UNSUB reviews: Boston Globe, Providence Journal & Oklahoma bestseller list

UNSUB_OK_Bestseller

I’ve been up and down I-35 to Dallas and Oklahoma City, back to Austin, and off to New York City. Doing the UNSUB book tour, teaching at Thrillerfest, and hanging out with my kids. I’ll have a tour roundup soon, but for now, here’s the latest news about the novel.

First: Have I told you how much I love Oklahoma? My home state has come through in a stunning and exciting way this week. UNSUB is Oklahoma’s Number 1 fiction bestseller. And China Lake is Number 5. Thank you to everybody in the state! (And thanks to Joe Hight of Edmond’s Best of Books, for the photo.)

Second: While I was on the road I got a couple of gratifying reviews of the novel.

“Gardiner’s heebie-jeebies-inducing thriller, which CBS is adapting as a television series, shimmers with Hitchcockian elements.” — Boston Globe

“In the deft grasp of Meg Gardiner all that’s old feels new again and especially terrifying in “Unsub” (Dutton, $27, 384 pages) which introduces us to new (potential) series hero Caitlin Hendix. Gardiner makes Caitlin’s debut a stunner, pitting the novice detective against a Hannibal Lecter-like monster whose taunts nearly destroyed her father… This is psychological suspense of the highest order, as Gardiner elevates herself to the level of Jeffery Deaver, Thomas Harris and Lawrence Sanders.” — Jon Land, Providence Journal

I will take those reviews all day, every day.

UNSUB Book Tour — Tonight: Dallas

Winslow&Gardiner_LincolnPark

Today the UNSUB book tour hits the road again. Tonight I’ll be in Dallas, speaking and signing at Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Park.

But wait, there’s more! I’m privileged to be sharing the evening with Don Winslow, whose epic New York crime novel The Force is one of this year’s biggest books. Don has been a huge supporter of my work (check out the quote on the cover of UNSUB) and I’m beyond excited that I’ll be able to get my copy of The Force signed by him.

So if you’re in North Texas, come on down. Hope to see all y’all!

Don Winslow and Meg Gardiner
Wednesday, July 5th
7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Park
7700 West Northwest Hwy. Ste. 300
Dallas, TX 75225
214-739-1124

UNSUB: Out today

1121 UNSUB

It’s here. My new thriller, UNSUB, is published today.

It’s been a long time coming, and I’m beyond thrilled that the novel is finally out. My thanks go to my publisher, Dutton (look at that beautiful book. Look!) to my husband, Paul Shreve, who put up with me while I was writing, and rewriting, and editing, and biting my nails and tossing and turning and rewriting some more, and being asked to act out fight scenes for the book; to my agent, Shane Salerno, who believed in this project from the beginning and has shepherded it to fruition; to everybody at The Story Factory; and to my relatives and friends and everyone who answered research questions — about law enforcement, literature, Arabian horses, you name it.

The novel, like all my novels, is a thriller, and I hope you’ll read it and enjoy the ride. Here are some reviews:

“Gardiner’s novel breathes new life into the sub-genre with her mastery of police procedure; with superb characterizations of her heroine, the heroine’s father and the killer; and with enough twists and turns to leave fans of TV’s “Scandal and “How to Get Away With Murder” short of breath.

The result is an intelligent, sharply written, compelling page-turner that is satisfying on every level.

Best of all, the novel ends with a cliff-hanger reminiscent of an early Godzilla movie — the one in which the monster was finally vanquished, the hero was being cheered and the scene suddenly shifted to an underwater chamber where a huge egg was about to hatch. You knew, then, that there had to be a sequel.” — Bruce DeSilva, Associated Press

“Caitlin shines as a strong lead, a fine addition to Meg Gardiner’s pantheon of powerful female protagonists… Meg Gardiner writes thrillers, pure and simple; if you like the genre, you’ll adore her latest. Gruesome murders, creative killers, heart-pounding chase sequences, and poisonous explosions together check off many of my summer-read boxes. Realistic characters, quirky interactions, beautiful language and careful plotting elevate this one to a classic-thriller-in-the-making, perfect for these paranoid times.” — Molly Odintz, MysteryPeople

UNSUB is one of Barnes & Noble’s Top Books of the Month.

And here are some articles and interviews about the book:

Zodiac killer spurs thriller writer Meg Gardiner — San Francisco Examiner

‘UNSUB,’ A Conversation with Meg Gardiner — Mark Rubinstein, Huffington Post

Q&A: Meg Gardiner’s new thriller was inspired by the Zodiac Killer — Houston Chronicle

Action & Emotion: Jeff Abbott interviews Meg Gardiner — Los Angeles Review of Books

Go Down to the Basement: MysteryPeople Q&A with Meg Gardiner

And don’t forget: you can now find the novel at libraries and at all these bookstores:

Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon | iBooks

Book People | Murder by the Book

How do authors get readers to cheer for the bad guy?

I was searching the blog archives this morning and found a comment on a post from waaaay back that I never answered. The post is “My Breaking Bad injury, or why good writing is dangerous.” The comment is from loyal blog reader Dana Jean:

Maybe you can answer this for me. I can’t STAND Skyler. I just loathe her, but why? She has every right to be pissed. She has every right to feel betrayed and hurt. But, when she starts with that face she gets and that attitude, I really want to smack her.

Walt is a bad guy. He did wrong things for the right reasons — at first. And even when he continues to do very bad things, I see his reasoning behind it. I supported Dexter too.

How are these authors making me cheer for the bad guy?

How indeed? What tricksy methods to writers use to get viewers, and readers, to cheer for villains and anti-heroes? Here are some reasons why we cheer for the bad guys:

They’re well-rounded. We see the entirety of their lives. And we see their lives from a compassionate perspective. Walter White starts from the most sympathetic position possible. He’s a brilliant, dedicated teacher, whose knowledge and passion for science are ignored by his students. To pay the bills, he has to work a humiliating second job at a car wash. He’s a devoted husband to his pregnant wife and father to his teenage son, who has a disability. And then he learns he has terminal cancer.

They have laudable motivations. Walter White starts cooking meth to provide for his family after he’s gone. He knows it’s illegal. It’s not a good thing to do. It puts him in danger. But time is running out, and he’s desperate. And the fact that he does something so dangerous actually makes Walt more sympathetic, at least at first.

They’re powerful. We like to read about (or watch) powerful people. We admire their power. We treat it — and them — with respect. Power helps them get things done. Think of The Godfather. Don Corleone is a mobster, but he can make miracles happen (it seems) for the helpless people who petition him for aid. In Breaking Bad, Walt starts out powerless, and we want him to gain agency, and respect, and independence, and revenge… and, yes, power.

Of course, power doesn’t solve Walt’s problems. By the time he says one of television’s all-time greatest lines to Skyler (“I am the one who knocks”), he’s far down the road to corruption. But we’re along for the ride with him.

The other guys are worse. Skillful writers make their bad guys look good by comparison. Who is Walter White up against? Tuco and Tio Salamanca. The cousins. Uncle Jack and his neo-Nazis. People who are remorseless and disgusting. Walt has to become tough to deal with them. We want to see him stand up and defeat these guys.

By comparison to Walt, Skyler can seem petty. Ungrateful, even. (Isn’t he doing all this for her?) She finds herself powerless, but the way she tries to strike back at Walt and get out from under the situation make us think poorly of her. (For example, at her wits’ end trying to get Walter to move out of the house, she sleeps with her boss, then tells Walt — in the kitchen at home, at dinnertime, as crudely as possible.) And, at heart, Walt is the anti-hero of the story. Skyler becomes an antagonist. She would stop him. And, thanks to the skill of the writers and Bryan Cranston’s brilliant portrayal, we don’t want that to happen.

Sorry it took me three-and-a-half years to answer your question, Dana Jean.

UNSUB reviews: LitHub, Boston Globe, Journal-Sentinel, and more

LitHub headline

UNSUB will be published June 27th. Reviews are coming in, so I want to round some of them up. (YES, read the book!)

In LitHub, Lisa Levy has a wonderful essay about UNSUB and Karen Dionne’s new novel, The Marsh King’s Daughter: The Daughters of Crime Fiction Are Getting Tough on Bad Dads.

“Unsub is a really frightening book, in large part because of Gardiner’s deft use of close third-person narration. It put me in mind—though the subjects could not be further apart—of the work of Henry James.”

I will take that. All day, every day.

More reviews:

“An adrenaline-fueled rush… Shades of “Silence of the Lambs’’ and the Zodiac Killer.” — Boston Globe (Hot for a Summer Read?)

“I love a good serial killer novel, and Gardiner has written one of the most accomplished ones I’ve read in a while. Gardiner has created the perfect balance of vulnerability and violence in her main characters, all of whom are damaged in their own ways. When the killer becomes a “hot knife through the center of (Caitlin’s) head,” “Unsub” will already have a cold grip on your heart.” — Carole Barrowman, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Paging Through Mysteries: 5 thrilling choices for summer reading)

“Scary-good… Meg Gardiner knows how to get readers’ hearts pumping, and she brings plenty of thrills with this one. UNSUB is a first-rate crime thriller that’s well-written and carefully plotted. Just when readers think they’ve zeroed in on the killer, Gardiner delivers one devilish twist after another.” — The Real Book Spy

“Bring on the nightmares.” — PureWow (7 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in June)

And the Vallejo Times Herald talked to me about writing the novel: Author of new Zodiac-inspired novel and planned TV series, holds Bay Area events.

And a reminder: You can preorder the novel today!

Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon | iBooks

Book People | Murder by the Book

UNSUB book tour: Dallas added

Unsub-tour-social-2

Here’s the latest on my book tour schedule for UNSUB. I’ve added July 5th in Dallas, where I’ll be talking to the amazing Don Winslow, discussing his hugely anticipated new novel The Force. 

UNSUB Book Tour:

June 26: Book People, Austin, Texas – 7PM
Moderated by Jeff Abbott

June 27: Murder by the Book, Houston – 6:30PM

June 28: Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, Arizona – 7PM
In conversation with Spencer Quinn

June 29: Orinda Books, Orinda, California – 11:30AM

June 29: Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco – 7PM

July 5: Barnes & Noble, Lincoln Park, Dallas — 6PM
With Don Winslow

July 6: Best of Books, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — 6PM

ThrillerFest XII
July 14-15, 2017
Grand Hyatt New York City

I hope I’ll see you along the way!

Writing writing writing… and UNSUB is coming

UNSUB-review-NetGalley

My new thriller, UNSUB, will be published June 27th. This week I’m getting ready — planning my travel for the book tour, writing articles, doing interviews, and honing my ninja skills to a high level. As you do.

I’m also working on the sequel to this novel. So I’ve been editing a fight scene. Which means I asked the Husband to teach me how to take down a knife-wielding home invader, using only a leather belt and some momentum. As you do. Unlike a few years ago, this time I managed to act out the fictional fight without scaring the neighbors or my children. That’s a win.

And after going for my husband with a wrench (standing in for the knife), I feel confident that in real life he would have disarmed me and laid me out flat in less than a second. I’m glad I have him in the house. And I re-confirmed my decision never to take up home burglary.

The fight scene I wrote today will be published in 2018. In the meanwhile, you can preorder UNSUB.

Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon | iBooks

Book People | Murder by the Book