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The New York Times best selling author on her book that delves into the secret program the U.S. employed to sanitize the relocation of Nazi scientists to America after the end of World War II.

Annie Jacobsen at LATFOB

Annie Jacobsen and I sat down at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books to discuss her most recent book, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America. Along the way we also discussed the TV adaptation of her Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Chris Carter of X-Files fame as well as who has optioned Paperclip. Spoiler alert: His partner optioned—and is directing—the film version of Unbroken.

I also mentioned some of the articles that Annie Jacobsen wrote for LA, The Los Angeles Times Magazine when I was its editor in chief. Links to articles written by Annie Jacobsen are directly below:

What Plane?

The Road to Area 51

Camping with Qaddafi

Element of Surprise

What Lies Beneath

Kabul Lullaby

From Mojave to the Moon

Out of Iran: One L.A. Dentist’s Great Horseback Escape

Photo of Annie Jacobsen by Nancie Clare


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Alan Furst talks to SoM about his newest novel, Midnight in Europe, set against the backdrop of pre-WWII Europe.

Alan Furst © Rainer Hosch

Called “America’s preeminent spy novelist,” by The New York Times, Furst considers his series of novels “really one very long book with, to date, twelve chapters.”

Look for the published podcast interview with Alan Furst here or on iTunes, Monday June 2, 2014, the day before the novel’s official publication date.

Book tour for Midnight in Europe

photo: © Rainer Hosch

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The author of The Amazing Harvey gets tricky with SoM!

Les Klinger and I enjoyed a lunch at the Napa Valley Grill with Don Passman to talk about The Amazing Harvey, his first mystery. The afternoon was entertaining on all fronts. Talking about mysteries is one of our favorite pastimes — and meeting a writer who’s just published his first mystery is exciting.

Dan Passman-Harvey

But, as infomercials are so fond of broadcasting, there’s more! Don Passman, in addition to being one of the foremost attorneys in the music business, is himself a magician. And for the first time, at least for Les and me, we recorded a card trick. I’m still working on building a slide show of the images, but here is the photo to which Les refers taken after he has chosen his card.





Posted by & filed under Updates & Coming Attractions.

Megan Abbott’s latest novel about “guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire” is due out June 19, 2014.


Megan will join SoM to talk about the book, the story’s inspiration and how she’s able with just a subtle, indiscernible twist to turn otherwise wholesome worlds inside out. Stay tuned for an exact date.

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Norway’s best-selling crime fiction writer talks politics, revenge and what makes Sonny —and Harry Hole — tick.


I spoke to Jo Nesbø by phone on Tuesday May 13, 2014 — the U.S. publication day of his most recent crime novel, The Son — from the New York City office of Knopf, his U.S. publisher.

It was late in the day and I could tell that he was tired, but he was unfailingly polite, especially in the face of technical problems. In the end we were able to record about 75% of the interview and I have done my best to fill you in on the rest.



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The fourth in our series of interviews conducted at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Jeff Parker lets us in on his feelings about ending his Charlie Hood series after having the characters as companions through almost a decade and six books.



I find adjectives woefully inadequate when it comes to describing Jeff Parker’s work. I guess absorbing, captivating and terrific are good starts. I’m in no way unique in my praise: Jeff has won three Edgar Awards, which puts him in rarefied territory indeed. Jeff’s career has been fiction for about 30 years now, but he started out as a journalist. When I was editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, he revisited his former occupation to write “Traffic Stop,” a piece on ATF agents working against the seemingly unstoppable flow of guns.


Darrell James 300dpi.jpg 3x5

Darrell James started his mystery writing career with short stories for which he garnered a shelf full of awards. His first full-length mystery, Nazareth Child, which introduced private investigator Del Shannon and is one of those stories that taps into at least one of everyone’s worst fears, won the Left Coast Crime Eureka Award for Best First Novel. Darrell has added two more to the series, Sonora Crossing and Purgatory Key.


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SoM’s third installment recorded at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Welcome back! Les and I do our best to make sure our podcasts are published at the beginning of each week, but last week he and I were otherwise engaged in New York City at the Edgar Award’s banquet. I talk about it a bit on the podcast, so I won’t repeat myself here. Needless to say, if you are fan of mysteries and thrillers, the Edgar Awards is a slice of heaven. And this particular Edgar’s (I’ve been twice before) was especially good. Master of Ceremonies Brad Meltzer was superb.

April Smith’s next book is not part of her FBI Special Agent Ana Grey series. It’s a stand-alone novel titled A Star for Mrs. Blake. I’ll let April explain more in her interview.

Stephen Jay Schwartz has also stepped away from his series featuring the troubled LAPD Detective Hayden Glass to write a stand alone. Stephen’s new mystery, Triple X, centers around a young FBI agent who goes to Amsterdam to escort a fugitive back to the U.S. In his own words, Stephen describes it as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold meets 3:10 to Yuma.

Episode Six, scheduled for publication on May 12, includes our interview with T. Jefferson Parker, who talks about his stand-alone novel—I’m sensing a trend here. We also speak to Darrell James, who talks about the third in his Del Shannon series of mysteries. I don’t recall him mentioning a stand-alone, but he does discuss how he’s about to embark on a  series of novellas with a new protagonist.

As soon as it’s edited, we’ll be publishing our interview with Jo Nesbø—former soccer star, rock star and Norway’s most famous author—scheduled on May 13. Check back here and on Facebook for further details.