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50 Years of Island Books: Kevin O'Brien

Before his thrillers landed him on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists, Kevin O’Brien was a railroad inspector. The author of 21 internationally-published thrillers, he won the Spotted Owl Award for Best Pacific Northwest Mystery and served on the board of Seattle 7 Writers. Press & Guide said: “If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today and writing novels, his name would be Kevin O’Brien.” Kevin O’Brien’s latest nail-biter, The Enemy at Home, just hit shelves in August 2023.

Miriam: Welcome Kevin! What does it take to get you over the bridge to visit us at Island Books?

Kevin: It’s a bit of a challenge for me to get to Island Books. I live on Capitol Hill and don’t have a car. But when my friend, Garth Stein, had a book signing there, I was up for the task! The light rail and a bus got me to Island Books in just over an hour. The store, at first glance, struck me as “quaint.” Then I stepped inside, and saw it went on and on and on! Laurie and the staff were so warm and friendly—and total pros. And what a wonderful selection of books, cards and fun knickknacks. I became an instant fan of Island Books. The customers and sales people all seemed to know each other. I kept thinking, if “Cheers” was a bookstore, it would be Island Books.

Fall Events at Island Books!

Island Books has so much going on in the next few months! Check out all the happenings below:

September 9th at 11am author Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos will be signing his new book, Paper Bag Poems in Pioneer Park.

September 10th at 12pm author Garth Stein and illustrator Matthew Southworth will be here to launch the second installment of their graphic series The Cloven -- and also host a weenie roast!

September 14th at 6pm on Zoom join our Virtual Knitting Book Club led by Lori as we discuss Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez, and our current works in progress.

September 21st at 6:30pm author Bob Muglia will be in conversation with Geek Wire's Todd Bishop, discussing Bob's new book, The Datapreneurs.

September 27th at 6:30pm author Kevin O'Brien will be in conversation with Jennie Shortridge discussing his new novel, The Enemy at Home.

September 28th at 7:30pm Island Books Open Book Club will be discussing Trust by Hernan Diaz.

Book Notes: Thornhedge

Sometimes the very last weeks of summer call for a slim novella you can finish in a day. And if you’re in a mood for a fractured fairy tale, then Thornhedge, by T. Kingfisher, might be perfect. 

From the author of Nettle & Bone, a favorite of mine, Thornhedge reimagines the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale by wondering why a young princess would need to be contained by a magical sleep in a high tower, buttressed by miles of thorny hedges. We meet Toadling, the not-quite-human/not-quite-fairy -- able to transform into a toad and with a watery magic of her own. She is the last remaining guardian to the potential catastrophe sleeping behind a bricked up door. She is the one who feels responsible and helpless and trapped all at once. Toadling has watched the world go by and prayed that none would come investigating. That the world would forget the story and the tower and the girl-like-thing asleep within it. Toadling can almost believe they have been forgotten. Until one day a knight makes camp outside the briars.


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