Peggy has worked in the editorial departments of HarperCollins, William Morrow, and the Overlook Press and has edited numerous mysteries and thrillers including The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan (an Edgar Award finalist for Best Novel), Gutshot Straight by Lou Berney, The Enoch Effect by Rick Acker, and The Night Child by Anna Quinn.
Peggy’s nonfiction titles include We Is Got Him: The Kidnapping that Changed America by Carrie Hagen, Simple Italian Snacks by Jason Denton, and Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost - and Myself by Susan Purvis.
While Peggy doesn't really have a favorite genre of book to edit - she wants to make any book as strong as it can be, stylistically and plot-wise - she's worked on quite a few thrillers and mysteries over the years, both as an independent editor and during her time at Harper/Morrow and Overlook Press.
Peggy's select booklist can be found below.
''The Truth Itself is a stunner; an intimate story that plays out against an international canvas with characters caught up in events bigger than themselves, their lives intertwining and colliding like a mortar shell in a market, leaving the reader breathless with fear and hope.'' - Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of The Marsh King's Daughter
A school shooting in snowbound Vermont, an American journalist beheaded in war-torn Syria, a passenger jet exploding in the Thai jungle - everything connects to Kate Swift, CIA assassin-turned-whistleblower, on the run from a sinister intelligence unit.
With her six-year-old daughter, Suzie, she flees across the Canadian border to begin a perilous journey to Berlin and then Thailand in search of the only man who can keep them alive: Harry Hook, a disgraced ex-CIA case officer living rough in the wilderness, battling the bottle and ghosts from his past.
Can Hook conjure an inspired but desperate plan that will save Kate and Suzie and bring him the redemption he yearns for?
''A wondrous journey into the heart of survival, and our power to save our own lives. Anna Quinn plumbs the mysteries of dissociation with lyrical courage, examining the tender line between our past and present. This is a remarkable book.'' - Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Enchanted and The Child Finder
Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl's face appears above the students' desks - ''a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora's body - the kind of raw terror you feel when there's no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire - when you think you might die.''
Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. Shaken and unsteady, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered - a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown.
"Readers looking for a unique blend of science, murder mystery, and legal thriller will find much to enjoy with Acker... [In The Enoch Effect,] Acker both entertains and challenges readers' thinking on what is truly good for humankind, finely blending genres into an intricate moral tale." - Publishers Weekly
Insurance litigator Leigh Collins has a knack for turning up that missing e-mail that wins the day or breaking down complex facts to sway a jury. So she’s hoping to make partner with her latest case: cancer researcher Dr. Elijah Rhodes and his life’s work are lost in a lab fire, and Biosolutions looks to cash in on a $100 million policy. Unfortunately, she’s up against Daniel Rubinelli, assistant general counsel for the biotech giant, who has a personal vendetta against cancer. In court, Leigh and Daniel clash from the beginning, ensuring a grueling case.
But soon greater concerns emerge. The late doctor might have found a “kill switch” for cancer cells - potentially wiping the disease off the face of the earth. While most of his findings were lost in the fire, he likely backed up his data, though encrypted beyond recovery.
Now, in this edge-of-your-seat thriller, two contentious lawyers must set aside their differences to locate the research before the doctor’s greatest discovery falls into the wrong hands… and the secret to life ends in death.
“Briskly paced…The shocking ending packs a real punch.” - Publishers Weekly
Roxanne MacFarlane is the Extractor - a former CIA agent who specializes in rescuing people from dangerous situations. She lives on the edge and works outside the law, but desperate families know she’s the only operative who can bring their missing loved ones home. Driven by guilt over the loss of her sister to a polygamous cult, she will stop at nothing to save her clients.
When Dave and Jenny Carson ask her to find their daughter, Emma, and extract her from a charismatic cult leader who preys on young women with guilt issues, Rox is eager to help them. But the experimental treatment she just started in order to improve her atypical brain patterns forces her to face conflicting newfound emotions while working feverishly to find the secret compound and craft a strategy to get Emma out.
When the bodies of young women who match Emma’s description turn up, Rox must fast-forward her plans. But the situation is more complicated and dangerous than she realizes, and her own life is soon in jeopardy. Can Rox save Emma and bring down a ruthless predator before more young women fall victim?
“FBI special agent Paul Grale is the hero of this gripping series launch… Russell smoothly melds tech info, sophisticated investigative techniques, and old-fashioned macho action…” - Publishers Weekly
“Russell tackles both action sequences and intractable moral problems with prose as sharp and efficient as a filleting knife.” - Kirkus Reviews
While in Las Vegas on his way to a family Fourth of July celebration, FBI bomb expert Paul Grale hears a deep blast and sees the smoke rising. In an unfolding nightmare, Grale discovers his sister, brother-in-law, and many friends were caught up in the explosion. Grief stricken, he is pulled from the main bomb investigation to sift orphan leads. Quietly he begins a relentless search for the bomb maker.
When the FBI suspects his friend and disgruntled former drone pilot for the blast, Grale thinks they’re getting it all wrong. Propelled by deep personal loss and an intense need to do the right thing, he picks his way through the smallest of leads and into a maze of twists, turns, and sudden dead ends. When he uncovers another threat, time is already quickly running out. With the lives of so many at stake, Grale won’t let himself fail - and he won’t rest until there’s justice for his family.
"Exuberant... Kowalski is a talented stylist." - The New York Times Book Review
"Kowalski's vigorous storytelling will keep the pages turning." - Publisher's Weekly
A masterful blend of historical and modern fiction by a best-selling, award-winning author, The Best Polish Restaurant In Buffalo chronicles a century of life in America for one humble Polish farm girl and three generations of her descendants in Buffalo, New York.
In 1908, 16-year-old Aniela leaves her native Poland for Buffalo, New York. Over the next century, her descendants take root, struggle, and thrive, with the family restaurant at the center of it all, doing their part to weave their threads into the rich tapestry that is the history of immigration in America.
“Rick Acker is one of my favorite authors - and Death in the Mind’s Eye shows why! The concept alone is compelling, not to mention a bit chilling. Death in the Mind's Eye is an absolute must read!” - Ronie Kendig, bestselling and award-winning author
San Francisco attorney Mike Webster does not lose medical-malpractice cases. But his stellar reputation and faith are put to the test when he agrees to defend Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist. Jo is accused of failing to prevent the death of Seth Bell, a senator’s son she was treating with a revolutionary technology-assisted therapy called the Mind’s Eye. The controversial technique provides insights into what patients are thinking and feeling and determines whether they’re telling the truth - so why didn’t it detect that Seth was suicidal?
As the case unfolds, a shadowy firm, Horizon Finance, sees a golden opportunity to profit by seizing the Mind’s Eye and auctioning it to intelligence services around the world. And Horizon will stop at nothing - not even murder - to succeed. As the danger escalates, Mike and Jo feel the heat of a mutual attraction. But when Mike’s loyal paralegal, Val, unearths evidence that could blow the case apart, Mike realizes he stands to lose much more than just a verdict.
A dealer in traditional Native American pottery, Hubie Schuze scours New Mexico in search of ancient treasures. The Bureau of Land Management calls him a criminal, but Hubie knows that the real injustice would be to leave the legacies of prehistoric craftspeople buried in the dirt.
In all his travels across the state, there is one place that Hubie hasn’t been able to access: Trinity Site at the White Sands Missile Range, where the first atomic bomb was detonated. Deep within the range are ruins once occupied by the Tompiro people, whose distinctive pottery is incredibly rare and valuable. When an old associate claims to have a buyer interested in spending big money on a Tompiro pot, Hubie resolves
to finally find a way into the heavily guarded military installation.
But Hubie has more on his mind than just outwitting the army’s most sophisticated security measures. He’s in love with a beautiful woman who has a few secrets of her own - and his best friend, Susannah, may have just unearthed a lost Georgia O’Keeffe painting. It’s a lot for a mild-mannered pot thief to handle, and when his associate is murdered and Tompiro pots start replicating like Russian nesting dolls, Hubie suddenly realizes he’s caught up in the most complex and dangerous mystery he’s ever faced.
Warsaw, 1941 - an exhausted and elderly psychiatrist named Erik Cohen makes his way home to the Jewish ghetto after being interned in a Nazi labor camp. Yet only one visionary man - Heniek Corben - can see him and hear him. Heniek soon realizes that Cohen has become an ibbur - a spirit. But how and why has he taken this form?
As Cohen recounts his disturbing and moving story, small but telling inconsistencies appear in his narrative. Heniek begins to believe that Cohen is not the secular Jew he claims to be, but may, in fact, be a student of practical Kabbalah? of magic. Why is he lying? And what is the importance of the anagrams he creates for the names of his friends and relatives? Heniek traces his suspicions and comes to an astonishing conclusion? One that has consequences for his own identity and life, and perhaps for the reader's as well.
“Gutshot Straight has my vote for, among other things, Best McGuffin Ever. Just when you think it can’t get any weirder or quirkier, here comes the scene where... well, I better not give that away. Energetic, droll, and wheezingly funny.” - Stephen Harrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Gates of the Alamo and Challenger Park
“Virtually every character is memorable, and the chemistry between Shake and Gina is brilliant. The plot turns are constant, and the dialogue is sharp. The bad guys are wonderfully scary, and the locales are vividly drawn. Elmore Leonard might be very pleased to call Gutshot Straight his own.” - Booklist, starred review
A fast and funny caper in the tradition of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, and the Coen Brothers, Gutshot Straight brings a fresh new talent into the crime fiction fold: Louis Berney. He’s already won raves for his short fiction collection The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories. With Gutshot Straight, Berney is “all in” - sure to win a fervent following with the story of “Shake” Bouchon, fresh out of prison and on the straight and narrow path…after maybe just one last job.
“Compassionate.... [Hallinan casts] an empathetic but incisive eye on a class of people often reduced to mere caricature.” - Publishers Weekly
“Ferociously compelling and deeply moving – the rare thriller that manages to keep you on the edge of your seat at the same time it opens your eyes and heart.” - Lou Berney, author of Gutshot Straight
American travel writer Poke Rafferty has seen - and survived - some of the worst Bangkok has to offer. But now, finally married to his longtime love, Rose, and raising the young daughter, Miaow, they adopted from the streets, Poke believes his life is stable at last. Then a nightmare figure from Rose's time as a Patpong dancer barges into their world, threatening their peace, their love, their home, their lives. Suddenly Poke's only recourse is to uncover the whole truth of Rose's past - to follow the dark and twisting journey that turned a shy, awkward village teenager into the queen of Asia's most lurid red-light district: Patpong Road. But the secrets that await him may be almost impossible for Poke to accept - and even harder to survive.
“Siegal blends glamour and gutter into a delicious cocktail, equal parts behind-the-scenes dish and crime novel.” - Publishers Weekly
Valerie Vane was an up-and-coming lifestyle reporter at a prominent New York City daily. Then she stumbled, rather publicly, and lost it all - her column, her fiancé, her access behind the city's velvet ropes. Now she's on the obituary desk writing death notices, and it feels like a dead end.
However, when she writes about a recently deceased once-famous graffiti artist, the phone calls start. A mysterious voice on the other end of the line tells her the artist's death was a murder - and if she were a real reporter, she'd investigate.
But can Valerie trade her stilettos for gumshoes?
A Boston Globe Best Nonfiction Book of 2011
"Breezy, anecdotal, and pun-laden yet complete with a selective bibliography of print sources, Sismondo's book surveys a myriad of American drinking establishments, accenting their importance in social, political, and cultural history and discerning subtle differences over the centuries." - Library Journal
When George Washington bade farewell to his officers, he did so in New York's Fraunces Tavern. When Andrew Jackson planned his defense of New Orleans against the British in 1815, he met Jean Lafitte in a grog shop. And when John Wilkes Booth plotted with his accomplices to carry out an assassination, they gathered in Surratt Tavern.
In America Walks into a Bar, Christine Sismondo recounts the rich and fascinating history of an institution often reviled, yet always central to American life. She traces the tavern from England to New England, showing how even the Puritans valued "a good Beere." With fast-paced narration and lively characters, she carries the story through the twentieth century and beyond, from repeated struggles over licensing and Sunday liquor sales, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the temperance movement, from attempts to ban "treating" to Prohibition and repeal. As the cockpit of organized crime, politics, and everyday social life, the bar has remained vital - and controversial - down to the present. In 2006, when the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act was passed, a rider excluded bars from applying for aid or tax breaks on the grounds that they contributed nothing to the community. Sismondo proves otherwise: the bar has contributed everything to the American story.
“Filled with pertinent information on ingredients and serving suggestions, and paired cocktail recipes make nice additions. Include(s) delicious musts such as the classic dish of arancini (rice balls). Its handy trim size and well-shot, full-page color photos make this an appealing gift title, ideal for housewarmings.” - Publishers Weekly
Americans are embracing the small plate craze. They are serving bite-size mini meals - tapas, bar snacks, antipasti, skewered vegetables - whenever they entertain. Simple Italian Snacks shows how to plan a menu for any gathering in the informal yet chic way that Italians have mastered. Here are recipes appropriate for an afternoon by the pool, a fireside get-together with friends, an intimate dinner for two, or a party for a crowd. The dishes, which can be served as hors d'oeuvres or presented as a meal, are easy to prepare, and many can be made ahead of time.
The authors of the wildly successful Simple Italian Sandwiches include all-new bruschetta, tramezzini, and panini as well as classic Italian snacks such as Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce and Rice Balls. They show us how to make any party an event and even include sparkly cocktails. The recipes in Simple Italian Snacks are quick yet incredibly sophisticated and, as always, delicious.