Sequel from Agatha Award-Winning Novelist Sara J. Henry

Sara J. Henry’s debut novel Learning to Swim has been praised by critics, devoured by fans of mystery and suspense, and awarded many top literary prizes.

Sara J. Henry received the Mary Higgins Clark Award from the Mystery Writers of America, Best First Novel from the Agatha Awards, and the Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Learning to Swim was also nominated for the Barry Award for Best First Novel and the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. All well-deserved for a masterful debut.

Now we’re thrilled to share Sara J. Henry’s sequel, A Cold a Lonely Place, featuring unforgettable heroine, Troy. RIFers will be among the very first readers to dive in long before A Cold and Lonely Place hits the shelves on February 5, 2013.

To whet your appetite for the sequel, let’s take a look at the opening of Learning to Swim:

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If I’d blinked, I would have missed it.

But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the other ferry. It could have been a bundle of trash; it could have been a child-size doll. Either was more likely than what I thought I saw: a small wide‑eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment as it plummeted toward the water.

What I did next was a visceral reaction to those small eyes I thought I saw. Without conscious thought I vaulted onto the railing I was leaning against, took a deep breath, and dived. It’s amazing what you can do if you don’t stop to think.

“You could call this book suspense,” says Sara J. Henry of Learning to Swim. “You could call it a psychological thriller or literary mystery, or a combination of these. Someone told me this book is a lot of things: a crime novel and a suspense novel; a woman’s book and a love story; the story of a lost child and the story of self-discovery. I like to think of it as a book that will speak to a lot of people.”

For more, check out Read It Forward’s interview with Sara J. Henry.

Sara’s friend and blogger Quinn Cummings posted a video review of Learning to Swim. She describes it as “a thrilling thriller . . . it’s so much fun, it’s such a page-turner.” Check out Quinn’s series of clever, funny videos on her YouTube channel, The QC Report.

Fast forward to 1:41 for Quinn’s review of Learning to Swim.

SARA J. HENRY has been a columnist, soil scientist, book and magazine editor, Web designer, writing instructor, and bicycle mechanic. She has least one too many dogs (all rescued). A Cold and Lonely Place is her second novel and will be available from Crown wherever books are available February 3, 2012.

Visit Sara online at and on Facebook and Twitter.

RIFers: do you have a video review of a favorite book? Send us the link – we’ll invite you to become a SuperRIFer, with advance access to great reads, and will feature your video on Read It Forward!

Were you a lucky winner of Learning to Swim? Share your review in a comment below!

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • techeditor

    I read LEARNING TO SWIM. It begins, you guessed it, in the water, Lake Champlain, specifically. Troy (female) jumps into the lake from her ferry boat when she sees what appears to be a child falling from a passing ferry boat. This not-very-good swimmer somehow manages to find the drowning little boy, resuscitate him, remove his sweatshirt that ties his arms, then swim to shore with him.

    The rest of Chapter 1 bugged the heck out of me: while Troy does call the police, she won’t give them her name or tell them where she is. Then she calls her boyfriend to explain why she isn’t coming over, but she doesn’t tell him what happened, either. I didn’t have high hopes for the rest of the book.

    But I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out, Troy had reasons for not telling anyone. This issue was not ignored, as I had feared.

    Now she has quickly become attached to the boy, who finally tells her his name, Paul. Troy later meets Paul’s father, Phillipe, and becomes personally involved with their lives in Canada and law enforcement there.

    Throughout the story is the question: who tried to drown Paul? Troy has other questions as well, but that one question is what they all boil down to. The book becomes more and more suspenseful as every character, particularly Phillipe and his brother-in-law, is suspect and as Troy’s willingness to help Paul threatens to put her in danger.

    This is a good thriller, and my initial impression was proved wrong. After Chapter 1, I was no longer aggravated by Troy’s mishandling of the legalities of Paul’s situation, and the story became more and more suspenseful with every subsequent chapter.

    I was, however, aggravated that the book contained several grammatical errors throughout. But I read the hard cover edition; Henry said on her Facebook page that these will be corrected in the paperback edition of LEARNING TO SWIM.

    I recommend this to readers who love thrillers and would appreciate a change from what they normally read, the formulaic mysteries/thrillers. This is different.

    And I’m glad to see the sequel.

  • Arthur


  • Reba Fry


  • pat

    Looks like a good one~

  • Marilyn

    I love thrillers and would love to read this!

  • Siobhan Conwell

    This is a book I would love to read!

  • barb

    Sounds like a great read for a cold, rainy night.

  • christine

    Can’t wait for this one!

  • Mary A. Hebda

    This book sounds exciting!

  • Tracy

    I enjoy reading thrillers and this one looks really interesting. Loved to read and review it.

  • Amanda Welch Moree

    This sounds like a very good read! Would love to win this!

  • ellie

    Sounds compelling and great. thanks for this chance.

  • Jan St

    I have never won a book, and I read a book a week. Hope I win!

  • Vanessa Fisher

    I would love to read this and see how the story continues!!

  • MonaG

    Suspense/thrillers is my favorite genre. I would love to read this.
    Thanks 🙂

  • Dawn

    I want to read this. Pick me!

  • Jody Rigle

    I would love to read this!!

  • pat zashkoff

    Sounds like my kind of book.

  • Lisa Schadler

    Sounds like a great book – looking forward to reading the entire book!

  • Megan

    Or you could pick me!

  • Juliann

    I’m reading a really good book right now. I just know that when I finish it, I’m going to be frantic looking for a book that can live up to the one I just finished. “A Cold and Lonely Place” sounds like it would fit the bill perfectly.

    Pick me, and I’ll try to drag this one out so that I have another good book to pick up when I’m done. 🙂

  • martha

    I really enjoyed Learning to Swim and would love to read her new book.

  • Glenna Jorgensen

    This sounds like the kind of Thriller, that I love to read. Since I never learned to swim, the idea of someone who is not a good swimmer, jumping into save a child makes this even a more “want to read” book.

  • Susan Stokes

    A Favorite Author of mine..Would be Great to win “A Cold and Lonely Place” Susan.VT

  • Jill ed

    Thrillers are fun to long as you don’t skip to the back. I would love to read this.

  • Amy Friel

    I would love to read this book, it sounds very very interesting.

  • Christine Clark

    Loved Learning to Swim! I am so excited to read the sequel to it. My gosh could not put it down. Learning to Swim grabbed me with the first sentence! I would love to read A Cold and Lonely Place to see what happens next. Hope to win it – thanks!

  • Susanne Morse

    I absolutely LOVED “Learning to Swim” so I am just crazed with the anticipation of Ms. Henry’s sequel! I am hoping copy of this ends up in my hands soon~~ February feels like forrrevvvverrrrr away!!

  • Taylor

    I would love to read this please!

  • Irene Yeates

    I read Learning to Swim in one evening!! The first sentence, “If I’d blinked, I would have missed it.” was enough to tug me in until the wee hours (which for me is anytime after 11:00 P.M.). Loved the easily envisioned familiar settings, furious attempts to discern the villains, and the gutsy Troy Chance. Sara J. Henry’s debut is a winner. Is this the beginning of a new series? I certainly hope so!

    Have been waiting, Susan!

  • Becky Narlinger

    This looks like a wonderful read. I hope to be one of the lucky winners!

  • Diana Marlow

    Appears to be a book I would definitely enjoy

  • Diana Marlow

    Look like a book I would enjoy

  • Diana Marlow

    Look forward to reading it

  • Pat

    The last sentence of the the tech editors review says it all. I just have to try for it.

  • Jennifer

    Would love to read this book.

  • Jenna Evans

    Sounds like a great read, the cover looks beautiful too!

  • Shauna

    I love thrillers and this one sounds intriguing! I would love to read it.

  • Alison Smith

    I’m so excited there’s a sequel! I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  • Midori

    I love mysterys

  • rose mortimer

    would love to win win win this.

  • Marcia

    I liked Learning to Swim so I am very interested in this
    sequel. This author writes stories that touch you.

  • Lisa Ladd

    I met Sara at Booktopia Manchester, and loved her first book, can’t wait to read her second, hope I win!

  • beckie ford

    i have on read learning to swim, but this book a cold and lonely place seems right up my alley! i would love to read this book!

  • Cheryll Rawling

    I would love to win this because I love thrillers

  • Cristelle

    I love reading this kind of book. Hope I will be the lucky winner.

  • sylvie abrams

    I liked Learning to Swim very much. Can’t wait for the sequel

  • Beth

    I was hooked before I finished the exerpt. I HAVE to read the sequel!

  • Elizabeth

    love it!

  • Colleen Davis

    Would love to WIN THIS!!!!

  • Christy

    sounds like an exciting read

  • hichem

    i m a compulsive reader

  • gloria

    would like to win this book.I love to read books

  • Sandra H.

    This looks like a book that could keep you up all night!

  • Annetta Miller

    It sounds like such a good book! Would love to read the whole book. I hope I win a copy!! Thank you!

  • Sue Ziegler

    I would like an ARC if available. Thanks.

  • yahme

    Sounds like a good read!

  • constance

    I would love to read this book.IT sounds like a very good book.

  • Marianne Haddad

    Learning to Swim was an excellent read – and I loved advising patrons in the library where I work to read the novel – like me, they would return the book asking “What else has she written? I must read it NOW!” I am so looking forward to A Cold and Lonely Place and I can’t wait to share the news with the patrons !!!


    I would love to add this to my collection please add me to the running!!

  • Claudia

    I’m always looking for good new authors and I would like to read Sara Henry’s new book.

  • Barb March

    I read Learning To Swim and was drawn into the story from the beginning – powerful opening. Although I thought some of the story line was a bit unbelieveable (the relationship with Pauls father, the “detective” work that Troy did), as a whole the book was very readable and kept you wanting to know how everything would turn out. I definitely will read the sequel – hopefully sooner than later! Fingers crossed to win :). Thanks for the chance.

  • Leah

    This sounds like the kind of thriller that I would really enjoy; I love self-discovery books and novels with psychological elements.

  • Daphne

    Loved Quinn’s video review of Sara’s first novel. Can’t wait to read about the cold and lonely place, especially since I have always enjoyed the Adirondacks!

  • Patricia

    Looks like a great book for a boring weekend at home.

  • Lindsay H

    Would love to review this for my blog!

  • Beth

    Mysteries are my favorite. I would love to read this in advance of its release date!

  • Mari Solis

    Looks like a good read. Would love to win. LOVE to read.

  • Christy

    Sounds like a great read!

  • Kris

    I’d love to win this, too – sounds like you couldn’t put it down.

  • Tori Marmol

    Sounds like a great book!!!!!


    Want to win this one~~~love thrillers.

  • Kathleen Smith

    Mystery, thrillers are my mainstay in books and movies. Would love to win this.

  • Sandra

    Another excellent book by a talented author.

  • Sharon Elliott-Fox

    Sounds like a page turner– great reading. Would love to win this one.

  • Michelle

    sounds great! I would love to read!

  • Yasmeen Newkirk

    I Want to Read MORE Please!

  • Lisa

    Oh my gosh this looks so GOOD!!! Pick me!

  • Gayle

    This is a gotta have book. The cover alone just says’ read me, read me” Please enter me to receive a copy. Thanks.

  • Liz

    Sounds great. I would like to win this book.

  • sandi ward

    I have had my eye on this book since I first saw advertisments. Would love to read this book. Thanks

  • sandi

    Looks like a good read – would love to review it.

  • Sunnymay

    Anybody who has learned how to swim will take a place in the line for this book. My dad used to be a lifeguard and resqued a guy swimming alone and gave him more time on this good earth.

  • Cheryll

    I just finished A Cold And Lonely Place and I loved it ! I have to admit I never read Learning To Swim. I will be reading it now even though I’m going out of sequence. I was able to get into the character of Troy immediately and enjoyed her a lot which is hard sometimes when you haven’t read the first novel. I think this says a lot for the author. Thank you Read It Forward for the chance to read this !

  • 65tdy

    A Cold and Lonely Place is an incredible book. Sara J. Henry is an author who makes you really feel her writing. Real people in real situations. Troy Chance is a reporter because her desire for the truth is so powerful she has to investigate. The articles she writes for her local newspaper are powerful and bring to light many past happenings that directly affect the present. People can be ruined unless she is careful; but she feels responsible to report the news as close to absolute as possible without causing destruction to others. It is a fine line and she toes it nicely. I was intrigued by parts and saddened by others. All in all, a great read and I want more. I really didn’t want this book to end!

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