HUSH came to me in a feverish nightmare. I awoke in a sweat and recorded the terrors in my dream book, then realized that a story hovered behind the sole, startling image of the dream. Despite the fever, I spent the next three and a half hours writing a twenty-two page short story. Then I collapsed and slept for the rest of the day.
Eventually, I polished that first draft and sent it to my agent. He discouraged me from selling it as a short story, saying that the idea was so good that someone would steal it and turn it into a novel. “You should do it,” he said.
It was the best advice he ever gave me.
Praise for Mark Nykanen’s HUSH:
“Emmy and Edgar-winning journalist Nykanen uncovers his characters’ psyches with wit, complexity, and originality… Nykanen’s attractively unpredictable characters will keep a stubborn hold on readers’ attention.”
“A well-crafted and sophisticated psychological thriller that captures in frightening detail the fevered inner life of a psychopath. Elegant and darkly powerful.”
Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter and Outrage
“A taut wire of a thriller.”
“A striking debut…Nykanen’s writing style, skill at characterization and sense of irony make HUSH [a] first-rate story.”
“The pace is pulsing and the terror of a woman fighting for her life is so real that it is impossible to put this book down…This well-written novel is highly recommended.”
“Chet Boyce is a terrific creation, a dangerously insane fellow who… is drawn with such precision that he seems not only real but chillingly familiar.”
“I found myself unable to put the book down…Several times, I even skimmed paragraphs, anxious over what was going to happen next…Like a white-knuckled modern-day Wait Until Dark, it takes its time getting to its set piece, but once it gets there, it takes no prisoners.”
Bentley Little, Bram Stoker award-winning author.
“Nykanen’s first novel, HUSH, is a blood-drenched, compelling variation on Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs.”
New Times L.A.
“HUSH is a unique, tremendous characterization study that dives into the guts of a psychopath and the fearful relationships he causes with the people he directly and indirectly affects.”
Harriet Klausner for BookBrowser
“[Chet Boyce] makes Hannibal Lector seems like a nice guy with an eating disorder.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“HUSH is profound and ingenious and still a thriller that would keep Stephen King up nights.”
“Meet Boyce, the most despicable (and most realistic) villain to appear in a thriller in many years….[HUSH] is a full-bore thriller that packs a punch….It is bold, gusty, chillingly realistic and downright unsettling…Nykanen has more than talent–he has the style and the ability to grab the reader by the throat.”
The Salem Statesman Journal
“Unnerving enough to make readers keep checking over their shoulders–with all the lights in the house on.”
“HUSH is an impressively grisly, haunting thriller.”
New Times Phoenix
“HUSH…compresses a lifetime of experience with the criminal psyche into some 300 white-knuckled pages. It’s a well-crafted psychological thriller that sets your teeth on edge and practically stops our breathing as it follows a serial killer/child abuser along a twisted path. There are not flights of magical realism here, no Stephen King fantasy; this is pure, realistic, well-written horror.”
Art therapist Celia Griswold works at a center for severely emotionally disturbed children in rural Oregon, encouraging them to express their feelings through drawing. When seven-year-old Davy Boyce, an “elective” mute, is brought in by his strange, threatening stepfather, Chet. Celia senses that something is very wrong with the boy–his behavior is violent and his drawings suggest abuse. She tried to communicate her concerns to Chet, but she finds herself suddenly fearful. What starts as a simple puzzle in an ordinary woman’s life becomes a harrowing cat-and-mouse game. As Chet realizes that Davy’s drawings my reveal more truth than is acceptable, he begins to stalk Celia. Mark Nykanen has created powerful, original characters in a gritty thriller that holds your mind long after the last page has been turned.