MysteryPeople on the Radio!

MysteryPeople will appear on Hopeton Hay’s KAZI Book Review the last Sunday of each month, to discuss our most anticipated upcoming reads!

  • Post by Molly

Starting this past January, MysteryPeople (in the corporeal form of Scott Montgomery and Molly Odintz) will join Hopeton Hay on KAZI Book Review to talk about our favorite mysteries of the past month, as well as our most anticipated read for the up-and-coming month.

Our next appearance on the show is this upcoming Sunday, March 27, where we will join Hopeton Hay and Tim Chamberlain for a live interview of author Lisa Lutz to discuss her latest novel, The Passenger. Lisa Lutz is one of our favorite authors here at the store – we love her Spellman Files series, and we’re excited about her latest, which takes a departure from her previous work. After the interview portion, we’ll discuss our favorite mysteries of March, and our most anticipated reads out in April.

Tune in to 88.7 FM the last Sunday of each month between 12:30 and 1 PM, or stream live, to finally put a voice to all those book reviews you’ve been reading. If you don’t live in the Austin area, you can stream KAZI Book Review online – just go to their website and click “listen live” to stream. Check out the KAZI Book Review Blog for recorded interviews with a diverse array of writers, including many of our favorite mystery novelists.

Hopeton Hay, on his show KAZI Book Review, has interviewed many of the best authors writing today, including Harlan Coben, Reed Farrel Coleman, Philip Kerr, Attica Locke, Walter Mosley, National Book Award winners James McBride and Jesmyn Ward, and Pulitzer Prize winners Liaquat Ahamad and T.J. Stiles, in a diverse array of genres. Mr. Hay contributed to our compilation of MysteryPeople’s Top 100 Crime and Suspense Novels, and he’s currently organizing a book festival to take place in Pflugerville at the Pflugerville Public Library. Included in the festival, among many other panels, will be a panel dedicated to discussing the MysteryPeople Top 100 list.

The Pflugerville Book Pfestival will take place Saturday, April 16th, and Sunday, April 17th. We’ll bring you more information closer to the date, and in the meantime, go to their event page to find out more.

We’ll be back on Hopeton Hay’s Book Review on Sunday, March 27th, and we hope you all tune in!

You can find copies of Lisa Lutz’s The Passenger on our shelves and via All of the books recommended by Scott and Molly are available either on our shelves, by special order, or via 

MysteryPeople Q&A with J. Aaron Sanders, author of SPEAKERS OF THE DEAD


  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

J Aaron Sanders’ new novel Speakers Of The Dead quickly became one of my favorite debuts for 2016. It features Walt Whitman as a young reporter in 1843 New York, looking into a real murder to clear the name of a friend. It is a well crafted historical mystery, filled with politics, religion, and grave robbing. Sanders takes a look at the city that was as tough in the 1840s as it was in any other time. Mr. Sanders was kind enough to answer a few questions from us.

“Nearly every sentence in a historical novel has to be bolstered by research, and so I surrounded myself with stacks of books and journal articles. I pasted photocopied images of 19th century New York on my walls. I combed through Whitman biographies over and over, and I read from Leaves of Grass every day.”

MysteryPeople Scott: Which came first, using the Beautiful Cigar Girl Murder for a plot or Walt Whitman as a protagonist?

J. Aaron Sanders: The idea to use Whitman as a protagonist came first, but when I was researching the novel I came across Daniel Stashower’s The Beautiful Cigar Girl. Reading that book changed my novel. He writes that the Mary Rogers murder “became a catalyst for sweeping change” in 1840s New York City (4). Law enforcement was exposed as inadequate. The sensational details gave rise to sensationalism. And murder became “a bankable commodity” (5).

I realized that a novel about 1843 New York City cannot ignore the impact of the Mary Rogers murder. Rogers’s death exposed a city mired in corruption, power plays, and incompetence. It is precisely this fact that makes “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” the perfect way to frame my novel Speakers of the Dead. In it, a young Walt Whitman attempts to solve the murder of a friend, Abraham Stowe, a doctor suspected of botching the abortion that killed Mary Rogers (Stowe’s character is pure fiction). To find out who killed Abraham Stowe, Walt must take on the unsolved Mary Rogers murder too.

Read More »

Crime Fiction Friday: Celebrating Rhys Bowen


  • Introduced by Molly

Thanks to a generous grant from Sisters in Crime, Rhys Bowen stopped in last week on March 12th to speak and sign her latest Molly Murphy mystery, Time of Fog and Fire. Signed copies of Time of Fog and Fire are available on our shelves and via

Next Monday, as part of our celebration of Bowen’s mysteries, the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club will meet to discuss Bowen’s 13th installment of the Murphy series, City of Darkness and Light, in which Molly Murphy must travel across the pond with her baby son, Liam, as her husband faces down the Cosa Nostra in New York. She keeps busy on her trip to Paris with a mission to track down a painter’s ethereal subject, rumored to have gone mad.

 The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets the third Monday of each month on BookPeople’s third floor, starting at 1 PM. Book club selections are 10% off in-store. You can find copies of City of Darkness and Light on our shelves and via

For today’s Crime Fiction Friday, rather than sharing a short story, we decided to share this excerpt, originally posted on, from Away in a Manger, Bowen’s Christmastime Molly Murphy novella. Signed copies of Away in a Manger are available on our shelves and via

Excerpt from Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen


New York City, Wednesday, December 13, 1905

Tis the Season to be jolly,” sang the carolers outside Grace Church, while across Broadway the brass band of the Salvation Army thumped out “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” in competition. It seemed as if the whole of New York City was suddenly caught up in the Christmas spirit. I maneuvered Liam’s buggy along the crowded sidewalk, checking to make sure that Bridie was walking close beside me. In such a crowd one couldn’t be too careful. Everyone seemed to be laden with packages and baskets of food items needed for holiday baking. It had been a year of optimism, with President Roosevelt elected for his first full term of office and the Wright brothers showing the world that airplanes really could stay up in the sky for more than a few seconds. We were definitely in the age of progress.

I pulled Bridie back from the edge of the street as an automobile drove past, sending up a spray of slush and mud. So much for the age of progress, I thought, as some of it splashed onto my skirt. It had snowed the night before, the first snow of the season, creating an air of excitement, until the sun had come out and started to melt it, making the sidewalks slippery, dirty, and difficult to navigate. As we reached the corner of Tenth Street the young crossing sweepers were busy at work, clearing a pathway through the slush so that we ladies didn’t get the hems of our skirts dirty…”


Read the rest of the story.

MysteryPeople Q&A with Drew Chapman


Interview by MysteryPeople contributor Scott Butki

Michael Lewis’s novel The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, adapted into the film The Big Short, proved that, whatever the medium, a narrative can be educational and entertaining about economics and economic concepts.

Drew Chapman’s The King of Fear proves you can write a thriller with some of those same concepts; if you think that means the story has to slow to explain the markets and patterns you’re quite wrong.

“The book grew out of my obsession with the idea of fear as a motivating force in everyday life. Everywhere I look these days, it seems like we – and by we I mean the people of the US – have convinced ourselves that our world is about to collapse. We seem to believe that we’re under siege by terrorists, or immigrants, or Muslims, or exotic contagions. I wanted to explore that idea, and create a story where one character – and one nation – takes advantage of our habit of overreacting and panicking.”

– Drew Chapman

Picture this: A thriller featuring highly skilled data hackers. Their leader, Garrett Reilly,  is, on the plus side, a genius; he can spot patterns like the main characters in The Big Short. On the negative side, Reilly is wanted by law enforcement for allegedly causing the killing of the head of the New York Federal Reserve.

Hunting Reilly and messing with economic markets for reasons not immediately clear is an equally smart man from Russia who takes on other people’s identities, and gets people to do things they’d be wise not to do, faster than most people change clothes.

Mix, spin and did I mention the author writes for television, so his plot twists are amazing? Drew Chapman is best known for his extensive TV and movie writing career (notably, TNT’s Legends, ABC’s Assets, A House Divided, Standoff); he burst on to the book scene a couple years ago with The Ascendant (20th Century Fox is developing a TV series).

This book is the best thriller I have read in a year and I read at least 25 to 50 mysteries and thrillers a year. Pick up this book and you can thank me later.

Scott Butki: How did you come up with this great thriller of a story?

Drew Chapman: First off, thank you for saying the story was great! The book grew out of my obsession with the idea of fear as a motivating force in everyday life. Everywhere I look these days, it seems like we – and by we I mean the people of the US – have convinced ourselves that our world is about to collapse. We seem to believe that we’re under siege by terrorists, or immigrants, or Muslims, or exotic contagions. I wanted to explore that idea, and create a story where one character – and one nation – takes advantage of our habit of overreacting and panicking.

Read More »

Three Picks for March

  • picks from Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

97800623445881Hard Cold Winter by Glenn Erik Hamilton


Former thief and soldier Van Shaw is asked to locate the sister of one of his old running buddies. When he finds her and the son a prominent Seattle family murdered, he’s caught between the cities power brokers, organized crime factions, the law, and his personal code. Hamilton is creating a series that truly defines modern hardboiled. You can find copies of Hard Cold Winter on our shelves and via

Speakers Of The Dead by J Aaron Hamilton9780143128717

In 1843 New York, young newspaper reporter Walt Whitman is on a crusade to clear the name of a friend hung for murder. The mystery involves grave robbers, city corruption, and the clash of religion and medical practice of the time, as Whitman has to face cops and criminals alike on the city’s streets that were as dangerous and gritty then as they were then as they are now.. Great for fans of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist. You can find copies of Speakers of the Dead on our shelves and via


PIMP by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr

Max and Angela are conniving again. Their life story has been turned into a bestselling book and now there is a TV show in the works. You know both will do anything to get a piece of the action. Throw in some gang members, a screenwriter out for vengeance, a new designer drug, and a Kardashian or two, and you have a wild, violent, satire that drops more than a few recognizable names to crime fiction fans, poking fun at many of them.You can find copies of PIMP on our shelves and via

MysteryPeople Q&A with Lavie Tidhar

A Man Lies Dreaming, our March Pick of the Month, is released today. The novel follows two protagonists, one in our universe, and one in an alternative history universe, as they navigate the pitfalls of two very different visions of World War II. Below, you’ll find an interview with British-Israeli writer Lavie Tidhar, author of the genre-bending literary scifi novels A Man Lies Dreaming, Osama, The Violent Century and The Bookman Histories, and the first author whose work I’ve felt truly deserves comparisons to Philip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle.

  • Interview by Molly Odintz

Molly Odintz: In A Man Lies Dreaming, you include references to the work of Ka-Tzetnik 135633, a concentration camp survivor and Israeli writer who used pulp fiction as a medium to process the traumas of the Holocaust. You reference, in your footnotes, an article published in Tablet that profiles Ka-Tzetnik’s work as lurid, pornographic, and profound; his novel House of Dolls, although out of print in English, is required reading in Israeli schools, despite its concentration camp bordello setting. Can you tell me a bit about how Ka-Tzetnik’s work influenced you? How has Ka-Tzetnik 135633 and his work fallen into such obscurity in the United States?

Lavie Tidhar: I’ll be honest – I was never really able to read Ka-Tzetnik! (I think it’s Samalandra that’s been on the school curriculum, incidentally, not House of Dolls. But I’m not entirely sure). My interest was more in the argument that he represents, and the effect that he’s had on the way the War was then explored in the Hebrew pulps following the Eichmann Trial. Watching the video of him testifying during the trial is a powerful experience, it’s almost the defining moment of the trial, in many ways (you can find it on Youtube). Weirdly, I don’t even know that much about him.

I realise this is a terrible answer! But I often find myself corresponding with cultural artefacts that I may only really know second or third hand, by a sort of cultural osmosis, really. Or, to put it another way, I just try to make sure I sound smarter than I actually am!

“I grew up on a lot of those weird, experimental, very non-commercial forms of US 60s science fiction, European crime fiction, and so I always had the (possibly quaint!) notion that genre could very powerfully act as a countercultural literature, a radical literature. There’s something very powerful in serving up a sort of crazy funhouse mirror on reality, and there is something very liberating when you can consider humanity – just as a for instance! – not as central to the narrative but as a sort of cosmic speck of dust in a vastly enormous universe… it’s the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night!”

Read More »

MysteryPeople Review: SPEAKERS OF THE DEAD by J. Aaron Sanders

  • Review by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery9780143128717New York City’s past seems to be a perfect setting for crime fiction writers. Whether Caleb Carr’s special unit hunting down a serial killer in the 1890s, David C. Taylor’s view of the city as a place for the dirty deeds of 1950s power players, or Lindsay Fayes’ Timothy Wilde working a beat as one of its first coppers, it seems that New York was was corrupt as soon as the Dutch bought it from The American Indians for twenty-four bucks. J Aaron Sanders is the latest to travel along New York’s underbelly of the past with The Speakers Of The Dead.

    Our hero is a young Walt Whitman, reporting for the Aurora newspaper in 1843. We meet in him in a failed attempt to rescue his friend, Lena Stowe, co-founder of The Women’s Medical College, from being hung for murdering her husband, Abraham. Abraham had been accused of killing his mistress in a botched abortion. It is a sensational case that has caught the interest of Whitman’s professional rival, Edgar Allen Poe.

    Determined to clear Lena and Abraham’s names, Whitman embarks on an investigative piece with the help of his new editor and old lover, Henry. The woman’s murder is tied to the controversial practice of human dissection and the black market trade of grave robbing it has created. Before long, he’s is caught in a web of New York’s secrets where crime, politics, religion, and science all intersect.

    Sanders gives us a vivid and grimy New York of its time. Whitman’s scrappy and competitive newspaper world gives it a pace for a ripping yarn. The city has the feel of an enormous village who’s rapid growth is out of control. The elites struggle to to contain it, but there is a feeling it could bust out into anarchy any time.

    J Aaron Sanders takes you back to an exciting New York, growing into the metropolis it will become. He populates it with rich characters who all carry their share of secrets. I look forward to the next tour he and Mr. Whitman will give. You can find copies of Speakers of the Dead on our shelves and via