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Now in Paperback!

Too Bad to Die

A tense and enthralling World War II thriller: British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming races to foil a Nazi plot to assassinate FDR, Churchill and Stalin.

November 1943. Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy, intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much more exciting than his own life...until the critical Tehran Conference, when Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin meet to finalize the D-Day invasion.

With the Big Three in one place, Fleming is tipped off that Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the conference. Seizing his chance to play a part in a real-life action story, Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer. Between martinis with beautiful women, he survives brutal attacks and meets a seductive Soviet spy who may know more than he realizes. As he works to uncover the truth and unmask the assassin, Fleming is forced to accept that betrayal sometimes comes from the most unexpected quarters--and that one's literary creations may prove eerily close to one's own life.

Brilliantly inventive, utterly gripping and suspenseful, Too Bad To Die is Francine Mathews's best novel yet, and confirms her place as a master of historical fiction.

Listen to Francine's interview with Colorado Public Radio host Ryan Warner

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Playboy review
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Washingtonian feature
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New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
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An Amazon Best Book for March pick
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice pick

...fast, fun and wonderfully intelligent."
   —The New York Times (read the full review)

"Mathews (Jack 1939) delivers a literate and sophisticated what-if historical thriller...even though readers know the Fencer doesn't succeed, they will be caught up in suspense reminiscent of Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal." Starred Review
   —Publishers Weekly (read the full review)

"Mathews writes well, keeps the pace brisk and has great fun re-creating historical personages."
   —Kirkus (read the full review)

"Mathews seeds the intrigue with believable spycraft and references to Bond lore—vodka martinis, testicle torture, shady SMERSH operatives—that make the reading especially fun for Bond fans."
   —Playboy Magazine (read the full review)

"...fast-paced, multi-layered, and brazenly tackles multiple historical figures."
   —Book Riot (read the full review)

"...masterfully weaves fact and fiction into a high-pitched thriller that keeps us spellbound from the very first pages. Great plotting, exotic locales and historical characters who positively come alive on the page, with some delightful sly winks along the way."
   —Jeffery Deaver

"Francine Mathews—Georgetown Visitation grad, onetime CIA analyst, and general overachiever ("all but dissertation" in history at Stanford, 20-plus novels to her name, including a dozen mysteries under the pseudonym Stephanie Barron)—has a new espionage thriller, Too Bad to Die. Like Mathews's previous novel, the well-received Jack 1939, which put an imagined John F. Kennedy in Europe on a spy mission for Franklin Roosevelt, this one mixes fact, fiction, and World War II: Working as an intelligence officer at 1943's Tehran Conference, a young Ian Fleming (a decade before birthing James Bond) tries to foil a Nazi plot."
   —Washingtonian Magazine

"The World War II era is fertile soil for writers of crime fiction, and Francine Mathews follows hard on the heels of her exceptional Jack 1939 (2012) with a crackerjack espionage thriller, Too Bad to Die...The book is great sport for lovers of quick-fire espionage yarns, filtered through the lens of one of the most pivotal eras in world history."
   —Bookpage (read the full review)

"Most people know that Ian Fleming, the creator of icon James Bond, did in fact serve in the British Naval Intelligence. Mathews cleverly imagines an alternate history in which Fleming, making up spy stories in his head to pass the time at his boring desk job, is tipped off that a Nazi assassin has infiltrated the 1943 Tehran conference, where all the Allied leaders—including Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin—have gathered to plan the D-Day invasion. Fleming, who can't convince his superiors of the danger, sees his chance to act out his spy fantasies, and the result is a surprisingly tense and incredibly fun pseudo-historic romp that will leave you too excited to sleep." TOP THRILLER PICK
   —Barnes & Noble

"Just how much was Ian Fleming really his superhero Bond? It's a tough call. Author Mathew's interplay between the two is seamless, and only she knows where Ian Fleming ends and James Bond begins. The writing is urbane with a touch of humor, and the plot is absolutely brilliant.... The portrayal of the master mystery writer and his alter-ego is superb. If Ian Fleming hadn't invented James Bond, Francine Mathews would have."
   —Denver Post (read the full review)

"We expect certain things from a spring break beach read: intrigue, romance, engaging characters, and a fast-moving plot. Denverite Francine Mathews' Too Bad To Die delivers on all fronts."
   —5280 [The Denver Magazine] (read the full review)

Riverhead, hardcover, March 2015, ISBN: 9781594631795
Riverhead, trade paperback, March 2016, ISBN: 9781101983362