May  2013 
No. 4

Make International Intrigue Your Summer Escape

Five Questions with Mark Pryor and Adrian McKinty

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Going away this long Memorial Day weekend? Planning to travel this summer? How about "getting away" in a book? This month, we've got two killer crime books that are sure to take you on an international adventure.


In The Crypt Thief, Mark Pryor brings us to Paris with FBI profiler turned American embassy security chief Hugo Marston. This time, Hugo must catch a killer and twisted grave robber before he becomes the target. Taking place about six months after the events of The Bookseller: The First Hugo Marston Novel, many favorite characters are back and the action and suspense never let up. The City of Light and its surrounding countryside are again central to the story, as we follow Hugo's investigation from Jim Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise cemetery to backstage at the Moulin Rouge to the small hamlets amid the Pyrenees mountains.


Also this month, Detective Sean Duffy returns to 1980s Belfast in I Hear the Sirens in the Street, book two of Irish crime novelist Adrian McKinty's highly praised series, The Troubles Trilogy. Duffy, shaken after the trauma he experienced in The Cold Cold Ground, investigates a brutal crime - a torso found in a suitcase. Before long, Detective Duffy is caught in a tangle of romantic instincts, gross professional misconduct, and powerful men he should know better than to mess with.


Now, pull up a chair, grab your detective gloves, and join us as we ask both Mark Pryor and Adrian McKinty five questions about their novels and characters:



Five Questions with Adrian McKinty 

Adrian McKinty

'Zine of the Crime
: Your second Detective Sean Duffy novel is out this month! How has this release felt different than the first?


I think I'm a little more confident about the character and the setting. The first book got some nice reviews and that also puts you at ease. I think the series is finding its stride now.


'Zine: How has your main character, Sean Duffy, changed since his last appearance and the events of The Cold Gold Ground?


He's grown up a little bit. In the first book he really thought that he could change the world and now a little bit of cynicism has crept into his personality. It's that thing that happens to all of us. Disillusionment is a good thing in a way because once your illusions have been lifted you can see the truth. And the truth is a good in itself.


'Zine: How have his relationships with other characters



He's lost his girlfriend in book two and is somewhat at a loss for female companionship. But on the other hand his professional relationships have improved as his fellow officers learn to trust and respect him.


'Zine: Describe a new character that you've introduced in this second book.


There's a new love interest. A widow whose husband was supposedly killed in a terrorist outrage. I like her - she's all by herself in the countryside struggling to hold her life together on a hard scrabble sheep farm.


'Zine: Can you give us a sneak peek at what we'll see in the third book of the Troubles Trilogy?


The third book is going to be very exciting for me as I'm finally doing a locked room mystery, something I've been wanting to do for years -- for decades actually. It's very difficult coming up with an original premise for one of those but I think I may have done so!


The Wall Street Journal recently profiled author Adrian McKinty. Read the feature here.


 Five Questions with Mark Pryor  

Mark Pryor
Photo © Todd V. Wolfson


'Zine of the Crime: Your second Hugo Marston novel is out this month! How has this release felt different than the first?


I've been a little less giddy, but only a little. The first one came out in October so it's not been very long, and I still can't believe the fun I'm having with both books. I plan to have another party, of course, any excuse for that! I would say that this release has been a little less stressful, too. I had NO idea how Hugo would go down with the reading public eight months ago, now it seems there's a little space for him in people's hearts (or book shelves) so I don't have to worry quite so much about that. On the other hand, I have to make sure I do him justice with the story... but so far so good, the feedback has been pretty positive and I have no complaints at all about the way this second release is unfolding.


'Zine: How has your main character, Hugo Marston,
changed since his last appearance and the events of
The Bookseller?


Hugo is a pretty placid fellow, and the two cases are not very far apart in time so he hasn't gone through any great changes. But I would say that he was definitely touched by what happened to Max [the bookstall owner who went missing in The Bookseller], and the Hugo that does everything alone, the tough FBI agent who relies on no one but himself, has realized that he's not such a rock after all. Loss, and love, and overcoming the coldness of a French policeman have all shown him that connections are not just necessary, but frequently rewarding.


'Zine: How have his relationships with other characters



The most visible change may be his professional relationship with Capitaine Garcia, which evolves into a friendship. That would be the most obvious, perhaps. But his relationship with Tom is also evolving. Sure, the old friends are back together and raising hell, but with Tom's ... shall we say wildness, his love for loose women and the bottle, Hugo has another worry on his hands. And, of course, Hugo also has a love interest that he didn't have 12 months earlier, and it's the relationship in his life that he comes to feel the least control over. Not just his own feelings, but Claudia's response to them, and to him.


'Zine: Describe a new character that you've introduced in this second book.


He's known as The Scarab, and he's the sort of man Hugo was born to hunt. He's a killer, a serial killer even, but that's not what drives him. I can't reveal his underlying motives, of course, but suffice to say that he's as evil and cunning a man as Hugo's ever faced. And unfortunately for Hugo, The Scarab has his own special way of flitting around Paris, and it makes catching him both difficult and dangerous. I also take Hugo back to the Pyrenees mountains, a place he visited in The Bookseller. We get a closer look, though, because the mountains themselves played an integral role in the life of The Scarab, and are a place full of mystery and menace. And maybe salvation.


'Zine: Can you give us a sneak peek at what we'll see in the next Hugo Marston novel?


Absolutely. It's called The Blood Promise and takes place in Paris, bien sur, and in two country homes on either side of the City of Light. It's something of a whodunnit, and will introduce a new (and hopefully lasting) character. On the downside, someone who appeared in both of the first two books is destined for an untimely ending, giving Hugo reason to ponder his own mortality and the loss of a friend. In the end, though, he and Tom (I could never kill Tom!) prevail and Hugo finds himself in the final pages with one more mystery: where the heck is his best friend disappearing to every Sunday evening?


The Big Thrill also asked Pryor a few questions about his writing process. Read that interview here

In Case You Missed Them!


We first meet Hugo Marston in The Bookseller as he investigates why his friend Max, an elderly Paris bookstall owner, was abducted at gunpoint. While reading The Bookseller first isn't necessary in order to enjoy The Crypt Thief, we think you'll enjoy spending time with Hugo on his first Parisian adventure! RT Book Reviews called The Bookseller "a fascinating adventure with enough intrigue to satisfy every reader." said, "Once you've had a bit, you can't wait for more."


The first book in Adrian McKinty's The Troubles Trilogy is The Cold Cold Ground. In it, Detective Sean Duffy, a young, witty, Catholic cop in the almost entirely Protestant Royal Ulster Constabulary, must track down a serial killer who is targeting gay men.


In a starred review, Booklist said: "Everything in this novel hits all the right notes, from its brilliant evocation of time and place to razor-sharp dialogue to detailed police procedures. McKinty... has another expertly crafted crime trilogy going here."


"McKinty's fine police procedural is also the ultimate page-turner," says Library Journal. "I cannot wait for Book Two!" Now that I Hear the Sirens in the Street is out, they (and you) won't have to!



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We hope this issue has given you wanderlust - the kind that can be satisfied in the pages of a compelling story. Got feedback on anything you see here? We'd love to hear from you! Reach out at or


Happy travels!

Lisa Michalski

Seventh Street Books™, an imprint of Prometheus Books