Email me at JeriWesterson at gmail dot com
Noir and hard-boiled fiction seem to be in Jeri Westerson’s blood. She was born and bred on the mean streets of Los Angeles, inhaling smog and enduring earthquakes.
Raised in a household that not only embraced history, but medieval English history specifically, Jeri came by her interest in all things medieval honestly. She worked in a bevy of careers prior to setting her sights on becoming a novelist. Would-be actress, graphic artist, theology teacher, tasting host and tour guide for a winery, and newspaper reporter were among them.
She wanted to create her own brand of medieval mystery, and combined the concept of medieval mystery with hard-boiled detective fiction into what she calls “Medieval Noir.” Hard-boiled detective Crispin Guest, is a disgraced knight turned PI, solving crimes on the mean streets of fourteenth century London. The critically acclaimed series began with VEIL OF LIES, which garnered nominations from the Mystery Reader’s Journal Macavity Award for Best Historical Mystery and the Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel, the first medieval mystery to be so honored.
The Boston Globe called her detective, “A medieval Sam Spade, a tough guy who operates according to his own moral compass and observes with detached humor…this book is pure fun.” Booklist said, “…this authentically detailed medieval mystery has an intriguingly dark edge.” Library Journal gave it a starred review: “…Westerson’s mystery debut is a brilliant tale of survival in a hostile environment, where anything can lead to death…Highly recommended.” Historical Novel Society Review made it an Editor’s Choice title: “…To say Veil of Lies is a remarkable novel doesn’t do the book justice. Just when the plot seems set on a fixed course, the author deftly arranges another neat surprise and keeps the pages turning…”
The next in the series, SERPENT IN THE THORNS, garnered more mystery award nominations. Kirkus Review called it, “Appealing…Crispin’s derring-do is distinctly entertaining,” while Library Journal said, “Readers who can’t get enough of medieval historicals will snap this one up.”
The third, THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT, took yet more nominations from awards committees, including RT (Romantic Times) Reviewers’ Choice Award. Library Journal gave it a starred review and said, “Westerson skillfully lulls her sleuth and the reader into a sense of ’I know what is going on,’ then zings them with the truth. Absolutely first-class; highly recommended for fans of medieval mysteries,” while Publisher’s Weekly declared it “the best yet in the series!”
The fourth Crispin Guest mystery, TROUBLED BONES, was released in October 2011 and out of the gate received a nomination for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. It finaled for the Agatha, the Bruce Alexander Award, and the Macavity, giving it four nominations. Publisher’s Weekly said, “The Agatha Christie–like solution will please puzzle buffs, while series fans will welcome the author’s efforts to further flesh out the lead and his apprentice, Jack Tucker,” and bestselling author John Lescroart called it “A creative and enthralling retelling of the Canterbury Tales, complete with a deftly-imagined Geoffrey Chaucer.”
Publisher’s Weekly said of the fifth in the series BLOOD LANCE; “Clever twists and convincing period detail make Westerson’s fifth 14th-century historical featuring disgraced knight Crispin Guest one of her best.” Kirkus Review said, “Guest’s fifth adventure again provides a lively tale of historical interest smoothly combined with a worthy mystery.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch said, “Written with a keen knowledge of medieval history, ‘Blood Lance’ is another riveting tale of honor and heroism, grounded in period detail, a wealth of action and the continued development of her characters.”
Jeri also has short stories in several anthologies: “Noodle Girl” in SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN, edited by Tim Hallinan; “Universal Donor” in the November release of MURDER AND MAYHEM IN MUSKEGO anthology, edited by Jon Jordan; “Mesmer Maneuver” in 2013′s Operator #5 serial anthology NIGHT OF THE INSURGENTS edited by Gary Philips, and “Marked” written by her alter ego Haley Walsh for the upcoming anthology ANYTHING FOR A DOLLAR, edited by Todd Gregory (Greg Herren).
Jeri has done talks around the country about the Middle Ages, demonstrating her cache of medieval weaponry. She has been a featured guest on the radio talk show Writers on Writing with host Barbara DeMarco-Barrett and on “My Awesome Empire” on her local NPR station, and a guest lecturer at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, with an upcoming lecture at UCLA.
Jeri is president for the southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is also vice president of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters in Crime, with co-chairing duties for the California Crime Writer’s Conference for June 2013. She is also a member of Private Eye Writers of America and the Historical Novel Society. She is married to a commercial photographer, has a screenwriter son, and herds two cats, a tortoise, and the occasional tarantula at her home in southern California.
Visit Jeri’s blog www.Getting-Medieval.com for articles on history and mystery as well as author interviews. Or see what Crispin has to say on his very own blog. She is also part of the group blog Poe’s Deadly Daughters and you can follow her on Twitter and see what Crispin is up to on his Facebook page.