Happy 450th birthday, William Shakespeare

Here’s a reminder that Shakespeare is still powerful, and resonant, more than 400 years after he wrote his works. Romeo + Juliet: When it came out, I told my kids I didn’t know if they would be allowed to see it, because it’s so violent and intense. They loved it.

And I love Shakespeare more and more with every passing year. Happy birthday, Bill. Here’s a cake. Take a deep breath and blow. Out, out, brief candle!

Enjoy.

Phantom Instinct: Booklist review

Here’s Booklist on Phantom Instinct:

“A year ago, Harper Flynn’s boyfriend was murdered when gunmen stormed the nightclub where she worked, and she has been struggling with survivor’s guilt and lingering questions. The LAPD investigation concluded that the two gunmen found dead in the club acted alone, Phantom_Instinctbut Harper saw three shooters. When she spots someone stalking her, Harper is convinced the third shooter is back. She hopes that Aiden Garrison, an LAPD detective who survived the club attack and also spotted a third gunman, will help her
cause with police. But Aiden sustained a head injury in the attack that resulted in a rare disorder characterized by paranoia and hallucinations, resulting in the loss of all his credibility with the police. When Harper and Aiden compare notes, Aiden’s description of the third gunman’s tattoo brings Harper’s worst nightmare to life. The nightclub shooter is a demon from her past, bent on revenge, and Aiden is theonly person willing to help her face him. Harper and Aiden’s alliance is full of heady chemistry, but a layer of mutual distrust lends a suspense-building unpredictability that thriller fans will love.”

And now I once again run through the house head-banging like Jennifer Lawrence. Which, if you haven’t seen American Hustle, looks like this:

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Shakespeare knocks ‘em dead

And I thought The Walking Dead was gory. Here’s a list of deaths and murders in Shakespeare’s tragedies, infographic style.

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(Via Tage Des Lesen)

Phantom Instinct: Suspense magazine review

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Excuse me while I quote from the first review of my upcoming novel.

“An excellent plot, this one will keep readers up all night with non-stop, unforgettable action.” –Suspense magazine on Phantom Instinct

That’ll do nicely. Very nicely. Now, with great dignity, I will dance in circles around the back yard, head-banging like Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle.

Thanks for the ride, APD

Ride Along

Yesterday I rode along with the Austin Police Department’s Downtown Patrol, the G200s. Because it had taken effort to prove to APD that I had no criminal record, I was especially grateful for the opportunity to spend the day with the city’s patrol officers.

As a citizen and a suspense novelist, I found the day enlightening — and reassuring. The officers I met were dedicated and professional, and awfully nice about sharing their time and knowledge with a crime writer.

You’ll discover what I learned when reading my future novels. In the meantime, I’ll tell you that during the ride along, I was mistaken for both a cop and an arrestee. While following the uniformed officer along a sidewalk to a reported disturbance, I was intensely scrutinized by a man who said, “Why are you in plain clothes?”

At another point, we pulled into police headquarters with two handcuffed people in the back of the patrol car. The officer I was with asked a colleague: “Could you watch one of my arrestees while I take the other one inside?”

The second officer agreed. But he approached the car looking perplexed. He had questions. “How come your arrestee’s in the front seat? And she isn’t handcuffed? And she looks like a mom?”

Good to know I have that effect on people.

Coming in June: Phantom Instinct

My next novel will be released in the USA and Canada at the end of June. I’ll be talking about it in the next few months, but for now, here’s a look at the cover.

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And yes, that’s a quote from the generous and supportive Lee Child: “Characters as real as your friends, and a plot as real as your nightmares.”

To say I’m grateful would be an understatement.

The 129th Rescue Wing is on the job

Once again the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard has done fantastic work, flying far out into the Pacific to save a critically ill child.

Bay Area National Guard rescues baby at sea

A Bay Area-based National Guard team parachuted into the chilly Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico on Thursday night in a harrowing mission to save a sick child stranded on a sailboat, authorities said Friday.

Members of the 129th Rescue Wing, upon hearing that a 1-year-old girl had fallen critically ill on her family’s 36-foot boat, boarded a plane at Moffett Federal Airfield about 2:30 p.m. and took off for the boat – located about 900 nautical miles off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, according to the California National Guard.

The baby’s ailment was not immediately clear. But the boat, called Rebel Heart and sailed by an American couple and their two children, was experiencing mechanical problems and couldn’t reach shore, officials said.

“The 1-year-old was seriously ill. We didn’t exactly get a lot of information beyond that,” said Lt. Roderick Bersamina.

“The rescue team made it to the stranded vessel aboard an MC-130P Combat Shadow plane about 7 p.m., according to Bersamina. Four team members parachuted into the open water, then inflated a Zodiac boat to motor their way over to the sailboat.”

“They have reported that whatever the child was ill from, she’s currently stabilized,” Bersamina said. “We’re happy that our para-rescue men safely boarded the vessel and were able to save the infant.”

The National Guard team also sent rescue helicopters to the stranded boat, and they were scheduled to arrive Friday. The plan was to then fly the sick girl and her family to shore by chopper.

The U.S. Navy also sent a ship to assist with the effort, Bersamina said.

I met pararescuemen from the 129th at Moffett Field a few years ago, while researching the Jo Beckett novels. In the books, Gabe Quintana is a PJ with the Wing. In real life, these guys are the honest deal. They do dangerous work on land, sea, and air. The motto of Pararescue is: So that others may live.

Be glad they’re on duty.