UNSUB: My new book, out June 2017


Finally, y’all: Here’s the cover of my new novel, UNSUB.

And here’s the story…

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.
Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

The novel will be published in June 2017. I am so excited.

And you can preorder it.

Thursday October 20: Writing to Make Readers Shiver


This week I’m taking part in “Third Thursday” at Book People in Austin. It’s a monthly panel discussion on writing organized by the Writers’ League of Texas, free and open to the public. Here’s the lowdown from the Writers’ League:

Chills and Thrills: Writing to Make Readers Shiver

Thursday, October 20, 2016
7 PM
BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
3rd Floor

Every month, Writers’ League members and friends gather at BookPeople in Austin for a panel discussion on topics related to the craft and business of writing. These events are the highlight of our month at WLT; we love meeting our members, connecting with fellow writers, and fostering positive conversation and growth in the Austin literary community and beyond. We also record these conversations for our podcast so that writers everywhere can join us, regardless of their location. At this month’s Third Thursday, we’re excited to explore the mechanics of tension and suspense in a discussion with four thrilling writers.

If you’re around, come on down.

When book research becomes something bigger: The Sixth Floor Museum


On Elm Street in Dallas, where afternoon traffic speeds toward a triple underpass, the asphalt is painted with an X. No one’s sure who put it there after the street was resurfaced. It’s probably several millimeters off the actual location it marks. It’s unadorned, and so deeply portentous that my head spun when I saw it. Because it marks the spot outside the Texas School Book Depository where American history turned. At 12:30 p.m. on November 22, 1963.

I went to Dallas to do book research. I went to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to visit a site, and revisit a tragedy, that tore through the country and the heart of the Sixties. I was curious, and wanted to pay my respects to the legacy of John F. Kennedy. I found myself unexpectedly overcome by the weight and presence of the assassination. Approaching the sixth floor corner where Oswald set up his sniper’s nest is a visceral experience. The corner is now sealed off with Plexiglas. The museum points out that this preserves a crime scene. That’s putting it mildly.


As an American, the story has always transfixed me. As a writer, I expected to be fascinated by the details, and perhaps to squirrel some away for use in my next book. I wasn’t prepared to get punched in the gut emotionally. And in this hyper-heated election season, I became acutely conscious that political passions can erupt with devastating consequences. Democracy depends on every citizen working to promote the legal, peaceful transfer of power. We can’t forget that. If we do, we’re doomed.

But that’s the thing about research: the unexpected happens. If you open yourself up to where you are, you learn so much more than you ever imagined possible.

Rest in peace, Mr. President.

Published today: Echoes of Sherlock Holmes

EchoesOfSherlockHolmes low res

I’m thrilled that Echoes of Sherlock Holmes is published today. This is the third volume in an award-winning series of short stories inspired by the Holmes canon. I’m honored that editors Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger asked me to contribute to this book, and that it includes my story “Irregular.”

Kirkus Reviews says: “‘Inspired’ is the key word here… every fan will find different reasons to cheer. And they’ll all marvel at the inventive range of this salute to the greatest of all fictional detectives.”

Publishers Weekly has named Echoes of Sherlock Holmes one of its Top 10 Mystery Books of Fall 2016.

And I’m absolutely stoked to see my name on the cover alongside authors like David Morrell, John Connolly, Cory Doctorow, and so many other amazing writers.

Saturday, October 8: Devine, Texas Writes


Saturday afternoon October 8th, I’m giving a free writing workshop as part of the fantastic Texas Writes program offered by the Writers’ League of Texas, supported by the Tocker Foundation. Here’s some information from the Writers’ League:

Texas Writes is a statewide program that brings accomplished authors to rural libraries for a half day of presentations and panel discussions. Each event is free and open to the public.

This event will feature presentations from authors Meg Gardiner and Reavis Z. Wortham. More information on the presentations will be posted prior to the event. To pre-register for this event, contact the library at 830-663-2993.

I’m talking about “What Makes a Killer Story?” Reavis Wortham, a fellow mystery author, will speak on “The Road to Publication and Other Successful Disasters.”

If you’re in the San Antonio area, come on down.

Devine, Texas Writes 
Saturday, October 8, 1:00pm-4:00pm
Driscoll Public Library
202 E Hondo Ave
Devine, Texas 78016

Where I get my ideas Part 6 Million: photos


My publisher threw a shindig at Bouchercon in New Orleans. When guests walked in, a Polaroid-style camera was available for everybody to use. This is roughly what happened when I found it.

Me: I love Polaroids! Okay, these are actually mini Fujifilm pics, but I love them!

The Husband: Sure. Whatever makes you happy. I’m just arm candy.


[photo develops]

Me: Wow. Uh. It looks like something you’d find in a serial killer’s garage.

Journalist friend: And everyone asks, “Who are these people?”

And so my next novel is born. To all involved: Thanks.

(And yes, in the novel, when the cache of photos is found in the garage, the people in them won’t be wearing name tags. But I have to start somewhere.)

Hello from New Orleans

Bonjour, y’all. Hello from New Orleans, where I’m enjoying Bouchercon: Blood on the Bayou. I have not had my fill of authors, great novels, pralines, or jambalaya. I never will.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going in search of all of those.