More Info About Richard’s Upcoming Audio-Novel Debut [Potential Spoilers]

RABulgaria over on Twitter has just alerted us on the new, extended blurb with more info about Richard’s forthcoming thriller, Geneva. Narrated by the author himself, as well as his former MI5 colleague Nicola Walker and co-narrator Jane Perry, the audio book is due for October 20, 2022.

Like RABulgaria, I am also adding a SPOILER warning here, just in case. Below you can see the screenshot of the blurb with a short summary of the novel’s plot. If you’d like to remain unspoiled, please don’t read further! Spoiler warning also applies to my first reaction following the screen shot!

First reaction

  • Whoa, for a debut novel, RA has chosen a complicated topic – neuroscience and Alzheimer research. That will have required a lot of research to get it all believable. But well, we know how much he likes research 😉 OTOH, I find that Alzheimer’s is a topic that is interesting for many readers – either due to being exposed to it directly through suffering family members, or just because it is one of those illnesses that we are all very afraid of. I really don’t mean to shoot down the novel before it appears, but I do think that choosing a neuroscience setting is actually very ambitious for a first novel. But hey, I know nothing about writing novels! Kudos to Mr A for setting the bar deliberately high!
  • The fact that the thriller element of the novel revolves around a new miracle treatment, makes me wonder whether the book is going to have a science fiction slant. Julie Delpy’s My Zoe comes to mind – a film that combined a contemporary setting with a futuristic medical development. No criticism! Anything is possible in fiction!
  • “Mauritz Schiller” – whoa, cool name! I mean, Mauritz really is a very unusual first name. (Schiller not so much. One of the two German national poets is called Schiller. Early 18th/19th century, romantic poetry.) The more common form of Mauritz would be Moritz. But hey, maybe the character is not German/Swiss/Austrian at all! I am just intrigued that RA came across this name…
  • Please don’t kill me for another thought that I had. I don’t mean to offend anyone or burst any bubble. You may believe whatever you want to believe! Anyone else mildly surprised/disappointed that the main characters’ set up is in a heteronormative family constellation? Would this have been a great opportunity for the author to present a less mainstream relationship configuration? I am not even sure why I am adding this reaction here at all. I suspect it says more about me than about the novel and about what I think of the writer 😬. And there is a whole minefield around the issue of representation, how genders/sexual orientations are represented, and who may represent what or not. Just for the record – I do *not* believe that homosexual writers may only write homosexual characters; or that heterosexual characters can only be *played* by heterosexual actors. Or vice versa. But I *do* believe that non-heterosexual relationships need to be represented more in art and literature. Whoa. Soapbox. Get off, Guylty!

Whatever – I think it is a good sign that the blurb already sparks (my) curiosity and (potentially) debate *before* the audio book is released. I really do look forward to this release. A week to go!

50 thoughts on “More Info About Richard’s Upcoming Audio-Novel Debut [Potential Spoilers]

  1. Wow, indeed an ambitious field.
    Initial I strongly belieben the novel would be about CERN and physics. And that could enjoy watching my husband and his colleagues analyse every phrase of it. But now it will be me and my colleagues listening very closely.
    Wondering if it will include the ethical questions around clinical testing in humans.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, very exciting for me.
        I assume it was similar for you, when he played a photographer.
        Now this is in my professional field and additionally the story located right on front of my door.
        The scientist in me is saying that such a coincidence is statistically seen very unlikely.

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  2. Didn’t read the blurb, but I did read your comments. (Esp as I’m unlikely to listen to this audiobook anyway). re: heteronormativity — I agree with you up to a point, except that “the unreliable homosexual” is a common trope in any kind of thriller / spy fiction. Not that there aren’t problematic heteronormative tropes, but they are usually less immediately offensive (and therefore less risky).

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      • Armitage has put his foot in his mouth frequently enough that if I were him, I’d stay away from dangerous potential in his debut. It would be interesting, though, to see if he could keep away from stereotype in that regard, where so many others have not been able to.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I think you’ve just put your finger on what’s bugging me about this — if he got advice, he got it from Coben and Ellis — both whom I think are not very good writers in precisely the way that is important to me in a thriller (i.e., they are near incompetent [Ellis] or overly formulaic [Coben] plotters). So I’m going to say: I hope he didn’t get advice.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. You might be right about My Zoe, the character is called Daniel after all! (not John?!) Re heteronormative relationships,, perhaps there will be unexpected character developments. I see that the book has Harlen Coben’s endorsement, which should help with sales.

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  4. I wonder if his experience with his mother—the way he felt helpless when faced with the limits of the health system—informed his choice of subject matter.

    And in a petty note, I’d like to donate a few commas to whoever wrote that PR copy for Audible. 🫢

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  5. To be honest, I do not agree with you on that “homo/heterosexual” aspect. I think the book is meant to be a thriller first and foremost, so that should be the main content. The lead character is burdened enough with her own sickness and that of her father, no need to add anything more. It would only distract from the storyline.
    To thoroughly discuss the social / cultural / other aspects of a family that is not heteronormative (although I VERY much agree with you that this discussion urgently needs to be had) I would much prefer an author writing a book with another storyline that is around that topic in the first place.
    Richard might surprise us with a side character in this book, or maybe deal with this topic in his second novel. He might not have wanted to have such a “risky” topic for the first one.
    Unfortunately, unless there will be a printed version, I’ll most likely never “read” the novel myself 😦

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    • No, that’s not what I meant. The piece is definitely meant to be a thriller, not a novel about relationships. The crime/mystery aspect of the novel is in the foreground as it should be. What I referred to was simply the representation of relationships (or sexual orientation) in the piece. Not as the main topic, not even as a subplot the involves any kind of development. Just simply a main character who *represents* a non-heteronormative relationship.

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  6. Very interesting blurb. It does go in a different direction than I thought it would go.
    Not entirely happy about the Alzheimer’s thing, though. Comes a little too close for me (seeing 4 family members going through it is enough)
    Although I adore Mr. A’s voice, I don’t have the patience to listen to an entire narration in one go while I can easily read an entire book in a day.
    I agree with what most people here said about the heteronormative relationship(s). It sounds like it was going to be complicated enough for one book! Let’s hope there are many more books to come.

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    • Yeah, I have to say the Alzheimer’s topic makes me uncomfortable, too. Mainly because it is one of my worst fears.
      I don’t usually manage to listen to an audio book in one go, either. I don’t even have the time for that. But it also means that I get to stretch the pleasure of hearing his voice over a longer period of time 😉

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  7. I saw in your crossed-out “rant” some of my own thinking whenever I listen to Richard narrate a story that includes non-heterosexual characters or relationships. I wonder what part the inclusion had in his choice of that particular book. So when he announced he’d written his own novel, I hoped his characters would represent a range of sexual orientation. We shall see. Oct 20 can’t come soon enough for me.

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    • You have articulated it much better than I did. “Represent a range of sexual orientation”, that’s it. But I guess some of the other commenters are right in saying that this is his first attempt at long-form fiction, so of course he needs to find his feet…

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  8. I’m not too surprised he has gone a bit sci-fi, as he has said how much he likes the genre. It’s brave, as there will always be people who are happy to pick holes in the science. But I’m confident he will have researched that thoroughly, as always.

    I think I am more surprised that he hasn’t taken on many movie/TV roles in the sci-fi vein. (I would absolutely love him to take on Doctor Who at some point – the nearest he has got to that so far was performing Rassilon in the Big Finish audio dramas.)

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    • Maybe his love for research meant that he chose an extra difficult subject matter… I didn’t realise he was particularly interested in sci-fi, but yes, I’d like to see him in Dr Who, too 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Disappointed he didn’t attend the premiere in Spain. Speculation that he is ill, if that’s the case why doesn’t he say so?
    I thought he wanted to engage more with fans, if he has Covid just admit it!

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