Chevy Stevens' Still Missing was one of my favorite suspense novels of 2010. It's a disturbing, sexy page-turner with a fantastic hook: What if a Realtor got abducted during an open house? (Remind me to never go to an open house by myself.)
I interviewed Chevy for BookPage.com back in July. I asked her about her characters, her writing process and the emotional repercussions of writing viscerally painful scenes . . . but what I was really interested in was when we'll be hearing from her again.
Now we know. On July 5, St. Martin's will publish Never Knowing, a companion book to Still Missing. Chevy gave me a preview of the novel in our interview:
Never Knowing isn’t a direct sequel, but it does have the same therapist, Nadine, who we met in Still Missing. Sara, the main character in Never Knowing, has a different dynamic with Nadine than Annie did, and also a unique energy of her own, so it’s interesting for me to see how that drives the story forward.
In Never Knowing, Sara is 34-years-old and happy—although she longs to learn about her birth parents. Here's more from the publisher's description:
She discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for over thirty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in Still Missing. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you.
Eek! Sounds creepy to me. Did you read Still Missing? Will you read Never Knowing?
I linked to the book trailer for The Poison Tree a couple weeks ago, and I thought you'd be interested in this follow-up. I got my hands on the novel (Erin Kelly's debut) last week and finished the novel yesterday.
It is fantastic—a dark, sultry, obsessive love story/thriller with some very disturbing twists. Here's a bit more from The Poison Tree's review in BookPage:
Perfectly paced, it starts with a bang and teems with twists that will keep you guessing right up until its thrilling and shocking conclusion. Kelly masterfully ratchets up the suspense, constantly causing readers to reappraise what is true as well as which dark and dirty secret will be unearthed next, all while nimbly maneuvering back and forth in time to keep tensions running high.
Have you read this novel? What new releases have been calling your name?
Today is the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe—the perfect day to announce the nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards (honoring the best in the mystery genre). You can see the full list on the TheEdgars.com, but I thought I'd give a special shout out to a couple of the categories, both packed with BookPage favorites.
Nominees for Best Novel include:
Caught by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
Nominees for Best First Novel by an American Author include:
In the Best Novel category, I've got my fingers crossed for Tom Franklin's atmospheric page-turner, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. (Okay—maybe I'm biased because I interviewed the guy in person.) In the other category, I'd be thrilled to see Paul Doiron take home the prize. After mystery columnist Bruce Tierney declared The Poacher's Son to be "one of the best debut novels in recent memory," I asked Doiron to write a guest post on how he came to write about the Maine wilderness. Check it out here.
The winners will be announced on April 28 in New York City . . . what books are you rooting for?
We gave you a preview of Erin Kelly's debut, The Poison Tree, way back in September—and I don't know about you, but I was sold from the moment the book was mentioned in the same sentence as Donna Tartt.
Here's a preview of the novel, which is on sale today:
Take the phone off the hook and cancel your evening plans, because this is one book you’ll want to read from cover to cover in order to see how everything shakes out
With dozens of bestsellers under his belt, it wouldn't be surprising if author Dean Koontz took some time off to rest on his laurels. But the indomitable author, who believes that writing talent must be used, instead continues to craft an alarming number of bestsellers, fiction and nonfiction alike (his stories about his dog, Trixie, have been optioned for a family comedy).
His latest story, What the Night Knows, published today, is billed as "a ghost story like no other." We asked Koontz a few questions about writing and got some surprising answers. Click over to the Q&A to find out which literary character he'd like to spend time on a desert island with, why he never talks about a work-in-progress, and more.
Any Koontz fans out there excited about this new book?
As part of our Best Books of 2010 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
You've all heard everything there is to hear about this summer blockbuster, right? This is one case where the hype is more than justified. But rather than sing the novel's praises once again, I'll let Justin Cronin take it from here with some quotes about his vampire-novel-with-a-twist that I couldn't fit in to our June interview:
This is a book about how human beings lose their way. How humanity can get lost. The experiment that produces the great viral cataclysm is essentially an act of human greed—it’s trying to steal the future from your kids. The scientists who are seeking to engineer a virus that makes human beings so long-lived that they are essentially immortal have missed the true immortality that we possess, which is that the future we will not live to see is the future our children will live in. This is essentially the story of a world that has forgotten its children and needs to mend this broken chain. . . . .
The circumstances of my book are extreme, but they are versions of what happen to us all the time. Fear of the dark, you don’t know what’s out there. You get the bad moods at some point in your life. But in the meantime, the people in that place, they live in constant and overwhelming danger, but they have a job, they have families, they form relationships, they have a sense of clan and kin. They know the world that they know, and within that they assemble themselves domestically. So the world as we know it has in some way continued. It’s at the brink, and there’s not much left, but it’s there.
Fans of "CSI" or forensic-centric crime novels might not realize that the person who started the craze for forensic fiction is still one of today's most popular authors: Patricia Cornwell, the creator of medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.
BookPage contributor Jay MacDonald interviewed Cornwell about her new Scarpetta novel, Port Mortuary, for our December issue. Their conversation provides a fascinating glimpse at the growth of the genre, how Cornwell does her research and how her novels have evolved.
You can get more info on the plot of the new book—and find out what "port mortuary" means—in today's featured trailer:
Port Mortuary comes out today. Who's reading it? What's your favorite Scarpetta novel?
Also in BookPage: Browse reviews of Cornwell's books.
Today the Book Case welcomes author C.J. Lyons, whose Angels of Mercy series (Jove) has added a jolt to the genre of medical suspense. The conclusion to the four-book series, Critical Condition, hits stores December 7, 2010, and Lyons stopped by to tell us a little bit about the difficulty of letting go of characters she—and her readers—had come to love.
When I sat down to start writing the final book in my Angels of Mercy medical suspense series, I had a play list running through my mind, filled with sad songs of goodbye, everything from Motown to Staind. After all, I'd spent three years with these four ladies. I'd watched them grow, fall in and out of love, save patients, dodge bullets, make mistakes, and fight for their lives. And now it was time to say goodbye.
When I began the first in the series, Lifelines, I had no idea how the book would end, much less the entire series. By book #2, Warning Signs, I had an idea, but it turned out to be wrong. Then I wrote book #3, Urgent Care, and it had an ending that surprised even me, one that totally changed how the series would conclude.
I began writing Critical Condition knowing only who would be left standing in the end. But I had no idea how they all would get there—and the main character, Gina, had a heck of a lot of growing up to do to earn her bittersweet happy ending. The only other thing I knew was that Critical Condition was, just like Gina's life, going to be an adrenalin-rushed hyper-driven thrill ride. Think Die Hard in a hospital.
So I wrote the book backwards. Literally. Wrote a scene, knew who was still alive in the scene, and figured out how they got there in order to write the next scene (which was really the previous scene, if that makes sense). The book ended up being so tightly paced that it reads in "real time" with the entire action taking place in five hours.
It didn't make it any easier to say goodbye to the women of Angels of Mercy Medical Center, but starting with their "happily-ever-afters" as I wrote Critical Condition, helped.
From the amount of fan mail I receive, I'm sure these women will continue to live on in the hearts of my readers for a long time to come. Who knows? Maybe they'll return someday to save their world again.
If so, I'll be ready and waiting, humming some Motown to welcome them home. Because, as a writer, you never really say goodbye to your characters, they become a part of you.
Thanks, CJ! We can't wait to see what you come up with in the new series you'll be writing with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, visit her website.
The year's scariest holiday is right around the corner. If you're looking for a book to get you in the Halloween spirit, allow us to offer up a few off-the-beaten-path ideas from the BookPage Archives.
Book trailers have come a long way—as we've seen with the videos we highlight every week on Trailer Tuesday—but sometimes the simplest route is the best. In this video from Penguin, John le Carré reads an excerpt from his latest book, Our Kind of Traitor (read the BookPage review). His dramatic performance, complete with accents, is a pleasure to listen to.
Of course, book trailer diehards can always turn to the more conventional video for the book from le Carré's New Zealand publisher:
Which approach do you prefer?