Whenever the conversation turns to the nation's top thriller writers, the short list invariably includes New York Times best-selling author Karin Slaughter. With good reason, agree book critics. Among other accolades, they have called her a "master of suspense" and "an exemplary storyteller."
She's best known for her two award-winning series the six-title "Grant County," set in small-town rural Georgia, and the eight-title "Will Trent," set in and around Atlanta. They've been translated into 32 languages, selling a combined 30 million-plus copies.
Slaughter's new title is "Unseen," continuing the adventures of Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Will Trent and a cast of intertwined characters from previous novels.
It's the Bee Book Club's choice for July.
In "Unseen," Trent goes undercover to bust a gang of psychopathic drug dealers. Along the way he's confronted by violence, conspiracy, betrayal and tragic twists.
One hallmark of Slaughter's books is her impeccable research; another is her depth of characterization. A third and the most controversial is the stories' surprising levels of violence, a subject book reviewers regularly bring up.
"Yes, but that's not the real focus (of the novels)," Slaughter said on the phone recently. "It's about what the violence leaves behind, how it affects (the survivors) and how they deal with it. That's the true test of character."
Slaughter will appear for The Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. July 11 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento. Slaughter's presentation is a free event, but tickets are required. To get them, go to www.beebuzzpoints.com and click on "Bee Events."
Barnes & Noble will be there to sell "Unseen" for 30 percent off the retail price (Delacorte, $27, 400 pages; on sale July 2).
Through July 11, these stores will offer a 30 percent discount on the title: Barnes & Noble, Avid Reader at the Tower in Sacramento, Avid Reader in Davis, Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, Time Tested Books, Underground Books, Carol's Books, Hornet Bookstore at California State University, Sacramento, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookseller in Grass Valley.
For information: (916) 321-1128.
'Breaking Point' reception
One of the most popular fictional creations in the mystery genre is savvy Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. His "creator," New York Times best-selling author C.J. Box, will be at a reception (with wine and hors d'oeuvres) and book-signing for his new novel, "Breaking Point" (Putnam, $26.95, 384 pages) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento.
The Sacramento-based watchdog group Pacific Legal Foundation is sponsoring the event because "Breaking Point" is based on "the ordeal of PLF clients who had to fight the Environmental Protection Agency all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for the right to challenge the agency's claim of control over their small parcel in Idaho," said a PLF spokesman.
RSVP to Jennifer Rohde at (916) 419-7111.
Following its successful programs on the works of Jane Austen ("How Austentatious") and J.R.R. Tolkein ("Full Circle"), the Sacramento Public Library is hosting "How Outlandish," a series of presentations built around Diana Gabaldon's mega-best-selling "Outlander" series.
Gabaldon's franchise tells the adventures of World War II-era British nurse Claire Randall, who time-travels to 1700s Scotland and falls in love with a swashbuckling Highlander named Jamie Fraser.
The eighth title in the romance-adventure series, "Written in My Own Heart's Blood," will be released in spring 2014. Meanwhile, "to quell the needs of Gabaldon's ardent devotees while they wait" for the release, the library has "created a special series of programs tailored just for them," said a library spokesman.
The programs will run on select Sundays through Nov. 3. The next one is today at 3 p.m. at 828 I St., Sacramento. For the complete schedule: (916) 264-2920, www.saclibrary.org/events/?eventid=79200. Gabaldon appeared for the Bee Book Club in 2002.
New Bridget Jones in fall
Chick-lit was redefined in 1995 with the publication of the culturally iconic "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding. The 30-something title character was a somewhat ditzy bachelorette who lived in London and obsessed over her self-image, career and love life. It was followed by "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" in 1999. The two books were bundled into the 2001 movie starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
Now comes word of Bridget's further adventures in "Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy" (Knopf, $25.95, 336 pages), scheduled for release Oct. 15 with an initial printing of 250,000 copies.
"Bridget's life has moved on," Fielding said, and that includes her involvement in social media.
Upcoming author events include:
Wednesday: Sacramento poet Lawrence Dinkins (a.k.a. NSAA) for "Open Mic Sketchbook" and the CD "Lightning in a Bottle 2: NSAA's Revenge," 9 p.m. at Queen Sheba restaurant, 1704 Broadway, Sacramento; (916) 446-1223.
Saturday: The sci-fi anthology "L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Vol. 29" is due Saturday from Galaxy Press ($7.99, 586 pages). That's the same day three of its contributors (and contest winners) will appear in Sacramento to discuss their stories and to autograph books. They're Andrea Stewart of West Sacramento, Tina Gower of Chico and Stephen Sottong of Eureka. Catch them at 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 3561 N. Freeway Blvd.; (916) 285-0387.
June 27: American River College English professor Michael Spurgeon will host a reading and signing of his new novel, "Let the Water Hold Me Down" (Ad Lumen Press, $16, 372 pages), at 7 p.m. at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 447-5696.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.