Monday, January 31, 2011


Several things to mention…first of all however are the free gifts from Dana that will be given away tomorrow at the launch of THOUGH NOT DEAD. Two (quite nice) mugs featuring the cover of her latest novel as well as two DVD’s which contain Dana’s interview on PBS recently. Lastly, I’ve let the author speak for herself and her latest novel.
Dana on Faces of Alaska


JANUARY 31, 2011 by Dana
Tomorrow is publication day for Though Not Dead, the eighteenth Kate Shugak novel.

I can’t review my own book, I can’t say that not only is it the best Kate Shugak novel ever, that it is the best novel I have ever written, better even than Red Planet Run, until now my favorite book. No, no, that would be, well, less than humble. Try egotistical, and reeking equally of self-importance, self-aggrandizement and self-puffery.
So I’ll let Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist do it for me. But only because they agree with me.
Click here to order your copy.

EDIT: The event was a success...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Great New Books from The Poisoned Pen Press

cryingCrying Blood (Poisoned Pen $24.95 Jan. 29). Casey reports that "the precipitating event in this book is something that happened pre-Oklahoma statehood in 1907, when the eastern half of the area was still the Indian Territory divided among the so-called Five Civilized Tribes including the Muscogee or Creek Nation." Now, in 1915, when Shaw and his boys, his brother James and two nephews go on a fall hunting trip to property bought some years before by their stepfather but then allowed to run wild, they discover an old grave. Or rather Shaw's dog Buttercup flushes it. Shaw sees and hears something that eerily recalls his father, dead at 29 from a swift illness. And that something seems to follow him back home to Alafair and their ten kids and assorted spouses. The "something" takes human form when a young Creek called Crying Blood steals some freshly butchered pork, is apprehended and tied up in the barn—and then ends up brutally murdered, a lance through his heart. So the "something" is more than just the (now dead) boy. What has Shaw stumbled into? Scott Tucker, the sheriff, and Jim Barger, the Sheriff over in Muskogee County, want to know, too. The Old Buzzard Had It Coming; Hornswoggled; The Sky Took Him; The Drop Edge of Yonder ($15 each). This excellent series, praised by Tony Hillerman, Margaret Maron, and Carolyn G. Hart, has been nominated for the Willa and for Oklahoma Book Awards.


prey1Prey on Patmos (Poisoned Pen $24.95 Jan. 29). Saint John wrote the apocalyptic Book of Revelation over 1900 years ago in a cave on Greece’s eastern Aegean island of Patmos. When a revered monk from that holy island’s thousand year-old monastery is murdered in Patmos’ town square during Easter Week, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis of Greece’s Twenty-First Century Special Crimes Division is called upon to find the killer before all hell breaks loose. Andreas’ impolitic search for answers brings him face-to-face with a scandal haunting the world’s oldest surviving monastic community. On the pristine Aegean peninsula of Mount Athos, isolated from the rest of humanity, twenty monasteries sit protecting the secrets of Byzantium amid a way of life virtually unchanged for more than 1500 years. But today this sacred refuge harbors modern international intrigues that threaten to destroy the very heart of the Church…in a matter of days.
“Using the Greek Orthodox Church as the linchpin for his story, Siger proves that Greece is fertile new ground for the mystery genre. Sure to appeal to fans of mysteries with exotic locations.”— Library Journal
“The third case for the appealing Andreas will immerse readers in a fascinating culture.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The author succinctly explains the background to the Eastern Orthodox history and politics. And he deftly weaves into his plot references to real-life scandals linking church and state that will resonate with those in the know. Attuned to the ways and concerns of everyday Greeks, Siger is an equally astute observer of the movers and shakers."—Athens Plus/The International Herald Tribune. A 3rd fabulous and unusual thriller after Murder in Mykonos and Assassins of Athens ($15 each).


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Cold Day for Murder temp dj.inddStart with Kate #1, A Cold Day for Murder (Poisoned Pen $25 Feb. 1), the Edgar winner, now for the first time in a hardcover edition. Eighteen months before, Aleut Kate Shugak quit her job investigating sex crimes for the Anchorage DA’ s office and retreated to her father’s homestead in a national Park in the interior of Alaska. But the world has a way of beating a path to her door, however remote, and in the middle of one of the bitterest Decembers in recent memory ex-boss—and ex-lover—Jack Morgan shows up with an FBI agent in tow. A Park ranger with powerful relatives is missing. Reluctantly, Kate, along with Mutt, her half-wolf, half-husky sidekick, leaves her wilderness refuge to follow a frozen trail through the Park. Her formidable grandmother and Native chief, Ekaterina Shugak, is for reasons of her own against Kate’s investigation, her cousin, Martin, may be Kate’s prime suspect, and the local trooper, Jim Chopin, is more interested in Kate than answers…
 Though Not Dead (St Martins $25.99 Feb. 1). The 18th Kate Shugak called "brilliant" in its rave reviews. The residents of Alaska’s largest national park are stunned by the death of one of their oldest members, 87-year-old Old Sam Dementieff. Even Kate Shugak. Sam, a lifelong resident, dubbed the “father” of all of the Park rats—even though he had no children of his own—was especially close to Kate, his niece, but even she is surprised to discover that in his will he’s left her everything, including a letter instructing her simply to, “find my father.” Easier said than done, since Sam’s father is something of a mystery. An outsider, he disappeared shortly after learning about Sam’s existence, taking with him a priceless tribal artifact, a Russian icon. "Kate is at her butt-kicking best as she and Mutt, her inseparable half-wolf, half-husky companion, deal with murder, theft, and deception from Anchorage to the wilderness of Canyon Hot Springs..." -- Publishers Weekly Starred Review. A Surprise Me Pick.

Tina Whittledangerous
The Dangerous Edge of Things (Poisoned Pen $24.95; $15 trade Jan. 29). Meet Teresa Ann “Tai” Randolph. She's barely a week into relocating from Savannah to Atlanta, where she’s camping out at her brother Eric’s place, and pulls into his driveway and discovers a dead woman slumped over the steering wheel of a car. "Since Eric had left that morning for a cruise in the Bahamas and Tai had just inherited Dexter’s Guns and More shop from her uncle, she becomes a person of interest to the APD, even though she swears she never met the corpse when it was Eliza Compton. Digging through her brother’s files, Tai finds business cards for Dan Garrity, senior investigator for the cops, and Marisa Edenfield, executive partner at Phoenix Corporate Security Services, where Eric was doing consulting work. Garrity becomes her detecting mentor, sort of, and Marisa puts her on the payroll to protect company interests (don’t ask). But it’s former Special Ops/ ex-APD guy, Trey Seaver, a total dreamboat even if he’s struggling with a little work- engendered brain damage, who’s with her every step of the way as the plot ricochets past strippers, senators, another dead body, a boyfriend, a trophy wife, a tail or two, a few gunshots and a kiss that takes your breath away. Tai’s next adventure can’t come soon enough. She’s adorable, Trey is worthy of her and Whittle’s first foray into crime fiction is noteworthy." – Kirkus Starred Review.

Meet all four author’s in person Saturday, January 29th at 5pm at The Poisoned Pen. For more details visit and check out the events calendar, or call 480-947-2974.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Erin Kelly's - The Poison Tree

It’s hard to tell the plot of Erin Kelly’s debut novel The Poison Tree  (signed $26.95) without giving everything away. We first meet the protagonist, Karen, in the 1990s. She’s just started college with great academic success at little effort, but has yet to find any passion in her personal life, or her studies. She’s a girl going through the motions, but not really living. At least not until she meets Biba, an aspiring actress and free spirit in a manic, Lady Brett Ashley kind of way. Karen is immediately enthralled, and soon moves into the immense, dilapidated home in Highgate Biba shares with her older brother Rex, as well as an ever-changing group of colorful eccentrics. The idyll that Karen thought she found slowly begins to unravel at the seams, fueled in no small part by alcohol and drugs.  Through Karen’s naïve eyes we relive the summer that left her life forever changed, meanwhile the paranoid and damaged adult Karen hints at secrets yet to be revealed. In the final chapters (and epilogue) past and present merge with one final, earth-shattering secret. Reading The Poison Tree is rather like watching someone travel abroad for the first time . . . on the Titanic. Excitement and anticipation abound, new faces and places are discovered, romance blossoms—but the iceberg looms large on the horizon.

The Poison Tree is rather   like watching someone travel abroad for the first time . . . on the Titanic.

Erin Kelly has worked as a freelance journalist for ten years. A regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Psychologies, Red, and Look, she has also written for Elle, Marie Claire, and Glamour.At first, I was concerned that The Poison Tree would turn out to be just another variation on the classic coming of age story, with a bit of The Sun Also Rises and House of Yes thrown in. Kelly, fortunately, doesn’t take the road often travelled. Though slow to start, just as you feel you’ve stumbled onto the surprise, she twists away and leads you down another path entirely—one that ends in a far different dénouement. However, despite the dead bodies (I’m not giving it away, this is mentioned in the jacket copy), The Poison Tree isn’t as much a crime or mystery novel as a suspenseful drama. Adult Karen’s hints at impending disaster lead the reader to wonder what life has in store for her, rather than a traditional mystery to be solved. For me, the biggest mystery is whether young Karen was really the innocent bystander she seemed to be, or hid things from herself, as well as us, all along.

If you like The Poison Tree also try:

Rebecca James, Beautiful Malice
Donna Tartt, The Secret History
Barbara Vine, The House of Stairs
Barbara Vine, A Fatal Inversion

- Chantelle Aimee Osman

Erin Kelly was born in London in 1976 and grew up in Essex. She read English at Warwick University and has been working as a journalist since 1998. She has written for newspapers including the The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Mail and the Express and magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. The Poison Tree is her first novel. She lives in London with her husband and daughter. Visit her at 

Erin Kelly signs The Poison Tree at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore January 20th, at 7pm.

To order a signed, first edition copy of the US edition of Poison Tree, head over to and search 'Poison Tree signed', we do mail order.

UPDATE  1/20/10 Watch the Webcast...

Watch live streaming video from poisonedpenauthorevent at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

T Jefferson Parker and John Lescroart

Order Border Lords signed by T Jefferson Parker for $26.95 from The Poisoned Pen HERE
Order Damage signed by John Lescroart for $26.95 HERE

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poisoned Pen – Guest Blog - author Lori Armstrong


Last year
when I was discussing my latest work in progress (which is the current release MERCY KILL) with another writer and I detailed some of the external conflicts, which are unique to this part of the country and to the people who live here. This author cautioned me about not getting too in depth about local issues or I’d risk being labeled a “regional” writer if I didn’t broaden my scope. Being a glass half-empty person, that attitude got my back up. Because really? Who wants to be labeled?

“With a gutsy heroine, sharp humor, and a strong sense of place, Armstrong has created a winning series (No Mercy). The female veteran perspective is particularly fresh…Highly recommended
– Library Journal, starred review

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I don’t want to write a broad overview of the area I live in; I want to shove it under a microscope and break it down piece by piece. The good, the bad and the unpopulated. The South Dakota setting I write about isn’t fictional. It’s real, based on places I’ve been in western South Dakota—but I’ve taken artistic license, mixing the best and the worst together and putting it in one location. As a writer I want people who’ve never been to our part of flyover country to get a sense of what wide open spaces and high plains desert really feels like—watching the play of light and shadow through dust-covered prairie grasses or gauging the height of the rock cliffs in the distance. As I’m traversing the countryside, I scribble notes, sometimes I take pictures, so I can accurately describe not just the physical appearance of the setting, but also the feeling that scenery evokes. But my first, immediate impression of the land in that particular season is usually the strongest and that’s the one I want to relay to readers.
But setting is only one part of the equation. I didn’t want to create a generic “every woman” character, but a woman who redefines resilient. Who as a native in more than one respect, has a different perspective on the unique people that have chosen this area as their home. I’m a shameless—albeit stealthy—eavesdropper and people watcher. Building realistic characters is more than documenting physical characteristics or odd mannerisms, or even speech patterns. But I admit I love to incorporate stereotypes—the tough ranch girl, the grizzled rancher, the hot-headed cowboy, the wise Indian—into the stories to give readers a glimpse into the local color. What’s been both enlightening and disheartening to me personally, and as an author, is the learning curve I’ve undertaken in the last ten years. When I started specific character research, I realized I didn’t know much about Sioux culture. Happily, I’ve rectified that to some degree. I’m lucky to have friends who have helped me out with Lakota language, traditions, and are willing to answer my questions. I try to make everything as accurate as I can, but that means touching on the some of the issues on the reservations and within the culture that aren’t pretty.

I knew that my character, former Army Sniper Mercy Gunderson, who is part Sioux, had to be a generational product of this sometimes harsh landscape. In her I’ve created a universal character with regional flare—the best of both worlds—and that’s a label even I can live with.

Visit Lori @

Lori will be signing MERCY KILL at
The Poisoned Pen on January 18th, 7pm
ORDER A COPY of MERCY KILL ($15) + Shipping
Contact  or via PayPal

Friday, January 7, 2011

Alaska-Based Mystery Author, Legal expert, Sci-Fi Juggernaut, Former Special Ops and FBI Agents, and more!!!

Click on the author's name to be taken to the event page.

February 1
in conversation with Diana GabaldonDiana_Gabaldon_2009 
Stabenow signs Though Not Dead (St Martins $25.99) and a hardcover reissue of her FIRST Kate Shugak novel, A Cold Day for Murder (Poisoned Pen Press $24.95)
Dana Stabenow, award-winning author of the Kate Shugak mysteries, the Liam Campbell mysteries, and three science fiction novels, also writes an acclaimed column for Alaska magazine. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where she was born and raised.
Dana has literally, always been ahead of here time. Her first novels were science fiction, and she continues her fascination with the future by staying on the cutting edge. She was the first author to be webcast live from The Pen. (It may have been her idea..) She was also one of the first authors to write a post for our blog.
Visit her website to find out more… 
This event will be available online as a webcast!

February 2
Jance signs Fatal Error (Touchstone $25.99), book six in the Sedona-set Alison Reynolds series
J.A. Jance is the New York Times-bestselling author of the series featuring Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Ali Reynolds series. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona

This event will be available online as a webcast!