Debut Author Flynn Berry Makes a Splash with UNDER THE HARROW

 Flynn Berry’s debut psychological thriller UNDER THE HARROW, which goes on sale from Penguin Books tomorrow (6/14),  is making a splash on summer reading lists, featured on best-of lists from Good Housekeeping, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,,, Huffington Post,, PureWow, and Refinery29. It has also quickly become an in-house favorite!

Staff Pick


Dominique, Library Marketing Manager for Penguin Random House, says:

This is a dark, twisty psychological thriller that had me from the beginning.  What Nora does to find her sister’s killer and avenge her death takes strength and courage.  I have four sisters and I could totally empathize with Nora.    This is an amazing debut that I could not put down.  For fans of Elena Ferrante. 



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Reviewers are calling the novel (about a young woman who finds her sister brutally murdered, and the shocking incident in their past that may hold the key to finding the killer) “mesmerizing,”

“darkly atmospheric,” and “psychologically intense and thrillingly page-turning.”

Penguin readers had the opportunity to meet Flynn at a great in-house Books & Banter event on Tuesday, June 7.  She is pictured here with her editor Lindsey Schwoeri (on the left).  Flynn hits the road next week for her six-city tour (visiting Denver, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and NYC). Visit Berry’s author page for more event information, here.



A Word from Flynn Berry

Staff PickI understand why everyone loves Austin, but to me it had a sinister, gothic edge. I’d moved to the city for graduate school and lived in a quiet neighborhood. On my block, there was a moonlight tower, a tall, spindly streetlamp built in the 1800s to make the streets safer after a series of gruesome murders. I was living in an old house and had trouble sleeping at night. Even ordinary interactions seemed to have a macabre tinge, like the time the cab driver picking me up didn’t start the car after I got inside. “Does your house have a basement?” he asked, which might be the worst possible question you can ask someone.

And I was lonely. I didn’t know anyone in the city yet, and found myself strangely tongue-tied and stilted. But then there was the library. The main university library is a brutalist concrete building. There was no limit on the number of books to check out, which was presumably for people writing doctorates, and not those who wanted to borrow every book written by Penelope Lively in one go.

I spent hours browsing in the library. This was familiar; this was something I knew how to do. And the library’s collection was dazzling. I found the drama section. Jacobean revenge plays and a strange little book, “a baroque eclogue”, written by Auden. Upstairs were thousands of contemporary novels.

And then I found the criminology section—hundreds and hundreds of books on crime and investigations. I borrowed a book about famous detectives, called Famous Detectives. It was written in 1967 and reads like a child’s adventure story. I highly recommend the chapter on Inspector Tamegoro Ikii. The stories were simple, but so vivid that reading them was like taking a mild hallucinogen.

I borrowed How to Stop a Stalker, a guide for stalking targets, written by a cop. I read The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. The library divided “Crime” into 45 subtopics, including fear of crime, hypnotism and crime, recidivism, and swindlers.

I don’t think I would have written Under the Harrow if I hadn’t found this section of the library. For some reason, these books made me feel safe—more like a detective than a potential victim.

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