Category Archives: UNSUB

UNSUB nominated for a Barry Award

1121 UNSUB

I’m thrilled — well, way past thrilled — that UNSUB has been nominated for a Barry Award for Best Thriller.

The Barry Awards are given at Bouchercon, the annual World Mystery Convention. The winners will be announced September 6th at the Bouchercon 2018 Opening Ceremonies in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Now, the kicker: Anybody who subscribes to or reads Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine is eligible to vote for the winners of the Barry Awards. The deadline for votes is August 6, 2018. You’re permitted one vote per category, for a total of four possible votes.

You can vote by e-mailing your choices to

2018 Barry Award Nominees:

Best Novel
THE LATE SHOW, Michael Connelly (Little, Brown)
THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER, Karen Dionne (Putnam)
EXIT STRATEGY, Steve Hamilton (Putnam)
THE FORCE, Don Winslow (Morrow)
PRUSSIAN BLUE, Philip Kerr (Putnam)
MAGPIE MURDERS, Anthony Horowitz (Harper)

Best First Novel
THE DRY, Jane Harper (Flatiron)
SHE RIDES SHOTGUN, Jordan Harper (Ecco)
THE LOST ONES, Sheena Kamal (Morrow)
THE IRREGULAR, H. P. Lyle (Quercus)
A RISING MAN, Abir Mukherjee (Pegasus)
MY ABSOLUTE DARLING, Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead)

Best Paperback Original
SAFE FROM HARM, R. J. Bailey (Simon & Schuster UK)
THE DEEP DARK DESCENDING, Allen Eskens (Seventh Street)
HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE, Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
THE DAY I DIED, Lori Rader-Day (Morrow)
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS, Kristi Belcamino (CreateSpace)
SUPER CON, James Swain (Thomas & Mercer)

Best Thriller
GUNMETAL GRAY, Mark Greaney (Berkley)
SPOOK STREET, Mick Herron (Soho)
THE FREEDOM BROKER, K. J. Howe (Quercus)
THE OLD MAN, Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)
UNSUB, Meg Gardiner (Dutton)
TRAP THE DEVIL, Ben Coes (St. Martin’s)

I’m honored to see my novel on the list with such great books. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Out now in paperback: UNSUB

UNSUB_paperback cover

Happy New Year! 2018 kicks off for me with the paperback edition of UNSUB, published today.

I’m delighted that the novel has been so well received by readers — thank you! You’re the reason I write. Without you, my career wouldn’t be possible.

And I’ve been thrilled that UNSUB landed on a bunch of year-end Best Of lists:

Literary Hub: The Best Crime Books of 2017

BookPage: The Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2017

LitReactor: LitReactor Staff Picks: The Best Books of 2017

The Real Book Spy: The Real Book Spy’s Best Books of 2017

KAZI Book Review with Hopeton Hay (KAZI 88.7 FM Austin): KAZI Book Review’s Favorite 14 Books of 2017

Crimespree Magazine: The publisher’s 2017 favorites

Murder by the Book: Sally’s Top Ten

I’m honored — and happy on behalf of the novel. It’s like seeing one of my kids bring home a science fair ribbon. I’m really grateful.

And, if you got gift cards or certificates for the holidays, you can start the new year by ordering UNSUB. I certainly won’t stop you.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Get signed, personalized books for the 2017 holidays

1121 UNSUB
phantom_instinct  Shadow    

The holidays are coming up, and of course you’re contemplating giving books as gifts to everyone you know and love. Right?

If you’d like to get copies of my novels, you can now arrange for me to scribble in them, no matter how far away you live or whether you catch me in person when I have a pen in my hand. Thanks to my fantastic local bookstore, Book People in Austin, you can order signed, personalized copies of my novels. The store ships across the USA and internationally.

Book People doesn’t have a hard deadline for holiday shipping, but the sooner you order, the better.

UPDATE! Book People says:

To ensure orders make it somewhere in time for Christmas, we ask that they be placed before (not on) December 19th at the absolute latest. Making an order that late would require UPS shipping, our more expensive option, so customers looking to ship through USPS should place orders before the 12th to be sure they make it on time. UPS shipping typically takes 3 to 5 business days and USPS typically takes 5 to 10 business days.

If you’d like to order copies of my books and have me sign them, call (512) 472-5050 or CLICK HERE.

And once you order my books, you can keep on going and order books by other authors as well. Book People has a whole store full of them. What are you waiting for?

Editing: from idea to printed page


My next novel, Into the Black Nowhere, will be published in early 2018. It’s almost ready to go. I spent this week proofreading the “first pass” of the typeset pages.

Editing, like everything else in writing, is a process. It’s a back-and-forth: between me and my ideas; with my agent and editor; with the copyeditor and proofreader; and, finally, with my own judgment that the novel in its entirety — the story, structure, characters, suspense, pacing, voice, and wording of every sentence — is the best I can make it.

Each step in the process comes with its own challenges. And each version of the story I write gets comments. For this novel — the sequel to UNSUB — here’s how the notes and editorial suggestions I’ve received have evolved.


  • This novel is a cat-and-mouse thriller in which Caitlin Hendrix pursues a charming, devious killer across the western US. Why do you insert a convoluted subplot about one victim’s greedy grandparents attempting to steal an inheritance?
  • The mid-novel murder is dramatic, splashy, and completely predictable. What if you flipped the situation on its head?

(Me: If I do that… hey! A whole fresh, unexpected plot line appears.)

First draft:

  • The pace in the first half is, to put it kindly, leisurely. Okay, it’s slow. Remember the reviews you got for UNSUB, which praised its tautness and drive? Yeah, do that again.
  • The ending needs more brains, less brawn. For instance: Why is Caitlin clinging to the roof rack of a careening SUV? Get her off of there. Now.

Second draft:

  • So many cops! So many FBI agents! New ones seem to pop up every few pages. They roam the novel in groups, holding constant conversations. Send some of them home.
  • Why does one character describe a life-and-death struggle after the fact, through dialogue? You’re missing a chance to show a badass fight. WRITE THE SCENE.

Final draft:


Copyedited manuscript:

  • Does this scene take place on Wednesday? (Me: Yes. Obviously.)
  • Are you positive this scene takes place on Wednesday? (Me: Completely.)
  • Then why is it still Tuesday? (Me: GAH.)

First pass pages:

  • Me: Delete “fast.” Insert “quick.”
  • Me: Delete “printout.” Insert “documents.”
  • Me: Delete “asshole.” Insert: “jackass.”

As I said, it’s a process.

And, if you want to see how I put all these suggestions into practice, you can preorder the novel.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Coming up in November: Texas Book Festival

I’m delighted that I’ll be appearing at the 2017 Texas Book Festival. It’s a huge, exciting event — often, 40,000 people attend — and I’m honored to be invited. It’s also a whole lot of fun. If you have a chance to get to Austin the weekend of November 4-5, check it out.

My schedule:

Texas Book Festival
Austin, Texas
“The Long Arm of Crime”
November 4, 2017
 10:00-10:45 a.m.
Session Location:
 Texas State Capitol Extension 2.030
Signing Location: Main Signing Tent

News about the UNSUB TV deal

UNSUB Pilot News

Here’s an update on plans to develop UNSUB into a CBS television series. From Deadline Hollywood:

EXCLUSIVE: CBS has bought Edgar-winning author Meg Gardiner’s novel UNSUB. The project was picked up by CBS Television Studios earlier this year, ahead of auction. The book was published in June by Dutton. The network has ordered a pilot script to be written by Liz Friedman, who will be executive producer and show runner, and who co-created ABC’s Conviction and co-wrote the pilot to Orange Is The New Black. Latter got her an Emmy nomination. Friedman was also an executive producer on Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and writer and senior producer for almost the entire run of both House and Elementary.

The project will be developed by Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman, who’ll serve as executive producers through their studio-based Timberman-Beverly Productions banner, and Shane Salerno through The Story Factory.

To say I’m excited is an understatement.

Sneak peek: Into the Black Nowhere


Who wants a sneak peek at my next novel?

Into the Black Nowhere — the sequel to UNSUB — will be published on January 30, 2018. I can’t wait. Here’s a teaser:

On Saturday nights, women in Texas are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style — posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

I’ll be talking more about the book as we get closer to publication. But for the moment, you can pre-order.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound