The Echo Man
by Richard Montanari
on Tour March 20 – April 7, 2017
It is fall in Philadelphia and the mutilated body of a man has been found in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city. The victim’s forehead and eyes are wrapped in a band of white paper, sealed on one side with red sealing wax. On the other side is a smear of blood in the shape of a figure eight. The victim has been roughly and violently shaved clean — head to toe — a temporary tattoo on his finger.
As another brutalized body appears, then another, it becomes horrifyingly clear that someone is re-creating unsolved murders from Philadelphia’s past in the most sinister of ways.
And, for homicide detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, the killer is closer than they think…
“This tale had me gripped by the throat, unwilling to do anything but anxiously turn the pages. Richard Montanari’s writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. The Echo Man showcases a master storyteller at his very best.” -Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of The Silent Girl
“Richard Montanari’s The Echo Man continues his work as a writer whose prose can capture quite extraordinary subtleties. When a man’s facial expression is described as “not the look of someone with nothing to hide, but rather of one who has very carefully hidden everything,” we know we are in good hands, and with The Echo Man, we are in the hands of one of the best in the business”. – Thomas H. Cook, bestselling author of Red Leaves
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: February 7th 2017 (first published January 1st 2011)
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062467425 (ISBN13: 9780062467423)
Series: Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #5
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗
Read an excerpt:
Richard Montanari is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels, including the nine titles in the Byrne & Balzano series.
He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.
Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I’ve never taken a story from current events, or “ripped from the headlines” as they say on Law & Order. My novels are, for the most part, in a contemporary setting, so it’s impossible to avoid modern constructs in politics, technology, social movements. But because my villains tend to inhabit a deep internal part of their psyche they are, to a great extent, cut off from the modern world. It is in this internal landscape the novel is seeded.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
The first step in my process is always to determine the killer’s pathology. Why is he doing what he is doing? There are certain required steps in the writing of all procedurals — a body is found, police are called, investigators show up at the crime scene — so my main series characters need to be on their game early in the story. That’s the prevailing theory, anyway. Kevin Byrne, and to some extent Jessica Balzano, don’t always play by the rules. This is certainly true of my killers. Once I know what motivates my villain, and through what prism he views the world, the story begins to take shape.
Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
The two main characters, Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, are composites of police detectives I know. Externally, the character of Kevin Byrne was a little easier to research — there are a lot of men in the homicide unit who have more than twenty years on the job. Jessica was more of a challenge because there are still not a lot of women homicide detectives. I’ve heard from a number of people in Philadelphia’s police and legal systems who say they recognize minor characters in my books. I always change the names, mostly because a lot of these people are heavily armed.
Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Nothing too strange. I never begin a book without a working title in mind, and I begin each day’s session on the title page. I’ve found that this helps to both fuel the narrative and keep it on track.
Tell us why we should read this book.
In all my books I try to bring readers into new worlds. These may be worlds with which readers are somewhat familiar, but I try to shine a light in a dark corner of that world and hopefully illuminate something new. I have an interest in cinema, carnivals, magic, classical music, the rites and rituals of the Catholic Church, fairy tales, Russian folklore — all topics I have explored in my work. I begin each novel with the premise, and hope, that I will learn new things, and in turn take the reader on a brief journey of discovery.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
James M. Cain, Shirley Jackson, Richard Price, Thomas H. Cook, Jim Thompson, Thomas Harris, Ira Levin.
What are you reading now?
I don’t read a lot of fiction when I’m writing. My TBR pile spilleth over. I’m in research mode for the next Byrne and Balzano novel, and am reading a lot of old medical texts.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’ve just completed a very twisted story of small-town murder entitled THE LAST GIRL. Next will be the tenth novel in my Philadelphia series, which marks the return of Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
The Byrne/Balzano books are currently being considered for both a feature film and a TV series. I would hate to jinx the process with my suggestions. I would love to hear from readers about their casting ideas!
Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I am a film buff, as well as a devotee to all the technologies of home theater. Right now, OLED is my passion. I also love to cook.
This changes every night around seven PM. Fresh pasta or tempura when I have time. A slow cooker when a book is due.
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