The Tao of Doo

In his kind and generous review of my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, author James Reasoner said the plot was vaguely reminiscent of something found in Scooby-Doo, only played seriously. He meant it as a compliment and I took it Read more


Another October, another release date. Since BAD MOON is my second book, you would think I'd be used to it. But nope, I'm not. BAD MOON's publication date feels as surreal as DEATH NOTICE's did last year. For readers, the Read more

Writing With ... Louise Penny

I am thrilled beyond words to welcome one of my favorite writers, Louise Penny, whose Armand Gamache mysteries have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide.  Her last book, BURY YOUR DEAD, won the Ellis for best mystery in Canada, and Read more

Is Browsing Dead?

I'll be the first to admit that I was a nerdy teenager. Not pocket protector nerdy, but no sports star, either. I was bookish, I guess you could say. I read A LOT back then, and nothing pleased me Read more

Why We Left Earth

Outer space has always been a mystery. Even before mankind fully grasped its vastness, they wanted to go there. Early astronomers, fascinated by the stars, invented ways to get a closer view. Think Copernicus, Galileo, Cassini. Writers not content Read more


The Magical Mystery Tour

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To promote BAD MOON, I’ll be setting off on my Beatles-inspired Magical Mystery Tour. Here’s how it works: I’ll be signing copies of BAD MOON at dozens of stores across the country. Some are scheduled formal signings. Others, indicated with a ? in front of them, will be surprise stock signings.

Each signed book will come with a bookmark that contains a QR code. Readers who scan the code with a smart phone will be eligible for a chance to win one of three gift certificates to the bookstore of their choice.

Below is the list of scheduled bookstore stops, along with some mystery locations that will be revealed once I visit them. For up-to-date information on where I’ve visited, follow me on Twitter or on my Facebook page.

? Oct. 11: Barnes & Noble, Bridgewater, N.J.

? Oct. 12: Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa.

Oct. 12: 7 p.m., Chester County Book & Music Co., West Chester, Pa.

Oct. 13: 6:30 p.m., Thomas Beaver Free Library, Danville, Pa.

? Oct. 14: Iron Rose Bookstore, Danville, Pa.

Oct. 14: 6 p.m., Aaron’s Books, Lititz, Pa.

Oct. 16: 3 p.m., Barnes & Noble, North Brunswick, N.J.

? Oct. 17: Barnes & Noble, Princeton, N.J.

Oct. 22: 4:30 p.m., Murder By The Book, Houston, Texas

Oct. 30: 2 p.m., Words, Maplewood, N.J.

Nov. 5: 11 a.m., Mystery One Bookstore, Milwaukee, Wis.

? Nov. 5: Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

Nov. 5: 2 p.m., Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.

? Nov. 6: The Book Cellar, Chicago, Ill.

Nov. 6: 2 p.m., Centuries & Sleuths, Forest Park, Ill.

Nov. 13, 1 p.m., Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J.

Nov. 18: 7 p.m., Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, Calif.

Nov. 19: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Men of Mystery, Irvine, Calif.

Lisa Unger on BAD MOON

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Authors — especially successful ones — are a generous lot. They want to see others succeed, too. So they’ll offer blurbs to new writers or talk up emerging ones whose work they enjoy. I can’t think of anyone more generous than Lisa Unger, bestselling author of FRAGILE and DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND. She wrote a blurb for my first book, DEATH NOTICE. For BAD MOON, she took it a step further, writing a full review that left me feeling both honored and humbled.

Here is the full review:

It’s July 20, 1969, and we return to Perry Hollow in a dreamy, shimmering opening scene where Neil Armstrong is making history. But as the television in the Olmstead living room casts its eerie light, a much bigger drama is unfolding. Ten-year-old Charlie has taken off on his bicycle, certain that he can see the astronaut bouncing along the surface of the glowing full moon. He doesn’t come home. And on that night, when the world was staring in wonder at the heavens, Charlie’s mother was running through the streets of Perry Hollows, looking for her son. She never found him.

For a mother, the loss of a child is a far more impacting event than the first moon walk. And though the authorities and the rest of the town thought that Charlie was lost to an accident that night — his mother, Maggie, never believed it. She spent her whole life secretly searching for her son, for some kind of closure that never came. In BAD MOON, Todd Ritter’s compelling follow-up to last year’s acclaimed DEATH NOTICE, most everyone is carrying that same burden, looking for answers that may or may not ever come.

More than 40 years after Charlie’s disappearance, his brother, bestselling novelist Eric Olmstead, has returned home to honor his mother’s dying wish: FIND HIM. He enlists the help of Nick Donnelly who, after losing his job with the state police, dedicates his life to solving cold cases. He, too, may be seeking a kind of closure in helping grieving families find answers when everyone else has given up. He knows what it’s like to live with haunting questions.

Enter Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell. Her own father ran the 1969 investigation into Charlie’s disappearance; and in following his notes, she realizes that he overlooked — or ignored — critical clues. But why? To complicate matters, Eric and Kat share a history themselves, a painful one she’d rather forget. The past, it seems, wants to find a way out of the grave to wrap itself around the present.

Ritter delves deep into the veiled, complicated lives of Perry Hollows residents. And in doing so he tackles some big themes: What does it mean to be someone’s parent? And what does it mean to be someone’s child? How far will we go to hide the truth about ourselves and the people we love? In this complex, and expertly plotted outing, Todd Ritter explores these matters with a deft hand, never letting the suspense lag for even a moment — right through to the astonishing conclusion.

Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 26 different languages. Her writing has been hailed as “masterful” (St. Petersburg Times), “sensational” (Publishers Weekly) and “sophisticated” (New York Daily News) with “gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose” (Associated Press). For more information about Lisa and her books, visit her website,

Bouchercon Thoughts

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Every fall, mystery fans and authors gather at Bouchercon to mix, mingle and crowd the hotel bar. There are panel discussions, parties, special events, and impromptu conversations in hallways and lobbies. It is always exhausting, never boring and frequently the best time some authors have all year.

This year, Bouchercon was held in St. Louis, just minutes from the Gateway Arch. I was able to attend only a fraction of the conference, but here’s what I took home with me:

Writers Love Movies

I was lucky enough to be included on two panel discussions about film. Instead of taking it as a slight against my writing abilities (It wasn’t, right?) I saw it as a chance to talk about one of my first loves — the movies. And I’m not the only author with a love of film.

On Thursday, I joined, Maria Alexander, Eric Beetner, Terry Faherty, Daniel Hale, Tracy Kiely and Martyn Waites for a fantastic panel discussion about the influence of Alfred Hitchcock. It was fascinating to hear what others take away from Hitchcock’s films and which ones are their favorites. I also learned that Martyn’s favorite Hitchcock is Rear Window. Well done, sir!

On Friday, it was Megan Abbott, David Corbett, Jeremy Lynch, Russel McLean, Wallace Stroby and myself talking great crime movies in film history. We had a great time. We were punchy, the audience was participating, and we ran out of time. Because once you start talking about movies, it’s hard to stop.

Writers Love Alcohol

Really, this is a given.

Writers Love Coffee

Maybe it was everyone nursing their hangovers, but the Starbucks attached to the hotel was insanely crowded throughout the day. And while it seemed a bit ridiculous to wait a half-hour for coffee, it was fun to strike up conversations with people in line. Most of us were there for Bouchercon, so we had a love of books in common.

Mystery and Thriller Fans Rock

The cool thing about Bouchercon is that it’s a conference for fans. Book lovers save up all year to attend and meet their favorite authors. And while being on panels and meeting other authors is a blast, it was equally fun to get to know the people who read us.

The Gateway Arch

I made a point to walk to the arch on Friday afternoon. I wanted to take the elevator ride to the top, but, alas, all tickets were sold out for the day. Still, the arch is as impressive as I thought it would be. And I made sure to get my picture taken leaning against its base.

Gooey Butter Cake

Those of you who enjoyed this sinful treat know exactly what I’m talking about.