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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Who is Gideon? In the powerhouse debut from Russell Andrews, a pen name for author Peter Gethers and mystery scribe David Handler, that's what struggling writer Carl Granville must desperately try to answer after blindly accepting an apparently unbelievable publishing deal. A briskly plotted, well-conceived, twisting-and-turning thriller about a project any writer would die for -- and in Carl's case, very well may -- Gideon is a savvy and sinister read.
At his agent's funeral in New York City, unpublished writer Carl Glanville -- an all-American type of guy: young, handsome, well built, with a determined heart and a lot of talent -- is introduced to Maggie Petersen, the top editor at New York's largest and most successful book publisher. Maggie claims that before her death, Carl's agent forwarded her a copy of his manuscript; Maggie read it, thought it was rough in places but brilliant in others, and would like to publish it. Next thing we know, not only is Carl offered the works from this publishing giant -- fancy advance galleys, publicity tour, a big marketing campaign -- but another deal as well. And this, my friends, is where Gideon begins to spark.
If Carl should accept this project, he will be paid a quarter of a million dollars to scribe a novel that, Maggie promises, will change the world; a million-copy announced printing goes a long way to add credence to Maggie's over-the-top prediction. The novel will be published anonymously and will be based on fact, on information Carl will receive in utmost secrecy from an unknown informant, known to both Maggie and Carl only as Gideon. While this Primary Colors-type project makes Carl feel extremely uncomfortable, the $50,000 advance that Maggie waves in front of his face, plus the promise to publish his novel with all the bells and whistles, is too much for Carl to turn down.
Ecstatic, Carl seeks out Toni-with-an-i, the beautiful actress-wannabe who has recently moved into his building. But when he arrives, Toni is bolting to an "All My Children" audition and is forced to take a rain check. Slightly disappointed but still flying high as a kite, Carl returns to his apartment to pop a cork by himself. Unfortunately, as Carl immediately realizes, he's not alone. An enormous, well-dressed stranger is sitting quietly in a corner, patiently awaiting Carl's return. This intruder, Harry, who we know has already committed two vicious, cold-blooded murders in a previous scene, is now the tough-as-nails partner of the frightened and angered Carl. For the next two weeks, Harry appears each morning with new information from Gideon, cooks Carl a gourmet breakfast, and sits quietly as Carl jots down notes. When Carl finishes, Harry collects the data, retapes it to his powerful thigh, and is off -- only to return the next morning with additional information from the enigmatic Gideon.
But who is Gideon? What is this story that he's writing, taken from the almost illegible scribbling of a young woman in the deep South in the mid-1950s? A million questions flood Carl's mind, but no answers follow. Soon, just as the story Carl is transcribing becomes extremely grim, sick, and horrible, the real-life murders begin, and Carl is on the run, a fugitive from the law and the life he once led -- and will likely never lead again.
Gideon is an electrifying novel. The writing team of Gethers and Handler has constructed a rapid-fire thriller with a titillating premise, slick writing, a vicious, well-conceived cast of characters, and an ending that will shock you off your beach chair. There's an innocent man on the run -- not only from the law but from someone who wants him dead for knowing too much about something that he doesn't really know anything about -- a death at every corner, a precarious love affair, and a surprise on almost every page. Gideon is a grade A tale, a perfect match for the hot summer sun. (Andrew LeCount)