he interns at BradParksBooks.com
had never seen Zach, the silly intern, looking so focused.
With the words "Taunt List" on a piece of paper in front of him, he was running his hand along a screen, checking off names.
"Grisham? Nope. Connelly? Nope. Patterson? Nope.
"What's he doing?" asked Sarah, the smart intern.
Peter, the slothful intern—who never needs tryptophan from a Thanksgiving turkey to feel sleepy—just yawned.
"Kirkus Reviews came out with its Best Fiction of 2012 List and Brad's book is somehow on it," Peter said. "Zach is making a list of all the authors who didn't make the list so he can call up their interns and taunt them."
"Roth? Nope. Who's America's greatest living novelist now, baby?"
"Philip Roth didn't even have a book come out this year," Sarah said.
"Hemingway? Nope. Suck it, Hemingway!"
"Harlan Coben has won every major crime fiction award out there. I really don't think we have anything to taunt them about."
"Yeah, but at the last intern mixer, one of the chicks from Coben's shop was really smug with me," Zach said. "She was all, 'Well, my boss has sold 55 million books, how many has yours sold?' I just want to call her up and be like, 'How you like me now, Miss My-Boss-Didn't-Make-the-Kirkus-List Girl?'"
"She was just trying to get rid of you. If you'll recall, you thought you were clever because you were asking her for her ten-digit ISBN number. It was like watching outtakes from Night at the Roxbury. But not the cute, funny ones. The ones where the actors are trying to ad lib and it doesn't work and everyone just ends up feeling sad and uncomfortable."
"Yeah, well, I'm still putting her on the Taunt List," Zach said. "I mean, this is Kirkus we're talking about. They once gave the Book of Genesis a bad review for having too many characters. As far as I'm concerned, any kudos from them is well-earned."
Well, at least that much is true. Kirkus picked 100 books for special mention out of the 7,000 or so it reviewed in 2012, and The Girl Next Door was one of them. It was one of just a handful of mysteries on the list, and it was the only one written by a singing, left-handed, colorblind author whose last name starts with P. (Sorry for that: Brad's agent always urges the use of superlatives and that was the best the interns could come up with).
It also makes this a good time to start banging the drum for the next Carter Ross thriller, The Good Cop, which releases March 5, 2013. The fabulous Lisa Gardner, the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Catch Me, calls it, "A knock-out thriller, as smart and stylish as its charming protagonist, Carter Ross."
For whatever this is worth, Brad also calls it his best book to date; and it promises to be a delight for those who have been rooting for Carter to, uh, break a certain dry spell.
In the months leading up to publication, the interns look forward to sharing a cover, reviews and a full rundown of the Khaki is the New Black Tour.
In the meantime, remember that books—Brad's or anyone else's—make great holiday gifts. Oh, and if you see one of Harlan Coben's interns? A smile and a friendly handshake will do just fine.
The BradParksBooks.com Interns