Friday, August 30, 2013

Top Horror Novels

Booklist Magazine has announced their Top 10 Horror Novels of the past 12 Months:

Apocalypse Cow. By Michael Logan
Ash. By James Herber
Babayaga. By Toby Barlow
Hitchers. By Will McIntosh
Little Star. By John Ajvide Lindqvist
Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein. By Dave Zeltserman
NOS4A2. By Joe Hill
The Ocean at the End of the Lane. By Neil Gaiman
Red Moon. By Benjamin Percy
Zoo. By James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

The American Library Association also recently came up with this list of best bets for Horror:

Joe Hill.Heart-shaped Box.
Michael Koryta.The Ridge.
Adam Nevill.Last Days.
Dave Zeltserman.The Caretaker of Lorne Field

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FRONTLIST FEATURES: THE HEIST by Lee Goldman and Janet Evanovich

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock all summer, you’ve probably heard about Top Suspenser Lee Goldberg’s collaboration with superstar author Janet Evanovich. Together they created a new crime series featuring a female FBI agent and a male crook, and it’s been sitting on top of the charts ever since it came out June 18.

But, in the unlikely event you haven’t heard about it:.

FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.               Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: He convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

Lee and Janet teamed up because as Lee says, “we are old friends and we set out to write the kind of book we love to read... pure escapist adventure, exotic locales, punchy banter, and lots of sexual tension. We hope the fun we had writing it comes across on the page!”

It obviously has. Praise has poured in, including this:

The Heist is the perfect title to carry on a trip to the beach. The laugh out loud humor that readers expect from Evanovich is in full force, and Goldberg’s crafty and elaborate writing is prominent. . . . Everyone will be eager for the next book in the series.”—Associated Press

“The action is fast-paced and the writing is first-rate, making The Heist an excellent choice for vacation reading.”—Huntington News

'Non-stop laughs with plenty of high jinks' -- USA Today

 'A laugh-out-loud page-turner' -- Heat 'Pithy, witty and fast-paced' -- The Sunday Times

Btw, there are 285 5-star reviews on Amazon. Do yourself a favor and check it out! It’s available everywhere, and on Amazon, right here. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Flashpoint by Ed Gorman

"A cynical view of the electoral fourth mystery featuring political consultant Dev Conrad...Everyone has secrets, and Conrad has to unravel enough of them to find a killer and salvage a candidate." 
Publishers Weekly

“The Dev Conrad mysteries showcase Gorman’s gifts for creating realistic characters and plotting suspenseful stories.”

From Gravetapping: FLASHPOINT by Ed Gorman

Flashpoint is the fourth novel to feature Dev Conrad. Conrad is a former Army Intelligence operative, and current political consultant. He has a cynical political view. The only thing he likes less than politicians are political consultants, but he loves the game. This time Dev is in Illinois where a client is accused of murder. Not so much by the police, at least not publicly, but definitely by the news media. Or, as Dev Conrad puts it—

“Sex. A senator. A murder. An international orgasm.”

The novel opens with Dev Conrad driving from his Chicago office to Senator Logan’s rural upstate cabin. The senator telephoned Dev with some unidentified trouble, and Conrad, in a state of confusion and dread, is on his way to help. The trouble is a beautiful women lying dead in a pool of her own blood on the porch of Senator Logan’s cabin. The senator has a history with the woman. She was seen at several of his campaign events in recent weeks, and the senator admits to everything but sleeping with her.

The election is a few weeks away, and the story captures the 24 hour cable news cycle, and one of the networks is aligning Senator Logan with the devil. Conrad quickly retains Ben Zuckerman, a top-notch Chicago criminal lawyer, but Logan is holding something back. Conrad doesn’t know what, or why, Logan isn’t forthcoming, but he is certain Logan didn’t kill the woman.

The cast of characters includes Senator Logan’s strong daughter, delicate wife, and manipulative brother. A less than ethical operative from the other side, a beautiful local attorney, a detective, and a somewhat disconcerting federal investigator. It is a dark story, almost cynical, without Mr. Gorman’s usual wary hope. It casts the political system in a stark, and corrupt light. Dev Conrad compares current elected pols with the openly corrupt senators of the late 1800s, which were referred to by the industry each represented rather than their respective home states.

The mystery is top-notch. The murderer isn’t revealed until the final pages, and I was genuinely surprised, but Flashpoint is more than a mystery. It is social commentary on the state of the current American political environment from popular sentiment to its elected officials. It takes a whack at the news media, specifically the cable news networks, and the hatred and misinformation disseminated by certain fringe elements, which have garnered mainstream credentials in recent years.

Flashpoint is a serious and stark novel; however it is told with a wry sense of humor. There are a handful of lines, which made me laugh aloud, and more than a few places where I smiled. Not to mention it isn’t every novel that can make mention of Thomas Eagleton, communists, George W. Bush, conspiracy, and The Manchurian Candidate without devolving into something less than it is. And what it is, is a very fine novel, but be warned Dev Conrad’s cynicism is catching.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Frontlist Features: HAVANA LOST by Libby Hellmann

Libby Hellmann used to get jealous when she was a little girl in the 1950s and her parents flew down to Havana to gamble. She begged them to take her along. They didn’t, and in 2012 she finally go to go with her own daughter. The result of her trip was HAVANA LOST, the third in her so-called Revolution Trilogy.

Here’s more about the book:

On the eve of the Cuban Revolution, headstrong 18-year-old Francesca Pacelli flees from her ruthless Mafia-boss father in Havana to the arms of her lover, a rebel fighting with Fidel Castro. Her father, desperate to send her to safety in the US, resorts to torture and blackmail as he searches the island for her.

So begins the first part of a spellbinding saga that spans three generations of the same family. Decades later the Pacelli family is lured back to Cuba by the promise of untold riches. But pursuing those riches brings danger as well as opportunity, and ultimately, Francesca must confront the lethal consequences of her choices. From the troubled streets of Havana to the mean streets of Chicago, HAVANA LOST reveals the true cost of chasing power instead of love.

HAVANA LOST is award-winning author Libby Fischer Hellmann’s tenth novel and third thriller that explores how strife and revolution affect the human spirit. HAVANA LOST is a testament to Hellmann’s gift for authentic historical detail as well as her talent for writing compulsively readable thrillers.

Here's what people are saying about it:

Hellmann is already an icon of the Chicago mystery scene. In HAVANA LOST she heads in a bold new direction and masterfully evokes a Cuba past and present in a heartrending tale..."
Sean Chercover, author of THE TRINITY GAME

“Hellmann offers readers a literary tour de force… a story lush with details of another place and time and lovers whose stars are tragically crossed. The writing in this thriller will take your breath away."
William Kent Krueger, author of ORDINARY GRACE and the Cork O’Connor series

"An engrossing tale of love, betrayal and revenge that spans three generations of remarkable women. Hellmann beautifully captures the scents sounds and feel of Cuba before and after the revolution."
—ZoĆ« Sharp, author of the best-selling Charlie Fox crime thriller series

“Libby Hellmann is a master at crafting an engrossing read. HAVANA LOST is exceptional; the novel intrigues you from the get-go and keeps you turning pages 'til the last.”—Heather Graham, NY Times Best-selling author of the KREWE OF HUNTER series

“After Fidel took over and Cuba turned Communist,” Libby says, “the island was suddenly off limits to most Americans. “Because of that, Cuba seemed more mysterious and exotic. Then, of course, came the Bay of Pigs, then the Cuban Missile Crisis, which made Cuba even more impenetrable.” Libby also recalled one of the Godfather films where Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) and Lee Strasberg (Meyer Lansky) are on a Havana rooftop discussing how they’re going to own the island. Shortly after that, Michael sees a rebel willing to die in order to overthrow Batista. "That clinched it. All I needed was a strong fascinating female character to base the story around, and I found her in Mafia princess Frankie Pacelli. The rest, as they say, is history.”

The book, which has over 15 reviews on Goodreads, is out today, August 16. You can find it in print at all the usual suspects, in audio here, and in ebook at Amazon. For more information, including a "Glossi" digital magazine about Cuba, she invites you to her website.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Frontlist Features: COMPOUND MURDER by Bill Crider

Most of the Time at Top Suspense we tell you about our backlist, so those of you who don’t know us have a chance to get acquainted with us at your leisure. But we’re also releasing new novels every year, so today kicks off a look at our new suspense novels -- what publishers call our "frontlist" -- that our members have published over the past year. And it turns out that two of us will be releasing new books this week!

First up is Bill Crider, who’s often called the  master of the genre, and his 20th Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery comes out today, August 13. If you don’t know Dan Rhodes you should. Here's more about the book:

Before classes start one morning, the body of English instructor Earl Wellington is found outside the building of the community college. Wellington was clearly involved in a struggle with someone and has died as a result. Sheriff Dan Rhodes pursues and arrests Ike Terrell, a student who was fleeing the campus. Ike's father is Able Terrell, a survivalist who has withdrawn from society and lives in a gated compound.  He’s not happy that his son has chosen to attend the college, and he's even less happy with the arrest.

Rhodes discovers that Wellington and Ike had had a confrontation over a paper that Wellington insisted Ike plagiarized. Wellington also had had a confrontation with the dean and was generally disliked by the students. As the number of suspects increases, it’s up to Rhodes to solve the murder while also dealing with an amusing but frustrating staff, a professor who wants to be a cop, and all the other normal occurrences that can wreak havoc in a small town.

Here’s what Bill himself says about Sheriff Dan Rhodes and his exploits:

"Compound Murder is the 20th book in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series.  I wrote it because over the years I've come to enjoy visiting the sheriff and his friends.  Every book is another little piece of the chronicle of Blacklin County, Texas, that I've been working on since the mid-1980s.  It's fun to tell a story over a period of time and show how the town and the people have changed.  Or not changed.  Some people say they get tired of writing a series over time, and Conan Doyle famously tried to kill off Sherlock Holmes so he wouldn't have to write about him anymore.  I don't feel that way at all.  I still have some more stories to tell about Rhodes and the kind of crimes that might not shake the world but that can shake a small town right down to its foundations."

Compound Murder, which comes out today, August 13, has,a s usual, already garnered praise from many quarters, including the following:
"Rhodes, often embarrassingly compared to fictional sheriff Sage Barton, successfully emulates that action hero in the clever and satisfying resolution." Publishers Weekly.
"The latest in the [Sheriff Dan Rhodes] series, Compound Murder: A Dan Rhodes Mystery keeps this fine series rolling along well and is very much worth your time." Kevin Tipple, Blogger News Network
"Every time I see "a Dan Rhodes Mystery" on the cover, I know I'm in for a good time . . . Dan keeps the peace in and around Clearview, Texas with a supporting cast as outrageous as that in Sheriff Andy Taylor's Mayberry. Y'all have fun, now, ya hear?" Meritorious Mysteries.

Compound Murder is available at all the usual suspects in every conceivable format, but here are links to Amazon, our preferred vendor.