Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Notes - THE KILLING CIRCLE by Andrew Pyper

Today's forecast in St. Peters: Overcast, chance of rain, high 59 degrees.

First, thanks to everyone who visited yesterday and e-mailed names of veterans they want to honor. I amended yesterday's post and added the veterans' names, along with a few personal stories.

Several people have already entered my "Welcome Home" contest to win a copy of A Cup of Comfort for Military Families. If you missed yesterday's post and want to enter, there's still time. E-mail with your name and address. Put "Welcome Home" in the subject line. I will select the winner on Thursday and post the name on Friday.

Now back to this week's discussion about critique groups.

Last month I reviewed a thriller for called THE KILLING CIRCLE by Canadian author Andrew Pyper. The novel is about a critique group with a twist--a deadly twist.

The main character is Patrick Rush, a burned-out journalist and single father who recently lost his wife. The book opens in 2007 with a chilling description of the abduction of Patrick's son, Sam. But that's not where the real story begins.

Rewind to 2003. Shortly after his wife's death. Patrick has hit bottom. He turns to the bottle, self-pity, and bad behavior. Along with his grief, he is overwhelmed with a desire to write a novel. To spark his creativity, he joins a creative writing group where participants are invited to "tell the stories of their lives."

Conrad White, an exiled writer and the group's facilitator, insists on calling the group a circle. The circle meets in a dark room in the Kensington Circle section of Toronto. For weeks, Patrick listens to the odd mix of writers, with their unusual lives and strange stories, read their works-in-progress. While they tell the stories of their lives, Patrick realizes he has no story to tell. Yet, he is particularly enthralled by the story of "The Sandman" told by Angela, and he secretly records her words while she reads. Meanwhile in Toronto, a murderer is on the loose, and the killer's grizly handiwork hits close to Patrick's home and is strikingly similar to the events in "The Sandman."

If you've ever belonged to a critique group or writing circle, you will find this book haunting. If you still belong to a critique group after reading THE KILLING CIRCLE, you might look at your group members in a very different light. Ambition, jealousy, greed, romance, theft, murder--a wicked combination for any group of writers.

Hope I haven't scared you from joining a critique group. Tomorrow's post will discuss reasons you should join one.


  1. oh wow, I GOTTA read this....have you read his "The Trade Mission." It was fabulous!

  2. okay, anonymous is me---Julie Earhart

  3. Hi Julie,
    THE KILLING CIRCLE was his first book I've read. I'll have to check out "The Trade Mission."
    Thanks for stopping by.


Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V - Interviews with Lonnie Whitaker and Dr. Barri Bumgarner

Here is the second installment of interviews with contributors who have stories in Mysteries of the Ozarks, Volume V , from Ozark Writers, I...