Jun 6, 2016

Seven days in the book world with Ingrid Thoft

Ingrid is the author of the Fina Ludlow series, born in Boston and a graduate of Wellesley College. In the vein of ‘know the rules before you break them’ and wanting to create a believable character Ingrid gained a PI certification from the University of Washington. She is married and lives in Seattle.

Here is Ingrid’s week in her own words.

Newspapers are a staple of my reading diet. Given that I'm from the east coast, my primary paper is the New York Times, which is delivered to my door in Seattle every morning. I also flip through the Boston Globe (the city of my birth and the settings for my novels) and the Seattle Times on a daily basis. I try to stay informed, but I also pull articles that may have some story value down the road.

Sarah Weinman is a well-known editor and writer in the mystery world and self-professed “crime lady.” Her “weekly-ish” newsletter,, is full of terrific links to true crime stories, news about the world of mystery publishing, and fascinating articles. If mysteries and thrillers are your thing, you need to subscribe to this newsletter.

When I teach mystery writing seminars, I always focus on character development, which I believe is the lifeblood of any story. This is true for non-fiction as well as fiction: “Stories” come alive when the people who populate them are fully realized. One of the best sources for engaging non-fiction articles is or you can follow them on twitter at @longform. This site aggregates the best writing in newspapers, magazines, and on the web. The subject matter is varied, but the writing is always excellent. Many of the articles are related to my work, and others are just pure time sucks that make me happy! Some of the articles I read this week:

The Cave Divers Who Went Back for Their Friends by William Cremer – BBC magazine

A Severed Head, Two Cops and the Radical Future of Interrogation by Robert Kolker – Wired magazine

Even the World’s Top Life Coaches Need a Life Coach. Meet Martha Beck by Taffy Brodesser-Akner –

Wal-Mart. Thousands of Police Calls. You Paid the Bill by Zachary T. Sampson, Laura C. Morel, and Eli Murray - Tampa Bay Times

“Dear Prudence” on This advice column is posted on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays and provides a delightful work break.

I'm always reading a few books at once, generally a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. This week I've been immersed in:

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh - I loved this thriller written by a former cop in England. It kicks off with the hit-and-run death of a child and will keep you guessing until the end. It was suspenseful and creepy and has a real sense of place. One of the characters moves to a coastal village in Wales, and Mackintosh does a fantastic job of transporting the reader to windswept cliffs scented by the salt-infused air.

Shrill by Lindy West – How did I not know about Lindy West? Her essays about women, body image, and feminism are smart, funny and thoughtful. Her unwillingness to stifle her ideas and opinions has opened West up to the hateful vitriol of internet trolls, but that only makes her voice louder. If you think “It’s just a joke. Lighten up.” is a reasonable defense of cruel and marginalizing brands of humor, this book might just open your eyes.

Crashed by Timothy Hallinan – One of the joys of being part of the mystery writing world is the opportunity to meet my peers at various functions. Before I read any of Tim’s work, we shared a couple of entertaining dinners, which prompted me to seek out his books. He’s written a few series, but I’m especially taken with his Junior Bender series set in L.A. Junior is a crook who’s hired by other crooks to do their dirty work in the shadowy underworld of Hollywood. Funny and fast-paced, Crashed practically crackles.

What’s next on my TBR list?

United by Cory Booker

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

Before the Fall by Noah Fawley

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Ingrid's week in a nutshell

I Let You Go (2016)
Shrill (2016)
Crashed (2013)

Coming up

United (2016)
Wilde Lake (2016)
Before the Fall (2016)
Evicted (2016)

Duplicity will be published Jan 2017 9780399171192
Brutality is out now in hardcover 9780399171185 and in paper in December 9781101982501

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