Dream Queen by Betsy Thornton (signed)
Starred Review. Thornton's gripping sixth mystery featuring victim's advocate Chloe Newcombe (after 2008's A Song for You) charts her earlier years, long before she moved to Arizona. Two years after her older brother, James, died of AIDS in California, Chloe, then a New York City PI, travels to Dudley, Ariz., a small town where Tucson therapist Hal, James's surviving partner, has a home, and where Danny, her younger brother, has falle
n for Kristi Marsh, a
beautiful but troubled woman. Danny and Kristi meet Chloe at the airport, but en route to Dudley tragedy strikes--Danny disappears after they stop to fix his van at a garage while the two women wait at a diner across the street. Kristi also vanishes soon after they reach Hal's, but she's later found shot to death in a shack containing packages of a street drug called "Dream Queen." Kristi's stepfather, a therapist friend of Hal's, hires Chloe to investigate. As she uncovers a bizarre coverup, Chloe comes to some sticky realizations in this multilayered literary whodunit.
Stein, Stoned by Hal Ackerman. He will be signing at The Poisoned Pen on August 10th at 7PM. We have both hard cover and trade paperback copies.
Harry Stein was a countercultural hero in the sixties, thanks to Smoke This Book, his cult classic on growing weed. Now he’s a small-time PI and hasn’t smoked dope for six years, afraid of losing joint custody of his daughter, Angie. Then two cases bring his old life back to centerstage: he’s hired to recover a marijuana grower’s new crop, bound for the medical marijuana market but ripped off by unsavory types hoping to sell it on the street, and his regular gig providing security for a perfume company heats up when it appears a soon-to-be-launched shampoo has been pirated by the creator’s former lover. Naturally, the two cases are intertwined, and soon enough Harry is helter-skeltering his way between L.A. and Amsterdam, trying to solve a murder, find the dope, and keep the shampoo out of harm’s way. The plotting gets a little frenetic toward the end, but who cares? Harr
y fits comfortably into that delightfully comic line of slacker sleuths—a tradition that runs from the Fletch novels through Newton Thornburg’s 1976 cult classic Cutter and Bone and, of course, The Big Lebowski. The Dude abides with Harry Stein.
After The Fire by JA Jance (This was published in 2004) '
That fire can cleanse as well as destroy is no mystery to J. A. Jance. Before she found fame as a best-selling mystery author, Judith Jance wrestled with the personal anguish of being married to an alcoholic. For years she composed poetry in secret and kept it locked away. Finally it was published as After the Fire in 1984, the year before her debut novel. After the Fire chronicled the death of a relationship as Jance's marriage to her first husband gradually collapsed under the weight of his addiction--aided and abetted by her own unwitting denial and co-dependence--while she struggled to find herself. "I will not be the price of your redemption," she wrote then. "I will not pay my life to ransom yours." Now this deeply personal work is available in a new annotated edition. In it, Jance offers unblinking insights into where she was and what was happening when each of these searing poems was written--remaking After the Fire as more than a collection of poetry. Now it is a portrait of addiction and the insidious ways in which it destroys relationships. As Jance now observes while reflecting on these poems, "I could remember that spring morning sitting at the Formica table in my Phoenix kitchen and writing 'The Collector' while bags of unpacked groceries waited on the table beside me. I recalled everything about that long, long New Year's Eve vigil at my dying former husband's bedside. I felt once again the velvet smoothness of 'Fog' as I walked through a Seattle September morning on my way to a new life. . . . My life is far richer because of this book. My hope is that others will find answers here as well--answers and their own share of strength and courage." A work of crushing defeat and ultimate triumph, After the Fire relates an emotional journey that will be readily recognizable to anyone who has seen love destroyed and then found the strength to go on. It will inspire others who are struggling with similar issues as it allows fans of Jance's mysteries to better know the mind--and heart--of a favorite author.