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.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
One model I’ve often looked to for Southern-based suspense is James Dickey’s Deliverance, a gripping adventure-thriller of literary caliber. More recently, I’ve been inspired by Tana French, who I feel helped raised the bar for lyrical writing in psychological suspense. My literary muses tend to be eclectic—Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Conner, Ray Bradbury, T.C. Boyle, and Cormac McCarthy, to name a few others.
Praise for The Girl in the Maze:
“’The Girl in the Maze‘ has suspense, action, memorable characters and even a perfect storm.”
—Savannah Morning News
“One of the best books I’ve read [this year] . . . a genre-crushing story that’s part mystery, part thriller, with elements of horror.”
—Cemetery Dance Magazine
R. K. Jackson is the author of the USA Today and Amazon bestseller The Girl in the Maze (“A Southern Gothic thriller with a twisty plot and echoes of Tana French.”—Dianne Emley). He works as an Internet manager at NASA and previously was the senior editor for science and technology at CNN.com.
Two of his plays have been staged professionally, and his short story, “All the Devils,” was featured in the Alfred Hitchcock-themed issue of Penumbra Magazine.
A Georgia native with roots in the state’s coastal low country, he now lives with his family in California’s Los Padres National Forest. He has been known to rescue neighbors from snakes and build elaborate Halloween experiences in the garage.
To learn more about R. K. Jackson, please visit his website.