I'm Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is 14, the new thriller by J.T. Ellison.
J.T. Ellison's new book featuring Nashville deb-turned-cop Taylor Jackson is out; it's called '14'. This time Taylor is tracking a serial killer who has seemingly returned from the dead, and she's also planning her wedding — guess which one is scarier? As usual, J.T. works on a realistic canvas — her hometown — which makes the cavalcade of lunatics who crop up to ruin Taylor's special day even more menacing. (Although if you can find anything more terrifying than a caterer please do let me know about it.) There are a couple of plot twists that I certainly didn't see coming (I love that) and one 'ripped from the headlines' event that J.T. swears she wrote long before the news story broke. (Hint, it involves a pervy attorney general.)
I have talked to J.T. a couple of times over the last year and it's been a pleasure to see her continue to explore the world of her tough minded heroine, Nashville cop Taylor Jackson. I don't recall reading a lot of serialized fiction as a kid — there was the obvious Lord of the Rings and a few others, but somewhere along the line it became the done thing to create a character and a universe and keep talking about them. If you're lucky and good, your main characters and the world they live in are interesting enough to warrant return visits. If you're not, the reader realizes you're telling the same story over and over.
I think some fantasy fiction falls prey to this — how many elves can defeat the evil sorcerer and return the sword to its rightful king? J.T. Ellison is good and isn't afraid to take Taylor Jackson to places she probably wouldn't want to go. I can almost picture Taylor getting the script for the book and saying, "Oh no, I am not doing this. It's scary and weird and out of my comfort zone. I am not getting married!"
Because while serial killers, press conferences and trips to the morgue are all in a day's work for Taylor, getting an up-do and a big white dress? That is a whole different thing. True, she's been with her hot FBI fiancé John Baldwin for a while and the time was right, but Taylor is clearly more comfortable drinking cold coffee on an all night stakeout than wearing white satin pumps and getting in front of her family. Speaking of which, Taylor's mother and father figure pretty prominently in this book, and the disconnect between the resolutely, no, defiantly blue collar woman she's become and the deb princess her parents raised her to be is coming more and more into focus. As the series continues I'll be keeping an eye on her slowly unfolding past. Oh, and there's a family of serial killers, a creepy old house, the young victims are piling up and the wedding is at the end of the week. Guess which one makes our girl Taylor quake in her boots?
Hear my interview with J.T. Ellison on Fiction Nation, on Take Five, XM 155 on Wednesday, September 10that 7:00am, on Thursday, September 11th at midnight, on Friday September 12th at 11:00pm, on Saturday September 13th at 6pm, on Sunday September 14th at 10:00am and 8:00pm, and on Monday September 15th at 12:00 midnight. You can also hear Fiction Nation on Sonic Theater, XM 163 on Thursday September 11th at 3:00 pm in its half-hour format. All times EDT.