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Aug 5, 2011

No Rest for The Dead: A Novel by 26 Writers

“I enjoy puzzles. Trying to write a chapter in this novel without really knowing what had already happened and what would happen later was certainly like a puzzle. I decided to be a little perverse. I asked myself what would happen if my chapter turned everything around?” —R.L. Stine
“It’s said that organizing writers is like herding cats, and one fears for the man or woman who tries. I wrote my chapter and, as a novelist is advised to do in Hollywood, threw the manuscript over the e-fence and ran in the opposite direction. Imagine my delight – the inimitable Andrew Gulli has not only brought together a world atlas of writers but in the process has created a world-class mystery. It’s been a pleasure. And the rest of us didn’t even have to break a sweat.” —Gayle Lynds
"I think for me the most exciting part of being involved in this project was to be in the company of so many fine writers--not only because I've admired their work for years but because it gave me an insight into the different techniques they employed and their approach to the craft of writing fiction. Normally I'm not an author who "plays well with others," but it was exhilarating to be part of a team working together in such harmony, all for the benefit of our readers." —Jeffery Deaver

No Rest for The Dead: A Novel by 26 Writers
Hardcover, 272 pages
Touchstone (July 5, 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1451607376
Editor's proceeds to benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: Four Stars
When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco’s McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death. In the years since the case was closed, he's discovered a web of deceit and betrayal surrounding the Thomases that could implicate any number of people in the crime. With the help of the dead woman's friend, he plans to gather everyone who was there the night Christopher died and finally uncover the truth, suspect by suspect. Solving this case may be Nunn’s last chance for redemption … but the shadowy forces behind Christopher’s death will stop at nothing to silence the past forever.

In this innovative storytelling approach, each of these twenty-five bestselling writers brings their distinctive voice to a chapter of the narrative, building the tension to a shocking, explosive finale. No Rest for the Dead is a thrilling, page-turning accomplishment that only America’s very best authors could achieve.

Written by some of the mystery genre's most noted writers, No Rest for The Dead is a clever collaboration that is intriguing, engrossing and suspenseful. The concept of the many authors was the first thing that hooked me, but the storyline that followed was a feat in itself. I am rarely stumped during formulaic mystery novels, but this one kept me guessing.

The story begins as Rosemary is executed, and then we go back in time to see how we get to that point. We figure out early on that Rosemary was framed for murdering her husband, but with the large cast of characters we could never really figure out who was who. This presented a minor drawback, as the character pool was so large I started to get confused, but that also kept the suspect pool large and therefore my curiosity remained peaked.

With the many different authors we are also presented with many different angles, some first person and some third person, of several of the characters. There was the detective who became washed out has been because of Rosemary's case, and several of the museum employees where the victim, Christopher Thomas had worked. Family members and art aficionados complete the cast and we are in for a ride as we are presented with one plot twist after the other.

As for the writing, you always felt the transition between the authors as each writer flowed to the next, and some chapters were better than others. There were some that I didn't like the feel of the writing, but I knew soon enough that I would be rewarded with a new chapter and a new writer. For mystery lovers, this is a win-win: twenty-six authors all packed into one entertaining novel. Plus, the editorial team is donating their portion of the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is another win-win.

Authors include Sandra Brown, Jeffrey Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, Michael Palmer, R.L. Stine and Alexander McCall Smith. Watch the video embedded above for a fun look at them.