Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Twenty Writers: One Story

I am a little late in discovering Inherit the Dead, a novel with chapters written by twenty different writers since it came out last October. The book project was conceived as a fundraising effort for Safe Horizon, a non-profit organization aimed at helping victims of violence. A worthy cause to be sure. 

The book features an introduction by Lee Child, an afterword by Linda Fairstein, and chapters by bestselling authors:

- Mary Higgins Clark
- John Connolly
- Charlaine Harris 
- CJ Box
- Mark Billingham
- Lawrence Block
- Ken Bruen
- Alafair Burke
- Stephen L. Carter
- Marcia Clark
- Max Allan Collins
- James Grady
- Heather Graham
- Bryan Gruley
- Val McDermid
- SJ Rozan
- Jonathan Santlofer
- Dana Stabenow
- Lisa Unger
- Sarah Weinman

I must admit just thinking about how this book was put together is fascinating. Wrangling and editing twenty fabulous writers for one novel is quite a feat.

If you pick up this book hoping for a purely consistent story where the writing doesn't vary from chapter to chapter, this book isn't for you. With twenty different authors, that would be impossible. If you are interested in seeing each author's approach to their piece of the puzzle and take it for what it is, you will enjoy this book, as I did.

As I was reading it I was vaguely reminded of another book I read where several authors told the story. It might have had something to do with a ship and Agatha Christie. My attempts at research came up empty. If you know of another story with chapters written by different authors, let me know.  

Maybe we should try this on Mystery Playground - what do you guys think? 


  1. I just finished the audio of this and it was good. I was afraid it wouldn't flow but it was fine.

    1. I read it on the plane back. The flow was fine. I could tell that different chapters were written by different people, but that's to be expected.

  2. I own, but have not yet read, Yeats is Dead. Here's what Amazon says:

    Roddy Doyle, Conor McPherson, Gene Kerrigan, Gina Moxley, Marian Keyes, Anthony Cronin, Owen O’Neill, Hugo Hamilton, Joseph O’Connor, Tom Humphries, Pauline McLynn, Charlie O’Neill, Donal O’Kelly, Gerard Stembridge, and Frank McCourt

    Fifteen of Ireland’s brightest and most entertaining authors came together to benefit Amnesty International–resulting in this raucous, raunchy, and diabolically entertaining mulligan stew of a novel.

    Yeats is Dead! is an elaborate mystery centered around the search for something more valuable and precious than anything else in Ireland–an unpublished manuscript by James Joyce. A madcap chase ensues, spiced with the shenanigans of a spectacular array of characters: a sadistic sergeant with the unlikely name of Andy Andrews; a urinal paddy salesman; and the unforgettable Mrs. Bloom, a woman “who had tried everything but drew the line at honesty.” Gratuitously violent and completely hilarious, Yeats is Dead! is an out-of-control tale of lust and literature that packs big laughs and an even bigger body count.

    1. That sounds cool. Let us know when you read it.