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Author Nykanen releases two books this spring

Nelson novelist Mark Nykanen has two new books coming out under two different names with two different publishers – all within a three-week period this spring.

The first is Burn Down the Sky, a post-apocalyptic thriller published by HarperCollins. Using his pen name, James Jaros, Nykanen tells a tale set in North America in the latter part of this century.

The world he’s envisioned has been devastated by environmental catastrophe and a runaway virus that has killed most of the planet’s population.

Families in a remote encampment quickly come under attack by marauders who abduct five young girls for a fundamentalist religious sect.

A mother and her oldest daughter survive the ferocious battle, and set off to find the kidnapped children before their lives can be destroyed.

New York Times bestselling author Bill Evans calls Burn Down the Sky “An intense, amazing, post-apocalyptic tale of unleashed terror and undying hope. This is gifted writing, and a superb, brilliant thriller.”

Bruce Grossman of said Burn Down the Sky “Takes the idea of the post-apocalyptic men’s adventure tale and turns it on its head, with the simple idea that it focuses on female leads. With truly stand-out moments, Burn Down the Sky never falters.”

Mark Feldstein, a former colleague of Nykanen’s from network news, as well as a fellow author, said the Nelsonite has come up with a disturbingly believable future: “It’s Children of Men meets The Handmaid’s Tale – with The Road Warrior to rev up the high octane plot.”

Nykanen, who won four Emmys as an investigative reporter, said he tried to apply the same diligence to imagining his future world as he applied to his investigations of environmental abuse for NBC News.

Nykanen posts links to important climate change stories almost every day on his blog. Even though the subject matter of Burn Down the Sky is dark, Nykanen said he enjoyed writing the novel and its sequel, Carry the Flame, which HarperCollins has scheduled for publication next year.

His second novel, Striking Back, is coming out under his own name from Bell Bridge Books. The mystery/thriller is set in Los Angeles and Hollywood, where Nykanen lived and worked while writing and directing for a widely syndicated television series.

Nykanen said Striking Back is very different from Burn Down the Sky, “But it bears one similarity in that it’s also a first for me. Up till now, I’ve published only thrillers or suspense novels. Burn Down the Sky is my first science fiction, or speculative fiction, as some critics call post-apocalyptic stories; and Striking Back is my first mystery, although I should say that it also has lots of thriller and romantic elements.”

Striking Back unfolds around Gwyn Sanders, a Los Angeles therapist who works with men who physically abused their partners. As the story begins, men in Sanders’s therapy group are murdered in ways that mimic the violence they committed against their loved ones.

“This is a terrific amateur sleuth police procedural,” wrote Harriet Klausner, the number one ranked reviewer on “Mark Nykanen provides a gripping whodunit.”

Nykanen’s previous four novels have been widely reviewed, with strong praise from numerous publications such as The Globe and Mail, Entertainment Weekly Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, and King Features. His books have been translated into seven languages, including French, German,and Russian.

  • To read Nykanen’s climate change blog go to