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FaceOff Paperback – December 1, 2015
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In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers pair their series characters in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW).
The stories in FaceOff feature:
-Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
-John Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
-Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
-Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
-Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
-Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
-Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
-Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
-Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
-Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
-Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder
So sit back and prepare for a rollicking ride as your favorite characters go head-to-head with some worthy opponents in FaceOff—it’s a thrill-a-minute read.
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
In 2004 two accomplished thriller writers harbored a dream. Their names: Gayle Lynds and David Morrell. To that point both Gayle and David had enjoyed long and successful careers. But something was missing. The ‘who-done-its’ had Mystery Writers of America. Those who specialize in fear, the Horror Writers Association. And the Romance Writers Association had long numbered thousands of members.
Every genre seemed to have a trade group.
Except thriller writers.
So Gayle and David decided to start one.
It began in Toronto on October 9, 2004, and from that small beginning sprang International Thriller Writers. Today over 2,500 men and women, from forty-nine countries around the world, hold membership. Eighty percent are working thriller writers. The rest are industry specialists, agents, editors, and fans. Every July the genre gathers in New York City for Thrillerfest. It’s quite literally summer camp for thriller writers and thriller enthusiasts. The Thriller, awarded every year in a variety of categories, is now the prize thriller writers covet, since it was both created and bestowed by their peers.
From its beginning ITW strived to innovate. Doing what everyone else had done was never in its business plan. So, in 2007, when board member (and superb British thriller writer) David Hewson suggested that the organization not charge dues the idea was immediately embraced. If a writer is published by an ITW-recognized house (of which there are hundreds), then membership is free.
So how would the organization sustain itself? Pay its bills?
The answer came in another innovative way.
The organization would create its own books that would be sold to publishing houses, the revenue from which would generate operating capital.
Risky? You bet. Gutsy? Definitely.
But an idea right up ITW’s alley.
ITW’s first publication, Thriller (2006), was the first anthology of thriller short stories ever compiled (remember that precept about never doing what others had done). Thirty-three ITW members donated stories. James Patterson (an ITW member) agreed to serve as editor, and the result became one of the most popular anthologies of all time—selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. The revenue from that groundbreaking book not only provided ITW with initial operating money, it also endowed the organization. Thriller 2 (2009) and Love Is Murder (2012) followed. Keeping with this innovative theme ITW published the first audio book ever written only for the ear: The Chopin Manuscript, which became a resounding success. Edited by the incomparable Jeffery Deaver (an ITW member), Chopin was named the 2008 Audio Book of the Year. That was followed by another audio success, The Copper Bracelet. A move into the world of nonfiction came with Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, which continues to garner widespread critical acclaim. Another ITW board member, the legendary R. L. Stine (creator of Goosebumps), led the organization into the world of young adult fiction with Fear. Annually, ITW shepherds a class of writers through their challenging inaugural year in what is known as the Debut Author Program. First Thrills, edited by ITW founding member Lee Child, became an anthology of stories from the 2011 class.
What an impressive résumé.
All created by author-editors who volunteer their time and writers who donate their stories. Nearly every single penny earned from ITW’s publications has gone to the organization.
And that will be the case with this book.
I joined ITW early on. I agreed with Gayle and David. It was time for an organization of thriller writers. I’ve been waiting for a project where I could become more involved with the group, so when I was approached about editing FaceOff I immediately said yes.
The entire concept intrigued me.
Take iconic writers with iconic characters and face them off against each other. Normally, this could never happen. Each writer is under contract to his or her own respective publishing house. Teaming with another writer, from another house, and combining characters would contractually be impossible. Which house would publish the story? No way to make that call. And no way either house would allow the story to be published by a third company. Only with ITW’s model—that the stories are donated and the money goes to the organization—would this work.
So this volume is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.
All of the contributors are ITW members. All eagerly agreed to participate. When I was told that ITW founding member Steve Berry, who worked with James Patterson on Thriller, would offer assistance as managing editor, I was thrilled. He’s the glue that held this project together. Thanks, Steve, for all you did.
And thanks to all of the contributors.
Where else will you be able to see Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme meet John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport? Or Patrick Kenzie entering the world of Harry Bosch? Fans of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone and James Rollins’s Gray Pierce have clamored for years to see those characters together. Then there’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher meeting up with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller in a bar in Boston—and doing what Reacher does best. Plus Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani becoming entangled with Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper. And the ever-odd Aloysius Pendergast coming face-to-face with the scary world of R. L. Stine.
These are just a few examples of what lies in the pages ahead. All of the stories come with an introduction that describes the writers, their characters, and a bit about the story’s gestation. At the end of the book are contributor biographies—a way to learn more about each of these amazing talents.
You’re in for a real treat.
So let the face-offs begin.
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (December 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476762074
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476762074
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #312,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I enjoyed this unique opportunity, but not as much as reading full-length stories by my favorite authors. I think my ingrained expectations of settings and characters diminished my pleasure. But, if you're open to a collaborative, short story concept, you may enjoy this book very much.
However, most of these stories felt a little bit forced. I think a lot of that can be attributed to it being difficult for the authors to fashion a cohesive story featuring two major characters in only 30ish pages, but a couple of these were just out and out disappointments to me. Particularly the final story that combined a couple of my favorites in Jack Reacher and Nick Heller.
I didn't dislike this book by any means. That being said, half of these authors/characters were new to me, and there was nothing in this introduction that makes me want to explore them further.
In general, these were excellent thrillers by excellent writers. The editing was well done. Within the constraints of short stories, the pacing and character development were good, and the plots and endings were interesting and pretty satisfactory. Many times I found myself grinning as I enjoyed the clever story lines and interactions between the characters.
I bought it for my Kindle, and I am looking forward to reading it multiple times.
"Red Eye," by Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane, sends Harry Bosch to Boston to investigate a lead in a cold case. He teams up with Patrick Kenzie who is working as a PI trying to find someone's recently missing daughter. They have a good lead, and neither is concerned about a little illegal entry.
"In the Nick of Time," by Ian Rankin and Peter James, sends John Rebus down to Brighton where he teams up with Roy Grace to investigate a crime from years earlier. A man was stabbed in a gang fight. Events turn out a lot different than expected for everyone concerned.
"Gaslighted," by R. L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child steps back in time, and is an eerie story about a man who does not know whether he is dealing with reality or a dream.
"The Laughing Buddha," by M. J. Rose and Lisa Gardner starts with a murder in the past and deals with things magical. It concerns the question of people having past lives, and their efforts to remember previous lives. Starting in the past when a man is murdered for the secrets he may have found, it fast forwards to the future when another man is murdered because he may have possession. Events don't turn out as people expected.
"Surfing the Panther," by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein concerns missing antiquities and forgery of the same. Some collectors are willing to buy stolen artwork for their own very private collections. But how do they know if they are buying the real thing, if the real thing is never recovered. A skillful forger could easily sell multiple copies, and who would dare talk. But a sale to the wrong person could have deadly results.
"Rhymes with Prey," by Jeffrey Deaver and John Sandford brings us a case where Lucas Davenport travels to New York City to meet with Lincoln Rhyme in a case involving a serial killer. This is another case where the killer has a secret chamber. There are other things going on, and events do not turn out quite as expected.
"Infernal Night," by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson sends Repairman Jack to New Orleans to assist in recovering an artifact. But Michael Quinn is also involved. There are strange things about that artifact. Be careful what you wish for.
"Pit Stop," by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay finds Glen Garber and his daughter taking a travel break at a highway service area when he becomes distracted and then sees his vehicle (with daughter still inside) heading out onto the highway. The chase is on as he joins Sean Reilly who had been trailing the man who stole Barber's vehicle. There are some unexpected consequences.
"Silent Hunt" by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker finds Wyatt Hunt heading to La Paz for some saltwater fly fishing when he meets up with Joe Trona, also going fishing. Nothing is ever simple. Some bad guys show up looking for some reported gold. Ah, but Hunt and Trona come up with a plan to deal with the situation. There is more than one way to skin a cat, or to deal with criminals.
"The Devil's Bones," by Steve Berry and James Rollins finds Commander Gray Pierce on a riverboat on the Amazon River trying to obtain a vial of a potent nerve poison in the possession of a scientist more interested in money than in patriotism or public good. Cotton Malone happens to be on the same riverboat on the same mission. They team up when things go very wrong, and the end result is not quite what they might have expected.
"Good and Valuable Consideration," by Lee Child and Joseph Finder places Jack Reacher and Nick Heller in the same bar in Boston for the same reason - to watch a baseball game. But baseball games tend to move slowly, and they take note of other people in the bar, and team up to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. Reacher discovered something long ago - if bad guys lose something of value, whom are they going to report it to? Good and Valuable Consideration: Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller
The editor provides short introductions to the stories and biographies of the authors.
Top reviews from other countries
It is an intriguing concept which works well. And I was introduced to a couple of authors I have not heard of before leaving me wanting to read more. Some stories work better than others (a matter of personal taste of course) but they are all good.
If you like crime thrillers and short stories you should like this volume. I certainly did. Highly recommended.