It's not just the truth that lurks at the bottom of the spiral… The utterly original and brilliantly compelling new thriller by the twice Ned Kelly Award shortlisted Iain Ryan
Erma Bridges' life is far from perfect, but entirely ordinary. After years of dedication to academic research, her career is falling apart, all because of a mysterious workplace complaint. So, when she is shot twice by Jenny – a vindictive colleague who has seemingly disappeared – her quiet existence is shattered in an instant.
With her would-be murderer dead, no one can give Erma the answers she needs to move on from her trauma. Why her? Why now?
Panicked, overworked and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Erma begins her quest for the truth – and a dangerous, thrilling journey into the heart of darkness. As a web of brutality unfurls around her, Erma uncovers a dark series of crimes on campus and discovers a side of herself unimaginable within the polite world of academia.
Iain Ryan is an Australian writer who lives in Melbourne. He is the author of two previous novels Four Days (2015) and The Student (2017), both shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award; Four Days for Best First Crime Novel (2016) and The Student for Best Crime Novel (2018). His short fiction is published in Seizure, Crime Factory and Akashic Books (online).
Ryan grew up in the outer suburbs of Brisbane and became interested in crime/noir fiction during the 1990s post-Pulp Fiction boom. He spent most of his undergrad business degree – in a regional university, studying business – in his dorm room, smoking pot and reading James Ellroy and Jim Thompson novels. He continued reading within the genre throughout his twenties, but mainly focused on music (he toured and recorded with various Brisbane independent bands). In his late twenties, the death of a friend landed Ryan in therapy and it was Ryan's therapist who suggested he try his hand at writing. It took.
A decade later, American indie press Broken River Books published Four Days. After the closure of Broken River and a brief flirtation with self-publishing, Ryan sent the manuscript of The Student to a single publisher (Angela Meyer at Echo). His new novel The Spiral is his most ambitious book, including sections of branching narrative (Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy novels) and marrying them to the hardboiled style of his earlier work. In 2013, Ryan moved to Melbourne for work.