Aaron Schlechter has over a decade of experience as an editor working in publishing houses both large and small, including The Overlook Press and Henry Holt and Company, where he was a Senior Editor.
Aaron has edited a wide variety of both literary and genre fiction including P. F. Kluge's Gone Tomorrow, which was named one of NPR's best books of the year, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen, and Frank Deford's Bliss, Remembered. Mystery and thriller novels he has edited include R. J. Ellory's internationally bestselling A Quiet Believe in Angels, which was Strand Magazine's thriller of the year, Ted Kosmatka's Prophet of Bones, David Carkeet's From Away, and Guy Saville’s The Afrika Reich.
Notable nonfiction works Aaron has edited include Mark Derr’s How the Wolf Became the Dog, David Hayward Bain’s Bitter Waters, and The New York Times Best Sellers The Longest Road by Philip Caputo and The Midnight Assassin by Skip Hollandsworth.
Aaron's select booklist can be found below.
“A sharply observed yet tender novel…A quirky, tart yet unexpectedly generous story.” - The New York Times
Kluge's brilliant novel tells of George Canaris, a writing professor who is on the verge of forced retirement at a small college in Ohio when he is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Kluge's creation of Canaris as the first faculty member in half a century whose death merits an obituary in The New York Times is right on the money. Canaris, hero and anti-hero, was the author of two well-received novels and a book of essays, all published more than thirty years ago. Upon his death, Mark May, a young English professor who barely knew him finds himself named as Canaris's literary executor - executor of what is unclear. Thus begins a search through lives and letters that is at once gripping, hilarious and affirming. A true page-turner, P.F. Kluge's Gone Tomorrow, is equal parts Richard Russo and Michael Chabon, and yet entirely unlike anything you've ever read.
"A rich, powerful, evocative novel of great psychological depth." - Jonathan Kellerman
"A mesmerizing tale whose intrigue will pull you from one page to the next without pause…R.J. Ellory's remarkable talent for probing the unknown establishes him as the master of the genre." - Clive Cussler
Just a teenager, Joseph becomes determined to protect his community from the killer, but he is powerless in preventing more murders - and no one is ever caught. Ten years later one of his neighbors is found hanging from a rope, surrounded by belongings of the dead girls; the killings cease, and the nightmare appears to be over. Desperate and plagued by everything he has witnessed, Joseph sets out to forge a new life in New York. But even there the past won't leave him alone - for it seems that the murderer still lives and is killing again, and that the secret to his identity lies in Joseph's own history.
“Riffing on the rhythms of Cormac McCarthy…A dark and imaginative debut.” - The New York Times
“A remarkable novel, beautifully executed and dark as pitch. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s a debut...It’s absolutely beautiful, from its tragic opening scene to its tough, necessary end.” - NPR
Steeped in the lonesome Montana country, unyielding as it is beautiful, The Ploughmen is the story of two men - an aging killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy - who sit across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell. John Gload is a killer so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced a long-term jail sentence. Valentine Millimaki, the low man in the Copper County sheriff's department, is the unfortunate soul who draws the overnight shift after Gload's arrest. Soon, though, the conversations between Gload and Millimaki grow familiar, and the troubled young sheriff finds himself seeking counsel from a man he's sworn to keep behind bars, a man whose dark past shares something essential with his own. Zupan, also a carpenter, "writes with the precision of his trade" (The New York Times Book Review) and delivers a new classic of the American West.
His night at the hotel begins with promise, but then his prospective one-night stand walks out on him. Leaving town, Denny is mistaken for look-a-like Homer Dumpling, a popular native son who mysteriously disappeared from the town three years earlier. Instead of correcting the mistake, Denny dons his new identity as easily as a Vermonter's winter fleece, and a good thing too - the woman he had hoped to sleep with has turned up dead, and Denny is the chief suspect. As Denny tries to unravel the mystery, he struggles to hide his true identity from Homer's increasingly suspicious circle of family and friends, including Homer's prickly girlfriend. In Denny, Carkeet has crafted a fast-talking bumbler whose instinct for survival will face the ultimate challenge, with readers cheering him on all the way.
He even turns the basement into an indoor stadium. Enthralled by possibility, Henry begins guiding every instance of Denny's behavior, ensuring that every action performed on one side is matched by an equal action on the other - whether it's throwing a ball, swinging a bat, brushing his teeth, coloring, and even wiping his ass. Denny quickly distinguishes himself from his peers, most conspicuously by his ability to throw perfectly with either arm, a feat virtually unheard of in baseball. But he also possesses a visionary gift that not even he understands. Denny becomes a superior athlete, skyrocketing through the minor leagues and into the majors where he experiences immediate success, breaking records held for decades. When a journalist, a former student of Henry's hungry for a national breakout story, exaggerates the teacher's obsession and exposes him to the world as a monster, all hell breaks loose and the pressures of media and celebrity threaten to disrupt the world that Henry and Denny have created. A baseball novel - and much more - The Man with Two Arms is a story of the ways in which we protect, betray, forgive, love, and shape each other as we attempt to find our way through life.
Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.
Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society,
but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.
"A high-speed thriller…The pages turn rapidly with well-orchestrated suspense."- The New York Times
Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light.
With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe.
His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.
“A tantalizing tale...This is noir fiction at its finest." - William Kennedy
Fifteen years later, Fintan Dunne the detective encountered in Quinn's novel Hour of the Cat, recently retired and bored, answers a summons to New York where he is asked to solve the old case for a newspaper magnate only interested in making a profit from the story. Peter Quinn once again has written a compelling blend of history and fiction that is simply unputdownable.
“Beautifully written...This multilayered, finely crafted, and elegantly constructed novel will appeal both to readers of historical fiction and to those who crave any kind of writing that is genuinely inspiring.” - Booklist
“When American swimmer Sydney Stringfellow arrives at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, she never expects to fall in love with a handsome young German, but she does. When politics separate them, she goes home to nurse her broken heart and meets Jimmy, a kind young American who restores her faith in love and marries her before being shipped off to the Pacific theater of WWII. When Horst shows up on her doorstep, though, Sydney is torn and must decide what she is willing to do for love. Told as a memoir, Deford's newest is entertaining and thought-provoking. He has a superb sense of character and period, and readers will at once feel drawn into the turbulent times. The memoir device, while overused in many books, is put to excellent effect, allowing readers to easily identify with Sydney's son and interviewer, Teddy. The surprising twist will catch readers off guard but not leave them feeling cheated. This is a poignant story, utterly charming and enjoyable ” - Publishers Weekly, starred review
At the 1936 Berlin Olympics the beautiful Sydney Stringfellow begins an intense love affair with a German but the affair abruptly ends when political forces tear them apart.
The latest member of his family to be responsible for weeding Lorne Field, which must be tended properly to prevent the growth of a horrifying monster, a miserable Jack Durkin waits for his son to come of age and dreams of leaving with his wife.
"[The] plot is clever, imaginative and, in its finale, wholly unexpected. In a crowded field, The Afrika Reich stands out as a rich and unusual thriller, politically sophisticated and hard to forget." - The Economist, Books of the Year
Africa, 1952. More than a decade has passed since Britain's humiliation at Dunkirk brought an end to the war and the beginning of an uneasy peace with Hitler. The swastika flies from the Sahara to the Indian Ocean. Britain and a victorious Nazi Germany have divided the continent. The SS has crushed the native populations and forced them into labor. Gleaming autobahns bisect the jungle, jet fighters patrol the skies. For almost a decade an uneasy peace has ensued.
Now, however, the plans of Walter Hochburg, messianic racist and architect of Nazi Africa, threaten Britain's ailing colonies. Sent to curb his ambitions is Burton Cole: a one-time assassin torn between the woman he loves and settling an old score with Hochburg. If he fails unimaginable horrors will be unleashed on the continent. No one - black or white - will be spared.
But when his mission turns to disaster, Burton must flee for his life. It is a flight that will take him from the unholy ground of Kongo to SS slave camps to war-torn Angola - and finally a conspiracy that leads to the dark heart of The Afrika Reich itself.
"Savagely funny...You'll be hooked." - Marie Claire
Katie Arnoldi's critically acclaimed debut novel Chemical Pink launched her onto the bestseller lists and so burrowed itself into the public's consciousness that its title was the answer to a Double Jeopardy! question. Now, seven years later, her second novel, The Wentworths, gives her readers a fascinating, erotic, dark, and savagely funny page-turner that will both thrill her fans and appeal to new readers of all stripes. Arnoldi's searing portrait of a wealthy Westside, Los Angeles family, is a true binge read-boldly dramatizing the disfunctionality of the modern American family as it examines how people get so screwed up. Comic and horrifying, sadistic and hilarious, tragic and funny all at the same time, The Wentworths is a shocking, yet redemptive tale that will have fans cheering.
“The ultimate road trip.” - The Denver Post
Standing on a wind-scoured island off the Alaskan coast, Philip Caputo marveled that its Inupiat Eskimo schoolchildren pledge allegiance to the same flag as the children of Cuban immigrants in Key West, six thousand miles away. And a question began to take shape: How does the United States, peopled by every race on earth, remain united? Caputo resolved that one day he'd drive from the nation's southernmost point to the northernmost point reachable by road, talking to Americans about their lives and asking how they would answer his question.
Caputo, his wife, and their two English setters made their way in a truck and classic trailer (hereafter known as "Fred" and "Ethel") from Key West, Florida, to Deadhorse, Alaska, covering sixteen thousand miles. He spoke to everyone from a West Virginia couple saving souls to a Native American shaman and taco entrepreneur. What he found is a story that will entertain and inspire readers as much as it informs them about the state of today's United States, the glue that holds us all together, and the conflicts that could pull us apart.
“Fans of Erik Larson’s 2003 hit, The Devil in the White City… will find similar pleasures here. This is true crime of high quality… Mr. Hollandsworth handles gruesome details with a smart, restrained touch… Chilling." - The New York Times
A sweeping narrative history of a terrifying serial killer - America's first - who stalked Austin, Texas in 1885
In the late 1800s, the city of Austin, Texas was on the cusp of emerging from an isolated western outpost into a truly cosmopolitan metropolis. But beginning in December 1884, Austin was terrorized by someone equally as vicious and, in some ways, far more diabolical than London's infamous Jack the Ripper. For almost exactly one year, the Midnight Assassin crisscrossed the entire city, striking on moonlit nights, using axes, knives, and long steel rods to rip apart women from every race and class. At the time the concept of a serial killer was unthinkable, but the murders continued, the killer became more brazen, and the citizens' panic reached a fever pitch.
Before it was all over, at least a dozen men would be arrested in connection with the murders, and the crimes would expose what a newspaper described as "the most extensive and profound scandal ever known in Austin." And yes, when Jack the Ripper began his attacks in 1888, London police investigators did wonder if the killer from Austin had crossed the ocean to terrorize their own city.
How the Dog Became the Dog posits that dog was an evolutionary inevitability in the nature of the wolf and its human soul mate. The natural temperament and social structure of humans and wolves are so similar that as soon as they met on the trail they recognized themselves in each other. Both are highly social, accomplished generalists, and creatures of habit capable of adapting? homebodies who like to wander.
How the Dog Became the Dog presents domestication of the dog as a biological and cultural process that began in mutual cooperation and has taken a number of radical turns. At the end of the last Ice Age the first dogs emerged with their humans from refuges against the cold. In the eighteenth century, humans began the drive to exercise full control of dog reproduction, life, and death to complete the domestication of the wolf begun so long ago.
To lead the expedition, the navytabbed William Francis Lynch, an officer eager to enter the esteemed yet dangerous field of Victorian exploration. Like many of his successful contemporaries, Lynch was well-read, and possessed an independent nature, but in a man who also preferred organization to chaos, and with a character that tended toward the obsessive. The expedition would force a juxtaposition of the ancient world with the modern, as the world’s newest power attempted an exhaustive scientific study of the waters of the cradle of civilization. Beyond its fascinating topic, Bitter Waters is full of broad allusions from the period that demonstrate Bain’s deep understanding of America, and serve to make the work appealing for general scholars and lay readers. Heroically engaging unfamiliar terrain, hostile Bedouins, and ancient mysteries, Lynch and his party epitomize their nation’s spirit of Manifest Destiny in the days before the Civil War.