Saturday, May 31, 2014

Looking Back -- and Looking Forward -- to Bouchercon

All destinations begin with a journey. My trip to Albany, New York, for Bouchercon 2013 was no exception, though in this case, that journey was also an adventure.

Last autumn, I took Amtrak from Savannah, Georgia to New York. It was my second Bouchercon (my first being the most excellent adventure in Cleveland), but this was my first time taking a train on an overnight journey.

I know now why so many mysteries are written on trains. There’s something about the lulling sway and the rhythmic thrum of the wheels that fertilizes the imagination. The world lopes by on the other side of the window, like a story unspooling itself. The setting is ever-changing –  whether through dim-dark sleeping towns or bright wilderness. And then there are your fellow passengers, travelers on their own journeys, mysterious and unknowable as constellations, and just as delightful to ponder.

When I got to Albany and stepped once again onto terra firma, I still felt the swaying of the train in every step. Perhaps that’s why Bouchercon 2013 plays in my memory like a Hitchcock movie. Not that there were any errant corpses or crimes to solve (alas). There were, however, many of my writerly heroines – Sue Grafton! Margaret Maron! – and they glowed like starlets to me, larger than life even when they were sitting next to me on the shuttle bus. Everyone I met seemed to be carrying a secret mystery – the restaurateur who was once an undercover cop, the barista at the coffee shop who also was a blackbelt in an exotically obscure martial art. And what better place than Bouchercon to get into a mysterious frame of mind.

I brought home many memories from that trip – meeting writers I admire, meeting readers, gathering with the best and the brightest talents in this genre to talk about why crime fiction matters. I got books signed, networked a little, fangirled a lot. But – as always – the real treasure I brought home was the reminder that the mystery community is composed of some of the friendliest, smartest, and most generous people in the literary world.

It’s the journey, they say, not the destination. Bouchercon, however, is both, rolled into one amazing experience. I’ll be taking a plane this time, touching down in Long Beach come November. But I know I’ll still be as dazzled, as delighted, as dizzy with excitement as I was last year.

And I hope to see you there.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Coming Soon! Cover Reveal for SONS OF SPARTA by Jeffrey Siger

Coming in October from Poisoned Pen Press!

Did the warriors of ancient Sparta simply vanish without a trace along with their city, or did they find sanctuary at the tip of the mountainous Peloponnese? That stark, unforgiving region's roots today run deep with a history of pirates, highwaymen, and neighbors ferociously repelling any foreigner foolishly bent on occupying this part of Greece. Less well recorded are the Mani's families' strict code of honor and their history of endless vendettas with neighbors and with their own relatives. No wonder their farms look like fortresses.

When Special Crimes Division Detective Yiannis Kouros is summoned from Athens to the Mani by his uncle, Kouros fears his loyalty to his boss, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, is about be to be tested by family pressure on the detective to act in some new vendetta, for this uncle once headed the Mani's most significant criminal enterprise. Instead, Kouros learns the family is about to become rich through the sale of its property --until the uncle is killed, and thus the deal. Acting swiftly to head off a new cycle of violence, Kouros satisfactorily solves the murder. Or so it seems until, back in Athens, Kaldis' probe into deeply entrenched government corruption leads straight back to the Mani. Both cops now confront a host of unexpected twists, unanticipated players, unanswered questions --and people yet to die.

About the Author:

The New York Times described Jeffrey Siger's novels as “thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales,” the Greek Press called his work “prophetic,” Eurocrime described him as a “very gifted American author...on a par with other American authors such as Joseph Wambaugh or Ed McBain,” and the City of San Francisco awarded him its Certificate of Honor citing that his “acclaimed books have not only explored modern Greek society and its ancient roots but have inspired political change in Greece.” Sons of Sparta is the sixth novel in his highly praised Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series.

Friday, May 9, 2014

And Here It Is! Cover Reveal for DESERT RAGE by Betty Webb

Coming in October from Poisoned Pen Press!

Ferociously ambitious U.S. Senatorial candidate Juliana Thorsson has been keeping a secret.

The horrific slaughter of a prominent doctor, his wife, and their ten-year-old son inside their Scottsdale home brings Thorsson to Private Investigator Lena Jones. The slain family’s 14-year old, Alison, and her boyfriend, Kyle, have confessed to the murders. Thorsson wants to hire Lena to discover if Alison is telling the truth, but before accepting the job, Lena demands to know why a rising political star wants to involve herself with the fate of a girl she’s never met. Desperate for Lena’s help, Thorsson reveals her explosive secret – that Alison is the candidate’s biological daughter, a fact she’s kept hidden for years. But that’s not all. Thorsson then confides something even more unusual than a mere hidden pregnancy, something that could ruin her political plans forever.

Suspecting that Alison’s parents had secrets of their own that could have led to the murders, Lena finally accepts Thorsson's assignment. But interviewing those who knew the family well soon puts Lena -- now a strong defender of the two teens -- in danger of her life.
Fast paced, probing, and filled with the trademark twists of the Lena Jones series, Betty Webb is unsparing of her characters yet writes their stories with wit and compassion.

About the Author:

Before writing mysteries, Betty Webb was a journalist, and interviewed U.S. Presidents, Nobel Prize winners, astronauts who walked on the moon, and polygamy runaways. Now she is best known for her prize-winning Lena Jones books (Desert Noir, Wives, Desert Shadows, Desert Run, Desert Lost, Desert Cut, and Desert Wind) and the Gunn Zoo books (The Anteater of Death, The Koala of Death, and The Llama of Death).

You can find the author at her website:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Drumroll Please! Cover Reveal for PHANTOM LIMB by Dennis Palumbo

Psychologist and Pittsburgh Police Department consultant Daniel Rinaldi has a new patient. Lisa Harland, a local girl, once made a splash in Playboy and the dubious side of Hollywood before bottoming out. Back home, down and out again, she married one of the city’s richest and most ruthless tycoons. Lisa’s challenge to Danny is that she intends to commit suicide by 7:00 PM. His therapist skills may buy some time—but, exiting, she’s kidnapped right outside his office.

Summoned to the Harland estate, Danny is forced, through a bizarre sequence of events, to be the bag man on the ransom delivery. This draws him into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a brilliant, lethal adversary. Complicating things is the unhappy Harland family, whose members have dark secrets of their own along with suspect loyalties, as well as one of Danny’s other patients, a volatile vet whose life may, like Lisa’s, be at risk. What is really at stake here?
Phantom Limb, fourth in the acclaimed series of Daniel Rinaldi thrillers, will keep readers guessing until the very last page.

About the Author: Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. The first Rinaldi mystery, Mirror Image, was published in 2010. Palumbo is also the author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley), as well as a collection of mystery short stories, From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press).

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Palumbo’s credits include the feature film My Favorite Year, for which he was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. He was also a staff writer for the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, and has written numerous series episodes and pilots. His first novel, City Wars (Bantam Books) is currently in development as a feature film. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Pepperdine University, he serves on the faculty of UCLA Extension, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

You can find Dennis at his website: