Monthly Archives: May 2012

It’s Raining Reviews!

Doesn’t have the same ring to it as that Weather Girls classic, does it? But it is indeed raining reviews. KIRKUS has nice things to say about NEVER TELL:

“Burke (Long Gone, 2011, etc.) resurrects Ellie Hatcher, an NYPD homicide detective who followed in her father’s footsteps.

Ellie’s father’s death, which police claimed was at his own hand, makes the callout to a young girl’s suicide even more difficult for Ellie. The girl’s grieving mom is a socialite and the wife of a mover and shaker in the music industry, and she’s pulled strings to get the homicide division on her daughter’s case. Teenager Julia Whitmire, privileged and spoiled but left on her own by her self-involved parents, was found dead of a combination of drugs, alcohol and wrist-slashing in the tub of her bathroom. Everyone, from the EMTs on the scene to the medical examiner who responds to Ellie, writes it off as a clear-cut suicide. Julia even left a note that is undisputedly in her own hand. However, pressure from the bigwigs send the increasingly impatient Ellie and her partner, Rogan, back to the crime scene to work the case as a murder. In the course of their investigation, Ellie and Rogan meet a motley group of street kids, the family of Julia’s best friend, Ramona, and stumble onto a blog written by Ramona’s mom, Adrienne, that centers around her own sexual abuse while she was a child. Burke keeps it real by having Ellie unconvinced that Julia’s death was anything but a suicide, but her stubborn refusal to envision that the girl was murdered hinders, rather than helps, the probe. Ellie also suffers personal issues in that her boyfriend, an assistant district attorney, wants a little more out of the relationship, and Ellie remains afraid to take that step. In Ellie, Burke has built a likable, flawed heroine trying to leave the things that have haunted her behind and not succeeding very well. Burke’s prose falls into an easy, natural rhythm when she enters Ellie Hatcher’s world, and her plotting rarely disappoints.

A smooth, compelling read that is proof positive that Burke continues to mature as a writer; this entry in the Ellie Hatcher series sings.”

New Review for NEVER TELL

Thanks, Library Journal, for a big thumbs-up to NEVER TELL.

“Sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire commits suicide, but her wealthy, politically connected parents force an investigation. NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher lands the case and isn’t too sympathetic. The private school Julia attended is full of privileged children under enormous pressure, many of whom are abusing prescription drugs. Julia’s computer reveals she was cyberbullying someone, and her best friend doesn’t even know whom she was dating, just that Julia was on the wild side. Meanwhile, Hatcher’s relationship with her district attorney boyfriend reaches a critical juncture when the subject of children comes up, adding more personal suspense to this story. As the investigation continues, Hatcher realizes that Julia’s death may indeed be a murder, and the list of suspects is narrowing.
Verdict: What initially appears to be a simple story quickly becomes more intricate and compelling, making the pages fly. Highly recommended, especially for Lisa Gardner or Laura Lippman fans.”

Good Way to Spend a Buck

212 = 99

Nope, the math part of my brain has not imploded.  212 is the third novel in the Ellie Hatcher series, and you can now download the e-book at the low, low price of 99 cents.  This special edition includes not only 212, but also the first  30 pages of NEVER TELL.

Download 212 from your favorite e-retailer:
Barnes & Noble

Read more about 212 here.
Learn about the “Basket Full of Burke” Promotion for NEVER TELL here.

“With her usual tenacity, Ellie pursues leads that put both her career and her life at risk. Burke expertly weaves real-life headlines into her plot—particularly the Craig’s List Killer and the slew of recent political scandals—without ever sacrificing originality.” – Publisher’s Weekly (on 212)

I rarely talk business here, because talking about books and dogs and TV and shoes is way more fun.  But I’ll let you in on a secret.  A lot of readers missed 212.  That’s a nice way of saying it didn’t sell so hot.  Which is a nice way of saying that if you own a copy, I really, really love you.

At the time, I wrung my hands, trying to figure out the problem.  The March publication date?  The quirky title?  (212 is the Manhattan area code, by the way, and the book is in many ways a tribute to the city I now call home.)  Or maybe I wore the wrong socks or something.  I saw the end of a career.  Or starting over under a pseudonym (I had a name picked out and everything).

Two years later, all that fretting feels silly, and yet…212 is one of my best books, in my humble opinion, and I wish more people had read it.

So the 99 cent thing is a sort of a present to me from my publisher, a chance for one of my favorite Ellie books to help find my girl a new audience.   If you missed it, I hope you enjoy it.  If you read it, I hope you’ll tell a friend or two or three, or download it just for the early read of the first 30 pages of NEVER TELL.

In any event, there are worse ways to spend a buck, as evidenced by this hilarious blog post: “The Ten Dumbest Things to Buy at a Dollar Store.”  (Seriously, it’s worth the click-through.)

Spiffy New Reviews for NEVER TELL

I’m delighted to report that early reviews are starting to come in for NEVER TELL.  Okay, I’ll be honest: I’m delighted to report only because they’re pretty darn good.

The lovely folks at Publishers Weekly featured NEVER TELL in a boxed, starred review:  “Near the start of Burke’s excellent fourth novel of suspense featuring NYPD Det. Ellie Hatcher (after 2010’s 212), 16-year-old Julia Whitmire, the daughter of legendary music producer Bill Whitmire, is found dead in the bathtub on the top floor of her family’s West Village townhouse with her wrists slashed. Ellie assumes that the Whitmire parents’ social clout is the reason why she and her partner, J.J. Rogan, must investigate an apparent suicide as a potential murder. At Casden, Julia’s elite prep school, they discover a rampant subculture of prescription drug abuse and intense academic pressure. Julia’s friend, Ramona Langston, also points them in the direction of several homeless youths she and Julia befriended over the past year, particularly Casey Heinz, who has a crush on Ramona and keys to the Whitmires’ residence. Ellie becomes less convinced that Julia killed herself as details emerge of a rape survivor blog linked to the case and threats against its anonymous author. The meticulous plotting, coupled with Ellie’s complicated evolution as a heroine, make this Burke’s strongest work to date.

Can I get a woot?!

Booklist agrees about all that meticulous plotting stuff, saying, “One of Burke’s trademarks is connecting disparate plotlines, which she does here in spades….Skillfully structured.”

And I always appreciate the support of independent booksellers.  Hot off the presses from Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, PA: “Alafair Burke just gleams in the new Never Tell featuring NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher on a case of suicide that gets very complicated. If I gave stars to a book it would be all of them to this masterpiece… Parenting, private school stresses, drug testing, family and many late twists and turns mean you should start this one only if you have time to finish it in one sitting. Masterful!

All this good news — plus the noise coming into my apartment from the protests going on right now in Union Square Park — persuade me that the husband and I should go out to dinner tonight to celebrate.  I hope you’re doing something that makes you equally happy.

I also hope that you’ll roll the dice on me by placing an order for your copy of NEVER TELL before it is published on June 19.  Your pre-order helps build buzz by telling retailers, book reviewers, and bestsellers lists that NEVER TELL has enthusiastic support from readers. And I know that I have the most supportive readers on the planet.

Although I can’t send a personal gift to every person who pre-orders the novel, I will be giving away a complete, signed set of all of my novels (eight titles) to three lucky readers. To enter, just pre-order a copy of NEVER TELL from your favorite retailer by June 17, and then either e-mail your receipt to OR fill out this handy-dandy pre-order form by June 19.

Have a great day, and thanks, as every, for reading!