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The 2012 Kitschie Award Winner for Angelmaker, talks about his latest novel, Tigerman. Among many, many other things.




As soon as the interview was over, I was madly Googling to bookmark as many of Nick Harkaway’s references as I could. In our conversation about the designation “literary thriller,” he discussed the stories of Jorge Luis Borges and judging the Kitschie Awards.  When I asked him how he chose “Harkaway” as his pen name, I learned about Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, (I’ve since ordered a copy for myself and several for friends I know will appreciate it) and he quoted “A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon,” by James Elroy Flecker.

A ship, an isle, a sickle moon–
With few but with how splendid stars
The mirrors of the sea are strewn
Between their silver bars!
An isle beside an isle she lay,
The pale ship anchored in the bay,
While in the young moon’s port of gold
A star-ship–as the mirrors told–
Put forth its great and lonely light
to the unreflecting Ocean, Night.
And still, a ship upon her seas,
The isle and the island cypresses
Went sailing on without the gale:
And still there moved the moon so pale,
A crescent ship without a sail!
For those of you who are fans of Angelmaker, you probably know about the YouTube videos of the records Frankie left.
I forgot to ask one question: Tongue firmly in cheek, I emailed Nick to ask whether or not there were any marketing plans for Tigerman along the lines of an action figure or a graphic novel. Here is his reply:
No. Both of those feel like things you do after, though – otherwise rather than an advertising tool you’ve got something new you need to advertise.

I keep running across that: any time you make something to go with a book as a way of getting people interested, that thing either has to be more cool and interesting than the book (which obviously in a way you don’t want, because if it is, why did you write the book at all?) or more readily shareable (basically: digital or intangible, reproducible, free). Which is hard. So in the end you want people talking more than you want another product.Which is not to say I wouldn’t love either or both of those at some point. And a movie…




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A perfect interview for the waning Dog Days of summer, David Rosenfelt talks about his latest Andy Carpenter mystery Hounded,  the ups and downs of writing and the redeeming quality of dogs.


Rosenfelt at Book Carnival March 2013ahounded


David Rosenfelt was so funny and self-deprecating in his interview. And he made some surprising revelations about his writing methodology. But the best part, I think, was when he talked about the work that the Tara Organization—founded by David and his wife and named in honor of “the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known.”



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Lawyer, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Director of Life After Innocence, author of 14 novels—including her just released The Dog Park and the Izzy McNeil series of mysteries—and the non-fiction Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him.


laura caldwellDog Park Cover


Laura Caldwell is a busy woman, as she tells Leslie Klinger and me in her interview. And her pursuits run the gamut: from writing summer-read Chick Lit The Dog Park (and Laura embraces the sobriquet) to the life-and-death seriousness of helping innocent people who have been convicted of crimes and then released pick up the pieces of their lives.


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The protagonist of Roger Hobbs’ debut novel, Ghostman, may not be a nice guy, but he’s a great character. This is the second in our two-part series on fixers.


Hobbs (MLionstar)978-0-307-95996-6


Roger Hobbs is nothing if not thoughtful and methodical. He timed the seven years of rejections that writers endure to coincide with his time as a student in high school and college, coming out the other end with the remarkable first effort, Ghostman. He shares a little bit about his second novel, Vanishing Games, another story featuring “Jack” (which may or may not be the Ghostman’s name). But not too much because that would spoil the surprise. It gives us something to look forward to in the Spring of 2015.

Photo of Roger Hobbs © Michael Lionstar


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The Baker Street Babe talks with Les Klinger about the next book in the Timothy Wilde trilogy, writing for the Watson and Holmes graphic stories and how Jane Eyre can coax out the dark side for a character in her new novel.




By her own admission Lyndsay Faye thinks it’s a good idea for her to keep busy. We’ll say. The Fatal Flame, the third installment in the Timothy Wilde series that began with the Edgar Award-nominated The Gods of Gotham, followed by Seven for a Secret (which was released in paperback on August 5) is in the can and will be published in Spring 2015. She’s currently working on a book that centers on a character who, like Jane Eyre, is told she’s wicked but, unlike the saintly Ms. Eyre, decides she can break bad. And she’s writing for the delightful Watson and Holmes comics, which is currently engaged in a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second volume. Speaking of Mysteries is proud to have supported the efforts and encourages everyone else who loves all things Sherlock and Lyndsay Faye to join us.



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Political Fixer Joe DeMarco is back in House Reckoning, which takes him back to his hometown of Queens, New York, to rekindle old friendships and make new enemies.


MikeLawson_BW (2)credit Tara GrimmerHouse Reckoning by Mike Lawson


I like what Mike Lawson had to say about choosing a fixer as a central character. Not a private investigator, police detective, or lawyer, a fixer is someone who can walk on both sides of the line without necessarily being identified as a renegade. In Mike Lawson’s House series, DeMarco’s the guy his boss Congressman Mahoney turns to when he needs to get something done.

Mike Lawson and I also talked about Rosarito Beach, the first book his other series featuring DEA Agent Kay Hamilton. The second in that series, Viking Bay, will be out in January 2015.

photo © Tara Grimmer


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Not detectives, private or police, nor attorneys, the next two interviews feature writers whose protagonists make things work out—one way or the other.

Mike Lawson’s House Reckoning, the latest in his series on Joe DeMarco, personal fixer for Congressman John Mahoney, delves into DeMarco’s past and the death of his father, who had been a hit man for a New York City mob. Look for SoM’s interview with Mike Lawson later this week.

Roger Hobbs, whose debut novel, Ghostman, is snapping up noms for “Best First Novel” from mystery-thriller genre organizations around the world, talks to SoM about his protagonist Jack (which may or may not—okay, probably isn’t—his real name). Hobbs had very specific reasons for wanting to make Jack a fixer. SoM will publish its interview with Roger Hobbs next week.


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Becky Masterman describes Brigid Quinn, the 59-year old protagonist of her debut novel, Rage Against the Dying, as a cross between Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker.


Masterman, Becky_CREDIT Neal KreuserRAge Against the Dying


It turns out people are interested in female characters over the age of 30, in spite of what one agent to whom Becky Masterman initially sent the book said. In fact, people are so interested in a well-crafted mystery about a woman over the age of 30 (retired FBI Agent Brigid Quinn is 59) that Ms. Masterman’s novel was nominated for six “Best First Novel” awards given in the mystery/thriller genre. And Brigid will be back, Fear the Darkness, the second in what I can only hope is going to be a long series, will be out from St. Martin’s Press in January 2015.

In her interview, Ms. Masterman gives us some fascinating insight into how she created this unique character, including inspiration from a J. Jill catalog and a friend with long, white hair worn in a pony tail. She described Brigid as “Miss Marple she ain’t.” That’s true. Brigid has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it.

We also discussed the popularity of mystery fiction and how writers approach their craft. In Ms. Masterson’s case, it wasn’t difficult to explain; she has a manifesto. And she shares it with us here.


The Reader’s Manifesto
Courtesy of Becky Masterman

I’m about to give you, Author, a little piece of my life.  No matter what you write, fiction or non, thrillers or high literature, here is what I deserve in return:

  • Give me at least one character I can hang my heart on.
  • Make me laugh and cry.
  • Hold me in suspense by making me wait for the payoff.
  • Thrill me with the unpredictability of an action I should have seen coming.
  • Make me stop and gasp at a fresh way of saying something old—but don’t do it too often because that’s just showing off.
  • Move my heart with compassion for a part of humanity I’ve never understood before.
  • Make me know I’m not alone by expressing feelings I never knew I felt.
  • Enlighten me.
  • Change me.

Finally, Author, grow comfortable with failing to achieve all this as you write, for I grant you will certainly fail most days.

Photo of Becky Masterman © Neal Kreuser


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Her Rage Against the Dying has received nominations for “Best First Mystery” awards from the genre’s top organizations.

Talk about last laughs: when Ms. Masterman first submitted her novel (with the then title One Tough Broad) an agent rejected it, saying “no one was interested in a woman who’s over 30.” Well, plenty of people are interested in Ms. Masterman’s 59-year old Brigid Quinn, who can kick ass with the best of them of any age, any gender.

SoM’s interview with Becky Masterman will be posted later this week.


Masterman, Becky_CREDIT Neal Kreuser












Also coming up: Mike Lawson on his recently released Joe DeMarco mystery, House Reckoning; David Rosenfelt on Hounded; and Roger Hobbs talks about his much-nominated first novel, Ghost Man.

Photo © Neal Kreuser