(Alison Sloane Gaylin)
Married; children: one daughter.
Writer. Journalist for over ten years; writer for In Touch Weekly magazine.
Hide Your Eyes, Signet (New York, NY), 2005.
You Kill Me, New American Library (New York, NY), 2005.
Alison Gaylin spent several years as a journalist working in the arts and entertainment industries before she published her first suspense novel, Hide Your Eyes, in 2005. The book introduces Samantha Leiffer, a preschool teacher who lives in Manhattan. While sitting on a pier one day, Samantha witnesses a man and woman dumping a large ice chest into the Hudson river. She makes eye contact with the man, and fears for her safety when threatening objects and messages begin to appear among her possessions. The police find the ice box and discover a murdered three-year-old child inside. Detective John Krull offers to stay in Samantha's apartment to protect her and a romance develops between them. Samantha continues to fear for her life as the killer stalks her and more children are murdered. Many critics praised Gaylin's debut novel. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book "a consistently entertaining evocation of Manhattan's strange and artsy underside," while Susan Scribner, in a review posted on the Mystery Reader Web site, applauded Gaylin's "vivid characterizations" and "fast-moving plot." Scribner also noted that Sa- mantha's "wry first person narrative strikes a perfect note between rapidly growing terror and gallows humor, even during the final heart-stopping confrontation." Additionally, Sheri Melnick, writing in the Romantic Times Book Club Online, commented, "Quirky and original, this novel has levity as well as suspense." Noting Gaylin's effective style, Harriet Klausner, in a review posted on the Best Reviews Web site, concluded that the author "is a bright new star in [sic] the psychological suspense and thriller horizons."
Gaylin's second novel, You Kill Me, is the sequel to Hide Your Eyes. Readers once again encounter Samantha Leiffer who is still coping with the traumatic events of the first story. Samantha feels safe now that John Krull is her live-in boyfriend, but she begins to worry when John withdraws from her emotionally and physically. Her fears escalate when a random man slips her a note telling her that she is in danger. When Saman-tha's ex-boyfriend, the woman who moved into her old apartment, and the man who gave her the note are all murdered, Samantha must find help before it is too late. Critical response toYou Kill Me was mostly positive. A Publishers Weeklyreviewer pointed out that "though the novel has some trappings of generic chick lit … Gaylin casts them all in a fresh light." Harriet Klausner, in a review posted on the Best Reviews Web site, found the book to be "much darker in tone" than Gaylin's first novel, but also maintained that "Sa-mantha's perspective allows readers to feel her gradually growing feelings of tension and terror." Critic Robyn Glazer held a similar opinion; in her review of the novel in theRomantic Times Book Club Online, Glazer acknowledged, "the story is clever, with many suspenseful, well-written moments."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, February 7, 2005, review of Hide Your Eyes, p. 47; October 31, 2005, review of You Kill Me, p. 38.
Alison Gaylin Home Page,http://www.alisongaylin.com(April 12, 2006).
Alison Gaylin Web log,http://www.firstoffenders.typepad.com (April 12, 2006).
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (March 13, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Hide Your Eyes; (November 15, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of You Kill Me.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/(April 12, 2006), Susan Scribner, review of Hide Your Eyes.
Romantic Times Book Club Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/(April 12, 2006), Sheri Melnick, review of Hide Your Eyes; (April 12, 2006), Robyn Glazer, review of You Kill Me.