Category Archives: Books

The playlist of music in my novels, 2018


A couple of years back a reader asked for a playlist of music mentioned in my novels. It’s time for an update. Here’s the 2018 playlist.

Into the Black Nowhere

  • Chris Stapleton, “Midnight Train to Memphis”
  • Beyoncé, “Freedom”
  • Gary Clark Junior, “Numb”
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Pride and Joy”


  • Gary Clark Junior, “Don’t Owe You a Thang”
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan, “Little Sister”
  • Jerry Jeff Walker, “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother”
  • The Chieftains, “Mo Ghile Mear” (Our Hero) (with Sting & Anúna)

Phantom Instinct

  • Taking Back Sunday, “What’s It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?”
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Give It Away”

The Shadow Tracer

  • Sarah McLachlan, “In the Arms of the Angel”
  • Foo Fighters, “Wheels”

Ransom River:

  • Radical Face, “Welcome Home”
  • Florence & the Machine, “Dog Days Are Over”
  • Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven”
  • Foo Fighters, “Long Road to Ruin”
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama”

The Nightmare Thief:

  • Frank Sinatra, “Come Fly With Me”
  • Kings of Leon, “Sex on Fire”
  • Beyoncé, “Crazy in Love”

The Liar’s Lullaby:

  • “Bull’s-eye”
  • “After Me”
  • “The Liar’s Lullaby” (these three by Meg Gardiner/Paul Shreve, performed by Definitely Arson)
  • “Amazing Grace”
  • Shakuhachi — The Japanese Flute
  • Alabama 3, “Woke Up This Morning” (The theme song from The Sopranos)

The Memory Collector:

  • Slipknot, “Psychosocial”
  • Incubus, “Sick Sad Little World”
  • Foo Fighters, “The Pretender”
  • The Killers, “Mr. Brightside”

The Dirty Secrets Club:

  • The All-American Rejects, “Dirty Little Secret”
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 5 in C Sharp Minor
  • Cheb Mami, “Mamazareh”
  • Los Lobos, “The Wreck of the Carlos Rey”
  • T-Rex, “Bang a Gong”
  • Gipsy Kings, “Chan Chan”

Kill Chain:

  • Ray Charles: “Sinner’s Prayer,” “You Win Again,” “Losing Hand,” “Unchain My Heart,” and “Hit the Road, Jack”
  • Willie Nelson, “Georgia on My Mind”


  • John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
  • Patsy Cline, “Crazy”
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”
  • Trisha Yearwood, “How Do I Live”

Jericho Point:

  • Toby Keith, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”
  • Run DMC, “Walk This Way”
  • Beethoven, Ode to Joy
  • Aretha Franklin, “Chain of Fools”
  • Bruce Springsteen, “The Rising”
  • Dixie Chicks, “Long Time Gone”
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter, “Jubilee”
  • Bruce Springsteen, “She’s the One”

Mission Canyon:

  • The Supremes, “Stop! In the Name of Love!”
  • Jimi Hendrix, “Voodoo Chile”
  • Puccini, Tosca: “Vissi d’arte”

China Lake:

  • Eric Clapton, Crossroads
  • Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”
  • Jimi Hendrix, “All Along the Watchtower”

(Photo: Every Time I Die, performing at Webster Hall, New York City, July 14, 2017.)

Question Time 2018: Ask Me Anything

ITBN at Interabang

I’m home from the book tour for Into the Black Nowhere. While I clear my desk and finish the laundry and start writing UNSUB 3, why don’t you think of some questions to ask me? Leave them in the comments on this post.

And I’m editing the post to add: No spoilers!

Before you ask: I snapped the photo above at Interabang Books in Dallas when I spoke there on the tour. It’s a new independent bookstore and yes, I am in love with the place.

How a photo inspired Into the Black Nowhere


In September 2016, as I was just beginning to flesh out ideas for the sequel to UNSUB, I attended Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. I wrote a post about the photo above, which was taken during the weekend:

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.)

Guess what? I took that joke, and the shiver that underlay it, and used the idea in the novel that became Into the Black Nowhere.


The lesson: Everything is material. And if an idea worms its way under your skin, pay attention. You never know how, when, or where you might use it.

Back on the road for Into the Black Nowhere


I’m hitting the road — or the skies — for Phoenix, heading to The Poisoned Pen for a talk and signing with Lisa Gardner. Yes, it’s going to be Gardiner Night at the bookstore. Also Gardner Night. Lisa and I will be discussing our new novels. Into the Black Nowhere, of course, and her terrific new thriller, Look for Me. It should be fun. Especially because people tend to get us confused. And after we swap clothes and IDs, like the twins in The Parent Trap, God knows what might happen. Hijinks. Thrills. Book sales.

Tuesday, February 6th, 7 p.m.
The Poisoned Pen

4014 N Goldwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 947-2974

The book tour so far has taken me around Texas and to Florida, where I snapped the photo above. Thanks to all the booksellers — at Book People in Austin, Interabang Books in Dallas, Murder by the Book in Houston, and Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach. Special thanks to every reader who turned up to buy books and talk with me. You’re the reason I do this.

If anybody’s still on the fence about picking up a copy of my new novel, here are further inducements:


The New York Post named it one of the week’s Must-Read Books. calls it “A blistering read… Into the Black Nowhere is relentless thriller writing at its finest.”

All of which make me extremely happy. Now I’m off. If you’re in Arizona, and have a chance to come by the Poisoned Pen, I’d love to see you.

Into the Black Nowhere: Listen to Stephen King


My new novel, Into the Black Nowhere, was published yesterday. I’ve naturally been telling you to grab a copy. But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to Uncle Stevie.

To say I’m wildly happy is an understatement.

So, yeah. Stephen King calls the novel “Excellent.” He says: “Buy now, thank me later.”


The Associated Press calls it “Riveting.”

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the novel is a “robust character study mixed with an engrossing police procedural… Gardiner knows how to push the terrifying envelope.”

If you want a glimpse into how I wrote the novel, and how real events influence the fiction I write, I talked to Texas Monthly:

Meg Gardiner’s Dark Past: The Austin thriller writer explains her connections to the Golden State Killer and the Oklahoma City bombing—and how they found their way into her novels.

Austin Monthly also interviewed me: How Author Meg Gardiner Gets Into the Mind of a Killer

But really: Listen to Stephen King.

Into the Black Nowhere: Out today


My new novel is published today in the USA: Into the Black Nowhere. It’s the sequel to UNSUB, and my fourteenth published novel. But I’m not kidding when I tell you that no matter how many books I write, I still get as excited as the first time any of my fiction was published. It’s a thrill. I’m beyond privileged to be able to write for a living.

Most of my work happens inside my own head, while sitting at my desk. But this book is a collaborative project. It wouldn’t reach bookstores, libraries, or mobile devices without the support of my publisher, Dutton — especially my editor, John Parsley, publisher Christine Ball, publicist Jamie Knapp, and everybody else at Penguin Random House. Or without the incredible support, advice, and encouragement of my agent, Shane Salerno, and his team at The Story Factory. Or without the constant support of the Husband, Paul Shreve. This novel is the best it can be because of these people. Thank you all.

And to my readers: You’re the reason I write. I hope you enjoy the novel. My gratitude is endless.

Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million

Into the Black Nowhere ad images

So here’s something amazing and cool. My publisher, Dutton, has created these eerie, striking images to promote my new novel, Into the Black Nowhere. The book will be published Tuesday, January 30th.


I think they give you a fantastic glimpse of the story. And let me remind you — You can preorder the book:

Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble