Tops in Suspense


a special monthly feature from Kindle Nation

April 2011

Greetings from Kindle Nation and!  

Here at Kindle Nation we cater to the greatest readers in the world regardless of genre, and we're quite sure that the same applies to our friends and partners over at You are welcome here whether your favorite reads are romance, literary fiction, self-help books, or chronicles of the latest crashes and catastrophes.

But let's get real: we also know that for many of our "greatest readers," terrific suspense novels are the sine qua non of our reading experience. That goes for me, and it also goes for thousands of our readers. Whether it's a whodunit a week or a noir a night, there are always a few suspenseful page-turners on our Kindles' virtual night tables.

But with over 900,000 titles in the Kindle Store, it isn't always so easy to find the best suspense fiction at the best prices. That's where our friends at the brand new Top Suspense Group come in. Top Suspense Group's members are very talented suspense novelists who have already experienced great success going the traditionally published route, but now they are taking the courageous step of working together to connect directly with readers. They are savvy enough to know that there are three secrets to success in this effort:
  1. Great suspense fiction
  2. Terrific prices -- like the $2.49-$4.99 range that characterizes all of the titles featured here 
  3. New ways to connect directly with the greatest readers in the world, such as ... yes, Kindle Nation
If you love thrillers, whodunits, mysteries, police procedurals, or whatever you call your particular suspense flavor, there's a very good chance you have read at least one of our featured authors already. And now, with the first of our our specially sponsored monthly Tops in Suspense newsletters -- leading off with a great anthology of 13 suspense stories by 12 authors for just $2.99 -- we'll give you a chance to say hello to a few others!
Top Suspense

Top Suspense: 13 Stories, 12 Masters of the Genre

By the Authors of the
Suspense Group:

Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Ed Gorman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Vicki Hendricks, Naomi Hirahara, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, Dave Zeltserman

Release Date: 2011-03-14
List Price: $2.99
Buy Now


Just the facts, ma'am:


Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales. This pulse-pounding anthology - packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists - is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at So sit back, bite down on a piece of strong leather, and prepare to get hit by some gale-force suspense and writing so sharp it will draw blood.

A Brief Excerpt from the Collection:

The car behind her was gaining, which seemed impossible. The Caddy was the fastest production sedan made in the U. S. But maybe the car behind had been made elsewhere.

Lauren risked another glance at the man beside her. He unfastened his seatbelt, reached inside his jacket, and pulled a Kimber 1911 .45 from a shoulder holster. Lauren didn't think a gun was going to be any help, but seeing it did make her feel a little better. The man refastened his seatbelt.

Lauren didn't feel better for long. As the Cadillac crested a hill, she saw a slow-moving farm combine not a hundred yards ahead. It was so wide that it took up most of the road.

"Uh-oh," the man said.

Lauren's heart was in her throat, her pulse pounded, steadily increasing as they raced closer to the combine. It went from a metal insect on the ribbon of road to a behemoth of mud-splattered steel in a terrifying span of seconds. She looked at the man seated next to her for guidance, but his eyes told her everything she needed to know. They said, whatever you do, don't slow down...

Whether you're looking for mystery, horror, thriller, western or crime fiction, you can always count on the award-winning authors at TOP SUSPENSE to deliver a great e-reading experience with their dozens of highly-acclaimed books. The Top Suspense authors are established professionals whose books have been published world-wide, graced national & international bestseller lists, and sparked the imaginations of Hollywood's top filmmakers (the Oscar winning "Road to Perdition") and television producers (the Emmy-winning "Monk"). Top Suspense authors: Max Allan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Ed Gorman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Vicki Hendricks, Naomi Hirahara, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon and Dave Zeltserman.




Harry Shannon

Memorial Day: A Mick Callahan Novel

By Harry Shannon

Just the facts, ma'am:


"Meet Mick Callahan, a former television talk-show psychiatrist foiled by his own ego (and a penchant for liquid refreshment). Now he's earning an undistinguished living as a radio host in Dry Wells, Nevada (a place for which the phrase "small town" is too grandiose). But, several years after his self-inflicted downfall, things are looking up: in a few days, he has an interview for a job that will return him to television. The only roadblock is the potential for scandal surrounding the murder of a young woman caller to his show. Mick needs to find out whodunit before the case can foul up his job opportunity. Shannon gives the amateur-detective theme a nice little twist by giving his hero a deadline-and a self-centered one at that. The crisply detailed small-town desert setting adds to the novel's sense of freshness. Hope he's around for a long run."


Memorial Day: A Mick Callahan Novel

by Harry Shannon

Release Date: 2010-03-14

List Price: $2.49

Buy Now


A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:  


"Boots make a racket in gravel. I slipped in the driveway and tore out the knee of my blue jeans. Swore softly and rolled behind an old Chevy that was up on blocks in the middle of a blotchy front lawn. I could see the man following me, but only from the waist down; camouflaged hunting pants on big, muscular legs. The man started to cross the street, the metal crossbow loaded and hanging low at his side. I looked around frantically. Grabbed a sizeable stone and threw it into the kitchen window of the home. Glass shattered. I waited for a voice, for an alarm, but nothing happened."


"Mick Callahan is a man with a past, a mean right hook, and a radio talk show. He's pretty good at giving people advice - just not necessarily good at taking it. The real strength of this series is in its central characters, flawed, human, often funny, sometimes tragic, and the relationships among them."

"A very realistic hero, with a strong sense of purpose and an equal dash of vulnerability." -CEMETERY DANCE

"Dark wit, excellent writing and action-packed pace."


Ed Gorman

Blood Moon 

By Ed Gorman

Just the facts, ma'am:

"A former FBI agent tracks a serial child killer in this expertly wrought atmospheric mystery featuring a plot as convoluted as the loops and rolls it hero performs in his old biplane...Gorman evokes the closed-in atmosphere of small towns in this promising series launch that features modern psychological crime fighting by a winning detective." -PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

Blood Moon
by Ed Gorman
Kindle Edition


List Price: $2.99

Buy Now 

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

First day of incarceration, there's a killing.

Big black guy named Blade gets stabbed thirty-seven times with his own knife.

According to the inmates, of course, nobody saw anything.

Blade got killed? Hmm. News to me.

Did I hear anything? You mean like screams of somethin'? Nah, man, I didn't hear squat.

Did I see anything? Not a thing, man. Not one thing.

He realizes, after hearing about Blade's death, that he is never going to make it out of this prison alive.

All the things that turned women on-the almost-pretty face, the almost-wasted poetic body, the air of suffering...these things are going to get him killed in this place.

And then one night the idea comes to him...


"Steeped in mood yet swift, gripping, thought-provoking, BLOOD MOON really shines." -DEAN KOONTZ

"Blood Moon has everything-prison drama, horror story, whodunit, psycho-thriller-all skillfully combined to lead you to a shock ending." -SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

"An unusually grueling and suspenseful climax...An uncompromising and unprettified account of violence and human evil."  -ELLERY QUEEN

"An excellent story with a truly nasty villain." -MURDER BY MAIL


Bill Crider

Dead on the Island

By Bill Crider


Just the facts, ma'am:

Bill Crider is the award-winning author of more than 75 novels in many genres. In Dead on the Island, Crider's Shamus-nominated private-eye tale, Truman Smith has returned to Galveston Island to look for his sister, who's disappeared. Smith can't locate his sister, but before long he finds himself doing a favor for a friend, a favor that leads him deeper and deeper into his own past and into secrets that people will kill to keep. Old friends and old loyalties can't be trusted, and for that matter, neither can anyone or anything else. The only sure thing is that someone's going to wind up dead.

Dead on the Island (Truman Smith Private Eye)
by Bill Crider
Crossroad Press
Kindle Edition

List Price: $2.99

Buy Now

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

So I kicked the guy in front of me in the balls.

He was surprised as hell. His eyes bugged out of his head and suddenly he was the one sucking wind. I guess he thought more of his punching than I did. Maybe he thought he had cold-cocked me.

He doubled over, clutching at himself and gagging. I jerked both arms, hard, trying to get free from the other two tough boys.

It didn't work. Kicking their buddy had been my mistake. I'd made them mad. Their hands were like iron bands on my arms and wrists.

They gave me a little swing forward; then suddenly the one on the right let go and chopped down at my right knee with his fist. It probably wasn't exceeding the speed of sound when it hit.

He hit just the right spot. It was like someone had poked a hot iron rod into my knee, right under the kneecap. I gave a strangled, screaming shout. Anyone inside hearing it would think I was auditioning for Amyl Nitrate and the Whippets.

The guy on my left held me up until the one on my right could grab my arm again. The one on the left then grabbed the nape of my neck, forced my head down, and then they ran me-or dragged me-right into the side of my own car with all the force they had.

They had plenty.


Crider ( Too Late to Die ) has created another well-drawn protagonist, this time a moody, introspective PI in the finest tradition, who works in a seamy city smoldering with old and dangerous secrets. --
Publishers Weekly

Crider, superlatively, makes Galveston intrinsic to his novel, weaving every fact . . . into his bullet-streaked narrative --Buffalo News



Voluntary Madness

By Vicki Hendricks


Just the facts, ma'am:

Voluntary Madness is probably my favorite of the five novels I've written, and the least noir, yet still with psychological darkness. Key West, filled with its quirky inhabitants, steaming sexuality, and bohemian tropical atmosphere, is one of my favorite places, so I've recreated it as the backdrop for mayhem and the madness of love. There, mismatched lovers, Punch and Juliette, make a pact to live a wild life for a year, as Punch's inspiration for writing a novel, and plan a dramatic suicide on the night of Fantasy Fest. Of course, money runs out and plans change. Robbing gourmet restaurants for carry-outs becomes a deadly game and a white witch casts her spell. Nothing but surprises in old Key West.

-- Vicki Hendricks

Voluntary Madness
by Vicki Hendricks
Kindle Edition
Release Date: 2011-01-05

List Price: $2.99

Buy Now

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

"Across the bar a lean blond with a missing front tooth is massaging my tits with his eyes, and I get an idea. I'm on my third margarita at Viva Zapata in Key West, bored with the chit-chat on both sides. It's one of those nights when my sweetie-Punch-is at Captain Tony's drinking with his budds, knowing whatever I do, I'm thinking of him. It's true-his hard muscles with the smoothest Kahlua and cream skin, thick black hair past his shoulders, a view of the world evolved way past our time-I'm his, body and soul, no regrets, till I die-promised seven months from now, at the end of October.



"The authentic heir to James M. Cain, Vicki Hendricks is the high priestess of neo-noir. A fierce and fearless talent" -Dennis Lehane  

"A guilty pleasure to savor slowly" -Time Out



Blood Crimes: Book One

By Dave Zeltserman


Just the facts, ma'am:

Blood Crimes is a genre-bending collision of dark urban fantasy and crime that rides shot-gun with Jim and Carol as they carve a homicidal path cross-country. Jim is infected with the vampire virus. Carol isn't. Yet. But they're united in their hunt for society's most dangerous predators for Jim's dinner - so he can feed without harming the innocent. What they don't know is that they're not alone. There are others on their trail, and the climax of Blood Crimes is a shocking jolt of pure mayhem and rock 'n roll violence.

Blood Crimes: Book One
by Dave Zeltserman
Kindle Edition
List Price: $2.99
Buy Now

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

His thoughts drifted to when they met. It was right after all that bizarre shit with Serena. He had somehow gotten out of New York in one piece and was trolling the mean streets of Newark half-crazed from hunger when he heard Carol screaming for help. She was two blocks away and had been dragged beneath an underpass bridge by a leather and chain jacketed, tattoo-encrusted street thug. The thug was more than twice Carol's size and held a dirty rag against her face which mostly muffled her screams. Still, she fought like hell while he tried to bend her over and rip off her panties, her skirt already having been thrown to the ground. In a few heartbeats Jim was there, pulling the thug away from Carol, and at the same time yelling at her to get away from them. She collected her torn skirt but she didn't run away, and Jim understood why she stayed there and watched. Even in the crazed, wild state he was in, he felt the connection with her when their eyes met. He had the same immediate longing for her as she did for him.

But he needed to feed.

The thug looked confused that someone as thin as Jim could lift him with one hand so effortlessly off the ground, especially since he outweighed Jim by a good sixty pounds. Up close the thug was ugly as sin; pockmarked, bald-and for a short moment before he had edged his switchblade out of his pants pocket-as scared-looking as any little kid had ever been.



'I've just read the manuscript of Dave Zeltserman's new novel, Blood Crimes. This is one of the few fresh takes on vampirism I've read in years. It's as if Charles Bukowski sat down and said, OK, Bram Stoker, how about this?' - Ed Gorman, author of Cage of Night and The Poker Club.

'Blood Crimes is fast. It's visceral. It's definitely not your fourteen-year-old sister's dreamy vampire fantasy. This book grabs you by the guttiwuts, wrenches hard, and doesn't let go... But don't get me wrong, this isn't your run-of-the-mill shock literature. Zeltserman weaves a disturbing noir with a passionate craftsman's hand over his characters.' Mindy MacKay

"From here on in Zeltserman's vamp/crime thriller takes off at a breakneck speed. The action that follows is intense and blood drenched. There are also unexpected twists that will take you by surprise and leave you gaping at your Kindle in shock." Peter Leonard




By Joel Goldman


Just the facts, ma'am:

Meeting ex-FBI agent Jack Davis in the middle of a shootout is the best thing that could have happened to Roni Chase. But Jack has no idea how deep-and how deadly-his involvement with the mysterious young bookkeeper will get. The pretty accountant may be able to pull a trigger as well as she manipulates a spreadsheet, but her talents may add up to zero if a killer gets their way. As Jack follows Roni into a lethal web of deceit, years in the making, the only thing that might save them-time-is running out.

No Way Out
by Joel Goldman
Pinnacle Books
Kindle Edition Release Date: 2010-09-01


Kindle Price: $4.39

Buy Now 

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

Lucy Trent wanted a short end of ribs with pit beans, crispy fries and cold beer. I wanted the same thing, the only difference being that I wanted it while sitting in my easy chair in front of my television. It was Sunday in October, a day intended for artery busting barbeque and football.

We were at LC's, a dive on Blue Parkway, a road that ran through Kansas City's east side. It sat next to Parkway Auto Brokers. LC ringed his place with wrought iron security bars, Parkway preferring chain link and razor wire. They knew their neighborhood.

"Quit moping," Lucy said. "You'll be home in time for the late afternoon game and the night game."

"Yeah, but I'm missing the first game."

"Who's playing?"

"Who cares? What matters is that I'm not watching."

"Poor Jack Davis. He lives a life of unrelenting cruelty."

"Are you making fun of me?"

"If you have to ask, it's not nearly as much fun."

Lucy was an ex-cop, ex-con and private investigator for Alexander Investigations. Her boyfriend and my best friend Simon Alexander, was the owner. Simon specialized in cyber crime. Lucy worked the human side, investing her heart in her clients. I was her part-time gun. A convicted felon, she couldn't possess a firearm but I could even though I had a movement disorder that made me shake and had forced me to retire after twenty-five years with the FBI. Who said justice was blind?


 "Sleek and sassy, No Way Out is a page-turner that keeps going full speed until the very end."
-Faye Kellerman, New York Times Bestselling author

"No Way Out is a good example of a complex thriller with a flawed but appealing hero."
-James Reasoner, Rough Edges blog

"Goldman spins his latest yarn into a clever, complex tangle of chain reactions between six families of characters whose lives are intertwined by blood, grief, lust, desperation and even love. Fast-paced action like knife fights and gun battles erupt between breaking developments that introduce new murders, new characters and new evidence at every turn...all with lightning-quick speed detailed by to-the-point narrative and a clever-quipping dialogue."
-435 South Magazine

Libby Hellmann


By Libby Fischer Hellmann


Just the facts, ma'am:


Someone is trying to kill Lila Hilliard. During the Christmas holidays she returns from running errands to find her family home in flames, her father and brother trapped inside. Later, she is attacked by a mysterious man on a motorcycle. . . and the threats don't end there. As Lila desperately tries to piece together who is after her and why, she uncovers information about her father's past in Chicago during the volatile days of the late 1960s . . . information he never shared with her, but now threatens to destroy her.

Part thriller, part historical novel, and part love story, Set the Night on Fire paints an unforgettable portrait of Chicago during a turbulent time: the riots at the Democratic Convention . . . the struggle for power between the Black Panthers and SDS . . . and a group of young idealists who tried to change the world.

Set the Night on Fire
by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Allium Press of Chicago
Kindle Edition
List Price: $4.99
Buy Now

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

"Casey, you're a Celtic knot." Alix giggled as she passed Rain the joint. The smoke Casey had been holding in exploded out of his lungs. He coughed long and hard, drowning out the chorus of People are Strange by the Doors.

"Are you all right?" Rain squinted through her granny glasses.

Casey nodded, his throat so raspy he couldn't speak.

Rain crossed her legs Indian-style and took a hit off the J. She held it in, exhaled quietly, then passed it to Dar.

"What do you mean, Alix?" Casey finally croaked.

Alix tucked a lock of blond hair behind her ear. The six of them were on the living room floor of the apartment, a shabby space with yellowed shades, torn linoleum, and cracks in the walls. "You're always making connections," she said. "With people, places, events. You twist things all together. Like a Celtic knot."

"Aw, man, you're just stoned." Payton wiggled his fingers and sang along with the music.

"Cool it, Payton." Dar raised a warning hand.

"It's all right." Alix gently stayed his hand and took the J from his fingers. She passed it to Payton. "Actually, a Celtic knot is a symbol for the complexity of the universe. No matter how our lives play out, we're all intertwined. Twisting and weaving and overlapping. No beginning. No end. Here, I'll draw it."

"Alpha and omega," Teddy said. He lay spread-eagled on the floor.



 "A tremendous book - sweeping but intimate, elegiac but urgent, subtle but intense. This story really does set the night on fire." -Lee Child 

"A brilliantly-paced thriller, transitioning seamlessly from modern-day Chicago to the late '60s. First-rate characterization...Best to start early in the day, as it is easy to stay up all night reading it." -Foreword Magazine

"RT Top Pick for December: "Electric... a marvelous novel."
-RT Book Reviews

"Set the Night on Fire is a compelling story of love, truth and redemption. This will be a break-out novel for this talented writer. Highly recommended." -Sheldon Siegel, NYTImes bestselling author of Perfect Alibi

"A top-rate thriller that taps into the antiwar protests of the 1960s... A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history."
-Publishers Weekly





Just the facts, ma'am:

Harvey Mapes is a 26-year-old security guard who spends his nights in a guard shack outside a gated community in Southern California, reading detective novels, watching reruns, and waiting for his life to finally start... which happens when Cyril Parkus, one of the wealthy residents, asks Harvey to follow his beautiful wife Lauren. The lowly security guard jumps at the opportunity to fulfill his private eye fantasies and use everything he's learned from Spenser, Magnum, and Mannix. But things don't exactly go according to the books...or the reruns. As Harvey fumbles and stumbles through his first investigation, he discovers that the differences between fiction and reality can be deadly. Nominated for the Shamus Award for Best Novel by the Private Eye Writers of America

The Man with the Iron-On Badge
by Lee Goldberg
Kindle Edition
List Price: $2.99
Buy Now 





A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

I don't know if you've ever read John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books before. McGee is sort of a private eye who lives in Florida on a houseboat he won in a poker game. While solving mysteries, he helps a lot of ladies in distress. The way he helps them is by screwing their brains out and letting them cook his meals, do his laundry, and scrub the deck of his boat for a few weeks. These women, McGee calls them "wounded birds," are always very grateful that he does this for them.

To me, that's a perfect world.

I wanted his life.

This is the story of what I did to get it.



"As dark and twisted as anything Hammett or Chandler ever dreamed up [...] leaving Travis McGee in the dust." Kirkus, Starred Review

"Approaching the level of Lawrence Block is no mean feat, but Goldberg succeeds with this engaging PI novel." Publishers Weekly

"Goldberg has a knack for combining just the right amount of humor and realism with his obvious love for the PI genre and his own smart ass sensibilities. THE MAN WITH THE IRON ON BADGE is a terrific read. Goldberg is the real deal and should be on everyone's must read list." Crimespree Magazine 




By Paul Levine


Just the facts, ma'am:


A Jetliner Crashes in the Everglades.

A Billion-Dollar Lawsuit: Negligence or Terrorism?  

The Defense: Kill Anyone, Even a Supreme Court Justice, to Win the Case.

Supreme Court Justice Sam Truitt takes the bench with high ideals, lofty intentions...and a troubled marriage.  Lisa Fremont, his stunning and brilliant law clerk, has a dark secret in her past.  If Lisa doesn't get Truitt's vote in multi-million dollar case involving a catastrophic airplane crash, she'll be killed.  The Justice, too.  IMPACT is a tale of seduction and betrayal, of passion and greed.  Truitt, who has always followed the rules, and Lisa, who never has, join together to battle those who live by no law at all.

IMPACT  was the inspiration for "First Monday," the television drama starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna.  (Note: IMPACT was originally published as REVERSAL).

by Paul Levine
Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.
Kindle Edition ~ Release Date: 2010-07-31
List Price: $2.99
Buy Now

A Brief Excerpt from the Novel:

On the night before her interview at the Supreme Court of the United States, Lisa Fremont did not know if she could go through with it. She wanted the law clerk job all right-what newly minted lawyer wouldn't?-but then, the thought of corrupting the position, of using it to repay an old debt, was antithetical to everything she thought she had become.

Until today, she figured she could handle it.  But that was before she visited the Court to get the feel of the place.  What she felt was reverence, a sense of awe, even piety.

How do I explain to Max that marble statues and musty law books  give me goose bumps?  He only gets excited when the Dow Jones jumps.

Max Wanaker, president of Atlantica Airlines, had breezed into her apartment an hour earlier.   He had kissed her hello, poured himself a Scotch, and tossed his Armani suit coat over a chair.  Lisa never bothered dressing, staying in her cropped lace camisole and high-cut briefs, both white with satin trim, under a soft pink chenille bathrobe that made her red hair glow a buttery copper.

They hadn't gone out to dinner.  Too risky.  If anyone discovered her connection with Atlantica Airlines, she couldn't do what Max, her old lover, insisted be done.  She couldn't steal a billion dollar case at the Supreme Court.



"A relentlessly entertaining summer read." - New York Daily News

"A breakout book, highly readable and fun." - USA Today

"A big brash blend of violence, sex, and the Supreme Court."  - The Miami Herald




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A Note-Taking App for Kindle


This Month's TOPS IN SUSPENSE Authors
12 Masters of the Genre
Harry Shannon
Ed Gorman
Bill Crider
Vicki Hendricks
Dave Zeltserman
Joel Goldman
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Lee Goldberg
Paul Levine
Quick Links

Until next time ... thanks for letting us share the Tops in Suspense with you, and.... 

                  Happy Reading,     

Steve Windwalker