by Rex Pickett
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Pub Date 09 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 03 Jan 2022
A romantic murder mystery by Sideways author Rex Pickett.
When archivist Nadia Fontaine is found dead of an apparent drowning, Emily Snow is hired by Regents University to finish the job she started—to organize and process the papers of Raymond West, a famous Pulitzer Prize–winning author who has been short-listed for the Nobel.
Emily’s job comes with its inherent pressures. West’s wife, Elizabeth, is an heiress who’s about to donate $25 million to the Memorial Library—an eight-story architectural marvel that is the crown jewel of the university. The inaugural event in just a few months will be a gala for the Who’s Who of San Diego to celebrate the unveiling of the Raymond West Collection and the financial gift that made it all possible.
As Emily sets to work on the West papers, it begins to dawn on her that several items have gone missing from the collection. To trace their whereabouts, she gains unsupervised access to the highly restricted “dark archives,” in which she opens a Pandora’s Box of erotically and intellectually charged correspondence between Raymond West and the late Nadia Fontaine. Through their archived emails, Emily goes back a year in time and relives the tragic trajectory of their passionate love affair. Did Nadia really drown accidentally, as the police report concluded, or could it have been suicide, or, even worse, murder? Compelled to complete the collection and find the truth, Emily unwittingly morphs into an adult Nancy Drew and a one-woman archivist crusader on a mission to right the historical record.
Twisting slowly like a tourniquet, The Archivist turns into a suspenseful murder mystery with multiple and intersecting layers. Not just a whodunit, it is also a profound meditation on love, privacy, and the ethics of destroying or preserving materials of a highly personal nature.
A Note From the Publisher
“Rex Picket’s beautifully written and tautly structured novel is a slow burn that builds on every page to its searing, emotional conclusion—along the way the author and his characters descend into the dark chasm that often separates art from truth, and sometimes does not.”
—Charlie Lovett, NYT Bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale & Escaping Dreamland
"Suspenseful and haunting, The Archivist carried me away. Rex Pickett's noir novel of obsessive passion, deadly secrets, and the power of creativity unrolls with relentless, tidal force. Join heroine Emily Snow and take a journey into the dark archives. Enthralling."
—Meg Gardiner, author of the UNSUB series
"Sideways writer Rex Pickett always leaves us wanting more and with The Archivist he delivers. Immersive, wonderful, absorbing, he draws the reader into a geologically-nuanced tragic romance that ramifies into something inexpressibly transcendent."
—James Phelan, author of Patriot Act
• Major campaign for acclaimed author of Sideways, which was made into the Oscar-winning film
• National print, television, radio, podcast, and online media coverage
• National online advertising, including Facebook, LitHub, CrimeReads, GoodReads, and BookRiot
• Major showcase at library and bookseller trade shows
• High-profile author platform
• Author website: RexPickett.com | author Twitter: @RexPickett | author Instagram: rexpickett
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 49 members
Great romance and thriller. I enjoyed this story thoroughly. The characters are excellent. I highly recommend it.
Emily Snow has been hired to collate the papers of Pulitzer Prize winning author Raymond West. Or, more accurately, she’s been hired to take over the job after her predecessor, Nadia Fontaine, dies under mysterious circumstances. Emily is on tenterhooks as she maneuvers around West’s wife, Rebecca, who has promised to donate $25 million dollars to the Memorial library at Regent University. As Emily begins her work, she begins to believe that some of West’s papers are missing. In a search for those documents she stumbles across correspondence between West and Nadia, emails that seem anything but professional. Which raises the question about Nadia’s death. Was it really an accidental drowning? Could it have been a suicide, or something even more sinister? This is a complex and twisted work of dark academia
I could not put this book down. It was filled with moral dilemmas. If you discover a secret, do you keep it to yourself and try to live with it or tell and destroy so many lives. The Archivist was brave and reckless. You will enjoy it until the very end.
Emily Snow is an up and coming archivist who has replaced Nadia after her untimely death organizing the collection of an esteemed author Ray West. The action of this novel takes place in and around a university that is UC San Diego but called something else. Nadia was engaged in a torrid love affair with West, and collaborated with him on a semi-autobiographical novel about their relationship. The longhand original text has gone missing, but Snow is diligent in her duties and tracks down the notebooks. That lands her in trouble with people who might have caused Nadia's demise and are making Snow's life difficult. IF you are familiar with the northern area of San Diego County, or the world of university archives, you might enjoy the very realistic situations and scenes that are described in this novel. Plus, your vocabulary will be enlarged greatly as Pickett's language is filled with lots of rare descriptions that are both evocative and sensitive to the unfolding steamy affair between archivist and her subject. While I grew impatient towards the end of the novel, I still give it high marks and it held my interest. Snow, at one point, tells West, "I am deeply sorry if what I brought here is a truth you don't want to face." But West's coming to terms with his latest masterwork and Snow's dogged determination to figure out what happened to her predecessor archivist, will keep you engaged until the last page.
This was a slow burn story to me! But a good quick read! I love books like this.
When archivist Nadia Fontaine is found dead of an apparent drowning, Emily Snow is hired by Regents University to finish the job she started.
There is some romance which I though was a great add! A wonderful book!
Wow! If readers begin Rex Pickett’s The Archivist with the preconceived notion that archivists lead dull, sedentary jobs sorting and cataloguing documents, they will be surprised to find themselves reading into the late night, perched on the edge of their seats, rapidly turning pages.
Pickett opens with a late 2017 news article from the San Diego Union-Tribune, identifying a drowning victim as Nadia Fontaine, archivist at Regents University Memorial Library, the person recently in charge of processing the papers of Pulitzer-prize author Raymond West.
Following the news item, Pickett fast forwards to August 3, 2018. Emily Snow, 27, from small-town Massachusetts, has just left her job at San Francisco’s Pacific Film Archive for a three-month stint as project archivist in charge of completing the processing of Raymond West’s papers. As California burns around her, Emily drives from San Francisco to San Diego, listening to the audiobook of West’s novel Lessons in Reality, which she views as “charting in hypnotic prose the interior landscape of a young man who yearned for experience but was thwarted by failure.” Sensing a kindred spirit, she thinks about her own career moving from one temporary project to another and wondering if she chose archival work because of its solitude that proves “to be a bulwark to the inevitable disappointment of intimate relationships.”
Emily further wonders if a future archivist might someday care as much about immortalizing her life and work, preserving her legacy, as she has cared for famous writers’ legacies during time at the University of Texas and as she is about to do again with the legacy of Raymond West.
Once on the job, Emily learns that Elizabeth West, the author’s wife, is paying for the archival work and has pledged to donate $25 million, which the library plans to use to renovate the 8th floor, turning it into a stunning money-maker that can be rented out for high-dollar events.
A conscientious archivist striving to do thorough work, Emily finds herself looking for her predecessor’s private archival records that haven’t been made available to her. She also determines to find a way to access Regents University’s “dark archives,” online records of documents, photos, and videos that she knows various archives keep but, for one reason or another, deem inappropriate for public access.
Digging for letters, manuscripts, and memorabilia that hadn’t been provided to her, Emily realizes, violates the archivists’ code of ethics. Although she tells herself she should stop, the more she learns, the more obsessed she becomes with the lives of Raymond West and Nadia Fontaine. She determines to learn the full story, to know the truth about Nadia’s death. Not only does Emily’s delving into hidden materials jeopardize her job, it could mean the university’s loss of Elizabeth West’s $25 million donation, for the volatile Elizabeth appears to be behind the missing or disappearing materials.
To compound Emily’s growing ethical problems, she has secrets of her own that put her psychological well-being at risk.
Several graphic sex scenes will bother some readers; personally, I found them excessive although one could argue they serve a plot function. While some readers may choose to skim or skip those scenes, the overall plot line should grab and hold nearly everyone’s attention as readers wonder what Emily will do next, how she will solve her increasing ethical dilemma, what the truth is behind the drowning of her predecessor Nadia Fontaine, what characters should be trusted or feared, and what dangers lurk outside Emily’s library cubicle.
My thanks to NetGalley and to Blackstone Publishing for an advance reader copy of this recommended thriller.
After loving Sideways, I knew I had to read this one too! The suspense is palpable and kept me reading at a frenzied pace. Emily is the new archivist in San Diego and is assigned to the famous Raymond West whose writing is revered. Seems simple enough...but what Emily discovers is that her predecessor, Natalie died under mysterious circumstances and nothing is what it appears to be--even the author West himself. So as she catalogues his work for posterity, she is aware that his wife has given quite a large sum of money to the university so everything needs to be clear-cut and straight-forward...but of course nothing ever is. There are suspicious papers (some hidden) that Emily wishes to read but everyone seems to be clueless as to where they reside. So just enjoy the journey as you won't figure this one out until the final pages, but it's worth the rollercoaster ride!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
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