You may recall that I was getting rather excited about a new name in the thriller genre, Scott Frost. In January, Headline Publishing released a mass-market edition of Never Fear by Scott and it to shot into the top 20 paperback best-sellers list. I discovered this novel was actually the second in his Lieutenant Alex Delillo series set in Pasadena. I absolutely loved this book. It was fresh with a vibrant voice but also filled with pathos. Police investigator Alex Delillo investigates the murder of a man, who she discovers was the brother she never knew she had. Why had he tried to contact her just before he died? And there is the mysterious link to a long forgotten serial killer ‘The River Killer’ who rumor has it was actually her father.
This novel is a very complexly plotted thriller, and I was impressed in how Frost managed to keep the characters distinctive, but propel the plot with such vigor. I then learned that Frost’s debut Run the Risk’ has been released by Headline in hardcover this March, with a mass-market edition this summer. I have to say reading these books out of sequence did not pose an issue, because the quality of the writing is just so impressive. Scott’s debut features Alex Delillo and her colleagues at the Pasadena P.D. ensnared in a cat-and-mouse game with a seriously deranged bomber, who may or may not be a serial killer, international terrorist or perhaps something worse. Like Never Fear, we see Alex’s family involved in the mayhem, but this time her daughter’s life hangs in the balance. I recall reading the closing sections with increasing anxiety such is the intensity of Frost’s writing. I think Frost has a huge career ahead of him as a thriller writer, outside of his work as a screenwriter, and was not surprised to see him represented by Elaine Koster (Frost was signed up in the US in an disclosed two book deal with Putna).
So now that Run The Risk has been released Shots decided to ask this enigmatic writer a little about this remarkable debut.
RUN THE RISK is about terror
As a child, the word terror carried a kind of joy and innocence with it. It was a ship that took you for journeys inside of a dark theatre where waiting for you just beyond a doorway, or at the end of the dark alley, was a moment where even as you jumped out of your chair, scared out of your wits, a part of you delighted in being terrorized, safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t real. Giant ants, mutant scientists, the living dead, alien invaders, all living among us. They were the stuff of nightmares only, even while you were laughing along the entire shriek-filled way.
We no longer need the fictional world of giant ants or mutant scientists or alien invaders to be terrorized, though Hollywood continues to churn them out in ever greater CGI effects. The real world is scary enough.
As anyone who has stepped on a plane or bus or subway knows, we’ve been robbed of something, the joy of being able to walk in our world without fear. This possibility was stolen by people who added …ism to the word terror, and forever took away the joy and innocence that could be found in those things that go bump in the night.
We never knew how good we had it when we were able to enjoy feeling scared, safe in the knowledge that the threat wasn’t real. Nowadays it’s a rare individual who wants to look beyond the surface of the terror that dictates our everyday lives and try to understand the reasoning behind it. Anyone with that kind of understanding usually has the good sense to keep it to themselves, as otherwise we would all live in a perpetual state of fear.
So can we still enjoy being scared to the point of slipping off the edge of our seat? Sure we can. We may even need it more today, in such unstable times, than we did in our youth. Maybe in a time when truth is so elusive, fictional stories become even more important. It’s just that when we ease back into that seat now, the laughter has an edge to it that wasn’t there before.
© 2007 Scott Frost