Say hello to today’s featured ThrillerFest 2017 debut author Jennifer Soosar and her new novel of suspense, Parent Teacher Association. Read on to see how she cleverly answered our “thrilling” questions!
BookTrib: If you were on death row, what would be your last read? Why?
Jennifer Soosar: If I’m on death row it means I’ve done something terrible like killed somebody, and it wasn’t in self-defense. I’ve been sitting here for a while, many years in fact. Plenty of time to think about my actions, plenty of time to read all the books in the prison library. Prison’s been great for catching up on reading. But now, execution day is close. There’s a little time left for one last book. It had better be a good one.
The guard wheels in the hobbled library cart and I peruse the titles through the cell bars. I could go for one of my old favorites, but I’ve read them so many times now I could scream. Maybe a You-Gotta-Read-It-Before-You-Die classic? What, force myself to read a book I’ve managed to avoid my entire life? No thanks. Anyway, I’m in no mood for fine literature. I’m facing lethal injection here and I want something light. Some simple humor, please, to take the edge off. Something to remind me of a more innocent time before my life meets its final moment.
“That one,” I tell the guard with the cart, pointing at the slim volume with the colorful spine. It’s good for more than a few chuckles, has illustrations, too. I used to read it as a kid. My pick: The Family Circus by Bil Keane.
BT: If you were going to kill off your protagonist what method would you use? Why?
JS: Stabbing. It’s a very personal, intimate way to be killed. My protagonist would see her attacker coming at her. Her eyes would catch the glint of light off the weapon’s surface and she would run, her mind swift with fear. But there would be no escape from the razor-sharp weapon. She would raise her hands in defense and see the redness of blood before feeling the pain. She would valiantly escape her attacker, finding a way out, screaming for help. But no one would hear. She would stagger down the sidewalk, holding her wounds tight, her worst fear realized. Her attacker was someone she was well-acquainted with, someone she once, foolishly, trusted. All those threats, promised and now delivered on. Her pace would slow, the life flooding out of her body. She would collapse, but not succumb yet. Death by stabbing is slower than that. Lots of time left to think. Time enough to know.
BT: What is the all-time best thriller you have ever read? Why?
JS: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris is the best thriller I’ve ever read. From the very first scene when FBI agent Jack Crawford asks Will Graham for help on a case in which an entire family has been murdered in their home, this book grabs you and doesn’t let go. Will Graham has two formidable antagonists he must battle against; the cunning, vicious Hannibal Lecter who has previously attacked him with a knife, and the disturbed, shifting Francis Dolarhyde who is in the midst of “becoming.” Harris takes you into the twisted transformation of Francis, then throws an unexpected wrench in the works by having him fall in love. It’s a brilliant twist that has you hoping Francis can beat back the Dragon’s murderous hunger and live a normal life with Reba. The depth of characterization is remarkable. Like a breathing monster, the horror in Red Dragon undulates from the tiniest details to entire scenes that thunder like an Odaiko drum. It’s a truly frightening, thrilling book.
Head to Amazon to purchase Jennifer Soosar’s Parent Teacher Association now!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Fresh out of a mental hospital, Lizanne Demeter is thrilled when she’s hired as a schoolteacher in the backwater town of Splinter Wood, Pennsylvania. But hopes for a peaceful life are ruined when demanding ‘helicopter mom’ Naomi pushes Lizanne to the brink. While struggling to maintain control, Lizanne unravels the secret behind Naomi’s hell-bent agenda. As deadly clues emerge, Lizanne suspects Naomi is guilty of more than hyper-parenting. With her life and sanity teetering on chaos, Lizanne risks everything to expose the truth. But first, she must prove herself a more dedicated teacher than anyone dared imagine—the kind who makes ALL the difference.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Soosar watched too much America’s Most Wanted growing up and has been writing about shady characters ever since. She was born and raised in Toronto and has a degree in Anthropology from York University. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, and Sisters in Crime.