Through the eyes of today’s leading mystery and crime writers, MURDERATI examines critical themes, historical archetypes and trends in publishing, marketing and the life of the published author. From 2005-2013, Murderati was one of the leading crime fiction blogs in the industry. Started by Pari Noskin and originally designed by J.T. Ellison, the blog was nominated for an Anthony award, and was the home for several of the biggest names in crime fiction, plus hosted a multitude of who’s who in the industry, from legendary editor Neil Nyren to many New York Times bestsellers.
Brett Battles is a Barry Award-winning author of over twenty novels, including the Jonathan Quinn series, the Logan Harper series, and the Project Eden series. He¹s also the coauthor, with Robert Gregory Browne, of the Alexandra Poe series. You can learn more at his website: brettbattles.com
New York Times and USA Today bestseller Allison Brennan is the author of twenty-three novels and several short stories. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, she lives in Northern California with her husband Dan and their five children.
Crime fiction, mysteries, and romantic suspense have always been Allison’s favorites, so it’s no surprise that her romantic thrillers have a dark suspense edge. Reviewers have called her books “terrifying,” “mesmerizing,” “fast-paced,” “pulse-pounding,” “wonderfully complex,” “layered,” and “a master of suspense – tops in the genre.” As Lisa Gardner says, “Brennan knows how to deliver.”
Writing three books a year is more than a full-time job, and so is raising five kids, but Allison believes life is too short to be bored. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, playing video games, watching old movies or new television shows, driving to or attending volleyball / basketball / football / soccer / baseball / softball games, and on occasion even makes it to the gym where she enjoys people-watching more than exercise.
Winner of the prestigious AMPAS Nicholl award, Robert Gregory Browne spent several years riding the Hollywood rollercoaster before severe motion sickness forced his retirement from the business.
At the urging of a novelist friend, Rob tried his hand at long-form fiction and the result, a thriller called Kiss Her Goodbye, sold quickly and was later developed and filmed as a pilot for a CBS television series. In the years following his debut, Rob has written thirteen more thrillers under his own name and some top secret pen names.
Rob grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, but now lives in Southern California with his wife, his cat, and seven guitars.
Born in Galway, Ken Bruen was educated at Gormanston College, County Meath and later at Trinity College Dublin, where he earned a Ph.D. in metaphysics. He spent twenty-five years as an English teacher in Africa, Japan, S.E. Asia and South America. His travels have been hazardous at times, including a stint in a Brazilian jail.
Bruen is part of a literary circle that includes Jason Starr, Reed Farrel Coleman, and Allan Guthrie.
Bruen’s works include the well-received White Trilogy and the Shamus Award-winning The Guards. In 2006, Hard Case Crime released Bust, a collaboration between Bruen and New York crime author Jason Starr. Bruen’s short story “Words Are Cheap” (2006) appears in the first issue of Murdaland. He has also edited an anthology of stories set in Dublin, Dublin Noir.
Other works of note include The Killing of the Tinkers, The Magdalen Martyrs, The Dramatist and Priest (nominated for the 2008 Edgar Allan Poe Award in the category “Best Novel”), all part of his Jack Taylor series, which began with The Guards. Bruen is also the recipient of the first David Loeb Goodis Award (2008) for his dedication to his art. Set in Galway, the acclaimed series relates the adventures and misadventures of a disgraced former police officer working as a haphazard private investigator whose life has been marred by alcoholism and drug abuse. It chronicles the social change in Ireland in Bruen’s own lifetime, paying particular attention to the decline of the Catholic Church as a social and political power. Themes also explored include Ireland’s economic prosperity from the mid-1990s onwards, although it is often portrayed as a force which has left Ireland as a materialistic and spiritually drained society which still harbours deep social inequality. This is the side of the Celtic Tiger best portrayed in Bruen’s Ireland-based novels. Immigration is also a theme to be found in these works.
In 2010 the first six Jack Taylor novels were made into a TV series starring Iain Glen in the title role.
He lives in Galway, Ireland. He is married and has a daughter.
Alafair Burke is the bestselling author of ten novels, including the standalones Long Gone and If You Were Here. Her “two power house series” (Sun-Sentinel), featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher and Portland Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid, have earned her a reputation for creating strong, believable, and eminently likable female characters. Alafair’s novels grow out of her experience as a prosecutor in America’s police precincts and criminal courtrooms, and have been featured by The Today Show, People Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Chicago Sun-Times. She is a Professor at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and lives in New York City.
Tania Carver is actually the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team Martyn and Linda Waites. Martyn is an ex-actor turned writer with nine previous novels under his own name. He’s still continuing as such. Linda is a critically acclaimed theatre costume designer.
Tania Carver is now an internationally bestselling author. The first novel, The Surrogate, was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. The Doll’s House, the fifth in the series is out. It’s had loads of five star reviews on Amazon which is very encouraging. And after that, well, there’s plenty more where they came from . . .
Toni McGee Causey is the author of the critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling “Bobbie Faye” novels—an action/caper series set in south Louisiana; the series was released in back-to-back publications, beginning with Charmed and Dangerous, Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, and When a Man Loves a Weapon. She is also a contributor to the USA Today Bestselling anthology Love Is Murder, as well as the Killer Year and the Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans anthologies.
While pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting, Toni had scripts optioned by prominent studios and recently produced an indie film, LA-308, which now has offers of distribution pending. Toni began her career by writing non-fiction for local newspapers, edited Baton Rouge Magazine, and sold articles to places like Redbook and Mademoiselle. In her copious spare time, she practiced her Ninja skills, though she can’t prove it because no one ever saw her.
She and her husband, Carl, thrive in the French Quarter, where they’re not the craziest ones on the block. Sometimes, they’re not even second craziest. She and Carl have also owned and operated a civil construction company for over thirty years [hence, the crazy], with projects all over Louisiana, Mississippi, and south-eastern Texas. They are also working on a home/remodeling project in the Quarter. Her grown sons survived her (they might say ‘barely’ but they don’t get to write the bio, ha!), with one becoming a SWAT police officer and one becoming a Firefighter. [In other words, Toni rarely sleeps.] Meanwhile, she and Carl are absolutely frothing-at-the-mouth proud of the two g-kids and three step-ish-g-kids (it’s complicated, but it’s all good)
For fifteen years, David worked for the San Francisco private investigation firm of Palladino & Sutherland, and played a significant part in a number of high-profile criminal and civil litigations, including the Lincoln Savings & Loan Case, The DeLorean Trial, the Coronado Company marijuana indictments, The Cotton Club Murder Case, The People’s Temple Trial, the first Michael Jackson child molestation case, and a RICO civil litigation brought by the Teamsters against former union leaders associated with organized crime—as well as numerous other drug, murder, and fraud cases.
In 1995, he eased out of private investigation work to serve as office manager and “Man Friday” for his wife, Terri, as she launched her own law practice, specializing in probate litigation, estate planning, and small business law. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September, 2000, and in January, 2001, passed away at age 46.
Six weeks before Terri’s death, Ballantine purchased David’s first novel, The Devil’s Redhead. Widely praised, it was nominated for both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel of 2002. His follow-up, Done for a Dime, was also broadly acclaimed (“the best in contemporary crime fiction”—The Washington Post), was named a New York Times Notable Book, and was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Novel of 2003.
He followed up with 2007’s Blood of Paradise, which has been compared to the work of Graham Greene and Robert Stone, and was selected one of the Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers of 2007 by The Washington Post. His fourth novel, Do They Know I’m Running?, arrived in bookstores on March 1, 2010, and instantly garnered widespread praise.
He’s also penned numerous articles and stories—one of which, “It Can Happen,” from San Francisco Noir, was nominated for the Macavity Award for Best Short Story of 2005, and another, “Pretty Little Parasite” from Phoenix Noir, was included in Best American Mystery Stories 2009. He also contributed chapters to The Chopin Manuscript and The Copper Bracelet, serial audio thrillers that now have been combined in a single hard cover version titled Watchlist. He continues to reside in Northern California.
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven critically acclaimed novels, including The Final Cut with Catherine Coulter, When Shadows Fall, Edge of Black and A Deeper Darkness. Her work has been published in over twenty countries. Her novel The Cold Room won the ITW Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original and Where All The Dead Lie was a RITA® Nominee for Best Romantic Suspense. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit JTEllison.com for more insight into her wicked imagination, or follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or Facebook.com/JTEllison14.
Elaine Flinn was a celebrated mystery writer in the United States, best known for her Molly Doyle mystery series. The main character, Molly Doyle, is an antiques dealer from Manhattan who relocates to California only to find herself in the middle of a web of mystery and intrigue. Elaine Flinn herself was an antiques dealer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Trained as a medical doctor, Tess built a second career as a thriller writer. Her 24 novels include the Rizzoli and Isles crime series, on which the TV show Rizzoli & Isles is based. Among her titles are The Surgeon, Gravity, Ice Cold, The Silent Girl, and Last To Die. Her books are translated into 40 languages and more than 30 million copies have been sold. She lives in Maine.
Gar Anthony Haywood is the Shamus and Anthony award-winning author of eleven crime novels and numerous short stories. He has written six mysteries featuring African-American private investigator Aaron Gunner; two starring Joe and Dottie Loudermilk (retired amateur sleuths and Airstream trailer owners in constant flight from their five grown Children From Hell); and three standalone thrillers (two using the pen name “Ray Shannon”).
Gar’s short story “The First Rule Is” was recently featured in the 2010 edition of Best American Mystery Short Stories, and Booklist has called him “a writer who has always belonged in the upper echelon of American crime fiction.” He has written for both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and for such television shows as New York Undercover and The District.
Gar’s latest novel is the thriller, Assume Nothing, published by Severn House in December, 2011. His website has the rather predictable URL of www.garanthonyhaywood.com.
PD Martin—Phillipa Deanne Martin—lives in Melbourne, Australia, and developed a passion for crime fiction and storytelling at an early age. This interest was reinforced with formal education through a Bachelor of Behavioural Sciences (with majors in psychology and criminology) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Writing (Creative Writing). Phillipa also holds a black sash from the Australian Tiger and Crane Kung Fu School.
Phillipa is the author of five ‘traditionally’ published novels featuring Aussie FBI criminal profiler Sophie Anderson: Body Count, The Murderers’ Club, Fan Mail, The Killing Hands and Kiss of Death. These novels have been released in 13 countries to date and received glowing reviews around the world. In 2011 she moved into the ebook world, and has released book six in the Sophie series, Coming Home; two Sophie short stories published as an ebook called The Missing; two true-crime shorts called When Justice Fails; and the first in a spy thriller series, Hell’s Fury. She’s also released two novels for younger readers under Pippa Dee.
Prior to becoming a full-time author, Phillipa worked as a professional writer for over ten years, writing award-winning copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, training CD-ROMs, flyers, ads, media releases and magazines. She currently teaches creative writing in Melbourne and around Australia.
Although she was raised by divorced hippie-renegade parents on the outskirts of Big Sur (with occasional stints in Honolulu), Cornelia Read knows old-school WASP culture firsthand, having been born into the tenth (and last) generation of her mother’s family to live on Oyster Bay’s Centre Island. Her childhood mentors included Sufis, surfers, single moms, Black Panthers, Ansel Adams, draft dodgers, striking farmworkers, and Henry Miller’s toughest ping-pong rival.
At fifteen, Read returned east, attending boarding school and college on full scholarship. While in New York, she did time as a debutante at the Junior Assemblies, worming her way back into the Social Register following her expulsion when a regrettable tantrum on the part of her mother’s boyfriend’s wife landed the lot of them on “Page Six” of the New York Post.
Much of the material in her Madeline Dare novels is autobiographical. Cornelia indeed lived in Syracuse, worked at a thankfully-defunct “therapeutic” boarding school in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, and has a cousin named Cate Ludlam who’s intimately involved with the renovation of Prospect Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in Queens, New York.
Today, her Bostonian Great-Grandmother Fabyan’s Society of Mayflower Descendants membership parchment (once proudly displayed at the back of Read’s tiny linen closet in Berkeley, California) is boxed up in a mini-storage unit on the West Coast, awaiting a cross-country U-Haul rental so Cornelia can road-trip it to her new digs in New Hampshire.
Cornelia has twin daughters, the younger of whom has severe autism.
J.D. Rhoades is a native North Carolinian who writes what he describes as “redneck noir”: dark crime fiction set in the Southern U.S. This is not the South of moonlight, magnolias and mint juleps; his books, in the words of the band Drive By Truckers, are about “greed and fixed elections, guns and drugs and whores and booze.” And yet, he seems like such a cheerful guy…
His first book, The Devil’s Right Hand, was published in 2005 and was nominated for the Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America. The Devil’s Right Hand was followed by two more books featuring North Carolina bounty hunter Jack Keller: Good Day in Hell and Safe and Sound. A fourth, Devils and Dust, is coming Spring 2014 from the digital imprint Polis Books. Breaking Cover, the first book starring FBI Agent Tony Wolf, was released in 2008.
In 2009, Rhoades joined the digital publishing revolution with the stand-alone e-book Storm Surge, followed by the legal thriller Lawyers Guns and Money; the military adventure novel Gallows Pole; the sci-fi vampire space opera Monster: Nightrider’s Vengeance (published as J.D. Nixx); and Broken Shield, the sequel to Breaking Cover. He has also e-released the paranormal suspense short story “The Caretaker” and the medieval fantasy/mystery short “The King’s Justice” (again as J.D. Nixx). “Pick a genre and stick to it” is advice that does not seem to have taken hold with J.D. Rhoades.
J.D. lives and practices law in the small town of Carthage, North Carolina, where he also writes an award winning newspaper column for the Southern Pines Pilot.
Los Angeles Times Bestselling Author Stephen Jay Schwartz spent a number of years as the Director of Development for Wolfgang Petersen where he worked with writers, producers and studio executives to develop screenplays for production. Among the film projects he helped develop are Air Force One, Outbreak, Bicentennial Man, Mighty Joe Young, Red Corner, and Instinct.
His two novels, Boulevard and Beat, follow the dysfunctional journey of LAPD Robbery-Homicide detective Hayden Glass as he fights crime and corruption while struggling with his own sex-addiction. The series was recently optioned by Ben Silverman (The Office, Ugly Betty, The Tudors) for his new media company, Electus, for development as a television series.
Stephen just finished writing Grinder, a 3D action-thriller for HyperEmotive Films and Venture3D at Sony Studios. The film will be shot on location in Korea in the Spring of 2012.
Stephen has also written for the Discovery Channel and is currently writing his third novel, an FBI-based international thriller.
Stephen Jay Schwartz lives in Southern California with his wife, two children, and a frumpy-looking labradoodle named Mollie. He can be found at his website, www.stephenjayschwartz.com
Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire, but spent most of her formative years living on a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.
Zoë went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photo-journalism took her as far afield as the United States and Japan, as well as Europe, Ireland and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.
Zoë wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of Killer Instinct – the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Zoë received death-threat letters in the course of her photo-journalism work.
Later Charlie Fox novels – First Drop and Fourth Day – were finalists for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel. The Charlie Fox series has also been optioned for TV.
As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Zoë’s short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has been nominated for the coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Anthony Award presented by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Macavity Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers’ Association.
A keen library supporter and public speaker, Zoë blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor). She was formerly a long-term contributor to the acclaimed Murderati blog. She’s a regular blogger at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE and also has a presence on goodreads.
Zoë lives in the English Lake District. Her hobbies are sailing, fast cars (and faster motorbikes), target shooting, travel, films, music and reading just about anything she can get her hands on.
Alexandra Sokoloff is the bestselling, Thriller Award-winning and Bram Stoker and Anthony Award-nominated author of ten supernatural, paranormal and crime thrillers. The New York Times has called her “a daughter of Mary Shelley” and her books “Some of the most original and freshly unnerving work in the genre.”
Book One in her new Huntress Moon series was nominated for a Thriller Award in the brand-new category of Best eBook original novel. The series has been picked up by Thomas & Mercer, with Huntress Moon, Blood Moon and Cold Moon releasing simultaneously in the fall.
As a screenwriter she has sold original suspense and horror scripts and written novel adaptations for numerous Hollywood studios (Sony, Fox, Disney, Miramax), for producers such as Michael Bay, David Heyman, Laura Ziskin and Neal Moritz.
She is also the workshop leader of the internationally acclaimed Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workshops, based on her Screenwriting Tricks for Authors workbooks and blog.
Pari Noskin Taichert hails from Albuquerque and has worked as a belly-dancing instructor, textbook sales consultant, and long-time PR pro—among her more respectable jobs.
A national award-winning journalist, Pari now devotes her time to writing novels. Her first mystery, The Clovis Incident, was a regional bestseller, a Book Sense 76 Pick and a nominee for the prestigious Agatha Award in 2004. Her next novel, The Belen Hitch, did even better—selling out of its hardcover edition in a little more than a month and going immediately into trade paperback.
Among its more notable successes, The Belen Hitch was selected as a Book Sense Notable Mystery and garnered a second consecutive nomination for an Agatha Award—this time for Best Novel—for 2005.
Unlike her reality-challenged, whipped cream-dependent protagonist, Pari is married, has children and leads a relatively normal life.
Louise Ure is a fourth generation Arizonan with a deep appreciation of the magic, the mystery and the legends of the desert Southwest. She still has a large, multi-generation family in Tucson. “If you stay here long enough,” one cousin says, “everything comes through Tucson.” Louise wasn’t willing to wait.
After graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson, l’Université de Dijon in France, and the American Graduate School of International Management (“Thunderbird”) in Glendale, Arizona, Louise pursued a career in advertising and marketing that spanned twenty-five years and three continents.
In 2002, she decided to follow a lifelong dream and try writing fiction. Of course it would be a mystery novel: her bookshelves at home were organized geographically by where the murder took place.
Louise’s first novel, Forcing Amaryllis, was the Shamus Award Winner for Best First Novel and features Arizona jury consultant Calla Gentry, who becomes embroiled in a world of buried lies and violent rage when she tries to uncover the truth about her sister’s rape.
Her second book, The Fault Tree, is also set in Arizona and is the story of Cadence Moran, a blind woman thrown into a desperate race against a killer. It has been nominated for a Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Her third book, Liars Anonymous, follows roadside assistance operator Jessie Dancing, who knows what it’s like to take a life and is trying to put that memory behind her.
Louise currently lives in San Francisco.
Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He’s a former competitive race car driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He’s the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His latest thriller is No Show, the first in the Terry Sheffield mysteries. He also write horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at http://www.simonwood.net.