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

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!

Into the Black Nowhere: Star Tribune, Barnes & Noble, Booklist, LitHub

box o' books.jpeg

A box o’ books has arrived — Into the Black Nowhere, which will be published January 30th.

I want you to read it. You know damn well I do. I want you to pick up armfuls of the novel. Storm the library. Buy enough copies to build a book fort in your living room.

But don’t just listen to me.

Barnes & Noble calls it one of The Best New Mysteries of January 2018.

LitHub has named it one of The Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, and Thriller Titles of 2018.

And reviews are making me feel happy, and very grateful.

5 new mysteries provide thrills and chills on long winter nights

For me, there’s nothing more thrilling than a harrowing serial killer novel — one where the psychology of the killer is as important as the emotional toll extracted from those hunting them. Meg Gardiner’s second in her Unsub series is gripping on both counts. Her empathetic damaged hero, Caitlin Hendrix, has recently joined the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis unit. Caitlin’s past has marked her in a unique way that she willingly exploits in an investigation that morphs from “circus” to “spectacle” when women keep disappearing from a small town in Texas. The case challenges Caitlin in ways I found chilling and un-put-downable. In the middle of the investigation when Caitlin is baiting the killer, she feels an “electric thrill.” I did, too.

— Carol Barrowman, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“With a plot that moves at a breathless pace and a heroine with a history of her own issues, Gardiner’s gripping nail-biter will please fans of Alex Kava, Tami Hoag and even Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lechter novels. Be ready for requests.” ALA Booklist

“Another winner… Crime-thriller fans appreciate her compelling, well-developed characters — both good and bad — her sense of plot, her mastery of heart-stopping twists, and her pace, which is TV-ready, as her recent accomplishment shows, combine to create a rollercoaster of a reading ride.” — Florida Times-Union

And Writer’s Bone says: “Clear your sleep schedule. Cancel all other reading. Meg Gardiner’s follow up to UNSUB drops Jan. 30.”


Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble