Vickie Feewas a long-time journalist in western Tennessee but now calls the Upper Peninsula of Michigan home. To help with home sickness, she began writing the Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery series, and today we'll be talking about the third installment, One Fete in The Grave, which is published by Kensington.
Julie Buntin is the director of writing programs at Catapult and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Cosmopolitan, and Slate among others. Today we'll be discussing her debut novel, Marlena. It's the story of a friendship between two teenage girls in rural Michigan and the decades long effects that it has on one of them.
Dr. Holly Tucker is a professor at Vanderbilt University in Italian and French, as well in their medical school's Center for Biomedical Ethics & Society. Dr. Tucker is author of Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine & Murder in the Scientific Revolution and Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth & the Fairy Tale in Early-Modern France. Today we will be talking about her most recent book, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris, which is published by W.W. Norton.
C.J. Box won the Edgar Award for best novel for Blue Heaven in 2008, but he is best known for his long-running and award-winning series featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. The series began in 2001 with Open Season and today, we'll talk about the seventeenth installment, Vicious Circle.
Greg Iles is of course one of the biggest thriller writers in America, having written eighteen books which routinely hit the best- sellers lists. We last spoke with Greg about the first installment of his Natchez Burning trilogy about Mayor Penn Cage fighting against a Klan splinter group called the Double Eagles. We missed chatting with him about the second part, The Bone Tree, but he stopped back by to chat about wrapping it up with book three, Mississippi Blood.
Mississippi native Michael Farris Smith's first book was the novella, The Hands of Strangers. In 2013 he broke out with the near future ecological dystopian novel, Rivers, which won the 2014 Mississippi Author Award. Today we talk about his new novel, Desperation Road, which is published by Lee Boudreaux books.
Reed Farrel Coleman is probably best known for his long-runningMoe Prager series which he ended in 2014 after nine installments. He has also carried on Robert B. Parker's Jessie Stone series, with his fourth contribution coming out in September 2017. But today we'll be talking about his new series featuring retired long island beat cop, Gus Murphy. The first book in the seriesWhere It Hurts was published in 2016 and is a finalist for the 2017 Edgar Award for best novel. The second title has just been published by G.P. Putnam Sons, and it's calledWhat You Break.
Chanelle Benz's short stories have appeared in Guernica, Granta.com, The American Reader,and The Cupboard, and she has received an O. Henry Prize. In this edition of Book Talk, we will be talking about her debut collection of stories, The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead, which is published by Ecco/Harper Collins.
Mark Greaney back on the program today. Mark is a New York Best Times bestselling author of international thrills. He co-authored several Jack Ryan novels with Tom Clancy, and has recently concluded his involvement with the series, with his last solo effort being True Faith and Allegiance. Mark is also the author of the Gray Man series starring for CIA goon Court Gentry. Today, we'll talk about book six in that series, Gun Metal Gray. Download here.
AlexanderWeinstein'sfiction has appeared in Notre-Dame Review, Pleiades,Southern Indiana Review, and other journals. His stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and appear in the anthologies 2013 New Stories from the Midwest, and the 2014 & 2015 Lascaux Prize Stories. Today we'll be talking about his debut collection, Children of the New World, which is published by Picador.
Beverly Lowry is a respected novelist and writer of non-fiction. In addition to biographies of Harriet Tubman and Madame C.J. Walker, her book Crossed Over: A Monster, A Memoir dealt with the unsolved crime of her son's death by a hit and run driver and her getting to know Karla Faye Tucker, the convicted murderer who became the first woman executed in Texas in over 100 years. Today we'll be talking about her new book, Who Killed These Girls?, her investigation to the still unresolved murders of four teenage girls in a yogurt shop in Austin Texas in December of 1991.
Robert Olen Butler back to the program today. Bob is one of America's most acclaimed writers of fiction, having not only won many literary honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, but he also had prize for short fiction named in his honor, which was award five times in the early 2000s. Early in his writing career, Butler wrote fiction about the Vietnam conflict from several different angles, and in his latest novel, Perfume River, he looks about how this war, and even wars before and since, have influenced the Quinlan family.
Candice Millard is a former writer and editor for National Geographic Magazine. Her first book The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey was published in 2005. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of A President, which won an Edgar for best fact crime book, followed in 2011. Doubleday has recently published her third book, Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill, which has already spent several weeks in the top ten of the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Thomas Mullenhas published four novels,The Last Town on Earth, which won the James Fenimore Cooper prize,The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers,The Revisionists, and Atria has recently published his latest, Darktown, set in the dawning of the Civil Rights era in Atlanta. Eight African-American men are the first hired onto the police force, and two of them Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith are tested as they investigate a black woman's murder, complicated by the fact she was seen last with a disgraced, white ex-cop who still has friends on the force.
Nathan Hill has worked as a journalist and is currently on leave from his job as an associate professor of creative writing. He's just published his debut novelThe Nix to much critical acclaim, including starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. And it was recently announced that Meryl Streep and J.J. Abrams plan on adapting The Nix for television.
Kerri Maniscalco is a debut novelist who has the honor of being the first author published by James Patterson's new young adult imprint called Jimmy Patterson Books and is distributed by Little, Brown.Stalking Jack the Ripper is the story of a 17-year-old girl named Audrey Rose Wadsworth who is fascinated by the Jack the Ripper case and is then terrified to learn that Jack might be closer to her than she suspects. Also, Stalking Jack the Ripper debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list for young adult hardcover! Congratulations Kerri!
Donald Ray Pollock came to writing later in life after having worked 30+ years in a paper mill in central Ohio. His first published book was a collection of short stories called Knockemstiff, followed by the novel, The Devil All the Time. 2016 sees the release of his second novel, The Heavenly Table, which is published by Doubleday.
Brad Taylor retired as lieutenant colonel from the United States Army after over 20 years of service, including time in what is popularly known as Delta Force. He then began writing thrillers about a shadowy special forces unit called The Taskforce, starring operator Pike Logan. The first book in the series was One Rough Man, and now in the summer of 2016, we have the tenth book in the series, Ghosts of War, which is published by Dutton.
Ace Atkins used to be a crime reporter down in Tampa, Florida, but turned to the world of fiction with his New Orleans set Nick Travers series. He then wrote four critically acclaimed historical novels based on true crimes. His currently writing two series. One is continuing the Spenser series for the Robert B. Parker estate, and his own Quinn Colson series, set in northern Mississippi, about an Army Ranger who retires back to his hometown and takes over as sheriff. Today we'll talk about the most recent book in the series, The Innocents.
Melissa Ginsburg teaches English and creative writing at the university of Mississippi, having received her MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. As a writer, she is a poet and a novelist having published the collection of poems, Dear Weather Ghost, and Ecco/Harper Collins has recently published her debut novel, Sunset City.
Megan Miranda has enjoyed a lot of success in writing novels for young adults like Hysteria, Fracture, and The Safest Lies. Today we'll be talking about her first novel for the adult market,All the Missing Girls, about a woman returning to her small North Carolina hometown to face a new mystery and some old lies.
John Hart is a former criminal defense attorney who turned into one of America's most popular and respected writers of literary crime fiction. 2006 saw the publication of his debut novel, The King of Lies, his next two novels 2007's Down River and 2009's The Last Child each won the Edgar Award for Best novel, and Iron House followed in 2011. 2016 sees the publication of his fifth novel, Redemption Road, which is published by Thomas Dunne Books.
Stuart Gibbsis a veteran screenwriter who has moved to the world of fiction for younger readers. He started off with theLast Musketeerseries, and is now juggling three different series,Fun Jungle,Spy School,andMoonbase Alpha. Today Stuart and I will talk about the second entry into theMoonbase Alphamystery series, Spaced Out.
Jeff Crook is a veteran writer of fantasy novels, but in 2011 he broke into crime fiction scene with The Sleeping and the Dead, a novel starring a heroin addicted crime scene photographer who got her hands on a haunted camera. 2016 sees the publication of the second book in the series, The Covenant, published by Minotaur. Download here. </span
Katy Simpson Smith received rave reviews for her debut novel set in coastal Carolina during the Revolutionary War, The Story of Land and Sea, when it was published in 2014. 2016 welcomes the publication of her second novel, Free Men, set in the 1780s in what would become the state of Alabama.
Mark Greaney has been at the top of best-seller lists for co-authoring several of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels, as well as writing several Ryan novels after Mr. Clancy's passing. However, Mark got his publishing start with his own original series about burned CIA operative, Court Gentry. Back Blast is the fifth installment in the series, which has Gentry returning to America to find out why the CIA wants him dead.
Ed Tarkington is a teacher and writer from Nashville, TN whose work has appeared in the Nashville Scene, The Commercial Appeal, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, and The Southeast Review. Algonquin has recently published his debut novel, Only Love Can Break Your Heart.
Chris Bohjalian is prolific, best-selling author having enjoyed much success, commercial and critical, with novels like Midwives, The Double Bind, and The Sandcastle Girls. Doubleday has recently published his seventeenth novel, The Guest Room, about a horrific bachelor party and its effect on one family and also the young women forced into the sex trade far from home. Download here.
Stephen Usery talks to Heidi Pitlor about her second novel, The Daylight Marriage, which is new in paperback. It's the story of a woman who goes missing, and then we see timelines of how her disappearance affects her husband and children, as well as how they became a couple and the events of the day leading up to her going missing.
I'm honored to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. to the program. In addition to his award-winning syndicated columns which originate with the Miami Herald, he also writes acclaimed novels like Freeman and Before I Forget. In this episode we discuss his latest novel, Grant Park, in which a newspaper columnist and his editor are already having a horrible day when they become entangled with two white-supremacist, wannabe terrorists.
Stephan Pastis is best known for his award-winning daily comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, which has a new treasury available, entitled, Pearls Gets Sacrificed. But today, we'll begin the conversation talking about Timmy Failure: Sanitized for Your Protection, the fourth entry in his series about the less-than-great, grade-school detective.
When last in our studio, Matthew Guinn and I talked about his debut novel, The Resurrectionist, which went on to be a finalist for the Edgar Award for best first novel. W.W. Norton has recently published his second novel, The Scribe, where a madman terrorizes the African-American citizens of Atlanta in the early 1880s.
Adam Johnson back to the program today. Adam was last on Book Talk for his novel, The Orphan Master's Son which would go on to win the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and well as the Dayton Peace Prize. He's also previously published the novel Parasites Like Us, and the short story collection, Emporium. Today we discuss his success as well as his new collection of short stories,Fortune Smiles, which is published by Random House.
Amy Stewart might be best known as a writer of lively non-fiction about the natural world, with several books including Flower Confidential, Wicked Plants, and The Drunken Botanist, but today we talk about her fiction debut, Girl Waits with Gun, which is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Carrie Bebris is the author of the seven book series of mystery novels starring Elizabeth and Mister Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the newest of which is The Suspicion at Sanditon, set in the world of Sanditon, the unfinished novel Austen had had worked on just prior to her death.
The Honorable Martin Clark is a circuit court judge from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but we'll only be talking about the law as it is in the confines of his fourth novel, The Jezebel Remedy, which is published by Knopf.
Ace Atkins is a former newspaper journalist and current writer of crime fiction. He started off with a series about the New Orleans private eye, Nick Travers. Then he moved on to a quartet of critically acclaimed novels based on historic true crimes. Currently he is continuing the Spenser series for the Robert B Parker estate, as well as writing his own series based in the northern Mississippi county of Tibbeha, the newest of which is called The Redeemers.
Jon Jefferson is one half of the Jefferson Bass writing team. Together with Dr. Bill Bass, who founded the famous Body Farm forensic research facility at the University of Tennessee, Jon has published two works of nonfiction, and nine novels featuring forensic genius Dr. Bill Brockton. The newest of which isThe Breaking Point.
William Boyle is originally from New York but now calls Oxford, Mississippi home. His first novel, Gravesend, was published in 2013, and his collection of short stories, Death Don't Have No Mercy, was recently released by Broken River books.
Actor and novelist Lyndsay Faye's first novel was a continuation of the Sherlock Homes and John Watson universe called Dust and Shadow. She then moved her efforts to New York in the 1840s with The Gods of Gotham, Seven for a Secret, and the newest one featuring copper star policeman Timothy Wilde, The Fatal Flame.
Richard Lange is a former magazine editor and currently a writer of literary crime fiction. His novels are This Wicked World and Angel Baby, which won the Hammett Prize, and he's published two collections of short stories Dead Boys, and the book we'll talk about today, Sweet Nothing, which is available from Mullholland Books.
Jason Miller has written for graphic novels, Rifftrax, the spin off of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and was recently named one of the funniest people on Twitter.This debut novel was recent published, and it's entitled Down Don't Bother Me. It's the story of a coal miner in southern Illinois who gets dragged into investigating a missing person case which threatens to bring the ceiling down on everyone.
David Joy is the author of the memoir, Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman's Journey, and Putnam has recently published his debut novel, Were All Light Tends to Go, which paints a vivid picture of a meth-dealing family in the Appalachians in western North Carolina.
Jamie Kornegay owns Turnrow Books down in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, but his debut novel is set in the hill country of Northern Mississippi. It's entitled Soil and is published by Simon and Schuster.
Michael Kardos was last on to talk about his debut novel,The Three Day Affair,which was named an Esquire Best Book of The Year. The Mysterious Press has just published his second novel,and it's called Before He Finds Her.
Bill Loehfelm made a splash with two stand-alone crime novels, Blood Root and Fresh Kills. 2011 saw character Maureen Coughlin debut in The Devil She Knows, 2013 brought us The Devil in Her Way, and Sarah Chrichton books has just published the third installment of the series, Doing the Devil's Work.
Scott Blackwood teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University and has written a two volume history of Paramount Records, a short story collection called In The Shadow of our House, and his first novel We Agreed to Meet Just Here. In this episode, we talk about his new novel, See How Small, which is published by Little, Brown. It's an impressionistic take on how a horrific crime in Austin, TX affects the lives of those left behind.
M.O. Walsh is the director of the creative writing program at the University of New Orleans, and his pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Southern Review, and The Best New American Voices. Putnam has recently published his debut novel, My Sunshine Away, which has already appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Tim Johnston is a writer of fiction with a YA novel called Never So Green, a collection of short stories, and a new novel from Algonquin Books. It's called Descent, and it's one of the best reviewed literary thrillers in recent memory.
If you would like to meet Tim and hear him read from his work, he'll have an event at the University of Memphis on Thursday, February 19, 2015 beginning at 5:30 in the Bluff Room at The University Center. The event is open to the public. For more information, call (901)678-3732.
We're happy to welcome Mark Greaney back to the program. Mark has previously appeared to discuss his Gray Man series of international thrillers, but today we'll talk about his latest NY Times best-selling novel in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series, Full Force and Effect.
James Ellroy is perhaps America's greatest historical crime novelist and one of its most polarizing. Best known for his L.A. Quartet of novels, which included The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, as well as the Underworld USA Trilogy, as well as the autobiographies My Dark Places and The Hilliker Curse. 2014 finds him launching his second LA Quartet, which is a prequel series, pulling characters from his previous books, and seeing how they had navigated World War II. The first book is Perfidia, and it begins in southern California on December 6, 1941. Download here.
Alexis Coe is a former research curator for the New York Public Library and has had her writing published in publications such as The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Modern Farmer. Zest Books has published her debutAlice + Freda Forever, which is a true crime story of same sex romance which ended in murder in the 1890s in the American South.
Emily St. John Mandel has published four novels Last Night in Montreal, The Singer's Gun, and The Lola Quartet, her newest one, Station Eleven, was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award for fiction. It's the story of apocalypses, personal and global, and people who knew a famous actor before and after a superflu decimates humanity.
Brock Clarke has published two collections of short stories and four novels including the provocatively titled An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. His newest one, The Happiest People in the World, is the story of real and would-be assassins, editorial cartoonists, witness protection, and faculty-versus-student sporting events.
Reed Farrel Coleman. Reed is best known for his Moe Prager private detective series which concluded earlier this year with the ninth book in the series,The Hollow Girl.Reed is well-respected having won Macavity, Anthony and three Shamus Awards. The Robert B. Parker estate recently asked him to pick up the Jesse Stone series, and today we'll talk about his first entry into it, Blind Spot, and it's published by Putnam.
I've spoken to Tim about two of his Poke Rafferty thrillers before, Breathing Underwater and The Fear Artist. (The new one, For the Dead is scheduled to drop in November.) But in this episode, we're mainly talking about his Junior Bender series about an ethical burglar who is often strong-armed into being a private eye for the criminal set. What started of as a fairly comic series has deepened with the melancholy of realization that his criminal enterprise has cost him dearly in his personal life.Herbie's Game is the fourth book in the series, and it's published by SOHO Crime.
C.J. Box is and Edgar-winning novelist best known for his Joe Pickett series, which started in 2001 with Open Season, and the fourteenth one, Stone Cold, was published earlier this year. He's also started a series of stand alone novels, in which a different character carries over to the next book. We'll be talking about his first collection of short stories,Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Picket Country, and it's available from Putnam.
Earl Swift is a veteran journalist and author of non-fiction books. His latest book Auto Biography: A Classic Car, an Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream, had its genesis as a feature piece he wrote in 2004 about the many owners of a 1957 Chevrolet station wagon. The outlaw motorhead in question is one Tommy Armey, whose tumultuous upbringing contributed to his being the meanest brawler in the Virginia Beach metro area, as well as an entrepreneur whose regard for legal restrictions was minimal at best.
Smith Henderson has won a 2011 PEN Emerging Writers Award for fiction and a Pushcart Prize. Ecco/Harper Collins recently published his debut novel, Fourth of July Creek, the story of a Montana social worker who faces a crumbling personal life while he's trying to help the young son of a religious survivalist living in the hills above his small town.
Lisa Turner's first novel A Little Death in Dixie featured police detective Billy Able searching for a missing socialite. Her new novel, The Gone Dead Train, has detective Able back on the track looking for the person responsible for the suspicious deaths of two musicians.
Peter Heller's written several books of non-fiction in addition to many years of fine writing for magazines. When last on the program, we spoke about his debut novel, The Dog Stars, and in this episode, we'll talk about his new one, The Painter, about an artist with a violent temper who has to deal with the life or death consequences of his actions.
Dennis Tafoya has published three novels: Dope Thief, The Wolves of Fairmount Park, and most recently, The Poor Boy's Game, the story of U.S. Marshal Frannie Mullen whose life is haunted by the reality of her violent father, a former enforcer for a mobbed up labor union in Philadelphia.
Megan Abbott is an Edgar-winning novelist who started her career writing classic noir stories like Bury Me Deep and The Song is You, but has moved her focus to more contemporary settings for her last three novels, The End of Everything, Dare Me, and the brand new one,The Fever, about a mysterious illness causing violent seizures among high school girls in a tight-knit community.
Keith Thomson blogs about national security matters for the Huffington Post. In addition to his journalistic duties, he's also a screenwriter and has written several novels. He's appeared on book talk to discussOnce a Spy and Twice a Spy about a retired CIA agent with Alzheimer's, but today we about his new one, Seven Grams of Lead, where a journalist learns too much and goes on the run to discover the truth and save his own life.
Greg Iles is a superstar thriller writer who has sold millions of books around the world. In 2011, he was grievously injured in a car crash. He's worked hard to recover and has just released his fourth novel to star Penn Cage, a former writer and Prosecutor who is the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. The new book, Natchez Burning, the first of a trilogy, looks at how the crimes of a domestic, racist terror group in the 1960s have affected contemporary Mississippi and Louisiana.
Ace Atkins is an Edgar-nominated writer known for his incredible historical true-crime novels, his current Quinn Colson series about an Army Ranger who returns home to become a sheriff in north Mississippi, and he has also written the last three books in the Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. The newest of which is entitled Cheap Shot and is available from Putnam.
Jedidiah Ayers is one of the driving forces behind Noir at the Bar and has been making a name for himself among the Grit Lit set for his books Fierce Bitches, A F*ckload of Shorts, and Peckerwood. It's a fairly serious interview with a guy known for his sharp wit. And if you couldn't tell by the titles for his books, this interview is very NSFW. Also, this isn't the typical highly edited interview, it is rawer than road rash.
Wylie Cash's first novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, the story of a death of a small boy in a Holiness Pentecostal church in the hills of western North Carolina, won the Crime Writer's Association John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award as well as the SIBA Fiction Book of the Year Award. His new novel is This Dark Road to Mercy, and it is published by William Morrow.
Sheila Turnage's first novel for middle graders and up, Three Times Lucky, received a 2013 Newbery Honor and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Book. Kathy Dawson Books, an imprint of Penguin, has just released the second episode following the preteen Desperado Detective Agency, and it's entitled The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing.
Since I'm getting ever pressed for time, I'm going to be releasing my interviews from Book Talk that will be of interest to Mysterypod subscribers as bonus episodes, instead of rebadging them with different intros and closes. Rest assured, I will only include books in the mystery/crime/thriller/true crime genres.
James Scott's debut novel, The Kept, has garnered praise from reviewers, having been named a Best Book of the Month by Amazon and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Set in upstate New York at the end of the 19th century, a woman and her 12 year-old son set out into the deep, winter snow for revenge, while harboring secrets from each other. Download here.
James Magnuson heads up the Michener Center for Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. He draws upon that experience for his new novel, Famous Writers I Have Known. Small-time grifter Frankie Abandonato gets in over his head in in New York and heads out to Austin, Texas, where he gets sucked into the world of literature and MFA programs. Could this be the longest and biggest con in Frankie's career?
Journalist Denise Parkinson learned about an infamous 1930s murder case from her native Arkansas County. In Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery and Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta, she tells the story of a community of people living on the White River and the strange tale of Helen Spence, who avenged her father's murder by shooting the accused dead in a county courtroom and the bizarre spiral her life took as the country was plunged into the depths of economic depression and hunger.
And finally, Matthew Guinn was nominated for Best First Novel for The Resurrectionist. I had the chance to talk to Matthew last summer for my other program Book Talk.The Resurrectionist is the story of a slave in the 1850s ordered to steal other slaves' corpses for dissection for a South Carolina medical school, and the parallel storyline of a 1990s doctor who learns of the past misdeeds which jeopardize his school's reputation.
Memphian Mark Greaney has just published the fourth installment on his Gray Man series. In Dead Eye, former CIA assassin Court Gentry finds himself in Eastern Europe being hunted by his fellow Americans. When he receives assistance from an unexpected source, Gentry must decide if it is worth the risk to take someone at their word.
Jayne Anne Phillips is best known as a respected writer of literary fiction, having won the Sue Kaufman Prize and and anAcademy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and she's been a finalist or shortlisted for other prestigious awards such as the Orange Prize and the National Book Award. 2013 brings us her fifth novel, Quiet Dell. It is based on a true crime; back in the early 1930s, an unsavory Bluebeard type conned women via lonely-hearts matrimony services and killed them and stole their money. Quiet Dell focuses on one of his last victims, Chicago-area widow Asta Eicher and her three children, including the precocious Annabel. Emily Thornhill, a reporter from Chicago, travels to West Virginia for the subsequent trial to help bring the killer to justice and to make sense of the incomprehensible actions of the killer.
I recently spoke with George Pelecanos. He is known for his high quality work as a novelist, as well as writing for some of the most-respected television shows around like The Wire and Treme. He's written over 20 novels including the Nick Stefanos series, The Night Gardener, The D.C. Quartet, and 2011 brought us The Cut, the first novel in the Spero Lucas series. Little, Brown has recently released the second book, The Double.
In June, Amazon announced the winners of its annual Breakthrough Novel Awards. Journalist and formerly self-published novelist Jo Chumas won the mystery and suspense category with her historical thriller, The Hidden. It's the story of a young widow named Aimee in Egypt in 1940. WWII is on the verge of spilling into the land of the Nile. She receives a journal written by her mother, whom she never knew, from her life in 1919 during similarly turbulent times in Cairo. Conspiracy, secrets, and danger are all afoot in this prize-winning novel.
We’ve got a double header this time around. Up first, I recently spoke with Edgar Award winner Tom Franklin and Pushcart Prize winner Beth Ann Fennelly. Tommy and Beth Ann are married and both teach at the University of Mississippi, where she is his boss as the chair of the creative writing program.
Beth Ann is a prize winning poet and essayist, and Tom's literary novels full of crime and violence have brought him much acclaim, including the CWA Golden Dagger for Crooked Letter Crooked Letter. They decided to team up for the new novel, The Tilted World, a story of orphans, moonshiners and revenuers set against the backdrop of America's greatest natural disaster, the Mississippi River flood of 1927.
Up next, if you've seen the documentary Cocaine Cowboys about the Colombian drug trade in America in the 70s and 80s, the name Griselda Blanco may send shivers down your spine. She was one of the cruelest of an already mean lot to come to the States and make piles of cash while selling piles of blow. Blanco was murdered last year in her native Colombia.
This episode of Mysterypod is a bit different, as the true crime book in question, Murder in Mississippi, isn't available in the USA yet. However, I'm a huge fan of Australian author John Safran's (not to be confused with American novelist Jonathan Safran Foer)radio and television work, and the murder in question took place in Mississippi, just a couple hundred miles down the road from my current home in Memphis. Richard Barrett was a notorious white supremacist from Rankin county, Mississippi who was murdered in 2010. The previous year, John Safran had interviewed and pranked him for his television mini-series John Safran's Race Relationson ABC1 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation television). Hearing of Barrett's death, allegedly at the hands of a young African-American man named Vincent McGee, Safran came to Mississippi to research what he thought would be a rather straight-forward story of a black man killing a virulent racist. What he found was a lot of contradictions in each of the men's lives. We talk about Safran's growing up as a secular Jew in Australia, his satirical documentaries, and paint the broadest of strokes about his insightful and often funny book dealing with the lives and a death which were way more complex than outsiders could even imagine.
John Dufresne is a Guggenheim fellow, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. His first two novels, Louisiana Power and Light and Love Warps the Mind a Little were named New York Times notable books of the year. He's now trying his hand at crime fiction with No Regrets, Coyote, the story of middle-aged therapist Wylie Melville who gets caught up in in a tough situation when he's called into consult on a murder case on Christmas Eve down in south Florida.
Marcus Sakey writes books. Marcus Sakey wins awards. Marcus Sakey hosts a TV show. Is Marcus Sakey part of the one percent?
Marcus Sakey's new novel, Brilliance, is set in alternate current-day America where for the past 33 years extraordinarily gifted children have been born and have grown into adults who have talents which make MENSA members seem like Jersey Shore cast members, Bolshoi dancers like Gerald Ford, and Jim Brown like Tina Brown. Once percent of children are so talented that it scares the other ninety-nine percent, and America has employed men like Nick Cooper to ensure that the best of us doesn't dominate the rest of us, and then the crap hits Dyson fan. (OK, that really didn't work since Dyson fans don't have blades, but then again, I'm not in the one percent, so what do you want from me?)