Good news for fans of intelligent suspense: Tom Rob Smith's final novel in the Leo Demidov trilogy, which began with the remarkable Child 44, has a release date. Agent 6 (Grand Central) will be published in January 2012.
The book opens in 1965, when Leo and his family are sent to New York City to help warm relations between America and the USSR. But tragedy strikes while he's there, and Moscow denies his request to investigate the wrong done to his family. Leo doesn't take no for an answer, however. As the publisher puts it:
In a surprising, epic story that spans decades and continents—from 1950s Moscow to 1960s America to the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s—Leo's long pursuit of justice will force him to confront everything he ever thought he knew about his country, his family, and himself.
Child 44 came out three years ago this month, and I remember taking the galleys home, intrigued by the concept (a serial killer in Stalinist Russia) but not expecting anything else about the book to be out of the common way. To my surprise, I couldn't put it down. Anyone else looking forward to picking up Agent 6?
p.s. on his blog, Smith says he's working on a fourth book that is "something completely new." He adds, "all I can say at the moment is that it’s a thriller, and it’s not set in the Soviet Union." Also, if anyone speaks German, they have a site up for the German edition of Agent 6 already (it will be released in Europe and the UK this fall).
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
William Morrow • $14.99 • ISBN 9780062070753
paperback on sale May 3, 2011 • hardcover available now
I'd Know You Anywhere is about a 38-year-woman, Eliza Benedict, who was kidnapped when she was 15. Her kidnapper killed a handful of other girls, and Eliza was his only victim who survived. The mystery in the novel is the "why"—why was Eliza allowed to live? The action alternates between the present, where the killer is on death row and set to be executed, and the past, when he took Eliza. In the present—seemingly out of the blue—he has contacted Eliza and wants to explain what happened. As you might imagine, his presence turns her life upside down. . .
It's been said before and I'll say it again: Lippman is not just a great suspense writer, but she is a great writer. When the novel first came out in August, reviewer Susan Schwartzman called it a "compelling and provocative psychological thriller." I wanted to remind you of the novel again now because it comes out in paperback in two weeks. Here's an excerpt to pique your interest:
Her mouth freed, she thought for a moment about screaming her head off but found she could not make the sounds come. She was too frightened, too scared. His hands lingered near her throat. She thought about the mound of dirt where she had first seen the man, working with his shovel. He had not said, explicitly, what he had done, but she knew. He was capable of killing someone. He had done it. Elizabeth decided in that moment that she would do whatever was necessary to survive. She would endure whatever plans he had for her, as long as she was allowed to live.
"What's your name?" she whispered.
"Walter," he said. "I think sometimes I should shorten it to Walt. What do you think?"
She was terrified that there was a right answer, and she wouldn't give it. "Both are nice."
The daughter of an FBI agent, P.M. Terrell wrote 12 novels solo before starting on a collaborative effort with T. Randy Stevens. Here, she shares her tips for a successful team writing project with BookPage readers.
Writing times two
guest post by P.M. Terrell
Years ago, I met a married couple who had gone from writing romance to murder mysteries. I think there’s something Freudian in that, but I was also struck by the concept of two individuals collaborating on one book. I doubted I would ever want to do it. But with my latest suspense novel, The Banker’s Greed, that is precisely what I did. And I would eagerly do it again.
T. Randy Stevens, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of First Farmers Bank, approached me with a draft and asked me if I would consider editing or rewriting it. I knew when I read the story—about a banker’s daughter who is kidnapped and all the clues lead to her father—that he had a compelling plot and multi-faceted characters. But I also knew that I did not want to take another person’s story and rewrite it. It was his idea and I wanted it to be a team effort.
For months, Randy wrote his chapters in the middle of the night. I’d arrive at my office to find his emailed chapters waiting for me. I’d spend the day massaging them, adding my “flair” and emailing him with suggestions and ideas. We went back and forth like this and the pages began to accumulate. Then we progressed to rewriting, editing and perfecting it.
I was fortunate because Randy is a dream to work with. For authors considering a collaborative effort, I recommend:
Today's Groupon is of interest to readers: you can purchase a ticket to see the film version of Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer for just $6. The film hits theaters this Friday.
Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, William H. Macy, and Ryan Phillippe star in this adaptation of Connelly's 2006 novel about a lawyer who solves cases from the backseat of his Lincoln. We called the book "an eye-opening look at how the criminal justice system really works"—will the movie be the same? For $6 you can be the judge! Come back and leave us a comment if you see the film.
Related in BookPage: more on Michael Connelly's books.
We recently posted our insider information about Justin Cronin's The Twelve—now, with the announcement of a paperback cover and release date of May 17 for The Passage (one of our best books of 2010), there's a bit more to report.
EW has printed a short extract from The Twelve—here's the beginning:
They came, gliding from the blackness. First one and then another and another, forming a penumbra of pulsing light where they crouched at the edge of the shadows. And in her mind she heard the voices, always the voices, the voices and the question:
Who am I?
Do you prefer the hardcover or paperback cover for The Passage? Both are subtly creepy in a way that fits the story, but I think I like the twilit woods...
There's still no pub date for The Twelve, although it's expected to hit shelves sometime in 2012. (ETA: pub date is August 28!)
Related in BookPage: our interview with Justin Cronin about The Passage
Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry
Crown • $24 • 9780307718389
On sale February 22, 2011
Sara J. Henry's debut starts with a bang—or, more literally, a splash—and doesn't let up until the final page. It's a classic "what-if" scenario: what if you were on a ferry and noticed a child falling from the ferry heading in the opposite direction? What if you jumped off the ferry to save that child?
What if that child had been pushed?
The aftermath of heroine Troy Chance's rescue of the boy, a French Canadian child named Paul, brings further complications. He doesn't seem to have been reported missing, and his arms were bound when he was thrown off the ferry. Unable to trust anyone, and increasingly concerned about the future of her shy and damaged young charge, Troy finds herself in the middle of a dangerous mystery.
I went to the doorway and it took me a moment to register that the bed was empty. No boy, no dog. For a moment I couldn't breathe. . . . My eyes went to the bedside table where we'd left the half-eaten piece of pizza. OK, missing boy, missing dog, missing half slice of pizza.
"Paul," I called out softly. "Paul, where are you? Où es-tu?"
A whine from Tiger. I eased back the hanging sheet that served as a closet door, and there was Paul crouched in the corner, one arm around Tiger, the other hand gripping the gnawed piza slice—looking as if it were perfectly normal to hide in a closet with a dog and a piece of pizza. I knelt, a careful distance away. "Good morning Paul," I said, keeping my voice steady. Would you like some breakfast? Veux-tu prendre le petit déjuner?"
He shifted but seemed unsure what to do. I snapped my fingers and Tiger obediently came toward me. "Did something frighten you?" I asked Paul. "Tu as peur?" No answer. "Paul, sweetie, come on out," I said, opening my arms and letting a little emotion into my voice.
He wouldn't look at me, and I waited a long, long moment. Finally he moved into my arms. I could feel the frailty of his limbs; I could feel his heart beating; I could almost feel his fear and confusion and loneliness. I hadn't known you could form an attachment to a person so quickly, so atavistically. Had my sisters experienced this when their children were born? I realized I would do anything to protect this child. "Je ne te blesserai jamais," I whispered to him. "I will never hurt you. Never."
And I knew I wouldn't be marching this boy down to the police station, not today, and possibly never.
You can download a chapter of the book here. What are you reading this week?
Leslie Tentler just spent the weekend on the road touring in support of her first novel, Midnight Caller (MIRA). In a guest post, she talks about the experience of signing at Books-A-Million stores in Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee, near her hometown.
My father was a bit of a celebrity in my small hometown in Eastern Tennessee. He coached high school football there for over two decades and to this day, I can’t watch "Friday Night Lights" without getting homesick. The show is authentic. It takes me back, every time.
My parents are both gone now (my mother was a well-loved teacher there, as well), and I do wonder what they would think about the release of my first novel. Both would be proud, I believe, although I recall many years earlier telling my mother of my dream to be a published author. She said, “Just don’t write anything that would embarrass me,” which to her I’m sure meant no profanity or adult situations, and no violence.
I failed on all three counts but I still think somehow she would be proud.
Coming home for two local book signings and a local television show was more overwhelming than I expected. As someone who has lived and worked in Atlanta for many years now, I’ve drifted away from childhood friends. I have to admit to envying my former classmates who remain in our town and are adult friends with many of the same people they knew as kids. I miss that closeness that I’ve never been able to recapture as a “big city” girl.
It was this same group of friends who planned a “girls’ night out” that included me on the Friday prior to my first book signing. I was admittedly nervous. I’ve changed. I’m older and have gotten out of shape while pumping out the first book and the two others that form the Chasing Evil trilogy. I feel like a mom who’s given birth to three babies back to back. One toddling around, one just beginning to crawl and the third a newborn still in my arms. I’m pretty sure I have metaphorical spit-up on my shoulder.
But what I see that night are friendly, familiar faces who are just happy to be together and are also excited for me. “The girls” show up for my signing the next afternoon, even though quite a few of them have already bought and read the book. Still, they buy another at the bookstore. It’s a surreal experience and also a deeply touching one.
Two nights before my first hometown signing, I go to one of the bookstores with my former stepmother who has taken me out to dinner. She politely asks me if the store will mind if she buys all the copies on the shelf that night for family and friends. I tell her I’m pretty sure they won’t and that they have more copies in the back for the signing. As she pays at checkout, I have tears in my eyes.
The weekend visit to my hometown was a whirlwind, filled with interviews, time with family and long-lost friends, and me, writing notes in people’s books in the shaky handwriting I’m so ashamed of. But they don’t seem to mind that it looks as though a second-grader signed it. At this moment, I want to throw my arms around each of them and ask if I can sleep in their spare bedroom or on their couch; stay for just a few more days.
I’m not ready to go back to Atlanta, but Monday has arrived.
Thanks Leslie! For more info on her appearances, check her website. Look for the second book in the Chasing Evil trilogy, Midnight Fear, in August.
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?