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HERE KITTY KITTY

WRITER VS. iPOD - VOL. I

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January 2009

January 4, 2009

What the bloody hell is this?

Two years. That is how long we’ve been discussing the idea of a site dedicated to great crime fiction and suspense novels. In that time, we’ve searched far and wide, Googling to the end of the metaverse and have yet to find a site for readers dedicated to books about killers and detectives and hit men and ordinary folks in peril and MacGuffins and missing persons and ex-military guns-for-hire and forensic pathologists and sinister dark characters lurking in darker alleys. And we found nothing. Or at least nothing that held our interest.

Hence: Blood on the Page. A place to find the best crime and suspense fiction with a complete focus on storytelling. The best part: you’ll get to reads large chunks of books for free. More on that in a second.

We (as in the collective “we” of Bantam Dell) publish a range of authors. Household names like Lee Child, Karin Slaughter and Dean Koontz. Award-winning writers and rising stars like Brett Battles, Sean Doolittle, and Tom Piccirilli. And if we do say so, some fantastic crime from across the pond including David Hewson and Christopher Fowler. All of these writers craft amazing stories, tales that keep you on edge of your seat and turning pages.

So Blood on the Page will focus on stories. We’re going to give you free chapters to read. More pages than you’ll find on booksellers’ sites, or even on Bantam Dell’s main site. Every other week, there will be a new excerpt posted. And while the excerpts are live, select authors will be blogging with their own thoughts and insights and real-life stories. We’re even going to throw in the occasional podcast episode and video feature.

It has been a long time coming and we’re glad we are finally able to give you (what we hope) will be a great source for the newest and most exciting crime and suspense.

And most of all, we want you to help us tailor it all. Send us e-mails at bloodonthepage@randomhouse.com. We want your feedback, input, criticism, and insight.

Yikes and away,

The Blood on the Page team.

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January 5, 2009

Free Chapters from Safer

by Sean Doolittle

Let’s start things off with SAFER, a noir thriller from author Sean Doolittle. It’s likely he’ll be a new author for you, but read this gritty crime novel and you’ll be searching out his other books. His last yarn, The Cleanup, won the Barry Award, was in the running for an Anthony, and was hailed by critics. The action in SAFER rockets through just five days—and we’re betting that’s a lot longer than it takes you to reach the final page.

The hero: Paul Callaway, new resident of a small Iowa town
The situation: A young couple move into an idyllic little cul-de-sac—and ignite a harrowing journey into darkness as a shocking accusation is made, a family is shattered, and the mystery of a long-ago crime begins to unravel.
Opening line: “My wife, Sara, and I are hosting a faculty party at our home when the Clark Falls Police Department arrives to take me into custody.”
What others have said:SAFER is a high-octane, rip-roaring page turner. I read it in one sitting—and loved every minute.” -Harlan Coben, bestselling author of Hold Tight
Read for Yourself:

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January 12, 2009

THE DEATH TRUST author says Hi.

http://www.davidrollins.net
drollins1@mac.com

Hiya

Thanks for stopping by.

Got any questions for me? I’ll try to answer them as best I can.

If you’ve got any questions for Agent Cooper, I’ll try to answer them, too.
I hope you’re enjoying the book.

If you are, tell a friend. If not, do me a favor and keep it to yourself.

All the best
David Rollins

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January 12, 2009

SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Hey folks—Sean Doolittle here. Big thanks to the demented crackpots at Bantam Dell for dreaming up this site, and for inviting me to come and play with the cool kids. As a lifelong fan of crime and suspense fiction, I expect I’d probably be here even if I didn’t have a brand new book to talk about, but in an astonishing stroke of coincidence…

…you can read the first few chapters of my brand new book right here!

People have asked where the idea for Safer originated. The answer comes from a conversation I had a few years ago that, for the sake of brevity, can be boiled down more or less to the following question: The best defense is a good offense, true or false?

An acquaintance of mine—a family man like myself—didn’t believe the question was as complicated as I made it out to be. I readily admit that my own views on our particular topic were not fully formed at the time, but still I failed to resist playing devil’s advocate and posed more or less the following counter-question:

“Say you found out that a paroled sex offender has moved in next door. All the statistics say there’s a very good possibility that a person with this guy’s particular record will re-offend in the future. Would you murder your neighbor if it meant 100% certainty that he would never harm your wife or children?”

I don’t remember how he answered, but I found myself toying with my own impromptu lifeboat scenario for several days after that conversation. The question turned out to be the seed of the novel; my home region of the Midwest provided the soil, and my own experiences as a husband and father supplied water and sunlight.

I hope you enjoy,

SD

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January 13, 2009

The Death Trust Author’s Book Feature Live 2/2

Stay tuned for author David Rollin’s book feature the week of February 2!

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January 14, 2009

BRR

It’s cold cold cold here in the Midwest this week. How cold is it? “It’s so cold the witches’ tits all stayed home,” an old farmer I knew used to say. (Using today’s readings I’m going to say this translates, in meteorological terms, to a wind chill of approximately 23 degrees below zero in the greater Omaha metropolitan area).

In short, a perfect day to get a fire crackling, pour a piping hot cup of antifreeze, and curl up with a book, which I plan to do this evening. On deck: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, which has been waiting on my shelf for awhile, or the new Charlie Huston, which somehow climbed into my car earlier this afternoon. A coin toss will determine. Or guilt my formidable work ethic will drive me to the laptop for some more work on the manuscript-in-progress.

Whatever happens, it’s really cold outside. Tell me how cold it is in your neck of the woods right here—a copy of my last book, The Cleanup, which takes place during the aftermath of a good old-fashioned Nebraska blizzard, to the winner. Entries judged by sophisticated computers me.

Stay warm everybody,
SD

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January 16, 2009

THIS JUST IN

Bigtime congrats to a few Bantam Dell authors who raked in Edgar Award nominations this morning:

Morag Joss for The Night Following (Best Novel)
Ed Gaffney for Enemy Combatant (Best Paperback Original)
Tom Piccirilli for The Cold Spot (also Best Paperback Original).

High fives all around! Ed and Tom, let’s have a clean fight.

SD

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January 19, 2009

WRITER VS. iPOD - VOL. I

In the past six months or so I’ve been listening to audio books. This is a first for me, something I never thought I’d enjoy; it always struck me as a vaguely untrustworthy experience, primarily due to the layer of third-party performance between the story and my brain that doesn’t exist while reading a book.

But I do like the idea that you can consume a novel when you otherwise couldn’t (while driving somewhere, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, cleaning up the spaghetti sauce that splattered all over the kitchen when you dropped the spatula and tried to catch it and then dropped the whole pan), and as I’ve gradually learned how to listen to books I’ve found myself mildly addicted.

Which brings me to the following, which I can’t help thinking wouldn’t have happened even eight or 10 months ago, in the old “only reading books with my eyes” days:

Last week I was listening to an audio book. My iPod was full, and I was too lazy to do the required housekeeping, so I could only fit two or three CDs worth of novel onto the iPod at a time. For some reason—and I didn’t notice this until I’d listened to all the available material—these particular CDs weren’t sorted in the proper order on the playlist. And so I’d been listening to the tracks—perhaps 50-100 novel pages—in a sort of random jackstraw sequence…

and the story still made perfect sense!! The pace was lively. Events had unfolded in a compelling fashion. And I’d had absolutely no idea that I was essentially reading ten pages, skipping ahead and reading ten pages, going back and reading five… .

I find it almost equally delightful and disturbing. This summer I’ll be teaching a workshop and I ask myself: what are the lessons about structure and story development a writer can take from this experience?

Okay, that’s a lie. Mostly I’m thinking that Safer is the first of my novels scheduled to have an audio version, and as much as I’m in favor of that, now I’m also a little bit terrified by the thought that I could put my iPod on “shuffle” and the book will sound as good as (or, horribly, better than) the book I actually wrote.

So, note to self: let’s not do that.

- Sean Doolittle

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January 24, 2009

HERE KITTY KITTY

Every writer can point to his or her obvious influences—the favorite authors and favorite books that served as guides and inspiration along the way. But I think the smaller, less obvious books from childhood/teenhood interest me more.

Occasionally I’ve attempted to harness the vast powers of the Internet to seek out books that I remember reading once or twice as a kid but never, for whatever reason, saw again. I find it a strange, sort of wonderful experience to hold and reread these books as an adult (especially in a familiar edition), finding those dusty old memories of a story tucked away in the nooks and crannies of your brain. Inevitably, some of those memories have warped over time. And some of those memories (pieces of your life) you discover you’d misplaced entirely.

Especially surreal are the moments when you reread an old, near-forgotten book and run across a character trait, or an author’s stylistic habit (good or bad), or even a small, seemingly insignificant detail or description that you just know in your gut must have found its way out of its box in your brain attic and into your own work over the years.

Example: a couple years ago, I was trying to remember a book I’d read as a 6th grader. All I knew was that it was about feral cats taking over some woods in New England and I’d loved it. A Google search, a trip to an online used/out-of-print bookseller, and a short wait later, and I possessed my own ex-library copy of the short novel Feral by Berton Roueche; I could remember almost nothing about the story until I reread it one snowy winter night, and then it was like I’d just read it yesterday. It still held up and I was proud of my fine 6th grade taste.

I also couldn’t help noticing that the protagonist in the book was named Bishop, just like the protagonist in my own first novel, written a little shy of two decades later by a relative grownup. Coincidence? Very possibly so. Or had I somehow fused the name “Bishop” with “story I like” somewhere in my subconscious? Of course there’s no way to know for sure, but I like wondering.

Paul Callaway, the protagonist in Safer, is less mysterious. I named him after a golf club. There, I spoiled the magic. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain as he sneaks out the back.

Thanks for reading, folks. I hope you enjoyed the free chapters, and I hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled for the book on February 24. It’s a big one for me and I want to impress the bosses. Speaking of which…

…thanks again to everybody at Blood on the Page for letting me use all the guest towels.

Cheers and good health to all,

SD

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