Look, people. Let’s not beat around the bush. This September, I’ve got a new book coming out. It’s called RED RIGHT HAND, and it’s the followup to my Anthony, Barry, Lefty, and Macavity-nominated Michael Hendricks novel, THE KILLING KIND. I’m crazy psyched for folks to read it. So psyched, in fact, I’ve decided to give a signed ARC* away to one lucky MCW reader. How, you ask? Keep reading.
*For those who don’t know, an ARC (or advance reading copy) is the early, uncorrected version of a book sent to reviewers well before the book’s release. RED RIGHT HAND’s ARCs were printed prior to copyediting, and differ slightly from the hardcover. That means a) they’re something of a collector’s item, and b) whoever wins one will get to read the version of the book I submitted to my editor, as well as mock my typos and questionable comma placements.
For those who don’t know, my wife, Katrina, is involved in the mystery community too, as a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, Mystery Scene, and Crimespree. She and I are fond of taking long walks, during which our conversations often turn to books.
The other day, our conversation centered on a question (which [hint, hint] might just come into play if you wanna win that ARC):
What book would you give to somebody who’s never read crime fiction to show them why you love the genre and what it’s capable of?
It’s an interesting question to me, because the answer isn’t necessarily your favorite book, it’s the book you think would be the best ambassador for the genre. (Some of my favorites [Donald Westlake’s Parker books, for example] are maybe too far down the genre rabbit hole to appeal to someone who’s never read a crime novel before.) And tastes vary so widely from recipient to recipient that it’s hard to choose one book with broad enough appeal.
Katrina offered two: Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE and Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY. The former was the first adult mystery she ever read, and it ignited a passion for the genre that continues to this day. The latter (which, for the record, was in the running for me, too) is a beautifully written tale that puts the lie to the idea that crime fiction is lowbrow fare.
I’m similarly torn. I’m tempted to suggest Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES because, like Katrina with Christie, I fell in love with it as a child. Or Raymond Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP, which is as gorgeous on the sentence level as any book you’ll ever read. But instead, I’ll take the opportunity to choose a novel from one of my favorite current crime authors: Megan Abbott’s THE END OF EVERYTHING.
THE END OF EVERYTHING is at once a gorgeous literary novel, a heart-wrenching coming-of-age story, an unflinching work of crime fiction, and an expertly constructed fair-play mystery. It’s not an easy read by any means, but for me, it’s without a doubt one of the most satisfying in recent memory.
So… what book would you choose? Leave your answer in the comments, and be sure to include your name. Tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 9AM EST, I’ll randomly select one commenter to receive the ARC (either by placing names in a hat or sorting via Excel’s random number generator, depending on my level of laziness), and notify the winner via the comments shortly thereafter. You’re welcome to leave multiple comments, but I’ll only count them as one entry.