Robin can’t leave her house. A complete shut-in, she spends her days spying on her neighbors, subtly meddling in their lives. But she can’t keep her demons out forever.
Sarah will do anything to get her daughter back, but she’s unraveling under the mounting pressure of concealing the dark secrets of her past. And her lies are catching up to her.
The novel takes readers back in time to witness the complex family dynamics that formed Robin and Sarah into the emotionally damaged, estranged young women they’ve become. As the gripping and intricate layers of their shared past are slowly peeled away, the shocks and twists will keep readers breathless long after the final page.
Here, DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES author Holly Seddon discusses her latest book with The Big Thrill:
Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.
Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.
That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.
A community comes together when threatened by someone with a thirst for revenge in this stunningly intricate, tautly plotted novel of rich psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of the Mary Russell mysteries.
Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: A day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.
A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day—bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision.
A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.
Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.
But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.
Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?
It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.
International bestselling author Kathy Reichs took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest novel, TWO NIGHTS, with The Big Thrill:
After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother anyway he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.
When Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life, Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup…. And he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang, the Cobras. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son that treats his underlings like playthings.
So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he decides to leave the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.
S. A. Stovall was gracious enough to spend some time with The Big Thrill discussing her novel, VICE CITY:
Five days ago, aspiring crime novelist Jason Swike awoke chained to the wall of a run-down horse stable, convinced he would soon die at the hands of Crackerjack, the infamous serial killer who had terrorized the residents of Massachusetts for the past year—capturing and tormenting men, painting whimsical designs on their faces before shattering their bones and ending their lives. Just when death seems inevitable, Jason, with the help of another captive, manages to kill the madman and escape.
Hailed as a hero, Jason reaps the benefits of his newfound fame: a book deal, a possible reconciliation with his estranged wife, and reward money he can use to pay for his son’s costly medical treatments. But he soon realizes the nightmare that began in the deserted stable is far from over, as he is drawn into a twisted game where the darkest terror may not be the psychopath manipulating his every move, but what Jason may have to do to survive…
Author James Hankins recently discussed his latest novel, THE INSIDE DARK, with The Big Thrill:
Roxanne MacFarlane is the Extractor—a former CIA agent who specializes in rescuing people from dangerous situations. She lives on the edge and works outside the law, but desperate families know she’s the only operative who can bring their missing loved ones home. Driven by guilt over the loss of her sister to a polygamous cult, she will stop at nothing to save her clients.
When Dave and Jenny Carson ask her to find their daughter, Emma, and extract her from a charismatic cult leader who preys on young women with guilt issues, Rox is eager to help them. But the experimental treatment she just started in order to improve her atypical brain patterns forces her to face conflicting newfound emotions while working feverishly to find the secret compound and craft a strategy to get Emma out.
When the bodies of young women who match Emma’s description turn up, Rox must fast-forward her plans. But the situation is more complicated and dangerous than she realizes, and her own life is soon in jeopardy. Can Rox save Emma and bring down a ruthless predator before more young women fall victim?
The Big Thrill recently spent some time with prolific author L.J. Sellers discussing her latest thriller, GUILT GAME:
John Farrow is the pen name of Trevor Ferguson, a literary legend in his native country of Canada. Writing as John Farrow, he’s the author of the Storm Murders trilogy. PERISH THE DAY is the third in the trilogy, a novel about which Lee Child stated, “The best yet in one of my favorite series —I love Émile Cinq-Mars.”
PERISH THE DAY opens with a co-ed found murdered on campus. Coincidentally (or not), a college custodian is also dead. While an epic rainstorm assails the Holyoake, New Hampshire campus, a third crime scene is revealed: a professor, formerly a spy, is found shot in his home along with a mysterious note warning him to run. Coming up against campus secrets, Émile Cinq-Mars must quickly uncover the links between disparate groups before the next victim is selected for an elaborate initiation into murder.
I caught up with Farrow recently and asked him about the world—and protagonist—of PERISH THE DAY. The lead detective, Émile Cinq-Mars, appeared in two novels prior to the Storm Murder trilogy, one with him toiling in mid-career, and another with him as a young beat cop. In the Storm Murders, Cinq-Mars has retired from the force, although not, as it turns out, from investigating murder. Retirement has offered Cinq-Mars the freewheeling latitude of an amateur sleuth, yet provided the background and contacts of a professional investigator. While he was never a homicide detective—he still solved murders—his continued investigative activity in retirement isn’t a stretch.
A new life stage, however, has brought new challenges. His younger wife wants to change her career, and other questions dog them: Will they move? Will they remain a couple? The weather has also turned adverse. The “storms” of the Storm trilogy harness the atmosphere of the various locales: blizzards in Quebec, Louisiana hurricanes, storms at sea, a mountain tempest in New Hampshire.
By Wendy Tyson
A DEEPER GRAVE is USA Today bestselling author Debra Webb’s third novel in the popular Shades of Death series. In this latest installment, Montgomery detective Bobbie Gentry joins forces with serial killer Nick Shade to pursue a copycat murderer.
Webb writes thrillers, romantic suspense, mysteries, and romance, and she’s the recipient of a number of awards, including the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Webb about A DEEPER GRAVE, thriller-writing, and her inspiring journey to publication.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of A DEEPER GRAVE! No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Detective Gentry’s story of survival and determination to keep being a cop is based a bit on my recovery and determination to continue writing after a serious accident.
Farley Black, Kit’s friend and former radio co-host, is missing. He was supposed to be surfing but he never arrived at his Malibu Beach destination. As the last person to hear from him, Kit is determined to find out what’s happened.
But when Kit searches Farley’s home, a surprising discovery makes it clear that Farley has been lying to her—and everyone else. As she heads north in search of the truth, a series of menacing incidents convinces Kit that she’s being watched. Someone is tracking her every move. As her unknown pursuer grows bolder and more reckless, Kit realizes she isn’t just looking for her friend—but running from a killer.
Author Bonnie Hearn Hill took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest book, I WISH YOU MISSED ME, with The Big Thrill:
A freelance hacker uncovers top secret files about a government cover-up surrounding the 1967 Six-Day War and triggers a murderous rampage at a resort town in Central Oregon. When the files inadvertently land in the possession of Peter Savage, he is targeted by assassins from both sides of the Atlantic and implicated in murders he didn’t commit. As the body count rises and with nowhere to turn, Savage makes a desperate decision: he draws his pursuers to the Cascade Mountains, where he plans to leverage the harsh terrain to his advantage. Doggedly trailed by both law enforcement and a small army of battle-hardened assassins, Savage becomes both hunter and prey. With his own fate uncertain, Peter Savage fights overwhelming odds to reveal the truth before full-scale war engulfs the Middle East.
The Big Thrill recently interviewed author Dave Edlund about his latest thriller, HUNTING SAVAGE:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
First and foremost, hours of riveting entertainment. Second, I hope certain plot elements provoke an interest to carefully, and perhaps more fully, examine the political theatre leading up to major elections. And third, to raise awareness of the tragic loss of life during the USS Liberty incident in 1967.
As tense and fast-paced as an episode of Headbanger’s Ball, HEAVY METAL is a gripping, nostalgi- riddled story that urges you to shovel this short book into your eyes. Dealing with family, and mental and societal pressures that we all face, Danny sheds light on the inner thought process of a struggling freshman living in his brother’s shadow.
But first, Danny must overcome Bourelle’s version of the 1980s without the campy TV, heartwarming movies or colorful outfits. Though I grew up in a later decade, this accurately depicts what high school kids were dealing with on some level. We were just punching walls and faces to a different soundtrack.
Here, The Big Thrill chats with Bourelle about getting into character and taking readers on a trip down memory lane.
The protagonist Danny is a depiction of 1980s youth and the book starts with a first person present, angsty voice and a literal gun in his mouth. Did you have to do anything to get into character while writing this, from playing with small firearms or blasting metal on a cassette player?
I tapped mostly into my own experiences: shooting a pistol years ago, listening to hard rock music as a kid (and still today), remembering cold walks on winter days growing up in Ohio. The novel is not autobiographical, but I did grow up in a small town in the 1980s. Setting the story in a familiar world helped me capture the tone. HEAVY METAL actually began as a short story with the same title that was published by the literary journal, Jabberwock Review. When I decided to try writing a novel, I thought there was more of Danny’s story to tell. Writing in his voice felt natural because I was already familiar with the character.
THE STOLEN CHILD is a different take on a thriller. There is no violence in the first few pages. No swearing. No explicit sex. And still, Kay manages to create a high level of gotta-turn-the-page-and-find-out-what-happens-next tension.
Kay’s thriller influences.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a favorite. In Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, Kay loves the plot, the chillingly Machiavellian characters and the pitch-perfect prose. She thinks Flynn’s previous novel, Sharp Objects—another favorite—is edgier with a searing twist: perfect Southern gothic-noir. Other influences are Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, Jane Shemilt’s Daughter and Gilly MacMillian’s Burnt Paper Sky.
If you are a fan of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn you should find both of Kay’s books an outstanding reason to read all night.
An example of her style.
“The moor has always been part of my life. It’s like a muse: the colours of the heather and the sky; how you can see the savagery of the wind in the way the dwarf pine trees are bent double, the bleak lines of the landscape in winter when everything save the moss and the grass are dead, stones like bones, poking through a thin skin of bilberry bushes, rushes reflected in black bog water. “
JOHNNY CASINO is a love story and a thriller. It’s about Old Vegas and gangsters, toddlers and in-laws and terrorists, and the heartbreak and joys of falling in love, getting married, and starting a family. About impossible choices and incredibly dark secrets. About finding courage and thus Ffnding yourself. About saving your family and maybe saving even the world. Or at least Las Vegas.
Johnny Caine is just twenty-three and a sweetheart of a guy. Happily married, he is a wonderful dad. He thinks he has a future in the hotel-casino industry, even if it is Mob-owned. But the glitzy, glamorous world he lives in no longer a safe place to raise a family.
Johnny Caine thought the violent shooting deaths of his father and other bystanders was a casually cruel byproduct of some turf war among San Francisco’s gangs. The drive-by killers didn’t care who died amid the gunfire. But that night when Johnny is ducking bullets for a second time, he realizes he was the real target.
Johnny suffers from synesthesia. A rare neurological “gift” where his senses are all screwed up and his “conclusions” are all jumbled up. Johnny always knows where the cops are. All of them. How many cops there are and how fast they’re approaching. A useless “gift” to anybody but the Mob. To the Bovadiglia family of Las Vegas, Johnny Caine is their secret weapon keeping the cops and Feds at arm’s length. Johnny Caine has been on their leash for nine years; he is also their Top Secret. Even as they have started taking him for granted.
Back in Vegas Johnny discovers the killings are here, too. The Bovadiglia familia is being taken out one-by-one in the most unusual ways. The Mob thinks it’s a turf war, too, that these killings just go with the territory, and “for now we got time to retaliate.” But Johnny learns he can identify, even trail the killers by their particular auras. Like following a pretty girl who uses too much perfume. Or hating the cloud a cigarette smoker leaves behind in an elevator. He learns how these killings are part of a very personal vendetta, a most vicious political payback for the family’s role with the CIA in Latin America. And he is terrified when he finds out why the killers have spotlighted him as one of them.
A tragic twist of fate takes away everything that really matters to Peter Watson. After such a profound loss, he can’t make sense of his life anymore. So he takes to the road—alone—to put some time and distance between himself and what happened. He hopes the solitude will help him find a reason to go on, a way to heal.
When he stops to check in at the remote Quarry Resort, he expects to wrestle with painful, intense memories. He does not expect to spend the night fighting for his life.
No matter how far you travel, the darkness inside will find you…
The Big Thrill recently had the opportunity to discuss MOON OVER RUIN with Lisa Von Biela:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
This book is a novella, so it’s a relatively short ride, but I hope my readers empathize with Peter Watson, his loss, and the way he tries to cope with it. Of course, he gets more than he bargained for, and that’s what makes this a thriller!
Katherine Ward is assigned the case, never expecting it to parallel her own kidnapping experience seventeen years before. In Skagway, Alaska, the usual crimes faced by the police department’s small force are DUIs and missing bikes. With the chief in the hospital and one officer missing, they’re not prepared for the kidnapping of a billionaire’s daughter.
Misty Morgan thought running off with a college boy would get her father’s attention. Now she and another teenager are praying for their lives. Stuck in China, Misty’s father knew his daughter was up to something, so he asked his longtime friend Vince Nanini to fly to Alaska and stop Misty. Problem is, Vince arrives too late. The college boy is dead, Misty is missing, and the police aren’t eager to let him help.
When Katherine realizes the same man who kidnapped and raped her years ago is the one holding Misty and the other teenager, the terror of those months resurfaces. Vince finds her drunk and in tears, and he’s with her when she realizes the kidnapper has struck again. Together they must figure out where this man has taken three people, and they must find him fast.
Maris Soule spent time with The Big Thrill this month to discuss her novel, ECHOES OF TERROR:
Framed for ordering a hit on mobster Tony DeMarco, Tina Adler is forced to re-enter the shadowy world of computer hacking she thought she’d left behind. In order to clear her name, she reluctantly joins an FBI team led by her old flame, Zeke Chapman, tasked with scouring the deep web to unearth DeMarco’s darkest secrets.
The trail will lead Tina to the person who framed her—but it may also reveal other secrets that she would rather not know. DeMarco might be the least of Tina’s worries. Could her true enemy be someone much closer to home?
The Big Thrill interviewed author Karen E. Olson about her novel, BETRAYED:
It starts with the unthinkable. A school under siege. A shooter in the classroom. A nightmare scenario that has become all too common in today’s United States. But this time, former Delta Captain Jake Mahegan is there when it happens, face to face with a merciless gunman rigged as a suicide bomber. Without warning, the school is attacked from the outside as well—and all hell breaks loose.
When the smoke clears, Mahegan is left with a long list of unanswered questions—and a deeply personal mission. Racing against the clock, his search will take him from the tech-fueled think-tanks of a North Carolina factory to the top-secret nerve centers of embedded Iranian agents. It’s all part of a bigger, darker conspiracy that’s taking domestic terrorism to a whole new level. And it’s up to Mahegan to stop what could be the most devastating attack in U.S. history.
The dead widow not only leaves behind a million-dollar inheritance, but also a bitter accusation: From beyond the grave, she claims that one of her children killed her husband.
Tom Winter, the laconic head of security of her Swiss private bank, tracks down the children in the Azores, Manchester and Nuremberg, and finds himself entangled in a horrifying net of abuse, exploitation, and revenge.
Author Peter Beck discussed his latest novel, KORROSION, with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A sleepless night, breathless hours of entertainment, an intercontinental flight gone by fast, being engrossed in the corrosive effects of abuse, exploitation and revenge, be it on the victims or on the witnesses.
A Nuba warrior is one of the key characters in KORROSION. He travels from his native village in Sudan to Europe, sacrificing a lot. Maybe the memory of Obado’s journey gives some insight into what’s going on with migration.
In BEFORE SUNRISE, a short, dark novel, we meet Will Fortin of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, on patrol in southern Alberta. It’s a lonely region where the sky meets the land on even terms, where the landscape exaggerates or diminishes your place in the world. If you’re lucky, trouble would never find you there. If you weren’t, this was your battleground.
It is here where Fortin experiences the worst any cop can face, the taking of innocent lives when he accidentally shoots two children while responding to a call at a farm involving a gun. His life destroyed, his guilt unbearable, Fortin, a good man, struggles as a haunted soul, aching to redeem himself.
Years after the shooting, Fortin is assigned to escort a murderer to trial in Seattle, Washington. When their plane crashes in the unforgiving Rocky Mountains, Fortin is presented with his last chance at redemption.
Coming in at about the same length as The Old Man and the Sea, BEFORE SUNRISE, is a powerful, heart-wrenching story of love, heartbreak, courage and enduring human spirit.
Author Rick Mofina recently discussed his latest novel with The Big Thrill:
By Karen Harper
I was excited to be able to interview Debra Webb for her new novel NO DARKER PLACE. We both write suspense for Mira Books, and I am impressed with her own backstory which is one of courage and tenacity. “Never give up” shouts from her heroine’s lives—and her own.
This month, she took time out of her schedule to chat with The Big Thrill about her new release, winning awards, the pros and cons of writing series characters, and her sage advice for aspiring scribes.
Please tell us what NO DARKER PLACE is about.
Detective Bobbie Gentry has one objective: to stop the serial killer who robbed her of her husband, her child, and her life. Nick Shade understands Bobbie’s pain—and her desire for vengeance. He’s on a mission of his own, and the murderer known as the Storyteller is next on his list. Nick knows that the best way to find his target is to stick close to Bobbie. But as she becomes more and more reckless in her attempts to lure the Storyteller out of hiding, he has to make a choice: will he protect her from herself even if it means passing up the chance to take out one more monster? As for Bobbie, she’s forced to decide just how much she can trust this stranger who knows so much about her. And both of them are about to learn whether or not two broken people can save each other.
Sunshine Fyfe’s dealt with the death of her Navy SEAL husband, the birth of two kids, and life’s general ups-and-downs, but five visions in five days, each showing a different version of a disturbing event? What’s that all about?
From the moment Sunny stops to help a bicyclist down on the side of the road, her calm, sane life becomes hell on earth.
Detective Luca Amorosi doesn’t start out beholden to Sunny for helping his sister. How could he, when he’s been led to believe she’s the hit-and-run driver? With the truth comes another realization—he’s falling for Sunshine Fyfe in ways he never imagined possible.
From her dead husband’s letters, Sunny gleans information that sends her spiraling into a living nightmare. Cults. Blue moons. Sacrificial lambs. She does the only thing she can to prevent the dire future her visions foretell.
Will her efforts be too little, too late, or can Sunny save her children, her family, and the man she’s come to love?
Author Ann Simas recently took time out of her busy schedule to discuss her latest thriller with The Big Thrill:
From Thriller Award winner and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Vincent Zandri, comes the long awaited sequel to the No. 1 Overall Amazon Bestselling suspense thriller, THE REMAINS.
HORROR IN THE DARK WOODS
It’s been eight years since artist and single mom, Rebecca Underhill, was abducted and left to die in an old broken down house located in the middle of the dark woods. But even if her abductor, Joseph William Whalen, has since been killed, another more insidious evil is once more out to get her in the form of the Skinner. The son of an abusive butcher, Skinner intends on finishing the job Whalen started.
How will he get to Rebecca?
He’s going to do it through her children, by luring them into the cornfield behind the old farmhouse they live in.
HORROR IN THE DEPTHS
Now, armed with the knowledge that the Skinner has escaped incarceration at a downstate facility for the criminally insane, Rebecca must face the most horrifying challenge of her adult life: Rescuing the children not from a house in the woods, but from the abandoned tunnels that run underneath her property.
But the Skinner is watching Rebecca’s every move.
Horrifying question is: will she live long enough to save the children?
Vincent Zandri recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest novel, THE ASHES.
That’s the note seventeen-year-old Haley Cooke leaves behind when she disappears from inside her high school. FBI profiler Evelyn Baine is called in to figure out who had reason to hurt her. On the surface, the popular cheerleader has no enemies, but as Evelyn digs deeper, she discovers that everyone close to Haley has something to hide. Everyone from estranged parents, to an older boyfriend with questionable connections, to a best friend who envies Haley’s life.
Secrets can be deadly…
One of those secrets may have gotten Haley killed. If she’s still alive, Evelyn knows that the more the investigation ramps up, the more pressure they could be putting on Haley’s kidnapper to make her disappear for good. It’s also possible the teenager isn’t in danger at all, but has skillfully manipulated everyone and staged her own disappearance. Only one thing is certain: uncovering Haley’s fate could be dangerous—even deadly—to Evelyn herself.
Author Elizabeth Heiter recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss her latest novel, STALKED.
Before she began writing the Jamie Sinclair thrillers, Nichole Christoff was a broadcaster and a military spouse, living and working in an ever-changing succession of states and countries. Her experiences ranged from attending the birthday party of the King of Thailand and learning to make sushi from the chef to the Japanese Ambassador, to working on-air and behind the scenes in radio, TV, and the public relations industry.
Some of these experiences have helped to inform Christiff’s popular series featuring Jamie Sinclair, an army brat who grew up to be a security specialist and private eye. THE KILL SIGN, releasing this month, is Christoff’s fourth in the series and finds Jamie on the Mississippi Gulf Coast visiting her would-be boyfriend—a military police officer at a fictional military post—when a dirty bomb explodes on a river boat packed with military personnel.
Christoff took some time this month to talk to The Big Thrill about her new book, the progression of her main character, and what readers can expect from her next.
THE KILL SIGN is set in coastal Mississippi. You’re well-travelled and can pick from dozens or even hundreds of settings—why this one?
The Gulf Coast region is a cultural crossroads of sorts, and outside the gates of its military installations, it really is home to those infamous lingerie stores, antebellum plantation houses converted for other uses, and private hunting camps you’ll find in THE KILL SIGN. It’s the perfect place to let a thriller writer’s imagination run wild.
Dan Chase, the protagonist in Thomas Perry’s riveting new novel, THE OLD MAN, lives a quiet life in Vermont. He’s a 60-year-old retiree who takes great pleasure in walking his two loyal mutts. He’s a devoted father and grandfather who keeps in touch with his daughter by phone. Though he desperately misses his late wife, he’s generally content. Then a car appears on his tranquil street and everything changes. The driver has come to kill him for an incident that occurred 35 years earlier. To survive, Dan Chase must reawaken his survival instincts and fight a private war against younger, better-equipped, and decidedly lethal adversaries. Dan’s story takes us on a tense, often chilling ride across the United States and all the way to hostile regions of Libya.
The most compelling thrillers effectively explore how old missteps and a violent past can shatter the life of an apparently ordinary person, and THE OLD MAN certainly accomplishes that, at the same time keeping the reader turning the pages. Perry has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on THE OLD MAN, his writing process, and his future projects.
THE OLD MAN tells the story of Dan Chase, a retired 60-year-old widower who lives in Vermont and who enjoys walking his two large dogs. Yet, Dan isn’t exactly who he seems. What motivates Dan?
As a young military intelligence operator 35 years ago Chase made an ill-considered decision motivated by a misplaced but noble sense of duty. After delivering U.S. aid money to a middleman, he learned the middleman kept the money instead of delivering it to Libyan rebels. He retrieved most of the money and brought it home to the U.S., but his superiors tried to arrest him and blame him for the deaths of the rebels who went unsupplied. Enraged, he held onto the money and disappeared. Thirty-five years later, he has been married and widowed, raised a daughter who’s become a doctor, and lived a good life. But now, someone has come for him—not to arrest him, but to kill him. His motivation now is simply to stay alive
Detective Bobbie Gentry was psyched when she was offered the opportunity to work with the FBI on a special task force in the search for a heinous serial killer known as The Storyteller. What she didn’t expect was for the serial killer to follow her home on Christmas Eve…
The Storyteller couldn’t resist Bobbie no matter the risk. He murdered her husband and would have murdered her child, but the little boy got away. Now Bobbie’s fight for survival might just be more than he bargained for…
One of them must die.
Author Debra Webb recently discussed her latest novel with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
THE BLACKEST CRIMSON is the prequel to the new Shades of Death series and includes an extended excerpt of No Darker Place, the first novel in the series.
Following her diagnosis as a schizophrenic, Martha Covington has been easing herself back into her quiet life on a small island off the Georgia coast. The trouble is, Martha’s research into local healing roots has earned her an unwelcome reputation as a psychic. When an elderly couple from Atlanta tracks her down, desperate for any sign of their missing grandson, Peavy, Martha confronts a terrifying possibility: that the line between intuition and insanity may not be as clear as she’d like to believe.
Despite her therapist’s insistence that it’s all in her head, Martha travels to Atlanta to investigate Peavy’s mysterious disappearance, where she is reunited with handsome law student Jarrell Humphries. A trail of cryptic clues leads the pair deep into a heart of a dangerous conspiracy whose members will stop at nothing—including murder—to protect their secrets.
R. K. Jackson recently took some time to discuss his latest book with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they will be both frightened and entertained, and maybe a little appalled, because the menace at the heart of this book is grounded in a contemporary reality.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
This book continues the story of Martha Covington, the heroine of my first novel, The Girl in the Maze. I think fans of that book will enjoy seeing Martha evolve into a more confident protagonist who at one point even breaks into full action-hero mode.
Newly in love, 21 years old, head over heels, Martin Brown and Chloë Setreal need each other with total hunger and passion. But Chloë, a production assistant at a media conglomerate (YANAPOP in Los Angeles) is laid up with a broken leg and needs Martin to come hold her hand. Martin, in San Diego for the summer (two hours down the coast from LA) hops in his car and heads north, like the dashing hero that he is. What should be a simple, two-hour drive on the freeway turns into a nightmarish adventure through dystopia and beyond.
The plot is fun, scary, dark, and totally over the top. One thing piles on top of the other unrelentingly, as heroic Martin struggles against cosmic odds to reach the new love of his life. This is Southern California as we’ve never seen or imagined it, rich with its beaches, snowy mountains, broiling deserts, shimmering lakes—not to mention mysterious surfers, vampire girl scouts, alien taxi drivers, and other unusual persons. Thriller author John T. Cullen (many novels and nonfiction books) writes as John Argo (author of more than twenty SF and DarkSF novels.)
The author took time out of his prolific career to discuss YANAPOP with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Well, first, here is an aspirin before we start: although it has deep layers of meaning, you don’t need to be a brain or an egghead to “get it.” YANAPOP is a fast, thrilling, vernacular race to the finish that anybody can easily understand—and love. I don’t say this as a parent (the novel is one of my children) but once a novel is done and on its way, the author goes from being a participant to an observer. I’m pleased to wave goodbye as I move on to the next project.
Readers will take one the wildest roller-coaster rides of their lives, and come away with the restored idea that imagination still has new worlds to explore. Although tightly structured and sparingly executed, this novel is one of any reader’s least formulaic novels ever enjoyed. Those who get off the ride with shaky legs and blurry vision will immediately cry for more. If I do decide to write a sequel, I will make sure this novel remains a once-in-a-million standalone. The thriller aspects are all there: the shooting, the running, the terror, the wonder (as Jeff Goldblum informs us in the Jurassic Park sequel) and above all, the relentless pacing on a nightmare stallion through the cosmos of Southern California (LA and San Diego) as few have ever experienced or imagined it.
Assigned to South Florida for his first posting, Angus Green is worlds away from his hardscrabble upbringing in Scranton, PA. He has to cope with ethnic distinctions he’s never considered, a multitude of foreign languages spoken around him, and a range of crimes and criminals that boggle his mind.
While investigating a jewelry heist with its roots in Fort Lauderdale’s gay neighborhoods, Angus must learn how to use his education, his intelligence, and his good looks, without losing track of who he is and what he stands for.
The street quickly teaches him that the only way to face a challenge is to assume that he’ll survive this one—that it’ll be the next one that will kill him.
Author Neil S. Plakcy recently spent some time discussing his latest book with The Big Thrill:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
What it’s like to be a young special agent in today’s FBI and how weirdly funny crime is in South Florida.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
As a young, openly gay FBI special agent, Angus Green brings increased diversity to the field of thriller writing.