The Long Drop: A Novel Cover ImageFor October, The Murder In The Afternoon book club will look at one of Scotland’s most notorious crimes through the pen of one it’s finest authors. Denise Mina’s The Long Drop looks at The Beast Of Birkenshaw who murdered eight people around the Glasgow area in the late fifties. Mina takes the facts and blends a fiction that creates something more personal and even darker.

Two of the killer’s victims were the wife and daughter of William Watt who was originally under suspicion. The book begins with a meeting Watt’s lawyer has arranged with Watt and Peter Manuel, a petty criminal who says he has knowledge of where the murder weapon is. He agrees to show Watt the evidence and tell him more, if they ditch the counselor. The two have a nightmare pub crawl that Mina weaves through Manuel’s trial for the murders.

Mina uses both stories to examine moral and social aberrations, delving into media, class, and both sins of commission and omission. Everyone who has read this book has loved it and come away with their own interesting take.  Share yours with us Monday, October 15th, at 1PM, on BookPeople’s third floor. The book is 10% off for those planning to attend.


Great American Reads Discussion : Villains & Monsters

This Sunday a 1pm on BookPeople’s third floor, we will continue our discussions tied to PBS’s Great American Reads. The subject will be villains and monsters.

Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery will be leading the discussion along with authors Meg Gardiner, who has created many a memorable villain in her thrillers and Mark Pryor, creator of Austin sociopath, Dominic. All three have listed three of their favorite villains and monsters below

Scott Montgomery

Frankenstein’s Monster- A wonderful reflection of the protagonist and pretty much the start of the man created threat. A great example of an often interpreted monster.

Deputy Lou Ford – Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is still the most chilling novel I ever read. It is mainly do to the benign way this psychopath with a badge discusses his crimes.

Adan’ Berrera – In Don Winslow’s The Power Of The Dog and The Cartel, he took much of Narco lord El Chapo’s life and created a wily, charming, do-whatever’s-necessary crime boss who pushes DEA agent Art Keller into the dark action to take him down. No villain has manipulated a hero so thoroughly.


Mark Pryor

Professor James Moriarty – the finest example of a bad guy so captivating that, even though he was created to finish off Sherlock Holmes, he became far larger than anticipated by the author.

Hannibal Lecter – simply the gold standard for intelligent, evil, and mesmerizingly interesting antagonists.

Anton Chigurh – from No Country For Old Men, great book and great movie. He’s a hired killer, and normally those are fairly uninteresting because they have no deep-seated compulsion or motivation to kill. Yet, Chigurh’s personality quirks and ruthless make him fascinating (to me at least).


Meg Gardiner

Hannibal Lecter: So compelling that almost everybody else in the novels where he features simply seems to melt away. Everybody except the heroes, seemingly ill-equipped to counter him, who must rise to the challenge—Clarice Starling and Will Graham.

Randall Flagg: from Stephen King’s The Stand. A handsome, charismatic leader, a ruthless destroyer, the avatar of all cult messiahs who turn out—in this case, perhaps literally—to be the devil.

The shark in Jaws- voracious, relentless, and terrifying, it roams the unseen deep. It’s a primal manifestation of Nature’s dangers, and a reminder that death can rise up to rip into us at any moment.


Join us Sunday as we take a deep tour through literature’s rogues gallery.



To celebrate International Crime Fiction Month we’re giving our Crime Fiction Friday slot over to Akashic Books, known for their anthologies of noir tales that all take place in a particular city, and their Monday’s Are Murder post with a crime story that also takes place in a city and has to be under 500 words. One of their regular contributors is Irish writer Seamus Scanlon. Here, he looks at a murder in Galway where you’ll never hear a certain Neil Young song the same way again.

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Q&A with Con Lehane

murder at the 42nd street library_MECH_01.inddWe are happy to have Con Lehane as one of our readers at Noir At The Bar on May 12th. Con, who wrote three books with New York bartender Brian McNulty is now giving us a new amateur sleuth – crime fiction curator for the New York Public Library Ray Ambler. Ambler’s first mystery, Murder At The 42nd Street Library, has the hero dealing with a murder in the library dealing with an author’s notes and dark secrets. Con was kind enough to talk to us about the book, influence, and his city.


1.What drew you to a librarian for your main character?

When my publisher cancelled my McNulty the Bartender series, my editor, Marcia Markland at Thomas Dunne Books, suggested I think about setting a story at the 42nd Street Library. She thought another book set in New York City with a different cast of characters and setting might work better than the New York City bars worked. I don’t remember if she suggested using a librarian as the detective, but it’s logical. The fact is Raymond Ambler is a curator, or archivist, not a research librarian. I did this because librarians know too much for an interloper like me to fake it. Curators are subject area specialists. I figured I could fake one of those, if I used the right knowledge area. I invented “crime fiction” as an area of expertise. It’s an area I know something about, though I’m far from an expert.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Q&A With Paul Charles


paul charlesWe are looking forward to hosting author Paul Charles along with the three writers who make up Miles Arceneaux on Wednesday, May 11th. His latest novel featuring Inspector Starrett has the policeman and his squad looking into a murder at a very interesting location, a home where the Catholic Church hides away their problem priests. Paul was kind enough to answer a few questions about religion, writing and St. Ernan’s Blues.

1.The premise of a whodunit with most of the suspects being disgraced priests is brilliant. How did it come about?

Well the house came first. I spend a part of each summer in Donegal (my wife is from there) and on our many travels we came across St Ernan’s Island with St Ernan’s House.  Even more interesting is the fact that all the history in St Ernan’s Blues about the house and the Island are all true. I always find fact more fascinating than fiction and so I resolved to use the island, house and history of both in one of my books but it wasn’t until I started the Inspector Starrett stories that I had an opportunity to use it.

Read More »