Heat 2: out today!

I’m thrilled that Heat 2, the novel I co-wrote with Michael Mann, is published today. The book, a standalone thriller, is both prequel and sequel to Mann’s 1995 film Heat. This has been a challenging, ambitious, exhilarating project, and I’m incredibly proud of this novel.

The Associated Press says: “Hollywood screenwriter and director Michael Mann and veteran thriller writer Meg Gardiner have achieved a rarity with their novel ‘Heat 2’: a screen-to-page sequel that stands tall on its own. . . . Slick as a Neil McCauley heist and as intense as a Vincent Hanna chase, ‘Heat 2’ is just dynamite.”

Rolling Stone calls it “a genuinely exhilarating expansion of the movie’s world, complete with. . . some truly jaw-dropping, bullet-filled set pieces.”

The Film Stage says: “Stunning. . . . an intoxicatingly relentless gem. . . . a novel to be devoured more than once.”

Entertainment Weekly calls it a “propulsive universe-expansion. . . . reading this novel, and its cliffhanger ending, definitely leaves you wanting another book set in the same world.”

I’d love for you to read it.

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

HEAT 2: Wonderful CrimeReads Review

CrimeReads dedicates itself to the thoughtful discussion crime novels, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and more. So I’m especially grateful that it has named Heat 2 one the best books of August.

“Heat 2, which combines the feeling of both prologue and coda to the iconic Michael Mann 1995 film, deepens our understanding of the original world and simultaneously upends it with new wrinkles of mania and humanity. It’s a novel about the growing complications of global crime and about individuals pushing deep into that moral abyss. Mann’s brooding moments of sublime isolation are there in abundance, combined with Gardiner’s deft touch for modern thrillers. The result is an intensely satisfying crime story. –Dwyer Murphy, CrimeReads editor-in-chief

That’ll make my day.

And, if you want to dig into the story behind the story, here are a few recent pieces:

If you’re interested in what went into writing Heat 2, the Los Angeles Daily News has the scoop: How author Meg Gardiner teamed with filmmaker Michael Mann on ‘Heat 2’

For The Week, I wrote about my favorite books that feature the theme of Heat 2… people who take down scores, and those who hunt them: Meg Gardiner’s 6 favorite crime fiction books.

And I answered 20 questions for The Big Thrill. Find out my superpower, and my most embarrassing moment. The Big Thrill’s Behavioral Analysis Unit: Meg Gardiner.

HEAT 2: Great reviews from The A.V. Club and Spectator World

I’m really thrilled by these two new reviews of Heat 2.

From Spectator World:

Heat 2 is a classic of the crime genre

Of all the things in the world of entertainment that might get me excited, ‘a new Michael Mann project’ tops the list…

The story is quintessential Mann. We are introduced to a world reminiscent of the criminal empires that he created in his films Miami ViceCollateral and Blackhat, with an emerging international dark economy fueled by narco-states, rogue oil kingdoms, criminal syndicates and brilliant gentleman thieves doing deals with the highest bidders. Mix in mercenaries and a corrupt defense contractor and you get a sense of what you’re in for with this novel…

Heat 2 retains a cinematic quality in its structural leaps from 1988 to 1996 to 2000 and back again, keeping the reader guessing where it is heading before full circle in a way you don’t see coming. And, perhaps cunningly, it leaves the door open for yet another sequel… If you’re a fan of the crime genre, you can only hope we get more from him and his crew soon.”

And from The A.V Club:


“Nearly three decades after his 1995 instant-classic L.A. crime thriller Heat hit theaters, writer-director Michael Mann is back with a prequel/sequel in novel form. Co-written with Meg Gardiner, Heat 2 takes us to 1988 Chicago, where methodical crook Neil McCauley and obsessive cop Vincent Hanna—opposing forces perhaps more alike than not—nearly cross paths years before their fateful L.A. encounter, as a sociopathic killer slips past Hanna and into McCauley’s blind spot. Fast-forward past L.A. and cut to South America: Chris Shirhelis, McCauley’s surviving crewman, is rebuilding his life and a new operation, unaware he’s on a collision course with old enemies. Told in a style as propulsive and cinematic as the film, Heat 2 is an exciting and engrossing tale that leaves the door open to a third installment.”

Rebuilding: one year on

On August 1 a year ago, we had a major disaster. A car fire set our house ablaze. Austin firefighters were amazing, and saved much of the structure. But with the destruction of the garage, attic, and roof, and enormous smoke and water damage throughout the house, we lost a large portion of our belongings and had to strip the place down to the studs.

Today, one year on, we’re finally home.

Thank you to all our friends and family who have reached out with love and support. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.

We wouldn’t be here without the grit and determination of my husband, Paul Shreve, who oversaw demolition and construction while I was working dawn to dusk on my upcoming novel (even with a house charred and covered in sooty debris, deadlines loomed). It’s been a challenging year. We don’t have much furniture yet, and construction isn’t finished, but we are back in the place we love and thought we’d lost. It feels great.

STARRED Library Journal review for HEAT 2

This goes beyond making my day. Library Journal has given starred review to Heat 2:

 DEBUT Edgar Award–winning thriller author Gardiner (“UNSUB” series) and award-winning writer and director Mann (writing his first novel) explore the background and future of characters from Mann’s classic 1995 film Heat. How did McCauley, played by Robert DeNiro, end up on a heist team with Shiherlis, played by Val Kilmer? How did Hanna, played by Al Pacino, become the focused cop? Prepare for an epic journey of the seven years before the bank heist that would change all of their lives and the events that unfold afterward, bringing in a new cast of riveting characters. The world of international drug cartels and crime syndicates has never been so gripping. Heat was a cinematic spectacle, and this sequel manages to create the same immersive experience in written form. The opening details the 1995 film, so prior knowledge is unnecessary, though interest should also spike for that film. 

VERDICT This novel takes time to tell the story while slowly ratcheting up the suspense to nearly uncomfortable levels. Gardiner and Mann are legends, and this book will be a best seller that leads the cry for a film version.

I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me.

HEAT 2: Starred Booklist review!

The first review of Heat 2 is here, and I’m wildly happy that it’s a *starred* review from Booklist.

“As in The Godfather, Part Two, Mann and Gardiner’s riveting thriller functions as both a prequel and a sequel. . . . The best thing about this innovative tale is the way the fully fleshed human stories support and even transcend the often-breathtaking action.”

Pretty nice.

HEAT at the Tribeca Film Festival

Well, that was amazing. On Friday I was privileged to attend a reunion screening of Heat at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film was preceded by a panel discussion featuring the stars of the film, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

I was thrilled that Heat 2, the upcoming novel I’ve written with Michael Mann, was mentioned. And yes, when Pacino was asked who could play Vincent Hanna in a Heat 2 movie, he said, “Timothée Chalamet.” Which made the news.

What a night.

And I gotta remind you: Heat 2 will be published August 9. Pre-order!

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

HEAT 2 is coming…

Heat 2, the novel I’ve written with legendary director Michael Mann, is getting closer to publication. Here’s a galley in my hot little hand.

The novel will be published August 9th. Preorder, y’all!

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

This Saturday, April 9: Word of South

I’m delighted that this Saturday I’ll be taking part in the Word of South Festival in Tallahassee. Best of all, I’ll be in conversation with the fabulous Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation, Borne, and Hummingbird Salamander.

Word of South Festival
Tallahassee, Florida
In Conversation with Jeff VanderMeer
April 9, 2022
3:15 PM to 4:15 PM
Flamingo Magazine Stage

If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you at the festival.

Portland: See you soon

I’m off to Portland, Oregon for the Public Library Association national conference. I’ll be speaking tomorrow, March 24, on a panel of mystery authors, talking about the upcoming novel HEAT 2, co-authored by me and Michael Mann.

Public Library Association Conference
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
Mystery Authors Panel
March 24, 2022, 11:30 — 12:30 PM

If you’re attending the conference, I’d love to say hello.

Upcoming Events: Public Library Association Conference; Word of South

After two long years, I’m delighted to be getting back to doing events in person. I have two upcoming appearances to let you know about. In March I’ll be speaking at the Public Library Association national conference in Portland, Oregon. And in April I’ll be in conversation with author Jeff VanderMeer at Word of South, a festival of literature and music, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Public Library Association Conference
Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR
Mystery Authors Panel
March 24, 2022, 11:30 — 12:30 PM

Word of South Festival
Tallahassee, Florida
In Conversation with Jeff VanderMeer
April 9, 2022

I hope I’ll get to see some of you!

HEAT 2 — my next novel, written with Michael Mann

I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but can finally reveal what I’ve been working on since 2020: HEAT 2. I have written the novel with legendary director Michael Mann. It’s a prequel/sequel to his epic film, which starred Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, and Val Kilmer.

This has been an incredible book to write. Working with Michael Mann has been an honor and a high point in my career. I’m beyond excited for you to read the novel.

Here’s the description:

Michael Mann, four-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker and writer-director of HeatCollateralThiefManhunter, and Miami Vice, teams up with Edgar Award-winning author Meg Gardiner to deliver Mann’s first crime novel — an explosive return to the world and characters of his classic film Heat — an all-new story that illuminates what happened before and after the iconic film. 

Described by Michael Mann as both a prequel and sequel to the renowned, critically acclaimed film of the same name, HEAT 2 covers the formative years of homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Oscar winner Al Pacino) and elite criminals Neil McCauley (Oscar winner Robert De Niro), Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), and Nate (Oscar winner Jon Voight), and features the same extraordinary ambition, scope, rich characterizations, and attention to detail as the epic film.

This new story leads up to the events of the film and then moves beyond it, featuring new characters on both sides of the law, new high-line heists, and breathtakingly cinematic action sequences. Ranging from the streets of L.A. to the inner sancta of rival Taiwanese crime syndicates in Paraguay to a massive drug cartel money-laundering operation just over the border in Mexico, HEAT 2 illuminates the dangerous workings of international crime organizations and the agents who pursue them as it provides a full-blooded portrait of the men and women who inhabit both worlds. Operatic in scope, HEAT 2 is engrossing, moving, and tragic — a masterpiece of crime fiction from one of the most innovative and influential filmmakers in American cinema.

More from Deadline Hollywood: ‘Heat’ Fans Rejoice: Michael Mann & Meg Gardiner Novel ‘Heat 2’ Has August 9 Pub Date And Will Detail Lives Of Characters Before & After 1995 Crime Classic






Barnes & Noble

New short story in The Strand Magazine

Who likes short fiction?

That’s a rhetorical question. I know you all like short fiction. Because you like fiction.

And I’m delighted to have a new short story published in the 2021 holiday issue of The Strand Magazine.

“Meg Gardiner, of Evan Delaney fame, serves up a heaping helping of small-town rivalries, murder, and mayhem when a cop returns to her roots in ‘Sweet Deal.'”

Check it out!

Blast from the past: Happy Christmas

I recently heard someone grousing about their preference for “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays.” Here’s my story about being scolded for saying Merry Christmas… in church. On Christmas morn!

Folks: We can use all the seasonal cheer possible. Spread it. Accept it!

Happy Christmas

Season’s Greetings! A Blessed Advent! Hot Diggity December! Belated Happy Chanukah! Stupendous Solstice! (Summer or Winter, depending on your hemisphere!) Glorious Christmas! Cheerful Kwanzaa! A Super-Duper New Year!

It’s the holiday season in much of the world, and I want to wish everybody a heaping helping of festive cheer. However you celebrate, whatever you celebrate — enjoy!

My family celebrates Christmas, and I am delighted when anybody wishes me joy and good tidings. In other words: I have no patience for the faux outrage that’s ginned up in the US around this time of year over the so-called “War on Christmas.” There ain’t no such thing. Moreover, trying to get people angry because someone wishes them Happy Holidays is simply against the spirit of the season.

And, if this story checks out, it led to an un-Christian act: Salvation Army bell ringer says ‘Happy Holidays’ led to assault.

Kristina Vindiola said she was ringing a bell outside the Walmart to raise money for the charity when a woman took exception to her saying “Happy Holidays,” KNXV-TV, Phoenix, reported Tuesday.

“The lady looked at me,” said Vindiola. “I thought she was going to put money in the kettle. She came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe in God?’ And she says, ‘You’re supposed to say Merry Christmas,’ and that’s when she hit me.”

The woman who threw the punch is a lump of coal in human form. She has been encouraged to scowl and rage and hold grudges in her heart, to seek offense where none is intended, to take umbrage at being offered good wishes by a woman collecting for charity at Christmas. She has been prodded and poked and goaded to believe that Christmastime is about tribal anger, so that the response to being wished Happy Holidays isn’t “Peace on Earth” but a punch.


And if anybody out there thinks it’s a good idea to browbeat people and insist that “Merry Christmas” is the sole acceptable December greeting, let me tell you a story. I once greeted a woman with exactly those words, and was resentfully scolded about them. In church. On Christmas morning. In front of my children.

The year my family moved to England, the Husband joined the music group at the local Catholic church. We took the kids to mass on Christmas morning and enjoyed a carol-filled celebration. Afterwards, I wished everybody I saw a very Merry Christmas. I was nearly out the door when one woman I’d greeted marched up and stopped me. She had dropped into a black mood.

“Do you know what ‘merry’ means?” she said.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“It means drunk.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She was fuming. “I’ve heard you wishing everybody ‘Merry Christmas’ all morning. You’re telling people to get drunk.”

“That’s not…”

“Of course you don’t know what it means. The only people who say ‘Merry Christmas’ are the Irish, and Americans, who are ignorant of the word.” She was rigid. “It’s completely inappropriate.”

I think I just gaped at her, and maybe said, “Oh.” Not just because she wanted me to crumble with shame, or because she wanted my kids to believe that I was unforgivably ignorant, but because drinking on Christmas is a fine old English tradition.

I later asked British friends if I had committed a horrid faux pas. They looked perplexed. They insisted that I had done nothing wrong. Plenty of Brits say Merry Christmas. But Happy Christmas is equally popular. Happy Holidays is fine, too.

Everybody: if someone offers good cheer, accept it gratefully.

Ho ho ho!