By Justin Theese
Contributors: Renee Theese, Eric Linnell
On June 28th of 2014, Eric Linnell made his debut as an author by publishing the mind-bending Reflex Blue, a coming of age novel that kept the reader guessing until the final chapter. Accolades from admiring readers immediately followed the Minnesota based author, and this led to an online feature in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
While esteem was still building for his first book, Linnell went back to work, spending his nights crafting a new suspenseful piece that was released today, May 16th, 2018.
This Side of Zero, a dark psychological thriller set in modern-day Minnesota, is sure to captivate a new and existing audience.
The synopsis, also found on ericlinnell.com, is outlined below:
"Carl’s social anxieties, OCD, and headaches are the least of his problems. The biggest issue is denying the voice that has been whispering to him his entire life, which leaves him on the edge of sanity.
Rex is a lone wolf, and he prefers it that way. He takes what he wants, but keeps an orderly world—and that includes keeping the many women in his life carefully categorized. The little black book with which he shares his conquests is his only confidant.
Denise has written several letters to her estranged father, but there’s still an important one she’s been building up to. Her life is a lonely one—and she will either face the fear and loneliness … or succumb to it.
During a late-night thunderstorm in a small Midwestern town, amidst a power outage, these three lives will crash into one another … and the results will drastically alter the fates of each of them."
This is not the first time Linnell has used his home state as the setting; Reflex Blue was also set in Minnesota. Linnell promises to deliver another exceptional novel that pays greater attention to character development, and keeps the reader absorbed in the eccentric worlds of Carl, Rex, and Denise.
When asked about his approach to building characters, Linnell says, "I do a lot of brainstorming about each character, and as I revise and edit I really try to skin each character down to their core—figure out what makes them unique and what drives and fuels their motivations."
Born in Minnesota, Linnell’s family moved to a farm in Cumberland, WI, when he was 4 years old. The beautiful, open landscape of a farm located in the upper Midwest served as a great setting for the creative youngster to dream, while the harsh winters created sometimes darker imagery. Linnell's creativity manifested itself in many ways, from illustration to music, and of course, to writing.
Upon graduating high school, Linnell left to attend WWTC in La Crosse WI for Graphic Design. After college, Eric lived primarily in the Twin Cites until ultimately settling down with his wife and starting a family in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.
This Side of Zero Is the result of a hungry and polished author taking the next step with his sophomore effort. Combine that with the tough expectations that creative personalities often put on themselves, and you have a finished product that promises to leave readers on the edge of their seats wanting more.
"I really went into this one writing fearlessly, and just sort of followed the story down the rabbit hole. It's going to take you to some dark places, but you may end up finding a light waiting at the end of the tunnel.”