Paula Hawkins has something to smile about. Her novel, The Girl on the Train, will top this week's New York Times bestseller list. That's quite a feat for any author, let alone an unknown: This is the first time that a debut novel* has made the #1 spot in its first week on sale since Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian was published in 2005. According to the publishers, Riverhead, more than 300,000 copies are in print, and the book is being sold at unconventional retail outlets, including Urban Outfitters.
We weren't surprised to hear that the unexpected twists and turns of The Girl on the Train got readers buzzing—they definitely had our editors intrigued. In her BookPage interview, Hawkins talked about the difficulty of surprising readers with twists that still manage to function as an "ah-ha" moment.
“It’s all about feeding tiny pieces of information, but hopefully keeping them slightly ambivalent. You have to have different people see different things in different ways, and hold back particular pieces of information,” she explains.
Hawkins is hard at work on another book, although it is quite likely that touring for The Girl on the Train will be keeping her busy for the next several weeks—she'll be appearing at Nashville's own Parnassus Books on February 8.
Have you picked up The Girl on the Train yet?
*Hawkins has published other novels under a pseudonym—we're betting they are on the way to the printers as we speak.
Merry Christmas! Thought today might be a good time to let Stephen King's millions of readers (a group I've been a member of since my tweens) know that the unstoppable, prolific author (seriously, has anyone considered putting King and Joyce Carol Oates in a write-off?) has a new book, Finders Keepers, coming in June 2015. And it stars the same "winning trio" of detectives he introduced in his June 2014 release, Mr. Mercedes.
Another return to theme for King: The novel's antagonist is a "vengeful reader" who is upset that his favorite author, the Salinger-like John Rothstein, is no longer writing books. Shades of Misery, anyone?
Author photo by Sean Leonard.
Author Kimberly McCreight had a hit on her hands with her suspenseful 2013 debut, Reconstructing Amelia, the story of a grieving mother trying to figure out what made her teenaged daughter leap from the roof of her exclusive private school.
McCreight's second novel, Where They Found Her, which Harper will publish on April 14, also starts with the discovery of a body. But this time, instead of a teenager, it's an unidentified infant. Freelance journalist Molly, a new local resident, is hired to cover the story, but her search for answers uncovers some dangerous small-town secrets.
The publisher describes the book as "another harrowing, gripping novel that marries psychological suspense with an emotionally powerful story about a community struggling with the consequences of a devastating discovery."
Sounds like an intriguing follow-up to an Edgar- and Anthony-award nominee to us! And that's not all: McCreight also has a YA trilogy in the works, set for a 2016 release, so fans have a lot to look forward to.
You heard it here first, folks: The film version of Tom Rob Smith's gripping thriller, Child 44, will be hitting theaters in October. We got the news from the author himself, at Grand Central's BEA party last week.
Set in Stalin's Russia, the book is a nail-biting, gasp inducing thriller of the first order about a civil servant, Leo Demidov, who is investigating a serial killer. Problem is, in Stalin's perfect society, serial killers aren't supposed to exist.
With novelist Richard Price writing the screenplay and actors like Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Gary Oldham (aka Sirius Black), this is one book-to-film adaptation that I have high hopes for. Smith told us that he visited the set in Prague (filming in Russia being sort of tricky these days) and met with the cast—turns out Gary Oldman had read not only the book in question, but the entire series.
What book-to-film adapatations are you looking forward to this fall?
It's been an especially fun Women's History Month here at BookPage! Our March issue featured amazing real women who blazed the trail for change. We highlighted the 14 women writers we're most excited about this spring and summer. And we loved choosing 10 favorite heroines in new children's and young adult books.
It's wonderful to see we're not the only ones celebrating Women's History Month in such a big way. Open Road Media is paying special attention to the Women in Mystery this month, spotlighting crime-writing pioneers like Dorothy L. Sayers, Anne Perry, Charlotte MacLeod and many more. Check it out, mystery fans—they've also downpriced several of their eBooks this month, from $1.99!
"I don't want a job at a newspaper, I want to get my book published!" - Ruth Rendell
"Growing up, I had friends whose fathers said, 'You're pretty.' They would say it every day. 'You're pretty.' But that doesn't help a girl get on in the world."
- Susan Isaacs
Watch the full video from Open Road Media:
How are you celebrating Women's History Month?
Good news, Stephen King fans: There'll be double the thrills from the best-selling author this year. We've already told you about Mr. Mercedes, the noir detective story scheduled for June 3—yesterday, the author announced that 2014 would also bring Revival, the story of a charismatic preacher who takes a small New England town by storm in the mid-20th century. Reverend Jacobs creates a special bond with Jamie Morton, a young boy who shares the pastor's "secret obsession." Here's more from King's site:
When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
Sounds appropriately ominous to me. Look for the book on November 11.
In one of the biggest author comebacks ever, master of suspense Greg Iles returns this spring after a five-year hiatus following a near-fatal car accident that resulted in the amputation of part of his right leg.
And with the return of this beloved author comes the return of an unforgettable character: Coming April 29 from William Morrow, Natchez Burning is the first in a new trilogy starring Penn Cage, the Southern lawyer and former prosecutor first introduced in The Quiet Game (1999).
Penn has always gained inspiration from his father, Tom Cage, an honorable doctor in Natchez, Mississippi (where Iles lives in real life). But Tom has become the main suspect in the murder case of his own nurse assistant. In Penn's pursuit of the truth, he unearths secrets behind horrific, unsolved murders from the 1960s—as well as connections to a secretive KKK sect called the "Double Eagles," a group of malicious and wealthy men with a bloody past stretching back 40 years.
The publisher's got us raring to read:
"Rich in Southern atmosphere and electrifying plot turns, Natchez Burning is a high-water mark for Greg Iles. It is the return of a genuine American master of suspense and a sensational new page in a brilliant career."
According to his website, Iles is wrapping up the second book in the trilogy, The Bone Tree, and is working with his son to create a short documentary about some of the real-life, unsolved civil rights cases that inspired these books.
Also, for readers who want a jump-start on Penn Cage's long-awaited return, Iles is releasing an eBook novella that resolves the cliffhanger at the end of The Devil's Punchbowl. Look for it a month before the release of Natchez Burning.
Who else is excited?
We couldn't get enough of Elizabeth Haynes' debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, a troubling thriller about a woman who falls hard for the wrong man.
It touched on topics as heavy as PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder and much more, as haunted protagonist Catherine Bailey finds herself suffering from the effects of an abusive, violent relationship long after it comes to an end—though perhaps she never really escaped him after all. I was only able put it down long enough to double-check behind the shower curtain.
Haynes' next two books continued in this vein, with standalone women fighting for their lives.
But Haynes heads in a new direction with her fourth novel, Under a Silent Moon, coming April 15 from Harper. The first in a new series, this police procedural introduces an English police team with investigator Louisa Smith at the helm.
The basic premise: A beautiful young woman is found dead, brutally murdered in her cottage in a small English village, and there's evidence that connects her death to the reported suicide of another woman. The book is also packed with witness statements, emails, forensic reports and charts to even further draw readers into the intrigue.
It's being called "P.D. James meets E.L. James," so we can expect some sex (ahem, LOTS of sex) mixed up in all the sleuthing.
If there's anything Haynes excells at, it's addictive, tension-filled reading, so look for Under a Silent Moon this April. Will you read it?
This morning has revealed the cover for John Grisham's upcoming novel, Sycamore Row. The long-awaited sequel to Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, will be available October 22. In our XTRA newsletter reader poll, Sycamore Row was voted the #1 most anticipated book of the fall—quite a feat, given this great group of upcoming releases.
Published in the U.S. in June, Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes has been one of the biggest books of the year. The thriller is about a woman who falls in love with the wrong man, and it deals with heavy topics: domestic abuse, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. It's a dark and terrifying story, and it can be hard to read.
It's also impossible to put down, which explains its huge success. (The novel was Amazon U.K.'s Best Book of 2011 and Haynes is one of BookPage's 10 women to watch in 2012.)
If Into the Darkest Corner had you cheering the arrival of a new talent in psychological suspense fiction, you'll be ecstatic about this news: This spring, Harper will publish Haynes' second novel, Dark Tide. It sounds equally twisted.
The story is about a woman who saves up to quit her London sales job and start a second life aboard a houseboat in Kent. (Her boat is called "Revenge of the Tide.") Everything's looking up for Genevieve after she buys the boat . . . until a body washes up at the marina. Genevieve recognizes the woman from her secret second job as a dancer at a members' club. Surely her shared past with the victim is just a coincidence. Or is it?
Look for Dark Tide on March 12, 2013. Will you read it? [ETA: The U.K. edition of this novel has already been published, and its title is Revenge of the Tide. So if you're planning a vacation to the U.K. anytime soon, you might be able to read this one early. Lucky you!]
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read an interview with Elizabeth Haynes about Into the Darkest Corner.