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The Rap Sheet

New releases by Mickey Spillane, Barbara Cleverly, Jeffrey Cohen, Deborah Crombie and Marshall Browne; Chester Himes in L.A.; Bruce Alexander dies; Bouchercon's wealth of prize winners, and more news from the world of mystery.








i n t e r v i e w s

Daniel Kalla author of Cold Plague
Kalla penning a novel a year and sometimes more since Pandemic, each bringing still more readers to the talented doctor’s fanbase. The latest -- the fifth -- is Cold Plague, reuniting us again with Pandemic’s Dr. Noah Haldane.

Diane Wei Lang author of The Eye of Jade
Debut novelist Diane Wei Lang reflects on the reflective nature of the creative process and the things that she gave up to get where she is now.

Cornelia Read author of The Crazy School
In a January Author Snapshot interview, the ex-debutante-turned-author let's us know that if she couldn't write crime fiction, she’d be doing “mushrooms in Bali.”

Richard Marinick author of In for a Pound
Richard Marinick talks about his writing, the criminal life, the legend of mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger and so much more.

M.J. Rose author of The Reincarnationist
M.J. Rose talks about her new novel, The Reincarnationist; the danger strewn path she’s taken to become a bestselling author, the definition of the word “thriller” and what those initials really stand for.

Declan Hughes author of The Color of Blood
The author of a brace of highly regarded novels of "Irish suspense," Declan Hughes talks about his influences, his letter from Pete Townshend and how we're all walking in Snoopy's shadow.

Robert Littell author of Legends
In a rare interview, the spy novelist talks about his memories of World War II and the Cold War, his brushes with fame, his clandestine efforts to make public the real story of Czechoslovakia's invasion by the Soviet Union, and his fondness for mountain climbing.

Robert Littell author of Legends

Charlie Huston author of Six Bad Things
The prolific author of novels and, now, comic books talks about being nominated for an Edgar Award, how comic-book enthusiasts compare with crime-fiction readers, what it's like to live with an actress, and how a pending move to the West Coast will affect his future works.

Charlie Huston author of Six Bad Things

James W. Hall author of Forests of the Night
Commemorating the release of this ambitious standalone tale and sweeping family saga, we talked with the Florida author about his research techniques, the pleasures and pains of teaching writing, his turn from poetry to crime fiction and his almost-career as a pro tennis player.

James W. Hall author of Forests of the Night

Tom Bradby author of The God of Chaos
With his third historical thriller now out in the UK, Bradby talks about his love of history, the ups and downs of being a foreign correspondent, his impressions of the British royals and his next novel -- the first one to be set in America.

Dylan Schaffer author of Misdemeanor Man
Following the release of his quirky debut legal thriller, Schaffer talks with us about his "chaotic and insane" childhood, his choice of a career in the law, his bumpy road to the novelist's life and, of course, his longstanding love of Barry Manilow's music.

Stephen Booth

Loren D. Estleman author of Retro
Following the release of his 17th Amos Walker novel, Estleman talks with us about his early life and authorship, the relative rewards of concocting crime fiction and westerns, his love-hate relationship with Detroit and why he's still writing on manual typewriters.

Loren D. Estleman author of Retro

Simon Kernick author of The Crime Trade
As his third thriller is released in Britain, we talk with Kernick about his latest novels, his intent to launch a second series, his unexpected brush with the legendary Inspector Morse and why he hasn't completely escaped his parents' home.

Timothy Harris author of Unfaithful Servant
To celebrate the publication of his third Thomas Kyd novel, Harris talks with January about his peripatetic life, his evolution as a Southern California novelist, his screenwriting experiences and why he decided to resurrect his fictional private eye after a 25-year absence.

Lawrence Block author of The Burglar on the Prowl
The winner of this year's Cartier Diamond Dagger Award talks about his extensive literary oeuvre, his abiding affection for New York City, his recent break into graphic-novel work and, um, his sordid past as an author of lesbian pulp fiction.

Lawrence Block author of The Burglar on the Prowl

John Shannon author of City of Strangers
Now with six Jack Liffey mysteries under his belt, the author talks about his activist past, his disgust with the dumbing-down of American politics and culture, his obvious love for Los Angeles and how -- shock! -- he almost killed off his series private eye.

John Shannon

Lee Child author of Persuader
The best-selling novelist talks about his upbringing in provincial England, his career in British TV production, his brief experience as a mugger in San Francisco, and what's ahead for his series protagonist, maverick, no-nonsense altruist Jack Reacher.

John Connolly author of The White Road and Bad Men
The man behind P.I. Charlie "Bird" Parker and an increasingly nasty cast of villains talks about his stumbling entry into authorhood, his interest in the supernatural and his obsession with "getting my facts correct" -- even in fiction.

John Connelly

Paul Johnston author of A Deeper Shade of Blue
The award-winning Scottish novelist talks about the future of his Quintilian Dalrymple series; his fondness for the Aegean culture and science fiction films; and the real-life war tragedy that inspired the first entry in his new series about Scots-Greek P.I. Alex Mavros.

Michael Malone author of The Last Noel
With his new Christmas love story in bookstores, and a fourth mystery in the works, the "poet of the Piedmont" talks about his wide-ranging literary interests, his return to the world of daytime television, and his concern for America's democratic future.

Qiu Xiaolong author of A Loyal Character Dancer
With two Shanghai-based Chen Cao mysteries now under his belt, Xiaolong talks about missing Mao's Cultural Revolution, the use of poetry in Chinese literature, and his effort to write fiction that serves as "a window through which readers can look at China" in all its complexity.

Qiu Xiaolong

Michael Marshall author of The Straw Men
The first-time British thriller author talks about the death of horror fiction, his often frustrating efforts as a screenwriter, and why in the world he should want to add yet another title to the towering stack of modern serial-killer novels.

April Henry author of Learning to Fly
After penning three novels about amateur sleuth Claire Montrose, and with a new thriller bringing her greater recognition, the author talks about the differences between writing a series and standalones, and how she's finally found a way to use her knowledge of health care in her fiction.

April Henry

Stuart M. Kaminsky author of To Catch a Spy
The prolific creator of bumbling 1940s Hollywood gumshoe Toby Peters talks about his debt to Charlton Heston, his experiences in writing for television and movies, the increasing number of Jewish-theme mysteries, his Libertarian politics and his foray into the small-scale publishing business.

Sparkle Hayter author of Naked Brunch
Broadcast journalist-turned-novelist Sparkle Hayter shares her thoughts on Naked Brunch, the current troubles in Afghanistan, her views on true love, "tart noir" and folks who figure her name can't possibly be for real.

Steven Saylor author of A Mist of Prophecies
Following the publication of his eighth novel of mystery and intrigue set in ancient Rome, Saylor talks about influences on his writing, the absence of "normal" people from the historical record, and his new tale's concentration on the woman of Caesar's time.

Steve Hamilton author of North of Nowhere
The creator of Alex McKnight, northern Michigan's most reluctant private eye, talks about the discipline he learned from joining a writing group, his "soft-boiled" protagonist, the role of nature in his books and his aversion to reading his own work in public.

Stephen Booth author of Blood on the Tongue
The much-heralded creator of Derbyshire detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry talks about his development as an author, the role and limits of "justice" in crime fiction, the lingering influences of World War II on the British character, and his longtime passion for goat-breeding.

Stephen Booth

Peter Temple author of In the Evil Day
Easily Australia's most successful modern crime writer, Temple takes a detour from his acclaimed Jack Irish series with this ambitious new international thriller.

Charles Todd author of Watchers of Time
The son and mother duo who write under the nom de plume "Charles Todd" have thus far concocted five historical mysteries. J. Kingston Pierce discovers that the mysteries aren't only in their writing.

Carl Hiaasen author of Basket Case
The camera shy author of Sick Puppy, Strip Tease and others talks about why he doesn't think he's writing crime fiction, how he still hasn't given up his day job and the satisfation of hearing that readers understand what he's trying to say.

Donald J. Hauka author of Mister Jinnah: Securities
Donald Hauka's first book -- a crime fiction novel set in Vancouver -- started as a series of short stories. Before the book was finished, Hauka had a book deal and a commitment for a television movie of the week.

Sara Paretsky author of Total Recall
V.I. Warshawski's creator discusses the passage of V.I. time, why she spends too much time worrying about "finicky details," what she liked and disliked about the movie and why V.I. will not be having a baby, after all.

Sara Paretsky

John Farrow author of Ice Lake
With his third mystery thriller "in the mental works," the author talks about his slow climb to success, Montreal's appropriateness as a crime fiction setting and the downside of the medical industry becoming a big business.

Stephen Lewis author of The Sea Hath Spoken
Now that he has three "old New England mysteries" under his belt, Lewis talks about his unintentional debut as a crime novelist, the difficulty in keeping a mystery series fresh and how the future may find him writing more mainstream historical fiction.

J.A. Jance author of Birds of Prey
The author of Kiss of the Bees talks about what makes her characters breathe, marriages good and bad and why she didn't kill J.P. Beaumont.

J.A. Jance

Robert Crais author of Demolition Angel
With his most recent pair of novels winning him new fans and a screenplay in the works, a comfortable Crais muses on his development of fictional private eye Elvis Cole, his experiences writing for television and his longstanding fondness for Spider-Man.  

L.R. Wright author of Kidnap and The Suspect
Though she wrote several mainstream novels, L.R. Wright was best known for her Karl Alberg series of mysteries.

L.R. Wright

Jeremiah Healy author of Spiral
Now 13 books into what the Chicago Sun-Times has called "one of today's best American mystery series," lawyer-turned-novelist Healy talks about detective John Francis Cuddy, the enduring value of "standard whodunits" and his plans for a new series of legal thrillers.

Ian Rankin author of Set In Darkness and Dead Souls
Once "appalled" to find his prose categorized as crime fiction, this young Scottish writer is one of today's most acclaimed creators of police procedurals. He talks with us about his early career, his possible future as a historical novelist and his fondness for the old Shaft movies.

Ian Rankin

Bruce Alexander author of Death of a Colonial
Having just published his sixth novel featuring 18th-century British historical figure Sir John Fielding, Alexander (aka Bruce Cook) talks about the roots of his interest in crime fiction, the sources of his characters and the real-life inspirations for his stories.

Max Allan Collins author of Majic Man
Collins talks about his Nate Heller historical private eye series, his views on Mickey Spillane and cinematic shamuses as well as his passions for comic books and pin-up art.

Dennis Lehane author of Prayers for Rain
The literary spotlight focused tightly on Dennis Lehane when his newest crime novel made it into President Clinton's summer book bag. This latest indicator is just a hint at what his fans have known all along: Lehane is a rising star, well worth watching in the future.

Keith Miles author of Wanton Angel and Saint's Rest
With more than two dozen novels to his credit -- and three new books out just this summer -- Keith Miles is one of the most consistently enjoyable and innovative historical mystery writers working today.

Peter Robinson author of In a Dry Season
His work is most often spoken of and reviewed in relation to that of the most prominent British crime writers. His newest novel won't disappoint those reviewers.

Nicola Griffith author of The Blue Place
When asked what kind of writer she is, Nicola Griffith responds frankly, "Determined. Convinced of my own worth." Her work shows proof of that conviction.

Tami Hoag author of Ashes to Ashes
Suspense novelist Tami Hoag took a pretty odd road to the bestseller list.

G.M. Ford author of Last Ditch
Who'd have predicted that a guy whose name sounds like a hostile takeover between car companies, and whose main fictional protagonist employs the homeless as investigative legmen, would create one of the most intriguing detective series set in Seattle?

Michael Connelly
author of
Angels Flight
Bestselling author Michael Connelly is a low-key, clear-spoken man who has much of the same focused approach to writing that his character Harry Bosch has to police work.

Michael Dibdin author of the Zen Mysteries
Of the twelve book-length yarns Michael Dibdin has spun, half have featured his Italian sleuth Aurelio Zen, the character he created a decade ago without ever thinking he was beginning a crime fiction series.

Getting Medieval with Candace Robb
Candace Robb is living proof that even the most obscure-seeming college study might eventually lead to a thriving career.

Walter Satterthwait author of Masquerade and the Joshua Croft Mysteries

Ross Macdonald Modern Mystery Master

Sue Grafton
author of M is for Malice

The Mysteries of Anne Perry
The writer looks much as expected. It's not even difficult to imagine the girl Kate Winslet portrayed in the film growing to be this cultured and mature woman.

Martin J. Smith
A Talent to Remember
Although he is only two novels into a series about Pittsburgh psychologist and memory expert Jim Christensen, author Martin J. Smith is already racking up some impressive plaudits.