The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press

The Three-Day Affair

by Michael Kardos

In the tradition of Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan and James Sallis’s Drive comes a riveting debut novel about a small-time rock band drummer caught up in a friend’s kidnapping of a young girl.

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 256
  • Publication Date September 10, 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2181-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $14.00

About The Book

Will, Jeffrey, Evan, and Nolan have been friends since their undergrad days at Princeton. After graduation, they took different paths. Will is a failed musician still reeling from the tragic death of a bandmate, Jeffrey got rich from the dot-com boom, Nolan is a state senator with national aspirations, and Evan is about to make partner at a major New York law firm. Their friendships have bent without breaking for years, until one shocking moment changes everything.

One night on a drive, they make a routine stop at a convenience store. Within moments, a manic Jeffrey emerges, dragging a young woman with him. He shoves her into Will’s car and shouts a single word: “Drive!” Shaken and confused, Will obeys.

Suddenly four men find themselves completely out of their element, holding a young girl hostage without the slightest idea of what to do next or why she’s there to begin with. They’re already guilty of kidnapping and robbery: it’s only a matter of time before they find out the terrible depths of what else they might be capable of. For these men, three days will decide their fate—between freedom and prison, innocence and guilt . . . and life and death. The Three-Day Affair marks the emergence of a truly talented new crime writer in Michael Kardos.


“Original. . . a carefully calibrated study of how even the most highly evolved members of our species can become feral under pressure.” —New York Times Book Review

The Three-Day Affair never stops roaring, the pages blurring by, dangerously accelerating.” —Esquire

“Kardos’ debut novel features finely drawn characters, clever plotting, a fine surprise ending, and graceful and economical storytelling.” —Booklist

“A taut thriller that goes least where you expect it to, but goes there beautifully.” —Tom Franklin, New York Times bestselling and Edgar-Award winning author of Crooked Letter

The Three-Day Affair is one of the most impressive debut novels I’ve ever read. Gripping and relentless, it will grab you by the throat and make you finish it. Michael Kardos absolutely nails it. Watch out for this guy.” —Steve Hamilton, two-time Edgar Award-winning author of Die a Stranger

“A wonderful piece of literary suspense craftsmanship. Line by line, Michael Kardos dazzles with prose strength and style, and the bad-day-gone-worse story does not let up. . . A fascinating character study and engaging thriller.” —Michael Koryta, winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize and author of The Prophet

“An outstanding thriller that has everything: graceful prose, a terrific plot, unbearable suspense, great surprises, and an intelligent and sympathetic narrator who will break your heart. An absolutely first-rate effort from a debut author who, trust me, is going to be around for a long time.” —John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunter

“This first novel from storyteller Kardos leads three ordinary guys into a dark wood and turns the screws on them. An agonizing moral nightmare interspersed with flashbacks to happier times whose import becomes clear only in the final chapter.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A momentary lapse of judgment leads to dire consequences in Kardos’s excellent first novel, a crime thriller sure to please fans of Scott Smith’s A Simple Plan. . . . Kardos makes the most of his intriguing setup, populated with plausible characters and enhanced by a vicious closing sting.” —Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)


PW Best Book of 2012
Esquire Best Books of 2012
Shortlisted for the 2014 Crimefest Award


Just then the door to the store swung open and Jeffrey came outside. But not alone. He was holding onto the arm of a young woman who was wearing the tan pants and red shirt of a Milk-n-Bread employee. They hurried toward us as if she were a young movie star and he her bodyguard helping her quickly past the paparazzi.

Jeffrey opened the back door and half-guided, half-pushed her into the car. He climbed in beside her and yanked the door shut. And before I could ask a single thing, he shouted: “Drive!”

That one word, and my mouth went completely dry. All I could think was that the cashier had been injured. Another young woman was going to die, and I was about to watch it happen. It felt, suddenly, preordained, as if my life these past three years had been nothing but limbo, a long wait for this exact moment.

“Hurry up, Will! Go!”

“What’s wrong with her?” I managed to ask.

“What is it?”

“Just fucking drive!”

What do you do when your friend shouts in panic for you to drive? You drive. So I did. I fucking drove, stamping on the gas, gunning the car out of the parking lot, and hanging a right onto Lincoln Avenue.