New release August 18th

Last-2BWords.99-revisedMarkus Novak just wants to come home. An investigator for the pro-bono Death Row defense firm Innocence Incorporated, Novak’s life derailed when his wife, Lauren, was murdered after conducting an interview on a case the two were working together. Two years later, her murder unsolved, Novak attempted to make progress through less-than-legal means and jailhouse bargaining. Now his job is on the line and he has been banished from his Florida home to assess a cold case in Indiana that he knows the firm has no intention of taking. His intention is to go through the motions and wait for the call that summons him home to face the judgment of his board of directors.

Ridley Barnes, the suspected killer in the Indiana case, has other ideas. Barnes, who brought the teenage victim’s body out of an elaborate cave system beneath his rural farmland country, has claimed for ten years that has no memory of exactly where — or how — he found Sarah Martin’s corpse. His memory of whether she was dead or alive at the time is equally foggy. Now he says he wants answers — even if they mean he’ll end up in the electric chair.

After only 48 hours in Indiana, engaged in a psychological chess match that he doesn’t want to participate in, Novak is made painfully aware of his options: if he has any chance of returning to the life and career he left behind in Florida, he’ll need to find the truth in Garrison, Indiana, first.

Return to the scene of the crimes…

Now this is what a book tour should be like! I’m sitting at a table outside of the Bearclaw Bakery in Cooke City, MT (year-round population 110 at last census, it is a CDP or “census-designated place”) and a friend I met last year, Cathy Pate, (whose son, Nick, played for the New Orleans Saints when they won the Super Bowl over my beloved Colts) walks up with a copy of the Oprah magazine that featured Those Who Wish Me Dead, tosses it on the table, and informs me that the postmistress made her wait until she’d finished a page in the book before conducting any Official Government Business. That’s the kind of response you like to hear!
The post office is not hard to visit – I could throw a baseball through the window from where I was sitting at the bakery, and I don’t have much of an arm – so I stopped by to thank Kara (the post master general for Cooke City/Silver Gate) for reading the book. I’m signing her copy when the door opens and one other person steps inside and says from behind me “It is a hell of a good book!” This is the owner of the Elkhorn Lodge. I haven’t met him before, but this is the way I prefer to meet people, and wish that it would happen more often. Clearly, I need to spend more time in Cooke City.
To say that the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate have been supportive and generous in their enthusiasm over the book would be an understatement, and I can’t say enough just how much of a pleasure it was to see that. When you write about a real place, you try to do it justice, to get as much right as you can, and that’s not just locations on a map, it’s the feel of the place. You also hope that the locals will approve, and you better believe that those in Cooke City/Silver Gate wouldn’t be shy about offering opinions, good or bad! It meant a lot to me to see the book around town, to hear that so many people were aware of it, and appreciative of it. Now…about those things you try to get right – you better fess up when you get them wrong, too. I got a big one wrong, and I need to come clean. There’s a reference to a character walking down the sidewalk between the Cooke City General Store and the Miner’s Saloon. Well, as the storekeep’s daughter, Tessa, who tends the store more often than the storekeep himself as far as I can tell, got to that portion of the book, she said, “There ain’t no sidewalk.” And of course she’s right. I’ll defend myself only this far: there is a sidewalk in front of Miner’s, though it doesn’t go anywhere else, and most of the times I’ve exited the Miner’s Saloon, I’ve been in a state of, ahem, diminished observational capacity due to excessive hydration. (At high altitudes it is critical to stay hydrated. Ask any survival instructor). But Tessa is right, and I suspect that she is about most things.
The idea of my “Trace Jace” plan took a serious hit from the weather. Where Jace walked with Ethan, and then with Hannah, and where I have walked before, is unreachable now due to snow. In fact, most of the high Beartooths are unreachable due to snow, at least for hikers. I selected an “easy” route into the mountains and packed out a four-season tent. The easy route, on June 25, still featured stretches of snow that were three feet deep. Fortunately, it poured rain during most of the trip, which helped keep my mind off the snow. The better news yet was that the mosquitoes existed in clouds, which helped keep my mind off the rain. This is employing Reggie Bennett’s #1 survival priority of keeping a positive mental attitude: if you don’t want to think about the snow, think about the rain. If you don’t want to think about the rain, think about the mosquitoes. And as for the mosquitoes? Well, I was reminded of a quote from my friend, the stoic Bob Bley, who once advised Mike Hefron on how to handle wearing a cloud of mosquitoes as a shirt with the following instruction: “Just don’t mind them.”
The fourth official day of summer in the Beartooth Mountains
Hiking back out, we followed bear tracks so fresh that they hadn’t yet filled with rain. This would have been disconcerting if not for the fact that there were also cub tracks, and as everyone knows, there’s no safer situation that walking right up on a sow and her cub. It appeared the pair had gone down toward the Broadwater River to do some fishing. I let them take that path and fish in privacy. It’s the courteous thing to do; you never invade somebody else’s fishing hole, after all.
Hiking Buddy!!
I’m covered in mosquito bites, my knee aches from a bad twist in the snow, my nose somehow got so sunburned between the thunderstorms that it’s peeling in strips…and all I’m feeling right now is sadness that the trip is winding down. There’s no other place like the Beartooths, at least not in the lower 48, and as Hefron always reminds me: “If it was easy, everybody would be out here.”
That’s the beauty of it. The solitude and the wilderness. The way the mountains are always changing, and always gorgeous, no matter the weather. The way you can sit at your campsite and see an incredible expanse of wilderness but not another soul in sight. Then you get out of the wilderness, and back down to Cooke City and Silver Gate, and to a cocktail party on a cabin deck looking out over the mountains where every person in attendance has a different and fascinating story, and it should be little mystery why this area holds a special attraction to a writer. There’s a story at every stop here. Some might be found after sweating and gasping your way to a peak; others might be found over a beer and conversation. But the material sure isn’t going to run out.

A very cool piece of work

Miriam Parker and other talented folks at Little, Brown created this “widget” for So Cold the River, and I have to say I think it’s pretty darn cool. It also probably took me longer to figure out how to show it here than it took them to make it.”>>
In other good news, I’m honored to report that Publishers Weekly selected “The Silent Hour” as one of the 100 best books of 2009. You can find the full list here:
There are some great books on the list — good place to start your Christmas shopping.

An explanation of the Amazon issue

A Note From Michael:

In a show of intimidation as the companies negotiate terms, Amazon has removed ALL pre-order capabilities for Hachette Book Group titles in all formats. That means you won’t be able to buy Those Who Wish Me Dead in hard copy or Kindle edition. As you can imagine, that is a devastating impact on a new release. But in the big picture, it also means that if you want to order that new JK Rowling (sorry, Robert Galbraith) or forthcoming titles from Michael Connelly and James Patterson, let alone a little book like Those Who Wish Me Dead, you will simply have to look elsewhere. And I hope that you do. Here’s a sample of the “order” page for Little, Brown and Co.’s biggest release of June, a book that people’s jobs depend upon. I was just in the HBG warehouse in Lebanon, Indiana, where a lot of great, hard-working people (in a warehouse that has never had a layoff, I was told) were busting ass to get this book out to its eager readers on time.

Eager readers, please go find it elsewhere. It’s not as hard as Amazon would like you to think that it is.

THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD signing stops

If you do not live in these areas, please be aware that signed copies are available for pre-order from Murder by the Book, The Poisoned Pen, and the Mysterious Bookshop. If pre-ordered, all copies will be personalized as desired.

Tuesday – June 03, 2014  – Bloomington, IN
7:00 PM
Barnes and Noble
2813 East 3rd St.
Bloomington, IN 47408
Wednesday – June 04, 2014  – Brooklyn, New York
3:00 PM
58 Warren Street
New York, NY 10007
7:00 PM
Conversation/Reading/Signing with Tom Rob Smith.
163 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718)875-3677 x13
Thursday – June 05, 2014  – Philadelphia, PA
7:00 PM
Conversation/Reading/Signing with Tom Rob Smith
1901 Vine Street Lectures Office
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Friday – June 06, 2014  – Scottsdale, AZ
7:00 PM
Conversation/Reading/Signing with Sarah Lotz and Matthew Quirk
4014 North Goldwater Street #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Saturday – June 07, 2014  – Houston, TX
4:30 PM
2342 Bissonet
Houston, TX 77005
Sunday – June 08, 2014  – Carmel, IN
5:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Carmel
14709 US Hwy 31 North
Carmel, IN 46032
Saturday – October 25, 2014  – Tampa, FL
Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading
Tampa, FL 

Kevin Powers on Those Who Wish Me Dead

“Michael Koryta’s THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD is an absolutely thrilling read. I read most of it with my breath held, occasionally exhaling to ask myself, ‘What will happen next?’ I highly recommend it.”

–Kevin Powers, author of the National Book Award-nominated THE YELLOW BIRDS