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Daria Gibron, star of CRASHERS, BREAKING POINT and ICE COLD KILL, is back.

Daria, a freelance operative with a long and deadly history, has been hiding out in rural Italy, avoiding the enemies she’s made in the CIA, the Israeli government and Western law enforcement agencies. An old colleague tracks her down and seeks her help protecting an aerospace engineer from the White Scorpions, a Serbian mercenary group.

GUN METALMeanwhile, a small group of disgraced CIA agents have been waiting for their chance to exact revenge on the person they blame for their discharge — Daria Gibron.

Soon Daria is in the thick of both fights, squaring off against enemies from all sides and facing the threat of stolen military technology that can lay waste to entire cities.

The chase takes her from Italy to the former Yugoslavia. With the help of John Broom, a congressional aide, Daria has to thwart her old foes, take on new ones, and face perhaps her greatest challenge yet: Veronica, a mercenary with whom she is so evenly matched, they might as well be opposite sides of the same coin.

With the odds against her, Daria is in the worst danger of her life. And she couldn’t be having more fun.

“A high-voltage, high-body-count thrill ride!” – Publishers Weekly


Minotaur Books

All Hail the Cain!

Terrific review of Portlander Chelsea Cain’s newest thriller, LET ME GO.


This is part of the Gretchen Lowell series, which is one of the hottest franchises in the thriller genre. Chelsea is published by St. Martin’s Press, same as yours truly.

Yea, Chelsea!

Minotaur’s Treasure Trove

The Minotaur playbook for winter 2013 has a little something for everyone.

9781250007780_p0_v1_s260x420January alone sees a wide array of releases. Among others, you’ll find:

• “ALOHA LADY BLUE” by Charley Memminger, a noir tale from Hawaii that’s being compared to John D. McDonald’s classic series.

• A couple of cozy mysteries: “MISS DIMPLE SUSPECTS” by Mignon F. Ballard and “ARSENIC AND OLD PUZZLES” by Parnell Hall. The former takes place in Georgia during World War II and the latter is designed for the puzzle-lovers among us.

• “DECEMBER’S THORN,” a moody Appalachian thriller from Phillip DePoy.

• And Daniel Stashower’s “THE HOUR OF PERIL,” a true story about a plot to kill President Lincoln before the Civil War began.

Cain Raising Stakes

KILL YOU TWICE, the fifth in Chelsea Cain’s horrifying thriller series, might well be the best entry yet.

Cain is best known for creating the psychosexual serial killer Gretchen Lowell. But in KILL YOU TWICE — as in the other books in the series — Cain’s magic is in the all-too-human characters of Archie Sheridan, the tortured cop, and Susan Ward, the hilariously flawed journalist. The evolution of Archie’s serial killer task force has been great fun to watch as well. Cain has built a solid foundation in these characters.

No wonder the fx channel is preparing a TV pilot based on her novels.

Like the other entries in the series — HEARTSICK, SWEETHEART, EVIL AT HEART and THE NIGHT SEASON — Portland, Oregon, comes alive in this novel. Cain, a former columnist for The Oregonian, does a great job of detailing the city and its keep-it-weird inhabitants.

Note: This shockingly frank story is not for everyone. I flew to Ohio earlier this month next to a woman who turned a sickly ashen color when I mentioned that the tall blonde sitting three seats over was “that” Chelsea Cain. The woman wasn’t afraid of flying. She was afraid of Chelsea.

Full disclosure: Chelsea Cain is a writer for Minotaur Books, so we have the same publisher. Also, at a party this month in Cleveland, I’m relatively sure we were flirting with the same Englishman. Which is a post for another day.


The Warp and Weft of Re-Write

So here are the mechanics of re-writes. At least: the re-writes as they are practiced by my editor, Keith Kahla of St. Martin’s Press.

I wrote the 400-page manuscript and shipped it off to Keith. He sent back edits. I input most of them. He read everything, then sent back more edits. In this case, 22 pages of edits.

I ran into a friend last Thursday. I was sitting in a corridor, nursing a coffee and juggling the 22 pages. “Whoa,” my friend said. “Kicking your ass, much?”


But in a good way.

Here’s an example of the edits I get:

“Page 207: Consider building this [paragraph] up and adding more here? Perhaps, make it clear up-front that this is the French military? In any case, fill out the details in this scene, providing more physical description — not just of the gunship but of the people inside it — in order to ground the reader more.”

With luck, when you read the novel — OK, OK, if you read the novel — you won’t ever notice this paragraph on page 207. It’s not terribly pivotal. It’s one of dozens and dozens of paragraphs that Keith thinks is great but could be better. Cleaner. Tighter.

I read each individual note. I pace, I bounce a tennis ball off the floor (don’t ask; old habit), I mull, then I sit and  figure out how to improve the paragraph.

Then I move to the next note: “Page 208: In think the reference to Sarajevo is ….”

This is the reason I love re-writes. It’s this micro-level of attention. It’s like weaving a tapestry. The overall image is all-important, sure, but with an editor like Keith Kahla, every warp and weft is worth making good.

On we go.

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