It’s back to Venice with my new book, Shooter in the Shadows. Out on July 18*, you can buy it in print and as an e-book on Amazon worldwide. And since we’re all living in odd times I’m pricing it accordingly — the full-length e-book will cost you just $2.99 in the US and £2.49 in the UK, with other currencies set at their equivalents.
And if you want it in audio, you’ll find it on Audible already, ably narrated by two fine actors, Jonathan Davis and Ramon de Ocampo. NetGalley users can find it up for review there now.
I’ve used the city as a location several times, in my first Italian novel from twenty years ago, Lucifer’s Shadow (aka The Cemetery of Secrets), in the fourth Nic Costa book The Lizard’s Bite. It’s the setting for a solo outing by one of the Costa series’ best-loved characters, Teresa Lupo in Carnival for the Dead. And the lagoon also makes an appearance at the end of the latest Costa story, The Savage Shore too.
But Shooter in the Shadows is very much a standalone story, and one that, for the first time in my career, concerns a fellow writer, the fictional Tom Honeyman. In 2008, when the financial world was collapsing, Tom was a reporter on a failing local newspaper in a fictional upstate New York town called Prosper. The place is torn apart by the vicious murders of a local teacher and her pupil who seem to have been having an affair.
The police and the FBI can’t crack the case but somehow Tom does, naming a suspect who’s shot dead in a standoff with the police. Tom, always anxious to get out of journalism and make a name for himself as an author, writes a true crime account of the murders which becomes a bestseller and a movie. It also tears the town apart and his family too.
He also has a ritual. Every July he maroons himself on the island in July in the run-up to the Festa del Redentore, the third weekend of the month, a popular public festival. By the time the Redentore fireworks begin on Saturday night, Tom hopes to have either finished a new book or found the start of one.
Rich and briefly famous, Tom uses his unexpected wealth to buy a remote island in the north of the Venetian lagoon and the semi-derelict mansion there. It’s his bolthole, a writer’s paradise supposedly, cut off from the world without a phone signal, internet or easy access to the rest of the lagoon. The same kind of isolation one of his heroes, Ernest Hemingway, enjoyed not far away on Torcello while finishing Across the River and into the Trees.
But when we meet him life’s turned bad. After his first huge success his career has tanked. Tom’s close to broke, unable to sell the island which has turned into an alabatross round his neck. This run-up to Redentore is the last chance he’s got to get his career back on track. But when he arrives he finds he’s not alone. There’s an intruder on the island, one who knows his past very well indeed.
And the man marooned there with him has news. Tom named the wrong murderer in his original story, and led to the death of an innocent man. Now Tom has to name the real killer, and write a new book, all in the few days before Redentore. Without access to the outside world, only his own memory, his notes and the information his unwanted visitor provides.
Tom Honeyman has a new deadline and he’s writing for his life.
*And if you’re wondering… why July 18. That’s the day Redentore starts this year. I wish I could be there…
Pre-orders for e-books are open now throughout Amazon, Apple Books, Google Play and Kobo sites across the world. The print edition will become available on Amazon shortly before publication.