Related to: 'If She Wakes'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

How it Happened

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta
Hodder & Stoughton

Rise the Dark

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Mark Novak's greatest mystery might just be his own ...Private Investigator Mark Novak's relentlessness as an investigator has been his professional calling card and curse, but the one case he has couldn't bring himself to pursue is the one closest to his heart: that of his wife's death.Returning to the scene of her murder, a country road outside Cassadaga, Florida, he uncovers disturbing leads that show how her murder might be connected to Novak's own troubled youth in Montana. The investigation leads him back to the mining towns of Montana which he thought he'd left behind forever. On returning, he discovers there are more than just bad memories to be found when you go digging up the past. Novak faces an adversary more frightening than he's ever known, and a secret that has wended its way through his entire life: from the caverns beneath Indiana to the abandoned streets of a southern gothic town to the darkest corners of the Northwest. Novak is about to discover that evil and heroism are inextricably and tragically linked.

Hodder & Stoughton

Last Words

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Still mourning the death of his wife, Private Investigator Mark Novak's erratic behaviour is seeping into his work with Innocence Incorporated, the best law firm in the USA for pro-bono cases. With his future on the line, Mark is sent to investigate a seemingly dead-end case in Southern Indiana. On the very day his wife died, the body of a teenage girl was pulled from the extensive and perilous cave system beneath Garrison. Now the man who brought the girl out, who is still believed by many to be her killer, begs Novak to uncover what really happened. But this is the Midwest, where small-town cold cases stay cold.Garrison is a proud community, fortified against outsiders. So Mark is forced to delve into the town's secrets, and more frighteningly match wits against the man who knows the caverns better than anyone. A man who seems to have lost his mind. A man who seems to know Mark Novak all too well.

Hodder Paperbacks

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta
Hodder Paperbacks

Envy the Night

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

It's been seven years since Frank discovered his father's dark secret: that he was a U.S. Marshal, a contract killer who committed suicide to avoid prosecution. Now Devin Matteson, the man who betrayed his father - drawing him into the killing game and then handing him over to the FBI - is coming home to the Wisconsin lake that was once hallowed ground for both families. But this is a homecoming Frank knows he cannot allow.But when Frank arrives at Matteson's old cabin he finds only a strange, beautiful woman and a nervous man with a gun; Matteson is nowhere to be seen. When a pair of deadly assassins arrive on the scene, the sensible thing would be for Frank to contact the police, but Frank's father was nothing if not a good teacher, and his son a willing pupil . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

The Silent Hour

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta
Hodder & Stoughton

The Prophet

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta
Hodder Paperbacks

A Welcome Grave

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Lincoln Perry was once a rising star on the Cleveland police force, until he was kicked out after he got in a fight with Alex Jefferson, the millionaire his fiancée left him for. When Jefferson is tortured and murdered, it isn't long before the police are at Lincoln's door asking questions.Things go from bad to worse when Lincoln agrees to do a favour for Jefferson's widow - to track down the dead man's son who has unknowingly inherited his millions. What should be a routine search for a missing person ends with the son's body lying in the morgue and Lincoln in jail.Lincoln realises that Jefferson's millions are the target of a thirst for revenge that hasn't been satisfied by blood. But soon Lincoln is being pursued by a pair of deadly assailants and under pressure from the police, who are determined to put him back behind bars, if he survives long enough to make it there . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

Sorrow's Anthem

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Private Investigator Lincoln Perry's childhood best friend is on the run, wanted by the police for arson and murder. Lincoln hasn't seen Ed Gradduk in ten years, not since his friend got involved with a drug dealer and suspected murderer.When Ed is killed in a confrontation with the Cleveland police, they're happy to close the case. But Lincoln is desperate to prove that, whatever crimes his friend might have committed, he didn't set that house on fire and he didn't murder the woman whose body was found there.As Lincoln and his partner Joe Pritchard investigate, they uncover evidence about a string of arson attacks in Cleveland seventeen years ago, fires that begin to shed light on some old secrets.Lincoln and Joe are about to find out just how far those concerned will go to make sure those secrets stay buried . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

Tonight I Said Goodbye

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Investigator and former Marine Wayne Weston is found at home, killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, the gun still lying in his right hand. There is no sign of his wife and six-year-old daughter.The police believe Wayne Weston killed his family before turning the gun on himself. Weston's father is convinced his son was murdered. He turns to Lincoln Perry, former cop, now private investigator, for help.All the evidence supports the police's conclusions, but as soon as he starts asking questions, Lincoln hears rumours of gambling, extortion, and links to Cleveland's Russian mob. When the FBI asks him to back off, followed by a second murder, Lincoln is more determined than ever to uncover the truth, even if that means putting himself in danger . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

The Cypress House

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Arlen Wagner has seen it in men before - a trace of smoke in their eyes that promises imminent death. He is never wrong.When Arlen and his young companion Paul Brickhill are stranded at the Cypress House with a hurricane approaching, Paul won't abandon the boarding house's enigmatic mistress Rebecca to face the storm alone.But Arlen's gift warns him that if they stay too long, they may never leave.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Ridge

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta
Hodder & Stoughton

So Cold The River

Michael Koryta
Authors:
Michael Koryta

Ninety-five-year-old millionaire Campbell Bradford is dying.His family have hired ex-filmmaker Eric Shaw to make a documentary about him, but Campbell's childhood is shrouded in mystery. The only clues to his past are the name of his hometown and an antique glass water bottle that he's kept his entire life.Arriving in West Baden with the bottle and a camera, Shaw begins to have vivid and disturbing visions. And the more he finds out about the town and the man, the more he suspects that something besides the West Baden Springs Hotel has just been restored . . . Something dark and terrifying. And cold.

Cristina Alger

Cristina Alger is a lifelong New Yorker. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. Her third novel, THE BANKER'S WIFE is a USA Today Bestseller. She's currently working on her fourth novel. She lives in New York with her husband and children.

Dominick Donald

Dominick Donald was brought up in Britain and the US before studying at Oxford University. Stints as a soldier, a lecturer, a UN official and an editorial writer, plus a War Studies PhD, led eventually to political risk analysis for a large London firm, which he left in 2016 as its Head of Geopolitics. He has written editorials for The Times and US business magazine Red Herring, and reviews for the Guardian and the TLS. Now a freelance writer and political risk advisor, he is married with three children and lives on the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border.

Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly is the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air, The Ties That Bind, He Said/She Said, Stone Mothers and Broadchurch: The Novel, inspired by the mega-hit TV series. In 2013, The Poison Tree became a major ITV drama and was a Richard & Judy Summer Read in 2011. He Said/She Said spent six weeks in the top ten in both hardback and paperback, was longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier crime novel of the year award, and selected for both the Simon Mayo Radio 2 and Richard & Judy Book Clubs. She has worked as a freelance journalist since 1998 and written for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Red, Elle, Cosmopolitan and The Pool. Born in London in 1976, she lives in north London with her husband and daughters. erinkelly.co.uk twitter.com/mserinkelly

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde spent twenty years in the film business before debuting on the New York Times bestseller list with The Eyre Affair in 2001. Since then he has written another twelve novels, including the Number One Sunday Times bestseller One of our Thursdays is Missing, and the Last Dragonslayer series, adapted for television by Sky.Fforde lives and works in his adopted nation of Wales. Visit Jasper's website, www.jasperfforde.com, find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasperfforde.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four internationally bestselling novels, including My Sister's Keeper, The Storyteller and Small Great Things, and has also co-written two YA books with her daughter Samantha van Leer, Between the Lines and Off the Page. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. Jodi's UK website is www.jodipicoult.co.uk and she can be found on Facebook and Twitter at facebook.com/JodiPicoultUK and twitter.com/jodipicoult, and on Instagram at instagram.com/jodipicoult.

John Grisham

John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade, specialising in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987.His next novel, The Firm, spent 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and became the bestselling novel of 1991. Since then, he has written one novel a year, including The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Rainmaker and The Runaway Jury.Today, Grisham has written a collection of stories, a work of non-fiction, three sports novels, five kids' books, and many legal thrillers. His work has been translated into 42 languages. He lives near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson's DCI Banks is now a major ITV1 drama starring Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart, Ballykissangel) as Inspector Banks, and Andrea Lowe (The Bill, Murphy's Law) as DI Annie Cabbot. Peter's standalone novel BEFORE THE POISON won the IMBA's 2013 Dilys Award as well as the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. This was Peter's sixth Arthur Ellis award. His critically acclaimed DCI Banks novels have won numerous awards in Britain, the United States, Canada and Europe, and are published in translation all over the world.Peter grew up in Yorkshire, and now divides his time between Richmond and Canada. Peter keeps a website at www.inspectorbanks.com.