Eager to get married, thirty-year-old Virginia Carey lands a job as an operator at a police tip line, where she thinks finding a husband will be easy. But just as Virginia’s plans begin to fall into place, she answers a call from Verona—a mysterious woman who provides a tip about four bodies on a remote local beach.
Verona, a sex worker, also provides details on sordid parties attended by law enforcement officers. Then comes an explosive tip: Verona thinks it’s a police officer who is responsible for the killings.
The tip line will reveal the truth about those murders. So long as Virginia is willing to hear it.
“The Tip Line is a stunning blend of true crime and fiction. Both funny and disturbing, with complex characters and eye-popping twists.
Surprising to the very end.” — Samantha Downing, internationally bestselling author of For Your Own Good
“The Tip Line is an unsettling, bold, and beautifully written debut that explores one woman’s quest for Mr. Right against the backdrop of an unthinkable crime, asking us to consider the fraught relationships between trust and denial, love and complicity. Propulsive and whip-smart with an ending that made me gasp. Vanessa Cuti is an incredible talent.“ — Caitlin Mullen, author of the Edgar Award winner Please See Us
“A young woman who claims she only wants to find a husband soon admits, ‘Maybe I wanted to see what I was capable of.’ This taut erotic thriller tests a woman’s trust of a man she is in thrall to. Cinematic, visceral, and truly unnerving, The Tip Line conjures increasingly difficult feats of denial in the service of love.” — Amy Hempel, author of Sing to It
Vanessa Cuti recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing their latest thriller, THE TIP LINE.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
After working in real life at an anonymous tip line, I started thinking about what it would take to make someone call in a tip about a person they were close to. A family member, spouse, et cetera.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
I couldn’t stop thinking about In a Lonely Place (both the novel and the film) and how the main characters interact and have a relationship in the face of such looming suspicion.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
I liked the idea of the protagonist having her own very specific agenda. It might seem so small and unimportant, but to her it eclipses the huge crime that’s the backbone of the book.
Vanessa Cuti’s fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2021, The Kenyon Review, AGNI, West Branch, Indiana Review, Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, Shenandoah, The Rumpus and others. She received her MFA from Stony Brook University and lives in the suburbs of New York. The Tip Line, her debut novel, is forthcoming from Crooked Lane Books in April 2023.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.