Win the January ’17 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

January 1, 2017


Happy New Year and welcome to the January bookshelf of signed thrillers! Lots of new books to win – some favorite authors or find a new author. To enter, go to the Win Books page. Best of luck!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

THE RISING by Heather Graham and Jon Land: From acclaimed thriller-suspense novelists Heather Graham and Jon Land comes a story of action, mystery, and the endurance of young love in The Rising.

HER EVERY FEAR by Peter Swanson: The author of the wildly popular The Kind Worth Killing returns with an electrifying and downright Hitchcockian psychological thriller—as tantalizing as the cinema classics Rear Window and Wait Until Dark—involving a young woman caught in a vise of voyeurism, betrayal, manipulation, and murder.

THE PRISONER by Alex Berenson: To unmask a CIA mole, John Wells must resume his old undercover identity as an al Qaeda jihadi—and hope he can survive it—in this cutting-edge novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

ELEVENTH GRAVE IN MOONLIGHT by Darynda Jones: Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, the latest installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.

THE BEEKEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Jane Jordan: Set on 19th century Exmoor in England, where the lives of the cottagers, blacksmiths and wealthy landowners entwine in this darkly romantic thriller.

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!


January 24, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

From the publisher:

In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.


Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.


Usually I don’t bother with the publisher’s synopsis as they tend to run to lots of superlatives and not much substance. In this case, the superlatives are warranted. This was a terrific read and was an all nighter for me.

I loved the characters, they way the story moved between them, and the way the mystery builds. I am not always a fan of the “girl books”, the unreliable narrator as it were, but it definitely worked here. I loved it.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. Delaney. Ballantine Books (January 24, 2017). ISBN 978-0425285046. 352p.

The 2017 Edgar® Nominees

January 23, 2017


Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 208th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the Nominees for the 2017 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in

The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 71st Gala Banquet, April 27, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


The Ex by Alafair Burke (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Hachette Book Group – Grand Central Publishing)


Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry (Penguin Random House – Penguin Books)
Dodgers by Bill Beverly (Crown Publishing Group)
IQ by Joe Ide (Little, Brown & Company – Mulholland Books)
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright (Penguin Random House – Marian Wood Book/Putnam)
The Lost Girls by Heather Young (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)


Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott (Polis Books)
Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)


Morgue: A Life in Death
by Dr. Vincent DiMaio & Ron Franscell (St. Martin’s Press)
The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan
by Laurence Leamer (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A True Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The
Unsolved Murder That Shocked Victorian England
by Paul Thomas Murphy (Pegasus Books)
While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent into Madness
by Eli Sanders (Penguin Random House – Viking Books)
The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer
by Kate Summerscale (Penguin Random House – Penguin Press)


Alfred Hitchcock: A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin Random House – Nan A. Talese)
Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime: Works and Authors of Denmark, Finland, Iceland,
Norway and Sweden Since 1967
by Mitzi M. Brunsdale (McFarland & Company)
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (W.W. Norton – Liveright)
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula
by David J. Skal (W.W. Norton – Liveright)

“Oxford Girl” – Mississippi Noir by Megan Abbott (Akashic Books)
“A Paler Shade of Death” – St. Louis Noir by Laura Benedict (Akashic Books)
“Autumn at the Automat” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Lawrence Block (Pegasus Books)
“The Music Room” – In Sunlight or in Shadow by Stephen King (Pegasus Books)
“The Crawl Space” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Joyce Carol Oates (Dell Magazines)


Summerlost by Ally Condie (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dutton BFYR)
OCDaniel by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)
The Bad Kid by Sarah Lariviere by (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand (Simon & Schuster – Simon & Schuster BFYR)
Framed! by James Ponti (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught
(Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)


Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse)
The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group – Henry Holt BFYR)
Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown BFYR)
My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Press – Soho Teen)
Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor (Penguin Random House – Penguin Young Readers – Dial Books)

“Episode 1 – From the Ashes of Tragedy” – The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Teleplay by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (FX Network)
“The Abominable Bride” – Sherlock, Teleplay by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat (Hartswood Films/Masterpiece)
“Episode 1 – Dark Road” – Vera, Teleplay by Martha Hillier (Acorn TV)
“A Blade of Grass” – Penny Dreadful, Teleplay by John Logan (Showtime)
“Return 0” – Person of Interest, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Denise The (CBS/Warner Brothers)
“The Bicameral Mind” – Westworld, Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (HBO/Warner Bros. Television)

“The Truth of the Moment” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
by E. Gabriel Flores (Dell Magazines)

Max Allan Collins
Ellen Hart

Dru Ann Love

Neil Nyren

The Other Sister by Dianne Dixon (Sourcebooks – Sourcebooks Landmark)
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Tor/Forge Books – Forge Books)
Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

17 Books to Read in Early 2017

January 21, 2017

2017 starts off with some really great reads! These are the books I’ve either read or I’m planning on reading, based on reviews and buzz. All are published in January or February, 2017.

Here we go…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



THE GIRL BEFORE by J.P. Delaney: Seizing a unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house, a damaged young woman falls in love with the enigmatic architect who designed the residence, unaware that she is following in the footsteps of a doomed former tenant.



LITTLE DEATHS by Emma Flint: A gripping little-deathssuspense tale set in 1960s New York and inspired by true events follows the investigation of a cocktail waitress whose two young children have been brutally murdered and a rookie tabloid reporter who would uncover the truth.



Click to purchase

THE DRY by Jane Harper: Receiving a sinister anonymous note after his best friend’s suspicious death, federal agent Aaron Falk is forced to confront the fallout of a 20-year-old false alibi against a backdrop of the worst drought Melbourne has seen in a century. A first novel.



Click to purchase

EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE by Mindy Mejia: When a civic-minded high-school senior is found brutally murdered on the opening night of the school play, town sheriff and family friend Del Goodman discovers unsettling truths about the victim’s mesmerizing nature and the secrets that led to her death.



Click to purchase

THE SECOND MRS. HOCKADAY by Susan Rivers: A tale inspired by a true story follows the efforts of a Civil War veteran to discern the truth about his teen bride, who during the two years he was at war was convicted and imprisoned for allegedly having a baby in his absence and killing it. A first novel.



Click to purchase

IDAHO by Emily Ruskovich: A tale told from multiple perspectives traces the complicated relationship between Ann and Wade on a rugged landscape and how they came together in the aftermath of his first wife’s imprisonment for a violent murder. A first novel.





Click to purchase

NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman: The New York Times best-selling author presents a bravura rendering of the major Norse pantheon that traces the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and the exploits of its characters, illuminating the characters and natures of iconic figures Odin, Thor and Loki.




THE REFUGEES by Viet Thanh Nguyen: The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer presents a new collection of stories, written over a 20-year period, which explores questions of home, family, immigration, the American experience and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.



Click to purchaseLILLIAN BOXFISH TAKES A WALK by Kathleen Rooney: Embarking on a walk across the unsafe landscape of Manhattan on New Year’s Eve in 1984, 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish recalls her long and eventful life, which included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America, whose career was cut short by marriage and loss. Fall 2016 Library Journal Editors’ Pick.



Click to purchase

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders: A literary ghost story. A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.




someone-to-holdSOMEONE TO HOLD by Mary Balogh: Declared illegitimate and without a title, Camille Westcott leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where she meets artist Joel Cunningham with whom she shares a mutual contempt until her sittings with him take a passionate turn.




DEVIL IN SPRING by Lisa Kleypas: New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas combines the worlds of the Wallflowers with Marrying Winterborne in this irresistible story of how Sebastian’s son Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, meets his match in the eccentric and headstrong Lady Pandora.




the-orphans-tale-by-pam-jenoffTHE ORPHAN’S TALE by Pam Jenoff: The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II. Cast out after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby, 16-year-old Noa snatches a Jewish infant bound for a concentration camp before passing herself off as a circus performer and inciting the wrath of rival aerialist, Astrid. By the best-selling author of The Kommandant’s Girl.


on-turpentine-lane-by-elinor-lipmanON TURPENTINE LANE by Elinor Lipman: An endearing romantic comedy. Living in her suburban hometown while her fiance is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, Faith discovers mysterious artifacts in her home’s attic that make her question a promising new relationship and everything she believes.



the-fortunate-ones-by-ellen-umanskyTHE FORTUNATE ONES by Ellen Umansky: It is 1939 in Vienna, and as the specter of war darkens Europe, Rose Zimmer’s parents are desperate. Unable to get out of Austria, they manage to secure passage for their young daughter on a kindertransport, and send her to live with strangers in England. A unique Chaim Soutine work of art connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a debut novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles. Yes, another Holocaust book. What can I say, I read a lot of these. Never forget.




insane-clown-presidentINSANE CLOWN PRESIDENT: Dispatches From the 2016 Circus by Matt Taibbi: Just in case you weren’t sure about my politics – I want to read this just for the title alone. Plus I love Taibbi. Discusses the 2016 election, including the major shifts in perception of national institutions, the democratic process, and the future of the country.



a-really-good-day-by-ayelet-waldmanA REALLY GOOD DAY by Ayelet WaldmanHow Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life: A lighthearted account of the author’s experiment with microdoses of LSD in an effort to treat a debilitating mood disorder details what she has learned about the misunderstood drug and how she believes psychedelics can be appropriately used as therapeutic medicines.

Big Ideas Night: On President Trump

January 20, 2017

Random House presents a “Big Ideas Night” panel with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chris Hayes, Rebecca Traister, Sherrilyn Ifill, and moderator Chris Jackson. They discuss the fallout of the 2016 Presidential election, and what a Trump presidency could mean for America.

Watch at your own risk.


January 19, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Hot in Chicago #1

I read the second book in this series over a year ago, and finally got my hands on the first one.

If you haven’t read Kate Meader, and you like contemporary romance with enough hot sex to border on erotica but not quite cross the line, Meader is your girl. She certainly is mine, I really enjoy her series. She also writes the “Hot in the Kitchen” series which is also fun.

Flirting with Fire introduces the “Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service.” All Fired Up was about Alex Dempsey, the girl firefighter in the family. This first one is about Luke Almeida.

Luke has a bit of a temper and lands himself in some trouble. The Mayor sends one of his publicists to fix it, Kinsey Taylor, who is having trouble getting Luke to do her bidding. That’s your meet-cute, and it’s all hot and fiery from there. A really fun, really hot read. I loved it.


1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FLIRTING WITH FIRE by Kate Meader. Pocket Books (March 24, 2015). ISBN 978-1476785905. 400p.



HER EVERY FEAR by Peter Swanson

January 18, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

When Kate Priddy agrees to a house swap with her cousin in Boston, no one is more surprised than Kate. Well, her parents maybe. To say Kate is not adventurous is an understatement, but after barely surviving being kidnapped by her psychotic ex just a few years ago, it’s no surprise that Kate’s careful. And yet, the simple expectation that she’ll say no to the request when her cousin reaches out to her is enough to move Kate to say yes.

Upon her arrival, though, Kate learns that the girl in the apartment next door has gone missing. Kate immediately jumps to murder as the logical conclusion: unfortunately she’s right. While the girl’s death certainly has nothing to do with Kate, she can’t help but be curious. As more about the girl comes to light, including a possible affair with Kate’s own cousin, the Brit becomes more entangled in the mystery, catching the attention of a very dangerous man. But will Kate unravel the clues in time to save herself?

Swanson’s latest features a character who is, as mentioned, understandably cautious and careful. And paranoid. But she’s overly aware of these things to the point that they almost become a detriment to her very safety.

Any normal girl would be concerned if someone one door away was murdered. Kate seems to have a knee-jerk reaction that results in the opposite. As with her decision to spend six months far away from home, on another continent, Kate’s assumption that the murder has nothing to do with her and therefore couldn’t possibly mean any danger to her seems to be an attempt to reclaim a sense of control and normalcy in her life.

And it’s something of an admirable quality in her as a heroine. Rather than becoming a shut in who books the first plane home, she snoops. She snoops around her cousin’s apartment. She snoops into the dead girl’s life. She snoops around the apartment building too.

And maybe snooping isn’t best decision.

Not that it makes any difference. Swanson offers up multiple perspectives throughout the novel, making it quite clear that Kate’s mere presence in the apartment means catching the eye of the killer. It makes the reader wonder if even her return to London would have kept her out of trouble.

Her Every Fear is deliciously paced twisted fun!

1/17 Becky LeJeune

HER EVERY FEAR by Peter Swanson. William Morrow (January 10, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062427021. 352p.


GLAXO by Herman Ronsino

January 17, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Samuel Rutter (Translator)

Glaxo is the first novel by Ronsino to be translated into English and published in the United States. It is a short novel; actually more of a short story. The summary presented indicates that it is a chilling tale of murder, betrayal and romance.

It does bring these incidents into play, but without any development of the four boys, than men, that interact in the book. I finished it in a very short time continuing to look for the excitement promised. Never happened.

What did interest me was some description of the Pampas in Argentina during a fairly recent time. The characters are all interested in a movie shown in the local theater starring John Wayne. I guess that represents a situation that influences them, and the town they live in and the movie house showing the film is depicted as deteriorating over the several years involved in the action.

Ronsino’s credentials indicates that he is a sought after Latin American author. I would like to read a longer book that he has published and had translated into English. That would undoubtedly be a more rewarding way to develop an opinion about him as an author.

1/17 Paul Lane

GLAXO by Herman Ronsino. Melville House (January 17, 2017). ISBN: 978-1612195674. 112p.


ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader

January 16, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2


Cara was in the first book but it was all about her sister. Her sister is here but this is Cara’s story. And Shane’s.

Shane is a hot Irish pastry chef who’s been stalking Jack for a job, which he finally lands. Cara is Jack’s event planner, after he walked out on the TV show she was producing, costing her a job too.

Shane and Cara meet up in Vegas during her sister’s bachelorette party and end up talking all night – and getting married. Neither wants to tell anyone about their big mistake and they both are keeping all kinds of secrets from one another and the family. But their attraction for one another is undeniable, and goes way deeper than just the physical. There is a lot going on here, and slowly they learn about each other and their feelings grow.

A romance set in the restaurant world is a definite plus for me. Another hot read from one of my favorite contemporary romance writers.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader. Forever; Reissue edition (September 30, 2014).  ISBN 978-1455599615. 416p.



January 15, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Stacey Ballis has turned into one of my favorite authors, and luckily there are several more books I haven’t read yet.

Lily Allen is a Chicago interior designer who lands her dream job on a fictitious (for now?!) Bravo reality show called “Swap/Meet.” The premise of the show is that a man and a woman get two rooms of their homes made over, then they each get a makeover themselves, culminating in a party with all their friends in hopes of finding dates. A sort of mishmash of way too many reality shows.

Lily has relationship issues but luckily her two best friends are always available to point out all her mistakes. And to push her into more productive relationships. But first she must suffer fling after fling until she finds her happy ending, avoiding backstabbing co-workers, producers from hell, and great sex with not so great guys.

All in all, a fast fun read for this Bravo fan. Hope Andy Cohen is reading too!

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT by Stacey Ballis. Berkley (June 6, 2006). ISBN 978-0425209820. 304p.

TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard

January 14, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I read a Linda Howard book many years ago and didn’t love it, and haven’t picked up another one until now. I’ve never been a fan of romantic suspense but apparently I’m turning into one. First Nora Roberts, and now Linda Howard – this was a really good read.

Morgan Yancy works for a secret government agency and travels the world. Then he gets shot in his own backyard, and almost dies. His boss, Axel, decides he needs a safe place to recover so he sends him to his stepsister’s home in the tiny hamlet of Hamrickville, West Virginia. Isabeau “Bo” Maran is the police chief and lives alone in a house well off the beaten path with her beloved golden retriever, Tricks. Bo wants nothing to do with her idiot stepbrother Axel but when he offers her enough money to get out of debt, she agrees to help out.

Morgan is intrigued with the fiercely independent Bo and her insanely smart dog. Eventually they both drop their defenses and work to help one another. As Morgan heals, he is more and more determined to catch whoever shot him and sets himself up as bait to do so.

I loved watching their relationship develop, especially Morgan and Tricks. There is enough action to keep things moving and enough romance to make it all interesting. I will definitely be reading more Linda Howard.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard. Avon; Reprint edition (December 27, 2016). ISBN 978-0062418999. 496p.