Behind the Books at BBD

Mystery Girl and Mystery Guy take a look at all things suspense, mystery, and thriller at Ballantine Bantam Dell, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. Check back for author guest posts, industry insight, behind-the-scenes looks at our office, and much more.

Last night, we went to Timothy L. O’Brien’s book launch party, thrown by none other than Arianna Huffington herself. Not gonna lie, I was pretty excited to be there, hobnobbing with some of journalism’s greatest and picturing my debut as a (lead) character on the show The Newsroom

The turnout was insane considering the weather (tornado warnings in September in NY anyone?), and it was so worth it what with the hilarious and heartfelt speeches from Arianna and Tim, the delicious Greek food, and wonderful conversation (including a really weird one about how some NDAs stipulate that you are not allowed to mention that you signed an NDA…what??). Congrats on The Lincoln Conspiracy, Tim! And thanks for the great kick-off party. 

-Mystery Girl

#timothy l. o'brien #the lincoln conspiracy #book party #mystery girl

Happy On-Sale Day!


What it’s about: 

Two diaries that reveal the true scope of an American conspiracy

A detective determined to bring the truth to light, no matter what it costs him
From award-winning journalist Timothy L. O’Brien comes a gripping historical thriller that poses a provocative question: What if the plot to assassinate President Lincoln was wider and more sinister than we ever imagined?
In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple’s life in jeopardy—and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple’s quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War–era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends—and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions—Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army’s spy service. Along the way, he’ll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.
Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassination of one of America’s most beloved presidents—and who participated in the plot to derail the train of liberty that Lincoln set in motion.

Why you have to read it: 

  1. You will want to be best friends with these characters.
  2. If you’re into history at all, you won’t be able to resist this take.
  3. If you’re not into history, this book reads perfectly as a thriller set in a quaint time with explosive action scenes and intriguing character dynamics.
  4. Timothy L. O’Brien, executive editor at the Huffington Post, wrote it. You know it has to be good.
  5. We all liked this book so much we started a cross-departmental game where we saw who could find the best antique photograph to match each character. We promise it’s more fun than it sounds, and you can get a taste of the antique-hunting this book will inspire by checking out Tim O’Brien’s Pinterest.
#timothy l. o'brien #the lincoln conspiracy #on-sale

by Mark Tavani, editorial

When I took my first job in publishing, I was finishing a seminar at one of the country’s best writing programs. So my giddiness at being told I would be paid to do something I loved was tempered by the fact that I had to deliver that news to my professors. Of course the relationship between writing and publishing is symbiotic, but symbiotic relationships can be complicated. The plover bird cleans the teeth of crocodiles, for instance, and both benefit (to the bird, a meal; to the crocodile, clean and healthy teeth), but I still imagine that little plover sometimes gets nervous as he ties on his metaphorical napkin. One of my professors was so blunt as to say, “So you’re joining the Dark Side, huh?” As if Darth Vader had been harsh about Luke’s grammar and novelistic structure. As if the Emperor had set stingy ad budgets.

The main concern, though, seemed to be that I would, by virtue of joining the publishing world, lose my pure love of books. As another of my professors once said, “If you want to be a novelist, learn how to whittle.” In other words: Don’t do something kind of like writing if you intend to write because it will drain you and make you hate books!

More than 12 years later, I feel qualified to say that they, my professors, those brilliant and passionate people, were really, really wrong.

Case in point: Yesterday I received first copies of Timothy L. O’Brien’s wonderful debut historical thriller THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY, which we will publish next month, September 18th. I think it looks excellent, equally  eye-catching and classy, and that goes beyond the dust jacket (which Mystery Girl revealed in her post yesterday). Witness the smartly chosen colors of the book itself. Witness the rough-cut pages. Witness the alluring title page, featuring Alexander Gardner’s famous and moving image of President Lincoln.

At any rate, a brief note to say that, in my experience, it doesn’t get old.

#timothy l. o'brien #around the office #lincoln conspiracy #editor #mark tavani
This just in: copies of Timothy L. O’Brien’s THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY. Don’t they look incredible? They’re not out until Sept. 18, but you can pre-order one here. And, in the meantime, don’t forget to check out Tim’s Facebook page and Pinterest; they’re filled with awesome stuff.

This just in: copies of Timothy L. O’Brien’s THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY. Don’t they look incredible? They’re not out until Sept. 18, but you can pre-order one here. And, in the meantime, don’t forget to check out Tim’s Facebook page and Pinterest; they’re filled with awesome stuff.

#Lincoln Conspiracy #Timothy L. O'Brien #mystery girl

"As labyrinthine and grandiose as Scheherazade’s tales."—starred review in Booklist

"As labyrinthine and grandiose as Scheherazade’s tales."—starred review in Booklist

#review #lincoln conspiracy #timothy l. o'brien #booklist #books

The Lincoln Conspiracy is a hell of a good read. It’s an exciting thriller full of believable characters and absorbing history, and the end result is a page-turning blend of research and imagination.

David Liss

#lincoln conspiracy #timothy l. o'brien #david liss #blurb