Debut Fiction: The Girl with a Clock for a Heart – Peter Swanson

This crackling, fast-moving noir is also a February Indie Next Pick. It was a stay-up-late, two night page-turner for me and I wasn’t surprised to hear it has already been optioned for film. The set-up is classic—we see the story through the eyes of our everyman hero who can’t keep up with—much less get ahead of—the devious femme fatale he loves. PW calls the book “an adrenaline rush” and lays out the plot:

At the start of Swanson’s Machiavellian debut noir, magazine business manager George Foss spots Liana Decter, a college girlfriend he hasn’t seen in nearly two decades, in a Boston bar. Back then, George got off relatively unscathed: a broken heart and only peripheral involvement in a murder probe. But this time promises to be far more dangerous. Liana, a wanted fugitive going under the alias Jane Byrne, asks George for a big favor—she wants him to serve as a go-between to return most of the half million she stole from her married sugar daddy, shady furniture magnate Gerald MacLean, and to persuade Gerald to call off the goon who’s been threatening her. Predictably, little of this goes according to plan…”

“The absolute best thing [about The Girls with a Clock for a Heart] was the college back story that ran parallel to the present action.  The protagonist also kept true to ‘just your average guy’ suddenly thrust into a world filled with lies and deception.  Liana Decter is just the right amount of sexy, crazy and absolutely brilliant. It was a thrilling ride beginning to end.”
— Brittany Jackson, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, KY

“What do you say when a woman who broke your heart years ago and is wanted for questioning in connection to a murder pops back into your life to ask a favor? If she’s as alluring as Liana Dector, you say, ‘Yes.’ And hope you survive the decision. The Girl with a Clock for a Heart is a twisty, sexy, electric thrill ride and an absolute blast from start to finish.”
— Dennis Lehane

“[A] roller coaster thrill-fest of a ride, filled with deliciously wicked moments of mystery, murder, and mayhem, double-cross and deception. A cerebral noir thriller debut.”
 — New York Journal of Books

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart (9780062267498) by Peter Swanson. $25.99 hardcover. 2/4/14 on sale.

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