Within the literary genre of thrillers, the most terrifying tales are those based in reality—those works of fiction that portray chilling scenarios that could actually happen in real life.
If you are among the millions of American’s who crave this type of thrill-ride of a read, then you will love two new titles coming out of Westchester County this July.
New York Times best-selling author Andrew Gross of Purchase will release his sixteenth thriller, 15 Seconds, while lawyer-turned-author Andy Siegel of Bedford Hills will release his first novel, Suzy’s Case.
Both Gross and Siegel drew from their own real-life experiences to write their new novels. Both thrillers are deliciously scary and too close to reality for comfort.
It only takes 15 seconds for even the best of lives to fall apart. That’s the premise on which Andrew Gross based his quick-paced, smart new thriller 15 Seconds.
Gross, who has been writing thrillers for 16 years—including six he co-authored with famed suspense writer James Patterson—described for Patch the harrowing real-life experience that inspired 15 Seconds.
“I was on a book tour in Houston Texas, when I was stopped for a minor traffic violation,” he explained. “Somehow the conversation with the policeman escalated, and I was pulled out of the car, cuffed, and told I was under arrest. And that was only the beginning!”
Similarly, in 15 Seconds, Dr. Henry Steadman is a successful Florida plastic surgeon who is stopped by a police officer for a minor traffic violation and when the situation escalates he is placed under arrest. When the arresting officer is suddenly killed in his car, Steadman becomes the one and only suspect. Then when a friend turns up dead, he realizes he's being elaborately framed.
“Steadman is a likable, everyday guy who is pushed into acts of bravery to protect the person he loves,” Gross said.
As for his villain, Gross said he always tries to make his bad guy believable, not over-the-top twisted, so he can keep one foot in the real, functioning world and then cross over into a life of violence too. “I always give my bad guys an element of humanity so they are not just bloodless killers—even if they end up doing unforgivable things,” he said.
What’s next for Gross?
“In 15 Seconds, my hero was put in danger right from the opening page," Gross said. "And the early response to the novel was so strong, that my publisher said, 'Do something like that again! Just make the hero a woman.'"
Attorney Andy Siegel began writing Suzy’s Case because he was tired of the way the media always poked fun at his profession. He said he wanted Suzy’s Case to convey a message about personal injury law while weaving a compelling story.
“Any scene you’ve ever viewed in a movie or on television depicting a personal injury case shows a guy in a neck brace—a scammer of the system. I get it—and appreciate its humor, too—but I specialize in injury cases involving traumatic brain insult. [There are] real people whose lives have been tragically altered because of a nano-second of inattention,” Siegel said.
Suzy’s Case is the first of a series that will feature the street-smart, imaginative and fearless justice seeker Tug Wyler. Set in Westchester and Brooklyn, Tug is a personal injury lawyer who is drawn into a case concerning a tragically brain-damaged 6-year-old girl.
Passionately committed to winning justice for the brave little girl and her beautiful mother, Tug becomes embroiled in wild, unpredictable and violent scenarios all while he unravels the maze of secrets behind what really happened.
The novel is full of a quirky cast of well developed characters. Siegel said Tug is a character who comes straight from his heart.
“He does and says things I only wish I had the bravery to do and say. Sometimes I act on my impulses during the course of a heated litigation, but I well understand that such breaches are usually followed by judicial admonishment,” Siegel said.
This thriller is a page turner that you won’t want to put down until the very end.
Looking for other summer reading ideas? Check out our other and click here for more information on our summer reading lists for kids through Patch's Read Kiddo Read partnership with author James Patterson.