Tag Archives: The Shadow Tracer

Tropcielka Cieni: The Shadow Tracer Polish edition


Yesterday the postal carrier knocked on my door, handed me a box, and said, “Books. Yours?”

It never gets old. Ever.

I got to show him this one: the Polish edition of The Shadow Tracer. The title translates as “Shadow Tracker.”

The shoutline, run through Google’s meat grinder of a translator, comes out as, “Peekaboo to death and life.” I imagine a Polish speaker would rephrase that to match the shoutline on the British edition: “Hide and seek. Live or die.”

New Mexico: Shadow Tracer country

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This was my morning view earlier this week: New Mexico from 38,000 feet. For a sense of scale, the white expanse is White Sands National Monument and the White Sands Missile Range. It’s twenty miles wide. And the snowcapped speck to the right is a 12,000 foot mountain.

Not only did I spend many summers in this part of the country as a kid (sand-boarding the dunes at White Sands is spectacular fun), but I set a big chunk of The Shadow Tracer there. No spoilers, but Sarah Keller has much less love than I do for this stretch of scorching desert.

Editing: the Shadow Tracer checklist

shadow tracer uk

The Shadow Tracer is now out around the world. The cover is bright and shiny, and I hope that the prose and the story are too. But the book didn’t start out that way. As always, the first draft was plug ugly: fat, bland, overwritten, superficial, and confusing.

Today I found the revision checklist that I sent to my editor along with that first draft. For a peek into how I revise, have a look at what I thought about the novel nearly a year before it first hit the bookshelves.

I’ve redacted a few plot points to avoid spoilers. And you’ll notice one big thing: my working title for the novel was not The Shadow Tracer.

Here are my first thoughts on revising the rough draft of Untraceable:


1. Cut the word count; clear out all the underbrush and get rid of missteps and dead ends; straighten out all the plot lines that (obviously) were being worked out in my own mind as I wrote the draft — get rid of duplication, reorganize the action to maximize revealing plot points (e.g. that the dead FBI agent XXXX; revelation that Sarah XXXX). Either develop half-formed ideas or cut them.

2. Dramatically improve the characterization of the major players — dialogue, personality, behavior, the whole shebang.

3. Clarify the personalities of the antagonists (primarily the trio — Grissom, Reavy, and Fell) and their goals, plus the conflicts that develop among them.

4. Develop (and clarify!) the relationship between Sarah Keller and Michael Lawless — make it tentative and fraught with uncertainty at the beginning, though they both respect and doubt each other — then strengthen it throughout the story, till XXXX by the end.

5. Get rid of the half-developed idea that Zoe has second sight — pull it back so she’s really just an unusually observant, perceptive child, who sees things the adults don’t understand — it’s not in any way paranormal, but it is on the edge of eerie.

6. Clarify Lawless’s role in Sarah’s current attempt to escape — how much is official U.S. Marshal business, how much is his own initiative.

7. Reduce the number of points of view: restrict them (except for brief and necessary exceptions) to Sarah, Lawless, Harker, Fell, and Danisha.

8. Figure out whether there are enough twists at the end!

Readers: You’ll have to tell me if you think I followed my own advice.

Apple Store tonight. Plus Crime Time & Crime Squad!


Tonight in London I will be speaking at the Apple Store Regent Street. 7 p.m. The event is free. If you’re in the area come on down and hear me, Tim Weaver, and Laura Wilson talk about crime. In our books. Barry Forshaw leads the discussion.

Meet the Authors: MG Gardiner, Tim Weaver and Laura Wilson
Tuesday, 10th December 7 p.m.
Apple Store Regent Street
235 Regent Street
London, W1B 2EL
020 7153 9000

Other book/crime related things:

Want tips on how to disappear? I have an article in Crime Time. The Shadow Tracer: Going Underground.

And at CrimeSquad.com there’s a review of The Shadow Tracer and an interview with me. The review says: “The Shadow Tracer’ is Formula One racing in book form.”

Which is pretty darn fine with me.

Shadow Tracer reviews: Financial Times, Book Oxygen, Buzz

Now that The Shadow Tracer is out in Britain, a few more reviews have come in:

shadow tracer uk

“Her best book yet… As ever with Gardiner, we are ineluctably drawn into the plight of the heroine, and the orchestration of tension is exceptional.” Barry Forshaw, Financial Times.

“Gardiner writes tough like one of the boys, and Shadow Tracer is a real, stay-up-all-night thriller that should be the success that it deserves. Ten out of Ten.” Mark Timlin, Buzz Magazine.

The Shadow Tracer is an excellent thriller, which shows that high tension and a fast-paced narrative are not the preserve of fighting men and their guns… Sarah is so appealing that even when the dark parts of her past are illuminated, she keeps you reading. I hope we will see more of her… Like all the best thrillers [Gardiner’s] are fun as well as shocking – and moving.” N.J. Cooper, Book Oxygen.

All of which are mighty nice. Now ‘scuse me while I put on some Kool and the Gang and celebrate.

On sale now in the UK: The Shadow Tracer

shadow tracer uk

Today The Shadow Tracer is published in Britain. So go out and get yourself a copy. Or ten. Don’t let me stop you.

And yes, in Britain I am now publishing as M.G. Gardiner. Because the Brits love crime writer names that involve initials. It makes me feel all thrillery.

Why are you still reading this post? Go get the book.

Event alert: Apple Store Regent Street

regentstreet_hero_2x This week The Shadow Tracer will be published in Britain. As part of the book launch, next Tuesday, December 10th, I’ll be at the Apple Store on Regent Street in London. I’ll join authors Tim Weaver and Laura Wilson to talk about crime fiction. Barry Forshaw will lead the discussion. The event is free but seating is limited, so the Apple Store urges people to register and reserve a place.

Meet the Authors: MG Gardiner, Tim Weaver and Laura Wilson Leading crime fiction expert Barry Forshaw (Nordic Noir, Death in a Cold Climate) is joined by authors MG Gardiner (China Lake, The Shadow Tracer), Tim Weaver (Vanished, Never Coming Back) and Laura Wilson (A Willing Victim, The Riot) to discuss their careers, latest work, and the genre. You’ll also have the chance to put your questions to the writers at an event crime fiction fans won’t want to miss. Arrive early as seating is limited.

Tuesday, 10th December 7 p.m.
Apple Store Regent Street
235 Regent Street
London, W1B 2EL
020 7153 9000