Cody McFadyen Book Spotlight and Author Interview

Book Synopsis:

A sixteen year old girl holds a gun to her head at the scene of a grisly triple homicide. She claims "The Stranger" killed her adoptive family, that he's been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her. But Special Agent Smoky Barrett does. Her team has been hand-picked from among the nation's elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they'll have to be to deal with this case.

For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an "artist" who's molding Sarah into the perfect vicitim - and the ultimate weapon. To catch him, Smoky is going to have to put her own fragile, once-shattered life on the line. For The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too determined. And when he finally shows his face, Smoky had better be ready to face her worst fear.

I was fortunate enough to be able to review this book...WOW! To read that review, hop over to Amateur de Livre. I was also able to ask Cody a few questions, so we can learn just a little more about him.

Questions for Cody:

Who has influenced you throughout your career as a writer?

My influences are continual, but immediate ones that come to mind are: Stephen King, James Michener, Robert B Parker, Joseph Wambaugh, and more recently, Greg Isles, John Connolly, Tess Gerritsen, and Karin Slaughter to name a few.

Do you write everyday?

When I'm writing I write every day unless it's absolutely impossible. Or unless it would seriously piss off someone in my family for me to take the time to do so (but sometimes even then)

What has been your greatest achievement as a writer?

Wow. I think getting published in over 15 countries was the first. We lose sight of that too easily sometimes,in the race towards that top 100 amazon ranking (I'm still racing). It becomes something to take for granted, and while that's necessary to a degree - you can't rest on your laurels - sometimes you have to step back and acknowledge it. Being published is like winning the lottery. That aside, I've had a few letters/emails from readers that made me feel really good. One was from a fan who said he'd been abused as a child. He was, I believe, 40 now, and he's spent 30 years in therapy, trying to learn how to cry again, unsuccessfully. When he was reading Shadow Man, he told me he found himself weeping. Another was a letter I received from a woman, who told me that she'd been raped and disfigured by her attacker a decade ago. She thanked me for my portrayal of the heroine in my series (who is a victim of rape). I was humbled by that. The idea of actually touching a reader in a non-fictional way, however slightly, is pretty amazing.

Have you always wanted to be a writer, or did you aspire to be something else growing up?

I always wanted to be an artist of some kind. Writing is what it shook out to in the end (can't dance, can't act, can only sorta sing)

Are you currently working on anything?

Right now I'm working on the fourth installment of the Smoky Barrett Series.

What authors do you enjoy reading?

Almost too broad a question. I love reading in general, and so long as I'm able to suspend disbelief and get drawn into the story, I'm happy. I just finished reading a slew of books that I enjoyed, by the following authors: Meg Gardiner, Kathryn Fox, Karin Slaughter, Brett Battles, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Connelly, Brent Ghelfi, Tim Maleeny, Linwood Barclay, Joseph Wambaugh, Martin Limon and Simon Kernick.

Is there a particular author/s (yourself excluded) who you feel don't get the recognition they deserve?

Tons. It's a tough market out there. As much as some people might bemoan a lack of good thriller books, I think the problem is the opposite. There are too many great authors writing books. One new author who blew me away recently was Brent Ghelfi, author of Volk's Game. It was one of those books I envied him for having written. Brutal, thrilling, and tragic. I was just introduced to Simon Kernick, who is a star in the UK, but I don't think has gotten the attention he deserves here in the states. He's brilliant. I read my first book by Martin Limon, who has been quietly cranking out exceptional novels for a few years now.

What is your favorite book?

An impossible question. I like different books for different reasons. For example, The Stand is probably my favorite character driven novel ever. Blood Meridian by Cormac Mccarthy contains some of the most incredible prose ever. I remember being blow away by Shogun when I was thirteen or so.

What is a book that has been highly acclaimed but you haven't liked?

I don't knock other writers and hopefully never will. We have enough to fight through without spending time cutting up each other. I will comment on books I like, but that's all.

What word or phrase do you feel is overused?

Can't think of one. I guess any word or phrase can get new life in the right hands.

Growing up in the era you did, do you have a favorite song that reflects on your beliefs/feelings?

Heh. This is similar to the 'favorite book' question. My musical tastes run from the 50's to now, and sometimes farther back than that. I grew up listening to my parents music from the 60's. My daughter has pointed me in the direction of some great stuff from her generation. Different songs mean different things at different times.

Is there a show on tv that you feel is really must see?

It's pretty mutable, by the nature of television. I find that TV can become my crack pipe if I let it, so I try to curb myself. Currently I'm enjoying Criminal Minds and Burn Notice. I'll be watching Life when it comes back on as well. I'm a long term Law and Order fan (all of them).

Is there a character in a book or movie that you can relate to?

I don't think I ever find any character I relate to as a whole. More parts of them. I remember when I read The Stand, for example, there was a character in there, Larry Underwood. He was a musician who tried to be a good guy but had this vein of hardness, of selfishness, and that resonated with me. I was fifteen, and it was the first time a book had made me look at something less than ideal about myself. It really struck me. Linwood Barclay did a very good job recently, in his book No Time for Goodbye, of making a mundane environment threatening. I related to the primary hero of the book, who was just a middle age, middle class guy trying to live a normal life in spite of extraordinary circumstances. I think it's the inertia of life that fascinates me in books sometimes. That whole, wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, do it again the next day thing. It's so easy for that routine to eat away the years, and I think I relate to books where you have characters like that who are suddenly jarred from that normality.

If you could trade spots with anyone and live the life they lived, who would it be?

Some people will roll their eyes, but I'm going to say no one. Why? Because the grass IS always greener. I can look at Michael Phelps, for example and go, wow, he's really got the world by the tail. And maybe he does? But I don't know the ins and outs of his personal life and happiness. I'm sure there are days even he wakes up and goes, man... I wish I was somewhere else. You have to learn to live with yourself and find ways to enjoy what you have. Sappy story but I'm sticking to it (maybe literally).

What made you decide to make a female the main character of your books?

It was an idea that came fully formed. I wanted a character who, when the book begins, had already gone through a period of tremendous personal loss and suffering. I didn't envision the loss as just once removed, eg, the loss of her family, but also as a personal experience. In this case, she was raped and disfigured by her attacker. All the images came to me at once, and Smoky kind of appeared in 3D. She was never going to be anything other than a woman. She's also an opportunity to explore contrasts, which I enjoy as a writer. She's small (4' 10") but she's formidable. She's a woman in a man's world, etc, etc. I've enjoyed writing her.

For more info on Cody, please visit

This interview is courtesy of his virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

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