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An instant New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller and “a thriller reader’s ultimate fantasy” (Booklist), this one-of-a-kind anthology pulls together the most beloved characters from the best and most popular thriller series today. Worlds collide!

In an unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s bestselling and critically acclaimed thriller writers pair their series characters in an eleven-story anthology curated by the International Thriller Writers (ITW).

The stories in FaceOff feature:
-Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch in “Red Eye,” by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly
-John Rebus vs. Roy Grace in “In the Nick of Time,” by Ian Rankin and Peter James
-Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast in “Gaslighted,” by R.L. Stine, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child
-Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren in “The Laughing Buddha,” by M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner
-Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper in “Surfing the Panther,” by Steve Martini and Linda Fairstein
-Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport in “Rhymes With Prey,” by Jeffery Deaver and John Sandford
-Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack in “Infernal Night,” by Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
-Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber in “Pit Stop,” by Raymond Khoury and Linwood Barclay
-Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona in “Silent Hunt,” by John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker
-Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce in “The Devil’s Bones,” by Steve Berry and James Rollins
-Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller in “Good and Valuable Consideration,” by Lee Child and Joseph Finder

So sit back and prepare for a rollicking ride as your favorite characters go head-to-head with some worthy opponents in FaceOff—it’s a thrill-a-minute read.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476762074
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 175,997
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Introduction by #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci and stories by Lee Child, Michael Connelly, John Sandford, Lisa Gardner, Dennis Lehane, Steve Berry, Jeffery Deaver, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, James Rollins, Joseph Finder, Steve Martini, Heather Graham, Ian Rankin, Linda Fairstein, M.J. Rose, R.L. Stine, Raymond Khoury, Linwood Barclay, John Lescroart, T. Jefferson Parker, F. Paul Wilson, and Peter James.


Northern Virginia

Date of Birth:

August 5, 1960

Place of Birth:

Richmond, VIrginia


B.A. in Political Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1982; J.D., University of Virginia, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Face Off

  • In 2004 two accomplished thriller writers harbored a dream. Their names: Gayle Lynds and David Morrell. To that point both Gayle and David had enjoyed long and successful careers. But something was missing. The ‘who-done-its’ had Mystery Writers of America. Those who specialize in fear, the Horror Writers Association. And the Romance Writers Association had long numbered thousands of members.

    Every genre seemed to have a trade group.

    Except thriller writers.

    So Gayle and David decided to start one.

    It began in Toronto on October 9, 2004, and from that small beginning sprang International Thriller Writers. Today over 2,500 men and women, from forty-nine countries around the world, hold membership. Eighty percent are working thriller writers. The rest are industry specialists, agents, editors, and fans. Every July the genre gathers in New York City for Thrillerfest. It’s quite literally summer camp for thriller writers and thriller enthusiasts. The Thriller, awarded every year in a variety of categories, is now the prize thriller writers covet, since it was both created and bestowed by their peers.

    From its beginning ITW strived to innovate. Doing what everyone else had done was never in its business plan. So, in 2007, when board member (and superb British thriller writer) David Hewson suggested that the organization not charge dues the idea was immediately embraced. If a writer is published by an ITW-recognized house (of which there are hundreds), then membership is free.

    So how would the organization sustain itself? Pay its bills?

    The answer came in another innovative way.

    The organization would create its own books that would be sold to publishing houses, the revenue from which would generate operating capital.

    Risky? You bet. Gutsy? Definitely.

    But an idea right up ITW’s alley.

    ITW’s first publication, Thriller (2006), was the first anthology of thriller short stories ever compiled (remember that precept about never doing what others had done). Thirty-three ITW members donated stories. James Patterson (an ITW member) agreed to serve as editor, and the result became one of the most popular anthologies of all time—selling over 500,000 copies worldwide. The revenue from that groundbreaking book not only provided ITW with initial operating money, it also endowed the organization. Thriller 2 (2009) and Love Is Murder (2012) followed. Keeping with this innovative theme ITW published the first audio book ever written only for the ear: The Chopin Manuscript, which became a resounding success. Edited by the incomparable Jeffery Deaver (an ITW member), Chopin was named the 2008 Audio Book of the Year. That was followed by another audio success, The Copper Bracelet. A move into the world of nonfiction came with Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, which continues to garner widespread critical acclaim. Another ITW board member, the legendary R. L. Stine (creator of Goosebumps), led the organization into the world of young adult fiction with Fear. Annually, ITW shepherds a class of writers through their challenging inaugural year in what is known as the Debut Author Program. First Thrills, edited by ITW founding member Lee Child, became an anthology of stories from the 2011 class.

    What an impressive résumé.

    All created by author-editors who volunteer their time and writers who donate their stories. Nearly every single penny earned from ITW’s publications has gone to the organization.

    And that will be the case with this book.

    I joined ITW early on. I agreed with Gayle and David. It was time for an organization of thriller writers. I’ve been waiting for a project where I could become more involved with the group, so when I was approached about editing FaceOff I immediately said yes.

    The entire concept intrigued me.

    Take iconic writers with iconic characters and face them off against each other. Normally, this could never happen. Each writer is under contract to his or her own respective publishing house. Teaming with another writer, from another house, and combining characters would contractually be impossible. Which house would publish the story? No way to make that call. And no way either house would allow the story to be published by a third company. Only with ITW’s model—that the stories are donated and the money goes to the organization—would this work.

    So this volume is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

    All of the contributors are ITW members. All eagerly agreed to participate. When I was told that ITW founding member Steve Berry, who worked with James Patterson on Thriller, would offer assistance as managing editor, I was thrilled. He’s the glue that held this project together. Thanks, Steve, for all you did.

    And thanks to all of the contributors.

    Where else will you be able to see Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme meet John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport? Or Patrick Kenzie entering the world of Harry Bosch? Fans of Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone and James Rollins’s Gray Pierce have clamored for years to see those characters together. Then there’s Lee Child’s Jack Reacher meeting up with Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller in a bar in Boston—and doing what Reacher does best. Plus Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani becoming entangled with Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper. And the ever-odd Aloysius Pendergast coming face-to-face with the scary world of R. L. Stine.

    These are just a few examples of what lies in the pages ahead. All of the stories come with an introduction that describes the writers, their characters, and a bit about the story’s gestation. At the end of the book are contributor biographies—a way to learn more about each of these amazing talents.

    You’re in for a real treat.

    So let the face-offs begin.

    David Baldacci

    June 2014

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction David Baldacci xiii

    Red Eye: Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch 4

    In the Nick of Time: Ian Rankin vs. Peter James John Rebus vs. Hoy Grace 32

    Gaslighted: R. L. Stine vs. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast 53

    The Laughing Buddha: M. J. Rose vs. Lisa Gardner Malachai Samuels vs. D. D. Warren 76

    Surfing the Panther: Steve Martini vs. Linda Fairstein Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper 113

    Rhymes With Prey: Jeffery Deaver vs. John Sandford Lincoln Rhyme vs. Lucas Davenport 148

    Infernal Night: Heather Graham vs. F. Paul Wilson Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack 215

    Pit Stop: Raymond Khoury vs. Linwood Barclay Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber 247

    Silent Hunt: John Lescroart vs. T. Jefferson Parker Wyatt Hunt vs. Joe Trona 282

    The Devil's Bones: Steve Berry vs. James Rollins Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce 310

    Good and Valuable Consideration: Lee Child vs. Joseph Finder Jack Reacher vs. Nick Heller 338

    Author Biographies David Baldacci 357


    FACEOFF: Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly

    Barnes & Noble Social Media Editor Molly Schoemann-McCann had a conversation with Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, whose story ''Red Eye,'' starring their series heroes Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch, opens the FACEOFF thriller anthology.

    How did you get paired together in the FACEOFF anthology?

    Dennis Lehane: By height, I'm pretty sure. Or the shared ginger tint of our hair. Michael Connelly: We didn't need to do anything. I was asked by Steve Berry if I would work on a story with Dennis and I said sure. Dennis and I have known each other about twenty years. I figured if I was going to put Harry Bosch into the hands of another writer there could be no better choice.

    How are Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch similar to or different from one another? Which qualities does each man bring to the case in "Red Eye"?

    DL: I can't get too Dr. Freud on this without feeling silly but if I had to guess I'd say Bosch is more aware of his own internal damage. Patrick, for me anyway, has always been a character who deflects a lot. It's why he's good with a one liner. Humor is his shield.

    MC: I think they are a lot alike but it's sort of a case of Mr. Insider and Mr. Outsider. Harry carries a badge and that makes him part of the establishment, a representative of the state. Patrick is a private eye and that makes him a classic outsider. That's why I think pairing them was kind of a cool idea. While they approach investigations from that significantly different angle they are both no doubt relentless men. They are self-observing and self-questioning but relentless all the way.

    How did you come up with the story's title? Did that "job" belong to one of you?

    DL: That was Michael. He sent me that title and I thought, Okay. Box checked. No heavy lifting required on my part in the title department.

    You talk a little in FACEOFF about your process, sending pages back and forth — was that daunting, or a refreshing change of pace?

    DL: It was fun. We have very different voices so I was interested to see how much those styles would clash. But instead they fused together pretty nicely.

    MC: It started with the basic agreement that the only way this would realistically work would be if Harry went to Boston on a case. This would make him a fish out of water and more willing to grab onto a private eye for help. To further his disorientation I had him fly out on a red eye. It sort of became the obvious title.

    How did you originally dream up Patrick Kenzie? And how did you decide on his name and where he came from?

    DH: I dreamed up his father first. But I did it from first person point-of-view so I knew pretty quickly that it was the owner of that POV that I was really interested in. And that was Patrick. I have zero idea where the name Kenzie came from, unless subconsciously I lifted it from Kenzie Kids, which was a Boston area children's clothing store chain. As for Patrick, I just knew he was really, really Irish and that he hated being called "Pat."

    How about Harry Bosch?

    MC: I was a newspaper reporter and knew a lot of detectives. Harry's origin is with them and the many fictional detectives from books and films that influenced me. I named him after a fifteenth-century painter because the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch were full of chaos and torture and the wages of sin. I saw the parallels to crime scenes and the places Detective Bosch would inhabit.

    If you paired them up again, would you send Kenzie to L.A.?

    DL: Patrick in L.A. would be hilarious. He'd probably get deported for aggressive use of irony or sarcasm. Barring that, his pale-ass skin might spontaneously combust. But it'd be fun to watch him try to figure his way around Silver Lake or Brentwood or just see his reaction to the plastic surgery parade.

    MC: I think it would be good to see the bookending of this where Patrick came to LA. Of course, now they know each other and so Patrick would be able to just call Bosch up and say, "This is what I need."

    FACEOFF marks the first time all of these bestselling writers have paired their characters together in stories. Now that Bosch and Kenzie have had their moment, who else would you like to see each guy paired up with and why?

    DL: Since you've already put L.A. in my head, I suspect Patrick might have some fun and kinship with Elvis Cole. Not sure about Joe Pike, but I think he'd get along famously with Elvis.

    MC: There are countless possibilities: Jack Reacher, Derek Strange, Angela Gennaro come to mind.

    June 12, 2014

    Customer Reviews

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    FaceOff 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I must confess, I had been looking forward to this publication for many months and perhaps that may lend a little to my reluctance to give this 5 stars. Not a major fan of short stories, this was a bit of an adjustment for me. I read almost all the authors included and follow their character series almost 100%. I found myself feeling shorted at the end of almost every story. I don't think there was ever a point I felt the traits of the individual characters came through the storyline. Their interaction was simply that. It was not characteristic of the writer's character personality in their stand-alone plots. Having said all this, it was still easy reading and enjoyable to turn page after page. I don't think you are going to run out and purchase an ebook from one of the authors you haven't read prior based on the character usage but it helps broaden your knowledge base of fictional characters roaming or literary world!
    KathywithaK27 More than 1 year ago
    Ever wondered how your favorite literary characters would fair in a Celebrity Death Match with each other? I feel like this collection of short stories was exactly that. Twenty Three of the best thriller writers set out to create unique experiences with characters that all of their fans will know. Faceoff was something I never saw coming and I am terribly happy that I agreed to read this title because I came away with some delightful reads and a few shocks along the way. From Michael Connelly's detective hero Harry Bosch coming to my own backyard Boston to run into Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie to the King of all horror madness R.L. Stine creating a crazy story with Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, these aren't stereotypical stories thrown together because they just read the same. Each story was unique and interesting, while still giving you that jolt of energy and surprise that most thriller junkies have come to expect from these masters of trade. It's very clear that these are masters of their trade form page one to the end. That being said, I have to tell you that as someone who normally doesn't read a lot of this genre, I wasn't lost and confused. In fact most of these regular characters I really knew nothing about coming into this book and it never intimidated me. I could tell there were nuances about characters that I missing but I feel like a fan of an author would get it and like that incorporation, while another reader that has never read something by that same author isn't going to be scared off because they don't have prior knowledge of a character. That was the biggest part I was scared of when picking this book up and it was time wasted worrying because I didn't put it down for two days. This is exactly what I expect to find in a book with such a long list of credentials backing it up!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I was not familiar with some of the authors, but now I want to read all of them. The ones I am familiar with==it is fun to see that you know where each one contributed. Great fun to read.
    StephWard More than 1 year ago
    4.5 Stars 'FaceOff' is an completely unique anthology that puts favorite literary heroes from today's bestselling thrillers against one another in a collection of eleven short stories. I found it to be a really fun and easy read - mostly due to the fact that it's a collection of short stories and because of the fantastic writing and fast pace of all the stories. I felt like it was a reader's version of video games that pit superheroes or villains against one another to see who would win. Only this time we're putting top notch main characters from big series against each other! It was thoroughly original - I haven't come across anything like this before in my reading experiences. I'm a huge fan of thrillers and suspense novels, so I was familiar with the majority of the authors and the characters featured, which only added to my enjoyment of the book, because I could cheer on my favorite heroes in each story. Even if you aren't normally a reader of the genre, these stories are packed full of action and suspense - and I feel they appeal to fans of several genres. The quality of the writing was evident in each story. I was pulled into each one right away, which normally doesn't happen for me with short stories. The pace was always fast with a natural flow and fantastic attention to detail - all the things that make these authors and their books so popular. I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed this book; it definitely exceeded any expectations I may have had. Highly recommended for fans of all genres, especially those who enjoy mystery, suspense, and thrillers. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Just plain fun. Will try a few new authors after reading their short story.
    tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
    A faceoff in hockey occurs when two opposing players face each other in a circle or at center ice and attempt to direct the puck to a teammate when the ref tosses it between them. In other circumstances, a faceoff implies one or more forces facing each other, usually in opposition. So at the very least this, the third book to be published on behalf of the International Thrillers Writers, comprising some of the best-known authors of the thriller-mystery genre, whose proceeds fund the organization, is a misnomer. It is edited by David Baldacci, who wrote an introduction to each of the 11 short stories included in the volume. The idea was to pair each author’s iconic protagonist with that of another, cooperating in the plot to solve a crime or mystery. It would not be fair to mention some of the authors and not others, since they are of equal stature. Some of the stories are interesting, others less so. In facing off, neither the authors nor the protagonist do. They work together, sometimes even beyond the law or ethics. Among the many problems developing stories under the concept includes working out where the two lead characters will operate, since most were domiciled in separate locations, sometimes on opposite sides of the country. Needless to say, the writing and creativity are the result of the top writers in the field. It’s just too bad their hands were tied behind their backs by the premise. One would think with the best minds in the business, a better idea could have been developed.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I don't usually like short stories, but these are the best.
    Anonymous 12 months ago
    terrible book!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    How is &stars
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Interesting which duos clicked and which struggled
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Some were good, some were boring. Different sort of read.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Good authors got together for sloppy easy-reading...put together by email on a lunchbreak...Good idea bad Book..each piece.too short to catch your interest...
    Andrew_of_Dunedin More than 1 year ago
    What would happen if Dorothy and the Scarecrow visited Narnia? How about James Bond assisting the Impossible Missions Force, or perhaps rubbing shoulders with Mossad legend Gabriel Allon? Such crossovers can occasionally be worked out, but are typically impossible due to having to get the various writers together, and worse, getting their PUBLISHERS to cooperate with each other. Enter the International Thriller Writers. As a fund-raiser for the organization, they DID manage to get authors to collaborate on putting their characters together in a short story. SO … Raymond Khoury's Sean Reilly can meet Linwood Barclay's Glen Garber. Lee Child and Joseph Finder can tell of the time Jack Reacher met Nick Heller. Lucas Davenport's and Lincoln Rhyme's joint investigation can finally be told by their creators, John Sandford and Jeffrey Deaver. Ian Rankin's John Rebus and Peter James' Roy Grace can both find themselves on the same case (my favorite story in the book, I admit). And – in the one of the most bizarre pairing I could imagine, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child can pit Pendergast against R.L. Stine's Slappy, the Ventriloquist Dummy. I found that some stories worked well, while others were a stretch. (Most readers may feel the same thing, but have different stories in their own plus and minus columns.) However, it's an admirable effort to even TRY to accomplish what the authors and their organization were able to put together, and it's worth a read. You will have the opportunity to read a new, untold adventure of some of your favorite characters, and perhaps be exposed to some you were unfamiliar with, as well. RATING: 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Hi every one ho are you to day my name is lilly and forgive my fins is one of the best dooks i jave a ever read in my life. I highly recomend it to every one who liks romance and thrill seaking adventure Hop you injoy this book
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I really liked this format. Several of my favorite authors took part in this book and it gave me a chance to preview some authors I hadn't yet tried. Now I know of some more authors that I would be willing to try out.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago