Lesiewicz sets a scorching pace in this creepy thriller and leaves us gasping with a genuinely chilling pay-off.
Claustrophobic and tightly wound, Rebound by debut author Aga Lesiewicz is an edge-of-your-seat read
A gripping page-turner, a thrilling story of betrayal, sex, crime and death
(Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You)
Compelling and Addictive
A smart, sexy first novel . . . it races along with great verve and introduces an interesting new voice
What a delight, an original, fresh new voice. I simply could not put this book down. Rebound by debut author Aga Lesiewicz is a taut, claustrophobic, psychological thriller . . . The plot keeps the reader engaged as it twists and surprises. A great read and a high bar to set for the next novel
Rebound is a gripping psychological thriller from debut author Aga Lesiewicz
From the Inside Flap
Life is good for Anna Wright. She’s a successful media executive working for one of the UK’s largest TV corporations. She’s got a great boyfriend, some close friends and a lovely home. She adores her dog, Wispa, and she loves to run to help her de-stress.
But Anna’s perfect life starts to crumble from the moment when, out jogging on the Heath one day, she meets a handsome stranger. She takes a route into unfamiliar territory, and then she has to face the consequences.
There’s a dark, growing creepiness as the atmosphere becomes unsettled and, as Anna’s professional life becomes increasingly pressured and poisonous, her obsession with the intriguing stranger intensifies.
From the Back Cover
I went somewhere I’d never been before. And that led to my undoing.
I hear footsteps behind me, regular and strong, another runner making the best of the twilight hour. I run across the South Meadow at a steady pace. The sound of footsteps is still behind me. There’s no one else left on the Heath now. I try not to panic, thinking that whoever it is will change their direction soon. But the sound of trainers pounding the ground persists, going exactly at my speed, not trying to overtake me and not slowing down. I quickly glance back and see the dark silhouette of a man, about twenty paces behind me . . .
Hampstead Heath becomes a hotbed of crime in novelist Aga Lesiewicz’s Rebound
The Polish writer tells Alex Bellotti how a freak injury propelled her away from television into an unlikely literary career.
Ah , Hampstead Heath – for generations a literary influence on everyone from Wilkie Collins to Will Self. Adding to that list this month is Polish writer Aga Lesiewicz, whose debut novel turns the idyllic, green city oasis into a hotbed of sinister violence.
In Rebound, we are introduced to Anna Wright, a successful 30-something television executive blessed with a rich boyfriend, a house in Highgate and a treasured chocolate brown Labrador.
On the surface, she has it all, but when a romantic encounter she has with a stranger on the Heath is soon followed by a series of mysterious murders on those same hills, her life is thrown down a rabbit hole of police investigations, dark omens and deceit.
“It’s a very handsome setting,” says Lesiewicz, 53, who lives in Southgate but is a regular walker in Hampstead. “The Heath is such a fantastic place and it lends itself to whatever you want to do. There are quite a few books set on it and they’re all really different; it can be understood in whichever way you want.”
Lesiewicz’s walks on the Heath aren’t the only biographical details she has poured into the book. After coming to England to study English Literature at Lancaster University 30 years ago, she went on to work for the BBC World Service before becoming a television promo producer for the likes of Cartoon Network, Disney and Discovery.
Her career was developing comfortably until a freak meniscus tear in her knee left her unable to walk and housebound. Having written poems, short stories and even scripts throughout her life, she was inspired by the Heath to set a novel there and six months later, found an agent with relative ease.
“Some of my friends kindly offered to break my other leg so I could write my second book!” she laughs, before expanding on the draw of thrillers specifically.
“I’m a great fan of thrillers and crime fiction. My favourites are all the Scandinavian writers – Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbo – and I’ve always loved the Scandi crime series, The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. They all have very strong, independent, unconventional female characters and in my novel, Anna breaks away from being conventional and pays a price for it.
She continues: “I don’t know much about the police side, so there won’t be any ragged tormented detectives in my story or super policemen with a less talented sidekick. It’s just ordinary people who venture out into this uncomfortable grey area between good and evil, right and wrong, and it’s something we can all slip into quite easily without being a bona fide criminal.
“Suddenly you find yourself in a situation that’s completely alien, new and quite dangerous.”
With a second novel Exposure (which turns the setting towards Shoreditch and east London), Lesiewicz is quickly growing into her new career.
As she prepares to launch Rebound at Daunt Books Hampstead on Tuesday, however, her mind is still on her debut and the way it can affect the most ordinary reader.
“Crime fiction shows real people in real situations and it’s a very good way to comment on life, it’s like a social commentary. What I wanted to do was to write about the social and emotional implications of crime, but not make it into a run of the mill police procedural.
“Obviously it’s fiction, it’s not a polemical essay, but I hope readers will recognise places like the Heath, the situations, types of people and I hope that they will be thrilled and shocked, but also laugh and be amused by the whole scenario.”
Rebound by Aga Lesiewicz is published on January 14 in hardback by Macmillan.
read a few chapters of REBOUND published by The Sunday Times Crime Club
I mean the glitzy media event, with the awards night that is a wet dream for all the TV promo-makers and marketing guys in the world. Back to Promax Peter. He is a Creative Director at some sports channel, charming, good-looking and with that air of keen and urgent availability so characteristic of married men with small kids. We talked, we flirted, we exchanged business cards, and here he is, texting me sexy on a Friday night. Tempting, but no. I delete the message. Wispa dashes down the dark street, as if she’s seen someone she knows. She gave up chasing foxes and cats a long time ago and now the only thing that gets her going is the sight of a human friend. But the street is empty, there is no one there, and she trots back to me panting, her pink tongue lolling about happily.
Unconditional love. A feeling I don’t believe in, perhaps with the exception of Wispa.But her love is also conditional: she wants my presence, walkies, her food. Well, it’s as close as it’ll ever get to being unconditional. Am I getting too jaded for a true, overwhelming, spellbinding emotion that would make me do things I wouldn’t normally do, promise things I wouldn’t normally promise? I read somewhere that parental love is unconditional, because parents feel compelled to love their children, no matter what. I probably caught a glimpse of that when, after my dad had dumped us and disappeared with some blonde floozy, my mum stood by me, fighting like a wounded lioness, so I always had everything I wanted as a child, even though money was tight. It all ended when she died of breast cancer at the age of forty, a wounded lioness till the very end, trying to look out for her cub even when she had no energy to look after herself. It was shortly after her death when
I – a spoilt and angry teenager – realized that from then on I would have to earn love; it would never come free again. Bell is right. I have to slow down and spend some quality time with my friends and my dog. Invest a little. I pat Wispa’s head and walk on, hoping my resolution will last at least till Monday.
Aga Lesiewicz lives in London, which has been her professional and spiritual home for over thirty years. She has worked as a radio presenter, voice-over artist, interpreter, screenwriter and, most recently, a TV producer and director. A freak knee injury in 2013 led to a change in her career and prompted her to write her first book ‘Rebound’. Her second novel ‘Exposure’ will be out in 2017.