FIVE THINGS you didn’t realize you were dying to k...

Let’s go with the old journalism five Ws. What: You know them, collective nouns, also known as terms of venery, are those singular words we use to label groups of things, like a pride of lions, a school of fish or a quiver of arrows. When they are familiar we scarcely notice them, they’re just words, right? But often they are poetry: a murmuration of starlings, an ascension of larks, a lamentation of swans, a murder of crows. Or comedy: a slouch of models, a heep of sycophants, a whored of prostitutes.  Collective nouns appeal to the stuffy, pedant1 and the libertarian, neologist2 alike. They are the dark matter in our language3; every noun...

Behind the Book with Lars Kepler

Readers might be surprised to learn that the name “Lars Kepler” is actually a pseudonym for two people! How did the identity of “Lars Kepler” come about? The pen name Lars Kepler was actually the key to our collaboration. We were already authors but we really wanted to collaborate. But even though you love each other, are married and have three daughters it’s not just a piece of cake to sit down and write together. The truth is that we had quite a few arguments and failed attempts before we came up with the idea to create a third author. It seemed impossible to get our styles into harmony before that. But as soon as we began to write...

Behind the Book: Five Locations in Manhattan Where...

Everyone who writes anything about the history of New York quickly comes to realize that the city has not always been about office towers and skyscrapers. New York, in the half-century from 1880 to 1930, was distinctive among American cities for the beauty of its architecture but tragically, in the rush to build bigger and higher, the majority of its most striking buildings have disappeared. The destruction of Penn Station in 1963 remains the most notorious demolition of a landmark building but there have been many others. Here are five Manhattan buildings, all associated in some way with crime and criminal justice; two have survived and...

Interview with Andrew Grant

FALSE WITNESS is the third in Andrew Grant‘s Cooper Devereaux series. It is a breakneck thriller in which Cooper Devereaux chases a serial killer…as well as demons from his past.  You’re from Birmingham, England. What made you set your Cooper Devereaux series in Birmingham, Alabama? To make the plot for the first book in the series – FALSE POSITIVE – work, I needed a location with a major city that was close to woods / forests where you could plausibly find old-time ramshackle cabins. I knew that Birmingham, AL would fit the bill after visiting the city for the Murder in the Magic City conference a few years ago, but...

Pet Spotlight: Andy and Leo

Andy and Leo are the pair of brothers who have graced our home for over eleven years now. We adopted them from an animal shelter when our kids were young and eager for “real” pets, after the non-cuddly fish in our living room tank stopped qualifying. We walked into the shelter and entered a long corridor lined with barking dogs. Both children stayed in character: Karenna, then nine, charged through the cacophony to get to the cat room at the other end; Eli, twelve, froze, too terrified to proceed. My husband Oliver chased our swift, eager daughter and I waited behind with our sensitive son and coaxed him onward. Eventually, we all...