Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
David Rollins | I, prescient.
Uncategorized / March 17, 2009

Hi there, What can I tell you about my latest book, A Knife Edge, that you won’t get from reading it? When I was writing the book in 2004-05, the conflict in Afghanistan was well and truly on the back burner. The US military was heavily engaged in Iraq and the ‘gan had receded from the public consciousness. There were a few hot battles, like the one at Tora Bora, after which everyone seemed to pack up and go home. History told me the Taliban was too easily pacified and that, like a virus, they would come back stronger. A Knife Edge was written with this view in mind. If the West had to go back into that country again, I wondered, would the gloves come off? Would we launch cross-border attacks into Pakistan territory? And if the political situation in Islamabad went pear-shaped, what sort of government could take power there? Click to read the rest of David’s blog and to comment. Visit to learn more about books and authors.

Sandra Ruttan | Imaginary Friends
Uncategorized / October 29, 2008

I was staring at the wall, my hands still. My partner assumed I was taking a break and started talking to me. “Be quiet! There are voices talking inside my head and I have to hear what they’re saying!” He muttered something like, “Okay crazy person,” and left me to talk to my imaginary friends. Writing a novel is an extremely personal venture. For months, these characters live inside your mind as you get to know them and try to reveal their character, intent and actions on the page. When you write a series it’s even more personal, because you develop a long-term relationship with your protagonists. In THE FRAILTY OF FLESH, book two of the Nolan, Hart and Tain series, the storylines are very personal. In book one, events from the past are alluded to but not exploited. In book two, Nolan is confronted by some of his darkest fears, Tain struggles with a deep personal wound that will never heal, and Hart suffers a devastating loss. Some of my friends have wondered how I could put these characters through hell. As a reader, and as someone who loves series books and gets very attached to characters, I can…

Michelle Gagnon | Thrillerfest 2008
Uncategorized / July 18, 2008

Sadly, I missed the inaugural Thrillerfest, which was held in Phoenix. I had recently given birth to my first child, and the thought of Arizona in July with a newborn was not terribly appealing. Which is a shame, because from what I understand it was one for the ages. I made up for it by attending the past few Thrillerfests in New York, and I’m happy to report that despite the fact that everyone always says, “You shoulda been at the first one,” I’ve had an amazing experience each time. My week kicked off with a joint reading at the Park Avenue Borders. Tim Maleeny, Laura Caldwell, J.T. Ellison, Mario Acevedo, Laura Benedict, Shane Gericke, Alexandra Sokoloff, and I participated in “Quick Thrills from Out-of-Towners.” Lee Child graciously served as our MC, and in completely disregarding our prepared bios introduced us with anecdotes a hundred times wittier than anything we could have come up with. Everyone read for five minutes to an incredibly receptive crowd. The store was quick to add rows of seats as the place filled, we auctioned off Borders gift certificates and stuffed snakes (which were more of a hit than the $100 certificates, go figure). A…

Brian Freeman | Are Crime Thrillers Moral?
Uncategorized / May 20, 2008

It’s an odd way to make a living when you think about it. We write about things that would terrify and dismay people if they were real. Murder. Serial killers. Violence. And we do all this to entertain people. I think about this issue whenever a news show covers an intimate tragedy like the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba or Madeleine McCann in Portugal. Cable news shows play on our love of mystery and drama to boost ratings. The difference is that, unlike a novel, the crime is real. Our news programs treat these dramas as whodunits, to an extent that we often cheapen or even forget the actual tragedy. The question is: Are those of us who write mysteries any different? We invent our stories, but we strive to make the fear, crime, and drama real for the reader. The best writers make us gasp and cry, afraid to turn the page, but unable to put the book down. My only explanation is that mysteries make us confront difficult moral choices and decide for ourselves. Mysteries also give us something that the real world often cannot. Order. Resolution. Truth. The frustration in watching the news is in not…

Linwood Barclay | Five Days and Counting
Uncategorized / September 20, 2007

My new book No Time For Goodbye comes out in North America in less than a week, and while this is my fifth novel, in many ways it feels as though it’s my first. My four previous works of fiction have been about an obsessive-compulsive, well-meaning, but generally pain-in-the-ass character named Zack Walker. He made his first appearance in 2004 in Bad Move, which was followed by Bad Guys, Lone Wolf, and Stone Rain. While I consider these books legitimate mystery thrillers, they were also intended to be pretty funny. (I know, from writing a humour column the last 14 years for the Toronto Star, that even when you intend something to be funny, plenty of readers will go, “Huh?”) No Time For Goodbye marks a significant shift in tone for me. After finishing the fourth Zack Walker book, I wanted to do something more ambitious, and darker. And not particularly funny. All I needed was the right idea to get me started. I awoke one morning at five, thinking about what it would be like if one day you got up and discovered your entire family was gone, vanished into the night. No Time For Goodbye was born. The…

Karna Small Bodman | Up Close Political Thrills and Suspense
Uncategorized / August 20, 2007

I was scheduled to be in the staff car with White House Press Secretary Jim Brady on March 30, 1981 – the day of the assassination attempt against President Reagan. I was Jim’s Deputy at the time. At the last minute, Jim said, “There’s a lot of work to do today – a lot of press calls to return. Why don’t you stay back. I can handle this one alone – you go tomorrow. This is just a speech to some union group over at the Hilton. I’ll be back around 2:30.” As we all know, he never came back. That day, along with many others will always be seared in my memory, and when I sat down to write my first novel CHECKMATE, I spent time reflecting on those personal experiences, figuring I had a ton of material for a series of political thrillers. Authors are always asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” Of course, any daily newspaper offers a veritable Petri dish of plot points, but I decided that “being there” is even better. When I later took the job as Senior Director of the National Security Council, we were dealing with crises almost on a daily…