Today is book launch day for my good friend and fellow critique group member, Sarah Madison. Walk A Mile is published by Dreamspinner and sorry, why are you reading this and not rushing out to buy it?
Six months after starting their hunt for a serial killer who is still at large, FBI agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn are partners in every sense. But Jerry has serious doubts about their relationship and whether they would even be together if not for the way Flynn changed after touching a mysterious artifact in a museum.
Flynn hates the extraordinary power bestowed on him by the artifact and wants nothing more than to have a normal life again. Jerry fears that without the unusual connection they forged, Flynn will no longer want or need him. Chasing after a similar artifact takes them back to Flynn’s old stomping grounds in Washington D.C., where his newfound abilities uncover long-buried secrets, the kind people would kill to protect. But they aren’t the only ones looking for these powerful relics, and what they discover will threaten their relationship—and their lives.
Now then, being in the same crit group means I was privileged to read this as Sarah wrote it. I read it chapter by chapter as she submitted it for crit and I read it again at the end before she submitted it to Dreamspinner for publication. I’m about to go and read it again. It is just *that good*.
Walk a Mile is a follow up to the first novel in the Sixth Sense series, Unspeakable Words, in which two FBI agents are partnered to hunt down a serial killer. So far, so FBI, right? Not quite. As well as charting Jerry Parker’s increasing attraction to John Flynn, Unspeakable Words takes the FBI partners/crime hunt/murder story that you might expect to read and gives it a jump to the left, and then a step to the righ-hi-hi-hi-hi-ight (sorry. Channelling my inner corset wearer there). FBI murder hunt takes a paranormal twist that is so deftly done that you just nod and accept it and read on, fascinated. Because when an artifact changes John Flynn’s life in ways he could never, ever have anticipated, the tale is gripping. The consequence is that he gains Jerry Parker, yes, but also an extraordinary ability Flynn would rather be without.
Walk a Mile comes six months later. You know how you’ve often looked at someone you know, maybe someone you love, and wondered what made them who they are now, just what it is that makes them tick? What wouldn’t you give to understand them! It might keep the doubts at bay. But be careful what you wish for. Or you, too, could find yourself in Jerry Parker and John Flynn’s shoes: searching for a killer while struggling to come to terms with the unexpected effects of another of these mysterious artifacts. And again, all so deftly and cleverly done, the world of Flynn and Parker so skilfully portrayed, that the impact of this second artifact is accepted as no more than a “Huh! They might have guessed it’d do something whacky!” and you carry on, wanting to know as much about Flynn’s past as Jerry Parker does. The story just pulls you in. Hard.
Jerry, the main PoV narrator, is a beguiling combination of confidence and a self assurance born out of the security his near-eidetic memory gives him, and doubt about his relationship with Flynn. Because seen through Jerry’s eyes, John Flynn—closed off and enigmatic, haunted and guilt-ridden—is also drop-dead gorgeous. Jerry’s unease about John’s behaviour and motives permeates this book, but it’s not a self-pity fest. Jerry’s too smart for that. But it does prompt him to take a step that puts a huge strain on their relationship, and only the murderous climax of the novel brings that some sort of resolution.
Interesting, believable main characters with flaws and faults and a real humanity about them. A cast of secondary characters whose personalities all leap off the page at you, even if they’re there only for a chapter or three. A mystery that goes beyond the relatively simple one of tracking down a serial killer, and ventures into the arcane as they try to understand the enigmatic artifacts. A love story, too, that is all the more powerful because it’s understated and its protagonists are a little inarticulate.
Why *are* you still here instead of rushing off to buy it?
Get it from Dreamspinner, who are having a ‘paranormal titles’ sale so you can get an bargain there that’s as unexpected as the impact of John Flynn’s artifact.
I’m hoping Sarah will join us here in a couple of weeks to talk a little more about her new book. You will all have read it by then, right? Right