NetGalley Author Interview: Jonathan Stroud

Born in Bedford, England, Jonathan Stroud self-published his first work at age eight. After several years of working as an editor in London, Stroud “finally took the plunge,” and ventured into the world of publishing as a writer in his own right.

Watch as Jonathan Stroud talks with us about the final installment of his Lockwood & Co. series, The Empty Grave, his approach to the craft of writing and what’s next.

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Kate Moretti’s Favorite Modern Whodunits with Unreliable Narrators

Originally published on Bookish.com, an editorially independent division of NetGalley.

The best mysteries keep readers on the edge of their seats from page one and cause them to doubt their own theories about who killed who. This is certainly the case with The Blackbird SeasonKate Moretti’s gripping latest novel. A young girl has disappeared, last seen with a married high school baseball coach. He claims to be innocent, but even his wife doubts his tale. To celebrate the book’s release, Moretti put together a list of her favorite modern whodunits.

When I started writing The Blackbird Season, my main goal was to keep the reader off their game and unbalanced. I wanted readers to constantly second guess themselves and spend the entirety of the book wondering “wait, did they do it?” I didn’t specifically set out to write an unreliable narrator (Nate says he didn’t do it and well, you’ll have to read to find out!). But I wanted to play with the idea of perception, the notion that guilt and innocence aren’t as black and white as Law & Order makes us think they are.

I was largely inspired by the modern “whodunit”. Recent books by female authors are incredibly rich and layered, and often it’s impossible to predict the endings. They are character driven (which I love!) and often involve family life, kids, husbands, wives, neighbors and friends.

The Girl on the Train

Rachel Watson is the ultimate unreliable narrator! Rachel is a black-out drunk who is barely still functioning. She watches a couple every day from her train window, a couple that happens to live next door to her ex and his new family. Readers will ask themselves a million questions: What’s with the bundle of clothes? What is going on with her memory? Did she kill Megan? Who killed Megan? I confess I spent most of the novel pretty sure that Rachel killed Megan. But the end… we’ll just say it was a surprise.

Big Little Lies

There’s a PTA party and a murder, or at least you think it’s a murder. Honestly, with this one, you spend most of the book wondering who, if anyone, has died. The plot winds backwards, putting suburban unrest on full display, and peppered with ludicrous (and sometimes hilarious) police interviews. There’s a light humor throughout the whole book but you have no idea who is dead, or who killed them. Even the minor players are developed enough to be doubted!

I Let You Go

A woman is grieving alone in a coastal cabin. She grieves for her son, who was killed in a car accident. But her narrative is disjointed and while emotional, it’s also detached. Too much so. Something doesn’t add up. Then comes the twist and the revelations and we are left to wonder, page after page, who is guilty? What really happened that night? How fine is the line between guilt and innocence? My kind of book!

You Will Know Me

This book is an intimate look inside the world of elite gymnastics. Megan Abbott deftly navigates a family where the parents have sunk their time, energy, money, and entire lives into the success of their child. When a member of the community is killed in a car accident that may or may not be an accident, suddenly everyone is a suspect. I spent the entire story flip-flopping between who I think did it, sometimes changing my mind mid-chapter. The greatest part of this novel, for me, was how easily the reader could follow the family down this disturbing, insular rabbit hole.

Emma in the Night

Two sisters disappear and three years later only one returns. She comes back with fantastical stories about a mysterious island and kidnapping, but the family psychiatrist is suspicious. Did Cass kidnap or kill her sister? Immediately, the reader realizes that something is not right with the Tanner family, specifically the mother. There is a thread of narcissism woven thoroughly throughout their lives and the dysfunction is uncomfortable and disturbing. I spent page after page wondering: Was it the mother? The father? Cass herself? What exactly happened that night at the beach? There is no way to guess the ending of Emma, but the reader will spend a fair amount of time trying!

Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew You, Binds That Tie, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Find out more at KateMoretti.com or follow her on Twitter: @KateMoretti1 or Facebook: /KateMorettiWriter.

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A Tale of Four Cities: Must-Read International Thrillers

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Hankering to end your summer with an international voyage? Author Christine Evelyn Volker rounded up five mysteries and thrillers set on foreign soil. There’s seduction in Seville, intrigue in Istanbul, murder in Moscow and villainy in Venice. What do they have in common? Enthralling locations, treachery, and hints of love, like in her book, Venetian Blood.

The Seville Communion

The pope’s computer is hacked, and Father Lorenzo Quart is sent to Seville to investigate. This talented, dashing emissary soon finds himself tested when he must make sense of a run-down local church “defending itself” from demolition by killing off the would-be developers. Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s intricate whodunit builds with the pulsating rhythm of a flamenco dance. As bodies pile up, Quart tries to put the pieces together and his vow of chastity is in peril when he’s waylaid by the alluring Macarena. For many reasons, he’ll always remember Seville.

Istanbul Passage

This was my first Joseph Kanon book, and now I’m hooked. He draws you into the thrilling world of espionage, like the tempting fragrance of Istanbul’s spice bazaar. It’s the end of 1945, in an Istanbul divided between loyalties as it straddles east and west, land and sea. Leon, an agent and a victim of betrayal, must decide who is friend and foe. He adjusts quickly to his predicament but is faced with agonizing choices ranging from bad to worse. Just how far is he willing to go to shield a man with the blood of innocents on his hands?

Gorky Park

Martin Cruz Smith put the Moscow police procedural on the map with this classic. Arkady Renko, an honest chief investigator, smokes to block out the stench of corpses and vent his frustration with KGB interference. He must solve a triple murder once mutilated bodies are found in the dark, frozen landscape that permeates the book. His pursuit of the case plunges him into expanding circles of corruption and treachery, even perhaps, by someone very close to him.

Playing with Fire

Julia, an American violinist, wanders into an antiquarian’s store in Rome and is mesmerized by the waltz Incendio, meaning fire. Once she plays the captivating music, her world is upended by a brutal force. Shifting to pre-WWII Venice, we observe the tender story of two young people in love: He’s Jewish, she’s Christian. With magical incandescence, they bring the Incendio waltz to life against the gathering clouds of war. As Julia searches for clues in modern-day Venice, we must ask ourselves: What evil has been stirred up by this music?

Defectors

It’s the early sixties and Moscow looks dim and tired—a graveyard for spent spies, like Frank Weeks. An American defector, now watched by the KGB, he and his ilk carve out a half-life existence. Russia grips them in a fierce bear hug from which they can never escape. When Frank’s American publisher sends younger brother Simon to edit his KGB-approved memoir, change glints on the horizon. As Simon succumbs to the lure of Frank’s smooth talk of brotherly love, you wonder if instead he’ll crash upon its rocks. This scorpion’s nest of spies is perfectly portrayed by Kanon. You’ll be on edge till the end reveals which scorpion wins.

Christine Evelyn Volker has lived on both U.S. coasts and traveled in between. She was born in the melting pot of New York City and grew up on Long Island. After studying in Albany, New York, for her undergraduate degree from University at Albany–SUNY, in Spanish Language and Literature, and securing an MLS, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She retooled herself with an MBA in Finance from UC Berkeley and worked in corporate and international lending. Her career brought her to live in Milan and London. An intrepid traveler, she is writing full time, thanks to the support of her husband, Stephan, a public interest environmental lawyer. She’s grateful for two accomplished stepsons and their wives. In addition to Venetian Blood, she is writing a second international mystery, taking place in the Peruvian Amazon, and has completed a children’s picture book.

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B. A. Paris on Cliffhangers, Trust, and Feeling Trapped

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Anyone who has ever read Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris knows this to be true: You don’t start one of her books unless you’ve got a reasonably clear schedule. That’s because once you start reading, it’s going to be pretty close to impossible to stop. We caught up with Paris at BookExpo America (while feeling quite stressed out about the events of Behind Closed Doors) and got to chat with her about her new novel, The Breakdown. Along the way, we discussed the importance of trust, dinner parties, and what makes her books so addictive.

Bookish: Both The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors make readers think hard about trust—who do they trust? Do they even trust themselves? What is it about the subject of trust that inspires you as a writer?

B. A. Paris: I wanted to show that women have to be wary of the situations they get into—and men too, of course—but it’s often women who get married and find out that their Prince Charming isn’t quite the man that they thought he was. We look at other people and we think they’re perfect, but we don’t know what goes on behind their closed doors. And when we are with somebody we have complete trust in them; we never think that they could do anything to hurt us. I think that’s an interesting thing to talk about.

Bookish: Your novels introduce thrills and chills in the midst of everyday life, which arguably makes them more unsettling—they feel plausible. Do you find ordinary situations more frightening than outlandish ones?

BAP: Yes, I wanted to show that these things can happen to ordinary people, especially in the case of Grace in Behind Closed Doors. And I wanted to show that women can find themselves in this situation—intelligent, educated women. I’ve had plenty of letters from readers who’ve said that they’ve found themselves in this sort of situation. And people often say, they’re intelligent women, why don’t they just walk away? I wanted to show that in these situations sometimes, it just happens that you can’t for one reason for another, and even if you don’t have somebody like Millie, dependent on you like in Behind Closed Doors, women can be brainwashed into thinking that they’re useless, that they’re no good. And this is not just happening at home, it can also happen in the workplace as well, this sort of mental manipulation.

Bookish: How was writing your second novel, The Breakdown, different from working on your debut?

BAP: It was hugely different in the sense that I just wrote Behind Closed Doors for me—I didn’t know it was going to be published. I just wanted to write that book. But for The Breakdown I was very conscious of writing for my readers, writing for the people that had loved Behind Closed Doors. I wanted to give them the same kind of reader experience because I knew that was what they would be expecting, without doing the same story. It was really difficult. The pressure was definitely there—it wasn’t an easy ride. It was a breeze to write Behind Closed Doors but it was much more pressure to write The Breakdown. It was the expectations.

I’ve read books by authors that I’ve loved and I’ve been not so keen on the second book, so I was really, really under that sort of pressure to deliver something that would deliver the same reader experience.

Bookish: Both your novels are serious page-turners: It’s virtually impossible to put them down, and it seems like this has a lot to do with pacing. How do you plot out your novels to make them so hard to step away from?

BAP: I’m really disappointing, I suppose. I don’t plot out my novels at all. I know the beginning, and I know the end usually, although not exactly how it’s going to end. I know whether it’s going to be a good ending or a bad ending. It’s just the process of getting there. Behind Closed Doors was sort of surprising because I never thought I’d be able to write such a dark book. There’s no plotting for me. As for the pace, I think that just comes about quite naturally. I don’t aim for it, but I think I manage at the end of a chapter to make the reader want to read on by making a little cliffhanger. I don’t really read over my book and think, “There’s something boring happening here.” Pacing is really important to a book and I’ve just been really lucky that each time I think I’ve managed to pull it off.

Bookish: You said something interesting just now, about how it’s such a dark book. In another interview, I read you saying that you knew Jack was going to be an evil character but you didn’t know just how evil he was until you were writing about him. Can you talk about that discovery?

BAP: I was going to write a book about a couple where the husband was controlling the wife, but I didn’t expect it to be that dark. But when I was writing it, it was really strange. People would ask me if it was hard to write because of the subject matter, but in fact it wasn’t because I really felt that it was the characters writing the book for me. When I was writing Jack’s part, I was Jack, and it was as if he was saying “Come on, this is not good enough. If you want to get people’s imaginations, I’ve got to be better than this. I’ve got to be more evil.” And I really had the impression that he was egging me on and writing the part in his charming way.

Bookish: If you could invite any three writers over for dinner (and the dinner party would be less stressful than Jack and Grace’s in Behind Close Doors), who would you invite, and why? What would you serve for dinner?

BAP: This is such a hard question because I’m going to offend so many writers that I know if I don’t choose them. I think I would have to invite writers of the psychological genre, because then we’d all have something in common. I’d invite Mary KubicaWendy Walker, and Sophie Hannah. But then I’ve got all my friend writers, so Louise Jensen, Lisa Hall, Jane Cory, and probably lots of others. It would be very difficult to choose. It would be a big party—I couldn’t leave anybody out.

What would I serve? Probably fish as the main course. John Dory maybe, or monkfish. And for a starter I might do something like foie gras, because people would expect something like that as I’m French. And then for dessert, I’d probably make the dessert that Grace made, which is a pavlova with meringues and cream. All of those recipes in the book are things that I’ve made before.

Bookish: Both The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors are about wives who are trapped in very real ways—by their relationships, by their circumstances, by a chance encounter. Why do you think being trapped is so scary, and so resonant for your readers?

BAP: I think that most women, and men as well, identify with Grace. Women might not be going through the same thing as Grace or Cass in The Breakdown, but there are many times in our lives that we feel trapped by circumstances. It could be by our families–having elderly parents, having young children. Sometimes you just feel that you’re never going to get out of the drudge that you’re in, and you feel trapped. And I think that’s why women identify with my books really, because they can see something of themselves in my characters whether they’re going through the same thing or not. Hopefully not. But there is that pressure there for women, I think—maybe more so than for men.

Bookish: There’s a subtle thread about gender in your work. Both Grace (in Behind Closed Doors) and Cass (in The Breakdown) disobey their husbands, which is an inherently gendered thing. Do you see your books as making a statement about gender roles?

BAP: No, I haven’t actually thought about that. Honestly, I just write the books what I want to write. But there’s a change coming in my third book, without saying any more about it. I was aware that in my first two books I’ve chosen women who are victims, and I don’t want to write another woman victim book. It’s another psychological thriller, of course. It’s not about a female victim. Well, it is and it isn’t. I can’t say too much about it. I wanted a change; I felt that my third one had to be different.

Bookish: Both of your books are set in small English towns. Can you speak to your affinity for this kind of setting?

BAP: I think you have to write about what you know. Although I haven’t lived in England for many years, I can easily place myself and my characters in a small English town.

Bookish: I read in an interview that you came to writing relatively recently, but had wanted to write a novel for a long time. Are Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown stories you’ve had percolating inside your head for years?

BAP: Behind Closed Doors has been brewing in my head for a few years, only because I once had a friend and I thought that maybe her relationship with her husband was a bit off, that she was being controlled—nothing like Grace—but then I thought it might be a good idea for a book. So it had been brewing in my head for a couple of years.

The Breakdown, not at all. I came to the idea because I was driving home through some woods one day in the middle of a huge storm and although it wasn’t night, I was by myself in the car and started wondering what would I do if I broke down, and then what would I do if I saw a car that was broken down. I put myself in that situation and thought, that would be a good start for a novel.

Bookish: You have five daughters. Are they big readers? How have they influenced your writing career?

BAP: My daughters are big readers, especially the eldest three. They all read my books. They’re the first people I give my books to when I’m done. I get good feedback from them. I don’t write my books for my daughters at all, and in fact, when they read Behind Closed Doors, they were horrified that I could write something so dark. They said “Mommy, where did this come from? You’re not that sort of person.” So I like that they’re surprised that I have these hidden depths. But no, they don’t influence my writing at all. Only in that they might say, “Mommy what you’ve said there is a bit old-fashioned, we don’t really say things like that now. We would say this.” And I go, “Okay.”

B. A. Paris grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.

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Nuala Ellwood’s Top Five Grip Lit Novels

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Have you heard about the hot new literary genre? It’s grip lit. Grip lit is made up of novels that are a blend of fiction and thriller and typically written by, for, and about women. Nuala Ellwood, author of My Sister’s Bones, is no stranger to the genre. Here, she shares her favorite grip lit books with Bookish readers.

Talking to the Dead
Helen Dunmore, who sadly passed away in June, was a huge inspiration to me as a writer. In this stunning novel she explores sibling bonds, childhood violence, and unreliable memory with an understated menace that bleeds through the pages. The story takes place in a remote Sussex farmhouse at the height of summer where two sisters with a tragic past are reunited when one of them gives birth to her first child. We slowly come to realize that all is not as it seems; one or both of them may have committed a terrible crime years previously and yet each of them manage to convince the reader that the other is to blame. This haunting, beautifully written thriller gives me goose bumps every time I read it.

Apple Tree Yard

On the surface Yvonne Carmichael has it all: a successful career, a happy marriage, two much loved children. So why does she feel so unfulfilled? A chance encounter with a handsome stranger under the Houses of Parliament seems to give her a new lease of life, a chance to break away from the safe, steady world she has built around herself. But a random act of violence brings that world crashing down and forces Yvonne to make a drastic decision, one that threatens to destroy her life. Louise Doughty excels at creating bone-chilling stories by delving into the darkness that exists at the heart of seemingly ordinary lives. One of the things I loved about Apple Tree Yard was that, through its second person narration, it managed to turn the reader into a voyeur. Much like the CCTV camera hidden in the titular yard, we are at once removed from and yet colluding in the horrifying events that unfold.

He Said/She Said

Laura and her boyfriend Kit are at a festival in Cornwall watching a solar eclipse when Laura interrupts the apparent rape of a woman called Beth. They call the police and a man is arrested. However, as Beth becomes ever more entwined in Laura and Kit’s lives it becomes clear that she is getting too close for comfort. This is an extraordinary novel that clouds your perception throughout, much like the eclipse that sets the whole story in motion, so that you are never sure if what you are seeing is the whole picture or just a strange trick of the eye.

The Last Days of Summer

When Jasper Curtis is released from prison and returns home to live with his sister and her two daughters he assures them that he is a changed man, but soon trouble comes calling with horrifying consequences. Here is a novel where the landscape and searing temperature of Texas become characters in their own right and add to the intensity of this terrifying story. Vanessa Ronan’s thriller drips with tension and foreboding from the first sentence to the last.

Lie With Me

This chilling thriller is narrated by Paul, a failed author and pathological liar. One night at dinner Paul meets Alice, a widow. They become involved and Alice invites Paul to stay with her at the villa she owns on an idyllic Greek island. But the trip turns into a nightmare where the ghosts of both Paul’s and Alice’s pasts come back to haunt them and Paul’s lies finally start to catch up with him. I read this novel in one sitting and loved the way Sabine Durrant managed to combine beautiful, hypnotic prose with a killer plot and truly unexpected twist.

Nuala Ellwood is the daughter of an award-winning journalist. Inspired by her father’s and other journalists’ experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder, she gained Arts Council Funding for her research into the topic and ultimately made it the main theme of My Sister’s Bones, her debut psychological thriller.

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Jordan Harper on the Importance of Punching Back

Originally published on Bookish.com, our sister company.

Working as an in-demand screenwriter has made Jordan Harper no stranger to writing an action-packed story, which certainly comes across in his debut novel, She Rides Shotgun. It’s a gritty, emotional, and grippingly terrifying thrill-ride about the fine line between being bad and being good. We caught up with Harper recently to talk about the draw of the powerful young girl character, the difference between writing for the page and writing for the screen, and about why he believes the perfect response to being punched is to punch back.

Bookish: She Rides Shotgun puts the reader right alongside Nate, as though we are a part of him, running for our lives. We’re in Nate’s head as much as we can be but there’s only so much we can know given the third person narration. What else do you want readers to know about Nate McCluskey?

Jordan Harper: My first draft of the novel was written much more from Nate’s point of view than Polly’s. It’s really more Polly’s story than his so I’m glad I made the switch, but there’s a lot of Nate on the cutting room floor, particularly his relationship with his brother Nick, and how that blend of toxic masculinity and bravado gets passed on generation to generation.  There was even a brief explanation of how white trash hill people (my people) spread from the east coast to the Ozarks and then to California. Which is probably a bit much, so it’s better on the floor than in the book.

Bookish: Polly is a remarkable character. In many ways, she’s old beyond her years and yet she is still very much a child. At the end of the first part, she cuts off her hair and dyes it red, an action both literal and symbolic of her change. There seems to be a trend with these powerful, dangerous young girls in pop culture (Eleven in Stranger Things, for example). Why do you think such characterizations are growing in popularity?

JH: On one hand, this isn’t new. Polly springs from a mini-genre, the crook and child on the road, that has a long tradition of very strong little girls: Mattie Ross in True Grit, Addie in Paper Moon, Natalie Portman’s character in The Professional. But the current vogue springs from the fact that when a vacuum is filled, it is filled rapidly. People are hungry for girls in crime fiction who aren’t victims or props. I’m not the first to say that the majority of interesting crime fiction these days features and/or is written by women.

Bookish: The relationship between Nate and Polly goes from basically non-existent to survival mode, to mentorship, and finally to something close to father and daughter (or maybe as close as they can be). Polly goes from being rigid with fear to strong and powerful. In their case, violence is a learned behavior but rage seems to be inherited. Why?

JH: The answer to this is buried in the scene in which Nate teaches Polly how to take a punch, and it is my inner anarchist’s response to anxiety (which plagues both Polly and Nate). I think that anxiety is a natural response to the modern world, a world that teaches you not to fight back, a world that does violence to you daily in a million different ways and expects you not to punch back. Polly does no violence to anything but herself at the beginning of the book, which is why her fight-or-flight instinct jams her up so often. Nate teaches her that the correct response to being punched is to punch back, which is a radical thought these days.

Bookish: Let’s talk about place. California is supposed to be the land of dreams fulfilled, fruit, honey, and beautiful people, right? But here you show us the underbelly. What drew you to California as a setting?

JH: I moved to LA almost a decade ago, and I love it deeply. There was never any question about where to set the novel. While a few of the places in the novel are fictional, every location is at least based on real places that I drove to while writing the book. I write best about places that I physically go to. So since this is my home, it made for a natural location.

In some ways, California is it’s own country, but it’s also the most American place, with its worship of cars, its dirt, its dedication to a dream that’s only achieved by a very few. I also love that here in LA you can drive from the Pacific Ocean to the desert madness of the Salton Sea in half a day.

Bookish: She Rides Shotgun is your first published novel. What was the experience like for you and how was it different from writing screenplays?

JH:  It was fiendishly difficult, a nearly three-year process. Writing a novel has made writing for television seem very simple and quick. A novel has so many more moving parts.

Bookish: The movie rights to She Rides Shotgun have already been sold, and you’re working on the adaptation. How’s that going?

JH:  I just turned in a draft to the producers, so I’ll know better how it’s going when I hear back from them.

Bookish: What are the pros and cons to adapting your own work?

JH: While I’m happy with what I’m done, and I’m very excited to be working with the producers I’m working with, I’m not sure I’d tell other authors to attempt adapting themselves. Maybe you shouldn’t adapt yourself for the same reason that you shouldn’t operate on yourself: You need to make deep cuts without pain. But it’s a great honor to take a crack at it, and put these characters on the big screen.

Bookish: I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Polly. Any plans for a sequel?

JH: I’ve toyed with an idea for bringing Polly back, but not in my next novel. I’ve been wrestling with a new idea based on a murder that took place in my high school when I was a senior, but it’s been rough going. I’ve also got an idea for a modern-day Bonnie-and-Clyde murder mystery that I’ve been excited about for a while. So we’ll see.

Jordan Harper was born and educated in Missouri. He has been a music journalist, film critic, and TV writer. He is the author of the short story collection, Love and Other Wounds. He lives in Los Angeles.

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NetGalley Author Interview: Marc Elsberg

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Marc Elsberg,” now! Here, we talk about his TedxBerlin talk, where the inspiration for Blackout came from and how we should all truly be thinking about what would happen if we experienced a full technology blackout in our world. You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

Pub Date: June 6, 2017
General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

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When the lights go out one night, no one panics. Not yet. The lights always come back on soon, don’t they? Surely it’s a glitch, a storm, a malfunction. But something seems strange about this night. Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electrical grids collapse. There is no power, anywhere.

A former hacker and activist, Piero investigates a possible cause of the disaster. The authorities don’t believe him, and he soon becomes a prime suspect himself. With the United States now also at risk, Piero goes on the run with Lauren Shannon, a young American CNN reporter based in Paris, desperate to uncover who is behind the attacks. After all, the power doesn’t just keep the lights on―it keeps us alive.

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NetGalley Author Interview: Terri Blackstock

Watch our author video interview, “15 minutes with… Terri Blackstock,” now! Here, we discuss Blackstock’s If I Run series, writing in multiple genres and the inspiration behind her novels. You don’t want to miss this interview brought to you by NetGalley, Meryl Moss Media and BookTrib.com.

If I'm Found

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Pub Date: March 21, 2017
Mystery & Thrillers, Christian
Published by Zondervan Fiction

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Is Dylan hunting Casey to prosecute her or protect her?

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?

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NetGalley Author Interview: Cara Putman

From veteran author Cara Putman, Beyond Justice weaves a tale of mystery and suspense as up-and-coming lawyer Hayden McCarthy takes on the government in a controversial wrongful death case.

Beyond Justice

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Pub Date: April 4, 2017
Mystery & Thrillers, Christian
Published by Thomas Nelson - Fiction

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Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s handed a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership-or an attempt to make sure she never gets there. She keeps the case alive through sheer determination and more than a little creativity, but then she’s fired by a partner with a vendetta.

Further complicating matters, Hayden keeps finding herself completely distracted by Andrew, her roommate’s cousin. But his father is a Congressman and she’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to see either the case-or her-die. Should she fight alone for the dead young man by launching her own unfinanced firm, or abandon the case in order to save her own life?

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Reader Spotlight

Blog name: The Suspense Is Thrilling Me
Your name: Chelsea Humphrey

Let’s start with your origin story - how long have you been blogging about Mystery & Thrillers, and why did you start?

Technically I have only had my blog since May of 2016, but I have been reviewing books on Goodreads since September of 2015. I’ve always had a deep love of reading; after my second child was born I wanted to find something I could do for “me time”. I started writing reviews and found it so enjoyable that I knew I had found something special. Eventually, I had some wonderful authors like Mary Kubica, Angela Marsons, Emily Carpenter, and James Renner offer to back my blog and help me get it off the ground with some interviews and giveaways. I’ll never forget their kindness; the fact that they believed in me before I could believe in myself is what got me started and loving the world of blogging!

Are there particular subgenres that you prefer or find more interesting at the moment? Are there any trends that you are excited to see come or go?

I am a huge fan of the psychological thriller! That has always been my #1 go to if I’m stuck in a rut. I’m also partial to crime thrillers/police procedurals; I have recently discovered a new liking for medical thrillers and even a few political thrillers. I think I speak for most readers in the genre who would like to see the “Gone Girl” craze disappear. I adored that book when I first read it; I found it very unique and original for the moment, but once the floodgates opened to all the similar books that style got old quickly. My dream is one day to be able to pick up a psychological thriller with no mention of the word “Girl” in the title or a blurb. I’ve really enjoyed this recent trend of stories being told out of order; All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda was so unique in the fact that we discover the story backward, from end to beginning.

Your review style is very engaging - you take away something different from each book and bring in your own knowledge. For example, in a recent review you gave readers a heads up about possible triggers in the book, and in another you praised an author for his honest depiction of the struggles of parenthood, and you pull in additional information about the author and publisher, and giveaways/events that readers may not know about. Can you describe how you formulate your reviews and what you’ve found works the best for yourself and what resonates with your followers?

Thank you! To be honest, I had to play around with formatting and what I wanted to include in my reviews for months before I found a set “go to” standard. For instance, I have followers from all walks of the reading spectrum; some are fellow reviewers/bloggers, some are aspiring/current authors, and some are just fantastic readers looking for an honest review to help them narrow down that ever growing To Be Read list. I always like to include publisher, author, and series/genre information, as some readers aren’t sure where it falls in a series and some fellow reviewers need that information to request review copies easily. I try to always be constructive in my reviews, as there is no need to be cruel. A book is a project that someone has worked on for many months, sometimes years. I do try to include information that might be helpful to a reader on deciding if a book is for them. In the mystery/thriller genre, there are a number of triggers that might affect someone poorly and be a book they likely shouldn’t pick up. Graphic violence, rape, murder, and abuse of humans and/or animals can be common in these types of books, so I like to point out (in a spoiler friendly way) if these types of triggers make an appearance in a book. I do post many reviews as I read an average of 4 books per week, but I also like to mix things up with other types of posts as well. My favorite posts are author interviews that include giveaways; many publishers/authors have been so generous and just all around awesome by providing everything for those types of posts. I have heard from numerous readers and winners of the giveaways that they were able to find a new-to-them author that is now a favorite they might never have found otherwise. It’s a win for everyone involved! I love nothing more than promoting books for a debut author and spreading the word on their fabulous new story.

Aside from your reviews, you have a variety of different features on your blog – which is your current favorite?

While I thoroughly enjoy all the excerpts, reviews, cover reveals, and interviews/giveaways, I think my favorite current feature is my weekly wrap-up that occurs every Friday. I try to include what I’m currently reading, books I’ve won in various giveaways (thank you Goodreads!!!), and book mail from various publishers/book buddies. I have a few blogger/reader friends that we mail each other books we weren’t able to get our hands on, and all my friends/family know me as the crazy book peddler because I give away all my books (except the special signed ones) once I’ve finished reading them.

Which upcoming book(s) on NetGalley are you the most excited about reading and recommending to your followers? And are there any covers on NetGalley that you’re loving?

I’ve recently been approved for Wintersong by S. Jae Jones (and that cover is GORGEOUS!), Dark Water by Robert Bryndza, Bloodlines by Angela Marsons, and Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall- all books I’ve been anticipating for months now! I can’t wait to review these because I can already tell you I’ll be pushing all four heavy. One that I haven’t read yet that just went up is The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek; the cover is gorgeous and the blurb has me hooked.

Wintersong    Dark Water   Bloodlines   Tell Me No LiesThe Nightwalker

Lightning Round!

Your blog in two sentences:

The Suspense Is Thrilling Me focuses heavily on the Mystery/Thriller genre, but also includes reviews of Women’s Fiction and YA. It’s growing quickly and I couldn’t be more pleased with it’s success!

Your favorite character in a book or series:

Isabel Spellman in the Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Your favorite 2 publishers for Mystery & Thriller titles:

Bookouture and Minotaur Books

And to finish off our interview, if you could go on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go?

There are many, but a top pick would be Harlan Coben. I feel like anywhere would be an adventure with him, but NYC would be a blast, and I hope he’s as funny in real life as he is in his books.

Thanks so much Chelsea, for spending time with us and answering our questions!
Please make sure to check out The Suspense Is Thrilling Me and more Mystery & Thrillers available on NetGalley! 

Would you like to nominate your blog, or a blog you admire, to be featured in our Blogger Spotlight series? Fill out this form!

*Interviewed by Tarah Theoret

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