Reviews & Features

The Sister Queens by Justin Scott

Kirkus Reviews

THE SISTER QUEENS, Author: Justin Scott, Review Issue Date: December 1, 2023, Online Publish Date: November 4,2023, Publisher: Severn House, Pages: 256, Price( Hardcover): $31.99, Publication Date: February 6, 2024, ISBN (Hardcover): 9781448312740, Section: Fiction

The intrigue swirling around Queen Elizabeth I and her long-dead cousin Mary Queen of Scots envelops William Shakespeare, who’s pressed to write a play that’s guaranteed to make a bad situation worse.Anthony Bacon, spymaster to the Earl of Essex, snatches Will from a London street to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Either Will writes The Sister Queens, a new play that barely fictionalizes the rivalry between Elizabeth and the kinswoman she had executed, or Bacon will call out Will’s mother, Mary Arden Shakespeare, who’s never renounced her Catholicism. The plot twist Bacon insists on is that Mary never plotted treason against the Queen; she was falsely accused on the basis of trumped-up evidence. The play, which Will can hardly decline to write, will surely bring the unnerving partisanship of 1600 England to a full boil. So even as he works on The Sister Queens, he makes every effort to identify the power behind Bacon who’s making this foolhardy demand. Is it the spymaster’s brother, Queen’s Counsel Extraordinary Francis Bacon, or Essex himself, or possibly even Will’s patron, the Earl of Southampton? Will is haunted at every turn by the spirit of Father Valente, an unrepentant Jesuit friend who’s been hanged at Tyburn prison. Now if only Father Val could tell him the identity of the prime mover of this dastardly plot, or even what corner of Will’s world was likely to produce the next threat to his life and his peace of mind. Veteran Scott crams in enough historical detail for a miniseries before identifying a mastermind who’s likely to leave readers as shocked as Will is.

Forty Days and Forty Nights by Amber Edwards and Justin Scott

Publishers Weekly

Forty Days and Forty Nights: A Novel of the Mississippi River Amber Edwards and Justin Scott. Univ. of Louisiana at Lafayette, $20 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-1-946160-76-8

Clementine Price, the capable heroine of this gripping thriller from film director Edwards and Edgar finalist Scott (the Ben Abbott series), grew up on the banks of the Mississippi and studied hydraulic engineering and river science at West Point. As a first lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, she’s selected by Col. Robert Garcia to be his adjutant in the Memphis District of the Corps. Ten years later, unprecedented torrential rains are forecast along the Mississippi, and the Corps has activated emergency management operations to assess and repair any damage to their system of levees and dams, which have kept the river and its tributaries in check. Clementine discovers that the looming natural disaster has played into the hands of a highly organized and technologically savvy white supremacist group that’s intent on creating an independent republic within the U.S. The authors create a plausible and chilling scenario, peopling it with a large and vividly rendered cast. The romance that develops between Clementine and Robert, meanwhile, never slows the breakneck pace. Readers looking for action and adventure on a cinematic scale will be rewarded. (Oct.)

Click here to see review on PW website

Why a Pen Name?

The Boston Globe report Author Unknown on being Justin Scott's Pen Name

"Paul Garrison is tired. The man of the sea, with a permanent squint from scanning a thousand horizons, is tired of the games, the disguises, the elaborate cover stories. He's through with deceiving friends, colleagues, and clients. After years in the shadows, he is throwing off his mask and revealing his true identity.

After publishing several books under his real name and a few under pen names known to his publishers, the man who is Paul Garrison went undercover. He became the swashbuckling mariner who spends as much time as he can at sea - except when managing business interests from his Hong Kong base. He published five novels of adventure on the high seas with..." read more

For Paul Garrison's side of the story, read his Readers Digest interview

Justin Scott notes: Readers Digest Condensed Books, whether in the U.S. or U.K. and every other country in the world is the most generous publisher any writer has ever known. When they bought condensation rights to my first Ben Abbott novel, HardScape, they invited me to a splendid lunch at corporate headquarters in Pleasantville, New York, and pleasant it was, held in a charming 18th Century cottage on their property, and followed by a tour of their enormous collection of French Impressionist paintings. But their generosity extended well beyond lunch. Instead of taking world rights, their custom was to let their foreign partners re-issue the condensed book in translation and pay the American writer, again, for translation rights. Literary agents were known to weep with frustration, unable to figure out the scam, because it wasn’t a scam, it was just plain generosity. read more

Paul Garrison

Why a Pen Name?

"When I first started writing, pen names were used so a writer wouldn’t seem too prolific. Speed was equated with hack work. Young and energetic, I turned out four novels my first year. The first was not literate. The second, barely, but attracted a literary agent who sold the third. When I handed him the fourth, he explained that one hardcover novel a year was considered a proper, stately pace..." read more

Collaboration with Clive Cussler

See Justin Scott on Collaborating with Clive Cussler. Video courtesy Hudson West.

Why Collaborate?

When Clive Cussler invited me to collaborate on a sequel to The Chase—a western detective novel featuring a brand new character named Isaac Bell—I decided there were two reasons to accept. Obviously, collaborating with a mega-bestselling writer offered the opportunity to clamber aboard the New York Times bestseller list. Collaborating also promised a sort of mid-course correction, where I would learn writing tricks beyond those I had taught myself in the course of twenty-nine books. I had done very well for myself, but when it came to selling lots and lots of books, he had done it more

Articles & Interviews

The New York Times

The New York Times, Marilyn Stasio, February 4, 2007, Murder Most Suburban

"... In “McMansion,” Justin Scott gleefully blows up an S.U.V. dealership and buries a greedy real estate developer under his own bulldozer. Ben Abbott, the private eye in his series, has a day job as a real estate agent in Newbury, Conn., a quaint fictional village located somewhere in the Metro-North commuting corridor. Happiest when he’s showing an old Colonial to a client hunting for an antique house with beehive ovens, Ben takes aesthetic offense at the five-bedroom “monstrosities” polluting this rural environment with their Palladian windows, triumphal arches and two-story marble foyers that “hailed the street like neon dollar signs.” In this bucolic neck of the woods, where rampant development is chewing up all the old farmland, that’s reason enough to murder..." read more




Associated Press

Review: 'The Striker' is a great action thriller By JEFF AYERS, March 5, 2013

"...The Striker: an Isaac Bell Adventure" (Putnam), by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.

The sixth adventure featuring early 20th-century detective Isaac Bell might be the best yet in the series by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott.

"The Striker" focuses on Bell's first big case at the Van Dorn Detective Agency. It's 1902, and one of the big issues at the time involves corporations trying to squash labor unions.

Rumors of unionist saboteurs in the coal mines send Bell on a clandestine mission to keep the peace while maintaining the coal output..." read more






Sail Magazine

Profile: Justin Scott, By Meredith Laitos, Jun 21, 2013

"When Justin Scott wrote The Shipkiller in 1978, it made the New York Times Book Review list and earned a spot on the International Thriller Writers list, Thrillers: 100 Best Reads, alongside The Odyssey, The Bourne Identity and The Hunt for Red October. TIME magazine wrote, “The saga…is as heady as Francis Chichester’s narrative, with a draught of Melville and a slosh of Josh Slocum.”

Since The Shipkiller, Scott has written 29 more novels, some under the pen name Paul Garrison, and has established himself as something truly unique: a successful sailing fiction writer. The Shipkiller is enjoying a 35th anniversary reprint, so we caught up with the author to learn what it takes to write a compelling sailing saga..." read more