Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation.
In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain.
Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker's daughter Annabel, he becomes determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long-hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger . . .
We're already getting some very nice advance quotes in from authors and reviewers:
'An excellent combination of Afterlife and CSI that'll keep you up late with the lights very definitely on' Neal Asher, bestselling author of the Polity series
‘A thrilling high-concept book that crosses numerous genres. Chilling and emotional in all the right places’, Mark Charan Newton, author of Legends of the Red Sun series
'Patrick crafts a complicated, twisty plot with some superb set pieces and lots of attention-grabbing dead herrings . . . Here's a novel that manages to deftly extend hard-boiled forensic mystery into the next life. The plot and the implications of the novel are both going to keep readers up well into the night' Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column
‘It is fast moving, has great characters that will readily transfer to the big screen, has a bit of romance and lots of plot twists and turns . . . whatever he writes next I want to read it’
Jim Pearce, Birmingham Science Fiction Group newsletter
We caught up with Seth recently and asked him a few questions about the book:
Reviver – so what made you write a book about people being able to talk to the dead?
I was hunting around for a story idea, and discovered I shared a birthday with Edgar Allan Poe. Two of his tales collided in my head. The first was The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, in which the terminally-ill Monsieur Valdemar is put under hypnosis at the point of death. Then the corpse speaks, the tongue vibrating hideously in its dead mouth. The second story was The Murders in the Rue Morgue, credited as the first modern detective fiction. The image came to me of Valdemar being questioned by Poe's detective, Dupin - and Reviver was born.
Tell us a little bit about how you came to write the book and get it published?
The book began in 2004 at a writing course run by the British crime author Peter James, who at the time was known more for writing horror. At the end of the first class, he set us homework for the following week: write the first 250 words of a scary novel, introducing the protagonist and a murder weapon. I wracked my brain to come up with something and by the end of the course I had the first chapter of Reviver, which has hardly changed since.
Finishing the first draft took fifteen months, and subsequent drafts took about as long. By the time I let my wife read the full novel, I’d been working on it for six years. I finally posted it to an agent one Tuesday afternoon, petrified and not expecting to hear back for weeks.
The next evening, as I was about to set off home from work, I got an email from the agent. He loved it. Six years to write, twenty seven hours to get an agent. Royal Mail deserves some of the credit for that.
(Note to worried editor: book two will be quicker.)
The book was recently optioned by Legendary Pictures for film – how cool is that?
I've always written as visually as possible, because that's what I want to read. I'm also a huge movie fan. It's a handy combination! Everything I write, there's a movie version in my head. Some of the key moments in Reviver were written with - I admit it! - an eye to the trailer. A while back I spent a couple of years writing screenplays and getting nowhere, so to have something of mine heading to the big screen, given what else Legendary has made - Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Watchmen - is overwhelming.
Do you have any ideas about who you’d like to play Jonah Millar?
No, but I asked my wife and she said Robert Pattinson would be perfect. I hope she's talking about the film.
Covers for this mainstream crossover-style book are always notoriously difficult – what did you think of it?
When the email arrived I was terrified, waiting for the image to open! But I loved it. Even though the book blends supernatural, crime and horror elements, at heart it's an adventure story and I was anxious that the cover wouldn't pigeonhole it. It needs to be dramatic and a little unsettling, to grab your attention and make you want to pick it up and find out what it's about. It does that beautifully.
If you could talk to the dead who would you bring back and why?
Tor purchased Reviver on the anniversary of Poe's death; I was the same age Poe was when he died. By then he had written over a hundred tales, novels, and poems, yet he'd always struggled financially. I think I'd bring him back to let him know he was appreciated.