It’s that time of year again - time for the annual summer camp for thriller writers and fans, ThrillerFest VII! The largest gathering of New York Times bestselling authors returns to The Big Apple, July 11-14th, at the Grand Hyatt!
The experience is sure to satisfy any adrenaline junkie as writers from all over the world come together to share a common interest: the thriller novel. Jack Higgins, the genius behind The Eagle Has Landed, is this year’s ThrillerMaster. Spotlight authors include Lee Child, Catherine Coulter, John Sandford, Karin Slaughter, and Richard North Patterson. Not to mention, the legendary Ann Rule, author of The Stranger Beside Me is this year’s beneficiary of The True Thriller Award! And last year’s ThrillerMaster R.L. Stine will return for the spine-tingling festivities. There’s no denying that this week is going to be jam packed with exhilarating workshops, including:
- “How to Stalk A Serial Killer and Tell the Gruesome Tale” with Ann Rule.
- “Kill ‘Em Clean: Writing Sharp, Fast, and Deadly” with Catherine Coulter.
- “Tell, Don’t Show: Why Writing Rules are Mostly Wrong” with Lee Child, author of the bestselling and beloved Jack Reacher series.
- “The Dynamics of Structure” with David Morrell, author of 28-novels, including First Blood (of Rambo fame).
Lee Child is one of my favorite authors, and is going to have a workshop at this year's ThrillerFest! Love his books, so delighted to share an excerpt from his newest book. Wish I could attend!
Below is an excerpt from Lee Child's latest book The Affair, who is a spotlight author at ThrillerFest VII.
The woman with the perfume and the pale hands was already deep into the corridor beyond the open turnstile. She had been waved through. Straight ahead of me was the two-man inquiry desk. To my left were the two guys checking badges. The open turnstile was between their hips. The four spare guys were still doing nothing beyond it. They were still clustered together, quiet and watchful, like an independent team. I still couldn’t see their shoes.
Like a lamb to the slaughter.
The desk guy on the left looked at me and said, "Yes, sir." Resignation in his voice. Not a question, but like I had already spoken. He looked young and reasonably smart. Genuine DPS, presumably. MP Warrant Officers are quick studies, but they wouldn’t be running a Pentagon inquiry desk, however deeply under they were supposed to be.
The desk guy looked at me again, expectantly, and I said, "I have a twelve o’clock appointment."
"Colonel Frazer," I said.
The guy made out like he didn’t recognize the name. The world’s largest office building. Thirty thousand people. The guy leafed through a book the size of a telephone directory and asked, "Would that be Colonel John James Frazer? Senate Liaison?"
I said, "Yes." Or: Guilty as charged. Way to my left the four spare guys were watching me. But not moving. Yet.
The guy at the desk didn’t ask my name. Partly because he had been briefed, presumably, and shown photographs, and partly because my Class A uniform included my name on a nameplate, worn as per regulations on my right breast pocket flap, exactly centered, its upper edge exactly a quarter of an inch below the top seam.
Seven letters: REACHER.
Or, eleven letters: Arrest me now.
I said, "Yes." Third floor, C ring, nearest to radial corridor number three, bay number fifteen. The Pentagon’s version of map coordinates, which it needed, given that it covered twenty-nine whole acres of floor space.
They stayed about sixty feet behind me, close enough to keep me in sight, far enough back not to crowd me. A maximum seven minutes between any two points. I was the meat in a sandwich. I figured there would be another crew waiting outside 3C315, or as close to it as they decided to let me get. I was heading straight for them. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
I used some stairs on the D ring and went up two flights to the third floor. I changed to a clockwise direction, just for the fun of it, and passed radial corridor number five, and then four. The D ring was busy. People were bustling from place to place with armfuls of khaki files. Blank-eyed men and women in uniform were stepping smartly. The place was congested. I dodged and sidestepped and kept on going. People looked at me every step of the way. The hair, and the beard. I stopped at a water fountain and bent down and took a drink. People passed me by. Sixty feet behind me the four spare DPS guys were nowhere to be seen. But then, they didn’t really need to tail me. They knew where I was going, and they knew what time I was supposed to get there.
I straightened up and got going again and turned right into radial number three. I made it to the C ring. The air smelled of uniform wool and linoleum polish and very faintly of cigars. The paint on the walls was thick and institutional. I looked left and right. There were people in the corridor, but no big cluster outside bay fifteen. Maybe they were waiting for me inside. I was already five minutes late.
I waited in the A ring until I was ten minutes late. Better to keep them guessing. Maybe they were already searching. Maybe the four spare guys were already getting their butts kicked for losing me. I took another big breath and pushed off a wall and tracked back along radial three, across the B ring, to the C. I turned without breaking stride and headed for bay fifteen.
© Lee Child