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“This story will keep you up and give you nightmares, but you will be hooked from page one. Smith has added a surprising new element to the thriller genre with the introduction of his protagonist, a professional torturer, who is himself a tortured individual. Geiger has three rules, one of which is, he doesn't interrogate children. So when he ends up with a 12-year-old boy he is supposed to extract information from, Geiger changes all of the rules. Geiger is an extremely fascinating character whom you want to hate, but can't. A compelling and unique thriller.”
— Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
He is a professional torturer with a strict code. A mysterious past. And a dangerous conviction that he can save the life of an innocent child, in Mark Allen Smith's The Inquisitor.
Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. In his business, called "information retrieval" by its practitioners, Geiger's expertise is priceless. His clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Though he rarely sheds blood, Geiger does employ a variety of complex psychological methods to push his subjects to a place where pain takes a backseat to fear—at which point there's no turning back…
"As disturbing as it is compelling."—The Washington Post
One of Geiger's only rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He removes him to the safety of his New York City apartment and promises to protect him at all costs. But what could one boy know that could bring him so much harm? As Geiger and Harry race to discover why their client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they find themselves up against a ruthless adversary—one who will stop at nothing to achieve his means. And time is running out…
"[Geiger is] one of the most utterly distinctive protagonists in a recent thriller, and one of the most unexpectedly sympathetic."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Mark Allen Smith is a successful television and documentary film producer and screenwriter. The Inquisitor, featuring the controversial hero known only as Geiger, is his first novel. Mark's experience investigating features for the acclaimed ABC-TV news magazine program, "20/20," planted the seed for his debut thriller when he was involved with a story dating from the 1970s about the remarkably brutal torture and murder of a 17-year-old in Paraguay, the last true dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. He was further inspired to action by the shocking death of Lisa Steinberg at the abusive hands of her adoptive father; this event uncorked ongoing interest in the corrosive effect of physical and psychological pressure on children and other innocents. His journey of research convinced him that the novel was his best way to bring his story to the largest possible audience.
A long-time resident of Westchester County, Mark Allen Smith now lives in New York City’s Harlem with his wife, Cathy, and a blended family of six children. He is presently working on the sequel to The Inquisitor, also featuring Geiger.
“Transfixing…nerve-racking…[Smith] successfully transforms Geiger into a sympathetic hero.” —The New York Times Book Review
“This is one of the best and most engrossing debut novels I've read in years, and also one of the most original. Mark Allen Smith has created an unusual hero named Geiger whose occupation is torturing the truth out of people. Geiger is good at what he does, and so is Mr. Smith. The Inquisitor will keep you locked in a room for days.” —Nelson DeMille
“Remarkably assured…A swiftly paced narrative as disturbing as it is compelling.” —The Washington Post
“Information retrieval takes on a sinister cast in Smith's mesmerizing thriller debut…[Geiger is] a fascinating piece of work…This may be the most unusual and talked about thriller of the season.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“[Geiger is] one of the most utterly distinctive protagonists in a recent thriller, and one of the most unexpectedly sympathetic…Smith invests his first novel with psychological dimensions you might expect in a third or fourth book…A breezy, involving thriller that handily overcomes any resistance to its grisly premise and leaves you hoping for the return of its oddly winning hero.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An adrenaline-fueled cat-and-mouse game…[Geiger] is a fascinating protagonist with a revealing backstory. A compelling debut thriller that blurs the lines between the good and bad guys.” —Library Journal (starred review)