I was intrigued to see that Britain’s answer to Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club — the Richard and Judy Book Club — have just released their summer reading selection and it features one of my favourite thriller writers, Simon Kernick.

Ben Hoyle reports from The London Times:

A longstanding American bestseller, a whimsical tale of fishing in the Middle East and the debut novel from the producer of This Life and Teachers are among the latest books anointed for success by Richard and Judy.

The eight titles that make up the summer strand of the couple’s influential book club were unveiled yesterday.

They include The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, by Kim Edwards, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 50 weeks but was published only recently in Britain; Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, by Paul Torday; and Getting Rid of Matthew, a “chic noir” novel by Jane Fallon, the television producer and girlfriend of the comedian Ricky Gervais. Their publishers can now sit back and wait for the money to roll in.

Richard Madeley and his wife, Judy Finnigan, started their reading group three years ago and selection for it has become the surest guarantee of bestseller status in British publishing.

I was especially pleased to see Kernick’s thriller, Relentless, make the list, as I had met up with the author recently and asked him to let The Rap Sheet know a little about how he came to pen this disturbing novel. It appears that the premise of Relentless came from a nightmare. Says Kernick:

[The dream] was so vivid that I’ll never forget it until the day I die. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. I was at home, playing with my two young kids in the garden when the phone rang from inside the house. Leaving them there, I went back inside and picked it up. It was an old friend of mine, but a guy I hadn’t heard from in years, and straight away I could tell something was wrong. He was gasping, and it sounded like he was running. “You’ve got to help me,” he was saying, desperation in his voice. “Please.” I kept asking him what was wrong, but all he did was repeat that I had to help him. Then he screamed, and I heard a violent commotion at the other end of the line. There was a pause. It seemed to last a long time. And when he finally spoke, his voice little more than a gasp, it was clear he was addressing someone else. And what he was saying filled me with dread, because it was the first two lines of my address.

Read the rest of Kernick’s nightmare here.

The eight books on the Richard and Judy summer reading list are:

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
How a man’s decision to send away his daughter, born with Down’s syndrome, affects his family’s life (out July 4)

Relentless by Simon Kernick
A thriller that does what it says on the tin (July 11)

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
An old-fashioned upstairs-downstairs saga (July 18)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
by Paul Torday
A scientist attempts to realise the dream of a Yemeni sheikh to bring salmon fishing to Yemen (July 25)

Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon
Helen finally gets what she wants when her boyfriend, Matthew, leaves his wife, only to find she no longer wants him (August 1)

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
A whodunnit that uncovers the murderous secrets of an Italian garden (August 8)

How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper
Doug Parker reclaims his life after the death of his wife (August 15)

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson
A story set in rural Canada, dealing with war, families, love and dark secrets (August 22)

And here’s a little something from Publishing News, pontificating on the commercial importance of gaining a spot on the Richard and Judy list.

One thought on “A Relentless Summer”

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