MysteryPeople Q&A: Scott Butki Interviews Sascha Arango

  • Interview by Scott Butki

With his new book, The Truth and Other Lies, Sascha Arango has set and surpassed a high bar. His plot and style remind me of the great Patricia Highsmith.

The protagonist, as the book starts, has a problem: His wife has been secretly writing the popular novels that he claims to pen. And his mistress is getting in the way. When he tries to kill one but perhaps kills the other, things go crazy and your blood gets pumping. If you like good plot-driven mysteries, give this book a chanceYou can find copies of The Truth and Other Lies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

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Special Crime Fiction Sunday: “Chocolate Moose” by Bill and Judy Crider

We are happy to have Texas genre writer extraordinaire Bill Crider joining us for an evening of Lone Star Crime with Reavis Wortham and Ben Rehder. They’ll be here at the store on Monday, September 28th, at 7 PM. Bill will be reading from his latest Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery, Between The Living & The Dead. If you are not familiar with his Clearwater, Texas lawman here’s a taste from the Anthony Award winning short story he wrote with his wife. It even has a chicken fried steak recipe. Can you get more Texas?

“Chocolate Moose” by Bill and Judy Crider

“Sheriff Dan Rhodes didn’t go to the Round-Up Restaurant often, but not because the food wasn’t good. He didn’t go because the food was too good.

The portable sign out front told the story with black letters on a white background: ABSOLUTELY NO CHICKEN FISH OR VEGETARIAN DISHES CAN BE FOUND ON OUR MENU!

What could be found were huge chicken-fried steaks and mashed potatoes smothered in cream gravy; big, soft rolls served with real butter; cooked-to-order T-bones marbled with fat on a plate beside a gigantic baked potato slathered with real butter, sour cream, and bacon bits; hamburger steaks with grilled onions piled high, along with a mound of french-fries or, if you preferred, hand-cut and battered onion rings. And, for dessert, there was a choice of peach or cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream on top. If you didn’t like cobbler, there was chocolate pie, with the best, the richest, the sweetest filling that Rhodes had ever tasted under its inch-thick meringue.

In other words, the Round-Up served good, solid food that stuck to your ribs, put a smile on your face, and, according to many leading physicians, filled your coronary arteries with substances whose effect on your health it was better not to think about. Which was why Rhodes rarely ate there.  His wife, Ivy, had him on a low-fat regimen that was taking inches off his waistline and, she claimed, adding years to his life. As Rhodes pulled the county car into the Round-Up’s black-topped parking lot, he wished, in spite of the risk to his longevity, that he were going there to have a big slice of chocolate pie, or, failing that, maybe one of those baked potatoes.  But he wasn’t. He was going to see about a man who’d been killed by a moose.


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Crime Fiction Friday: “Crossing Traffic” by Sean McCluskey

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Spinetingler Online Magazine has become a favorite site for all that is crime fiction. It has great reviews and interviews, as well as short fiction from up-and-coming talent. Recently, Spinetingler posted this piece by Sean McCluskey. McCluskey shows great skill in dropping just the right amount of information at the right time with his story of these two well-matched adversaries facing off.

Crossing Traffic” by Sean McCluskey

“He’s not a cop, even though he wants me to think he is. I know that as soon as I open my front door and see him standing there in his sport coat and khakis, holding up his badge.

He’s standing right in front of the door. Real cops don’t do that. They stand off to one side, so you can’t shoot them through the mail slot or the peephole or whatever. His badge gleams, inside a buttery-smooth leather wallet that definitely hasn’t been hauled out of pockets over and over for years. The picture on his ID card is recent. Like, I think he’s wearing the same necktie recent. Like, I think he has the same shaving cut on his chin recent. And the lettering on the card is blurry. Cheap printers do that when the heads get dirty…”

Read the rest of the story.

MysteryPeople Q&A with Chris F. Holm

Chris F. Holm’s The Killing Kind introduces us to Michael Hendricks, a hitman who kills other hitmen at the behest of the intended victim. The novel expands his much-acclaimed short story “The Hitter.” Chris was kind enough to talk to us about the book, his writing, and the art of reading.


MysteryPeople Scott: This was originally a short story. What did you want to expand and explore with Hendricks and his situation?

Chris F. Holm: Both the novel and the short story feature a hitman who makes a living hitting other hitmen, only to wind up a target himself. Both feature a man traumatized by his past misdeeds whose cold, calculating facade crumbles when those he cares about are threatened. But “The Hitter” is written in almost claustrophobic first person, and its primary focus is the narrator’s slow unraveling. The novel is told in sprawling third, and is far more concerned with the possibility of his redemption.

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Mark Pryor and Family Film A Trailer for His Latest Novel, HOLLOW MAN

hollow man

We chose Mark Pryor’s new stand-alone, Hollow Man, for our September Pick Of The Month. Hollow Man is a different kettle of fish from his Paris-based Hugo Marston series – in his latest, Pryor follows a sociopath through a heist gone wrong in Austin. Mark’s books may be entertaining, but what’s even more entertaining? This trailer featuring his children as they fall under the spell of his novels! Here he shows the effect such a dark book could (emphasis on could) have on his family.

Mark Pryor joins us to speak and sign his latest on Wednesday, September 30, at 7 PM. You can find copies of Hollow Man on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

Three Picks for September

the white vanThe White Van by Patrick Hoffman

My favorite debut of 2014 is now out in paperback. A “functioning” drug addict gets manipulated into being a front for a bank robber, but takes off before she hands over the money. Russian criminals and a crooked cop then pursue her on a mad chase through San Francisco. Hoffman delivers a relentless, gritty thriller with a cast of characters way out of their depth. Out today! You can find copies of The White Van on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

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MysteryPeople Q&A with Reed Farrel Coleman

In Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins, Reed Farrel Coleman’s second outing with Parker’s character Jesse Stone, the Paradise, Mass. police chief discovers a fresh body with ties to two girls gone missing decades before. The girls were friends of Stone’s deputy, Molly, and her past becomes tied to the case. It is a blend of aesthetics between creator and the author carrying the torch. The final passage reminded me of something the great Ross McDonald would write. We caught up with Reed to talk about the book and how the series has developed.


MysteryPeople Scott: Much of The Devil Wins revolves around Jesse’s deputy, Molly, and an incident from her past. What made you want to put the spotlight on her?

Reed Farrel Coleman: One of the aspects of my job in taking over the series is to work within the spaces that Bob Parker left me to operate in. One of the areas I believe Mr. Parker would have eventually delved into is the lives of Jesse Stone’s supporting cast. In his Jesse novels he has touched upon the lives of Molly, Suit, and Captain Healy, but never very deeply. I thought this was a great opportunity to see Molly, one of the very popular characters in the series, in a different light. As someone and something more than Jesse’s foil for wisecracks and banter.

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