A couple weeks ago my agent sent me a copy of Mark T. Sullivan’s The Purification Ceremony for reasons that became obvious as I plowed into it. The book is a master class in the marriage of suspense and character-driven story telling, the kind that I aimed to do in HANGMAN’S GAME, and that I am now hoping to continue as I work on its sequel, very tentatively titled HANGMAN’S BENDER. The pace that Sullivan maintains as he toggles between live action and looks back into the history of the characters is one I can only hope to emulate.
The Purification Ceremony also has, like HANGMAN’S GAME, a narrator who is a civilian rather than a standard detective. She takes you into the world of elite deer hunters, and then another related world, that of Native American mysticism, all the while coming to terms with the struggles of her life.
If you have writing ambitions in this direction, read The Purification Ceremony.