Friday, July 1, 2016

Straight Chatting from the Library: Colleen J. Shogan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Colleen J. Shogan will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

Anything Nancy Drew. I read the original series first, and then moved onto the more modern version. An editor at a major publishing house once described Stabbing in the Senate as “Nancy Drew Goes to Washington.” I thought she was exactly right!

Tell us about your current book in 10 words.

Congressional staffer clears her boss of murder during government shutdown.

What are you reading right now?

Stephen King’s On Writing. At the Library of Congress (where I work) we will be hosting him in September for the National Book Festival. I’ve read several King novels over the years, but On Writing is my favorite.

E-Reader or print? and why?

I mostly read on Kindle these days. It’s easier when I travel and I like sitting outside in the sun while I read. The Kindle is ideal for the reader on the go. Also, if I’m unhappy with a book I’m reading, it’s a piece of cake to switch to another one.

Favorite book you've read this year?

I really enjoyed Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It was unusual but also mysterious and well-written. I also liked the crossover storylines linking in Sherlock Holmes.

When do you do most of your reading?

At night, right before I go to bed. Without fail, if I read for a while, I will get sleepy and drift off.

Favorite book to recommend?

There’s so many! Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs was amazing to me. I couldn’t wait to climb into bed and read another chapter. For fiction, I absolutely could not put down A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have a lot of favorite mystery/crime authors, but one I consistently love is Linda Fairstein.

Re-reader or not?

When I was younger, I would re-read books. These days, my time for leisure reading is limited so I never do it.


During a government shutdown, Kit’s congresswoman boss is found standing over the dead body of a top staffer she tangled with in front of the press. The police are about to name her as the prime suspect. The weapon was the Speaker’s gavel, an item entrusted to the congresswoman the previous night. The killer knows Kit is on the case. Can she solve the mystery in time to save her job and her life?


Smartphones are great time wasters. I fiddled with various apps as I waited. The next level of “Angry Birds” was within my grasp when I heard footsteps and voices across the hallway. I got up and stood in the doorway to greet my boss.

From the look on her face, she was not pleased. She charged like a linebacker to the exit of the Speaker’s lair with Jack Drysdale on her heels.

“Stop, Congresswoman Dixon. You’re not listening to reason!” From behind, Drysdale placed his hand on Maeve’s left shoulder in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the suite.

Maeve had impressive reflexes. She turned her body toward him and grabbed his wrist with her right hand. “Don’t touch me! Is this how the Speaker’s staff treat members of the House?” Her voice was loud and filled with vitriol.

The gaggle of reporters who had been relaxing inside the anteroom trailed behind me. This was better than a boring pen and pad session. One of them murmured, “I think that’s Dixon from North Carolina.”

This was not a good development, but Maeve didn’t know that the press had a front row seat to her implosion.

Maeve clutched Drysdale’s wrist for several seconds until she let it go. Apparently her physical assault didn’t intimidate him. He ran ahead and stopped directly in front of her.

Stretching his arms out wide to slow her down, Jack made his last stand. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have done that. Please come back in the office so we can sort this out. You’re a valuable part of this caucus and the Speaker wants to work with you on this deal.”

Maeve shook her head. “You guys in House leadership are typical politicians. You can’t take no for an answer. I’m not ready to make a decision. Now get out of my way.”

Unmoving, Drysdale locked eyes with Maeve. She didn’t look away and squared her shoulders. I could almost feel the tension around me as the reporters anxiously waited for the outcome. What was Maeve going to do? Knee him in the groin if he didn’t back down?

After a moment that seemed like an eternity, Drysdale gave in and stepped aside. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and hurried into the hallway to catch up with her. As we exited the corridor, I glanced back to the doorway where I’d been standing. Every reporter was on his or her phone, ostensibly calling in the most salacious story of the shutdown thus far. A junior member of Congress and the Speaker’s top aide had nearly come to blows in the Capitol. A high school reporter could make that story fly.


Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

Twitter: @cshogan276


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  1. Thanks for the great interview.

  2. Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed reading it and thanks for the giveaway :)

  3. Thank you for sharing this interesting excerpt!

  4. It's been a fun tour!


  5. I've enjoyed following the tour for Homicide in the House and can't wait to read it. It's been great read all of the excerpts and interviews along the way - thanks for sharing :)

  6. How did you come up with the title?

  7. I have enjoyed the tour. The book sounds great.

  8. I loved Nancy Drew too! They were my favorite series to read when I was growing up. Well I have really enjoyed following the Homicide in the House tour and I wish you continued success with your book and in all of your future endeavors! :)

  9. Thanks everyone for following my tour!