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Thriller writer Jason Pinter nods to Lehane, King while bringing in new authors

Liz Moore’s ‘Long Bright River’ is on his nightstand.
What's on Jason Pinter's nightstand?
What's on Jason Pinter's nightstand? [ Jason Rhee ]
Published Mar. 6, 2020

We recently caught up by phone with Jason Pinter. Known for his Henry Parker thriller series (including The Mark and The Fury) as well as the standalone thriller The Castle, Pinter has just published Hide Away. At its center is protagonist Rachel Marin, a hard-nosed detective and single mom. Pinter, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., with his wife and two young daughters, explained that the character of Marin came to him as he began tackling the new role of parent. “The whole notion of protecting our kids fascinated me,’’ he said. “We have young children, and I’ve realized I wanted to write a character who was strong and capable, but at the same time vulnerable. A lot of times in thrillers, characters are loners. I’m not a big fan of superhero protagonists who don’t have a care in the world. I hope Rachel’s actions, each one, reverberate in some way."

What’s on your nightstand?

Long Bright River by Liz Moore, which is absolutely stunning. It reminds me of Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. It is a crime novel and a riveting work of literary suspense. I also have more books on my nightstand. I have She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, as well as Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham, which is a thrillerlike work of nonfiction. It is filled with so much information. It gives you the backstory of how an entire city, how a community, was literally built to serve the people working on Chernobyl. You learn about the infrastructure and about the enormous operation. As much as the HBO documentary has in it, this book is the whole deal. I also have All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg. The way she writes about families is also brilliant. Also, I have The Chain By Adrian McKinty. I read Adrian’s Sean Duffy series, but this is contemporary. And then there’s also Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. I grew up on Stephen King and fantasy, so this 900-page dysotopian epic novel is right in my wheelhouse.

Long Bright River just came out. Can you tell us what makes it so riveting?

It took me about a week and a half to read. It was about two sisters. The writing itself, the story, with all the reverberations, was excellent. I think the flashbacks in the story were the best parts. The older sister, Mickey, was more along the straight and narrow line. Kasie was more of a troublemaker. The author was able to create the story so you could see how the two girls were splitting, even at an early age, and get to where they are. That’s the part that reminded me of Mystic River.

Contact Piper Castillo at