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In The Empire of Night, we pick up the story of Christopher Marlowe Cobb, who survived the sinking of the Lusitania, as he hunts down German sympathizers in the British aristocracy during the early months of World War One.

 

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The idea of Christoper “Kit” Cobb, grew out of “The One in White,” a short story written in 2004 for The Atlantic. In our interview Robert tells us what sparked the idea for the story, as well as why a series that takes place in World War One is more timely than you might suspect.

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The postcard that inspired “The One in White.”

Review of The Empire of Night in the Tampa Bay Times.

 

Photo of Robert Olen Butler © Kelly Lee Butler.

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Having survived the sinking of the Lusitania, American Secret Agent Christopher Marlowe Cobb returns in The Empire of Night.

For this mission, Kit must find a German mole in the British aristocracy and for this he has help—from his mother, Isabel Cobb, one of the world’s most famous stage actresses.

Look for our interview with Pulitzer Prize winning author Robert Olen Butler here on the site and in iTunes, Monday, October 6.

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Billy Boyle is back in The Rest Is Silence, the ninth installment in the series of Billy Boyle World War II Mysteries.

 

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James. R. Benn first book, On Desperate Ground, took place during World War II, but was not a mystery. But one of the story’s secondary characters, police detective Billy Boyle, stayed with him. And James has returned the favor by staying with him: the ninth in the Billy Boyle World War II mysteries, The Rest Is Silence, was published a few weeks ago. And the next one, The White Ghost, due in 2015, has just been completed. In his interview James provides a tantalizing preview to Billy Boyle’s next adventure. Or rather, tells the story of an adventure Billy had back in 1943 in the Pacific investigating another Bostonian who had lost his ship. His PT boat to be exact.

Photo of James R. Benn © D. Mandel

 

 

 

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The writer of the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series of mysteries talks to Leslie Klinger and Nancie Clare about projects past, present and future.

 

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Laurie talks about her next Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes mystery, Dreaming Spies; the creative highs and lows of writing a series; Career Day, the stand alone thriller scheduled for publication in April 2016; and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, the anthology of Sherlock Holmes-John Watson stories that she and Les edited, which is scheduled for publication this coming November.

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Can it really be 20 years since Mary Russell met Sherlock Holmes in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice?

In SoM’s next podcast, Laurie R. King talks to Les Klinger and me about her next Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes novel, Dreaming Spies, when (or if) we can expect another addition to Stuyvesant and Grey series that began with Touchstone and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, the anthology of Holmes and Watson stories written by contemporary authors that she and Les edited. Look for our podcast with Laurie here on the site and in iTunes, Monday, September 15 .

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In Sabotage, Matt Cook’s first thriller, a luxury cruise ship in the North Atlantic is paralyzed by an electromagnetic pulse, an enigmatic Stanford professor and founder of a high tech defense company disappears and a group of Stanford students of a variety of disciplines are the only ones who can save both—and the world—from Viking pirates.

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For his interdisciplinary team of Stanford students, Matt Cook drew on his experiences participating in “The Game,” Stanford’s annual combination treasure hunt-puzzle fest-road rally that sends groups of students from different majors careening throughout the San Francisco Bay Area looking for clues and solving puzzles not for a prize, but for the bragging rights that success brings. (Matt’s team won in his sophomore year.)

Matt cites two writers of different genres and writing styles as influences: Fantasy writer Terry Goodkind and Navy thriller novelist, Jeff Edwards.

But one of the coolest things about Sabotage, at least in my opinion, is former Air Force combat meteorologist, Jacob Rove. Maybe one of fiction’s most unique heroes.

And, in a first that I thought was both flattering and very cool, an interviewee asked to have his picture taken with me.

With Nancie Clare, former EIC of LA Times Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A luxury cruise liner in the North Atlantic loses power, a noted Stanford aerospace engineering professor disappears and a group of Stanford students from varying disciplines makes Sabotage a mighty compelling read. Oh, and there are pirates, too.

 

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Matt Cook, recent Stanford University graduate and current doctoral student in economics at the University of Pennsylvania, brings together a brilliant, albeit motley, crew to battle against thoroughly modern pirates in Sabotage, his first novel due out in September.

 

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The 2012 Kitschie Award Winner for Angelmaker, talks about his latest novel, Tigerman. Among many, many other things.

 

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As soon as the interview was over, I was madly Googling to bookmark as many of Nick Harkaway’s references as I could. In our conversation about the designation “literary thriller,” he discussed the stories of Jorge Luis Borges and judging the Kitschie Awards.  When I asked him how he chose “Harkaway” as his pen name, I learned about Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, (I’ve since ordered a copy for myself and several for friends I know will appreciate it) and he quoted “A Ship, an Isle, a Sickle Moon,” by James Elroy Flecker.

A ship, an isle, a sickle moon–
With few but with how splendid stars
The mirrors of the sea are strewn
Between their silver bars!
An isle beside an isle she lay,
The pale ship anchored in the bay,
While in the young moon’s port of gold
A star-ship–as the mirrors told–
Put forth its great and lonely light
to the unreflecting Ocean, Night.
And still, a ship upon her seas,
The isle and the island cypresses
Went sailing on without the gale:
And still there moved the moon so pale,
A crescent ship without a sail!
For those of you who are fans of Angelmaker, you probably know about the YouTube videos of the records Frankie left.
I forgot to ask one question: Tongue firmly in cheek, I emailed Nick to ask whether or not there were any marketing plans for Tigerman along the lines of an action figure or a graphic novel. Here is his reply:
No. Both of those feel like things you do after, though – otherwise rather than an advertising tool you’ve got something new you need to advertise.

I keep running across that: any time you make something to go with a book as a way of getting people interested, that thing either has to be more cool and interesting than the book (which obviously in a way you don’t want, because if it is, why did you write the book at all?) or more readily shareable (basically: digital or intangible, reproducible, free). Which is hard. So in the end you want people talking more than you want another product.Which is not to say I wouldn’t love either or both of those at some point. And a movie…

Cheers,

N

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