With the US and Canada, North America has the largest and most varied English language crime fiction market. From pulp novels to great literary epics, its authors are dedicated to their craft and the heritage of crime writing on the continent goes all the way back to Baltimore’s great Edgar Allan Poe. Last year, we looked at seven hot new American authors during New Talent November, and this year we reveal six more, including a Canadaian in the bundle. Watch for these writers, we think their books are going to zing…
Harper Collins is placing a big bet this debut author’s domestic thriller, A Simple Favor, coming in March 2017. It has a first printing of 100,000 copies, foreign rights have been sold in 24 countries, and Fox 2000 has bought the film rights. Bell has contrived a chilling tale whose main characters are parents of young children living supposedly perfect suburban lives. Using three parents as unreliable narrators, her story is full of betrayals and reversals, and is “sly, satirical, subversive: a deliciously poisoned cupcake of a story.” Comparisons to Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train are inevitable. Bell grew up on a western Iowa dairy farm and is now a pre-school teacher living in Chicago. With such a background, you can gleefully speculate on her sources of inspiration.
This award-winning British Columbia poet turned his hand to the crime genre with 2016’s By Gaslight, a historical mystery set in the mid- to late-1800s. Though it’s his first crime book, By Gaslight was longlisted for Canada’s prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize. Price brings his poet’s quest for precise detail and love of language to his fiction writing, calling to mind the literary richness of Dickens and Faulkner. His attraction to the crime genre has roots in his family’s business, Price’s Alarms, Canada’s oldest privately owned lock and security business. As a relatively unknown fiction writer, he didn’t know whether the novel would find a publisher. “I just tried to sit down every day and write some pages that I would have liked to have read,” he says.
CB McKenzie says he has been a writer in some shape all his life. To put a roof over his head, he’s also been a waiter, model for Giorgio Armani, housepainter, farm hand, factory worker, and college professor. His debut novel Bad Country came out this year and won both the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Western Contemporary Novel, and the Tony Hillerman Prize, and is a finalist for Edgar and Shamus awards for best first novel. His second book, Burn What Will Burn, was also published in 2016. Born and raised in tiny Gladewater, Texas, McKenzie is an expert at recreating on the page the places, landscapes and spirit of the South West, with a voice that’s been likened to dry and gritty desert sand. Interesting, then, that he’s setting his next book in Iceland.
This author has written a literary suspense thriller scheduled for publication in March 2017, in which twin Ava sets out to discover the true fate of her estranged sister Zelda, who reportedly died in a barn fire. Dolan-Leach creates a literary scavenger hunt, with Zelda leaving clues about her disappearance that only her sister can follow. The author was born in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, and uses that winegrowing region as a backdrop for the novel. She’s a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the American University in Paris, and is an experienced translator.
We Could be Beautiful is Swan Huntley’s debut novel, a contemporary psychological thriller, praised not just for its stand-out plotting, but also for the author’s sharp wit and unerring eye for social detail. A graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program, Huntley found the idea for the book – which is centred on a wealthy Manhattan woman and her would-be husband – while she worked as a nanny. To write it, though, she moved to a Brooklyn commune. She now lives in two other locales ripe for literary dissection: Northern California and Hawaii, where her second book, The Goddesses, is set.
Tom Rosenstiel is an award-winning journalist, commentator, and executive director of the American Press Institute, headquartered in the Washington, DC, metro area. He’s not exactly new blood, but he’s new in terms of crime fiction. He draws on his extensive inside-the-Beltway experience for his debut political thriller, Shining City. Its protagonist is a fixer called Peter Rena, hired to delve into the background of a Supreme Court nominee in preparation for what is expected to be a bruising Senate confirmation battle. But the more Rena investigates, the more it seems a series of seemingly random killings may be pointing to the judge as the ultimate target. Ecco Press has planned a 40,000-copy first printing, and a second book with protagonist Peter Rena is already in the works.