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True Crime: The Novel

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About the Author

Andrew Klavan, a two-time Edgar Award winner, is the author of Don't Say a Word, The Animal Hour, and True Crime, among other novels.


Though this is only Klavan's fourth novel under his own name (he received two Edgar Awards for pseudonymous mysteries), his stylistic range and thoroughly compelling plots have earned him a loyal readership‘an audience that should be broadened with this gripping tale. Here Klavan puts an intensely human, often intriguingly quirky face on a familiar plot device: the race to save a convicted killer on death row. When a St. Louis News staffer crashes her car hours before her scheduled interview with Frank Beachum (the interview itself to take place just eight hours before Beachum's execution), reporter Steve Everett is handed the assignment. Everett, 35 (and possessing ``wicked, sharply angled brows and a wicked, sharply angled smile''), is already under pressure: though married, he has been shtupping the boss's wife, which creates no little tension at work and at home. Furthermore, he comes to believe that Beachum is innocent, and both personal ethics and career opportunism propel him to pursue his theory. To this end, Klavan gives us the photo finish to end all photo finishes: readers may be gasping for breath by the time Beachum's fate is decided. Even before that, however, the author's vivid characterizations and dramatic prose‘packed with tension, black humor and wry observations on the human condition‘command attention. Alternating chapters (their style changing as deftly as their settings) present a harrowing portrait of a killer's final hours along with perceptively observed personal and professional crises of an oddly likable schlemiel. 250,000 first printing; major ad/promo; film rights to 20th Century-Fox; simultaneous Random House audio. (June)

Six years ago Frank Beachum, at his wife's request, was sent to buy steak sauce and ended up being accused of shooting a pregnant convenience store clerk. Although he swears his innocence, the only person to believe him is his wife. On the day he is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection, he agrees to an interview from a reporter for a local newspaper. As jaded reporter Steve Everett gathers background material for the interview, he discovers some alarming inconsistencies in the evidence used to convict Beachum. This novel is so well written that it is difficult to read. All the horror and panic of an impending execution are convincingly portrayed; particularly terrifying and nauseating are the descriptions of the minute details the prison staff attends to in preparation for the execution. The tension is at times unbearable. Highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/95.]-Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex.

"Time flies when you're having fun, waiting to die, or reading True Crime, Andrew Klavan's nerve-plucking suspense novel...A beat-the-clock suspense thriller." --The New York Times Book Review "A classic . . . True Crime moves like a tornado, its plot turning in tighter and tighter circles until it explodes in an ending that will leave readers exhausted. . . . His characters are vivid and compelling, his observations on the human condition perceptive, and his darkly humorous prose masterful." --Houston Chronicle "The most suspenseful and exciting novel I have read in the last couple of years. The adrenaline was flowing so strongly near the end, I actually thought my heart might give out. A wonderful, funny, heartbreaking, powerful book." --John Lescroart, author of Guilt "One of the best novels to come down the pike in gripping and plot-switching that you won't be able to put it down." --USA TODAY "Simultaneously intense and funny and harrowing, teeming with precise and memorable character studies, topped off with a surprise ending...Excruciatingly suspenseful." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune "The narrative plunges on at breakneck speed . . . a literate, heartfelt, and suspenseful novel of the rough friction of life. I enjoyed the hell out of it." --Newsday "A page-turning thriller . . . A suspense-filled story with vivid characters and a stunning portrayal of contemporary time and place." --San Antonio Express-News "Big, scary fun. Fill up the coffee pot and lock the doors before beginning." --Stephen King "An ingenious, wickedly comic, and painfully sensitive roller coaster . . . Has you gasping for air . . . Klavan does give you pockets of repose, with somber, heart-wrenching scenes on Death Row juxtaposed with Everett's bumper-car race to the truth." --West Coast Review of Books "WARNING: Andrew Klavan has an astonishing gift: he can patch his characters into your spine. You'll be reading this brilliant, riveting, dangerous novel, and suddenly you'll find that Beachum's Deathwatch cell has become your own, and there's no way out of here, you're not going anywhere until the hour of your own execution, until Klavan's finished with you. So say your prayers before you open this book." --George Dawes Green, author of The Juror "A breakneck one-day death-row countdown . . . Klavan incinerates improbabilities with bravura bravado." --Toronto Sun "A terrific read . . . Klavan is simply shameless in serving the suspense. . . . For that, and much else, we'd like to thank him." --Daily News "True Crime gives the most compelling fictional tour yet of the last mile . . . readers won't stop turning pages . . . Klavan presents with chilling precision and a gift for language the results of his research." --People "The best thriller of this year . . . The most intriguing and artful I have ever read." --The Cleveland Plain Dealer "This is one novel you won't put down until the last twist has been unraveled and the last oh-so-satisfying page has been turned." --Associated Press "Life shuts down while you're immersed in this book . . . it's a keeper." --Chattanooga Free Press "I've admired Andrew Klavan's work for years. But this book offers more suspense--and more surprises--than his other books put together! Readers always ask me which authors I find most chilling. After reading True Crime, Andrew Klavan is at the top of my list." --R.L. Stine

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