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.”
Her sixth, SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST, released October 2013, for which Kirkus said, “Westerson continues to provide unusual historical detail, offbeat characters and a well-integrated puzzle.” It received a nomination for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery and was named one of the Best of 2013 by Suspense Magazine.
The seventh is a prequel to the series, CUP OF BLOOD. Bestselling author Tim Hallinan says, “CUP OF BLOOD starts like a clap of thunder. Crispin maintains his standing as one of today’s (and yesterday’s) most engaging private eyes. I loved it!”
The eighth, THE SILENCE OF STONES, is scheduled for a UK release in November 2015, and the US release in March 2016.
Jeri has written a new urban fantasy series, BOOKE OF THE HIDDEN, that is being shopped as we speak. It’s a fun new direction for her and she’s pretty excited about it. Greywalker series author Kat Richardson says of it: “Subversively clever, this book sneaks up on you, teasing you to a final twist that leaves you panting for the next book.”
Jeri pulled an historical novel from her “vault” of unpublished works, reworked it, and published it herself. THOUGH HEAVEN FALL is a quixotic tale of fantasy and faith set in thirteenth century England. And she also pulled out another, a Catholic-themed book about Saint Kateri Tekakwitha called NATIVE SPIRIT, written as Anne Castell.
In 2015, she will release yet another historical novel from the “vault”. Look for ROSES IN THE TEMPEST, a tale of Tudor England in April.
Jeri also has short stories in several anthologies: “Noodle Girl” in SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN, edited by Tim Hallinan; “Universal Donor” in MURDER AND MAYHEM IN MUSKEGO anthology, edited by Jon and Ruth Jordan; “Mesmer Maneuver” in 2015′s serial anthology DAY OF THE DESTROYERS edited by Gary Phillips, and “Marked” written by her alter ego Haley Walsh, who writes the Skyler Foxe Mysteries, for the 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, on “My Awesome Empire” on her local NPR station, “KVCR-Arts” on the same local NPR station, a guest lecturer at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana and at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.
Jeri served two terms as president of the southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America and is also a member of Sisters in Crime, the Historical Novel Society, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She is married to a commercial photographer, has a screenwriter son, herds two cats, a tortoise, a bevy of bees, and the occasional tarantula at her home in southern California.
Visit Jeri’s blog www.Getting-Medieval.com for articles on history and mystery. Or see what Crispin has to say on his very own blog. You can follow her on Twitter and see what she’s up to on her Facebook page or her author page or on Pinterest.