Saturday, November 08, 2014

Please Welcome Crime Novelist Eric Rickstad

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Eric Rickstad
with Eric Rickstad

We are delighted to welcome author Eric Rickstad to Omnimystery News today.

Eric has a new suspense novel being published this month titled The Silent Girls (Witness Impulse; November 2014 ebook formats), and we asked him to tell us what makes his books different from others in the genre, and what writers inspire him the most.

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Eric Rickstad
Photo provided courtesy of
Eric Rickstad;
Photo credit Meridith Levinson

With my latest novel The Silent Girls, many readers have said they were left so shaken by the ending they had to re-read it to make sure they read it right the first time, only to be stunned to find they had in fact read it right. This is one aspect of my novels that sets them apart from other books in the crime/mystery genre: No one is safe in my novels. Not even the reader. These are not your cozy mysteries where crime or violence is solely a device to set up a mystery. Instead, my novels reflect how acts of violence disrupt many lives, sometimes for generations, alter the natural trajectory of lives, and not just those of the immediate victims; they can cause otherwise stable people to react to violence in ways that continue its cycle. I hope in part, my novels inspire readers to consider the repercussions of violence with at least a touch of the seriousness the topic deserves.

I also like to write from multiple points of view, giving the perspectives of the many characters in my novels, characters I hope are fleshed out and fully realized, folks with real domestic lives, family and friends, aspirations, passions and pursuits that exist outside the novel's world. Folks we know and recognize, and root for, and sometimes detest.

All that said, I never forget that novels provide a great source of entertainment and should be fun to read, even when frightening! Part of the fun as the writer is discovering ways to give my readers a different experience and make my books memorable and gripping. I never set out to write contrived or manipulative endings meant only to scare or shock readers. I always ask myself: How can this novel end in a way that breaks conventions, leaves readers breathless, yet feels satisfying, as though it could end no other way?

In the end, a novel must feel satisfying to readers, and I try to write novels that both satisfy and set readers on the edge of their seats, make them curl up tighter and turn on an extra light when reading in bed. I love it when a novel accelerates to a relentless pace in the last third or so, so I can hardly stand the tension created by wanting to slow down and savor every word, at the same time that I want to hurry to the end to find out what happens. I love that as a reader, so I hope it's something I accomplish in my own books.

I guess it is no surprise then that the writers who inspire me deliver a singular take on the crime and mystery genres. Of late I've had a real fondness for many European crime writers: Håkan Nesser, Arnaldur Indriðason, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Henning Mankell, Kate Atkinson, John Harvey, and Jo Nesbø. But love writers stateside, too. Laura Lippman and Dennis Lehane are among the best. There are so many superb authors who create splendid worlds in which readers can get lost and have fun, yet who also challenge readers to think a bit about the ravages of real crime.

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Eric Rickstad's taut, chilling literary crime novels strip back the bucolic veneer of rural America and root around in its tragic underbelly. His short stories and articles have appeared in many magazines and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He holds an MFA from the University of Virginia where he was a Hoyns Fellow and a Corse Fellow. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at Rickstad.com, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad

The Silent Girls
Eric Rickstad
A Novel of Suspense

With the dead of a bitter Vermont winter closing in, evil is alive and well …

Frank Rath thought he was done with murder when he turned in his detective's badge to become a private investigator and raise a daughter alone. Then the police in his remote rural community of Canaan find an '89 Monte Carlo abandoned by the side of the road, and the beautiful teenage girl who owned the car seems to have disappeared without a trace.

Soon Rath's investigation brings him face-to-face with the darkest abominations of the human soul.

With the consequences of his violent and painful past plaguing him, and young women with secrets vanishing one by one, he discovers once again that even in the smallest towns on the map, evil lurks everywhere — and no one is safe.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  iTunes iBook Format

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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