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Terry Wolverton
Author, Editor (anthology)
Season of Eclipse

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

The plot centers on Marielle Wing, a highly popular literary novelist whose triumphs on the page are matched only by her failures in finding and loving another woman. At JFK airport, she encounters a terrorist bombing; rather than running, she begins snapping photos and this brings her to the attention of Homeland Security, who insists she enter the Witness Security Program. Denied her vibrant Los Angeles life, banished to a dreary suburb of Detroit with only her cat, Dude, Marielle convinces herself that her identity shift will be temporary—and she imagines resurfacing with a blockbuster book. But once she reads her own obituary in The New York Times, she feels stripped of everything she values and utterly alone.
Acclaimed novelist Marielle Wing finds herself caught up in the hustle and bustle of JFK airport after an exhausting weekend spent at a PEN America event, ready to catch a flight home to Los Angeles—and her beloved cat, Dude. As she wanders through airport security, she’s swept into a nightmare when a terrorist bomb strikes. Instead of running, as others do, Marielle snaps pictures of the madness and men—one dressed as a police officer, who immediately takes her phone as “evidence” but neglects to leave her his name. A day later, when someone tries to kill Marielle via an explosion at her Los Angeles address, Homeland Security sweeps in to take over.

That’s just the beginning of Marielle’s troubles, as Homeland Security soon determines she’s in danger and whisks her into the Witness Security Program, altering her identity—and publishing her obituary in the New York Times. Utterly alone and unsure of what the future holds, Marielle starts to wonder who she can trust, including the government officials supposedly looking out for her best interests. Wolverton (Stealing Angel) skillfully crafts Marielle's downfall from a lovely life spent working on her latest novel to a woman at wit’s end with no one to turn to, a transformation that’s made all the more unreal when Marielle notices her publisher advertising her latest novel, posthumously of course—a novel Marielle is adamant she didn’t write.

Readers will sympathize with Marielle as she’s whisked into what feels like a fiction novel—but ends up being her own life—and cheer her on in the hunt for the truth. When the lid finally blows off completely, Marielle is left to pick up the pieces, wondering if the real “Marielle Wing was [ever] coming back.” Ultimately, the experience, though terrifying, allows her to view life differently, “meet]ing] each day as the thing she had once dreaded, an empty page.”

Takeaway: Appealing thriller showcasing a strong female lead determined to recapture her life.

Comparable Titles: L.T. Ryan’s Noble Beginnings, Cara Black’s Murder at the Porte de Versailles.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-