Three years ago, while spending ten days at Canada’s Trent University as a writer-in-residence, I brought along a notebook to start jotting down some ideas.
It was time to try something a little different. My nine previous novels had been standalone thrillers (okay, No Safe House was a seven-years-later follow-up to No Time for Goodbye), but in the fall of 2013 I was thinking of ways to up my game.
I decided to write three linked novels. A trilogy, I suppose, but maybe not a traditional one. The first two novels would largely be standalones, but there would be another story percolating in the background. In book three, that backstory would take over.
But before I could write word one of that first book, I needed to know what that overarching story would be. It had to be something BIG.
I figured out what it would be.
And now, three years later, readers will finally find out what it is.
The Twenty-Three arrives in stores in the UK on 22 September. On 1 November, the book will be released in North America. (Just in time to take U.S. readers’ minds off the election…as if that were possible.)
In case you’ve already read both and you’ve forgotten:
23 dead squirrels hung from a fence
a sexual predator wearing a hoodie with “23” on the front
a threatening message painted on three naked mannequins in carriage 23 of a decommissioned Ferris wheel
Promise Falls city bus number 23, in flames
the bombing of the local drive-in, at exactly 23 minutes past 11 o’clock (the 23rd hour of the day)
As The Twenty-Three opens, on the 23rd of May, something will happen that will make all those other incidents seem positively timid.
It’s so exciting for me – and readers, too, I hope – to see the final book released. Folks who have read books one and two are going to have all their questions answered.
I think they’re going to be blown away.
Those who have not yet explored these books will have the opportunity to “binge” read them back-to-back!
Far From True in paperback
If you want to get caught up before the release of book three, good news. Far From True has just been released in paperback in the UK, and will be out in a mass market paperback edition in Canada and the U.S. on 4 October. For those in North America, that gives you nearly a month to get up to speed by reading the first two books. UK readers, the binge awaits you!
Broken Promise, the first book in the trilogy, has been in paperback since the spring.
The chase is on!
Chase, my first of at least two thrillers for younger readers, will be out in July 2017. This is a book that I started writing more than three years ago, but had to put aside when I became busy with other deadlines.
My wife, Neetha, a former kindergarten teacher, kept telling me that I had to write this novel, which is aimed at the “middle-grade” audience, which is kids aged roughly 8-12. (Although, the first three people to read the book were my age or older, and they couldn’t put it down.) Neetha said the story would appeal to all kids, but especially boys, who can be reluctant readers.
I sum up Chase like this: Think The Bourne Identity, but the hero is a dog.
In Chase, it’s a dog named Chipper, the creation of a secret organization – the Institute – that is melding animals with sophisticated software for use in espionage-type activities. The problem with Chipper is that his canine side often overtakes his computer side, meaning he’d rather run after a squirrel than a bad guy. When the Institute decides to put him down, Chipper escapes.
And the chase is on.
That was some summer . . .
The summer may have ended calmly, as this shot taken from the dock of our getaway place shows, but it was a busy one. In July I was in New York for ThrillerFest, and shortly after our return from there, I was off on a tour in England that included stops in London, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and finishing in Harrogate, for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival.
The queue for signing at Harrogate
Signing books at Harrogate
One of my favourite crime writers, Mark Billingham, interviewed me before a crowd of several hundred people (I was amazed so many were up for a 9am event), and afterward we both autographed books for the rest of the morning. (His latest novel, Die of Shame, is terrific, by the way.)
The Soho pub I saw while on tour.
Nice to know he found work after Game of Thrones
Early August I spent doing some editing on Chase, and working on some notes for the book I want to write next. I hope to tell you more about that in the next newsletter. Finally, I had a chance to put my feet up and read. Here are a few of the books I got through in August:
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin: Epic.
Grunt by Mary Roach: A fascinating and often funny book about the science behind being a soldier.
Cape Fear by John D. MacDonald: A classic thriller.
The Fireman by Joe Hill: Have I already used the word “epic?”
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley: Propulsive read, nice writing, but I would have liked a bigger payoff at the end.
Dark Road a play by Ian Rankin and Mark Thomson: I would love to see this performed.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: A terrific debut thriller that is hitting bestseller lists everywhere.
Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen: The latest, craziest satirical thriller by the Florida author and journalist.
Okay, this has nothing to do with me, but I just want to share this mock documentary on poutine – and if you don’t know what that is, shame on you – that our son Spencer Barclay worked on for Penguin Random House Canada. It’s hilarious.
It might even make you hungry.
Thursday 15 to Saturday 17 September: I’ll be at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in New Orleans.Tuesday 20 September: The Carl Hiaasen event in Toronto, details above.Sunday 25 September: The Word on the Street, Toronto. Details from The Word on the StreetTuesday 18 October: The Read for the Cure, Toronto. A great event that raises funds for cancer research. Details from Read for the Cure
Thursday 20 October: Wine and Lines, Oakville, Ontario. Details from Wines and Lines
Sunday 30 October: International Festival of Authors, Toronto. Details not yet firmed up, but check IFOA for updates
Sunday 13 November: Blue Heron Books, Uxbridge, Ontario. Check Blue Heron Books for details as they become available.
Note: Other appearances related to the North American 1 November release of The Twenty-Three are in the works. I’ll have more details in the next newsletter, but you can also check for news at:
All for now! As always, thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll be able to make it out to one of my events this fall. If you know others who’d like to sign up for this newsletter, send them here: