(Belated) Crime Fiction Friday: “A Change of Clothes” by Mark Pryor


This September’s Pick Of The Month is Hollow Man by Mark Pryor. The book uses his background as a prosecutor to draw a portrait of a sociopath defense attorney. He drew inspiration for his novel from his short story “A Change of Clothes,” posted on A Twist Of Noir back in 2009. You can find copies of Hollow Man on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Pryor joins us at BookPeople on Wednesday, September 30, to speak and sign his latest. 

“A Change of Clothes” by Mark Pryor

“She was the first one in days, maybe weeks, who didn’t stink. Who didn’t shuffle or cower, or prowl through the metal door like an angry dog.

She was the first one in days, weeks, who made me stand up straight and pay attention to the paperwork.

One by one, the deputy brought them out, made them stand on the black line in front of the judge, and two feet to my right. The deputy would give me a nod if they were compliant, raise an eyebrow if he expected a fight. Very few of them fight.

One by one, the judge lets them plead guilty, asking me, the state’s prosecutor, to detail the plea agreement. This one gets probation, this one gets jail. And this one, the stinking fat man who likes little kids, he gets ten years in prison and then ten years of probation. Yeah, I’m looking at you, fat man, what the fuck are you gonna do about it?

But when the deputy brought her out, he just looked at me, our secret code abandoned. Hardly surprising, it’s not like we had a signal for hot chicks. Never needed one…”

Read the rest of the story. 

MysteryPeople Q&A with Ben Rehder

  • Interview by MysteryPeople Scott

We’re happy to have Ben Rehder joining us for our Lone Star Mystery authors panel September 28th. In Bum Steer, Rehder’s latest novel to feature John Marlin of Blanco County, Marlin solves the mystery behind two dead bodies: a man and a steer.  We caught up with him to talk about the book and the real and fictional Blanco County.

MysteryPeople Scott: You often use news items or current events for your Blanco County books. Did a real life event inspire Bum Steer?

Ben Rehder: Not any single event, but cattle rustling in general had been in my head for a while. I think some people are surprised to learn that rustling still takes place, but it does, and there are special rangers who investigate those thefts, along with theft of farm and ranch equipment. Imagine trying to steal a thousand-pound animal that doesn’t want to cooperate. That was the germ of the idea that grew into Bum Steer.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Q&A with Bill Crider

  • Interviewed by MysteryPeople Scott

Bill Crider is the epitome of the Texas journeyman writer. He has written in almost every genre and subgenre, his mysteries about Clearview sheriff Dan Rhodes being his best known. In his latest, Between The Living And The Dead, Dan Rhodes confronts murder, meth, and a possible ghost. Bill took a few questions from us about the Dan Rhodes novels and his career.

Bill Crider joins us Monday, September 28th, at 7 PM here at BookPeople for a Lone Star Crime panel. He’ll be speaking and signing his latest novel alongside Reavis Z. Wortham and Ben Rehder. You can find copies of Between The Living And The Dead on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

MysteryPeople Scott: What prompted you to use ghost hunters as a major part of the mystery?

Bill Crider: I’ve always wanted to write a haunted-house story, but I never came up with the right start for it. Then one day in the Walmart parking lot here in Alvin, Texas, I saw a ghost-hunters’ van, and I knew I had my hook. I had a character who’d be a perfect ghost hunter, so I gave him the job, threw in a murder, and had my haunted-house book.

Read More »

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.

MysteryPeople Pick of the Month: HOLLOW MAN by Mark Pryor

hollow man– Post by MysteryPeople Scott

“So right there, at the edge of a moonlit field in the wrong part of town, with a gun for comfort and a mystery unfolding before me, my involvement had ceased to be a choice.”

That line from Mark Pryor’s standalone, Hollow Man, convinced me he can write noir. He goes down a mean street that even his series hero, Hugo Marston, would take the long way round. Pryor’s most recent is one of the freshest and most chilling noirs since Megan Abbott’s Dare Me.

The book is narrated by Dominic, an English transplant in Austin, working as a prosecutor in Austin during the day, spending his nights as a singer-songwriter in the local clubs. He is also a sociopath. He tells us not to worry, he rarely acts on his impulses. We then see what happens when he does.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Review: X by Sue Grafton

xIn anticipation of Sue Grafton’s appearance here at BookPeople, here’s a review from bookseller Michael Stuart of Grafton’s latest alphabet mystery, X. Grafton comes to BookPeople to speak and sign her latest Monday, August 31st, at 7 PM. Find out more event details.

  • Post by Michael Stuart

It’s been a while since I checked in with Kinsey Millhone, the narrator of Sue Grafton’s “alphabet mysteries.” I’ve missed a few letters here and there But I’m glad I made the trip back to read Grafton’s latest mystery, simply titled X.

Although time moves a little slower in the fictional town of Santa Theresa, CA (it’s still the 1980s) the action doesn’t slow down. Kinsey is juggling several cases involving old secrets and hidden identities.

Read More »

Jenny Milchman’s Top Five Tales of Domestic Suspense

  • Guest post by Jenny Milchman

There’s a new genre in town, and it goes by the name of domestic suspense. Syndicated reviewer Oline Cogdill coined the term family thriller, which also suits it.

A family thriller focuses on a circumstance we can relate to. The kind of tale that could, given a slight twist of the knob, happen to us or someone we love. This novel takes ordinary people and places them in an extraordinary situation. What do they do then?

Read More »

MysteryPeople Q&A with Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown has been known for her best-selling romantic suspense thrillers for some time. In Sandra Brown’s latest, Friction, a Texas Ranger, trying to get custody of his daughter, falls for the judge in charge of his case. The judge has her own secrets, including a gunman stalker who just won’t give up. Sandra will be joining us Thursday, August 20th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s second floor to speak and sign her latest romantic suspense thriller, Friction, but took some early questions from us about the book and her writing.

  • Interview by Michael Stuart

Michael Stuart: How did the idea for Friction come about?

Sandra Brown: I wanted to write about a contemporary Texas Ranger – because the lore of the Rangers has always fascinated me. My protagonist is Crawford Hunt, a man with“quick-draw” reflexes and a dangerous job where those reflexes are continually tested. His foe isn’t only the villain, but a custody battle for his five-year-old daughter. His desire to win his daughter back is in direct opposition to his career and his own impulses.

Read More »

MysteryPeople Q&A with Jenny Milchman

Jenny Milchman writes thrillers, and she writes them extremely well. Her latest suspense novel, As Night Falls, is a home invasion novel with a twist (well, several twists). Two escaped convicts take shelter in a wealthy family’s home during a winter storm, holding the family hostage until they can make their escape. Interspersed between episodes of the family’s harrowing ordeal are increasingly disturbing scenes from a different family, set in the 1970s.

Read More »

Crime Fiction Friday: “You Just Might Get It” by Scott Montgomery


You may recognize the name of this week’s Crime Fiction Friday author. Scott Montgomery, as BookPeople’s Crime Fiction Coordinator and founder of MysteryPeople, BookPeople’s Mystery Bookstore-Within-A-Bookstore, has been Austin’s authority on all-things-mystery for years. Scott also writes, and below, you’ll find a good example of his humorous and gleefully bloodthirsty style.

Come by BookPeople on Tuesday, August 11, at 7 PM, for a celebration of the crime writing anthology Murder On Wheels, with authors Scott Montgomery, Reavis Wortham, and Kathy Waller in attendance. You can find copies of Murder on Wheels on our shelves. Part of the sales proceeds for Murder on Wheels will go to Meals on Wheels.

“You Just Might Get It” by Scott Montgomery

The girl came first.

It had been two hours since Vedder clocked in and counted the drawer. He cracked open his textbooks for American Lit, but there were always some customer interrupting him the first few hours to truly focus.  Half of them wanted to tell him about their day, life stories, or, god forbid, how to improve business. All you could do was dip your toe in shallow thoughts and daydreams between transactions and stocking Skittles until around 3AM when foot traffic faded at the Grab N’ Go. There were two things Vedder always thought would break the monotony behind the counter, a hot girl or a robbery.

When the red head walked in, she woke everything up in him. Her shoulder length tresses didn’t fit the face. Somehow, the small mouth with the full lips did, at least when he pictured her giving him a blowjob. Her skin wasn’t that death pale a lot of reds had. No freckles either, which was kind of a disappointment. She wore pink, trendy glasses that didn’t go with the rest of her outfit. A cutoff denim skirt fit her ass tight enough to give him a clear picture of some x-rated scenarios. Two tattooed butterflies flew out of the waistband. A good mix of cute with just the right amount of trashy. Who wants the girl next door, if all she knows is the missionary position?

Her purse was larger than the usual pocket book on a g-string that the club tramps carried. The training video told him to watch for patrons with large bags. What would he do if he caught her lifting? What would she do for him not to call the cops? More scenarios. He had to quit reading the Penthouse Forum off the adult rack.

She bent down for some energy bars. Vedder thanked God he was behind the counter from the waist down. Her eyes caught him. “Do you have Vanilla Coke?”

Read More »