THE TOWN OF JASPER, stunning debut by James Gianetti, NEW REVIEW Celebrates THRILLER that crosses genres. (MAY) Elevation Books

NEW REVIEW celebrates thriller that crosses genres.

The Town of Jasperis a powerful thriller that features a detective struggling with his own addictions who is tasked with facing a small town that has been quarantined from the outside world when half its population succumbs to a deadly illness.

While the book initially sounds like either an investigative story or a survivalist saga, the pleasure ofThe Town of Jasperlies in the fact that it's both - and neither. The American beliefs and values represented in this small town are transformed by 'The Incident', which leaves survivors trapped in a deadly scenario in which faith, order, and ideologies are challenged by evil, chaos, and addiction.

Special interests rise from the ashes of anarchy to place Jack Sutherland at odds with his new world as well as the old one, leading him to confront his strengths, failures, and a changing world as an idyllic small town and its family values fall prey to disease and destruction.

At the other end of the spectrum is the newly-emerged town leader Richard Morrissey, who carves order from chaos and must form some questionable alliances in order to do so. Sutherland has become "reckless and dangerous" since the accident. Morrissey has become clever and ruthless. Any alliance between the two would have been impossible under normal conditions. Now, it may be a key to the survival of everything.

As readers pursueThe Town of Jasper, they will notice that the book crosses several genres without falling into the trap of formula writing. The town's contamination and isolation reflects shades of apocalyptic science fiction. The detective's struggles with his personal failures and much-changed circumstances both before and after the vast changes that sweep his world incorporate investigative techniques that focus on powerful psychological processes, yet stop short of the kind of structure that would lead to deeming the story a detective piece. And, the evolving social and political struggles and alliances between the survivors compete with the best of survivalist sagas.

Suffice it to say that 'thriller' perhaps best defines the progress, action, and attraction of a novel which should neatly appeal across the board to sci-fi, medical mystery, thriller, and survival readers alike, adding a healthy dose of intrigue to thought-provoking philosophical, ethical, and moral challenges.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“What do I do, honey? I don’t think I can keep going like this. Please. Tell me.”
The gold ring glimmered elegantly off the florescent light. His wife, Diane always knew the right thing to say to him when he was in a time of struggle. She was great like that. Now, Richard had no one but himself to turn to. The acknowledged leader of Jasper, found himself in a dark corner.
THE TOWN OF JASPER, an ordinary town-- like no other.... 

"I thought nothing of it. Just a couple of teenagers getting ready for school, who didn’t want to be bothered.”
Kathy cracked a fake smile in an attempt to hold back her emotion.
“I walked up the stairs and into my daughter’s room. Her name is Alyssa. My first reaction was anger. I screamed, GET UP! HOW ARE YOU STILL ASLEEP? When she didn’t respond, I shook her.”
Kathy’s lips quivered as she looked to her right. Again, she looked into the detective’s eyes and whispered.


"He threw the vial on the seat next to him and stormed out of the car into the rain. As he marched up to the door, he placed a grey ski mask over his dirty blonde hair and oblong face. He knocked on the door several times and waited for an answer."

May debut from Eelevation Book Publishing. Below is a review and interview.

Jasper is the kind of place that couples would drive through and tell each other, “This is the kind of place I want to raise our family.” Enriched with the conventional feel of a perfect suburban town with family friendly neighborhoods and a town square suited for the affluent, Jasper is the ideal community to the eyes of the oblivious."

What happened in THE TOWN OF JASPER?

THE TOWN OF JASPER by James Gianetti is a completely original mystery-thriller, which brings to mind Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Nic Pizzolatto's True Detective, even Hitchcock's The Birds. Like the work of these writers, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary, as this wildly unexpected yet plausible mystery unfolds. There are elements of horror, yet little violence and no supernatural elements in this suspenseful page turner (May from Elevation Books). 

It's a day in the life of small town America, except as Detective Sullivan discovers in The Town of Jasper by James Gianetti something is very amiss. The couple he meets in this too quiet town are shell-shocked cowering, incoherent survivors of a disaster they can't exactly explain. By bits and pieces, Sullivan puts together "the Incident," that began two years ago and even now has the town in its grip. People collapse, they die, recover and are comatose. Young and old, a third of the town are in hibernation.

At first the government sent aid, food, water, medical supplies, but after two years with no end in sight, the aid has stopped. Jasper, uniquely stricken, has been abandoned. In an anarchic town meeting, Richard Morrissey steps forward to bring the town together. Yet Morrissey and the townspeople are in a fight for survival and are opposed by the Redeemers, crazy vigilantes and must seek the Fillmore Whites, natives, who live in the wilds.

Sullivan's quest to find out what happened in Jasper, leads him in a circle which includes his own alienated wife and daughter and a search for a partner disappeared with no trace. Whether Jasper is "cured" or returns to normalcy is a frightening, remorseless journey to the breakdown of civilization and a detective, almost beyond hope.

The resolution to Gianetti's journey is also both completely plausible and unexpected. The Town of Jasper is at once original and part of a tradition that stretches back to Poe's use of the Pendulum to evoke the undertow of human imagination. 


The Town of Jasper pre-order link.

An Interview with James Gianetti, author of The Town of Jasper to be published by Elevation Book Publishing

Q. What inspired you to write Jasper?
A.  Before I put pen to paper, I did a lot of reading. I also watched a lot of TV to see what worked well. I looked at Steven King, Perotta, Bonansinga, Scott Gimple [The Walking Dead], and Nic Pizzolatto [True Detective] and others. There were plots and themes that were very strong and stood out to me. We are in a "golden age" of TV.

Q.   How were you influenced by Benjamin Smith and Joseph Gilford?
A. I took screenwriting with Gilford and worked closely with Smith on Jasper. Both taught me a lot and through different perspectives. But I found my style through writing the story and breaking down the characters.

Q. Jasper brought to mind Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, Village of the Damned, whose work have you found useful? 
A.  Funny, I just read The Lottery. I do listen to a lot of Indie Rock music. The lyrics to songs are useful to me.

Q.   How in Jasper does the tangible merge with the extraordinary?
A.  Jasper is very real. The characters are not too far-fetched. There are no supernatural elements. Villains are real. If something happens, it really occurs. The "Incident" is extraordinary but not outside the realm of possibility.

 Q.  What genre would you consider this novel:  horror/suspense/thriller or its own category?
A.  Mystery with thriller and horror elements in it. But it's a mystery/thriller at its core.

Q. What is "the incident" that occurs in Jasper?
A.  There is a strange illness. It's unimaginable. A third of the town goes into hibernation. It's only in Jasper, no other place. The victims are dead and then come back to life. And this occurs at different times.

Q.    How does Richard Morrissey become the leader of the town?
A.  He becomes a default leader because of his character. At a Town Hall meeting there is anarchy and he steps up and organizes people. His actions show that he has a sense of how to be a leader in a town that is so desperate for direction. He is appreciated by the town for being able to bring them together.

Q. What part does friendship play for the detective, Sutherland?
A.  Friendship for Sutherland is a big value. He knows so much about his partner but really nothing at all. Besides his partner, he has nothing. He's estranged from his wife and daughter. After the Incident, he has nothing to occupy him but Jasper’s unsolved mystery.

Q.     Why does the government refuse the town basic supplies?
A.  At first, they were given food and medical supplies. After two years, it was seen as a kind of fool's errand. They didn't believe the people would wake up. The government was first cutting them off. Then they would bomb the town. Aid was seen as a waste of money and resources. So they took a kind of slow burn approach to it.

Q.  You have an amazing group of opponents for the suffering towns people. Tell us about the Fillmore Whites and The Redeemers, not to mention huge feral wolves.
A. The wolf showed that though Morrissey is a good guy, he can be bad when he needs to be. The Fillmore Whites are natives of Jasper, they live off the grid. The Redeemers are people in the town, within the walls, who see nothing getting better. They go crazy and adopt vigilante beliefs. They are destructive, kill people, but they cover their faces in ash to remain anonymous. They claim to be working with God, whose will they believe they serve.

Q. Did you intend Jasper as a kind of religious fable?
A.  It's a fateful town with fateful people. They are in a desperate situation, where they need people of faith.

Q. What would you like your audience to feel, when they finish this book?
A.  A sense of relief and remorse. There are incredible emotions in this book, love. All possible emotions are experienced in this book. It's exciting and the end is satisfying.

Q. What other stories do you have in the works?

A. I would like to do a sequel. And I am working on some short stories. I am also exploring the idea of another novel.


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