“FaceOff,” edited by David Baldacci (Simon & Schuster, 367 pages, in stores)
Say you’re in a bookstore or library, looking at the shelves of books by thriller writers. You’re wondering which book will keep you up all night reading because you just can’t put it down.
There are so many authors with the power to keep you turning pages. Among them are works by Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, Peter James, R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, M.J. Rose, Lisa Gardner, Steve Martini, Linda Fairstein, Jeffery Deaver, John Sanford, Healther Graham, F. Paul Wilson, Raymond Khoury, Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, Steve Berry, James Rollins, Lee Child and Joseph Finder.
Well, your choice just got easier. David Baldacci, another thriller writer, has edited a collection of short stories by these very authors. Eleven short stories in all, each featuring a favorite character of one author paired with a favorite character of another author.
For example — and this is what attracted me to this book — F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack goes to New Orleans to find himself facing Heather Graham’s Michael Quinn in a New Orleans cemetery, fighting over a potentially evil relic that allows its user to hear other people’s thoughts.
Or James Rollins’ Gray Pierce and Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone working together to control a vial of deadly toxin on an Amazon River cruise that is under attack.
And there’s more, much more.
Baldacci tells us in his introduction that “FaceOff” is a product of the International Thriller Writers, a trade group consisting of thriller writers, industry specialists, agents, editors and fans. “If a writer is published by an ITW-recognized house (of which there are hundreds), then membership is free.”
How do they pay their bills? They create special books, like “FaceOff,” revenue from which generates the funds they need. Author-editors donate their time and writers donate their stories, Baldacci says.
“FaceOff” is a book that likely could appear no other way. “Take iconic writers with iconic characters and face them off against each other. Normally, this could never happen. Each writer is under contract to his or her own respective publishing house. Teaming with another writer, from another house, and combining characters would contractually be impossible,” Baldacci says.
But because the stories are donated and the money goes to the organization, “FaceOff” is now a reality.
And you can use it as a sampler to decide which characters, and their creators’ books, you want to snuggle up with for the next late night readathon, rainy day or at the beach. And if you’re already a fan, you can see what other adventure your favorite character has gotten into — to be found nowhere else.
— Glen Seeber, Staff Writer
Take iconic writers with iconic characters and face them off against each other. Normally, this could never happen.” David Baldacci