Stephen Usery interviews authors of mysteries, thrillers, and crime fiction.

Scott Phillips is probably best known for his debut novel, The Ice Harvest, which was made into a film with John Cusak and Billy Bob Thornton. Following were The Walkaway, the western Cottonwood, the story collection Rum, Sodomy, and False Eyelashes, the sci-fi novel The Rut, and The Adjustment. Counterpoint has just released his novel Rake, the story of an American soap opera actor who gets in over his head when he tries to make a movie in Paris.

Direct download: Case036-Scott_Phillips.mp3
Category:Arts - Literature -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

Ace Atkins has grown to be one of America's most successful crime fiction writers. He started off with a series about New Orleans private eye Nick Travers, and then wrote four critically-acclaimed novels based on true crimes. Now he's currently running two series. He was chosen by Robert B. Parker's estate to continue on the Spenser series and has hit the New York Times best seller list with the two he has written so far. He's released three book in his Quinn Colson series, featuring an Army Ranger who returns home to a small town in the hill country of north Mississippi to find the corruption there untenable. It began with The Ranger in 2011 followed by The Lost Ones, and both were finalists for the Edgar for best novel. Putnam has just released the third in the series, and it's entitled The Broken Places.


On February 2, 2013 famed Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were murdered at a gun range in Texas. Accused of the crime is fellow veteran Eddie Ray Routh. Anthony Swofford,former Marine Corps sniper, novelist and author of the memoir Jarhead, has written an essay entitled "Death of an American Sniper," which looks at Kyle's and Routh's lives and the facts around the murder as they are known to date. "Death of an American Sniper" is available as an e-book at, which offers digital quick reads from writers like Chuck Palahniuk, Margaret Atwood,and Richard Russo.

Direct download: CASE035-ACE_ATKINS.mp3
Category:Arts - Literature -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

Charles Graeber is an award winning journalist and contributor to numerous publications including Wired,GQ, The New Yorker,Outside Magazine,Bloomberg Businessweek,and The New York Times.

His work has been honored with prizes including the Overseas Press Club award and the New York Press Club prize. He's had several National Magazine Award nominations, and his work has been selected for anthologies such as The Best American Crime Writing and The Best American Science Writing.

His first book, which is already a New York Times bestseller, The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness,and Murder is the true crime story of Charles Cullen, who may well be America's most prolific serial killer, and the business practices of several hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania which made his almost two decade long murder spree possible.

Direct download: Case034-Charles_Graeber.mp3
Category:Arts - Literature -- posted at: 9:47am EDT

I'm going to have a lot of interviews coming up this month to make up for the trickle that has been so far this year. today Fiona Maazel, next week Charles Graeber, author of The Good Nurse, the true crime story of Charles Cullen who could be America's most prolific serial killer. There are also several interesting authors scheduled to stop by the studios of my other show Book Talk, and I'll be sharing these interviews with you. Assuming all things go well, Ace Atkins, Scott Phillips, and Michael Harvey will be coming at your ears over the next few weeks.

I first spoke with Fiona Maazel in 2008 about her debut novel, Last Last Chance which was the story of a drug-addicted young woman trying to get sober while the threat of a super-plague is causing the country to freak the hell out. Graywolf Press has recently released he second novel, Woke Up Lonely. Woke Up Lonely has all the hallmarks of a thriller. A man named Thurlow Dan leads a cult called The Helix which promises to take away the loneliness which seems endemic and epidemic to contemporary American life. His estranged wife Esme, a former CIA operative, is currently freelancing and spying on her  husband.  A botched recon mission has led Thurlow to keep the team hostage, as Federal and local law agencies begin a siege on his compound in Cincinnati. Oh yeah, North Korea also gets involved, and there's a miles-long criminal underground labyrinth beneath the Queen City. But the story is really about the damage we hold inside ourselves which prevents us from making connections with the people we care about. After the interview proper is over, stick around as Fiona and I talk about the Eurovision Song Contest and the appeal of Nigella Lawson. 

And for those very curious types: Denmark Eurovision 2013 winner.

Montenegro being awesome:

And the OMGWTF that was Romania:

Direct download: case-033-_fiona_maazel.mp3
Category:Arts - Literature -- posted at: 1:27pm EDT