Days after its release, James Houston Turner’s acclaimed novel, November Echo, soared to the #1 spot on Amazon’s espionage thriller list. Turner says he wrote the book in response to requests from readers for more background stories on his signature hero, the intrepid KGB colonel, Aleksandr Talanov, who became a deep-cover spy for America during the Cold War. Says Turner, “What started out as a 7500 word short story quickly grew into a full-fledged novel as characters came to life in ways I hadn’t expected. I love it when this happens but maintaining control is like trying to contain a wildfire. It’s a lot easier said than done.”
The book was featured on a number of international websites, including Turner’s Official Facebook page, which he says helped it achieve #1. “Ratings are a lot like riding the Kingda Ka rollercoaster,”
With the tagline, Every Spy Has A Beginning, Turner’s latest book chronicles the incident that turned Talanov into a spy. Set in 1985 against actual events surrounding Biopreparat, the Soviet Union’s top-secret biological weapons program, November Echo takes readers on an emotional ride to the Costa del Sol, Spain, when Talanov is given the assignment of tracking down a defecting scientist. But when the scientist and his family are murdered in front of his eyes, his impulsive decision to save the man’s teenage daughter pits him against the deadliest and most vicious adversary he will ever encounter: his own people, the KGB. Turner’s thrillers have already been compared by The Dallas Morning News to those of Robert Ludlum, with the title of his latest novel is taken from Talanov’s CIA codename, “November Echo.”
Writing in NewsBlaze, author Liz Terek calls November Echo the “Best book of 2013, bar none,” with The Mystery Tribune calling Talanov (from its review of Greco’s Game) “One of the most memorable characters we’ve come to know.”
What sets the book apart from other spy thrillers is fourteen year-old Noya Gorev, daughter of the defecting scientist Talanov was assigned to locate. “Noya definitely adds emotional depth to the book,” Turner explains from his home in Austin, Texas, where he and his wife, Wendy, recently moved after living nearly twenty years in Adelaide, Australia. “When we meet her, she’s as devoid of emotion as Talanov. But slowly the two characters begin to change one another.”
The addition of Noya, which has broadened the book’s mainstream adult appeal to include the young adult audience, was an indirect result of the “Team Talanov” writing project for teens, which Turner created to allow teenage students an opportunity to profile and name their own book characters. The project was run nationwide, with three winners having book characters named after their creations, with credit being given for their work. In addition, each of the three top winners will have their characters featured in at least one upcoming Talanov thriller. “Reading those profiles and interacting with so many talented teenage writers fed into the creation of Noya,” Turner says.
To read the entire official Regis Books press release, click HERE.