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In Sabotage, Matt Cook’s first thriller, a luxury cruise ship in the North Atlantic is paralyzed by an electromagnetic pulse, an enigmatic Stanford professor and founder of a high tech defense company disappears and a group of Stanford students of a variety of disciplines are the only ones who can save both—and the world—from Viking pirates.



For his interdisciplinary team of Stanford students, Matt Cook drew on his experiences participating in “The Game,” Stanford’s annual combination treasure hunt-puzzle fest-road rally that sends groups of students from different majors careening throughout the San Francisco Bay Area looking for clues and solving puzzles not for a prize, but for the bragging rights that success brings. (Matt’s team won in his sophomore year.)

Matt cites two writers of different genres and writing styles as influences: Fantasy writer Terry Goodkind and Navy thriller novelist, Jeff Edwards.

But one of the coolest things about Sabotage, at least in my opinion, is former Air Force combat meteorologist, Jacob Rove. Maybe one of fiction’s most unique heroes.

And, in a first that I thought was both flattering and very cool, an interviewee asked to have his picture taken with me.

With Nancie Clare, former EIC of LA Times Magazine








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A luxury cruise liner in the North Atlantic loses power, a noted Stanford aerospace engineering professor disappears and a group of Stanford students from varying disciplines makes Sabotage a mighty compelling read. Oh, and there are pirates, too.














Matt Cook, recent Stanford University graduate and current doctoral student in economics at the University of Pennsylvania, brings together a brilliant, albeit motley, crew to battle against thoroughly modern pirates in Sabotage, his first novel due out in September.


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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.