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Recent news from Hallie Ephron.

Lori Rader-Day interviews Hallie for the Chicago Review of Books

“A Motive of Not Wanting to Spark Joy”

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9/27/2019

You might know the name Ephron — yes, the dynasty: mother and father screenwriters and four daughters, all writers — but if you’re a crime fiction reader, the Ephron of note is Hallie. Hallie Ephron is a New York Times-bestselling author and a perennial honoree during crime fiction award season. In her talented family of origin she was the obedient one, the sister who took decades to try her hand at writing. In the community of mystery writers and readers, she needs no qualifier. She’s the one who helps budding crime authors tune up their craft, and she writes a hell of a story.

Ephron’s novels are hyper-contemporary, engaging with our very of-the-moment fears about family life and the modern world. In her latest, Careful What You Wish For, Ephron has written what might just be the first crime fiction novel to “spark joy” by inciting terror in the decluttering industry. (Think Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up crossed with Storage Wars plus, well, murder.) Careful What You Wish For is a tidy novel without a lot of subplots or loose threads. What it’s likely to spark is a night or two up past a civilized bedtime.

I talked to Ephron about the origins of her novel, her advice for dealing with a pack rat, and what sparks joy for her. Read more…

Criminal Element/John Valeri calls CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR “a real keeper”

“With Careful What You Wish For, Hallie Ephron has crafted a slow-burning, claustrophobic tale that taps into the zeitgeist of the (inter)national cleaning frenzy. It’s good, old fashioned storytelling at its best—with a modern bent that should appeal to a diverse readership. Turns out that organizing a sock drawer is a lot simpler than decluttering the contents of our human hearts and minds. That process may be messy, or even murderous—but this book’s a real keeper!” — Criminal Element

Rave review in TIME by Jamie Lee Curtis

August 5, 2019 Jamie Lee Curtis reviewed CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR in TIME Magazine. She called it “thrilling and suspenseful”! 

“The red herring smelled fishy to me. The marital dances were familiar yet fun. And I found a compelling companion to Emily, a modern-day grown-up Nancy Drew in a sh-tty car and a ponytail, as she searches for her own purpose while hunting down the perpetrator of the emerging crime. She is a friend we would all want to keep–messes included.”

“Ephron’s dank and musty storage units offer perfect settings for the piecing together of the puzzle, one made of human pieces in various sinister shapes and sizes. Ephron, sister to writers Delia and Amy and the late Nora, deftly builds these tensions, and offers readers the pleasure of unraveling the mystery in a way they will relish. I laughed more than I expected to, related to quotidian elements like overpacked closets, and let myself be carried along on this nightmare of a trip. I anticipated bad guys where there weren’t any, and thought I’d figured it out when I hadn’t.

On finding my way to writing crime fiction on MYSTERY FANFARE

Hallie Ephron writes about finding her way to writing crime fiction (not via Nancy Drew) ….

July 22, 2019. MYSTERY FANFARE 
When I’m asked what books inspired me to write mystery novels, sometimes I go on about how much I loved the Nancy Drew novels. I talk about graduating to the complete works of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and P.D. James. But those authors’ works inspired me to binge read mysteries, not to write them.

Instead, I found my way by first trying and failing to write true crime.

Hallie Ephron awarded New England Crime Bake’s 2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The New England Crime Bake announces it will award the 2019 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to Hallie Ephron at this year’s Crime Bake!

“While writing is a solitary act, writers thrive when fostered by a supportive community. The New England Crime Bake Lifetime Achievement Award is given each year to a person or persons who have contributed to the New England mystery community with generosity and vision. A scholarship to the following New England Crime Bake will be awarded the following year in their names to a person with financial need who demonstrates the same spirit of community.

“We are pleased to award the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award to Hallie Ephron for her continuing contributions and dedication to the New England Crime Bake, of which she was a founder.”

Starred PW review for CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

May, 2018, Publisher’s Weekly: “This outstanding standalone from bestseller Ephron (You’ll Never Know, Dear) may be the first domestic thriller to weave in Marie Kondo’s decluttering theory about discarding things that don’t spark joy. … Appealing characters and some suspenseful detective work help elevate this in-depth look at people’s emotional attachment to things. After being a finalist five times, Ephron may finally win the Mary Higgins Clark Award for this one.” 

Boston Globe rave review!

June 15, 2017 A rave review for YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR in the BOSTON GLOBE! ”

Hallie Ephron’s latest looks at dreams, dolls, and a decades-old mystery

After 40 years, Janey Woodham’s porcelain doll, the one that went missing when the 4-year-old disappeared one sunny afternoon from her front yard, turns up in the hands of a stranger. And with that one enticing clue, best-selling author Hallie Ephron’s new mystery, “You’ll Never Know, Dear,” is off and running.

An accessible, easy read that deftly integrates the mystery genre with women’s fiction, it’s made compelling by the depth and resonance of the relationships.”
Read more….

Setting the book in the South… Hallie on Book Club Girl

June 6 on Book Club Girl Hallie talks about setting YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR in beautiful Beaufort, SC, then having to fictionalize it because its history is almost too fantastic and bizarre to be believed.

GUEST POST: Hallie Ephron on the Southern setting You’ll Never Know, Dear

I grew up in Hollywood, lived in New York City, and now I consider myself a New Englander. To me, the South is like a foreign country. So it was a challenge when I started writing You’ll Never Know, Dear and realized the elderly doll maker and the story I was spinning belonged in the South.

Continued …

Advance reviews! Booklist, PW, Kirkus, Romantic Times

  • Booklist says YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR, “…with its strong characters and vivid sense of place, the novel should draw from both camps… women’s fiction and mainstream mystery.”
  • Publisher’s Weekly: Engaging portrait of three generations of bickering, bull-headed, but loving women challenged to become their bravest and best selves.”
  • Kirkus: Diverting. …Would have been a great vehicle for Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, including all the slightly creepy dolls.”
  • RT Romantic Times Book Review: “A uniquely intriguing mystery” “The suspenseful portions are fast paced, and the reader will race to find out how things will play out. The parts dealing with doll making and restoration are fascinating.”
  • John Valeri in The Criminal Element: “Ephron excels at depicting the dynamics between ordinary women thrust into extraordinary situations. While she’s often told tales of mothers and daughters, this is her first three-generation saga, and the result is a poignant portrayal of how tragedies often have a trickle-down effect, blighting everyone they touch despite the degrees of separation. “You’ll Never Know, Dear” is a worthy and irresistibly readable addition to the author’s impressive arsenal. While discerning readers may harbor strong suspicions as to who the guilty party is, it’s the why that drives the narrative—a consideration that proves compelling until the bitter/sweet end. Though Ephron’s work is often classified as women’s fiction, it should appeal to anybody who enjoys intelligent, stylistic suspense. After all, questions of family, fidelity, and forgiveness are universal.

Praise from Kirkus Reviews ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

Kirkus Reviews calls ECHOES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES “inspired” and Hallie’s short story “Understudy in Scarlet” (of a movie actress who once played Irene Adler and is now understudying a much younger Irene) “a delight from beginning to end.” Anthology editors Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King did a brilliant job with stories by:
Tasha Alexander
Dana Cameron
John Connelly
Deborah Crombie
Cory Doctorow
Meg Gardiner
William Kent Krueger
Tony Lee & Bevis Musson
Jonathan Maberry
Catriona McPherson
Denise Mina
David Morrell
Anne Perry
Hank Phillippi Ryan
Michael Scott

EchoesofSherlock

Revuzeit calls NIGHT NIGHT “Perfect for Oscar night reading”

2/28/2016 REVUZEIT on NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT

Just out is the paperback Night Night, Sleep Tight by one of my favorite writers, Hallie Ephron. Yes, she is one of those sisters whose formative years in Hollywood and genetic framework brought them all eventually into the wide world of entertainment. Hallie is the award-winning and bestselling mystery writer and book reviewer for the Boston Globe who shapes the skills of coming writers in workshops allover the country……but I digress…….this new one is a killer!

Back in our youth we all heard the gossip of the beautiful blonde movie star with the abusive gangster boyfriend who was in the headlines when her 12 year old daughter killed the lover. Right. A similar thirty year old murder serves as the glittery backdrop to a young woman’s 1986 probe into the death of her father. I loved all the then and now quirks and secrets as they are elegantly woven into a thrilling page-turner chock-a-block with glamour, gossip and sandal. Perfect for Oscar night reading.

Hartford Books Examiner rave review for NIGHT NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT

4/6/2015 Rave review from John Valeri, Hartford Books Examiner:

“Hallie Ephron is at her absolute, unequivocal best with Night Night, Sleep Tight. Autobiographical elements—the author is, after all, the daughter of celebrated screenplay writers Henry and Phoebe Ephron—elevate the story from standard whodunit fare, resulting in a deeply atmospheric and authentic sense of time and place. With the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood lost to cynicism and suspicion, Ephron serves up a multitude of credible suspects and motives to keep readers guessing until the very end and offers a final denouement worthy of its own big screen moment. If this book was a film, we’d call it a blockbuster.

InStyle Magazine: NIGHT NIGHT #1 “page-turning pick to read this April”

InStyle Magazine picks Night Night, Sleep Tight as its #1 “page-turning pick to read this April.”

“Just like her big sis Nora, this talented Ephron is fully capable of captivating an audience for extended periods of time (304 pages, to be exact). But instead of the usual cheery rom-com that’s become synonymous with her last name, this enthralling story is decidedly darker in tone. Set in 1980s Los Angeles, it follows Deirdre Unger, who, after moving to the West Coast to assist her ailing father, discovers his body face down in the family pool. After initially chalking it up to a tragic accident, she soon discovers that it could in fact be a murder, and is hell-bent on figuring out who’s guilty of the crime.”

Profile of Hallie on CT News…

3/31/2015 Joe Meyers writes a terrific profile of Hallie Ephron for CT News.

Hallie Ephron grew up in Hollywood, but she put that life behind her to establish deep roots in New England, where she has become one of our top suspense novelists.

“Never Tell a Lie,” “Come and Find Me” and “There Was an Old Woman” have carved out Ephron’s own territory as a specialist in down-to-earth Hitchcockian suspense involving ordinary people any of us might know — that’s what makes the stories so gripping and so scary.

Now, for the first time, Ephron has used her background as the daughter of the movie screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron and the sister of writers Nora, Delia and Amy Ephron for a novel that shows the dark side of Old Hollywood.

More

Profile of Hallie Ephron on 90.9WBUR The Artery

3/24/2015 90.9WBUR The Artery, Boston’s NPR news station

“Hollywood childhood inspires Hallie Ephron’s latest suspense novel.”
Hallie Ephron began writing what’s become her latest suspense novel, “Night Night, Sleep Tight,” about two decades ago. But at that point, it wasn’t a novel—it was a memoir about her growing up in the ‘60s with her family in Beverly Hills: 20th Century Fox screenwriter parents Henry and Phoebe Ephron (“Carousel,” “Daddy Long Legs,” “The Desk Set”) and writers-to-be sisters Nora, Delia and Amy.

“Hooray for Hollywood and Hooray for Hallie Ephron”

3/22/2015 Jay Strafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Ephron combines her insider’s knowledge of L.A. with well-conceived and well-executed characters to create a winner that transcends its Turner-Crane-Stompanato origins. …

And sleep tight?  Not bloody likely if, like this reviewer, you’ll be up late devouring Ephron’s latest in one sitting. …

So hooray for Hollywood, hooray for homicide, and hooray for Hallie Ephron, who begins with a seed of truth and grows it into a bumper crop of crime and cynicism.

The Philadelphia Inquirer catches Hallie Ephron’s talk at MWA-University…

PMYSTERY29PJune 28, 2014
Reporter Tom Avril of The Philadelphia Inquirer came to see what MWA University was all about. He caught Hallie Ephron teaching plotting.

Six established crime authors held forth on the tricks of their trade at the Sheraton Philadelphia Society Hill, covering such topics as dramatic structure, character development, and the art of description. And along the way they sprinkled in a few don’ts: As in – cliché alert! – no cliff-hangers that involve a cellphone battery running out of juice.

Hallie Ephron, author of 2013’s There Was an Old Woman, took attendees through a hypothetical scene: Guy drives home from dinner with his wife, picks up the mail, notices the door to their apartment is open. Inside, the furniture is gone, but he finds a single red shoe with a stiletto heel.

Where in the course of events should the writer start the scene? How should the action be slowed down at crucial moments? And how to end the scene? Cliff-hangers are good, Ephron said, but she urged writers to use them sparingly.

(Photo by Ron Tarver, Inquirer Staff Photographer)

Read more…

There Was an Old Woman one of Sarah Weinman’s TOP 10 for 2013

Sarah Weinman announces her 10 favorite crime novels for 2013 and There Was an Old Woman makes the list!

There Was an Old Woman, Hallie Ephron. A terrific example of contemporary domestic suspense that features a fantastic nonagenarian heroine (and a cool thirtysomething co-protagonist, too) determined to keep her Bronx apartment from the grabby hands of developers and the sinister actions of unknown forces.” — 12/21/2013

Joe Meyers for Hearst CT Media Group: “I couldn’t rest until the story was played out.”

“William Morrow calls the new Hallie Ephron book “There Was an Old Woman” a “novel of suspense” and that it is — the author sets up characters so real and situations so harrowing that I kept reading it, way too late into the night, because I knew I couldn’t rest until the story was played out.”

“Ephron is fast becoming one of contemporary fiction’s masters of suspense.”

More…

Review in the Winnepeg Free Press: Tightly written suspense thriller frighteningly real

“DESPITE the bedtime story image suggested by the title, American writer Hallie Ephron’s new novel is no children’s nursery rhyme. There Was an Old Woman is a tightly wrought, expertly written and frighteningly real suspense thriller that will keep you turning pages.”

“There is a depth to her characters that is reminiscent of Ruth Rendell‘s probing, often painful characterizations.”

“With well-developed characters and the threat of a very real menace, there are enough twists and turns in this story to make veteran suspense readers question their own mystery-solving abilities. The ending will make them question their own security.”

… More

Hallie on “Growing Up Ephron” in March “O” Magazine

In the March ’13 issue of The Oprah Magazine Hallie talks about “Growing Up Ephron” — with three talented, articulate sisters (Nora, Delia, and Amy), all coming of age in the shadow of a complicated, talented, unhappy mother.

Sometimes when people ask me about
Nora, I feel like saying, "You know,
there are three other Ephron sisters."

But to understand any of us, including
Nora, you'd have to start with our
mother -- a woman well ahead of her time.
Of all the Ephron women, she was surely
the most exceptional, for better and
for worse.