Coming at you today with an exciting feature; not only did I get a chance to read and review Fatal by John Lescroart, but I also had the opportunity to have a conversation with author John Lescroart about his upcoming novel Fatal, and about life in general! So excited to welcome him to Clues and Reviews today!
First, let’s talk about Fatal!
Kate is happily married; she loves her husband. But when she meets Peter at a dinner party, she cannot get him out of her head. After a night of passion, she vows that it will never happen again. Six months later, after tragedy strikes, Peter winds up dead and soon, the police are left to untangle a web of deceit.
Fatal is an upcoming standalone novel by John Lescroart (best known for his Dismas Hardy series). I was pulled in immediately when I read the synopsis for this book and it did not disappoint. This novel was not what I thought it was going to be; I assumed it would be a typical fast-paced, domestic adultery and infidelity thriller like Gone Girl. Instead, it ended up being kind of a mix between a twist on a domestic thriller and a police procedural. I read it over the course of an afternoon. I absolutely adored every second.
The beginning of the novel focuses on Kate and her initial encounter with Peter. This first half had some serious Fatal Attraction vibes and I was loving it. Surprisingly, Lescroart switches gears and the novel shifts to Kate’s best friend Beth, a police officer, who is leading the investigation into Peter’s murder. It was this connection between all the characters that makes this one especially entertaining; the players intertwine and the reader is privy to this information long before the characters are aware. This adds to the tension of the plot.
The plot, itself, is a roller coaster ride with twists, turns, and red herrings aplenty. I found myself consistently guessing whom the culprit was and how everything was going to fit together. I also loved how the plot contained a little bit of everything; adultery, mental health issues, a terrorist attack, family dynamics. I thought for attacking so many issues, the author fused them together wonderfully creating many complex characters that kept me wanting more.
The novel is told chronologically but contains jumps in time; I loved this technique, it made the novel very easy to follow but also remained realistic. One of my pet peeves, when I read crime fiction, is the fact that some take place from beginning to end over the course of three days, when, in reality, police cases take months or years to be solved in some cases. I liked that Lescroart kept it real.
Overall, I highly recommend this read to anyone who is a fan of the popular domestic thriller genre but wants a twist or anyone who likes a good, solid police procedural. This novel is the perfect blend of both. Be sure to add Fatal to your lists – you won’t want to miss it! This one is on sale January 24, 2017.
I voluntarily received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from the author, John Lescroart, Netgalley and Atria Publishing; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
Interview with John Lescroart
Author of Fatal
The domestic thriller genre has blown up over the past few years. Your newest novel, Fatal, reads like a twist on this genre. Why do you feel like people are naturally drawn to reading domestic style thrillers?
I think the main reason, as you indicate from the question, is that they are extremely personal. They are not a big story. We go through these ups and downs in the book publishing world where on one hand, we want something like The Da Vinci Code where it involves the whole word and goes over the centuries. But then it comes down to the small things like Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, and to be frank, like Fatal, where it is different; everything is closer to the emotional core of where they are rather than the big world picture.
Where did your idea for Fatal come from?
This is a really interesting story. I originally knew I wanted to do a standalone novel and I wrote about 120 pages of a book I was calling “The Firemen”. It was just a cool idea and then I got to a hundred pages into it and realized it wasn’t going anywhere. So in great panic, I bit the bullet and deleted those pages — never a happy moment; but the story wasn’t working; it wasn’t going anywhere. So I sat down and decided to write a good first scene about anything just to get the story to take off. I started with Beth and Kate walking along under the Golden Gate Bridge and Kate talking about the possibility of her having an affair. And it was like the world opened up in front of me. I wrote the first seventy pages in under a week. Suddenly I was into the book and away I went, and that was about the sum total of my planning. I just found an interesting entry into the story and it wound up carrying the whole book.
What would you like your readers to know about this book?
Well it’s not a Dismas Hardy book. It is a lot harder. It is a very dark, very secretive and very powerful suspense novel. It is not a legal thriller — there is no courtroom. It is far less glib and witty than my legal thrillers tend to be, although it does have some fun moments. Overall, reading it for most readers will be a very intense experience. And this is a good thing.
If this book were being made into a movie, which actors would you cast as the leads?
I spent 45 minutes thinking of the answers to this question. I think this story would be a great vehicle for a movie.
So here is what I came up with. For Kate, the monster in the story, I’d like to see Scarlet Johansson and as a second choice, I’d go with Amy Adams. For the tough as nails but sweet underneath Beth, I’d pick Jennifer Lawrence. For Peter Ash, who is a bit of a doofus but then goes off the rails, I’d want Matt Damon. Lastly, for Ron I’d cast Mark Wahlberg, and I’d want Casey Affleck to be Allen.
You could really run with this one for a movie.
What does your writing process look like? Are you a consistent writer? Is it more sporadic? Do you make an outline? Go with the flow?
You know, this is a job. This is my 28th book. You don’t write that many books without coming to the office and treating it like a job. I usually get to my desk at 10:00am and after I sort my sock drawer, and another cup of coffee, and checking my emails, I finally sit down and try to write some cool stuff every day, at least five days a week. It’s all about discipline. Writing is a real life job. But I love it and it’s often a lot of fun. Plus, my boss and I get along very well. You can tell by how Fatal began, as I explained to you in an earlier question, that I don’t really work from an outline. That’s the way my process works.
Which of your characters, in any of your novels, would you like to meet in person? Why?
I think I’d like to meet Wes Farrell the most, just because he is a total goofball. Even though I seem to be serious in my themes and writing life, like to have a lot of fun in my everyday life. Wes is a lot of fun to hang out with. My wife also says that she is a little bit like Wes Farrell and I’d have to agree. So Wes is my man.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Well, I have a lot of hobbies. I am a serious cook. I love love everything about cooking; the shopping, the prep, the more courses the better. I also love fly fishing, which I try to do as often as I can. I can’t say this last one is something I like to do and look forward to almost every day, but to try to keep in shape, I also exercise with some regularity. Iget most of my reading in on the stationary bike; that’s a lot of fun.
What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading four books, which is pretty much my norm. These are:
News of the World by Paulette Giles. Fantastic.
January Cold Kill, by Rob Leininger. It’s a hard-boiled, very cool, very fast-paced female private eye novel.
For my book club, which happens to be tonight, I am reading Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins,
Finally, I’m reading Alex Dolan’s The Euthanist, which is excellent.
As you can probably tell, books are kind of my life.