Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Own Personal BEA

With Book Expo America right around the corner, I thought I'd get in the spirit and have my own little BEA right here. These are the books that are showcased in my booth, the ones I can't wait to read. Some may be obvious--some less so. But if you love to read do yourself a favor and check these out.

When I was a kid, I grew up on three authors: Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques and Stephen King. While away at summer camp, I would stay up until ungodly hours of the night plowing through 1,000 page epics like "The Stand" and "It." To say these were some of my favorite childhood moments is an understatement. While King has always has a propensity to write long books, it's been some time since we've been granted a thousand page doorstopper of a novel. For some reason, I have the most trouble with King's books that top out around 600 pages. They seem not quite long enough to be stretched up to epic length, but not quite short enough to have the locomotive velocity of "Carrie" and "Cujo." I haven't loved King's recent books ("Cell" was the last one that felt like real, old-school King), but when I heard 'thousand page book about a town in Maine suddenly and inexplicably encased within a dome' my ears perked up. That sounded, well, cool. So I'll happily shell out my $35 and strap on a weightlifting belt to give my back support while I churn through this monstrous bad boy. Hopefully it'll make me feel like a kid again. Plus the book comes out on my birthday. This is a good sign. (November 10th, Scribner)

Guillermo del Toro has firmly established himself as one of the most visionary pop directors of his generation. Somewhere between Steven Spielberg and Sam Raimi, he has created some of the most incredible and enchanting characters and worlds that have come along in some time. Don't believe me? Just watch "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," which is inhabited by some of the most awesome and colorful monsters and weirdos since the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in "Star Wars." Not to mention del Toro is currently at work on adapting J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and you get a sense of the guy's vision and clout. So combine this with the strong writing of Chuck Hogan, throw in a vampire virus threatening to wipe out New York (shades of King's "The Stand"), and you should have one of the summer's most fun reads. The advance buzz for this book is quite good, showing that it just may live up to the hype surrounding del Toro's involvement. (June 2nd, Morrow)

Let me be frank. I hate celebrity tell-alls. Especially celebrity tell-alls by washed-up, D-list actors and reality show stars who sell out their friends, their family and their dignity for the chance to stretch their fifteen minutes just a little further. But I'll make an exception for Dustin "Screech" Diamond. Like many people of my generation, "Saved by the Bell" was pretty much the most important show of my lifetime. I spent enough hours watching the exploits of Zach, Slater, Screech, Kelly, Jesse and Lisa to quality for Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours corollary (I shudder to think how many geniuses were ruined by this show). I don't know what it was, but this show transfixed me. You couldn't relate to the plots (an oil field is discovered under the school's football field, the crew starts a band called, wait for it, "Zack Attack"), everyone in the cast had hair that looked like Vidal Sassoon lived on the set, and only at Bayside High in the 90's could a male character call a female classmate "Mama" without being slapped with a harassment suit. It didn't matter. I loved this show, and plan to analyze Screech's tell-all like it was the freaking Zapruder film. So Diamond, who's been a tabloid prince the last few years with a sex tape and various reality show gigs, promises to spill the dirt on his years at Bayside (Screech does deserve a better cover. This thing looks like a monkey decided to play around with Photoshop). I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out just what really happened with Screech, Lisa, and that metal detector at Stacy Carosi's summer resort... (September 29th, Gotham Books)

Few sportswriters are more polarizing than Bill Simmons. He wears his Boston heart on his sleeve, isn't afraid to call out anybody at any time, has seriously campaigned not once but twice for NBA GM jobs, and he writes just about the funniest sports columns you've ever read. His first book, NOW I CAN DIE IN PEACE, was an appetizer for Simmon's fans--tasty, but we wanted the main course. That book was a collection of previously published columns (with more footnotes than a David Foster Wallace novel), a love letter to the 2004 Red Sox who reversed 86 years of the franchise's futility which Simmons chronicled in painstaking detail. In addition to his humor and love for pop culture (Simmons never met a 90210 reference he didn't like), he writes some of the most insightful and poignant sports stories that aren't afraid to slaughter sacred cows in search of the truth. Add in a healthy ego that seems to compel him to work his butt off, and this book, clocking in at a whopping 720 pages, will no doubt have NBA fans buzzing by the time the 2009-2010 season begins. Though at 720 pages, this book will require many, um, trips to a certain room--if you're a Simmons fan you know what I mean. (October 27th, ESPN/Ballantine)

I thought OFFICER DOWN was one of the best debut novels I've ever read, and after PROBABLE CAUSE and the brilliant PERSON OF INTEREST (how that was not nominated for an Edgar is beyond me) Schwegel has quickly joined my "day of release purchase" club. Many crime authors write interesting plots. Schwegel writes interesting plots with some of the most human and flawed characters ever to hit the genre. Anyone can hold a gun. Anyone can investigate a crime. Schwegel proves that the best crime novels are the ones where you care about the people involved. Schwegel is a combination of Ed McBain, James Lee Burke and Harlan Coben: tough police procedurals with flawless writing populated by characters who could live right next door to you. I'm still waiting for another Samantha "Smack" Mack book, but in the meantime I'll be happy to devour this offering. And can anyone explain to me why PERSON OF INTEREST didn't rack up every award nomination possible? Anyone? I thought so. (July 7th, St. Martin's Minotaur)


Friday, May 22, 2009

Where I Am Compared to Jodi Picoult

The Book Bag (UK) has just posted their review of THE STOLEN, and what can I say other than it's these kind of reviews that just brighten your day and make the hours spent hunched over a keyboard hooked into an a coffee IV drip feel worth every second. While writing a book, you're never totally sure that what you're putting into the work is what readers are going to take out of it. So when someone 'gets' what you're trying to accomplish in your book and with your characters, to quote Stephen King, "we've engaged in an act of telepathy."

You'll have to read the review to find out how the reviewer compares me to Jodi Picoult. (For the record, I've read three of Picoult's books and enjoyed each one)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brainstorming Meeting

When I was an editor, we would have semi-regular gatherings called "Brainstorming Meetings." In these meetings--attended by editors and publicity folks--we would toss around ideas that we think would make good books. They would always include memoirs by the celebrity-of-the-moment (who was usually no longer famous by the time the meeting ended), but occasionally ideas for some really intriguing books would materialize, and an enterprising editor would contact the right folks and an actual book would come of it. 

So I'd like to try this right here, have a book "Brainstorming Meeting" at the Man in Black to see what books you would love to see written. They can be memoir, fiction, humor, history or politics. They can be young adult, mystery--any kind of book that isn't out there that you would like to read. Try to be somewhat realistic--J.D. Salinger doesn't seem that keen to pen a sequel to CATCHER IN THE RYE. Otherwise everything is fair game.

I'll start things off with a few ideas:
--A collection of Mitch Hedberg's journals (a la the Kurt Cobain journals that were published a few years ago).
--David Morrell's sequel to FIRST BLOOD.
--A new big, bad, unputdownable 1,000 page Tom Clancy novel.
--A Quentin Tarantino book on film

What are some books you'd love to see published?

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The BookHampton Mystery Festival
Saturday to Sunday May 16th-17th

I'll be on two panels this weekend at the inaugural BookHampton Mystery Festival. I'll be at the Bookhampton in Sag Harbor both days. Below is my schedule, but you can view the full itinerary and find more details at

Saturday, April 16th
3:00 PM
"No More Mr. Nice Guy: Why Thrillers Thrill Us"

Sunday, April 17th
12:00 PM
Authors' Reading


Thursday, May 14, 2009

LOST: Season 5
Season Finale
Random Thoughts

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this if you haven't seen the episode. Do not read this if you have missed any episodes. Do not read this if you have consumed alcohol within the last 45 days, or thought that the timeline of the "Terminator" movies was just too darn confusing.

And away we go...

--Great start to the episode. Exactly what we need, the introduction of two more characters (Jacob and he-who-wants-to-kill-Jacob) we've never met, and now must pay attention to. Because the 87 we're currently following weren't enough. Was anyone else slightly, I don't know...disappointed that Jacob was just a regular dude? Shouldn't he have been someone way cooler, like Erik Estrada or Al Bundy?

--Hey, the big stone statue! For a while there I was convinced they were simply going to 'forget' this thing because there didn't seem to be any rational explanation for it being there. Wait, did I use the word 'Rational' in a "Lost" recap? Silly me!

--I did like the Jacob flashbacks, especially the Locke one. Seeing him fall from that building and go splat right behind Jacob made me jump. Good stuff.

--So Eloise is pregnant, presumably with Daniel. That's messed up. Poor girl kills her son...while pregnant with him at the same time. Some therapist is going to get rich off of her.

--When did Radzinsky take over the Dharma initiative? When we first met him, wasn't he a glorified janitor? And where is Horace? And has Horace ever looked in a mirror and realized that he's wearing the bus driver from South Park's wig?

--Juliet commandeers the sub, because she has officially taken control of Sawyer's (cough, LaFleur's) cojones.

--Lapidus wakes up with the group led by the girl who tried to arrest Sayid. I'd completely forgotten about these people. Apparently they have something of great importance in a box. Marcellus Wallace has been looking for that since 1994!

--Richard asks the same question I've been pondering about Locke for three seasons: Why is he so special? The guy keeps getting shot and injured, falls for traps and ploys like he's getting paid to, not to mention that he has slight man-boobs. Why is everyone convinced he has some grand destiny?

--Now Ben is going to kill Jacob. Sure. Why not?

--Jacob distracts Sayid, leading to Nadia's death. Whoa. Didn't see that coming. And now we know how Nadia died. Good scene.

--Suddenly Sayid knows how to operate a nuclear warhead? Wasn't he just a guy who was good at plucking peoples' fingernails out with pliars? He must have hung out with Nicholas Cage's character from "The Rock" since they're the only two people who can dismantle a nuclear device with nothing more than a Swiss army knife.

--Wouldn't you love it if you could just bonk someone on the head, rendering them unconscious for the exact amount of time you require, whereupon they wake up with nothing more than a slight headache? Seriously, every episode there's at least one 'we need this person out of the way' bonk to the noggin that incapacitates them at the right moment. Nobody ever gets a concussion or heaven forbid a fractured skull, and nobody requires more than one bonk. Wouldn't this have been great when you were a teenager? "Son, why didn't you get home until 4 a.m. last night? And why do your clothes smell likes the inside of a Portuguese toilet? And who is this 40-year old woman and why is she wearing your pants?" Bonk. They're out for just enough time for you to cover your tracks.

--Jack and Sayid try to "hide in plain sight" (great idea, doctor) and a massive gunfight breaks out. Sayid takes a bullet in the stomach (NOOOO!!!! SAYID HAS BEEN AWESOME THIS SEASON!), but Jack 'Eastwood' Shepherd kills like 18 people before they're rescued by the Hurleymobile.

--Holy poop on a stick! Vincent! Rose! Bernard! Where have you been? Oh, right, living in a little hut and growing a Gregg Popovich beard. I loved Sawyer's explanation ("We haven't seen you guys since the fire arrows!"). Which is code for, "The writers completely forgot about you, but the fans sent so many letters asking where the hell you were that we needed to address it." Still, nice to see characters again who are content to just live and not get caught up in this interdimensional brouhaha.

--Ben is awesome. After Sun catches him in a lie, he says, "That's what I do." When Locke says, "Can I ask you a question," Ben immediately replies, "I'm a Pisces." I would pay money to watch a show of Ben just messing with people for an hour.

--Ah, so now we get to see for ourselves the story Jack told Kate in the very first episode. And who is waiting outside the operation room? Jacob. Coolness. (Though having recently undergone spinal surgery, this scene made me squirm) Jack wants to set off the bomb because he and Kate are no longer dating? Seriously dude, that's your rationale? At least this leads to a sweet fight between Sawyer and Jack (which has been a long time coming). Jack holds up surprisingly well considering he's a surgeon and Sawyer is a career scumbag. Three points for the ridiculous field goal kick to the groin. The Gramatica brothers would be proud.

--Juliet breaks up with Sawyer because she thinks he'll break up with her for Kate? Not sure I buy this (or the "not everyone is meant to be together" flashback). Sawyer seems sincere in his love for her, and he's lived with her for the past three years in happiness. Plus he shaved. Getting Sawyer to shave is like getting the Pope to admit he watches the Spice channel.

--Ah, we finally learn how Hurley got out of prison (he was discharged). Slightly anti-climactic. And was anyone else hoping for a Keyser Soze moment when Hurley was getting his possessions back? ("One cigarette lighter, gold. One pocket watch, gold. Extra stretchy band.")

--So Jacob lives in a...foot? Who is he, Miss Marple?

--Locke and Ben enter the foot (that sounds like a bad Jackie Chan movie). Locke gives Ben a knife. I don't think he needs it; Ben could just undermine Jacob to death.

--Miles, the lone voice of reason: what if the hydrogen bomb is what causes the 'Incident' rather than prevents it. And everyone else has an 'aw, hell' moment. I like Miles.

--Another massive gunfight, as the Hurleymobile provides cover for Jack as Radzinsky and Phil shoot at him. Between the whiny Phil, the scraggly Radzinsky, plus Hurley and his band of merry misfits, this seems like the kind of gunfight that would break out at a Star Trek convention.

--Jack throws the bomb down the hole and...nothing. Except the hole starts sucking everything metal towards it, leading to an awesome impaling of Phil by a steel rod. I don't think those rods serve any purpose other than to impale people.

--Really emotional moment, as Juliet gets tangled in chains and dragged into the hole. Sawyer catches her, but the pull is just too strong and she slips away. I have no jokes--that was a really wrenching scene.

--Ilana arrives at the foot and speaks to Richard in a different language. She also calls him Ricardus. Huh? Then she spills open the box to reveal...John Locke's body? Double huh? So who's in the foot?

--Ben and "Locke" find Jacob, and Jacob applauds "Locke" for finding the loophole. Seems the guy from the first scene who wanted to kill Locke has inhabited Locke's body. Again, huh? Though it makes perfect sense for Locke's character: the guy really was just a huge patsy used and manipulated by everyone who ever met him. He believed he had some grand destiny, but in the end his destiny is just to be manipulated to the ultimate degree. If that's true, then it's brilliant.

--Ben kills Jacob (who seemed like he was asking for it). Then he pushes him into the fire. Then he says "you suck" and smears gum in his hair. Ok, I made that last part up.

--Juliet is still alive at the bottom of the hole (yay...huh?), but badly hurt. And right next to her is the bomb. (Wait...the dynamite from the ship goes off if you look at it the wrong way, but a nuclear device can withstand a 100-foot freefall?) So Juliet picks up a rock and bashes the device (so much for Faraday's "specific instructions" on how to detonate it), until finally...Boom.

And so here we are. Some questions answered. Lots more asked. And now, I need an Advil.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coming September 29th, 2009!

Dear Henry Parker fans -

It's been a long wait. Trust me, I know how you're feeling. Ever since THE STOLEN came out last August, I've gotten tons of emails all asking the same question: When is the next Henry Parker novel 
finally going to come out? The official answer is: September 29th, 2009. And because you've been so patient, you deserve a bonus. Here, at long last, is the final cover for the fourth Henry Parker novel: THE FURY. I love it, and hope you do too. 

I'm thrilled that #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly has offered his endorsement for THE FURY. I've been a huge fan of Mr. Connelly's for years, and if he thinks THE FURY rocks I'm pretty sure you will too. THE FURY is the first book in an epic two-book series set to be released in 2009. In these two books, Henry will learn a devastating truth about his own past while uncovering a terrifying story that could be ripped from tomorrow'sheadlines. And at the end of these two books, I promise you, nothing will be the same--and not everyone will make it out alive.

And if that's not enough, here is the jacket copy for THE FURY:

Henry Parker must uncover the most devastating secret of all...his own.

Am I my brother's keeper? if I'd known I had a brother I might have been. But he's dead--shot dead point blank in a rat hole apartment wasted by hunger and heroin. Stephen Gaines, a man with whom I shared nothing...except a father.

For some reason this stranger who shared my blood came to me for help...and I blew him off thinking he was just some junkie. Now I'm forced to question everything I ever know...and figure out why this man was murdered in cold blood.

All I can do for Stephen Gaines now is find his killer--and with the help of Amanda Davies uncover the whole, hard truth. If it means tracking down a vicious drug kingpin--who may or may not exist--then so be it...

--Jason was nominated for a Thriller award by International Thriller
Writers (ITW) for his short story "The Point Guard" which appeared in KILLER YEAR: A Criminal Anthology. KILLER YEAR is available in paperback from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Indiebound.
--Jason's books have now been published in over a dozen countries in numerous languages. Recent additions include: Italy and the Netherlands. See what THE MARKTHE GUILTY and THE STOLEN look like around the world!
--On Twitter? Jason was named one of the top
 100 authors to follow! Follow his Twitter feed at
--In addition to his acclaimed blog 'The Man in Black' (, Jason is also a weekly contributor to Genreality, a blog featuring six bestselling and acclaimed writers across numerous genres, including Science Fiction, Romance, Horror and Urban Fantasy. Check it out at

Upcoming Appearances

May 16th, 3:00 pm
Reading and signing
with Lee Child, Jonathan Santlofer and Justin Peacock
Sag Harbor, NY


May 17th, 12:00 pm
Reading and signing

with Lorenzo Carcaterra, Don Dahler, Reed Farrel Coleman and Lawrence Kelter
Sag Harbor, NY


May 20th, 6:30 pm
New York Public Library (mid-Manhattan branch)
Panel & Discussion
New York, NY


May 28th-30th
Backspace Writers Conference
Radisson Martinique
New York, NY

Keep your eyes glued to 
for news, reviews, upcoming events, and a brand-new look to that will launch this summer.

Happy reading!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Breaking News

Cover art for Henry Parker #4, THE FURY, will be revealed tomorrow. A certain #1 New York Times bestselling author thinks that this book ROCKS...


Friday, May 08, 2009

Authors on Twitter

Mashable has put up a list of 100+ of the best authors on Twitter, and I'm pleased to make the cut (even though the KILLER YEAR anthology seems to have two different subtitles). Check out the list here. 

And of course follow me on Twitter at


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I got back yesterday from the Festival of Mystery in Pittsburgh, and once again the great folks at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop put on a great event. Around 40 authors and hundreds of great readers braved crummy weather for the love of books. Brings a tear to my eye. I love this event because it gives you a chance to meet readers face to face, one on one--something that doesn't happen much during conferences and panels. Lots of readers who bought THE MARK last year came back to pick up THE GUILTY and THE STOLEN (and a few were mildly perturbed that THE FURY was not out yet--just a few more months, I promise!). It's at events like this one where you can really sense just how much readers fall in love with a series. Thanks to the readers who came back for more of Henry's stories, and to the ones who decided to give him a shot for the first time.

And on THE FURY front, I have three great pieces of news:

1) The official release date for THE FURY is September 29th, 2009. 

2) The official finished cover is now in my possession, and I plan to post it shortly (ignore the one currently on Amazon and other sites). Needless to say the finished cover rocks, and I have to thank my publisher's art department for working their butts off. It was worth it.

3) Galleys for THE FURY should be arriving within the next two weeks, maybe as early as next week. At that point in time I'll be running contests to give a few out. Thanks to everyone who's been patiently waiting for the next Parker novel. Like you, I can't wait to see these bad boys in print with the finished art.

Stay tuned!

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Buy Indie Today!!!

Please support independent bookstores today by buying one book (or more!) from your local indie. Hardcover, paperback, audio, doesn't matter, as long as the purchase is made at an indie. Independent bookstores are imperative to the health of the book industry and contribute greatly to the vibrant culture of our communities. Visit the 'Buy Indie' Facebook group for more info. And to find a list of local independent bookstores in your area, please visit

If you're looking to read the 2009 Edgar winners and nominees, there are two terrific independent mystery bookstores in NYC. Both have smart and knowledgeable staff members, and both have every kind of mystery--contemporary, foreign, rare first editions, frontlist, backlist--you can shake a stick at. If you're in NYC today, do yourself a favor and visit one of these two fine establishments.

Partners & Crime
44 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-0440

The Mysterious Bookshop
58 Warren Street
New York, NY 10007
(212) 587-1011