want to as well. The author will be at The Poisoned Pen on release date, Tuesday, July 9 at 7 PM, with a story to tell. Here’s the link to pre-order The Chain, or order McKinty’s other books through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2Kux9DI

Here’s the hot news about McKinty’s book. http://bit.ly/31JsO55

Check out the book trailer for The Chain.

Here’s the description of The Chain.


“This nightmarish story is incredibly propulsive and original. You won’t shake it for a long time.”
STEPHEN KING“McKinty is one of the most striking and most memorable crime voices to emerge on the scene in years. His plots tempt you to read at top speed, but don’t give in: this writing – sharply observant, intelligent and shot through with black humor – should be savored.”
TANA FRENCH“A masterpiece. You have never read anything quite like THE CHAIN and you will never be able to forget it.”
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“Diabolical, unnerving, and gives a whole new meaning to the word “relentless”. Adrian McKinty just leapt to the top of my list of must-read suspense novelists. He’s the real deal.”
“Pairing an irresistible concept with a winner protagonist, THE CHAIN promises to be your new addiction once you succumb to the first enticing page.”
“A grade-A-first-rate-edge-of-your-seat thriller. I can’t believe what went through my mind while reading it.”

“Diabolically gripping. Nail-biting, smart, and convincing. Hang on tight, because once you start this book, you can’t stop – you’ll be caught in THE CHAIN.”

“THE CHAIN is the rare thriller that’s not only fiendishly clever but also powerfully empathetic, with both hair-raising twists and complex, fully-realized characters.”LOU BERNEY


Hot Book of the Week – Kingsbane

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Claire Legrand’s second book in the Empirium trilogy, Kingsbane, is the current Hot Book of the Week at The Poisoned Pen. Signed copies of Kingsbane, the sequel to Furyborn, are available through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2RvCc7L

Here’s the description of Kingsbane.

The Instant New York Times Bestseller!

The anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Furyborn!

Two queens, separated by thousands of years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

Sara Paretsky’s Rebuttal

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Recently, Vanessa Friedman wrote an article about this summer’s thrillers for The New York Times Book Review. You can find her piece here. https://nyti.ms/2RljsHC

The article lists seven thrillers. Of course, you can check the Web Store for those books. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

However, one of the mystery fields’ treasures, Grand Master Award Recipient Sara Paretsky, disagreed with Friedman’s comments about women who write thrillers.

Sara Paretsky

You can find Paretsky’s rebuttal in the letters to the editor. https://nyti.ms/2WNC4Bh The letter includes a list of women authors who write in the field. If you want a short history lesson, check out Sara Paretsky’s piece. Then, check the Web Store for books by some of those authors. Better yet, check for books by Sara Paretsky. http://bit.ly/2WKkaj3