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Book Review of the Week: Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay

Book Review of the Week: Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay Parting Shot is Linwood Barclay’s seventeenth novel. Among them is the chilling Promise Falls trilogy—Broken Promise (2015), Far From True (2016), and The Twenty–three (2016). Though technically not a sequel to that trilogy, this is a worthy standalone follow-up novel. It brings back many of […]


What’s at Stake? Create Serious Edge of your seat conflict in your books…

  What’s at Stake? create serious edge of your seat conflict in your books… There’s a tongue-in-cheek saying in higher education circles that academic politics are so nasty because the stakes are so low. It’s another way of saying that the intensity of a conflict should match what’s at stake. This is particularly true in […]


Don’t Go Into the Woods Today: 10 Wilderness Thrillers & Why They Scare UsDon’t Go Into the Woods Today: 10 Wilderness Thrillers & Why They Scare Us

Don’t Go Into the Woods Today: 10 Wilderness Thrillers & Why They Scare Us   The great outdoors is both the subject matter and the backdrop of a lot of great fiction. What is it about nature that makes it such a powerful setting? Is it how small humankind feels amidst all that vastness? “The […]


The Things That Scare Me The Things That Scare Me 

The Things That Scare Me  I get asked about going to dark places in my books. Or about my childhood, and what exactly happened to make me the way I am. More than a handful of people have assured me they’d love to buy my books, but they can’t handle anything scary (to which I […]


Anatomy of a Suspense NovelAnatomy of a Suspense Novel

Anatomy of a Suspense Novel I’ve been a doctor for more than twenty years now, but I can still remember my very first day of medical school. As I walked into the room, the smell of formaldehyde burned my eyes. A group of us stood around the table, organizing our tools and nervously chatting. Finally, […]


5 Literary Classics that won’t send you to sleep (and 5 that might)

5 Literary Classics that won’t send you to sleep (and 5 that might)   I grew up in rural Dorset, England, in the 1980s and let me tell you, it was dull. The choices were: watch one of the three TV channels, stare at the ceiling, or trudge through muddy fields with a stick. And […]


Sentences: A Love Story

Sentences A Love Story I am in love with sentences. I am a philanderer of sentences, a polyamorous glutton, a syntax satyr, a serial sentencer. And I have no intention of ever changing my ways, no 12-step program for me, even though, with each passing year, I become more of an oddball, more of a […]


TOP TEN YA MYSTERIESTOP TEN YA MYSTERIES

TOP TEN YA MYSTERIES   One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Five teenagers with little or nothing in common are forced to serve detention together after school, but only four of them survive the experience. It’s a brilliant set-up—The Breakfast Club with a murderous twist—and you quickly find yourself in the awkward […]


Six Reasons Near-History Creates Great Mystery

Six Reasons Near-History Creates Great Mystery The majority of contemporary thrillers are set in the present day. But there are valid reasons to forgo that convention and set the story in an earlier timeframe, such as near-history (roughly defined as the middle part of the twentieth century). A few advantages of near-history mystery: 1) Technology […]


British Crime Favorites: Spies, Inspectors, Historical Figures, Serial Killers, and People with Serious Issues!British Crime Favorites: Spies, Inspectors, Historical Figures, Serial Killers, and People with Serious Issues!

British Crime Favorites: Spies, Inspectors, Historical Figures, Serial Killers, and People with Serious Issues!   British crime fiction can carry some weak connotations across the pond. I mean, the police there don’t even carry guns, and our last execution was in the same year that Ian Fleming died (he wasn’t the one hanged, I hasten […]


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