Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Whither Thomas Perry?

One of the best writers in the crime fiction genre has seemingly disappeared off the map, prompting some readers to ask, "Has Thomas Perry retired?" (His last book, Dead Aim, came out in Dec. 2002.)

The good news is, he has not. The bad news is, we won't see his next book until late-2005 at the earliest. (It is to be titled Nightlife and will be published by Random House.)

Here is Perry's explanation of what happened:
During the early part of last year, I wrote a book-length manuscript. It was an attempt to think about characters unlike any that I had ever written about. The plot had some interesting twists and the writing included some good passages, but the story never quite came together as a finished, coherent whole. I rewrote it several times, but I still couldn't get it to work. When people asked me how it was coming, I would usually say, "It's long enough. Now I have to make it good enough." I kept writing drafts, changing the story considerably each time, but still couldn't get it right. Last winter I decided that the best thing to do was to set it aside and go to work on something else.

I admire Perry for having the guts to pull the plug on a book because he didn't think it's good enough. I'm sure there was considerable pressure from everyone involved for him to produce. (That being said, I'd still be very interested in reading it.)

But I guess we'll just have to wait 'til next year for our fix. In the meantime, if you haven't read the Gumshoe-winning Pursuit or the excellent Jane Whitefield series, you've got some catching up to do.