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Author of the Month

Name: Kathy Reichs

First Novel:

Most Recent Book: Two Nights

'...very clever and worthy of a true seasoned practitioner of this genre.'

Synopsis:
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. Living a simple life on an island, Sunday is given the chance to mix with humanity once more. A girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn't she want to be found?

It's time for Sunnie to face her own demons - because they might just lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Review:
OK, folks! I am going to make a confession here. I have never read any of the Temperance Brennan books! There, I’ve said it. I loved the TV series, but when Ms Reichs’ books arrived on an annual basis, I’d be left at the back after the stampede for her new title. I’d never see that book again! However, in this instance, with a new character I thought it would be perfect to ‘climb on-board’. Whether this makes me a good reviewer not having anything to measure it against, you can decide. However, I really enjoyed my time with Sunday (Sunnie) Night.

I liked her character and felt Reichs perfectly slowly peeled away Sunnie’s paranoia instead of giving it to her reader all in one gulp. To me, it made her more of a person this way, more human. Throughout ‘Two Nights’, you find out a little snippet about Sunnie, or why she checks in to a hotel room and then slips out to another and books a different hotel room. With Sunnie, it is all about control and her total distrust of other human beings. There are only two she can count on. One is Beau who is the closest she has ever got to having a parent and the other… well, you will have to read the book to find out that one.

This is a book where I can say very little without giving anything away. Even the title has different meanings in the book! As you will see in my questions, I tried to ask the right question without spoilers. All I will say is that Reichs’ book deals with much of what we are seeing on our TV screens, the propaganda messages sent in to every household and the paranoia being stoked by current social climates around the world.

I hope that Sunday will be around for a few more outings. I am sure that many of Reichs’ hardcore fans will be disappointed it isn’t another Brennan novel, but I implore them to greet Sunday Night with open arms, although Sunday wouldn’t thank you as she isn’t a very ‘touchy-feely’ kinda gal! By the end of the book I was routing for Sunday. She isn’t the sort of person you go out with for a coffee and a giggle, but she has a strong moral sense of right and wrong. There is a marvellous twist at the end where Reichs totally wrong-footed me throughout the novel; very clever and worthy of a true seasoned practitioner of this genre. I look forward to this new path Reichs has taken and feel Sunday Night will be around for a while.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating



Questionnaire

1) ‘Bones’ has run for twelve seasons and came to an end this year. Did you feel it the right time to write something different?
It’s bittersweet for me that ‘Two Nights’ will publish the same year that ‘BONES’ ends its twelve-year run. It was both terrifying and thrilling to write a non-Temperance Brennan novel. I’d like to say divine inspiration finally made me jump. Instead, it was a simple glance at the calendar. I detest missing deadlines. Mine was looming. Panic drove me to take the plunge. Sunday Night was born.
2) Sunnie Knight is damaged goods who, despite having a strong sense of justice, has distanced herself from the rest of humanity. What was it that attracted you to such a distant character?
Temperance Brennan’s work is science driven. The boundaries of forensic anthropology, together with her cerebral personality, imparted a framework to those eighteen novels. Sunday Night, is a wild card. She is unchecked, unpredictable, and occasionally uncontrollable – her nightmarish past fanning a slow-burning rage. I’m more like Tempe, so it was exhilarating to let it all go with Sunnie.
3) Without trying to give away a major part of the plotline, it taps in to what we are seeing on News programmes around the world. Do you feel that people’s way of life is making harsh divisions rather than bringing people together?
Readers will see that under the right circumstances, if life has left certain scars, we could all be Sunnie. She is quintessentially human, and it turns out that being human is another area in which I have expertise. While Sunnie is no ordinary person, it’s her very “ordinary person-ness” that spurs this very private woman out of self-imposed exile to take on an unusual pursuit. Her history and brokenness drive her actions.
4) The ‘Two Nights’ of your title refers to your character and her life. Was this in your mind when you started writing it or did it occur to you during the writing process?
I’ll be straight, I like dark. I like to see humanity sans make-up, to know what happens in those battered houses I see from the car window. This novel takes you to some gritty and raw places you would (hopefully) never personally go. Sunday Night, who is neither pure nor untroubled, drags readers along through her own darkness. But there’s a shiny penny, too, and that’s family. Not necessarily the traditional definition of “family,” but the emotion intended by the word. Family plays a bigger role in ‘Two Nights’ than in my past novels.
5) Although this is billed as a standalone thriller, will we ever hear more from Sunnie Knight?
I will admit, in my head I am already thinking about her next pursuit. Who knows? Let’s see how my readers react to Sunday. I like her. I hope they will embrace her, as well.
6) For writers who are just starting out on their ‘novel journey’, what one piece of advice would you give?
Write. Keep writing. Never accept writers block. If at the end of the day what you have written is lacking, you can always hit the delete key. Write everyday no matter what.
7) Are you a fan of crime fiction in general? What would you say are the top three crime novels that have made a lasting impression on you and would take with you to a desert island?
I love crime fiction. Which is one of the reasons I have chosen to write in that genre. That and the fact that I work in a crime lab and at crime scenes. One of my all time favorite crime novels is Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs. I very much like Raymond Chandler, especially The Big Sleep. To a desert island I would take an instructional manual on how to build a boat!