ABOUT

Crooked Lane Books was founded in 2014 to publish the highest quality crime fiction titles in both print and electronic editions. In 2020 we introduced a second line—Alcove Press—to publish upmarket book club fiction that explores family, friendship, and community.

We are distributed to the trade through Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

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OUR TEAM

FAITH BLACK ROSS

Senior Editor Faith Black Ross has been with Crooked Lane Books since 2016 after more than a decade in publishing. Previously she handled mysteries and historical fiction for the Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin Random House). She is particularly interested in mystery projects with strong voices, precocious protagonists, and a touch of humor—dark humor included—especially if it has a great voice and involves history, fun settings, or food and gives her a good laugh (or a good cry, but nothing too mawkish or anything with dead pets).

Authors she wishes she edited include: Lauren Willig, Alan Bradley, Liane Moriarty, Peter Mayle, and Rhys Bowen.

For Crooked Lane, she’s looking for book club fiction, traditional mysteries, and cozies of all shapes and sizes, historical and international mysteries, amateur and female sleuths, as well as thrillers, particularly those of a psychological, suspenseful, upmarket and/or historical variety.

For Alcove Press, Faith would love to receive projects perfect for fans of Paula McLain, Lauren Willig, Liane Moriarty, Graeme Simsion, Amor Towles. Especially if it involves history, fun settings, or food.

MELISSA RECHTER

Editor Melissa Rechter joined Crooked Lane Books in 2019. She has had the pleasure of working with ITW nominees, New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors, as well as a myriad of talented writers.

For Crooked Lane, she is looking for cozy mysteries, domestic suspense and psychological thrillers, horror, and historical mysteries with a feminist bent (from the ’20s, Victorian era, and late Regency). She’d love to find the next Cassandra Khaw, Lucy Foley, or Jennifer Hillier. If a book has cults, serial killers, complicated family dynamics, twisted female friendships, poisonous plants, small town secrets, or is a locked room thriller, it’s right up her alley.

For Alcove Press, she is interested in book club fiction, rom-coms, historical fiction, romantasy, and speculative fiction. Magical realism in the vein of Isabel Allende and Alix E. Harrow or anything witchy in the vein of Practical Magic and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, is perfect for her. She’s also looking for novels that center around found families and overcoming generational trauma, especially through the lens of an eldest or only daughter.

MARCIA MARKLAND

Marica Markland thinks crime fiction writers in general are a most admirable and ingenious bunch, and she is grateful to have been following their literary escapades for a lot of years with acquiring editor jobs at The Mystery Guild and St. Martin’s. Included among her many authors are Ann Cleeves, Arnaldur Indridason, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, John Lier Horst, Daniel Friedman, Martin Fletcher, Ragnar Jonasson, Con Lehane, Hannah Dennison, and a whole lot of other authors who will now be annoyed with her for not being included on this list.

These days she steers away from cozies but loves most other kinds of suspense writing. Her taste is admittedly a bit off the beaten track, so if
you have something unusual to offer, do give her a try.

She is looking for great writing first, quirky characters second, and there should probably also be an extremely clever, never-would-have-guessed-that plot. Not much to ask for – she’s a bit picky but you never know. Every once in a while she’ll go for something that is on the horror/gothic side if the moon is full.

SARA J HENRY

Sara J. Henry grew up devouring anything by John D. MacDonald and every Mary Stewart suspense novel – both of which influenced her award-winning debut novel, Learning to Swim – and nearly wore out her copy of Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar. She’s been a newspaper and magazine editor, worked at Rodale Books as a health, fitness, and sports editor, and was a book doctor and nonfiction editor before turning to editing crime fiction.

Sara loves psychological suspense, thrillers, traditional mysteries, literary horror (think Stephen King), Regency-set novels, quirky or different main characters, and complicated family dynamics, and doesn’t mind a touch of fantasy mixed in. She’d love to see books ideal for fans of Lou Berney, Kate Atkinson, Lisa Lutz, Frances Fyfield, Keith Donohue, or even Georgette Heyer.

TERRI BISCHOFF

Senior Editor Terri Bischoff joined Crooked Lane in 2019. In her twenty-six years working in the book world, she has been a bookseller, bookstore manager, mystery bookstore owner, and finally, an acquiring editor. Previous to CLB, she spent ten years at Midnight Ink as their acquiring editor. Her authors have won many awards, including the Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, and IPPY. She has previously published Jess Lourey, Catriona McPherson, Leonard Goldberg, and acquired the debuts of Kellye Garrett and May Cobb.

Terri’s interests run the gamut of crime fiction from cozies to serial killers. She is looking for domestic and psychological suspense, thrillers, LGBTQIA2S+,
marginalized voices, plots that have an underlying social commentary, cults, and strong female protagonists. Terri has often been heard saying, the more bodies the better.

DAN MAYER

Dan Mayer joined Crooked Lane Books in 2024. He started his career on the retail side of the business and was the national book buyer for mysteries at Waldenbooks, Borders Books, and Barnes & Noble. In 2011, Dan became the Editorial Director for Seventh Street books, whose authors have won many honors, including Anthony, Barry, Lefty, and Macavity Awards.

For Crooked Lane, Dan is interested in a wide variety of mysteries and thrillers, including but not limited to historical mysteries and international crime; traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy mysteries and capers; and police, legal, and forensic procedurals.

TARA GAVIN

Tara Gavin has always loved books. She began her career very early—reading every book she could get her hands on. By the third grade, her after-school place to go was the library. Her favorite books were the classics, women’s fiction, and mysteries. Her collections of the Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Cherry Ames series are still around—being read by her grand-nieces.

She has spent years at Harlequin Books, where she pursued her love of women’s fiction, working with New York Times bestsellers Diana Palmer and Lindsay McKenna, as well as many others. Moving onto Kensington Books, Tara still worked with bestselling women’s fiction authors, but also was able to pursue her love of mysteries and suspense.

She is excited to be working with Alcove Press, where the best of all worlds come together—upmarket, commercial women’s fiction. She loves complex books that entertain and go deeper under the surface of women’s lives. Her wish list contains books similar to those of Anne Tyler, Fannie Flagg, Mary Kay Andrews, Susan Wiggs and Susan Mallery.

She also acquires for Crooked Lane Books, and enjoys suspense, mystery and thrillers—especially women in jeopardy stories, and books with a family component that has secrets to uncover. Let’s face it…she loves to read, and nothing makes her more happy than delving into a book that takes her to a complex, emotional plot.

HOLLY INGRAHAM

Senior Editor Holly Ingraham is an award-winning editor with over fifteen years of industry experience. During her career, she has worked at BookEnds Literary, spent ten years as an in-house acquisitions editor for St. Martin’s Press, and launched Holly Ingraham Editorial in 2018. She joined Alcove Press and Crooked Lane Books in early 2022. For Alcove Press, Holly is looking for upmarket women’s fiction, book club fiction with a commercial hook, family dramas, witty rom-coms and cozy romantasy. On the Crooked Lane side, she is looking for high-concept thrillers with strong female protagonists, locked room mysteries, amateur sleuths, and psychological suspense. Overall, she is especially drawn to complex family dynamics, female friendships, motherhood, and moral dilemmas, as well as diverse casts and underrepresented voices. Holly would love to receive projects perfect for fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Ali Hazelwood, Emily Henry, Jesse Q. Sutanto and Rachel Hawkins.

Jess Verdi

Senior Editor Jess Verdi joined Alcove Press and Crooked Lane Books in 2022, after well over a decade in commercial fiction and romance editorial, including six years as Senior Editor at Simon & Schuster. An author herself, Jess has a 360-degree view of the publishing industry, and enjoys working with authors to bring exciting, thought-provoking, and heartstring-tugging stories to the world. For her Alcove list, she’s especially drawn to laugh-out-loud and swoony commercial rom-coms, romantasy with a strong hook, stories exploring gender and sexuality in fresh ways, and novels featuring complex family and/or racial dynamics. For Crooked Lane, she’s looking for feminist and progressive thrillers and suspense—edgy and sexy are great but nothing too dark or gory, please. Throughout her career, it has been of the utmost importance to Jess to work with BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other historically marginalized voices to bring their work to the publishing landscape—and this remains truer than ever! Jess would love to see projects ideal for fans of Abby Jimenez, Kiley Reid, Tia Williams, Alexis Hall, Mia Sosa, and Lev AC Rosen.

TONI KIRKPATRICK

Toni Kirkpatrick began her publishing career at St. Martin’s Press, where she worked for more than a decade acquiring crime and other commercial fiction. Her titles won ALA, Anthony, Nero, Shamus, RT Book, and International Latino Book Awards, were finalists for Agatha and Edgar Awards, and made best of year lists on Kirkus, Booklist, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Sun Sentinel. Toni joined Crooked Lane Books and Alcove Press in 2019. She serves on the board of Latinx in Publishing.

For Crooked Lane: She is looking for clever traditional mysteries that may or may not lend themselves to pun-ny titles, grittier mysteries, noir, suspense, and thrillers. She is intrigued by crime fiction that explores social issues or moral questions.

For Alcove Press: She is looking for book club fiction that is sexy, humorous, and/or haunting. She would love to find stories that highlight contemporary women’s issues, family dynamics, friendship, motherhood, and the immigrant or multicultural experience.

Toni is very interested in novels by people of color and has pursued and published these throughout her career. She especially hopes to read the stories of those writing from Latine, Afro-Latine, or indigenous perspectives. Works that step into speculative or horror territory are welcome.

REBECCA NELSON

Editorial Associate Rebecca Nelson has been at Crooked Lane Books since 2021, after internships at several agencies and publishers. For Crooked Lane Books, she is primarily looking for dark psychological thrillers, inventive and unsettling serial killer thrillers with non-police protagonists, and truly scary horror, especially with biting social commentary. She’d love to find books with similar vibes as the movies Barbarian, The Descent, or Fresh. Additionally, she is interested in historical mysteries/thrillers/horror with a speculative / magical element like The Death of Jane Lawrence; and select true crime along the lines of American Predator or Stiff.
For Alcove Press, she is focusing on upmarket fiction; stories inspired by cultural folklore or mythology; light, cozy fantastical stories like Under the Whispering Door; narrative but research-heavy nonfiction a la The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks; and queer romcoms with a strong hook. She especially enjoys anything with a ‘late bloomer’ story, and books of any genre involving baseball, like The Art of Fielding or Evvie Drake Starts Over. She is especially interested in queer and BIPOC voices in all her genres of interest. She is not the right fit for cozy mysteries, hard SFF, spy/cop/action thrillers, war settings, self-help or inspirational non-fiction.

BEN LEROY

Ben LeRoy is the former founder and publisher of the critically respected crime and literary fiction imprints Bleak House Books (2001-2009) and Tyrus Books (2009-2017) before the later was sold to Simon & Schuster. He is interested in quiet crime novels that explore the human condition through the prism of tragedy and its aftermath. He is not interested in books with car chases, explosions, government officials (police, FBI, CIA, etc.), organized crime, serial killers, or  high body counts. He is not interested in horror or sci-fi. He is on an extended hiatus and will not be able to respond during that time. 

STEPHANIE MANOVA

Stephanie Manova oversees subsidiary rights sales for Crooked Lane Books and Alcove Press. She handles domestic audio, film, and large print rights as well as foreign rights. Before joining Crooked Lane and Alcove, Stephanie was a foreign rights agent at Trident Media Group. She has also held positions at Macmillan Learning, the Experiment, W. W. Norton, and GenZ Publishing. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Boston University and a certificate in manuscript editing from the University of Chicago.

MEGAN MATTI

Subsidiary Rights Assistant Megan Matti graduated with a BA in Sociology and Communication: Journalism and Public Interest Communication from the University of Washington, where she was the prose editor for Bricolage Literary and Visual Arts Magazine. Prior to working at Crooked Lane Books, she interned at Storm Literary Agency and attended the Columbia Publishing Course. Her favorite genres are literary fiction, rom-com, magical realism, and anything a little bit strange.

DULCE BOTELLO

Marketing and Publicity Coordinator Dulce Botello graduated with a BA in Arts, Media and Entertainment from the University of Arizona, and with an MS in Publishing from NYU. During her undergraduate studies, Dulce interned at Kore Press, a nonprofit feminist press. She also interned with Macmillan Publishers in the subrights department where upon graduation she joined the special sales division. Dulce loves to read everything and anything that lands on her lap but has a special affinity for dystopian stories, thrillers and the occasional fantasy.

THAISHEEMARIE FANTAUZZI PÉREZ

Editorial and Production Assistant Thaisheemarie Fantauzzi Pérez graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a BA in Comparative Literature, a minor in Communications and Writing, and a curricular sequence in Italian; she also has an MS in Publishing from NYU. Before joining Crooked Lane Books, Thai interned at Simon & Schuster. She enjoys reading everything from mysteries to holiday romances, and some of her favorite authors are Carmen María Machado and Elizabeth Acevedo.

MIKAELA BENDER

Marketing Assistant Mikaela Bender graduated with a BA in Editing, Writing, and Media and a minor in Communication from Florida State University. She was previously an Agency Assistant at the Carol Mann Agency and the Rights Manager and Assistant to Jennifer Lyons at the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. Her favorite genres are romcom and magical realism.

DOUG WHITE

Director of Publishing Operations Doug White began his publishing career as a bookseller and soon moved into publishing operations, purchasing and sales.  He has sold books to all major North American accounts while working for publishers and distributors including Macmillan, Diamond Book Distributors and Fox Chapel Publishing. Titles he has sold ranged from NYT bestsellers to graphic novels, science fiction/fantasy, children’s books/games/toys.  At Bloomsbury Publishing, Doug ran the US operations group and managed distribution partnerships.  He enjoys reading history and science fiction, keeping one eye on the past and another on the future. He is a proud alumnus of Penn State University.

 
 

MATT MARTZ

Publisher Matt Martz launched Crooked Lane Books in 2014 and Alcove Press in 2020. He began his trade career at St. Martin’s Press where he acquired both crime fiction and nonfiction, and has published New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. He enjoys crime fiction of all kinds. He is particularly drawn to small town settings, stories with compelling family dynamics, and seemingly ordinary characters who harbor dark and explosive secrets. In addition to crime fiction, Matt is also looking for nonfiction from thought leaders with the ideas and voice to start the movements that change the way we think and live.

Interested in joining the Crooked Lane team?

We’re looking to fill the the following positions:

Position: Senior Editor, Crime Fiction

Location: New York, NY

Position: Freelance Designer
Location: Remote

Position: Intern
Location: New York, NY