Thanks for your support!

My latest book, A GOOD KILLING, got off to a great start because of you. Thanks so much for buying it, for telling friends, and for posting wonderful reviews! I’m very grateful to all my fantastic friends and readers.


The critics were also kind. A GOOD KILLING was named one of “The Summer’s Best of The Best” by O, The Oprah Magazine!


The Washington Post  also gave the whole series a nod, saying “[Leotta is] a writer exceptionally well-informed on crimes against women….These are smart, tough-minded tales, well worth a look.”


I’m thrilled to announce two terrific upcoming events. Come if you can!

Monday, October 5 at 6:30 pm
Busboys & Poets Takoma Park
“Women Crime Writers”
I’ll interview the fabulous Sarah Weinman, the foremost expert on American crime fiction. It should be a fascinating discussion. Free and open to the public.

Thursday, October 15 at 6:00 pm
Benefit for the Maryland Women’s Law Center
@ Goucher College, $100/ticket
For more info email


To thank you for your support, I’ll send you a signed copy of SPEAK OF THE DEVIL if you posted (or post in the next two weeks) an honest review of A GOOD KILLING on AmazonBarnes & Noble, or Goodreads. Just shoot a link of your review and your mailing address to and I’ll pop the book in the mail. Thanks!

Hope you’re having a great autumn, and enjoying back-to-school time (I am!) and this beautiful cool weather.

Happy reading!

How To Plan a Murder in Washington, D.C.

I had the honor of speaking at the Smithsonian last night, leading a seminar called “How to Plan a Murder in DC.” I didn’t actually teach any deadly moves, but talked about how DC serves as a great setting for thrilling stories in novels and TV. As part of the seminar, the audience helped plot a murder using people, places and motives that are uniquely DC. We took suggestions and voted – winners got copies of my books (of course). The winning plot – and their creators –  are listed here:

Setting:   The Library of Congress (Janice McLean)
Killer:   The Director of the FBI (Charles Leven)
Victims:   The Nationals Relief Pitcher (Charles Cowan) and the CIA Director (Cathy Wiley)
Method:   With a baseball bat (Lisa King)
Motive:   The pitcher is a spy, and the CIA director was covering it up (Jennifer Skidmore)

This was a mishmash of ideas, but all together, I actually think this could be a decent novel. :)

Incidentally, Cathy Wiley, the woman who suggested the CIA director as a victim, was at the seminar with three other women… who were celebrating her bridal shower! I asked if Cathy’s husband-to-be knew that she was having her bachelorette party at a “How to Plan a Murder” seminar, and she said he wasn’t worried.  At least she has an alibi for last night. Congratulations, Cathy, and thanks for making my seminar your last hurrah as a single lady.

While we’re plotting murders in DC, here are a few more suggestions, from friends who helped me brainstorm this on Facebook:

Tim Hepp: “With a fountain pen in the Politics & Prose fiction room.”

Ed Uthman: “Murder in the Ford Theater, then posing the body in the diorama in the Natural History Meusum, leaving the clue, ‘Sic semper Tyrannosaurus.'”

Professor Ross Emmett: “Federal sex crimes prosecutor found dead in the sand at the base of the Smithsonian’s Foucault pendulum.”  (Yikes!)

Kathleen Teller-Stamis: “Someone takes out Boehner in his office, makes it look like over-tanning combined with lung cancer.”

Suzanne Libby: “An associate’s office at any law firm downtown – they’ve been snuffing out people’s souls for years.”

And my favorite, from the brilliant thriller writer Patrick Lee:

“The Supreme Court justices are stealing the Hope Diamond from the National Museum of Natural History. A janitor catches them. They tie him up, then decide 5 to 4 to kill him.”

Read on…

Here are a few articles that I wrote recently for other sites.  Readers of this blog might enjoy them, so I’m posting the links below.

I think we need to recalibrate our understanding of sexual assault: specifically, our understanding of who poses a danger to us and our kids.  More often than not, it’s the devil you know.  To find out why, read The Monster in the Three-Button Suit on Above the Law.

TV crime fans may appreciate the guest post I contributed to  Joyce Lamb’s Happily Ever After column on USA Today: The Top 5 Things TV Crime Dramas Get Wrong.

And, of course, I’d love for you to stop by Simon & Schuster’s website and read the first chapter of my latest novel, A GOOD KILLING.  Romance Reviews Today gave it their highest rating, a “Perfect 10.”

I hope you’ll like it, too!

My next book launch!

My fourth book, A GOOD KILLING, comes out May 12th!  I’m so excited to share it with you.

This is my best book yet. Anna goes home to Michigan to defend her sister against a murder charge. The story is about the bond between sisters, corruption in a small town, and the very different choices two women make to try to save the people they love.

I’ve been thrilled to hear some early reviews.

AGoodKilling-cvrLibrary Journal gave A GOOD KILLING a starred review, saying, “Leotta spins a delicious tale of suspense that will have readers hurrying to find out what happens but at the same time wanting to savor each page. This highly entertaining thriller shouldn’t be missed.”
Linda Fairstein said, “Leotta is one of the very best crime writers today. If you haven’t read her powerful series yet, start here.”

Please pre-order A GOOD KILLING today:

And I would love to see you at a book signing.  Check out my Events page to find a signing near you.
Thanks for your support, and happy reading!

Happy New Year!

Happy new year!  I hope you had a great time celebrating, hanging with friends, watching the ball drop on TV, or doing whatever makes you happiest.  Every New Year’s Eve, my husband and I sit down and recall our favorite moments of the year.  I won’t bore you with tales of the cute things my kids said, but here are a few of my favorite professional moments of 2014.

In August, I was a featured speaker at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Boston.  It was a wonderful honor, but what made it even better was that my father — also a former federal prosecutor — flew into town for the event.  I got to publicly  thank him for inspiring me with his work, his love, and his ideals.

2014 ABA Annual Meeting Speakers, Allison Leotta

Sure, Justice Roberts gave an inspiring speech. But did he make his dad cry?

On the way to Boston, my family and I stopped by Martha’s Vineyard to attend a book signing hosted by the terrific Linda Fairstein.  Linda was Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA’s Office for decades and now writes thrillers drawing on her experience.  As a prosecutor, she’s a personal hero of mine.  As a writer, she rocks.  I was thrilled to appear with Linda and Joseph Finder at the lovely Edgartown Books mystery brunch. My husband, Mike, deserves great credit for somehow making our kids appear to be polite and well-bred citizens of the world during these events.  The kiddos themselves had a blast in Massachusetts, not only practicing how to sit quietly during speeches, but also beachcombing, swimming and learning how to eat lobster.

Edgartown Books manager Susan Mercier, Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, Allison Leotta

Edgartown Books manager Susan Mercier, Linda Fairstein, Joseph Finder, yours truly

Cary Elwes and Allison Leotta

With apologies to Princess Buttercup.


In May, my publisher, Simon & Schuster, celebrated its 90th anniversary with a party at the beautiful Highline Hotel.  I feel so fortunate to be part of this incredible publishing tradition, working with some of the best editors and business people in the the country.  That night, I met Cary Elwes — yes, Wesley of The Princess Bride! — who recently published a book about making the movie.  He graciously told all the ladies “As you wish,” which elicited more than a few shrieks. He kissed my hand and said it was a pleasure to meet me, and I displayed great dignity by not swooning.



A Good Killing: A Novel

Best of all: I finished my fourth novel!    I’m so excited about this book — it’s my best one so far.  This is the fourth outing for my series heroine, Anna Curtis.  She goes home to Michigan to defend her sister Jody against a murder charge.  The story tackles issues like the rape-kit backlog, public corruption, and Detroit’s attempt at a comeback.  It’s also the most personal case for Anna yet.  I can’t wait for you to be able to read it.  A GOOD KILLING will come out this May, 2015 (you can pre-order it now).


Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying the first days of 2015, and that the new year brings you much luck, good health, happiness, success, and love!




I have a book recommendation for you! It’s David Lat’s SUPREME AMBITIONS. You probably know Lat as the founder of Above the Law, the website where young lawyers go for their legal news and gossip. Before founding that company, Lat was a Yale Law student, Ninth Circuit law clerk, and federal prosecutor – so he knows what he’s talking about in his debut novel. [Read more…]


Hi guys. I’m sorry to announce that I’m taking a hiatus from blogging about Law & Order: SVU for the next few months. Most of you know that reality-checking TV is my hobby but writing novels is my real job. I’m under a tight deadline to deliver my fifth novel by February. To do that, I’ve got to hunker down, cancel my cable subscription, stop consuming other people’s stories, and put everything I’ve got into my own creation.

This hiatus feels strange. I’ve been evaluating SVU for the past four years, and this is the first break.  I’m not used to getting a good night’s sleep on Wednesdays!  I’m going to miss, most of all, your comments – I truly love the smart, funny observations that you guys make. But I’ll be back next spring, reality-checking TV and maybe even doing some bigger and better things with the blog. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, thanks for your support.  Happy viewing!

SVU Episode #16-4: Holden’s Manifesto

Tonight’s SVU ripped its story from the headlines of Elliott Rodger, the “virgin killer” who published a deranged manifesto about his misogynist rage and non-existent sex life before going on a killing spree.


A creepy young man named Holden Chase uses his phone to film himself lurking around New York while monologuing about how much he hates women who have rejected him, men who are more sexually successful than him, and his own virginity. [Read more…]