Interview with Heather Martin Author of The Reacher Guy: A Biography of Lee Child

An exquisitely written and nuanced biography of an exceptional individual and writer who has created the # 1 international bestselling hero Jack Reacher, revered by dedicated and loyal readers worldwide. 

Lee Child has a great public persona: he is gracious and generous with readers and fans. But Jim Grant is a reticent and very private man. 

This rags-to-riches literary and social biography is based principally on disarmingly frank personal conversations and correspondence with the author since 2016 and privileged access to archival materials. It consists almost entirely of original material, and is the nearest thing the world is likely to get to the autobiography he does not intend to write. 

There are a handful of great Lee Child/Reacher stories that have been recycled over and over again. They are so good that no one has bothered to look beyond them. This book revisits (and sometimes revises) those irresistible stories, but goes back further and digs deeper. The emphasis on chronology, accuracy and specificity is unprecedented.  

The Lee Child origin myth is much loved. But mostly it sees him springing fully formed from the brow of Granada Television. There are glancing references to Aston Villa and the schoolyard, but no one has examined the social and historical detail or looked closely at where Lee really came from: the people, places and period.

This is the first time someone has described the Lee Child arc: from peaceful obscurity in the Yorkshire Dales and Upstate New York to cult figure, no. 1 in America, rock star, celebrity and publishing institution through to backlash, the changing zeitgeist, and intimations of retirement. The analysis of the emotional power and significance of Lee’s work in the final chapters—the themes of happiness, addiction, dependency, loneliness, and existential absurdity—and the first-hand retrospective accounts of his life and second-act career are all exclusive to this definitive biography
.

 

AmazonGoodreads |B&N | Audible

Mystery Thriller Week – Benjamin Thomas

 

Heather Martin – The Reacher Guy

 

  1. How did you develop a love for reading?

 

Family. I was lucky. I clearly remember my father reading aloud to me at bedtime: The Wind in the Willows, The Magic Pudding, The Way of the Whirlwind, the highly coloured bush poetry of Henry Lawson. He sang a lot of songs to me, too, which are little stories in themselves. His parents had a houseful of books, including all the popular series of the day: the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, My Naughty Little Sister, What Katy Did, Anne of Green Gables. I would sit on the floor with our dog, reading, or take a book and disappear up the mulberry tree. This was in West Australia, not England where I live now!



  1. What was your first impression of Lee Child after reading his books for the first time?

 

I had no impression of Lee Child after reading his books for the first time. I gave the writer no thought at all. It was Reacher who filled my mind. When I finished one Reacher book, all I thought about was where I was going to find the next one. Which Lee would entirely approve of. I only really started to think about the writer after I met the man. It was only then that my attention was drawn explicitly to the skill of his writing. But I suspect my willingness to submit to the power of the story without stopping to think where it came from (this despite my professional background in literary criticism) is itself testament to that skill. Very quickly, however, the writer became even more interesting to me than his creation – as the origin of Reacher, because he contained Reacher within him, but also in many ways exceeded him.



  1. What fascinates you about why people love telling and hearing stories?

 

I notice you’ve adopted Lee’s preferred terminology, of ‘telling’ and ‘hearing’, which emphasises the aural, which reminds us that in one form or other storytelling goes right back to the beginning of human history, back before the invention of writing. I find his view compelling: that stories were, and remain, important because they encourage, embolden and empower us, by allowing us to see the world in new ways and glimpse new possibilities – different plot lines and alternative endings, if you like. An effective story takes us out of ourselves for the duration of our reading – like a song does, but for longer – while also inviting an intense connection, through empathy or identification, with the characters, and beyond them, even if we don’t realise it, the writer. For better or worse, we escape our own lives and live instead in the world of the book. 

  1. What do you appreciate about the way Lee Child tells a story?

 

Another big question! Presumably the fact that it feels like someone’s ‘telling’ me the story! What is commonly referred to as narrative ‘voice’. His voice has an effortless quality to it, which is down to his acute sense of rhythm and timing. But the appearance of effortlessness tends to be an effect of great artistry – the accomplishment of someone who is master of his craft. And mixed in with those musical qualities you have the sweeping historical vision, the unique mix of humour and pathos, and plenty of painterly and poetic touches too, especially in the depiction of weather and the evocation of landscape. I’m always surprised by the range and rhetoric of Lee’s discourse, and his idiosyncratic turn of phrase in both speech and writing. Contrary to popular opinion, I think his voice, while very distinctive, is almost impossible to imitate without lapsing into parody. 



  1. What was your initial reaction when Lee Child asked you to write his biography?

 

It wasn’t really like that. He never outright asked me. It was more an agreement we reached over the course of a long conversation. Whenever we met, which at first was a purely social thing, he would tell me stories about his life growing up in the Midlands, which was very different to mine growing up on the west coast of Australia. It was the same when we corresponded. I loved those stories in miniature, that teased and tantalised and left me wanting more. I guess I was always asking questions, with one question leading inexorably to the next, a form of research that was entirely organic, but when the idea of a biography took hold it proved impossible to shake off. It felt to me like the book I was meant to write, and I think Lee, in his empathetic way, sensed that too. But to be given formal permission to go ahead? That was a thrilling moment, and that’s for damn sure! 



  1. What was it like working with him?

 

Pure unalloyed pleasure. Because of the situation I’ve just described – the ongoing conversation. And we got to meet up in all sorts of places, many of them new to me. I’d try to catch him on the wing in the UK whenever I could, and then I had the great good fortune of spending a year in New York, which made it easier to fit in with his crazy schedule. It was there I did most of the writing, and had the chance to look through family photos, which was so illuminating. He was very generous with his time, and remarkably non-interventionist. Maybe I was just good at self-censorship, but despite this being an authorised biography there were very few things he asked me not to write. He never tried to tell me how to do things, but simply encouraged me to follow my own storytelling instinct. So yes, emboldening and empowering, without a doubt!

 

  1. What were some of the challenges of writing?

 

The biggest challenge was structure. I wanted to tell the story in a broadly chronological way (and I did), but there was no escaping Reacher from page one. It was immediately obvious that anyone reading the book would already know that Lee Child was the author of a bestselling series, so to wait until his thirty-ninth year before introducing Reacher would be absurd. Instead I found myself telling the stories of Lee Child, Jack Reacher and Jim Grant (who created them both) all at once. But I tried not to overthink it. I just let Reacher pop up where the narrative journey took him, as is the case in the novels. And I conceived of each chapter as a self-contained story, governed by a single moment or idea or image, which I think helps the reader too. It’s a big book, but that approach makes it easy to dip in and out. If you were to ask Lee the same question, he would say the biggest problem was that of memory – how individual it is, and how different people often have differing recollections of the same event. 



  1. After writing his biography, how has your view of storytelling, the works of Lee Child, and his craft changed? 


Though all the words remain exactly the same, his books resonate with me now on a more personal level. And even as he has so spectacularly escaped his origins, as was always his wish, I see that his loyalty to the Midlands remains as fierce as ever. We’ve had some fascinating conversations since The Reacher Guy was published at the end of September, mostly in the context of all the brilliant digital festivals we’ve done in lieu of our planned live events (postponed, circumstances permitting, to next year). Reading the story of his own life has given even Lee new perspective on it, and brought certain moments and experiences more sharply into focus. At the same time, we’ve both become more conscious of the overlap between fiction and creative non-fiction – two variations on the storytelling theme.


About Heather Martin

Heather Martin (author photo © Brian Aris) was born in West Australia. She grew up in Aix-en-Provence, Paris, and Perth, where she would fall asleep to the sound of the Indian Ocean. She left Australia for England to become a classical guitarist but found herself singing with a Venezuelan folk group and learning to speak Spanish instead. She read Languages at Cambridge, where she also did a PhD in comparative literature, and has held teaching and research positions at Cambridge, Hull, King’s College London, and most recently, the Graduate Center, City University New York. Heather is a long-time Reacher fan. While waiting to get her hands on the next in the series, she once read a Lee Child book in Spanish and wound up writing to the author about the fate of his character in translation. ‘The Reacher Guy’ is her first biography.

Lee Child comments: “I met Heather Martin some years ago, and we started talking about why people love telling and hearing stories. To get more depth and detail we started talking about why I do. Eventually I said, ‘If you want to really get to the bottom of it, you’re going to have to write my biography.’ So she did. It was a fun and illuminating process. I had forgotten a lot, and it was fascinating to be reminded. Now it all makes sense.”

Percivious Insomnia by J.J. Cook & A.J. Cook MD

An insomnia pandemic is sweeping the globe, leaving people unable to function and society on the brink of collapse…

Dr. Cooper Delaney believes he has the answer: Noctural, a new sleep-aid—one with absolutely no side-effects—which in early testing shows 100% effectiveness.

The only problem is, it doesn’t work. With no warning. No explanation.

Unable to accept the drug’s inexplicable failure and unwilling to concede to the competition, lines are crossed, ethical boundaries are pushed to the breaking point, and disturbing realizations come to light that could completely unravel civilization as we know it… and throw into question humanity’s place in the universe.

A jetset medical thriller meets sci-fi adventure with an unforgettable cast of characters, Percivious Insomnia presents an alternate history so compelling that it could possibly be true. The first book in the Percivious Trilogy from husband-wife author duo JJ Cook & AJ Cook, MD, Percivious Insomnia sets a unique and original course for fiction of the future, and paints a timely, prescient portrait of today’s globalized society… and what may exist beyond the realm of our current understanding.

 

B&N |Amazon |Goodreads | Bookshop

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

J.J. Cook & A.J. Cook

 

Behind the plot of Percivious Insomnia was a singular idea or more specifically a question. What would happen if someone or something could exploit your sleep hours for their own benefit? This question blossomed in a separate direction for each of us, likely from the beginning. For AJ Cook, the story was based in science fiction and for JJ Cook it involved exploring an idea never considered before and how it would impact people individually and society as a whole. In the first chapter the reader meets Dr. Cooper Delaney, a talented star at a leading pharmaceutical company. His place at the beginning of the novel is critical and his role is what fostered our first discussions about the storyline. What was at first a collection of ideas captured on paper, eventually became sentences, which were then fashioned into paragraphs, chapters and finally the novel itself.

 

Medical research is at the heart of the novel. AJ Cook’s expertise brought plausible medical science to life in what would otherwise be a story of strictly fiction. Both of us are life-long learners, always curious about the why behind the what, and the depth of the characters echoes this sentiment throughout this first book in the trilogy. Elements of science were added specifically to provide believable explanations for key elements such as the description of our ancient humanoid cousins as well as the plateau of our own evolution referred to as human pinnacle theory in the novel. As the story unfolded, the science gathered through our research continually lead and supported the story to the point where it became eerie as we found ourselves launching a novel about a pandemic in the midst of a real one.

 

Writing with a spouse, quite literally, is a double-edged sword; pushing for the very best from each other and simultaneously disagreeing about major facets of the plot certainly make for an interesting dialogue on many nights. What keeps us balanced is a genuine love for this story, the anticipation of where it will lead next and the exhilaration we both experience when making breakthroughs with the plot, the characters and the marriage of science and fiction. Nothing is more rewarding than creating paragraphs that scream to be believed despite not being true. Authoring something that could be possible is second only to writing those few sentences that refuse to be forgotten. The ones that stay in your head long after you have finished reading them, or writing them in our case. It is important to us both that we keep up the momentum in this next novel, the second in the trilogy, Percivious Origins. We want the reader to fall in love with a new cast of characters, a new setting and quite literally a new world that will be required to reach the depths of this story. The base line of the first novel was that question we mentioned – what if someone or something could exploit our sleep hours? In the second novel, the entire premise revolves around the exploitation of a prehistoric plant and how it changed the course history and the destiny of our ancient humanoid cousins. Percivious Origins will amplify our place within the environment and the importance of respect and stability between Homosapiens and nature.

The overarching theme of the trilogy remains intact, the definition of Percivious – the ultimate in altruism. Self-sacrifice in order to benefit others with no regard to reward or reciprocity. This is the soul of all three novels and is the true reason we as a couple are so dedicated and passionate about this adventure – about writing together. We quite literally could not have penned this novel without one another. Finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences have quite literally become, in our case – not only possible…but a dream come true.

 

www.perciviousinsomnia.com

Book Review: Predator One – Joe Ledger #7 by Jonathan Maberry

On opening day of the new baseball season a small model-kit airplane flies down from the stands and buzzes the mound, where a decorated veteran pilot is about to throw out the first ball. The toy plane is the exact replica of the one flown by the war hero. Everyone laughs, thinking it’s a prank or a publicity stunt. Until it explodes, killing dozens.

Seconds later a swarm of killer drones descend upon the picnicked crowd, each one carrying a powerful bomb. All across the country artificial intelligence drive systems in cars, commuter trains and even fighter planes go out of control. The death toll soars as the machines we depend upon every day are turned into engines of destruction.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences go on the hunt for whoever is controlling these machines, but the every step of the way they are met with traps and shocks that strike to the very heart of the DMS. No one is safe. Nowhere is safe. Enemies old and new rise as America burns.

Joe Ledger and his team begin a desperate search for the secret to this new technology and the madmen behind it. But before they can close in the enemy virus infects Air Force One. The president is trapped aboard as the jet heads toward the heart of New York City. It has become PREDATOR ONE.

 

Amazon |Goodreads | Audible

Well, this one literally begins with a bang to set things off. Captain Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences are caught off guard for most of the book, until they can figure out what’s causing a widespread attack. I love how Jonathan Maberry has returning villains in his stories, but no spoilers here! I will say, though, that the DMS had their asses handed to them on a silver platter. YIKES. I had no idea how they were going to pull themselves out of this one. Maberry keeps his foot on the accelerator throughout the entirety of the story, so you’ll have to read it to find out what happens! Five stars of course.


JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, anthology editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

He writes in several genres. His young adult fiction includes ROT & RUIN (2011; was named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, an American Library Association Top Pick, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading winner; winner of several state Teen Book Awards including the Cricket, Nutmeg and MASL; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards); DUST & DECAY (winner of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award; FLESH & BONE (winner of the Bram Stoker Award; 2012; and FIRE & ASH (August 2013). BROKEN LANDS, the first of a new spin-off series, debuts in 2018.

His thrillers include The Joe Ledger Thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin (PATIENT ZERO, 2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel; EXTINCTION MACHINE, (2013; now in development for TV by SONY); PREDATOR ONE, and others. His first middle grade novel, THE NIGHTSIDERS BOOK 1: THE ORPHAN ARMY, was named one the 100 Best Books for Children 2015, with a sequel, VAULT OF SHADOWS debuting this year from Simon & Schuster. His standalone teen science fiction novel, MARS ONE, is in development for film by Zucker Productions and Lone Tree Entertainment. His upcoming standalone suspense novel, GLIMPSE, has gotten advance praise from Clive Barker, Scott Smith, James Rollins, Heather Graham and Charlaine Harris.

His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books (GHOST ROAD BLUES, 2006, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium; DEAD MAN’S SONG, 2007; and BAD MOON RISING, 2008), as well as DEAD OF NIGHT, 2011 (named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium) and its sequel, FALL OF NIGHT, 2014. He also wrote the movie novelization, THE WOLFMAN, 2010, winner of the Scribe Award for Best Adaptation; and DEADLANDS: GHOSTWALKERS, an original novel inspired by the million-copy-selling role-playing game. He has also written the foreword to a new annotated edition of DRACULA from Writers Digest Books.

Jonathan and colleague #1 NY Times bestseller Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) each wrote an X-FILES ORIGINS novel for teens; with Kami focusing on Fox Mulder in AGENT OF CHAOS; and Jonathan telling the backstory of young Dana Scully in DEVIL’S ADVOCATE.

Jonathan is the creator, editor and co-author of V-WARS, a shared-world vampire anthology from IDW, and its sequels, V-WARS: BLOOD AND FIRE, V-WARS: NIGHT TERRORS, and V-WARS. And he writes a best-selling monthly V-WARS comic. A board game version of V-Wars was released in 2017; and the series is in development for TV by IDW Media.

He is also the editor of the dark fantasy anthology series, OUT OF TUNE (JournalStone), a series of THE X-FILES anthologies which launched in 2015; SCARY OUT THERE, an anthology of horror for teens; and the anthologies ALIENS: BUG HUNT, NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD (with George Romero), JOE LEDGER UNSTOPPABLE (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt) and two volumes of mysteries: ALTERNATE SHERLOCKS and THE GAME’S AFOOT (with Michael Ventrella).

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary series, ZOMBIES: A Living History and TRUE MONSTERS. And he was participated in the commentary tracks for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED.

 

www.JonathanMaberry.com

Steven James Hosts Author Alex Segura On The Story Blender Podcast

The Story Blender: Posted November 6th, 2020 with host Steven James

Duration: 40 min 26s.



Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book and podcast writer. He is the author of the Anthony Award-nominated Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery series, which includes SILENT CITY, DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, DANGEROUS ENDS, BLACKOUT, and the upcoming MIAMI MIDNIGHT, all via Polis Books. He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed ARCHIE MEETS KISS storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, ARCHIE MEETS RAMONES and THE ARCHIES one-shot and monthly series. He also co-created and co-wrote the LETHAL LIT podcast for Einhorn’s Epic Productions and iHeart Radio, which was named one of the Five Best Podcasts of 2018 by The New York Times. He lives in New York with his wife and son. He is a Miami native.

 

www.alexsegura.com

 


Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

His latest novel, SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller, is set to release on October 8, 2019.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018,” says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game,” and RT Book Reviews promises that “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, he has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades and has spoken more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking books on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE and TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL, have both won Storytelling World Awards. Widely recognized for his story-crafting expertise, he teaches regularly as a Master Class instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers. He also hosts the biweekly podcast, The Story Blender.

When Steven isn’t writing or speaking, you’ll find him trail running, rock climbing, or drinking dark roast coffee near his home in East Tennessee.

 

How Do I Kill Thee? By Daniella Bernett

 How Do I Kill Thee?

By Daniella Bernett

 

Murder is a shocking and terrifying taboo. The very word sends an icy frisson slithering down one’s spine. And yet, it is an occupational hazard for a crime writer. On a cerebral level, the taking of a human life is fascinating. It is a serious business, requiring cunning and sangfroid mingled with passion, anger or fear. A certain degree of luck is necessary to pull off a murder without getting caught. The faint of heart would be riddled with remorse and horror at this deadly transgression.  

 

Setting aside the moral considerations, I find it deliciously thrilling to plot a murder. The omnipotent power to kill is a dizzying prospect. Murder is an art form, if one thinks about it. The killer must be creative. But how does an author choose from the plethora of methods available? Your character is the key to unlocking this mystery. Therefore, an author must first delve into the murderer’s psyche to thoroughly understand why he or she came to make the fatal decision. Is he or she an assassin, a spurned lover, a business partner who has been swindled, or an average individual pushed to the brink in an extraordinary situation? Once the author has sketched this character profile, the pieces will fall into place and the story will begin to flow. The author must have absolute trust in the murderer. He or she will guide you down the evil path and determine if the victim expires quickly or suffers a slow, lingering death.

 

In most cases, murder stems from a rupture in an intimate relationship. This personal animus is likely fueled by emotion and an overwhelming thirst for revenge. Consequently, this means inflicting pain. The thrust of a knife into the heart, stomach or between the ribs would do the job nicely. With stabbing, the murderer and victim must be at close range. Generally, stabbing ensures that the killer’s face is the last thing the victim sees in this world, satisfying a desire to mete out punishment. For this reason, the murderer in one of the books in my series featuring journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief/insurance investigator Gregory Longdon slashed the throat of an unscrupulous man, who had derived malicious glee from ruining other people’s lives. 

 

Meanwhile, shooting also would induce pain. With this method, the author has the option of killing someone instantly, forcing the culprit to hastily cover his or her tracks. This provides an opportunity to sprinkle red herrings through the story. Conversely, the dark deed can rattle the murderer to the point that he or she is no longer thinking clearly and makes mistakes. Another possibility is that the gunshot does not kill the victim outright. It may cause a grave wound, presenting the murderer with a chance to finish off the victim another way. Let’s say by poison, for example.

 

Ah, poison. To me, it’s so sinister and tantalizing. I believe I share this view with my hero Agatha Christie, who masterfully eliminated dozens with a soupçon of poison. Some poisons are tasteless and odorless. Then there is cyanide, which smells like bitter almonds, while arsenic, when heated, gives off an odor resembling garlic. Depending on what your story dictates, poison can work instantaneously or the victim can waste away little by little. Russian spies, and Putin in particular as a former head of the KGB, have a penchant for using poison to dispatch enemies, defectors and anyone who dares to oppose them. As a result, poison was my weapon of choice in another novel. The story dealt with a defector who recklessly pitted Putin against Russian mafia boss Igor Bronowski. At the same time, both had unsavory entanglements with a ruthless British entrepreneur. All were obsessed with a flawless blue diamond. I will confess that two victims succumbed to poison in the book. However, poison is not the exclusive domain of the assassin. An author can wield it perfectly well among those who have a personal score to settle. On this point of the professional versus the amateur (for want of a better word) killer, an assassin can employ stabbing or shooting in a pinch for expediency’s sake.

 

A lethal arsenal would not be complete without strangulation, drowning and smothering. But all three may prove troublesome because they require a degree of strength and the victim will most certainly put up a struggle. A murderer wants death to come swiftly with a minimum of fuss to have time to disappear before the body is discovered. On the same token, bludgeoning someone to death with a heavy object could prove messy, since several blows would likely be needed thus causing a good deal of blood to be shed. Of course, an author may want to employ bludgeoning for precisely this reason to set the stage for the murderer’s ultimate undoing. For in the haste to flee, he or she may miss a trace of blood. 

 

Allow these diabolical musings to steep in your mind. After a while, you’ll come to realize that it’s criminally good fun to acquire a literary taste for murder. 

 


Daniella Bernett is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY Chapter and the International Thriller Writers. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University. Lead Me Into Danger, Deadly Legacy, From Beyond The Grave, A Checkered Past and When Blood Runs Cold are the books in the Emmeline Kirby-Gregory Longdon mystery series. She also is the author of two poetry collections, Timeless Allure and Silken Reflections. In her professional life, she is the research manager for a nationally prominent engineering, architectural and construction management firm. Daniella is currently working on Emmeline and Gregory’s next adventure. Visit www.daniellabernett.com or follow her on Facebook or on Goodreads. Old Sins Never Die, the sixth book in her series, was released in September.

Book Review: House Arrest by Mike Lawson Joe DeMarco book 13


In the thirteenth book in Mike Lawson’s celebrated series, Joe DeMarco finds himself on the wrong side of an investigation—in the wake of a political assassination, he’s been framed as the killer.

As the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney in Washington, D.C., Joe DeMarco has had to bend and break the law more than a few times. But when Representative Lyle Canton, House Majority Whip, is found shot dead in his office in the U.S. Capitol and DeMarco is arrested for the murder, DeMarco knows he’s been framed. Locked up in the Alexandria Jail awaiting trial, he calls on his enigmatic friend Emma, an ex-DIA agent, to search for the true killer.

Emma’s investigation leads her to Sebastian Spear, the ruthless and competitive CEO of the multi-billion-dollar Spear Industries. Spear had a motive for killing Lyle Canton: Canton’s wife, Jean, had once been Spear’s high school sweetheart and the one true love of his life—until Canton won her over. Now Jean was dead, killed in a car crash while driving drunk, and Spear blamed Canton for the accident. But the case the F.B.I. has built against DeMarco is airtight, and not a single piece of evidence points to the grieving CEO. Using her cunning and her D.C. connections, Emma sets out to prove that Spear has been using some fixers of his own.

Featuring crimes of passion, corporate corruption, and partisan feuds, House Arrest is a gripping, timely political thriller, and one of Lawson’s best books yet.

BOOK REVIEW

This book was utterly amazing. What took me so long to read a Joe DeMarco thriller! Yes I know, I jumped in at book #13, but it still was amazing. Mike Lawson stands out among the crowded field of thriller writers. His brand of storytelling puts you right into the heart of D.C. political intrigue, corruption, and backdoor maneuvering. This time Joe DeMarco, the fixer for Congressman John Mahoney is completely vulnerable when he’s framed for the murder of U.S. Representative Lyle Canton. The way this book unravels is just a masterpiece. There’s good writing, and then there’s great storytelling that goes above and beyond your expectations. You get hopelessly lost into the story. Exceptional! I’m moving on to Joe DeMarco book #14, House Privilege.


Pen name: M.A Lawson

Michael Lawson was raised in Pueblo, Colorado and attended college at Seattle University, receiving a degree in engineering. On leaving college he went to work for the US Navy as a nuclear engineer, spending approximately thirty years working for the Navy’s nuclear power program. Some of this time was spent in Washington D.C. but most was spent at a large naval shipyard in Bremerton, Washington.

At the shipyard he managed a number of different organizations related to overhauling nuclear powered submarines, cruisers, and aircraft carriers, ending up as a member of the government’s Senior Executive Service

To date he has published 12 books starring Joe DeMarco, a fixer for a corrupt politician and three books in his Kay Hamilton series under the name of M. A. Lawson: He has won the Friend of Mystery Award twice and is a five time nominee for the Barry Award.

He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

MikeLawsonbooks.com

Book Review: The Hollow Ones by Guillermo Del Toro

A horrific crime that defies ordinary explanation. A rookie FBI agent in dangerous, uncharted territory. An extraordinary hero for the ages.



Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself-it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death. Questioning her future with the FBI and her sanity, Hardwicke accepts a low-level assignment to clear out the belongings of a retired agent in the New York office. What she finds there will put her on the trail of a mysterious figure named John Silence, a man of enormous means who claims to have been alive for centuries, and who is either an unhinged lunatic, or humanity’s best and only defense against unspeakable evil.

 

Amazon |B&N |Audible

**Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy**

 

This books absolutely begins with a BANG.  A horrific scene that defies all explanation and logic leads you into the basis for the entire story. Admittedly, I was hooked from page one onward until the second act of the book. The basic premise for the story is very intriguing, but I almost lost interest two thirds into it. The last part picks up steam and matching the beginning with aspects of foreshadowing fufilled, climax, etc. Besides that, I thought this book could’ve been much better given the shocking premise. Perhaps, a deepening of the main character Odessa Hardwicke, or tweeking the pacing would’ve helped.

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director mostly known for his acclaimed films Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devils Backbone, Crimson Peak and the Hellboy film franchise. His films draw heavily on sources as diverse as weird fiction, fantasy, horror, and war. In 2009, Del Toro released his debut novel, The Strain, co-authored with Chuck Hogan, as the first part of The Strain Trilogy, an apocalyptic horror series featuring vampires. The series continued with The Fall in 2010 and concluded with The Night Eternal in 2011.

Audiobook Blog Tour: The Girl That Vanished by A.J. Rivers

About Audiobook #2

 

Author: A.J. Rivers

Narrator: Claire Duncan

Length:  5 hours  48 minutes

Publisher: Altered Path⎮2020

Genre:  Thriller

Series: Emma Griffin FBI, Book 2

Release date:  Sep. 16, 2020

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Ring…Ring…

One call from her past was all it took to change everything.

A ten-year-old girl has vanished on her way home from camp.

And things took a turn for the worse when another child, a child that Emma knows, goes missing.

Disappearances, death, and tragedies has followed Emma Griffin throughout her childhood.

Her obsession with finding out the truth behind her past was what led her to join the FBI.

It’s been months since the horror of Feather Nest.

After the shocking revelation of the last case, FBI agent Emma Griffin decides to take a much-needed vacation.

But a phone call from Sheriff Sam Johnson, a man from her past, completely derails her plans.

A young girl has disappeared, and another child has gone missing.

With the number count slowly climbing.

Emma must now put her plans on hold, go back to her hometown and face some ghosts from her past.

When a mysterious package appears on her birthday.

Emma can’t shake the feeling that someone is monitoring her every movement.

Someone is getting too close for comfort.

The question is who?

In the close-knit town of Sherwood, the truth is never as it seems.

 

Buy Links for Audiobook #2

Buy on Audible



Another good FBI mystery by A.J. Rivers.  I think if there’s one hallmark of the Emma Griffin series its great suspense! Rivers knows how to keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Who’s kidnapping these children? How are they related to Emma Griffin? What’s their motivation?Many suspenseful books I find boring, but this series is an exception. I chalk that up to good writing. Recommended! 

About the Author: A.J. Rivers

 

A.J. Rivers loves all things mystery and thriller. Growing up in a sleepy small town, A.J. spent her days enthralled in crime solving novels and movies. She started creating stories at a young age to escape and create adventures for herself. As a child she dreamed of solving crimes and becoming a crime fighter. She dreamed of being as great as her favorite crime solving character Sherlock Holmes. While in college she realized that leading a crime fighting life might be more gruesome than she could stomach. She decided that the best course of action would be to fuse her love of writing with her love of thrilling mysteries together.

She finds inspiration from researching true crimes and is passionate about writing suspenseful novels with crazy twists. Twists that you’ll never see coming. The inspiration for her first novel came when she read a news article about a missing young woman in a small town that was never found. Her question on who, what, and why brought her to her journal to discovering the dark twisted story behind the disappearance and to seek justice for the victim through her writing.

Her thriller novels have elements of mystery, suspense, and romance.

When she’s not absorbed in a novel or working on her next thriller mystery, her favorite past time is spent with her husky. She finds great inspiration while going on hikes with her dog.

 

FacebookGoodreadsAmazonInstagram

About the Narrator: Claire Duncan

 

Claire Duncan is a multi-award winning actress living in NYC.  She has performed Off-Broadway, regionally, and in national tours, and appeared in the Drama Desk nominated revival of The Threepenny Opera. She has played the lead in a dozen films, and received a Best Actress Award for her work as Rosetta in the dark comedy Rosetta’s Blues, which debuted at Cannes. As a singer, she had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and toured the country as a travel host with Visit The USA.

Claire’s broad career has shaped her into an exceptional and flexible voice artist. You can hear her on Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, in hundreds of national commercials, and in over thirty audiobooks. 

“Claire Duncan was a dynamo”  – New York Stage Review

 “Simply side-splitting… a terrific comedic actress” – Show Business Weekly

Proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA.

 

WebsiteTwitterInstagram

Flame Tree Live Fall 2020 Programming Debut Crime Writers’ Association VINTAGE CRIME Virtual Launch 

 

 

Vintage Crime banner 1

 

 

FLAME TREE PRESS presents… Flame Tree Live Fall 2020 Programming Debut Crime Writers’ Association VINTAGE CRIME Virtual Launch 

Sunday August 16, 2020 

1pm Eastern Daylight Time / 

6pm British Daylight Time 

Facebook Live @FlameTreePress

 

RSVP Here

 

 

Vintage Crime book image

 

 

Vintage Crimes will be a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. The book will gather stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 

tree of life symbol on structured and space background, yggdrasil.

 

 

Panelists 

★ Martin Edwards – chair of the CWA and Edgar, Agatha,

Macavity, and Poirot award-winning author ★ Dea Parkin – secretary of the CWA & editorial consultant

★ Kate Ellis-Bullock – author & Vintage Crime contributor

★ Andrew Taylor – Diamond Dagger award-winning author &

Vintage Crime contributor

 

About the Event 

Flame Tree Live: CWA and Vintage Crime. A special online panel to launch the new collection, Vintage Crime, and engage in a lively discussion about crime writing, writers, stories and themes. Topics will range from “Working in Isolation – that’s what writers do!”, “Good stories never die, even in crime fiction”, “Stories from the past that resonate today” and “How does the CWA encourage new writers?” Selected questions from readers and fans will also be featured.

 

 

conference microphone

 

 

 

About the Panelists 

MARTIN EDWARDS is the previous past Chair of the CWA, now the Archivist, He has won the Edgar, Agatha, Macavity, and Poirot awards in the USA, and the CWA Short Story Dagger, CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and the H.R.F. Keating award in the UK. He is the author of eighteen novels, including the Lake District Mysteries, and the Harry Devlin series, as well as the ground-breaking genre study The Golden Age of Murder. He has edited twenty eight crime anthologies, has won the CWA Short Story Dagger and the CWA Margery Allingham Prize, and is series consultant for the British Library’s Crime Classics.

 

DEA PARKIN, a writer and a poet, has been Secretary of the CWA since 2016. She owns and manages Fiction Feedback, an editorial consultancy service that provides constructive critiques on novels and short stories from professional editors, authors, writing specialists and literary agents.

 

KATE ELLIS’ first novel, The Merchant House, launched the long-running DI Wesley Peterson series set in Devon. She has also written five crime novels featuring another cop, Joe Plantagenet, set in a fictionalised version of York, and a trilogy set in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, as well as many short stories. She won the CWA Dagger in the Library in 2019. The Devil’s Priest is a stand-alone historical mystery set in Liverpool.

 

ANDREW TAYLOR’s crime novels include a series about William Dougal, starting with Caroline Miniscule, which won the John Creasey Memorial Dagger, the Roth Trilogy, which was televised as Fallen Angel, the Lydmouth series, stand-alone novels such as The American Boy, and much else besides. He has won the Historical Dagger three times and in 2009 won the Diamond Dagger, as well as earning awards in Sweden and the US.

 

 

About Vintage Crime and CWA 

VINTAGE CRIME [ISBN 978-1-78758-548-5, released August 11, 2020 in hardcover, paperback and ebook editions] is a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. Gathering stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century with great names of the past and present, together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The aim is to present a wide range of stories which are entertaining in their own right and also demonstrate the evolution of the crime short story during the CWA’s existence, from the Fifties until the early twenty-first century

The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas. This new edition includes an array of incredible and award-winning authors including Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Liza Cody, Mat Coward, John Dickson Carr, Marjorie Eccles, Martin Edwards, Kate Ellis, Anthea Fraser, Celia Fremlin, Frances Fyfield, Michael Gilbert, Paula Gosling, Lesley Grant-Adamson, HRF Keating, Bill Knox, Peter Lovesey, Mick Herron, Michael Z. Lewin, Susan Moody, Julian Symons and Andrew Taylor.

The CWA was founded in 1953 by John Creasey – that’s over sixty-five years of support, promotion and celebration of this most durable, adaptable and successful of genres. The CWA runs the prestigious Dagger Awards, which celebrate the best in crime writing, and is proud to be a thriving, growing community with a membership encompassing authors at all stages of their careers. It is UK-based, yet attracts many members from across the world.

 

 

About Flame Tree Press 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the original fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing (est. 1992). Led by the Flame Tree publisher Nick Wells in London and executive editor Don D’Auria in NYC, Flame Tree Press was launched in 2018 with the goal of bringing together new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices in horror, suspense, science fiction & fantasy, as well as crime, mystery, and thriller fiction. Learn more about Flame Tree Press at http://www.flametreepress.com and connect on social media @FlameTreePress 

REVIEW COPIES of VINTAGE CRIME & INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST 

### 

 

 

 

Book Review: Cyberspace by Matthew Mather

 

Cyberspace book image

 

 

In this long-awaited sequel to the massive bestseller CyberStorm, Mike and his family are caught up in a new disaster as the Kessler Syndrome unfolds and all satellites in orbit are suddenly destroyed.

“Couldn’t put it down…CyberStorm series is not only a great thriller, but a wake up call.” Brent Watkins, FBI Cyber Investigations, Special Agent (retired)

Six years after the events of CyberStorm, Mike Mitchel is reunited with his old friends Damon Indigo and Chuck Mumford on a boys’ fishing trip in New Orleans. His brings his son Luke, now eight years old, while his wife Lauren attends a business meeting in Hong Kong.

As soon as they arrive, simmering tensions in Kashmir explode. India launches a weapon that destroys a Pakistani satellite. They retaliate and hit an Indian satellite. Russia and China threaten America not to intervene.

Suddenly, GPS signal goes out.

A debris field from dozens of shattered satellites spreads in orbit, destroying everything in its path. One by one, weather and communications and military satellites go offline. The Russian and American and Chinese armed forces are blinded, their armies and navies losing connections to each other. The world’s networks shut down. The United States ratchets up to global DEFON 2, threatening the brink of imminent war.

As America closes its borders, Mike discovers that his wife Lauren took an overnight flight from Hong Kong to Washington that morning. She is now somewhere over the Russian arctic. With satellites falling from the skies, mobile communications cut off, rolling power blackouts sweeping across the country and martial law declared, Mike and Chuck must race across America once again in a desperate race against the clock to save their families…

 

AmazonGoodreads | Audible

 

 

Book Review - 3d rendered headline

 

 

When author Matthew Mather penned the first book, Cyberstorm in 2013 it was memorable, like the food that sticks to your ribs on Thanksgiving Day. Now the story continues in the much anticipated follow up, Cyberspace.  The story centers around Mike Mitchell’s family and friends as they witness the destruction of global communications networks. Consistent with things in the “cyber” realm, nothing is as it seems building suspense as the book moves along towards the climax. The ending leaves you panting for more, dripping with anticipation for the next in the series, Cyberwar.

 

 

Cyberwar Matthew Mather

 

 

The thrilling conclusion to the series, where the mysteries of CyberStorm will finally be revealed.

Terrorists unleashed an attack that destroy everything in orbit, but they’ve finally been stopped. Or have they?

Mike saves the life of his father-in-law Senator Seymour in Washington, when a wave of autonomous killer drones are unleashed in the capital. They flee the city with a secret service detail attached to the Vice-President, and peel off once they get into the countryside–but discover that the machines seem to be following them. Worse, the terrorists have kidnapped Chuck’s wife and children and are barricaded in his cottage in the hilltops of the Shenandoah mountains.

Mike and Lauren make a desperate decision to help their friend before escaping into the Kentucky foothills, chased by a mysterious military unit. With American armed forces almost completely disabled, police and emergency services gone and Washington burning…can Mike find a way to overcome the deadly intelligent machines hunting them, to save both his family and his country?

 

AmazonGoodreads

 

 

Hacker - Cyber Kriminalität