The much-heralded ITW project Thrillers: 100 Must Reads is scheduled to be published by Oceanview this July during ThrillerFest. To whet the appetite of readers for this essential book, The Big Thrill (The International Thriller Writers newsletter) is going to feature a series of short interviews with various essayists in upcoming issues. In their first interview, Hank Wagner, co-editor of the collection, chats with Douglas Preston, who contributed a fascinating essay on Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, hailed by many in 1860 as the first “novel of sensation.”

Here’s a taste:

Doug, you wrote about Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White. Was it your first choice? If so, why? Does the novel fulfill your personal definition of a “must read”?

Preston: “It was my first choice. It is a stupendous novel, rich, complex, and archetypal in its power. The characters are extraordinarily vivid. A sense of growing menace, claustrophobia and tension towers above it all like a building storm, overspreading the book and casting a pall until the atmosphere in the novel becomes almost unbearable. Terrible things happen; Collins pulls no punches.

“I am astonished the author managed to keep track of the many plot threads and the exquisite timing involved to pull it all off. Count Fosco is a character for the ages. So much so that Lincoln Child and I purloined him, in all his corpulent glory, for our novel Brimstone.”

Catch the entire interview here: Douglas Preston

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