Q: Why set the novel in the 70s?
A: The superficial reason is that it was fun! The hairstyles alone defy belief…The zeitgeist of the 1970s felt intensely familiar to me. We’d lost trust in institutions and in each other; the old solutions didn’t work; the new ones seemed inadequate; a creeping disillusionment had overtaken the best of us, while the worst seemed full of passionate intensity. As an era, the 1970s seems extraordinarily relevant to writers and readers today.
― Dann McDorman, Interview, Bloomsbury UK
What booksellers are saying about West Heart Kill
- This one is an absolute must read for devotees of the classic mystery genre. Unique in concept while at the same time holding true to the classic formulae that make the mystery novel so intriguing to us. In this tale we join Adam McAnnis, a somewhat sketchy private eye who joins a list of colorful characters on a long weekend getaway to a private hunting lodge. As the weekend progresses and the bodies start piling up we partner with Adam as he investigates the twisted relationships and subtle clues that will help him find the killer (or killers?). Interspersed in the story are vignettes by the author who leads us on an academic study of the mystery novel that at times almost seems to mock both the reader and the genre itself while at the same time crafting an entertaining and thoroughly complex and mesmerizing mystery thriller. If for nothing more than for it’s unique approach to story telling, for true fans of the mystery novel, you owe it to yourself to enjoy this one.
― Brent Bunnell, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC | Buy from Fiction Addiction
- Wow! This book is entirely captivating and such an interesting take on the mystery genre. Adam McAnnis, detective and friend of one of West Heart Hunting Club’s founding family members, is allowed to join the Bicentennial weekend at the exclusive club. All seems relatively normal, but with a mystery it never really is normal, is it? Murder, lies, old money, infidelity, and an unreliable narrator voice guide this story, and McDorman bends the book’s structure in a way that I have never seen before, making comments about the genre, plot, characters, and reader as it moves along to make for a fully immersive experience. Loved it!
― Kalynn Simpkins, Underground Books in Carrollton, GA | Buy from Underground Books
- Everything about this novel was new and invigorating. I’ve never come across storytelling in this way especially with mysteries. The author subverts the status quo of mystery point of view. Always have the focus on one person or never give in depth insights into the detectives thoughts. With West Heart Kill, we are integrated into every single part of the story. The use of first, second, and third omniscient POVs was a little jarring at first, but once you get used to it, you can understand the utilization of them. Mysteries lay out the clues so that the reader can solve the crime along with the detective, but with this novel, you’re the detective. You are in the book. You’re being guided by the author as if he was writing YOUR story. You are given quizzes, clues, and questions from the character themselves. Though we do follow the main character, we are also the main character, and that experience made this one of my favorite novels I’ve read this year.
― Ae Fuller from Novel in Memphis, TN | Buy from Novel
- This book is a ball to read. For obvious reasons: because it scratches that edge-of-your-chair itch, because it’s a 1976 period drama, because it’s full of rich people behaving badly, etc. And for not so obvious reasons: because the narrator acknowledges our presence as readers (!), because Mc Dorman offers us a history of the mystery genre (!!), because well it’s so darn funny and surprising (!!!)
― Laura Cotten from Thank You Books in Birmingham, AL | Buy from Thank You Books
About Dann McDorman
Dann McDorman is an Emmy-nominated TV news producer, who has also worked as a newspaper reporter, book reviewer, and cabinet maker. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.