A Hard Word Halloween

The Hard Word Book Club takes on John Connolly’s Supernatural Thriller Every Dead Thing

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  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

For the month of October, the Hard Word Book Club has chosen a book with a touch of the supernatural, Every Dead Thing. It is the first in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series. Here you get to see our hero take his first steps toward the abyss.

Parker, a former New York cop, found his wife and daughter murdered in a horrifying fashion. A colleague from New Orleans, tells Charlie about a voodoo woman who helps him on cases. She dreamt of a future victim with similar wounds to Charlie’s family. This puts Parker and his lethal friends, Louis and Angel, on the trail of a a killer referred to as The Travelling Man, leading them through the deep South, putting them up against the mob and more dangerous things.

If you don’t mind going to some dark places, join our discussion. We will be meeting Wednesday, October 26th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off in store to those who attend.

You can find copies of Every Dead Thing on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month, and will meet next to discuss Every Dead Thing on Wednesday, October 26th, at 7 PM

If you can’t get enough supernatural thrillers, another of our mystery book clubs, the 7% Solution Book Club, will be discussing Mr. Mercedes, by Stephen King, on Monday, November 7th. 

Hard Word Hits the Trail with…Mickey Spillane

The Hard Book Club meets to discuss The Legend of Caleb York by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Wednesday, September 28th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s 3rd floor.

Hard Word Book Club to discuss: The Legend of Caleb York by Max Allan Collins, based on the screenplay of the same name, by Mickey Spillane

9780786036141Our Hard Word Book Club always makes a point to discuss a western once or twice a year. This time, we are reading one from an author mainly known for writing about danger in the big city. In the mid fifties, Mickey Spillane was at the height of his his career, due to his tough guy private eye Mike Hammer. During this period, he was asked by none other than John Wayne to write a western screenplay. Unearthed after his death, it was adapted into the book The Legend Of Caleb York by Spillane’s friend and collaborator Max Allan Collins.

The story is a play on the classic stranger comes to town idea. A crooked sheriff works to push a crusty rancher and his pretty daughter off of their land. The rancher sends word for a gunman who made a name for himself by killing the famed gunslinger Caleb York. Not long after, a man rides into town, dressed as a dude. He quickly dispatches some of the local ruffians. When he signs the hotel ledger, he gives the name of Caleb York. The mystery of this man slowly reveals itself as both factions make their play.

The Legend Of Caleb York is a fun read that should inspire a great discussion about genre, Spillane, and script versus book. We will also be watching the hour long documentary Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane, directed by Max Allan Collins and featuring many crime fiction greats talking about the hard boiled author. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, September 28th, at 7PM. The book is 10% off to those who attend.

The Hard Book Club meets to discuss The Legend of Caleb York by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins on Wednesday, September 28th, at 7 PM on BookPeople’s 3rd floor. You can find copies of The Legend of Caleb York on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Book Club selections are 10% off in-store. 

George Wier Joins Us in Person At Hard Word Book Club

One of our favorite Austin authors is George Wier. He always puts a good dose of pulp fun and Texas flavor to his books. To help celebrate Texas Mystery Writers Month, he’ll be joining us for our Hard Word Book Club discussion of Cold Rains.

Cold Rains is a throwback to those Gold Medal paperbacks of the Fifties and Sixties, featuring Texas bounty hunter John Rains. His latest skip is Melissa Sossville, a pretty lady who proves more of a match for him than her ninety-five pound frame would suggest. Filled with sexual tension, reversals, and a few dead bodies, it makes for an entertaining read.

George is just as fun as his books. Meet him at our discussion at 7 PM, Wednesday, May 25th on BookPeople’s 3rd floor. The book is 10% off in-store to those who attend.

Hard Word Book Club to Discuss: AS THE CROW FLIES by Craig Johnson

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Coming up on Wednesday, April 27th, at 7 PM, our April Hard Word Book Club has one of our favorite authors joining in the discussion. Craig Johnson has kept us entertained throughout his series featuring Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. We’ll be reading his eighth novel, As The Crow Flies.

The book takes place mostly on the Cheyenne Reservation. Walt and and his Cheyenne friend Henry are there to help for Walt’s daughter Cady’s wedding when they witness a woman plunging to her death. With different law enforcement in the mix, the new tribal chief ask for his help in homicide. he reluctantly takes on the case while trying to focus on his daughter.

As The Crow Flies will give us much to discuss with its issues of fatherhood, bureaucracy, and life on the reservation. Craig will be calling in to join us us to guide us through. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, April 27th. The book is 10% off for those planning to attend.

You can find copies of As The Crow Flies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 PM and discusses exclusively noir and hard-boiled works. 

April is for Mystery Lovers: Tons of Upcoming Events!

As we all enjoy the brief Texas spring, come take shelter from the pollen counts and enjoy our full roster of mystery events coming up in April here at the store. On April 2nd, Philip Kerr started off our April events with a blast, speaking and signing his latest continuation of his Bernie Gunther series, The Other Side of SilenceIf you missed the event, signed copies of his latest, as well as many of the previous volumes in the series, are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.

This past Sunday, April 10th, at 2 PM, Laurie R. King, author of the beloved Russell and Holmes series, as well as the fantastic Kate Martinelli series, joined us to speak and sign her latest installment in her Mary Russell series, The Murder of Mary Russell. While I’ve been reading the Mary Russell novels for many years, King’s newest addition to the series, delving deep into Mrs. Hudson’s backstory, might be my favorite in the series to date!

For those who missed this event, library enthusiasts will be pleased to note that in support of Austin Public Library, 5% of sales of all Laurie R. King titles sold in store on Sunday April 10th and 5 % of sales of The Murder of Mary Russell the week of April 5th (ending April 12th) will be donated to the library. Come by today or tomorrow, grab a copy of King’s latest, and support Austin Public Library. Signed copies available!

Just one day after Laurie R. King’s visit, Stuart Woods and David C. Taylor will be speaking and signing their latest novels, Family Jewels and Night Work, respectively, today, Monday, April 11th, at 7 PM. This event is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Stuart Woods on his large oeuvre of bestselling thrillers, while getting to know David C. Taylor, an up-and-coming crime novelist who started out in the film biz.

Next up, Jessica Knoll, author of the stunning debut, Luckiest Girl Alive, comes to speak and sign this amazing novel on Saturday, April 16th, at 3 PM. Knoll has worked as senior editor at Cosmopolitan. She draws on both life and fiction for her debut, an intense look at high school trauma and its lingering effects, even for those who manage to reinvent themselves in adulthood.

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On Sunday, April 17th, Scott and Molly will reprise our panel discussion on how we compiled our MysteryPeople Top 100 Crime and Suspense Novels at the first ever Pflugerville Book Pfestival, happening Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th at the Pflugerville Library. The festival is sponsored by KAZI Austin, 88.7 FM, and put together by Hopeton Hay, host of Kazi Book Review with Hopeton Hay. Thanks to Hopeton and KAZI for putting this festival together and bringing the MysteryPeople Top 100 list out into world.

Then on Monday, April 18th, at 1 PM, the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club will discuss The Professionalsby Owen Laukkanen, with a call-in from the author. The Hard Word Book Club, meeting Wednesday, April 27th, at 7 PM, also has a special guest calling in to the discussion – Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series, will call in to discuss his novel As The Crow Flies

Finally, we’ll finish out the month with a visit from Melissa Ginsburg on Saturday, April 30th at 3 PM. Ginsburg’s Houston-set debut, Sunset City, follows a barista on the hunt for her best friend’s murderer. Sunset City is our April Pick of the Month, and we’re glad to celebrate a powerful new voice in Texas crime fiction.

The Hard Word Book Club Takes on Machine Gun Kelly

Author Ace Atkins to call in during the Hard Word Book Club’s upcoming discussion of his novel Infamous 

9780425239018This month’s Hard Word Book Club selection, Infamous by Ace Atkins, is both historical and humorous. Infamous was the last of Ace Atkin’s quartet of books incorporating true crimes (Hopefully we’ll see more). It chronicles the exploits of robber and kidnapper George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Mainly, Infamous tells the story of the woman behind the man. Far from a mastermind, Kelly was goaded into a life of crime by his wife Kathryn. When the kidnapping of an oilman gets complicated and a former Texas Ranger closes in, his skills and marriage are put to the test.

Ace Atkins will be calling in to the group to talk about the work and his research. We will be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Wednesday, February 24th, at 7PM.


The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month and discusses noir and hard-boiled crime fiction. Selections for the book club are 10% off at the registers. You can find copies of Infamous on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

The Hard Word Book Club takes on Don Winslow’s THE POWER OF THE DOG

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The Hard Word Book Club kicks off the year with a book that has turned out to be very topical. In The Power Of The DogWinslow looks at the history of the war on drugs in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The character of Adán Barrera, a powerful drug lord, is based on the recently recaptured El Chapo. You could say Barrera is the villain, but there are few innocents in this book.

“Everyone is rendered vividly in a story that entertains as well as enrages…”

The main protagonist is Art Keller. Recently returned from working in Vietnam with the CIA, he heads to Mexico as an agent of the newly formed DEA. Keller initially befriends Barrera, who is simply the nephew of a drug lord. As Barrera takes over the cartel and builds his empire, Keller goes after him; the two pull several people into their battle, including a crusading priest, a high dollar call girl, and an Irish-American hit-man. Everyone is rendered vividly in a story that entertains as well as enrages.

This is a book that provides a lot to discuss in style, story, and politics, so come ready. We will be meeting on Wednesday, January 27th, on the third floor at 7PM. The book is 10% off at the registers to those planning to attend. it’s over five hundred pages, so get started, but don’t worry – this action-packed novel will go quicker than you might think!

You can find copies on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month to discussed hardboiled fiction and noir.