Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Literary Mystery Novelists--John Lescroart (Update)

Since he has an important new book out that debuted at #15 on the New York Times bestseller list, I'm updating the Literary Mystery Novelists post featuring John Lescroart. Lescroart's new book in hardcover is The Hunter, the third in his books about San Francisco PI, Wyatt Hunt. Lescroart is one of the finest writers on the scene today, and The Hunter is another gem for his fans. (Damage is now out in paperback.)
Publishers Weekly gave The Hunter a starred review, saying, "This book succeeds on every level--as a mystery, as a thriller, and as an exploration of its appealing hero." Protagonist Hunt always knew he was adopted and never cared to find his adopted parents, happy and secure with those who raised him. A disturbing text message --"How did your mother die?"-- changes all that and sends him on a quest into his birth family's dark secrets.As Hunt investigates his parents' past, he puts himself in danger because someone will kill to keep these secrets hidden.
In The Hunter, Lescroart's signature abilities to bring his characters to life and to weave complicated plots reward the reader again. Here is the link to buy  The Hunter.

Original Post

Lescroart has been called a national treasure for his writing skills, and his latest novel, Damage, offers evidence for that claim. As he does in many of his novels, Lescroart examines serious societal issues in this book. In Damage, those include the power and wealth that allows a segment of the population to flout laws and escape punishment for their crimes and the legal system that caters to this powerful elite at the expense of ordinary citizens.This stand-alone novel offers the sharp humor, rich characterization, and complex storyline that fans have come to expect from Lescroart. His novels are beautifully crafted, and he's reaped the rewards of his artistic labors with multiple stays on the New York Times bestseller list.
Damage will be out in paperback at the end of December, and Lescroart's newest book, The Hunter, will launch in January. Here is the link to buy Damage.

John Lescroart Bio

John Lescroart is the NY Times Bestselling author of twenty-two novels, including most recently DAMAGE (January, 2011), the latest in the San Francisco based Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky series.  Libraries Unlimited has included him in its publication “The 100 Most Popular Thriller and Suspense Authors,” his books have been translated into twenty languages in more than seventy-five countries, and his short stories appear in many anthologies. 

John’s first novel, SUNBURN, won the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Award for best as yet unpublished novel by a California author, and DEAD IRISH and THE 13TH JUROR were nominees for the Shamus and Anthony Best Mystery Novel, respectively; additionally THE 13TH JUROR is included in the International Thriller Writers publication “100 Must-Read Thrillers Of All Time.”  HARD EVIDENCE is named in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.”  GUILT was a Readers Digest Select Edition choice.  THE MERCY RULE, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, and THE SUSPECT have been major market Book Club selections.  THE SUSPECT was also the 2007 One Book Sacramento choice of the Sacramento Library Foundation, and was chosen by the American Author’s Association as its 2007 Book of the Year. Each of the last several of John’s books have been Main Selections of one or more of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Book of the Month Club, and DAMAGE made Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List.”    

Outside of the book world, John loves to cook.  His original recipes have appeared in Gourmet Magazine and in the cookbook “A Taste of Murder.”  (He also wrote the forward to Francine Brevetti’s paean to the famous San Francisco eatery Fior d’Italia entitled The Fabulous Fior:  100 Years in an Italian Kitchen.)   

John and his wife, Lisa Sawyer, live in Northern California. 
For those new to your series, can you describe the Dismas Hardy mysteries? Since you hadn’t originally intended this to be a series, how did you develop the series once you knew you wanted to do more Dismas Hardy books?

Dismas Hardy was a character who would not leave me alone.  I first used the name in my very first (still deservedly unpublished) novel, which I wrote in college – I loved the combination of the name of the Good Thief on the cross next to Jesus somehow connected to The Hardy Boys.  As I began my career, such as it was, I came out first with a literary novel, SUNBURN, and followed that with two Sherlock Holmes pastiches.  When I finally decided to write about a modern hero, a largely still undeveloped, but well-named Dismas Hardy was there waiting for me.  In the first of the Hardy books, DEAD IRISH, I thought I had a good character arc for a stand-alone novel, but never dreamed that Dismas would still be in my life twenty-some years later. 
The initial impetus to continue the character as a series came from my publisher, Donald Fine, who liked DEAD IRISH and Hardy a lot, and who wanted a sequel.  For a young writer hoping to keep getting published, this was a godsend moment.  I knew Hardy and liked him, and I figured he could have another adventure, so I wrote THE VIG. 
Then life intervened.  I got spinal meningitis and spent eleven days in a coma.  In the wake of that, and my survival, my day job as a legal word processor became unbearable for many reasons.  I wound up moving to Northern California from LA and didn’t write a word for perhaps sixteen months – a very long dry spell for me.  But by the time I started writing again, I knew what I wanted to do, which was move Dismas Hardy into the professional law business with a big, perhaps important book.  This was, of course, a huge challenge since I wasn’t a lawyer, but I did a lot of research and wrote HARD EVIDENCE, the first of the Hardy “legal thrillers.”  That book did poorly in the US, but sold for six figures in Germany and Japan and gave me the impetus to start another Hardy book in the same vein, and that book, THE 13TH JUROR, turned out to be my first bestseller. 
            Ironically, because of the lag time in publishing, I didn’t know that THE 13TH JUROR was going to be a hit, so I abandoned Hardy for the next two books and concentrated instead on Hardy’s cop pal Abe Glitsky.  So by the time the next true Dismas Hardy book, THE MERCY RULE, appeared, I had a much larger San Francisco cast of characters and was beginning to see the possibilities of the universe that all of my characters inhabited together, and I’ve been expanding those possibilities ever since. 

How would you describe Damage to someone who has not read any of your previous stand-alone novels?

            Damage has some legal elements, but they are decidedly in the background of the story.  I purposely created it as a more or less stand-alone novel.  Every now and then, when I’ve got a franchise character such as Dismas Hardy, I find it refreshing to let him rest somewhere off the page while life goes on in his greater universe.  So Damage features some of Hardy’s colleagues, notably Abe Glitsky and Wes Farrell, who get caught up in the release of convicted murderer Ro Curtlee through a technicality.  Ro is a very bad person.  His parents are rich and manipulative, and horrible stuff starts happening again within a day or two of Ro’s release from prison.  Glitsky and Farrell are constrained by their jobs and their consciences, while Ro just begins to run amuck.  And because of these elements, and also the creation of the character Sheila “Heinous” Marrenas, the novel has a tremendous propulsive force, or narrative drive, which was a blast to work with.  And as a stand-alone, it’s a great way to introduce new readers to the general neighborhood.

What's your writing process? What is a typical writing day like for you? What are your writing habits?

            I’ve been extremely fortunate to have been writing under multi-book contracts now for at least fifteen years, so my life is about as “organized” as those of people who work steady jobs.  I get up at around 7:30 (when my two children still lived at home, it was 6:00), then read the paper and have my coffee.  Next I’m off to my workout club where I sweat for about an hour and a half.  I’m usually at work at my office – I don’t write at home – and answer emails and real mail and generally put off writing as long as I can – I call it “sorting my socks” --  until around 1:00, when I start writing pages.  I don’t have a daily limit until I get to January or so (my books are always due to the publishers by June 1), but after January I write usually about seven to ten pages a day, finishing my first draft by about mid-April.  Then I do my own personal revisions and rewrites, work with my own personal editors, and hand in the finished book, after which I do another set of revisions based on the comments of my agent, the genius Barney Karpfinger and my real editor Ben Sevier, one of the very best.  Then I incorporate Ben’s suggestions, edit the galleys and start the process for the next book, the outline for which I hand in on September 1.   

You turned to full-time writing after a near-death experience, and that led to your great success. Do you regret not having made that transition earlier?

            Well, it wasn’t as though I was sitting there before the spinal meningitis hit me thinking that I was just passing the time writing mid-list books.  All the while, I was trying to write the kind of books that would give me a living in literature, but somehow had not discovered the “voice,” or the formula, or the techniques, to reach a big audience.  I’ve thought a lot about the question you’ve asked, above, and I’ve come to believe that though it seemed to take a very long time before I had any real success (I was forty-six when THE 13TH JUROR hit the bestseller list), it’s been for the best.  I learned a lot in the early days, gained real confidence in my abilities, and was able to handle the “trappings” of success without becoming too weird – although of course my friends would tell you that I’ve always been weird.  So while it might have been nice to have had a breakout book in my twenties or thirties, I don’t spend any time worrying about that. 

Who were your literary influences growing up? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?

            My main influence – the person who just knocked me out from the very first – was Hemingway.  This is not, of course, to say that my work reflects his in any meaningful way, but I was deeply affected by his style and basic approach to life and literature right from the git-go.  From there, the list of influences goes on, since I was by any standard a reading geek.  I adored Albert Camus and Mark Twain in high school.  In college, I essentially majored in Lawrence Durrell and the Alexandrian Quartet  -- still highly recommended!  After college, I drifted into what I’d call pleasurable, as opposed to “English major” reading – Rex Stout, Arthur Conan Doyle, John D. MacDonald – and found that I loved it!  Finally, in my thirties, I became enamored of the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian, phenomenal stuff.  And all along the way, I tried to remain sensitive to “new” voices, no matter if they were already well-established or even dead, as they presented themselves to me – Agatha Christie, PD James, Elmore Leonard, Nelson DeMille, T. Jefferson Parker. 

You wrote your first novel in college. What inspired you to write that first book? Had you always wanted to be a writer?

I guess the short answer to this question is “Yes.” I was a voracious reader from an early age, and just could never quite envision doing anything else for a living that would be meaningful. This is really funny considering the dozens of jobs I wound up doing until I could get my writing to support me, but that’s the way I always felt. As for that first college book, which I presciently entitled “No Promise,” I had already started telling friends and family that I was going to be a novelist, and I figured that meant I had to actually write a novel, or maybe even more. (Although in my youth, my fantasy was that I would just write a few novels, maybe three or four, and then after that I would just be a “famous novelist.”) So I sat down and started writing and pretty soon had a pretty bad novel. But you know, a pretty bad novel is still a novel, and it was someplace to start.

Do you (or have you) belong(ed) to a critique group of other authors. Do you find it helpful? In what ways?

            The only critique group I’ve ever been a part of was a creative writing class at UC Berkeley back in 1969.  Jackson Burgess was our teacher and he told our class of about twenty students that only one of us was going to make a living as a professional novelist.  Then he told us who that student was and it wasn’t me.  So after that, I decided I would let the market, and neither my peers nor my instructors, decide who was good enough to be published.  I knew that I was going to be published because I wasn’t going to quit until that happened, and I didn’t stop learning and trying until it did.  (And I like to think I’m still learning.)

What is your advice to aspiring writers? How important is it for a young writer to be a reader? What would you recommend they read?

            My advice to young writers is simple:  read all you can and write all you can.  There is something to be learned in almost everything you read – whether it’s a fluency or felicity of language or something you know that you’ve got to avoid at all costs.  Read, read, read, every day, and write, write, write, every day.  There is no substitute – okay, you can take a few days off sometimes, but make reading and writing part of your everyday life.  It’s okay to read what you like, of course, but it’s also a good idea to push yourself to read something that doesn’t appeal at first encounter.  Only then will you be able to define what you like and don’t like, what you want to emulate, what you want to avoid.  And eventually your own personal voice will begin showing up and you’ll recognize it and then, eventually, hopefully, be able to control it.   

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned in your writing career? What has been the hardest part about being a writer?

            The most surprising thing to me is that writing is a full-time lifelong commitment as well as a career.  When I was young, I really thought that I’d write one book that everyone would read (think STONE MOUNTAIN or THE DA VINCI CODE), and then I’d be a famous writer and that would be really cool.  In reality, of course, most working writers write books, and then we write other books.  It’s a continuing process, and we’re always learning, trying to get better, recommitting, because sometimes it’s very, very difficult – not just the writing itself, but the search for the next great idea, the frustrations of the business side, the obstinacy of your characters, the search for the mot juste.  It doesn’t really get much easier in a day-to-day sense, though to real writers this very difficulty makes it an enthralling, challenging adventure. 
The hardest part about it all?  In the face of criticism, cynicism, jealousy, ignorance, and apathy, it is incredibly hard to remain brave enough to create your own worlds and characters, and to believe in them absolutely.  And the way to conquer this hardest part?  Make your worlds and characters so real that they cannot be denied by the critics, the cynics, the jealous and the ignorant and the apathetic.  Or by yourself.   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Literary Mystery Novelists—Patricia Highsmith

(I'm featured on the crime writers blog, Sea Minor, in the interview series, Dancing With Myself... Check it out!)

Patricia Highsmith was the writer of powerful, compressed narratives of psychological complexity and transgressive violence. Her short fiction and novels are gems of tight, spare narrative that carries an outsized emotional impact. Her reputation was often injured because she wrote almost exclusively crime fiction of one kind or another.

When a biographer of Patricia Highsmith interviewed Norman Mailer about Highsmith, Mailer said, “Remind me? Who was Highsmith? A high-class detective novelist?” Well, not really. She rarely created detectives and when she did, they were failures at solving crimes. All of Highsmith’s authorial sympathies were with the performers of the criminal acts.In Highsmith’s works, the suspense is usually whether or not the protagonist will be able to get away with one or more violent acts.

Highsmith wrote 22 novels, a number of which have been made into successful movies. Her protagonists were usually outsiders—neurotic or even psychotic—and they usually carried out criminal acts, for which most often they were never caught or punished. She records extraordinary characters acting out bizarre fantasies and strange intimacies in precise, flat, simple prose.

There is little resolution in a Highsmith novel. Her characters succeed or fail in their (mostly criminal) endeavors, but they almost never work anything through or develop. Her books and stories are usually explorations of morbid psychology. Her psychological thrillers, however, are often loaded with satire and black humor. Many European critics see her as an “existential” writer.

Disturbing violence was one of her trademarks. Murderous impulses lurking behind facades of normal lives was another element of the Highsmith brand of chilling psychological suspense novels. A third element was always her emotionally and morally ambiguous young men of uncertain sexuality who served as her protagonists. Told in stark language, her startling and ironic books have long been admired for their daring themes and uncompromising vision.

Filmmakers have always been drawn to her work, and a number of successful movies have been made from her books, beginning with Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, made from the novel of the same title. The Talented Mr. Ripley was made into three different movies, and Ripley novels, Ripley’s Game and Ripley Underground, were also filmed.

In later years, her misanthropic and misogynistic tendencies, not to mention her racism and anti-Semitism, became more and more prominent and pronounced. This and her choice to live abroad helped to keep her reputation in the United States lower than it should have been. Highsmith had spent a great deal of time at the writer’s colony, Yaddo, during her early career, and though she became an expatriate in Europe for the last half of her life, she left her $3 million estate to Yaddo when she died.

Highsmith books that I particularly recommend are Strangers on a Train, The Blunderers, The Talented Mr.. Ripley, This Sweet Sickness, Edith's Diary, The Boy Who Followed Ripley, The Snail-Watcher and Other Stories, Little Tales of Misogyny, The Animal Lover's Book of Beastly Murder, and Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories. That last book was published posthumously. Highsmith also wrote an excellent book on writing, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction.I think you'll find that Highsmith stands the test of time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shocking College Crimes On and Off Campus

One of my blog followers is involved with the website Online Colleges. This is not as strange as it sounds because my forthcoming novel, Every Last Secret, is set on a college campus with a campus police chief, Skeet Bannion, as the protagonist. Anyway, this blog follower wanted to alert me to their post, “The 10 Most Shocking College Crimes of All Time.” She thought, rightly, that I’d be interested and that readers of my blog might be interested also. You can find it here

The crew at Online Colleges has done a good job in sorting through the crimes on college campuses, but I’m not sure I agree with all their selections. I think there are a couple of more shocking crimes that I’d substitute for some on their list. You’ll find these shocking enough, though, I’m sure.

 One place where they really went right was in including Ted Bundy on the list, even though the bulk of his crimes took place off-campus. Most of Bundy’s killings were never included in any campus crime report because they didn’t happen on campus, but he cruised campuses to pick out his victims and make contact with them. Bundy, like other sexual predators, looked on campuses the way a weasel might look on a hen house, as a convenient larder happily stocked with his favorite prey.

This is a problem that haunts the nightmares of campus police and others responsible for controlling crime on campus—the concentration of nubile young people of all genders, newly independent of parental control and anxious to assert that independence in every way they can. It too often leads to heavy drinking, date rape, and more violent forms of sexual assault among students. It also makes easy pickings for sexual predators.

Campuses have to walk a fine line between going overboard with warnings to the point that students no longer listen—if they ever did in the first place—and being so laissez-faire that students are unaware of any dangers. And ultimately, when students leave the campus, the campus police can no longer protect them. They have no jurisdiction off campus.

With the exception of a few episodes that hit the media big-time, such as the Sandusky affair at Penn State or the Virginia Tech shootings, most people are unaware of crime on college campuses, but it’s been going on for a long time and is only likely to continue. Especially the campus crimes that don’t happen on campus itself but started there, like Bundy’s.

What do you think? Are campuses too lax? Or do they go overboard with the warnings? Is there ultimately any way in a free society to protect students, faculty, and staff against the kinds of crimes in the "10 Most Shocking College Crimes" list--the sexual predators and the arbitrary shooters of many?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Great First Crime Novel Contests--No Fee

Beginning next week, I'll return to my usual schedule of Books of Interest by Writers of Color posts on Mondays and Literary Mystery Writers posts on Fridays.

Today, though, I want to draw the attention of all the writers out there who've never published a novel before to the quartet of free competitions offered by St. Martin's Minotaur in collaboration with various mystery organizations. These contests are not only fabulous to win, but they are also a good way to get your manuscript before the editors at one of most important publishers out there--if you're good enough to make the finals.

These competitions are open to anyone who hasn't published a novel before and whose novel fits the guidelines for that particular contest. There is no fee to enter, and the prize for each of the four competitions is $10,000 and a standard publishing contract with St. Martin's Press.

All that is pretty enticing right there, but also if you win, you get to work with some of the top professionals in the field located in the historic Flatiron Building in New York City. That's important when you're starting out as a novelist. It's even  more important now while publishing is going through such major changes.

I know entering the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Competition changed my life. So I encourage all my writer friends out there to consider these competitions. Especially all my writer friends of color.

The four competitions--St. Martin's/Tony Hillerman, St. Martin's/Private Eye Writers of America, St. Martin's/Malice Domestic, and St. Martin's/Mystery Writers of America--have different guidelines and deadlines--June, July, October, and December. Check them out!

And good luck! I'm looking forward to reading the next award-winners.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Look Back to the Future

We’re starting off 2012 on a lovely note here in Kansas City. Beautiful dry, sunny days that haven’t gone below 25 degrees for weeks. For the last several years, the Christmas-Chanukah-Solstice season and the year’s changeover have been buried in terrible blizzards, but this year, we’ve been spared the below-zero temps, ice, and 1 ½-2 foot snowfalls with blinding winds. And I am so, so grateful.

Like so many of you, I’m looking ahead, planning, setting goals, and hoping for certain successes. Most of us do this every year. But when I look back to see what I planned and hoped for in 2011 (easy to do since I’m an inveterate journal-keeper), I find that almost all of the wonderful things that happened to me in 2011 were unforeseen at the beginning of that year. And I wonder if that isn’t pretty much always the case.

In January of 2011, I wanted to lose weight, de-clutter and organize my house, and find a way to get my finances under control. I had been making most of my money through poetry—a miracle to make any at all, in that case—and that probably explains why I wanted to improve and regularize my finances.

By January of 2012, I had won a national novel competition, signed a book contract with a major New York trade publisher, received an advance, found a great agent, acquired terrific blurbs and a beautiful book cover, and finished the second novel in the series while the first book started going out for reviews. None of these exciting things were listed in my hopes and plans for the year—and I still need to lose weight, de-clutter my house, and find a way to bring my finances under control. (More money came in with the book, but the year was still very feast or famine in the money department—just a little more than feast than usual.)

I’m sitting down now with my journal to look ahead, plan, set goals and dream about the successes I want this year to bring—and I do believe 2012 will bring me some wonderful successes and good fortune. I'm looking forward to the launch of Every Last Secret at the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri, on Tuesday, April 24, and a whole slew of other appearances and book signings after that. (Just check the News/Events tab of this website to see the current calendar. New events are being added each week.) I'm looking forward to attending several big mystery conferences this year, beginning with Malice Domestic in late April. These things I know are going to take place. But I suspect that the best things to happen in 2012 will all, or mostly, be things that aren’t really on my chart yet, but will sideswipe me once again.

What about you? Do you plan and achieve your yearly plans in detail like clockwork? Do you send your boats out over and over, only to have a jet come in sometimes instead of a ship?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy 2012: Jacket copy for EVERY LAST SECRET and EVERY BROKEN TRUST finished

I hope the holidays were splendid for all of you. I was able to spend them with all of my grown kids back in town, and then all of us trekked to Topeka, Kansas, to my sister's for for a warm, lovely Christmas with extended family. I'm so grateful as we start a new year for my wonderful husband, Ben, and my great kids, Crystal, Niles, and Joseph--and my terrific foster-son Gustavo, his partner Erika, and their sweet baby Becquer. And for my sister and her two sons and my brother. That's one of the glories of the season is that it brings us back together with far-flung family.

2012 is making a strong beginning for me. Later this month, review copies of Every Last Secret: A Mystery will be sent to reviewers and other promotional outlets. If you had offered to review the book, please email me your mailing address, so I can make sure you receive your review copy.

It's interesting to look at who is publishing my book. This book is being published by St. Martin's Press/ Minotaur Books and also Thomas Dunne Books. Thomas Dunne Books and Minotaur Books are both imprints of St. Martin's Press, which is, in turn, a part of Macmillan. A little confusing, I admit. But the nice thing is that all of these publishing entities have such a reputation for quality.

I had promised to post the jacket copy for my forthcoming book, Every Last Secret: A Mystery, in late December, but I was so engrossed in finishing the next book in the series, Every Broken Trust, that I forgot to post it. I did finish the draft of Every Broken Trust shortly before Christmas and am now in the throes of the revision process. I hope to have the finished manuscript off to my agent and editor later this month. So here belatedly is the copy that will appear on the dust jacket of the hardcover Every Last Secret: A Mystery.



"Rodriguez’s debut is an action-packed ride featuring an intriguing heroine you won’t quickly forget."--Sally Goldenbaum, author of The Wedding Shawl

Half-Cherokee Marquitta “Skeet” Bannion thought she was leaving her troubles behind when she fled the stress of being the highest ranking woman on the Kansas City Police Department, a jealous cop ex-husband who didn’t want to let go, and a disgraced alcoholic ex-cop father. Moving to a small town to be chief of the campus police force, she builds a life outside of police work. She might even begin a new relationship with the amiable Brewster police chief.

All of this is threatened when the student editor of the college newspaper is found murdered on campus. Skeet must track down the killer, following trails that lead to some of the most powerful people in the university. In the midst of her investigation, Skeet takes up responsibility for a vulnerable teenager as her ex-husband and seriously ailing father wind up back on her hands. Time is running out and college administrators demand she conceal all college involvement in the murder, but Skeet will not stop until she's unraveled every last secret.

Linda Rodriguez’s debut novel introduces a unique and capable heroine. With its intriguing cast of characters and complex mystery, Every Last Secret is sure to delight traditional mystery fans.

Linda Rodriguez is a winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. As a poet, she has won the Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence, the Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, and the Midwest Voices and Visions Award.

Linda enjoys knitting lace shawls, spinning alpaca wool, weaving tapestries, and gardening with herbs and native plants. She is currently working on a book of poetry based on teachings from her Cherokee grandmother and another mystery novel about Skeet Bannion. Linda lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, a Plott Hound, and a domineering cat.

Back cover:
Advance Praise for Every Last Secret

"There's a new cop in town and she has smarts, courage, and a good heart. Mystery readers will find a new favorite in Chief Skeet Bannion."--Nancy Pickard, author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Every Last Secret offers that rare and startling thing in the universe of thrillers: a truly fresh voice. Rodriguez's tale spares nothing. Skeet is an all-too-human heroine, and we just want more, more, more.”--Jacquelyn Mitchard, #1 national bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature: A Love Story

“Linda Rodriguez has created a captivating female detective with a mind for justice and a heart for those who’ve been unfairly treated.  Skeet navigates university politics and a nest of deadly secrets to find the truth, even when it means investigating people she cares about.”--Carolyn Haines, author of Bones of a Feather

“Murder on a college campus, plenty of bad people, and all kinds of puzzles to solve. Linda Rodriguez has written a highly enjoyable procedural introducing a rough and tender heroine, Skeet Bannion.”--Kathleen George, author of The Odds and Hideout

I'm very excited about the prospect of holding an advance copy of Every Last Secret in my hands soon. I'm also thrilled and relieved that my beta reader thinks the second book in the series is as strong as the first. Any time you're writing a book after the earlier one received an award or won a competition, you're always fighting the fear that this book won't measure up to the last one. So hearing that Every Broken Trust is up to the task is a great relief.

How is your 2012 beginning? What are you excited about seeing or doing in the early months of the new year?