SLEUTHING SATURDAY SPECIAL – Fatal Option
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About the Book:
The Hotly Anticipated New Novel From Lambda Literary Award Finalist…
NAIL-BITING THRILLER EXPLORES THE DEVASTATING MORAL CONSEQUENCES OF A DANGEROUS CHOICE
“A sharp, intelligent thriller. Really top-notch.”
– Neely Tucker, Washington Post staff writer & author of Only The Hunted Run
“A wintery tale of violence and redemption, artfully balanced by a touching portrayal of a family in crisis.”
– Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing
“Fatal Option grabs you from the first page. Plan to stay up.”
– Kathleen Antrim, former Co-President of International Thriller Writers & author of Capital Offense
Would you break the law to save your child?
Stephen Porter finds himself facing this very question – with life or death consequences – in Fatal Option, the hotly anticipated new thriller from Lambda Literary Award finalist Chris Beakey, set for release on February 21, 2017 with Post Hill Press.
Fatal Option opens on the coldest night of the year, with Stephen pulled from a dreamless sleep by a midnight phone call. His 17-year-old daughter, Sara, is stranded in the blizzard, crying in terror and begging for his help. It would be a no-brainer if he hadn’t gone to bed just an hour before after a night of binge drinking alone.
With blurred vision and unsteady balance, Stephen knows it’s dangerously irresponsible to get behind the wheel. But he hits the winding, icy roads of Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains to bring his daughter home.
High school teacher Kieran O’Shea is also behind the wheel on that fateful night, searching for his autistic younger brother, Aidan. Kieran is also terrified – of the voices in his mind, of the probability that Aidan will be taken from him, and of the certainty that he will soon be arrested for murdering three women.
In a matter of minutes, Stephen will encounter Kieran and drive headlong into a collision that will force him to question everything he thought he knew about his family – and to protect his children from violence that hits all too close to home.
A murder mystery wrapped around a heartbreaking moral dilemma, Fatal Option is already being lauded by the who’s-who of the American thriller community, with bestselling author Jordan Dane calling it, “emotionally visceral,” and Norb Vonnegut praising the “relentlessly suspenseful” pacing and intrigue of Beakey’s sophomore release.
“Fatal Option is very much about an option,” says Beakey, “a choice that a good man makes in a desperate situation. Of course, the worst possible thing that could happen… happens. But sometimes bad decisions seem like the only decisions. What I really want readers of Fatal Option to ask themselves is: what would you do?”
Interview with the Author:
- What initially got you interested in writing?
I’ve always been a storyteller – some of my earliest memories are of reading books I liked and then wanting to go off into my room to write my own stories. I wasn’t a very good student growing up – wasn’t very good at investing energy in subjects like mathematics and science that didn’t interest me. But I loved English and literature and always put extra effort into every assignment that enabled me to write. I believe that one of the greatest advantages any kid can have is to discover the thing that he or she is meant to do, and to have the resources to pursue excellence in that very thing. For one kid it might be auto mechanics. For another it might be politics. For me it was always the storytelling.
- What drew you to writing thrillers?
I write the same types of stories that I love to read – those driven by suspenseful forward momentum, realistic characters, and high-stakes circumstances. I’ve always been a worrier – spend so much time thinking about bad things that can happen. I’ve found it useful to work those anxieties into frightening scenarios. I can’t say that writing really lessens my anxieties, but I always feel better when my characters who are good people overcome the threats posed by bad people.
- How did you break into the field?
It took decades . . . I had to spend many years learning how to write, mostly on my own by reading a lot, writing every day, and coming to understand my voice and the types of stories I wanted to tell. I wrote four books before I found an agent, who sold my first novel, Double Abduction, to a small publisher who brought it out in hardcover. It sold well and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. I spent another nine years writing and pitching my second novel, Fatal Option, published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster. Like most writers, I dealt with all kinds of rejection amid glimmers of encouragement. For me, “breaking in to the field” was kind of like being on a decades-long episode of “Survivor” . . . with one key exception in that there were many great people who supported and inspired me along the way.
- What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Good people can be thrust into very bad situations. Often, those good people have to make dangerous choices. Sometimes those choices are morally and legally questionable, but good people will always make their choices for reasons that seem right at the time. Meanwhile, most good people do things they’re not proud of, and quite often bad people can be redeemed.
- What do you find most rewarding about writing?
The day-to-day and moment-by-moment mysteries of the whole process bring me joy and a feeling of calm accomplishment. And one of the best rewards is seeing the people, places and plots you imagine coming to life in a way that people connect to. That’s the kind of reward I got when I saw the cover to Fatal Option, and as I read the Goodreads reviews from everyday readers (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30753471-fatal-option) and every time I watch this amazing trailer, which captures what Fatal Option is about in the most chilling way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pbw81Y9XtY
- What do you find most challenging about writing?
Trying to be better and better at it . . . recognizing that’s a lifetime objective. Dealing with the frustrations you feel when it isn’t working. Staying upbeat in the face of rejection. Investing weeks, months and perhaps even longer in a story before coming to the realization that it isn’t going to work. And lastly, seeing great books going undiscovered while not-so-great books get thrust by publishing’s most powerful forces onto the point-of-purchase displays that tell people what to buy.
- What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
If you want to write, you need to set aside the time, every day if possible, to do so. Try to find the time when you’re naturally most creative. Write about the things that make you emotional – whether that means being frightened, or amused, or just deeply engaged. If you’re really determined to succeed, stay with it, no matter how frequent and/or coarse the rejections. Find friends who also like to write and who love to read. Support them by offering your candid thoughts on what they’re doing and welcoming the same from them. Be easy on yourself when you get frustrated, but push yourself toward constant improvement and an open mind about what constitutes true quality.
- What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I typically read thrillers and stories driven by rapid pacing and suspense because these are the types of books I enjoy and strive to write. Every once in awhile I’ll read something that strays into the “literary” category, but I almost never read anything described as “a cozy mystery” or about a private eye who drinks a lot (unless it’s written by Dennis Lehane or unless I’m re-reading Raymond Chandler’s stories).
- Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
People close to me say I’m a good listener, which is probably true since I like to listen for awhile before I say anything. I’m relentlessly optimistic – which is partly the way I’m wired but also a conscious choice. I’m ridiculously spacey – am obsessed with this crazy and scary scenario where I lose my wallet the day I’m supposed to get on a plane and fly somewhere, or losing it right after I’ve landed and before I’ve checked into my hotel. I daydream a good bit of every day worrying about worst-case scenarios. I have cocktails at the end of every day, preferably accompanied by good conversation, a good book, or some amazing offering on Netflix or Amazon. I have a day job with a huge amount of responsibility, but act pretty goofy there, which is OK because everyone around me’s pretty cool.
- What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
I love hearing from readers and connecting with other writers. I’m especially interested in knowing what readers think about the morally and legally-questionable choices made by Stephen Porter in Fatal Option. I want to know what they would have done in the same situation, and why. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and via Facebook. I also have a web site at www.chrisbeakey.com, and a blog where I post my short stories, novel excerpts and book reviews at www.blog.chrisbeakey.com.
About the Author:
Chris Beakey tells stories of good people caught in bad places. He writes fiction from his homes in Washington, D.C. and Lewes, Delaware, as well as nonfiction as a ghostwriter for an organization that promotes bipartisan policies that strengthen the nation through smart investments in youth. His first, novel, Double Abduction, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.