Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy Holidays!

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season.  I also hope you had a wonderful 2011, and I wanted to thank you for helping to make my year so special.

longgoneThis was the year when I published my first standalone thriller, LONG GONE.

With LONG GONE, my work earned its first appearances on the Today Show (the one book you can’t put down,) NBC (“a page turner from a major talent,” courtesy of Harlan Coben), and the NY Times Art Sectio212n (The strands are many, the plot stays brisk”).

This was also the first year when my work appeared in trade paperback, or was read by more readers as e-books than in hardback.  It’s a whole new world out there.  (And doesn’t 212 look all pretty and schnazzy with this trade paperback cover?)

2011 was also the year we launched the first (and hopefully annual) Duffer Awards.  We joked that Duffer had gone full-on Hollywood as he handed out statues in his own image.

If you missed the 2011 Duffer Awards, you can view the full list here.  Trust me.  It’s worth the click.  It’s worth a hundred and ten times the click.


In 2011, I also got to know a whole bunch of you better, thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

I’m looking forward to 2012, when the next Ellie Hatcher novel, called NEVER TELL, will be out in June.

In short, it has been a wonderful year, and I know that spectacular readers like you make it all happen.  I never know how to thank you, but Duffer volunteered for this utterly ridiculous holiday portrait.  I hope it makes you smile.


Happy Holidays!

Holiday Shopping with Ellie and Sam

Yep, there was more Black Friday nonsense this year as Americans lined up outside of stores to crawl, scratch, and, in one case, pepper-spray their way to the best cheapest holiday gifts around.


It’s enough to make a gal say Bah Hum Bug.

But as you may know by now, I avoid the crowds and take to the internet for my holiday shopping.  I thought it would be fun this year to ponder potential purchases (alliteration!) for Ellie Hatcher, Samantha Kincaid, and their respective crews.

The Ellie Hatcher Series The Samantha Kincaid Series
To Jess, from your sister Ellie (not that this Brooklyn Blanket Chest is a hint that you should move your butt off my sofa and into Williamburg or anything.  No, not at all):W250-60796_driftstudio_bklynblanketchest_1_webBrooklyn Blanket Chest To Chuck, from Samantha (with a strong hope that you will cook more often, and because I went to the mall at the very last minute and wound up with a sucky present.  Sorry.):haicapron_lBaby Carlos Apron
To Hatcher, from Rogan (Just my luck to draw your name in the squad’s Secret Santa exchange. Try not to slop that nasty stuff you call food on this fine tee shirt.):images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRJHonbUaWYp1DS9ZVQFQEnyfLLJMoj3uL7GLAiH-dRcSumVTcsAwNutella Tee Shirt To Samantha, Love Vinnie (Because I don’t really understand the point of clothing but think everything should involve me.  And because I love you, Mommy.  Now feed me.  Snort.)5578791465_53175302e7
To Ellie, from your loving brother Jess, because you’re a little “psycho” but a lot of fun:showercurtain-duckDucky Shower Curtain To Vinnie, Love Chuck (Look, little man, I told you we’d be on like Donkey Kong if you wizzed on my Van Halen shirt) :reindeer_dog

In my wildest dreams, I’d like to buy two of these cupcake cars for Ellie and Sam, just to see who would win in a race.  Hey, an author can dream.


More realistically, you might know someone who needs “Real Men Read Women” gear (31 different tee shirt colors, yo!).  Or how about “I Like Boys Who Read Books By Girls“?  All profits from this campaign benefit First Book, a non-profit dedicated to youth literacy.

And speaking of literacy, book stores need customer support these days, and just about anyone worth knowing loves to read.  Books also have tidy little corners, so they’re much easier to wrap than, say, a cat:

Should you happen to need specific title suggestions, I heard that LONG GONE and 212 (in paperback) aren’t bad.


I’ll check in later for a proper holiday greeting.  For now, try not to get bloodied or bruised at the mall.


No Shortage of Comedic Relief

Many of you have probably noticed that, despite the seriousness and intensity of the cases worked in New York by Ellie Hatcher and JJ Rogan and in Portland by Samantha Kincaid, I often include more humorous law-enforcement-related tidbits along the way.  I like to think these give the reader some comedic relief from what can sometimes be dark subject matter. They also help illustrate the duality of law enforcement, where police and prosecutors learn to laugh, even when surrounded by misery.

When it comes to these (hopefully) hilarious stories, there is no shortage in the real world of inspiration.  My most recent favorite? This Long Island guy who plowed into a cop (on DUI duty, natch), wearing this t-shirt. (It’s OK to laugh.  The officer was fine.  Phew!)

In the books, I often recount tales from my own experience at the D.A.’s Office.  The drug dealer who got shorted and went to the police to ask for help getting restitution?  Yep.  That was real.  Trying to shoot an old boyfriend with a bow and arrow?  Yep.  Real.

In 212, Ellie refuses to believe Max when he says a murder defendant wouldn’t plead guilty unless the judge got him some fast food.  Totally real!  Not my case, but my friend’s, and here’s the news coverage to prove it:

“Durham, 33, struck a plea bargain last month in which he was guaranteed a meal of KFC chicken, Popeye’s chicken, mashed potato, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream – in return for pleading guilty to murder.  As part of the deal, and after receiving a life sentence this week in court in Portland, Oregon, Durham will also get a second feast, this time on an Italian theme, with calzone, lasagne, pizza and ice cream.”

Sure, I'll waive my constitutional rights for some of that!

Given that my work stories these days involve the Socratic method and soporific faculty meetings, I’m thankful that my cop and lawyer friends continue to keep me up to date on these unbelievable, yet completely real, shenanigans.  (Hat tip for the fast food story to my pal, Josh Lamborn, former prosecutor and now private lawyer to crime victims.  Any Oregon readers need an attorney?)

Now, how might Ellie come across that funny, drunk T-shirt in the next book?  Back to work!