syndetics.plRemember the novel Dark Debts by Karen Hall? It came out in 1996 and was a Book of the Month Club main selection. Called by the publisher as a cult hit that “wildly original theological thriller ” that “masterfully combines southern gothic, romantic comedy, and mystery.” Entertainment Weekly gave it an unimpressive C-. Paramount optioned it for a project that never took off.

As The New York Times reports, Ms. Hall, once a TV writer and now an indie bookstore owner, was never completely happy with it either and spent twenty years obsessing over her one and only novel,

“I never stopped thinking about it … I always knew I would never write another book until I got this one right … everything I didn’t like about it made me cringe.”

9781501104114_55600In a unique publishing path, she is getting a do-over. The audio producer, Audible approached Ms. Hall about doing an adaptation, which made her editor at Simon & Schuster think that would make a good launching pad for a 20th anniversary edition (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). Ms. Hall agreed on the condition that she could revise it.

After twenty years of thinking about the novel, her alterations are “dramatic and subtle” says the NYT. She changed the story’s ending, added and cut characters, took out the profanity, and toned down the violence.

Time will tell if the second shot grabs readers. Currently the novel, which published yesterday, is pretty low on Amazon’s rankings and orders are low to nonexistent in libraries we checked (a few of which still have the 1996 edition). But just think of the book club possibilities!

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