Friday, April 15, 2011

Disturbance: the basics

I've written two long posts this week, so this one will be a little shorter. It won't be all I'll have to say about Disturbance, but I hope it will answer a few of your questions.

When will Disturbance be published?
It will be available on June 21. Some copies will probably be available for the California Crime Writers Conference.

Is it an Irene Kelly book?

In what formats will Simon & Schuster make it available?
Hardcover and e-book.

Is it true that this is a sequel to Bones? Do I have to read Bones to understand what's going on in Disturbance?
Some time has passed since the end of Bones when Disturbance begins, but serial killer Nick Parrish is back. Don't worry, you can read Disturbance even if you haven't read Bones yet the plots stand by themselves, and if you read Disturbance first you won't be lost, etc. That said, I think you'll probably enjoy Disturbance more if you remind yourself of the events in Bones, and you'll probably enjoy Bones more if you read it first. It is currently available in paperback and as an e-book.

Is Bones based on the TV show?
No. It was published before the show first aired.

What's Disturbance about?

[Okay -- read no further if you don't want to know anything about the plot! Potential spoilers of some events in the story.]

Disturbance finds Irene facing an old enemy: serial killer Nick Parrish, last seen in Bones, has recovered from his injuries, and has vowed to have revenge. Others dismiss her fears by reminding her he's in prison, but Irene finds little reassurance in that. He's connected to the outside world through an online group of misguided fans that calls itself The Moths.

They seem intent on disturbing her peace of mind, playing unnerving tricks. But matters take a darker turn when the frozen body of a young woman is found in the trunk of a car parked near Irene's home. The corpse is has been painted — decorated with moths. She won't be the only calling card Parrish's helpers leave for Irene.

Irene has other upheaval to contend with. The newspaper where she has worked most of her adult life is shutting down. Being a reporter has been more than a job — it has been a bone-deep part of her identity. Reporting for the Express was the work she dreamed of doing from childhood, a career in which she excelled, and telling the stories of her community has brought her satisfaction and a sense of purpose.

She's tough and resilient, but this is a blow that leaves more than a bruise. Can she reinvent herself, or even find the will to do so?

Nick Parrish may not give her time to answer that question. He's back. And he's not alone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Messenger: Shade

As many of you know, I love dogs. (Cats, too, but alas, I'm allergic to them). Perhaps that's why I'm especially attached to a dog who appears in The Messenger — Shade, who is a cemetery dog.

Although not all readers will stop to figure this out, Shade is actually the oldest of the characters in the book, although there is nothing decrepit about him. He's a large, long-haired black dog. Shade is Tyler's benevolent and protective companion. Although Tyler's existence has been one that has denied him long-lasting human relationships, he has had the comfort of Shade's loyalty.

Mysterious, large black dogs are a staple of fiction and folklore, whether as ghosts or fierce inhabitants of the moors near Baskerville. They guard the gates of Hades, or come upon unsuspecting riders at midnight.

Cemetery dogs are part of the legends of many societies, and their roles vary from tale to tale and place to place. Seen racing next to a carriage at night in England, they would presage death, as they would if they walked into a church during services. In present day, they might cause a car crash on a lonely road at night. These large black dogs are often said to have glowing eyes. They would most likely be encountered near bridges or at a crossroads (the latter are often described as places of mystical power, perhaps because they are places of transition). In some places they work for demons, snatching souls and taking them to the devil.

Yet other tales portray them as wholly benevolent. They may guide lost travelers. They may loyally guard the grave of a person they were close to in life.

Cemetery dogs, in particular, often have the task of guarding graveyards. We could probably use a few more cemetery dogs now. Although perhaps more of a problem in the 19th century, grave-robbing is not entirely a thing of the past. I imagine that people who believe a large black (perhaps supernatural) dog is fiercely protective of a cemetery might think twice about disturbing those who rest there.

By the way there are real-life dogs known as cemetery dogs at the Historic Congressional Cemetery and a few other places. They aren't Shade, but like him, they do play a role in protecting and caring for cemeteries.

One of my own real-life dogs, Britches, had an influence on Shade's appearance. You can see him above (we were out visiting that day) and can probably tell that he's a wonderful old fellow. You may also notice that when he was younger, he posed for the photo used by my sister, Sandra Cvar, to create the print that eventually ended up, full circle, among the images at the top of my site and this blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some catching up

As usual, I'm behind on posting here. And answering questions, and...well, you should see what the house looks like. Or not.

So here's a little catching up. I'll post more about The Messenger tomorrow, and more about Disturbance starting this weekend, including information about a few of the places I'll be appearing when it comes out in late June.

Disturbance is now available for preorder from any bookseller. For a link to the Simon & Schuster page about it: Click here. If your bookseller needs an ISBN to order it, the number is ISBN-10: 1439152845 or ISBN-13: 9781439152845

It will be available as an e-book and will also be available as an audio book from Recorded Books, although I don't have a release date for the audio book yet. Stay tuned.

The Messenger is currently available in paperback and as an e-book.

If you haven't yet signed up for the California Crime Writers Conference, sponsored by Sisters in Crime's Los Angeles Chapter and Mystery Writers of America's So Cal Chapter, take a look at this site. T Jefferson Parker and SJ Rozan are keynote speakers. I'll be teaching a session on Sunday morning.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference

One of the best conferences in the U.S. for those who want to write crime fiction is held at one of its best bookstores — the Book Passage, in Corte Madera, California, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I'm pleased to announce I'll be part of the conference faculty this year.

The conference will be held July 21-24. The faculty also includes John Lescroart, Cara Black, Daniel Silva, Martin Cruz Smith and many other notable writers, as well as editors, agents, and experts.

You can learn more about the conference here, and I'll be posting about it again as we get closer to the time of the event -- but sign up soon, this event has limited space.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sign up now for Conference Call

I'm pleased to say that I'll be part of the Poisoned Pen's Conference Call on Saturday, June 25, 2011. This will be a great event. Other participants include Laurie R. King, Michael Koryta, Peter Lovesey, April Smith, Dana Stabenow, Juliet Blackwell, Alafair Burke, Marcia Clark, Robert Dugoni, CS Harris, Sophie Littlefield, Lauren Willig, and Patricia Wynn.


Conference Call
Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa
2400 E Thunderbird Trail
Phoenix, AZ
Fee is $50, limited to 125 registrants.
To register, call 888-560-9919
or send an email to

The Biltmore offers a special conference room rate of $89/night plus applicable taxes.
To reserve your room (don't delay, the conference bloc could quickly
be snapped up):
go to and use the code "ppen11" in the
group/convention box.
Guests can also call 800.950.0086 to book their reservations anytime
(days, nights and weekends) using the same code.