GUEST BLOG: NO SECOND CHANCES: Five Questions About the Book That I’ll (Probably) Never Be Asked by Rio Youers Plus Giveaway!

My new novel, No Second Chances, is a modern-day thriller set primarily in Los Angeles. It tells the story of Kitty Rae, an energetic, ambitious young woman, who has moved to Los Angeles to follow her dreams, and Luke Kingsley, an actor whose career hit the skids after his wife disappeared, with everybody believing he killed her. When Kitty lands on the wrong side of a sociopathic drug dealer named Johan Fly, Luke decides to help her out, and in so doing uncovers a clue about his wife’s disappearance. With everything on the line, Luke and Kitty set out across the Mojave to investigate the clue . . . but Johan, burning with rage and the need for revenge, is hot on their heels.

The novel hits stores on February 22. Advance copies have been doing the rounds for a couple of months now, and the reviews have been coming in thick and fast. I’ve done a bunch of promo work, including numerous interviews. The questions have universally been excellent, delving into the plot, the characters, and the writing process. All good stuff—but none of those interviewers asked the questions I really wanted them to ask. Until now! And yes, I know I’m cheating, because I’m asking the questions here, but let’s just skate over that. Here are five questions about No Second Chances that I’ll (probably) never be asked:

Okay, I admit it: No Second Chances sounds like a good time. But there are a ton of good—no, great–thrillers out there. Why should I care about yours?

Well, thrillers come in different shapes and sizes. You have spy thrillers, hardboiled, political thrillers, noir, mystery, legal thrillers . . . it’s a long list, and everybody has their preference. If you’re hoping for a subtle slow burner, then No Second Chances probably isn’t the novel for you. But if you’ve a hankering for an adrenaline-fueled, cinematic action thriller, then you could do a lot worse.

Also, I spend a great deal of time with my characters and work hard to lift them off the page – to bring them to life. I want the reader to be fully invested in them. To care. If the early reviews are any indication, it appears that I managed to do that with No Second Chances.

Talking of which . . . some of those reviews have noted that the novel is fairly violent in places. Care to comment?

It’s never gratuitously or excessively violent. This isn’t American Psycho. But it isn’t something that Pixar would ever adapt, either. I use violence to convey a sense of dread, as a way of drawing the reader in deeper. It’s an incredibly effective device, and elicits real emotion, the same way it does in TV shows like Ozark and Breaking Bad. But the book is fun, too. It has plenty of levity to counteract some of those darker moments. The violence is one small part of the whole. I always think of it this way: If you like Quentin Tarantino’s movies, then you’ll probably like my books.

No spoilers, but what’s your favorite, juiciest scene in the book?

Kitty works for Johan Fly, couriering his product—a “power-nootropic” called Canary—around Hollywood. There’s a scene early in the book, after Johan suspects Kitty has been skimming, that he captures her to ascertain the truth. Kitty manages to break free, and the subsequent chase is a real edge-of-the-seat moment that, even when I read it, accelerates my heartbeat. Kitty finds a place to hide, and that, too, is incredibly tense. So yeah, I’m thrilled with that sequence and the way it translated from my head to the book. As a writer, you’ve got to love when that happens!

Come on, be honest … did No Second Chances turn out as good as you’d hoped?

It turned out different—I didn’t expect quite as much action—and whether it’s good or not is a matter of opinion. I mean, the vast majority of the reviews have been through the roof, but some have been lukewarm. That’s only to be expected. We all have different tastes, after all. For me, having this idea for a book in my head and seeing it take shape, watching the characters come to life and run breathless across every page, has been immensely rewarding. It’s the same way with all my fiction. But No Second Chances surprised me in new and exciting ways—not only with the characterization and action, but also with the setting and overall pace. Writing the novel, it all felt very fluid, and I think—I certainly hope—that translates to the reader.

Also, I wrote No Second Chances while the world was in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, so being able to hang out with my characters in sunny California was an invigorating escape, even in the most perilous of times.

Stephen King has called Johan Fly “the best villain since Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.” Why do you think he singled out the bad guy?

Let’s see . . . Jack Torrance (The Shining), Randall Flagg (The Stand, et al.), Pennywise (It), Annie Wilkes (Misery), Greg Stillson (The Dead Zone) . . . the list goes on and on. Objectively, Stephen King has created some of the best and most memorable antagonists in the history of American fiction. He knows what it takes to make a wicked character tick—to have them leap off the page and grab the reader by the throat.

Johan Fly is my antagonist – the son of a Danish billionaire, entitled and arrogant, who stalks the pages of No Second Chances with a smile on his face and a Viking ax on his shoulder.  For all his malice, he’s incredibly charismatic, a multidimensional character who was an absolute pleasure to create and spend time with. I wanted him to feel real and approachable, but also to cast a long and incredibly dark shadow. The fact that Stephen King zeroed in on Johan, and responded so positively to his many complex layers, is an unparalleled thrill—a moment in my writing life that I’ll never forget.

About The Book

Publication Date: February 22, 2022

From Rio Youers, the acclaimed author of Lola on Fire, comes a blistering high-octane thriller about desperate love, vengeance, and the precarious pursuit of fame.

“A rip-roaring Hollywood noir that smashes the pedal to the metal and keeps it there. The best villain since Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels . . . This one is hot.” –Stephen King

Luke Kingsley’s glory days are behind him. A star on the rise, his life and career imploded after his soul singer wife, Lisa Hayes, disappeared without a trace, silencing a very public and tumultuous marriage. Most people, especially an avenging PI, think Luke got away with murder. The last thing he expects is to be pulled back from the brink by a starstruck stranger.

Wannabe actress Kitty Rae has chased her dreams all the way from Kentucky to Hollywood. Saving a washed-up actor’s life wasn’t one of them, but she believes in Luke—as much as she believes her own career is just one lucky break away. For now, she works for Johan Fly, a charismatic, wealthy, and seriously unbalanced drug dealer to the rich and famous. When Johan discovers that Kitty has been skimming the product, he vows to make her pay.

As Luke steps up to help Kitty, he uncovers a web of violence and corruption, as well as a single, enticing clue about his wife’s disappearance. Barreling across the Mojave Desert, Luke and Kitty set off to find the long-lost Lisa. But Johan, hungry for vengeance, is hot on their trail. There’s no limit to what he will do to find them. And in a world where fortune favors the ruthless, there’s also no limit to what Luke and Kitty will have to do to survive.

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Enter to win a copy of No Second Chances from Rio Youers!

[rafflepress id=”80″]About The AuthorRio Youers is the British Fantasy and Sunburst Award–nominated author of Westlake Soul and Halcyon. His 2017 thriller, The Forgotten Girl, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel. He is the writer of Sleeping Beauties, a comic book series based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King and Owen King. Rio lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife and their two children.



Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews



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