Friday, February 29, 2008

From Patrick

God’s Middle Finger
For his previous book, American Nomads, british journalist Richard Grant spent fifteen years wandering around the states, staying in one place no more than three weeks, capturing stories about such nomad cultures as carny workers, hoboes, senior citizen RVers and rodeo cowboys, etc.

Along the way, Grant became obsessed with the fabled land to the south, specifically the Sierra Madre Mountains, the notoriously wild and lawless range beginning just 20 miles south of the border. In this fascinating and whimsical travel memoir, Grant takes the reader into the lawless heart of Sierra and chronicles his own encounters with drug dealers, hired killers, Tarahumara Indians, and wandering outcasts of all kinds. A modern day Tocqueville with a death wish, Grant somehow manages to survive to tell his story, which is filled with lively anecdotal histories of the area's violent past, along with poetic descriptions of the Sierra's incomparable beauty. This book is an essential read for devotees of Southwestern history and anyone interested in real journalism with cojones.

Note: Richard Grant will be dropping in to sign copies of his books on April 1st. Reserve your copy now!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

From March BookSense

To order please call 480 947 2974 or visit

Top Shelf: Barbara Peters selections from The Arizona Republic - Sunday Viewpoints

Barbara Peters founded the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in 1989 in Scottsdale. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Raven Award and a nominee for its Edgar Allan Poe Award, she is a 14-time nominee for the ABA's Bookseller of the Year and is the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree of Bouchercon, an international crime-writers conference. In this election year, Peters says, she is “grabbed by books that reflect the big issues.” Here are five of those works of crime fiction that she recommends.


By Douglas Preston Forge, 2008

Gorgeous Arizona offers geology perfect for the testing of a giant supercollider in a bestseller where science tangles with religion, politicians exploit both, and an L. Ron Hubbard model stands alongside the genuinely evangelical.

Sins of the Assassin By Robert Ferrigno Pocket, 2008

Ferrigno pens a philosophical thriller, first in a trilogy imagining an American dystopia circa 2043 when, riven by suitcase nukes, the U.S. has split into an Islamic Republic and a Christian Bible Belt, both in the grip of fundamentalists, while to the north, Canada presses down and in the south, a rising Aztlán Empire seeks to reclaim Arizona, et al, for Mexico.

Hell's Bay By James W. Hall St Martin's, 2008.

Going green is at the heart of Floridian Hall's blend of Deliverance with Erin Brokovich in a plot that develops from the murder of the matriarch of a mining family in the mangrove swamps of Hell's Bay.

Desert Cut By Betty Webb Poisoned Pen, 2008

A startling look at immigration develops as reporter Webb drops a mix of Egyptians and Ethiopians into her fictional southern Arizona town where the traditional dynamics of sturdy pioneer stock vs. trafficking in illegals is ongoing but overshadowed. One of the most horrifying and thought-provoking works on this subject.

Writing in an Age of Silence By Sara Paretsky Verso, 2007

This memoir by the revered Chicago crime novelist and political activist, only daughter of an immigrant Jewish family that settled in Kansas after World War II, not only reminds us of the long and clash-filled history of immigration but of the virulence of anti-Semitism.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Lorri

Wow! This March offers a lot of great books to read. The long awaited The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison ($25) just came out and we have signed copies!!!
In Dead Witch Walking we meet
Rachel Morgan a witch and I.S. runner - like an FBI agent but for the paranormal world. My son and I love this series. Kim's books appeal to a very diverse fan base. Just this morning a solder in fatigues was waiting at the door for us to open so he could buy a signed first and find out what Rachel Morgan was up to. Rachel is one of the toughest kick-butt heroines ever written; living in the most fascinating world I have ever read. Thank you, Kim!

Kim's series and Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries are two of my favorites Charlaine's From Dead to Worse ($25) will be out in May.

She will be signing May 9th at 7:00 pm at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. Don't miss this chance to meet this awesome author. For more information or to reserve a copy of any of Charlaine's books you can call 480 947 2974 or visit Charlaine will inscribe her books and we can ship to anywhere!

Berkley has just brought Charlaine Harris's beloved Aurora Teagarden mysteries back into print. Cozy-readers, if you missed these you now have a second chance to treat yourself.

In Real Murders ($8) we meet Aurora Teagarden, or Roe to her friends, a librarian with an interest in true crime literature and murder. Roe belongs to a small group that meets weekly to discuss real murders. After one of the members is killed, Roe can't help but get involved. A Bone to Pick ($8) the second in the series has also been reissued.

I also want to recommend all three of Mario Acevedo's trilogy: The Nymphos of Rocky Flats was voted Westword Best of 200, Best New Book by a Colorado Author.

The opening lines of Mario Acevedo's debut novel The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, ‘I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I went to the war a soldier; I came back a vampire.’ describes Felix in a nutshell. Mario has written a modern vampire who isn’t against using technology to get the job done. Felix faces daylight with a liberal dose of SPF 90 sunscreen and had no problem employing guns. This action packed series is full of fun. If you enjoy Christopher Moore, then Mario will be a treat.

You can meet Mario Acevedo April 22, 2008 at 7:00 pm where he is signing at the Poisoned pen.

This Gem was a February book. I got to meet Rosemary Harris a discuss this charming debut when she was at the Poisoned Pen. Signed 1st editions are available ($24).

For signed copy call 480

947 2974 or visit

An intriguing, fast-paced debut by new author Rosemary Harris. who, like her main character, is a Master Gardener. If you enjoy gardening and mystery then this lively mystery may be just what you're looking for. Barbara made this book a First Mystery Club Pick and I found it enjoyably entertaining.

From the book jacket:

Meet Paula Holliday, a transplanted media exec who trades her stilettos for garden clogs when she makes the move from the big city to the suburbs to start a gardening business. Paula can handle deer, slugs, and the occasional human pest - but she's not prepared for the mummified body she finds while restoring the gardens at Halcyon, a local landmark.

Casual snooping turns serious when a body is impaled on a garden tool and one of Paula's friends is arrested for the crime.

Aided by the still-hot aging rocker who owns the neighborhood greasy spoon, a wise-cracking former colleague, and a sexy Mexican laborer with a few secrets of his own, Paula digs for the truth and unearths more dirty business the town has kept buried for years.

White Corridor by Christopher Fowler.(American $24)

For all you lovers of the British Detective, here comes a story which rivals Full Dark House as being one of the best in the series. Rumored to be the next to last in this well crafted mysteries featuring Arthur Bryant and John May, two of Britain’s oldest detectives, who have been partnered in the London Police Department's Peculiar Crimes Unit for over sixty years.

Monday, February 25, 2008

From Barbara

Pictures and my Glendale, Az, librarian Lesa's report on The Poisoned Pen event for Cornelia Read and Jacqueline Winspear are up on

Peter May, The Critic (Poisoned Pen $25 Signed).

May, a Scot who lives in France, began his Enzo MacLeod series with Extraordinary People ($15), first in a series of 7 cold cases written up by Parisian journalist Roger Raffin in a hit book. Unwisely betting his faculty at his university that he, a forensics star, could solve them all, Enzo chases a brutal killer around France and the Paris sewers. Much in the news and of special interest is the role that France's elite school ENA for training those who run the country plays in this thriller.

The Critic is set in French wine country: haunted chateaux, ancient vineyards, some bitter history. If you saw Ratatouille – and if you did not, rush out to rent the DVD – you know the power that a critic wields over the food industry, and now the wine. Think influential critic Robert Parker (not the Robert B Parker we know well in mystery) and how his opinion is so courted. And what happens if he makes a mistake (big scandal I haven't looked up but has been raging in the wine industry re faked collectible wine)? Or if say undue influence is brought into play

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Well it's oscar season and you can take a walk down the red carpet with these titles:

Abbott, Megan. The Song Is You (Simon & Schuster $14). From her website, "Drawing on this true-life missing person case, Megan Abbott’s The Song Is You tells the story of Gil “Hop” Hopkins, a smooth-talking Hollywood publicist whose career, despite a complicated personal life, is on the rise. It is 1951, two years after Jean Spangler’s disappearance and Hop finds himself unwillingly drawn into the still-unsolved mystery by a friend of Jean’s who blames Hop for concealing details about Jean’s whereabouts the night she vanished. Driven by guilt and fears of blackmail, Hop delves into the case himself, feverishly trying to stay one step ahead of an intrepid female reporter also chasing the story. Hop thought he’d seen it all, but what he uncovers both tantalizes and horrifies him as he plunges deeper and deeper into Hollywood’s substratum in his attempt to uncover the truth. With noir fiction really hot, noir giant Ken Bruen calls Abbott's second novel after her Edgar nominated Die a Little ($23) – soon to be a major motion picture for Jessica Biehl – a "Superb evocation of the era and the legendary characters live and breathe in glorious dark reality. Megan Abbott is the song and a song of such yearning, such granite tenderness ... This is the most poignant novel you'll ever come across." Die a Little
a 2005 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

Ellroy, James. The Black Dahlia (Warner $7.50). was a 2005 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes: "Los Angeles, 1947: The mutilated body of a beautiful young woman -- dubbed the Black Dahlia by the press -- is found, spawning the greatest manhunt in California history. Warrants Squad cops Buckeye Bleacher and Lee Blanched are on the case, and soon become obsessed with the victim. They are driven to learn everything about her, and find that their pursuit of her killer and her twisted past lead them on a hellish tour of post-war Hollywood and into a region of total madness."

Goldstein, Paul. Errors and Omissions (Anchor $14).

The Lillick Professor of Law at Stanford University uses his formidable legal skills in international

copyright to forge a debut novel. Publishers Weekly reviews the way Goldstein, who worked on a famous case about ownership of the James Bond film franchise, "tosses his burned-out litigator, Michael Seeley, into the middle of a movie studio's homicidal battle to continue to control the rights to a fabulously successful spy series. This adaptation, which dips back into Hollywood's blacklist era, is a pretty intellectual property itself, depending more on character and motivation and moral ambiguity than action and suspense…. Goldstein enjoys writing scenes in which several people converse at a fast clip." A 2006 Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

, Russell
. Robbie's Wife (Hardcase Crime $6.99).

A 2008 Edgar nominee presents Jack Stone. Jack Stone fled Los Angeles, a failed marriage, and a failing

career as a screenwriter to spend six months in the remote English countryside, hammering out the new script that would put him back on top. But what he found wasn’t solitude and peace—it was temptation. Because Maggie Barlow, the wife of the man putting him up, had something irresistible about her. Something that could drive a man to kill....

McNamara, Mary. Oscar Season (SimonSchuster $26 Signed).

Screenwriter McNamara pens a lively debut, a classic Agatha-Christie style mystery wrapped up

in a Hollywood/Beverly Hills version of Hotel. The management of a luxury hotel that caters to stars – the potential Oscars nominees – and the ploys of the Hollywood crowd in the two to three month run-up to the awards are as fascinating as the actual murders. Hip, funny, yet wickedly insightful into the celebrity culture, this is a timely, entertaining read. A Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

Phillips, Max. Fade to Blonde (Hardcase Crime $6.99).

Ray Corson came to Hollywood to be a screenwriter, not hired muscle. But when a beautiful girl with a purse full of cash asks for your help, how can you say no? So Corson agrees to protect starlet Rebecca LaFontaine from a vengeful mobster — but what he doesn’t realize is that he’ll have to join the Mob to do it. Author George Pelecanos calls this hardboiled whodunit, "Chandleresque." And of course for various takes on LA and Hollywood, read Chandler's work along with Ellroy's L A Confidential ($15) and the Harry Bosch novels of Michael Connelly.

Wright, Edward. Red Sky Lament ($13).

Winner of the 2006 Ellis Peters Dagger for Best Historical Mystery, a novel in the John Ray Horn series set in late

1940s Hollywood when the McCarthy scare led to the Blacklist. Former B-movie cowboy star Horn, forging a life after prison and disgrace, agrees to help a brilliant but difficult screenwriter accused of having belong to the Communist Party. Star Wright's Horn series with Clea's Moon ($13), a Poisoned Pen First Mystery Pick.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

From Patrick

This is a nice forum for pimping books that normally might not make it into the regular booknews.

Richard Price. Lush Life (28 signed)I'm only halfway through the new Price novel, and already I can tell that it's gonna rate way high on my Top Ten of 2008 list. What's interesting to observe is how much today's generation of crime writers such as Pelecanos and Lehane have inspired and reenergized his work. Especially considering that Price himself obviously influenced these guys. The event that ties together the various strands of this epic is the shooting death of a bartender named Ike Marcus in Manhattan's Lower East Side. The crime is seemingly a random one, but NYPD detective Matty Clark is determined to prove that it just might be an inside job. Price approaches the crime from a variety of angles, and through the filter of different characters' perspectives, and, as always, he makes the city of New York come alive the way few writers can. Russell Banks calls Price "Our post-modern American Balzac," and Lehane overblows it a bit by gushing that "Price is the greatest writer of dialogue, living or dead, that this country has ever produced." Not sure I'd go quite that far, but he's damn good.

Nick Taylor. American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA

"At last, an exhaustive yet readable history of FDR's remarkable Works Progress Administration, which helped put the country to work during the depression and helped to raise the morale of a population that, as Taylor maintains, was not too far from violent civil unrest. I've always been an admirer of the WPA murals that once adorned hundreds of public facilities across the country, but I only knew a tiny bit of the whole story until now. Fascinating."

Allan Guthrie. Kill Clock. After writing Two-Way Split and Hard Man, Scottish hardboiled savant Allan Guthrie decided that he had more to say about the characters, so he's published a blitzkreig novella, available only in the UK, to finish things off. As he says: "So here we find Pearce taking his three-legged dog for a walk on the beach. Before long, his peace will be shattered by the police, ex-girlfriends, death threats, loan sharks, kidnappings, guns, two small children and a midnight meeting that's a matter of life and death." What's not to like?

Darby Penny and Peter Stastny (Photographs by Lisa Rinzler).The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From a State Hospital Attic. ($25)

When it closed in 1995, Willard Pyschiatric Center in upstate New York had been in operation for over a century. As they were cleaning out the facility, workers found a sealed off attic chamber containing several hundred forgotten suitcases, onced owned by patients in the early to mid part of the 20th century. This book is focuses on the contents of 10 of these suitcases, and the authors manage to put together portraits of ten individuals who, for a variety of reasons, were institutionalized for life. Not only is it a revealing - and in most cases, shocking look at what passed for psychiatric care until fairly recently, but the book restores the dignity of these forgotten people.

To order any of the books on this page please call. 480 947 2974 or vistit

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From Patricia

In This Corner (the location of my laptop)

Thanks for stopping by. Ever notice how the subject of the book you're reading comes up in your life or in the news at the time you're reading it?

Sandi Ault's Wild Inferno puts a reader on the burning edge of a fire scorching Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A missing Three Pueblos hotshot crew and the Native Americans, gathered up top near Chimney Rock for the once every 18 years lunar event, complicate government agent Jamaica Wild's assignment to keep these people safe while not violating their religious beliefs.
Her struggle to understand the Southern Ute culture and communicate with her live-in wolf was fascinating at the same time I was part of three-day clinic in Cave Creek, Arizona. Horseman Terry Wilson who taught the classes has a ranch in Pagosa. He kept getting cell phone calls that snow was falling so thick it would take a bulldozer if he wanted to see his barn again.

Or take a look at Martha Grimes' new Dakota. Andi Oliver, amnesia sufferer who took her name from the initials on her backpack, walks into a small town with the sad donkey she rescued on the road. She takes room and board with a stall for the donkey on a ranch that trains race horses. Determined must be her middle name. She claims to be an experienced rider but can't stay on a horse. She hires on at a pig breeding factory while she loathes everything about it.
The graphic descriptions of the pigs' fate are not fiction. This week's news confirms what Grimes put into a book spoken in such a different voice I wondered if she were born again as a writer with a firm grip on rural America.Books researched this well make me feel I'm learning while I'm being entertained.
Let me know if you've had that happen to you.

Until next time,

For signed 1st edition of these two books call 480 947 2974 or visit