Best of 2018 “Honorable Mention” Category

“The Witch Elm” by Tana French (Penguin Publishing Group; October 9, 2018):

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life—he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden—and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): Hollywood pitches are very brief. How would you pitch your book to the movies in ten words or less?

Tana French (T.F.): Lucky guy loses his luck and finds a skeleton.





“Skyjack” by K.J. Howe (Quercus; April 10, 2018):

International kidnap expert Thea Paris is escorting two former child soldiers on a plane from an orphanage in Kanzi, Africa, to adoptive parents in London when the Boeing Business Jet is hijacked and forced to make an emergency landing in the remote Libyan desert.

When the dust settles on a tense negotiation, Thea finds herself at the beck and call of a ruthless criminal who will stop at nothing to crush his rivals, even if it means forcing her to break international law.

Revealing a deadly conspiracy that connects the dark postwar legacy of World War II to the present, this case will bring all parties to an explosive conclusion that will decide the fate of millions across Europe and the Middle East.


Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): Hollywood pitches are very brief. How would you pitch your book to the movies in ten words or less?

K.J. Howe (K.J.H.): Air Force One meets Blood Diamond—shaken, not stirred.



“Record Scratch” by J.J. Hensley (Down & Out Books, October 22, 2018):

“There are two types of men you must fear in this world: Men who have everything to lose-and men like me.”

It’s a case Trevor Galloway doesn’t want. It’s certainly a case he doesn’t need. The client-the sister of a murdered musician-seems a bit off. She expects Galloway to not only solve her brother’s homicide, but recover a vinyl record she believes could ruin his reputation. Galloway knows he should walk away. He should simply reach over the desk, give back the envelope of cash that he admittedly needs, and walk away. However, when the client closes the meeting by putting a gun under her chin and pulling the trigger, his sense of obligation drags him down a path he may not be ready to travel.

As Galloway pieces together the final days of rock and roll legend Jimmy Spartan, he struggles to sort through his own issues, to include having the occasional hallucination. He’s not certain how bad his condition has deteriorated, but when Galloway is attacked in broad daylight by men he assumed were figments of his imagination, he realizes the threat is real and his condition is putting him and anyone nearby at risk. The stoic demeanor that earned Galloway the nickname The Tin Man is tested as he reunites with an old flame, becomes entangled in a Secret Service investigation, and does battle with old enemies.

A story divided into twelve songs from Jimmy Spartan’s final album.

Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): Hollywood pitches are very brief. How would you pitch your book to the movies in ten words or less?

J.J. Hensley (J.J.H.): Find the record. Find the killer. Stay alive.


“Speed the Dawn” by Philip Donlay (Oceanview Publishing; March 6, 2018): Hundreds of white-hot meteor fragments plunge toward Earth near Monterey Bay, California. Huge fires ignite the tinder-dry landscape and, as the sun sets, the power grid collapses and the fires grow, illuminating a nightmare created in hell itself. Donovan Nash realizes he is trapped.

Injured and growing desperate, his options dwindling, Donovan fights to keep himself and a small band of survivors alive until dawn, when they can make one last attempt to escape the inferno.

Meanwhile, Donovan’s wife, Dr. Lauren McKenna, working with the Pentagon as well as the Forest Service, envisions a bold approach to stop the fire from spreading all the way to the Bay Area and the seven million residents living there. She’s terrified that, if not executed perfectly, her plan could cause the death of thousands of people—including Donovan.

Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): Hollywood pitches are very brief. How would you pitch your book to the movies in ten words or less?

Philip Donlay (P.D.): Imagine the movie Twister—except the tornadoes are burning. Run.



“The Wife Between Us” by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (St. Martin’s Press; January 9, 2018):

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement—a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle. Assume nothing.

Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s “The Wife Between Us” exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage—and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): What can fans expect to see from you in 2019?

Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (G.H. & S.P.): “An Anonymous Girl”—our new psychological thriller about a young woman who sneaks into a study on ethics and morality conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields—will be published on January 8, 2019. It is already in development for a television series by eOne, the company that put together Sharp Objects, and has won starred reviews from Publishers WeeklyBooklist, and Library Journal. We’ll be heading out on tour—17 events and counting!—come January to promote it. You can learn more about “An Anonymous Girl” here:



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