MysteryPeople Review: CLOWNFISH BLUES by Tim Dorsey

  • Review by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana

Tim Dorsey, known for his mischievous characters and their bizarre adventures, comes to BookPeople to speak and sign his latest novel of Floridian high-jinks, Clownfish Blues, on Sunday, March 5th, at 5 PM

9780062429223Florida author Tim Dorsey has gained a zealous following for his hilarious series featuring Serge A. Storms and his perpetually baked sidekick Coleman. In Clownfish Blues, the pair’s 20th outing, the duo hit the road in a vintage silver Corvette to shoot their own episodes of Serge’s favorite classic TV series “Route 66”. (Route 66 doesn’t pass through Florida, you say? Doesn’t matter, as it seems that about a dozen episodes near the end of the series were actually filmed in Florida—a fact that only Florida history buff Serge would be sure to know.)

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Q&A with Kathleen Kent

While she’s a respected historical fiction author, Kathleen Kent is new to
crime fiction. In The Dime, she introduces us to Betty Rhyzyk, a tall, red-headed, lesbian cop from Brooklyn whose first big case after transferring to Dallas gets her neck deep in drugs, cartels, and murder. We caught up with Kathleen to ask few questions before she joins Joe Lansdale for a signing and discussion at BookPeople on February 23rd.

MysteryPeople Scott: Betty Rhyzyk first appeared in a short story as a part of the anthology Dallas Noir.  Did you know you wanted to do more with her after writing that?

Kathleen Kent: I’ve always loved contemporary crime fiction, but never tried my hand at it until the editor of Dallas Noir asked me to submit a short story for the collection.  A cousin of mine is an undercover cop in Dallas and I asked him for some true-life incidents—things taken from his own experiences.  After some prodding, and promises to change the names, dates and places, he provided me with some hair-raising stories.  Out of those stories Det. Betty Rhyzyk was born.  I truly thought that the short story would be a one-and-done project, but the character stayed with me.  And, at the urging of my agent, I started developing an outline for a novel-length work, which grew into The Dime.  It took me about a year to complete the book once I found the voice and narrative style.

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Q&A with Joe Lansdale

If you’re a fan of Joe Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard, get ready to be happy for a long time. A new novel Rusty Puppy is out (which Joe will be signing and discussing February 23rd along with author Kathleen Kent), followed by a limited edition novella, Coco Butternut, and a
mosaic novel dealing with their early years, Blood And Lemonade, coming in March about the time when the second season of Hap & Leonard on The Sundance Channel. We caught up to Joe to talk about some of the projects, his characters, race, and political correctness.

9780316311564MysteryPeople Scott: Rusty Puppy is one of your best plotted novels. There are times when even Hap and Leonard find themselves surprised that they are thinking like private eyes. Did you have it mind to write a more traditional detective novel?

Joe Lansdale: Thank you. I don’t always think so much of plot lines as I think of story lines, and to some extent, they are different but can overlap. A story can grow naturally out of situations, not clockwork mechanisms, so I try to write plots that seem to be solutions to the events, not manipulations of the events. Sometimes it’s a bit more of one than the other. I do like a clockwork plot from time to time, but Hap and Leonard are usually a lot more free willing. I think this one seems more plotted, and I’m glad it works for you. I like to mix up my approach on the Hap and Leonard novels. Series are hard, because for them to be successful you have to ring certain bells already rung, and yet you have to try and make it feel fresh. Not always possible, or as satisfactory as you would like. You want the characters to remain the characters, but I’ve written Hap and Leonard as adventure novels, mystery novels, character pieces, road novels and even creepers, and sometimes all at the same time. Frequently, in fact.

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Judgement, Absolution, and Crickets: MysteryPeople Q&A with Alexandra Burt

  • Interview by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

If you’re out and about tomorrow night, have we got a great event planned here at the store! Alexandra Burt joins us to speak and sign her latest psychological thriller, The Good Daughter (also our MysteryPeople Pick of the Month for February) on Tuesday, February 21st at 7 PMThe Good Daughter follows a daughter’s search for her own, and her mother’s, true identities. The novel takes place in a small Texas town, and weaves together modern-day murders with historic injustices for a well-crafted and suspenseful tale. 

Molly Odintz: You’ve spoken a bit about the experiences that inspired you to write The Good Daughter – could you tell us a bit about the real story behind the characters in the novel? 

Alexandra Burt: The Good Daughter was inspired by the demise of a marriage I witnessed. A middle-aged woman disappears and her husband finds their house void of her belongings. There are questions but no answers and he makes it his mission to get to the reason as to why she left him. Through detective work her life story unfolds and with every passing day more secrets come to light. It becomes apparent that he knows next to nothing about her; thirteen years of marriage yet she has remained a stranger. This is not just the whim of a middle-aged woman looking to end a marriage, but bombshell after bombshell explodes and a story unfolds of victims she has left in her wake.

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The Destructiveness of Love: MysteryPeople Q&A with Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough comes to BookPeople this Saturday, February 18th, at 3 PM to speak and sign her new genre-bending tale of psychological suspense, Behind Her Eyesa novel already internationally renowned for its insane twist ending. Pinborough was kind enough to answer a few questions before the event. 

  • Interview by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

“I think the main theme is the destructiveness of love. I wanted to write about how it’s not always the positive force we hope for and it can do as much harm as good if the wrong people fall in love.”

Molly Odintz:  You’ve worked in multiple genres, and without giving anything away, Behind Her Eyes is a genre-bender as well as a mind-bender of a read. What’s your most-preferred genre to work in, and what advice would you give writers interested in telling stories across genres?

Sarah Pinborough: I don’t really think of story in terms of genre, but I like writing stories that are puzzles, and most of my books have been mysteries of on sort or another. I like making the reader have to put a jigsaw together, whether that crime with sci-fi or horror or fantasy or straight thriller. As for advising writers who like to cross-genres, I’d probably say that the important thing – for me, at least – is to have a dominant genre. So, it might be crime with a hint of sci-fi, but it adheres to the rules of crime. Or horror with romance – then it would be primarily horror, but with gothic romance elements. I think where it is most likely to fail – not always, but most likely – is if it’s a 50/50 split between genres. I prefer just adding hints of other genres rather than over-loading. But that’s just me!

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MysteryPeople Review: BEHIND HER EYES by Sarah Pinborough

  • Review by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

Sarah Pinborough comes to BookPeople this Saturday, February 18th, at 3 PM to speak and sign her new genre-bending psychological thriller of suspense, Behind Her Eyesreviewed below. 

9781250111173When given an opportunity to read master-of-all-genre-fiction Sarah Pinborough’s shocking new thriller, Behind Her EyesI had no idea what to expect – aside from the cover’s promise of a twist at the end. After finishing the book, staring at nothing for a good half hour thinking “wtf just happened?!?!!!,” and rereading various parts of the book to reinterpret the meaning of significant passages in the light of new information, I felt grateful that I came into the book with no expectations. The reader who thinks they know what to expect should just toss that idea out the window right now. You cannot possibly predict that wonderful horrorshow of an ending.

Pinborough’s latest appears, at first, to tell the story of a love triangle. As the tale continues, sinister agendas arise and reshape our perceptions of characters, plotlines, and reality itself. In the elaborate, many layered nature of its twist, Behind Her Eyes conjures the specter of the films The Sixth SenseThe Spanish Prisoner, or any other tale that can be finished and reconsidered in an entirely new light based on the end.

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Ragged Creatures: MysteryPeople Q&A with Ian Rankin

  • Interview by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

Ian Rankin is on tour celebrating his thirty years with Rebus, chronicling the rough and ready Edinburgh copper. Even retired you can’t keep him off a case –  when he notes the connections between the cold case murder of a rock star’s girlfriend and the modern-day roughing up of a new tough guy around town, he can’t keep away from the investigation, especially with the knowledge that his old nemesis is the main suspect.  With Rebus working with former partner Clark and former Complaints detective Fox, we get one involving procedural in Rather Be The Devil.

Ian Rankin joins us to speak and sign Rather Be the Devil this Thursday February 16th, at 7PM. We caught up to him ask a few questions about the book and these well loved characters on both sides of the law.

MysteryPeople Scott: I know some of your books are loosely based on real crimes or cases. Is that the case here?

Ian Rankin: As usual, there’s a grain of actuality to one of the plots. It concerns financial shenanigans (not wanting to give too much away!), and was something I saw reported on the TV news in Scotland a couple of years back.

MPS: How much of a challenge has it been to keep Rebus investigating since he’s been retired?

IR: I’m finding there are pluses and minuses regarding Rebus’s retirement. He no longer has to follow procedure and protocol. On the other hand, he is distanced from the tools that would normally aid him in an investigation. I do have some fun with that – getting him in and out of police stations and CID offices. But I always have to be aware of his fresh limitations and try to use these to refresh the way I approach each new story.

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(Extremely) Unauthorized Relationship Advice Inspired by Crime Fiction: Part 3

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

We conclude our countdown to the holiday of love with fake relationship advice from three more characters. Jessica Knoll’s TifAni FaNelli gives advice on marrying a blueblood, Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher encourages us to take as many lovers as we’d like, and Paula Hawkins’ protagonist from The Girl on the Train schools us on fact-checking and female solidarity. We hope you’ve enjoyed our series – send us your relationship questions (and which character you’d like to give you advice) to keep the series going! 

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MysteryPeople Q&A: KJ Howe, Director of ThrillerFest, Makes Her Fiction Debut

  • Interview by MysteryPeople Contributor and Blogger Scott Butki

K.J. Howe has written a thriller full of multiple plot twists that will have you looking
over your proverbial shoulder. How appropriate that the author of the debut novel The Freedom Broker may be better known as the executive director of ThrillerFest, the organization’s annual conference held every July in New York City.

“Kidnapping fascinated me because it is such a painful and unusual experience, a purgatory of sorts. When you’re a hostage, you’re still alive, but you’re not really living.”

The book comes with quotes praising it from authors throughout the mystery and thriller community including James Patterson, Clive Cussler and Scott Turow. For her debut Howe has picked a fascinating yet disturbing topic: the practice of kidnapping for ransom. She has spent two years researching the topic, interviewing former hostages, negotiators, hostage reintegration experts, special forces operatives, and K&R insurance executives.
The premise is that there are 25 elite professionals who travel undercover to the deadliest spots in the world to bring hostages home safely by any means necessary. Only one of those 25 elite response consultants is a woman.

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(Extremely) Unauthorized Relationship Advice Inspired by Crime Fiction: Part 2

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

We hope you enjoyed the first installment of our parody advice column from crime fiction characters – on to the more contemporary (and just as unauthorized) columns! Below, let Gillian Flynn’s Amazing Amy help you keep your boyfriend around, allow Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell to assure your niece of a successful marriage, and consider a cure for an annoying ex proposed by Ruth Ware’s Lo Blacklock. 

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