Please welcome our November featured author: Jonathan Stone!
Synopsis and Review of Breakthrough:
Breakthrough by Jonathan Stone
Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312291132
Forty year-old Tom Hartley lives a simple and lonely existence. He cares for his invalid mother, and takes the train to the city each day to work in the printing business left to him by his father. But one day, it all changes. Sitting on the train across from a beautiful woman, he inadvertently glances at her paperwork, noting some inside information that can make him a fast buck. Acting on the information, he has no idea that his isolated life is about to be thrown into a tailspin of emotion, heat, and danger. Upon discovering that the beautiful woman has suddenly died, he can’t help but feel a huge loss at her passing, and an overwhelming desire to find out all he can about her.
Meanwhile, Julian Palmer, the homicide detective of previous novels, is on maternity leave tending to a baby not her own, and getting restless. So when she’s called in to help investigate an insurance case involving Tom and his mother, she jumps at the chance. Soon she too is involved in a mystery far and above anything she’s ever encountered before. Soon she too is living a life of involvement and heat and danger.
In the genre of mystery, this latest from Stone is nothing less than a brilliant masterpiece. Each sentence is so perfectly drafted, that you may find yourself reading some of them a second time, just for another opportunity to revel in their rhythmic precision. Combining a puzzle of genius proportions, along with questions of existence, isolation, becoming and ending, this tale has it all. Stone takes on the corporate world with an unblinking eye, revealing the bitter truths behind the smoke and mirrors that comprise the corporate world, and more frighteningly, how most blindly follow this inane way of living. And inside of all this is a beautiful love story that is both poignant and refreshingly honest. Don’t miss this one, it’s the most luminous and breathtaking read of the year.
1. What a diabolical scheme you’ve created in your last book, wherever did you get the idea?
I do commute every day from Connecticut to Manhattan, and I confess I have-every now and then!-looked at what the passenger next to me is reading or working on, and I began to consider the possibilities if I happened to see something, well, significant. The idea uncoiled from there.
2. Tom Hartley is such a fully-realized character, and one of the
most realistic I’ve read in a while, where does he come from?
3. Tell us more about Julian Palmer, she’s also a great character,
and a woman to boot! How do you write so convincingly from a woman’s point of
4. What is it you enjoy most about the genre of mystery, and why did you choose to write this particular type of fiction?
With The Cold Truth, my first book, I didn't know I'd written a
5. Tell us a bit about your writing habits.
I write on the commuter train. I have an hour commute each way,
6. When you write, what is your primary aim?
7. The usual question….when did you know you wanted to write?
I remember picking up a Tom McGuane novel, and reading a few pages
of it, and saying, "Whoa, you can do this with fiction!?" I've always been
a fan of Updike and Cheever, of their use of the language, and their elegant
tone. As far as genre fiction, Dennis Lehane has a depth and soul that put
him in a class by himself, though I also like Michael Connelly a whole lot.
9. What is the most difficult thing you find about writing?
10. What kind of cunning and devious tale can we expect from you next time?
I have a couple of projects ready to show to publishers which, while they are commercial fiction-mystery/thrillers-are not, alas, Julian Palmer novels. But after her latest case, maybe Julian deserves a break!
Jonathan Stone is a graduate of Yale, where he was a Scholar of the House
in fiction writing, and twice won the John Hubbard Curtis Prize for Best
Imaginative Writing. He makes his living as a writer in the advertising
business, having created campaigns and commercials for Mercedes-Benz,Mitsubishi,
3M, and Microsoft, among others. He lives in Connecticut., with