January 2014 
No. 14

Favorite Characters Return in New Mysteries,
from the French Countryside to Small-town Texas

Table of Contents



The Blood Promise


Catching up:
The Bookseller and
The Crypt Thief


The Last Death of Jack Harbin


Catching up:
A Killing at Cotton Hill


About the Authors and Series


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This month two anticipated new mysteries mark the return of characters we love. Join Hugo Marston at a French chateau in Mark Pryor's The Blood Promise to discover the deadly secrets hidden within an antique chest, or travel the dusty back roads of Jarrett Creek with Samuel Craddock in The Last Death of Jack Harbin as the retired police chief steps up to investigate the murder of a wounded veteran.


If you're looking for an escape from the winter doldrums, read on!

The Blood PromiseBloodpromise
A Hugo Marston Novel


The Blood Promise opens in post-Revolution Paris, when an old man signs a letter in blood, then hides it in a secret compartment in a sailor's chest. A messenger arrives to transport the chest and its hidden contents, but then the plague strikes and an untimely death changes history.


Two hundred years later, Hugo Marston is safeguarding an unpredictable but popular senator who is in Paris negotiating a France/U.S. dispute. The talks, held at a country chateau, collapse when the senator accuses someone of breaking into his room. Theft becomes the least of Hugo's concerns when someone discovers a sailor's chest and the secrets hidden within, and decides that the power and money they promise are worth killing for.


booksellerCatching up: The Bookseller and The Crypt Thief



Hugo Marston--a Texan living in Paris and working as head of security for the US Embassy--made his debut in The Bookseller. When he witnesses his friend Max, an elderly bookstall owner, get abducted at gunpoint, Hugo launches a search that reveals Max's dark past. Soon, more booksellers are found dead while street gangs erupt in violent turf wars. Can Hugo connect the two and solve the puzzle before he becomes a target himself? With "enough intrigue to satisfy every reader," says RT Book Review, this is "a fantastic debut!"



In the suspenseful, action-packed mystery-cum-thriller, The Crypt Thief, former FBI profiler Hugo Marston investigates a killer and bone-stealing psychopath, racing against time to avoid becoming a victim himself. Murder Lab called it "a fun, fast-paced romp through the seedier sides of Paris."




The Last Death of Jack Harbinlastdeath
A Samuel Craddock Novel



The Toronto Star calls Samuel Craddock "the most engaging new American sleuth in crime fiction." In The Last Death of Jack Harbin, the shocking murder of a wounded veteran challenges the investigative skills of ex-chief Samuel Craddock. Just before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven't spoken since. Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it's up to Craddock-bum knee and all-to investigate the dark secrets of the past and solve the mystery of Jack's death.


Catching up: A Killing at Cotton Hillkilling



In Terry Shames' debut A Killing at Cotton Hill, we learn the chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in. He discovers that a lot of people may have had it in for Dora Lee-the conniving rascals on the farm next door, her estranged daughter, and her live-in grandson. And then there's that stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. As Craddock digs to find the identity of the killer, the human foibles of the small-town residents are also revealed.


"An amazing read," says RT Book Reviews. "The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you into a small town and its interesting, secret-carrying residents.


About the Authors and Seriesauthors


Mark Pryor
Photo Alia Michelle

The Hugo Marston novels star a cowboy-boot wearing Texan who is head of security for the US Embassy in Paris.


Author Mark Pryor, a native of Hertfordshire, England, is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children. In addition to writing this mystery series, Mark is the author of the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping and the blog D.A. Confidential.

Terry Shames
Photo Margaretta K. Mitchell


In the Samuel Craddock mysteries, the well-respected, retired police chief of a small Texas town is called upon to solve crimes that the current chief is unwilling or unable to solve.


Author Terry Shames grew up in Texas and continues to be fascinated by the convoluted loyalties and betrayals of the small town where her grandfather was the mayor. Terry is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She has just finished writing the third Samuel Craddock mystery, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, which will come out in October of this year.

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Lisa Michalski
Seventh Street Books™, an imprint of Prometheus Books