Longlisted for the 2017 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award
Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. Then the doorbell rings.
A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain. Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide.
However, as Ted commits the murders, the crime scenes strike him as odd. The targets know him by name and possess familiar mementos. Even more bizarrely, Ted recognizes locations and men he shouldn’t know. As Ted’s mind begins to crack, dark secrets from his past seep through the fissures.
Kill the Next One is an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.
Federico Axat was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975. His first novel, Benjamin, was published in Spain by Suma de Letras and translated into Italian. His second novel, El Pantano de las Mariposas, was published in 2013 and translated into Portuguese, French, and Chinese. Kill The Next One is his U.S. debut.
“There’s a perverse symmetry to the way things work in this mind-bending psychological thriller. . . . Truth, illusion and downright deceit keep crossing invisible lines in this hallucinatory plot. . . . Federico Axat is the kind of hypnotic writer you love to read but can never entirely trust.” —New York Times Book Review
“The most clever and surreal crime novel of 2016 . . . An extraordinary murder mystery.” —Dayton Daily News
“A serious rabbit hole of a book . . . [A] dizzying maze of a thriller” —Seattle Review of Books
“A spectacular mind-meld of a psychological thriller . . . The story is chilling, but Axat has the skill to infuse it with humanity while maintaining the nightmarish atmosphere. Kill the Next One is a recipe baked to perfection.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Stunning . . . Nightmare imagery, mind-bending plot twists, and a kaleidoscopic storytelling style lend Axat’s tale a vertiginous air, but at the core of this literary fever dream lies an elegantly crafted and emotionally resonant mystery that astonishes, devastates, and satisfies in equal measure.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)