How about a Throwback Thursday?

Going through some files the other day, I came across a few unexpected voices from the past—so I thought, hey kids, let’s have a couple of Throwback Thursdays here on Mutterings!  So, how about some old covers that didn’t quite make it into the real world?

I’ve talked before about the original proposed cover of Beekeeper–Beekeeper original

and you may remember the first hardback cover of A Grave Talent–Unknownbut before Bantam did their first paperback–


they tried this:GT scan

How would that cover work for you?

The author’s bedside reading

No, really, it’s the author’s…bedside reading.  These two books were tucked at the bottom of the bedside table of the motel in Corte Madera where I’m staying during the Book Passage crime writing conference:photo I have stayed in upscale hotels where the management appears at your door with flowers and a copy of your book to sign for the hotel library, however, this place, while clean and tidy and blessed with remarkably efficient air conditioning, has never struck me as upscale.

All authors dream of spotting some stranger reading their book on a plane or bus, and although I have gone 21 years without that fantasy fulfillment, surely this counts?

Kate books giveaway!

The fabulous Picador has set up a giveaway for their re-issued paperbacks of the first three Kate Martinelli books, A Grave Talent, To Play the Fool, and With Child.  Their sweepstakes is here.

A Grave Talent

A book’s heart

A book is a complex blend of the author’s intentions.  Some of them are on the surface: shaping an exciting plot; exploring the lives of the characters; bringing to light a place the writer knows and loves.

Other elements of a novel are less obvious.  Themes of relationship and responsibility are woven in.  Trauma and recovery are explored.  The deeper feelings and motivations of the characters are gently teased into the light.

For various reasons, I have been thinking about The Art of Detection recently. cover_art_deception_homepbk1This is a book I wrote eight years ago, the last (so far) of the Martinelli novels.  It began with a suggestion by my editor, who mused that it might be interesting to see a meeting between Kate Martinelli, modern homicide cop, and Mary Russell, early 20th century amateur sleuth.

So I set off into a world linking Sherlock Holmes with a modern police department, and since it’s San Francisco, there is as much humor as there is darkness.  I felt my way into the central plot, and found ways to tie the secondary plot in, and I guess the mechanism worked because Booklist later wrote:

Sometimes a mystery takes one’s breath away with its impeccable, inexorable logic. King makes two such tales here, whose wheels interlock with a perfect, audible click.

But to my mind, all those elements of the story that a reader rightly expects of an entertainment—tight plot, a compelling slice of history,buttons-0314-002

complex and amusing characters, ideas the reader hasn’t come across before—are not the point.  If I have done my job right, the story also serves to cradle something ineffable, a truth both emotional and spiritual, that stays with the reader.

The Supreme Court of the United States is currently considering the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8, which banned gay marriage.  What the Court are considering is also the central concern of The Art of Detection.  I would love to send those nine men and women a novel, a mystery in which a SFPD Inspector meets the historical Sherlock Holmes.

My publishers agreed that the pending Supreme Court decision made for a good time to introduce The Art of Detection to those who have not met it.  So they’ve put it on special offer, currently 99¢.  Perhaps it may contribute some small part to the discussion of whether or not two people of the same sex have the right to marry.628x471

The Art of Detection:

Independent booksellers (Kobo) here.

Barnes & Noble (Nook) here.

Amazon (Kindle) here.