HARM’S REACH by Alex Barclay
Alex Barclay brings her beloved heroine, FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce, together with a familiar cast of characters in HARM’S REACH, the eagerly anticipated fourth novel in the acclaimed Ren Bryce series. Working together with her friend and cold case inspector Janine Hooks, and her handsome but married partner Gary Dettling, Ren tackles a case as twister and unnerving as any she has ever faced. Before it’s done, she will find herself enmeshed in the brutal death of a 26-year-old girl and the sordid details of a case from fifty years ago that was never solved.
As a former journalist and meticulous researcher, Alex Barclay’s novels come to life on the page with a gritty realness that has garnered her a legion of fans. “With a lot of my books, the title comes at the end,” she says, “but, strangely, with this one, the notion of harm’s reach — in terms of the reach an event can have, from the past all the way up to the present day — is what captured my attention. What I wanted to do was create a story that had roots in the past. Somebody can commit a violent act and feel that it happens in a tiny capsule, almost with the attacker and the victim, and that is where it ends. Tragically, that isn’t where it ends.”
Alex Barclay was born in 1974. She grew up in Dublin and left in her job as a fashion editor a decade ago to pursue a career as a crime fiction writer, having loved reading on noir thrillers from the age of 14.
For research, she travels frequently to the United States. Her earlier novels were set in New York, where an NYPD cop took her under her wing. But for the Ren Bryce series the FBI opened the doors of its Denver office, which was a coup, as most of her peers ‘pick the brains’ of retired detectives. “When I first met everybody, it was at lunch, so they were all sitting there at a big table. Up until that point, my experience was the same as anybody’s — from watching them on TV. FBI agents are what you imagine them to look like — fit, smart, in control. They couldn’t have been nicer. The agent who helps me with my research is very generous with his time. He’s the equivalent of Ren’s boss; that’s the position he has. He thinks she’s a train wreck. It’s undeniable. I write a heroine who’s excellent at solving crimes, but she spends part of her time off the rails. Or, as the agent who helps me says, ‘You do know, Alex, she’s always off the rails, in my opinion.’”