Okay, my friend Harry wrote a book... which was bought by Random House... and is Del Rey's big fall paperback release. It's the first book he ever sold. I was going to buy it for my London trip, but the book came out the day of my flight and no one at a book store would slip me a copy before the street date. So I bought it when I got back, for my Hong Kong flight... which never happened due to a late visa.

So, I popped open the book a couple of days ago - and just finished it. Was almost impossible to put down. Relentless pacing, and escalating conflict, and cool stuff.
I am not the kind of person to read fantasy novels - science fiction is okay, but anything with wizards just sounds silly to me. Harry's book CHILD OF FIRE is about a sorceress and magic spells and crap - but it's written like a noir action story. Remember those HBO movies that combined Lovecraft and Chandler? Not like that...

CHILD OF FIRE is like a Hammett Conetental Op novel like RED HARVEST meets HALLOWEEN 3 and Lovecraft - and impossible to put down! Ray Lilly is a career criminal (car thief) who is awaiting trial for some murders he didn't do that have a supernatural element. His public defender is replaced by some slick mob lawyer who tells Ray he'll make the charges go away if Ray forgets the supernatural stuff he saw and even sets him up with a job as a driver. This is no normal mob lawyer - this guy is from the 20 Palace Society - an organization of Sorcerers. Ray's driving job is for..
Annalese Powess, a sorceress-assassin who kills those who use black magic without permission from the 20 Palace Society mob. Rogue socerers, people who find some spellbook and use it... anyone who is using black magic in some way that might bring down the heat on the mob - or maybe get in their way. All of this stuff is back story we have to piece together as we read - because the book hits the ground running! It opens with Ray and Annalise on the way to a hit...

Small town in Washington State has an overly successful toy factory - and children who spontaneously combust... and the kid's parents forget they even had kids. They find ways to rationalize the car seats and toys in the front yard. This is one of those small towns with a secret - and also a bunch of warring factions that would rather the two outsiders be dead.
Just when you think things can't get worse - Annalise tells Ray that part of his job is to be the "red shirt" decoy that gets killed so that she can attack... but when she attacks, Annalise discovers the evil in this town is more powerrful than she is. Ray survives, Annalize is seriously wounded... and now all of that evil from all of the different factions in the town are coming after Ray. He is the man in the middle and must figure out who and what is behind all of this in order to survive.
This thing was a real page turner, and really dark - kids burn to death in the first ten pages. If the book has any problem, it's too fast paced. No place to close it and sleep... and sometimes things happens so fast that you have to read carefully so that you don't miss anything. I know Harry, but the reviews on Amazon are mostly good:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345508890/secretsofactions

And Del Rey has already bought the next two books in the series (Harry has written both already - playing beat the clock so that they could put the first chapter of the second book in here and get them ready). He was on a panel at ComiCon, too. I'm not the only one who liked the book... and I didn't just like it because my friend wrote it. I really want to read the next ones.
- Bill
This thing was a real page turner, and really dark - kids burn to death in the first ten pages. ... book... and I didn't just like it because my friend wrote it. I really want to read the next ones.

Thanks for the heads-up, you've definitely got me interested. When are you going to get the rights to adopt it as a screenplay?

RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
adopt it as a screenplay?

Ahem! ...adapt it as a screenplay?

RonB
"There's a story there...somewhere"
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
"RonB"
adopt it as a screenplay?

Ahem! ...adapt it as a screenplay?

Is he adept at it?

Martin B