Win the July ’16 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

July 1, 2016

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Welcome to the July bookshelf of signed thrillers! I am giving away some terrific books this month, all autographed by the authors. Don’t forget to check back…you never know when new titles will be added. To enter, go to the Win Books page. Best of luck!

GUILTY MINDS by Joseph Finder: Summoned to investigate potentially explosive charges of corruption levied by a gossip website against the chief justice of the Supreme Court, private intelligence operative Nick Heller is given forty-eight hours to prove that the story is baseless.

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES by M.J. Rose: Designing trench watches and mourning jewelry in World War I Paris, ambitious young jewelry maker Opaline, the daughter of a dark sorceress, communicates with spirits using her rare lithomancy gifts before forging a powerful love with the ghost of a fallen soldier.

YOU WILL KNOW ME by Megan Abbott: When a violent death rocks her close-knit gymnastics community weeks before an important competition, the mother of an Olympic hopeful works frantically to hold her family together in spite of being irresistibly drawn to the crime.

FIRST STRIKE by Ben Coes: When hundreds of American college students are taken captive by a radical Islamic group who demands a massive arms shipment in return for the hostages’ safety, Dewey Andreas obtains proof that the group has been secretly funded by a Pentagon black-ops program.

KILLER LOOK by Linda Fairstein: The shady underside of glamour challenges Alex Cooper, Mike Chapman, and Mercer Wallace, who embark on a murder investigation at the height of New York City’s Fashion Week to expose dark undercurrents in the garment district and the machinations of a resolved killer.

SOMEONE MUST DIE by Sharon Potts: When her six-year-old nephew vanishes from a neighborhood carnival, Aubrey Lynd’s safe, snow-globe world fractures; it shatters when the FBI’s investigation raises questions about her own family that Aubrey can’t answer.

INTO THE WHIRLWIND by Kat Martin: Turning to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds, after her 3-year-old son is kidnapped, Megan O’Brien sees a new side of this man with whom she had a brief affair as they are both forced to enter a dark world of international crime to rescue her little boy.

BREATH OF MALICE by Karen Fenech: FBI special agent Paige Carson hoped she’d be able to start a new life in small-town South Carolina. But when a senator’s sister is murdered and a blank postcard is left next to the body, Paige realizes that a killer from her past has found her—and is sending her a very personal message.

SUNKEN DREAMS by Steven Kuehn: Archaeologists strive to bring the hidden past into the light of the present. In SUNKEN DREAMS, we discover that there are those who prefer to keep the secrets of the past buried – and they’ll kill to keep them that way.

THE TRAP by Melanie Raabe: A reclusive best-selling author, haunted by the unsolved murder of her younger sister, spots her sister’s killer on television and resolves to use the plot of her next novel to set an irresistible trap for him.

DEEP SIX by D. P. Lyle: Agreeing to investigate a suspected adultress, former professional baseball player Jake Longly finds himself in trouble when his target is killed and he runs afoul of Ukrainian mobster Victor Borkov.

FIELD OF GRAVES by J.T. Ellison: Nashville cop Taylor Jackson teams up with troubled FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin to search for a serial killer who is targeting college students at Vanderbilt University. “Well developed, multidimensional characters and an exceptionally strong plot.” Publisher’s Weekly, starred review


You can win autographed copies of all these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how you to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!


July 25, 2016
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Gretchen has been Abby’s best friend since fourth grade. That was the year that Abby’s classmates decided to go horseback riding instead of attending her birthday and Gretchen, the weird new girl, was the only one to show.

Since then, the two girls have been inseparable. They do everything together, including dabbling with LSD. And sure they’ve heard the rumors about bad trips and other craziness, but neither of them could have predicted the changes that come over Gretchen in the wake of their experimentation. Changes that force everyone to turn their backs on her. Everyone except Abby, that is. Changes that are downright evil.

Fears of Satanism and the devil’s influence were rampant in the eighties, with claims that everything from D&D to heavy metal could lead kids to the dark side. Hendrix successfully plays off of those fears, offering up a great sense of dark nostalgia for horror fans.

Abby and Gretchen are normal teens testing boundaries while still maintaining good GPAs and basically following the rules. So when their night of adventure takes a dark turn, they both immediately blame the drugs. But Abby soon realizes there’s more to it: Gretchen starts seeing things and acting strangely, missing school more and more frequently, even neglecting basic hygiene. She argues with their mutual friends, pushing people further and further away until only Abby steadfastly remains by her side.

At first, Gretchen’s behavior can be chalked up to basic teen angst. She fights with her parents, who Abby knows are overbearing to say the least. Possession is, of course, the furthest thing from Abby’s mind. But Gretchen’s behavior becomes more erratic, forcing Abby to take drastic measures and consider the fact that something much darker must be to blame for what’s happening.

Readers are taken along for the ride as Abby’s friendship is stretched to its limits and beyond in a story that becomes increasingly more creepy and disturbing as it plays out. And it’s oh, so very fun.

7/16 Becky LeJeune

MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM by Grady Hendrix. Quirk Books (May 17, 2016).  ISBN: 978-1594748622. 336p.

Kindle with Audio & Video


GUILTY MINDS by Joseph Finder

July 23, 2016
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Nick Heller has appeared several times in previous novels by Joseph Finder. He is a private spy for hire, an intelligence operative that works for lawyers, politicians, and in some cases for foreign governments.

Nick has been well fleshed out, a person that is addicted to doing things his own way and with a record of getting tough chores done. In this novel, Nick is called to Washington to help prevent a scandal enveloping the Chief Justice of the Supreme court.

A reporter has uncovered facts indicating that the Justice was involved with an “escort”, a young lady that is paid for her services. The reporter has indicated that she will publish the story in 48 hours, something that will ruin the Justice’s reputation as well as involving the Supreme Court, an elite institution in the government.

Complicating the matter is that Nick arrives just as the “escort” is found murdered and doubt is cast on the Chief Justice. The case has taken a very dangerous turn with possible repercussions echoing throughout the government. Heller has just 48 hours to find the actual mastermind of the conspiracy before others fall victim to the scandal sweeping the government and ruining many reputations in its path.

Finder is a master craftsman and is in his element setting up the story, the characters and the twisted path to the truth.

7/16 Paul Lane

GUILTY MINDS by Joseph Finder. Dutton (July 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-0525954620.  400p.



Author Linda Fairstein: 3 writing skills I learned from practicing law

July 22, 2016

Before becoming a full-time writer Linda Fairstein (KILLER LOOK) was a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. She gives three examples of how her time in the courtroom influenced her writing.

Killer Look (An Alexandra Cooper Novel)

New York Times bestselling author Linda Fairstein delivers a heart-pounding thriller that explores the dark secrets of Manhattan’s iconic fashion scene in her latest Alexandra Cooper novel.

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New York City is one of the fashion capitals of the world, well-known for its glamour and style.  Nowhere is this more apparent than on the runway, where American haute couture continually astounds with its creativity, daring, and innovation in the name of beauty.  Yet high fashion means high stakes, as Alex Cooper quickly discovers when businessman and designer Wolf Savage is found dead in an apparent suicide, mere days before the biggest show of his career. When the man’s daughter insists Savage’s death was murder, the case becomes more than a media sensation: It is a race to find a killer in a world created entirely out of fantasy and illusion.

With her own job at the DA’s office in jeopardy, and the temptation to self-medicate her PTSD with alcohol almost too strong to resist, Alex is not anyone’s first choice for help.  But she is determined to uncover the grime—and the possible homicide—beneath the glitz.  Along with detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace, Alex must penetrate the twisted roots and mixed motives among the high-profile players in the Garment District.  The investigation takes the trio from the missing money in Wolf Savage’s international fashion house to his own recovery from addiction; from the role of Louisiana Voodoo in his life to his excessive womanizing; and to the family secrets he kept so well-hidden, even from those closest to him—just as things are about to get deadly on the catwalk.

With Killer Look, Linda Fairstein proves once again why she is the “Queen of Intelligent Suspense.”*

*Lee Child

Linda Fairstein was chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office in Manhattan for more than two decades and is America’s foremost legal expert on sexual assault and domestic violence. Her Alexandra Cooper novels are international bestsellers and have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She lives in Manhattan and on Martha’s Vineyard.

OUTFOXED by David Rosenfelt

July 21, 2016
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An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 14

David Rosenfelt has written many successful novels featuring defense lawyer Andy Carpenter. There are a large number of similarities in the books; Andy has inherited a great deal of money so he does not have any pressing need nor does he really want to work. He loves dogs and his first love is sharing a business with Willie Miller, a man that he saved from execution by the state. Their business is rescuing dogs and setting them up with qualified owners. He is in love with Laurie, who was once with the police, still shares a lot of contacts, and is now married to Andy plus sharing an adopted son. He maintains an office manned by a secretary who devotes her time to doing crossword puzzles and little else.

With the above factors appearing in every Andy Carpenter book and all books leading to a trial for a where Andy must prove someone innocent, in spite of the odds against them, is what makes them so popular and keeps us going back for more. Surely one thing is the tongue-in-check approach to the characters. But most of all are the little changes involved in each novel.

During one of the many lulls in Andy’s legal work, he and his partner Willie, have come up with a plan to train dogs for prisoners in the hope that they will adopt them when released from prison. Brian Atkins, completing a five year sentence, is helping with a fox terrier named Boomer, and they hope he will adopt the dog upon release. But, and this is the but that really begins an Andy Carpenter novel, one day Andy comes to the prison and finds that Brian has utilized Boomer in a unique escape plan. The next day the man that Brian claimed had framed him is murdered, and the Carpenter brigade finds itself involved with a new client, and the need to keep Boomer.

David Rosenfelt does it again. The novel keeps the reader engrossed, and at the end satisfied, and impatiently awaiting the next Andy Carpenter book. As usual very well done.

7/16 Paul Lane

OUTFOXED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250055347.  336p.

Misconceptions about being a recalibrated veteran

July 20, 2016

Travis Mills (author of TOUGH AS THEY COME) is one of five soldiers to survive quadruple amputee injuries from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He discusses misconceptions others have about his experience, and why he doesn’t dwell in the past.


Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier’s story. 

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Thousands of soldiers die year to defend their country. United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was sure that he would become another statistic when, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was caught in an IED blast four days before his twenty-fifth birthday. Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost—Travis became one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation.

Suddenly forced to reconcile with the fact that he no longer had arms or legs, Travis was faced with a future drastically different from the one he had imagined for himself. He would never again be able to lead his squad, stroke his fingers against his wife’s cheek, or pick up his infant daughter.

Travis struggled through the painful and anxious days of rehabilitation so that he could regain the strength to live his life to the fullest.  With enormous willpower and endurance, the unconditional love of his family, and a generous amount of faith, Travis shocked everyone with his remarkable recovery. Even without limbs, he still swims, dances with his wife, rides mountain bikes, and drives his daughter to school.

Travis inspires thousands every day with his remarkable journey. He doesn’t want to be thought of as wounded.  “I’m just a man with scars,” he says, “living life to the fullest and best I know how.”

TOUGH AS THEY COME by Travis Mills Marcus Brotherton. Convergent Books (October 27, 2015). ISBN: 978-1101904787. 272p.

FALLING by Jane Green

July 19, 2016
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Emma Montague is a British transplant of the manor born. She moves to New York to pursue a high powered career in banking until she just burns out on it. She then moves to Westport, Connecticut and finds an old, very dated house for rent near the beach. The landlord, Dominic, is a good looking single father who, as it turns out, lives right next door with his 6 year old son, Jesse.

There is instant chemistry between them, but not the fireworks kind, more the comfortable kind. When you meet someone and you feel like you’ve known them forever, somehow.

Emma is trying to figure out what to do with her life and for the first time, finally feels like she’s found a home. The house is so dated with it’s pink shag carpeting that it gives Emma something to do, something she loves. She decides to start looking for work in interior design.

Dominic is a carpenter and a bartender, and he invites Emma to visit him at work. He buys her drinks, but is dating a young hottie. Eventually they both realize that there is something undeniable between them, and they fall into bed and in love.

Jesse loves Emma, until he finds her sleeping in his father’s bed. It’s just been the two of them since his mother took off after he was born, and he doesn’t want to share. Their relationship is rocky but Emma works hard at it and eventually wears the little fella down.

This is not a romance, happily ever after type book but instead a look at the different relationships we form in our lives and how they grow and change. The characters are so well drawn that I was completely hooked, but I couldn’t see where it was going until I reached the stunning conclusion. Another excellent read from Jane Green.

7/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FALLING by Jane Green. Berkley (July 19, 2016). ISBN: 978-0399583285. 384p.



NIGHT AND DAY by Iris Johansen

July 18, 2016
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An Eve Duncan Novel, Book 21

The action starts on page one as Eve is pregnant, Joe Quinn is hovering about, and they are protecting a young girl, Cara, from her murderous mother. They are all hiding in Scotland; Jock is keeping a close eye on the girl, Eve’s daughter, Jane, is there as well, helping MacDuff look for Cira’s gold.

Eve’s deceased daughter, Bonnie, still speaks to her, Jane hears things in the Scottish mists, and Caleb can do things to people’s blood from killing men to making Jane lust for him. There are a lot of paranormal elements going on in this story that moves from Scotland to Russia as Cara is snatched by her mother, Natalie, a complete sociopath who is planning her demise. Jock is hot on her trail, Eve is too, and all confusion is laid to rest by novel’s end.

Iris Johansen fans will undoubtedly enjoy the conclusion to this story arc in the Eve Duncan series while new readers will be best served starting with book 19, Shadow Play, where this story arc begins, or even book 20, Hide Away.

Copyright ©2016 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

7/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NIGHT AND DAY by Iris Johansen. St. Martin’s Press (July 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250075833. 352p.



SUMMIT by Harry Farthing

July 15, 2016
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The first time author trying to write a novel is normally advised to utilize the known parameters of his or her own experience. Harry Farthing has done just that in coming out with a book revolving around attempts to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak currently known to man.

Farthing’s background includes a try at Everest as well as climbs up many of the famous peaks of the world. His intimate knowledge of the skills, tools and equipment needed for what appears to be the most exacting task possible come out in what is an excellent novel centered on reaching Everest’s peak.

The book revolves around two separate attempts on Mount Everest about 70 years apart. The first try centers on Josef Becker, who was a soldier in the German army at the beginning of World War II. He committed an infraction and awaited a punishment of death.

Coincidentally, Heinrich Himmler came up with the idea that scaling Everest and planting the Nazi flag on the summit would be a blow to the British. Becker had grown up in an area of Germany in which mountain climbing was widely practiced and was considered an expert. Himmler assigned Becker to make a climb on Everest with punishment for his family probable if the attempt was not successful, but pardon for him if successful and the Nazi flag planted.

Seventy years later Neil Quinn, a professional guide with eight successfully led expeditions to Everest’s peak, loses a customer, the young son of a wealthy American business man. In that unfortunate climb, Quinn finds an old ice axe embellished with a Nazi swastika and due to a decline in his reputation, has time to begin attempting to find out what happened 70 years ago to Becker.

Equipment and events revolving around a climb are explained quite well by Farthing, and the stresses and strains are described obviously by a person involved with these. The writing goes back and forth between Becker and Quinn, with no loss of continuity. The ending is not at all telegraphed, but so appropriate for the book that it becomes a capstone of what the reader has in all probability stayed up at night to read.

Extremely well done and surely the first of many books by Harry Farthing.

7/16 Paul Lane

SUMMIT by Harry Farthing. Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (June 14, 2016).  ISBN 978-1504710213.  496p.


July 14, 2016




 The International Thriller Writers (ITW) is proud to announce the most thrilling authors of 2016. The winners of this year’s ITW Thriller Awards are:

2016 THRILLERMASTER AWARD: Heather Graham is the bestselling author of The Cafferty and Quinn series, The Krewe of Hunters series, and the Bone Island Trilogy. Graham also launched books for Dell’s Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette’s Shadows, and for Harlequin’s mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books. The award was presented by R.L. Stine, the 2011 ThrillerMaster Award winner.

2016 SILVER BULLET AWARD: Lescroart, a founding member of ITW and a New York Times bestselling author of legal thrillers, has donated funds from character-naming auctions to support libraries, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and many others. He’s also been involved in the Authors on the Move fundraiser for the Sacramento Public Library Foundation. Lescroart was presented the award by Steve Berry, the 2013 Silver Bullet Literary Award winner.

The winners of the best hard cover novel, best paperback original, best first novel, best e-book original, best young adult novel and best short story are:  


Ian Caldwell, THE FIFTH GOSPEL (Simon & Schuster)


John Gilstrap, AGAINST ALL ENEMIES (Pinnacle)


Brian Panowich, BULL MOUNTAIN (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)


Chris Kuzneski, THE PRISONER’S GOLD (Chris Kuzneski)


Michelle Painchaud PRETENDING TO BE ERICA (Viking Books for Young Readers)


Joyce Carol Oates GUN ACCIDENT: AN INVESTIGATION (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

There’s only one event where you can find New York Times best-selling authors lurking around every single corner, literary agents actually appearing in broad daylight and fans openly plotting and conspiring with the most feared and revered names of the thriller genre. We hope that you join us in 2017 for ThrillerFest XII, the International Thriller Writers’ twelfth annual celebration of all things Thriller, the largest event of its kind in the world.  The highlight of the festival is the gala ITW Thriller Awards Banquet during which a fresh batch of authors will be announced as the chosen heroes of suspense.

My favorite conference every year! Hope to see you there next summer.


July 13, 2016
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I don’t know if you’ve flown anywhere lately, but JetBlue asked me to get to the airport at least two hours early. My cab driver took a direct route, we missed the traffic on the George Washington bridge and I got to the airport a little earlier than I needed to. Of course I zipped right through TSA and got to spend all that time before my flight reading this fabulous book. Let me tell you I have never enjoyed waiting at an airport more!


It seems like once every year or so, an enchanting book falls into my lap. Books like The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, or Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I am delighted to add Rosen to this list. Nine Women, One Dress is a completely compelling, utterly charming book and I loved every page.

So, the dress. The little black dress, the “it” dress that everyone (i.e. everyone important) has to have. Honestly, I kept thinking of the “blue and black or white and gold” internet sensation last year, but I digress.  This book starts with the soon to be retired Morris, the pattern maker of this year’s dress. His family sent him to America on his own from Poland when he was 13 years old, and you can fill in the rest. The model who wore the dress is a fresh face right out of the deep South, and it makes her career.

Some of the other women are Felicia, who’s been in love with her married boss for almost as long as she’s worked for him. Recently widowed, Arthur is oblivious and dating a woman his daughter’s age. Until the sales folk at Bloomingdale’s get involved. One of them, Natalie, wears the dress as the hot date for a Hollywood celebrity who’s been outed.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character, and the story becomes richer and more complex as the pages turn in what is also a love letter to New York City. And Bloomingdales – I was happy to see that storyline, I’m a long time fan of the store.

If I could gift every one of you a copy of this book, I would. I was so sorry to turn the last page and spent the ride home from the airport telling my family all about it. I still can’t shut up about it – I’ve reserved it for several of my library patrons today.

I can guarantee that Nine Women, One Dress will be on my Best Books of 2016 list. Don’t miss it.

7/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS by Jane L. Rosen. Doubleday (July 12, 2016). ISBN: 978-0385541404. 272p.



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