The new paperback is out tomorrow, from your local Indie bookseller, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.  Enjoy!

Nightmares, in fiction

As a crime writer, I entertain with the stuff of nightmares.  Murder and mayhem, kidnapping and political manipulation, all the things nobody wants, but everyone secretly desires to have faced.

But every so often, I’ll slip a real nightmare into my fictional creations.  Just a handful of times, something personal make the trip from my own psyche to one of the character’s.  A dream about getting trapped in a tiny crack in the earth; the sight of a terrified cat on the freeway; phobias and peeves and things that make me shudder, all make their way from my life to a character’s.

Like the catacombsUnknown

In 1774, sections of Paris roads near the Place d’Enfer (Hell Place) began to collapse, bringing to official attention the incredible labyrinth of quarries underlying the city.  Hundreds of kilometers of tunnels, deep below the surface, silent and shaky and… now filled with millions of bones.

People go down these tunnels.  For fun. They call themselves cataphiles…cave

(Placehacking: follow the cataphiles into their rabbit hole, here.)

They crawl through tiny openings, squeeze down narrow tunnels, risk cave-ins and arrest and flooded corners and getting lost forever, for the sake of filling their senses with the solitude and the weight of the city over their heads. Read about them from National Geographic, here ).

Now, that had to go into the book.

The Bones of Paris, here.

More All Hallow’s

(Now! With fewer disgusting pictures!)

So, you read yesterday’s post on taxidermy and you think you’d like to try it yourself?  Great!  You, too, can be a forensic anthropologist.  All you need is something that’s died, and a handful of these:


(From here.)

(You can get a beetle kit, or other taxidermy supplies, online.  Of course.)

Some years ago I did a lecture for the great summer mystery writing conference at Book Passage north of San Francisco, where one of my co-lecturers was Dr. Alison Galloway, a professor of anthropology at UC Santa Cruz.  Dr. Galloway was filled with enthusiasm for her subject, although she did admit that she’d left a number of her slides at home when she found out that she would be in the slot immediately before lunch.  Forensic anthropologists identify bones, then identify the nature of the death, and then present the evidence necessary to prosecute murders (as early as 1897) and war crimes.  If you’d like to see just how bones led to one conviction, you can follow the Smithsonian’s evidence, here.

Police labs, natural history museums, and taxidermists around the world have been using  the Dermestid beetle for generations (Scotland’s comments, here-they’ll even do a project for you!) since a colony of the creatures will clean off pretty much anything above the bone.  However, this means that if they’re hungry enough, they’ll chew their way through wood as well.

I hope Harris Stuyvesant checks his trouser-cuffs when he gets home…


LRK does creepy in:

The Bones of Paris, here.

Hellbender”, here.

All Hallow’s, creeping on little (stuffed) feet

One of the characters in The Bones of Paris is an artist whose work includes taxidermy.   His is a somewhat kinkier version of the Victorian…artist?…Walter Potter, whose work includes scenes like this:


(You can read more about him here.) 

But lest you think Paris is without its stuffed creatures, I bring to your attention Maison Deyrolle, for all your taxidermy needs. (here or, in English, here.)  Looking for a rhino’s head?


Or maybe a flock of owls to chase away the mice?


What I’d really love is to wallpaper a room, maybe in beetles.


I wonder if Harris Stuyvesant made it into Maison Deyrolle, in 1929?

LRK books for All Hallows:

The Bones of Paris, here.

Hellbender”, here.


All Hallows, all the time

Halloween is fast approaching, and since I’ve had both bones and weird stories on my mind of late, here’s a fun All Hallow’s video that Harris Stuyvesant might well have seen during his time in Paris:

My own Paris Bones are here, with excerpts & extras.
And the spooky urban-fantasy PI of “Hellbender” is here.

Thurber, Columbus, Columbus

Portland was fabulous, and Seattle was gorgeous, in all ways:image

(Thanks to Meredith T for the photo.)

But the Great Bones of Paris Tour isn’t over yet. Monday, I’m in Ohio’s capital. That’s right, Columbus Day in Columbus, Ohio. I’m speaking at Thurber House, which just tickles me. Long have I lived with the suspicion that Thurber’s granny was right, that electricity does leak out of the sockets when the switches are left on. If it wasn’t some kind of liquid, why would we speak of it as a current?
Anyway, Thurber House invited me and I was very happy to say yes, and if you’d like to join us, they have a few tickets left, here.

Seattle! and Sherlock!

Tonight: Portland.

Friday night: Seattle.  And also all weekend, because I’m the Guest of Honor at Seattle Sherlock! This Con is going to be more fun than Holmes could imagine, and there are still a few daily passes available, here.

For details of Portland, Seattle, and beyond (Columbus, Ohio! San Francisco!) check out the events page, here.


bones-of-paris-coverI’ll be in Portland on Thursday night–or rather, Beaverton, at the great Powell’s branch there. I’ve done a number of fabulous events at this store, including a really memorable Pirate bash two years ago. This time, I can’t promise a squadron of pirates, but one never knows. Flappers?  Skeletons?  People wearing Eiffel Tower costumes?

It’s time for The Bones of Paris in Beaverton, come and join us.  Event info is here.

On the road!

Tonight’s event at Murder by the Book was a whole lot of fun, as we discovered The Kinky Side of LRK. Yes, The Bones of Paris tour ripples across the country, and tomorrow moves from Houston to Austin’s Book People. Come join us, and see if I can find something to startle you with.

Then: BoucherCon, here I come!

Me and Craig and Geoff

Friday night’s Late Late Show had a surprise for LRK readers: