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New Markus Novak Novella Available

The Mysterious Bookshop in New York is the oldest mystery bookstore in the country, and a favorite destination for readers and writers alike. They also do some wonderful publishing projects, and I was honored to have a chance to participate in the latest, writing an original novella featuring Markus Novak for their bibliomystery series, which has included wonderful stories by some of my favorite writers —Laura Lippman, Nelson DeMille, Joyce Carol Oates, and Elizabeth George, among others.


The novella, The Last Honest Horse Thief, is available only from the bookstore for the first few months of publication, as either a beautiful, limited edition signed hardcover for collectors, or a paperback. An ebook edition will be available by the summer.


For me, this was a great chance to write about Markus and his family and to return to the Montana terrain that I love so much. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s a description of the story, and a link for purchase. Check out their full list — it’s an incredible lineup, and the limited editions are beautiful books.


Markus Novak has never known the feeling of home. The child of a family of outlaws, he moves through the West town by town with his mother and two uncles, staying in a place just long enough to run a short con and move along. After one such job goes south and his mom gets locked up, Markus finds himself living in the foster care of a rancher and his wife—strangely comfortable, yet torn by loyalty to the family he’s lost. To distract himself, he spends his days working the farm and his nights restoring a rusty old 1950s Chevrolet. Then he discovers a note left by his uncles in a book at a local pawn shop, and Markus learns that the men are hiding out in a mountain town outside Yellowstone. Restoring the car soon becomes his only hope of reaching them, and a dusty old manual his only hope of making it run once again.

Coming in 2018…

“And that is how it happened. Can we stop now?”
Kimberly Crepeaux is a notorious jailhouse snitch, teen mother, and heroin addict whose petty crimes are well-known to her rural Maine community. So when she confesses to her role in the brutal murders of Jackie Pelletier and Ian Kelly, the daughter of a well-known local family and her sweetheart, the locals have little reason to believe her story — particularly when she implicates Mathias Burke, a man of impeccable reputation, with no history of crime, drugs, or violence.
But Rob Barrett, the FBI interrogator who specializes in discerning a true confession from a lie, is convinced that she’s telling the truth. He knows, as strongly as he’s known anything, that Kimberly’s story — a grisly, harrowing tale of a hit and run fueled by dope and cheap beer that becomes a brutal stabbing in cold blood — is how it happened. But one thing remains elusive: where are Jackie and Ian’s bodies?
After Barrett stakes his reputation on the truth of Kimberly’s confession, only to have the bodies turn up 200 miles from where she said they’d be, shot in the back and covered in a different suspect’s DNA, the case is quickly closed and Barrett forcibly reassigned. But for Howard Pelletier, the tragedy of his daughter’s murder cannot be so tidily swept away. And for Barrett, whose career may already be over, the chance to help a grieving father may be the only one he has left.

The Magic of Great Music

I write to music, and sometimes certain songs take on the feel of a soundtrack to me, adding layers to the characters and story. That’s never been more true than with The Prophet, when the music of Matthew Ryan and Brian Fallon, in particular, drove that book along. I got to know Matthew when he graciously agreed to let me use a quote from his haunting song “Return To Me” as The Prophet’s epigram, and since then I’ve taken a lot of inspiration not just from his music, but from his approach to his craft. (Read Michael’s 2012 interview with Matthew Ryan)


I don’t really have words to describe what it meant to have the chance to offer an intro in the liner notes of his new album, Hustle Up Starlings, which releases this week — and which happens to have been produced by Brian Fallon, who also plays lead guitar on every song. It was a rare, humbling, and special opportunity. I urge you to check out his work. I’ve never met a more dedicated writer…and then this poor guy has to put the words to music, too! I’m eternally grateful that he does, and in awe of his talent and his work ethic.

Best of 2016 Lists

What a year 2016 has been for Rise the Dark! Here are a few of the “best of” lists that feature this electrifying read:

The New York Times

In Koryta’s latest nightmare, a self-anointed messiah capable of calling up a homegrown army of “more than 200 heavily armed and deeply paranoid white men” is preparing to shut down the electrical grid supplying energy to half the country. (“Good night, Seattle. Good night, Portland.”) To motivate the only lineman with the nerve and technical skills to pull off the job, the crazies are holding his wife hostage.


“Again proving himself one of today’s top thriller writers, Koryta creates edgy suspense not with trickery but with characters who test the limits of their courage.”

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It’s been said many times that there are only about five different plots, and they all revolve around power, greed, revenge, sex and love. But it is what the authors do with those plots and the characters that makes the difference. A plot — no matter how involving — will not work if the characters are not believable.

Update: Pirated Version of RISE THE DARK





I now have the pirated edition of Rise the Dark in hand. Notice any difference between the bootleg and the real book? It’s hard, I know, but if you’re a trained detective like me you just might be able to figure it out.

Sadly, Amazon’s system did not figure it out, and so these things were sold alongside the real book, at $12.99 a pop, for a month. I suspect I was a trial run of sorts. I don’t sell enough books for anyone to make a killing on pirated editions, but I do have the right kind of release to piggyback on with a fake edition, as it blends in nicely among hardcover, Kindle, large-print, and audio versions.

Because I believe my book was used as a test, I really hope other writers are made aware of the tactic and keep an eye out for it. I will keep everyone posted on the feedback we receive from Amazon as to how this all came about and what measures will be taken to try to see that it doesn’t happen to more writers in the future.

And if you received the pirated copy, please let me know and I will replace it promptly with a signed hardcover.

Pirated books at Amazon

Yesterday we discovered that a paperback edition of Rise the Dark was available for sale on the book’s homepage on Amazon. Apparently, it had been available since September 2. This was intriguing, because the paperback edition won’t be out for a year, and that seemed awfully early for a pre-order page.


It wasn’t a pre-order page. It was a pirated version of my book, selling at $12.99, below the hardcover and Kindle price. It had its own ISBN, and the publisher was CreateSpace Independent Publishing. CreateSpace, I learned, is a print-on-demand, self-publishing outfit that is, ironically, owned by Amazon. The stolen copy’s product page included the real book’s reviews and blurbs. It included a photograph of me, holding up physical copies of a real book in my real publisher’s warehouse. It included everything, essentially, that is on the real book’s product page. For the buyer, there was absolutely no indication that this was pirated.


Thanks to Amazon’s wonderful “look inside this book” feature, I was able to scan the pages. The copyright page was missing, naturally. An odd floating page had been added, announcing that this was “The Second Book in the Markus Novak Series, 2016.” Then the text appeared – wrong font, bad formatting, but the right words. It was my book, but someone else had somehow managed to upload it and sell it right alongside the real formats. Disturbing, to say the least.


Thanks to swift work from Little, Brown’s legal team, the pirated edition is off the site now. That’s a good start, but obviously doesn’t answer some critical questions. I hope to know a lot more soon.


If you purchased a paperback edition from Amazon, I would love to hear from you. I will happily replace it with a signed hardcover and my sincere apologies. I’d also love to see a copy of the bootlegged book.


Fraud in the e-book business isn’t new – fake novels by Stephen King, John Grisham, Michael Connelly and other major bestsellers regularly appear, and pirated versions of classics like The Great Gatsby abound. I’d heard about that before. I’d never heard about someone selling a fake physical version of a new release right alongside the real deal – with free shipping for Prime members, no less!


For now, I’m most interested in reaching any reader who got a pirated book in exchange for their real dollars. If you somehow ended up with a bogus book, please send a private message via Facebook or use the contact page on my web site, and we will do whatever it takes to make this right.


For other writers – you might want to keep an eye on all of your editions. If CreateSpace suddenly becomes your publisher, it is a serious problem.