Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

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I am happy to announce publication of my latest book with Mysterious Press/Open Road Media, The Edit.

Here’s a brief summary:

An ex-Nazi on the run will do whatever it takes to keep his vicious past from being exposed in this chilling novel of suspense.

On the coast of Central America, an aging man sits down to pen his memoirs. He begins with his childhood in Vienna, just after World War I, when his family lived in respectable poverty and his greatest pleasure was being rocked to sleep in the lap of his beloved babysitter. It would be a sweet tale if the author could withhold what comes later . . . but he intends to tell every horrifying detail of the truth. He’s a war criminal, a veteran of the elite Nazi brigade known as the SS, and he’ll write proudly of every atrocity he can recall.

Distracting him from his work is inquisitive American journalist Kate O’Brien, who has come in search of a story. When Kate accidentally stumbles upon the old man’s pages, he has no choice but to act, kidnapping her and locking her in his basement. His latest crime threatening to expose him, the proud Nazi will come face to face with the horrors of his past and the blackness of his soul.

Impeccably researched and chillingly believable, The Edit is a truly unique novel of suspense written by J. Sydney Jones, author of Ruin Value, a groundbreaking mystery set in the shadow of the Nuremberg Trials. This time, Jones takes the reader into a truly horrifying place: deep within the mind of a Nazi.


The official pub date is December 13, 2016; pre-order is available now for both paperback and e-book editions. This book takes its title from the fact that the hero, Kate O’Brien, bored out of her gourd in the homemade concentration camp of the Nazi memoirist, begins to edit the man’s memoirs, re-writing them as his life should have been lived. The Edit is told via the memoir, its edits, and recorded conversations, and is at once an overview of twentieth century history and a chilling novel on the order of The Collector–for those of you lucky enough to remember the work of John Fowles. This stand-alone forms an informal trilogy with my two other publications with Mysterious Press: Ruin Value: A Mystery of the Third Reich and Basic Law: A Mystery of Cold War Europe.




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GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERASam Hawken has made the Texas borderlands his own unique home in a number of well received and hard-hiting crime novels. His first novel, the 2011 work, The Dead Women of Juarez, was published in the UK and used the real-life tragedy of female homicides in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez as the stepping-off point for a story of corruption, despair and redemption. It was shortlisted by the Crime Writers Association for the John Creasy New Blood Dagger.

Tequila  Sunset followed in 2012, returning once again to Ciudad Juárez and its sister city, El Paso, Texas. This time Hawken drew upon the legacy of the infamous gang Barrio Azteca, at one time responsible for over 80% of the murders in Juárez, formerly the murder capital of the world. Once again, the Crime Writers Association recognized Hawken’s work, nominating the novel for the Gold Dagger (best crime novel of the year). (more…)

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barry-lancet-4-thumbBarry Lancet is the author of the Jim Brodie series of thrillers, featuring the Tokyo-based PI and antiques dealer. Lancet hit the ground running with the first novel in the series, Japantown, which was nominated for a Barry Award and selected as the Best Debut of the Year by Suspense Magazine in 2013. It was highly praised by critics. Booklist called it a “solid mystery with a memorable protagonist, the book captures our interest from the first page,” while the New York Times dubbed it a “sophisticated international thriller.” Japantown was also optioned for television by J. J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions, in association with Warner Bros. (more…)

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DeniseMinaTHUMBThey call it Tartan Noir, the Scots form of noir crime writing. And Glasgow crime writer Denise Mina is one of its major practitioners. Mina is the author of a number of critically acclaimed novels: the three installments of the “Garnethill” trilogy featuring Maureen O’Donnell as an unwilling sleuth; three novels featuring Paddy Meehan, a journalist in 1980s and 1990s Glasgow; the stand-alone crime novel, Sanctum; the 2010 graphic novel, A Sickness in the Family; and contributions to the John Constantine, Hellblazer series.

Increasingly, however, Mina has become identified with her series of novels featuring Glasgow DI Alex Morrow: Still Midnight, The End of the Wasp Season, Gods and Beasts, and The Red Road. Writing in the New York Times Book Review of the last-named novel, released in the U.S. in 2014, Marilyn Stasio noted: “If anyone can make you root for the murderer, it’s Denise Mina, whose defiantly unsentimental novels are less concerned with personal guilt than with the social evils that create criminals and the predators who nurture them. . . [The Red Road is] as fierce a story as any Mina has written.” Publishers Weekly also had high praise for this installment, calling it “perhaps her finest yet, a brilliantly crafted tale of corruption, ruined lives, and the far-reaching ripple effects of crime.” n413367

Mina hit the ground running, winning the John Creasy Dagger for Best First Crime Novel in 1998 for Garnethill, the first of a trilogy of the same name. She was dubbed the “Crown Princess of Crime” by author Val McDermid, who went on to note, “”If you don’t love Denise Mina, you don’t love crime fiction.”  Mina has also earned praise from fellow Scots writer Ian Rankin, who called her “one of the most exciting writers to have emerged in Britain for years.” She has since been a finalist for the Edgar and the recipient of the 2012 Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award (for The End of the Wasp Season), beating out such formidable competition as John Connolly. (more…)

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GaryCorby[1]Australian novelist Gary Corby is the author of the Athenian Mystery series, which stars, as Corby explains on his home page, “Nicolaos, his girlfriend Diotima, and his irritating twelve year old brother Socrates.” The most recent series installment, The Marathon Conspiracy, is out this coming May. Publishers Weekly has this to say about the series: “Corby displays a real gift for pacing and plotting.” Similarly, Library Journal commented: “Mix one part ancient history, one part clever and contemporary banter, and one part action, and you have a top-notch crime caper.”

Gary, it is a real pleasure to welcome you Up Over (sorry about that) to Scene of the Crime. Can we start things off with the obvious? What made you choose ancient Greece for murder mysteries? (more…)

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Image2It is my pleasure today to present an extended interview with J. Robert Janes, author of the acclaimed St-Cyr and Kohler series set in occupied France during World War II. The Wall Street Journal called the series “engrossing,” and Publishers Weekly felt that it “convincingly documents the wartime background of Nazi-occupied.” Jean-Louis St-Cyr is a widower, a inspector of the French Sûreté, and is partnered in crime detection with Bavarian Detektiv Inspektor Hermann Kohler. The pair set out together first in the 1992 Mayhem, and have been at it ever since, though there was a decade-long hiatus from 2002 to 2012. Janes had not quit writing during that time; far from it. He penned three further novels in the series as well as several young adult works, but it was not until 2012 that he struck a new publishing deal with Otto Penzler of Mysterious Press and his Open Road Media partners: they published Janes’ entire backlist in e-book, and contracted for future titles in the series as paperback and e-book originals.

Thus, St-Cyr and Kohler took the stage once again in the 2012 title,w506156 Bellringer, and the critics were happy to have them back again. “St-Cyr and Kohler [have] returned in an enthralling, character-propelled new police procedural,” declared Kirkus Reviews, while Publishers Weekly noted: “The combined ingenuity of St. Cyr and Kohler, the harsh realities of the occupation, and an array of intriguing characters will keep readers turning the pages.” Janes reprises the duo in the 2013 Tapestry and in the fifteenth in the series, Carnival, due out next month.

So, without further ado, welcome to Scene of the Crime, Bob. Please tell us about your long-running series. Could you give us a sense of your protagonists and of Paris and all of France in the early 1940s?

Jean-Louis St-Cyr, of the Sûreté Nationale, and his partner, Hermann Kohler, of the Gestapo’s Kripo, its Kriminalpolizei, are now all but through their sixteenth investigation. What this means, in very simple terms, is that for a great deal of the past twenty-four years I have been living with and through those two. Some of the books took longer than others–one learns one’s history, et cetera, as one goes along. Some stories also demand more than others. But the question is, of course, not just why is it that I am continually drawn to German-Occupied France during the Second World War, but why, after perhaps a year and a half or two on one book, do I suddenly come to a point where I’m excited about the next one? I use one-word titles throughout the series and often these come to me while I’m still writing another, and it is then, I’m certain, that the subconscious has patiently been working on this “next one”.

n402313France is, of course, a remarkably beautiful and intelligent country. There are huge differences from region to region, each exhibiting its own patois, character and substance. It’s food, too, and not just the wine. All of these regions have their history, character and substance, and of course, I write historical novels that just happen to be mysteries (or vice versa), yet still, what is it that drives me to do this–me who is still, after all, and was, a mining engineer, a geologist, university lecturer, research scientist, high school teacher–all that sort of baggage that folks carry as they get on in life?

First let me state that what happened during the Occupation of France could have happened anywhere and definitely did, there being degrees of the extreme. Additionally, the books are not anti-French in the slightest. French readers and professors have all stressed this. Louis Malle, the great French film director, did tell me he appreciated and understood what I was up to and wished me well, but warned me that in France, and with the French, I would have a very hard time. Generally the French don’t want to deal with the Occupation, except in very couched terms, and Malle was only too aware of this. But I was to get on with it anyways.

So, first a difficult time and country to choose if one wanted the n432337locals to appreciate and help with what I was up to; secondly, a good Gestapo, as a partner–ah mon Dieu, how could I have chosen to do such a thing too? Well, I didn’t. I more or less fell into it when at the end of The Hunting Ground, a thriller about Lily de St-Germain, née Hollis–it has a very bad Sûreté–I set my pencil down and asked myself, Hey, what about a good Sûreté in all of this? Well, he would have to have a German overseer like everything else, but I’d make Hermann only a Detektiv Inspektor; Jean-Louis would be a Chief Inspector.

You’ve been at this series a long time. Do you ever have any difficulties coming up with new plot lines?

I wrote Mayhem, the first, in seven months back in 1990–that’s the one Louis Malle very kindly read when published in1992. Carousel took about ten months, and by then Constable and Company had “bought” the series. And then, you ask? Well, once you start a series you had better keep on doing it and I did, sometimes two in one year, and I still am. And yes, they don’t get easier only harder and harder, and of course I know German-Occupied France probably as well as anyone can, though–and this is what drives me, too–I am still finding things that excite me.



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ccdutch2 copyColin Cotterill is the author of numerous volumes in the popular Dr. Siri Paiboun series, featuring the septuagenarian Laotian coroner. Dr. Siri had thought to spend a peaceful retirement, but he is conscripted by the Communist government after the 1975 takeover of Laos. He hopes to make this job a sinecure; in the event he continually finds himself knee deep in murders and cover ups, far from the usual retirement activities.

Siri was introduced in the 2004 title, The Coroner’s Lunch, a “convincing and highly interesting portrayal of an exotic locale… [that] marks the author as someone to watch,” according to Publishers Weekly. Since then, Cotterill has published eight more Dr. Siri mysteries, with The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die appearing in 2013. (more…)

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IMG_0854Irish writer Laurence O’Bryan is the author of three fast-paced, international conspiracy thrillers, The Istanbul Puzzle, The Jerusalem Puzzle, and The Manhattan Puzzle, which was just published. The books feature Isabel Sharp and Sean Ryan as they unravel mysteries in each of the locales and have been favorably compared to the work of Dan Brown and Robert Harris. Of the first book in the series, the London Telegraph noted: “A brisk plot…which draws the reader into a conspiratorial rapport.” The Irish Independent also had praise for The Istanbul Puzzle: “This stylish conspiracy thriller is a Turkish delight…combines plenty of stirring action with fascinating historical detail.” (more…)

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CaraBlackVeteran mystery writer Cara Black is the author of the popular Aimée Leduc series, set in contemporary Paris. Black knows her setting and relishes taking the reader into the insider’s Paris, as noted by a reviewer for the New York Times who wrote, “If the cobblestones of the old Marais district of Paris could only talk, they might tell a tale as haunting as the one Cara Black spins.” Of Cara’s spirited protagonist, a Publishers Weekly contributor observed, “Aimée makes an engaging protagonist, vulnerable beneath her vintage chic clothing and sharp-witted exterior.” (more…)

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5d9fc4429e2afe245f46da71a341204b4gIt is a real pleasure to have Matt Rees back on Scene of the Crime. He was one of the first writers I had on the site, three-and-a-half years ago.

Matt is the old-fashioned man of letters type: former Middle East correspondent for The Scotsman and Newsweek, he was Time’s Jerusalem bureau chief during the Palestinian intifada. (more…)

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