If you like Harlan Coben…

Harlan Coben’s popularity is no surprise. His standalone thrillers have “what if” plots that Hitchcock would have killed for and his series featuring Myron Bolitar has some of the best buddy banter in mysteries today between the hero and his wealthy and lethal sidekick Win. If you’re shopping for a Coben fan, who has devoured all his books, here are some suggestions for a perfect gift.


 

One Minute Gone1. One Minute Gone by Davis Hansard

Single father Porter hall gets three calls in succession – two about his soon-to be ex wife and one about a lunch date with his girlfriend. When the girlfriend misses the lunch date and goes missing all together, Porter’s search links the three calls to some serious movers and shakers using him as a sacrificial pawn. Moving in both pace and emotion with an everyman hero you can’t help but root for.

the bookseller2. The Bookseller by Mark Pryor

if you like the buddy antics of Bolitar and Win, then you’ll dig the relationship  of square-jawed hero Hugo Marston, Chief Of Security for our embassy in Paris, and his hard drinking, skirt chasing, CIA pal Tom Green who has no verbal filter whatsoever. The two are out of their jurisdiction as they try to find a kidnapped bookseller, thrust into a plot involving drug cartels and France’s past sins. Some of the best banter around.

ben rehder gone the next3.Gone The Next by Ben Rehder

A meeting of the two best parts of Coben. Legal videographer Roy Ballard catches a glimpse of who he thinks might be a recently missing girl. The fact that he lost his own daughter to an abduction doesn’t make him a believable witness to the Austin PD. Obsessed with finding the girl and possibly easing his own guilt, he uses his own skill set and finds help from his partner, sexy smart-ass Mia. Their relationship keeps the story humorous, while the plotting keeps it harrowing.


Copies of the above listed books can be found on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

MysteryPeople Q&A with Ben Rehder

Ben Rehder is an Austin-based author who has long been known for the humor in his books. The second book in his series is Gone the Next, featuring legal videographer Roy Ballard. Rehder’s novel follows Ballard as, during his surveillance work, he notices someone who bears a strong resemblance to a girl who has been abducted.

We are happy to have him join us for our Lone Star Mystery Authors panel this Wednesday, August 6, at 7 PM, on BookPeople’s second floor. He’ll be reading and signing his latest book in the series, Get Busy Dying. We caught up with him for this quick interview.


MysteryPeople: Child abduction is such touchy subject matter that many writers avoid it. What made you decide to take it on?

Ben Rehder: I don’t usually set out to choose a particular topic for a novel; most of the time, raw ideas just occur to me, and I start to play around with them to see if they go anywhere. In this case, the idea was this: What if an investigator had someone under surveillance for a white-collar crime, and suddenly, without any explanation, there was a little girl in the subject’s presence? What if that little girl matched the description of a girl who had recently gone missing? Worse, what if the investigator couldn’t convince the cops of what he’d seen? I saw no reason to avoid the topic of child abduction, and in fact it seemed that there couldn’t be too many more compelling subjects. How far would most people go to save an abducted child? I think the lengths might just be boundless.

MP: As serious as the subject matter is, Ballard is very funny. How do you balance the humor with the darkness?

BR: You hold the darkness in your left hand and an equal quantity of humor in your right hand. Okay, Ballard isn’t necessarily making light of abduction or missing kids, but he does appreciate the value of humor in making tough situations a little more bearable. There’s a back story there I won’t get into, but if Ballard couldn’t laugh about life, he’d be insane by now. He deals with feelings of guilt and sadness and anxiety by making jokes. Of course, he also makes jokes in the absence of guilt, sadness, or anxiety.

MP: What made you choose a legal videographer as a series character?

BR: I was doing research on insurance fraud investigators and I stumbled across that phrase, “legal videographer.” I had no idea what it meant (was it the opposite of an illegal videographer?), but when I read the job description, I realized I’d found the job title for my character. A legal videographer’s duties typically include recording depositions, accident scenes and re-creations, witness testimony, and in some cases, attempting to obtain evidence of insurance fraud. (That’s Roy Ballard’s specialty.) The bonus was that I couldn’t remember any novel revolving around a legal videographer, so it seemed like a unique way to go.

MP: What do you get to do with Roy that you can’t do with the Blanco County series?

BR: The biggest difference is that I get to use the first-person point of view. I’m writing from Roy Ballard’s perspective, so the reader can’t see into other characters’ heads as the story unfolds. That’s actually quite liberating, even though first person also carries some obvious limitations. Also, I get to swap the rural Blanco County setting for a more suburban and urban atmosphere in the Ballard novels. And Roy Ballard is a total smart aleck, whereas John Marlin (the Blanco County protagonist) is a little more serious. It’s a nice change of pace to switch between the two series.

MP: I really enjoyed banter between Roy and Mia. Do you have a particular approach to dialogue?

BR: You want to capture natural speech patterns as closely as possible and still keep it readable. Ever read a transcript of a deposition or any other recorded conversation? The truth is, actual dialog is often very awkward and hard to follow in written form, because you can’t hear inflection or see body language, and there is a lot of interrupting or hemming and hawing. So you have to strike a balance—keep it real but also keep it readable. And if there’s a choice between a straight line and a wise-ass remark, I’ll generally go for the latter.


MysteryPeople welcomes Ben Rehder, along with Reavis Wortham and Tim Bryant, to BookPeople for a conversation about crime fiction on Wednesday, August 6, at 7 pm. His latest novel, Get Busy Dying, and Gone the Next are available for purchase on BookPeople’s shelves and from our online store at bookpeople.com.