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Princeton playwright, theater critic’s first novel to be published


Pennsylvania native Ken Jaworowski’s debut novel, “Small Towns Sins,” will be published by Henry Holt and Co. Aug. 1.

In Jaworowski’s debut Rust Belt thriller, “Small Town Sins,” three protagonists have one thing in common: a need for something to change and a willingness to act.

After years of just scraping by, three restless souls have their lives upended: Nathan, a volunteer firefighter who uncovers a secret stash of money in a burning building and takes it; Callie, a nurse whose tender patient may not have long to live, despite the girl’s fundamentalist parents’ ardent beliefs; and Andy, a recovering heroin addict who undertakes a nightmare mission to hunt down and stop a serial predator.

Before long, Nathan’s stolen riches threaten to destroy everyone around him as he tries to cover his haphazard trail of lies. Callie risks her career to grant her young patient a final, and likely illegal, wish. And Andy’s hunger for vigilante justice becomes a fierce obsession that may end in violence.

As their stories barrel toward unexpected ends, Nathan, Callie, and Andy struggle to endure—or escape. They each face their pasts, gamble on their futures, and confront the underside of their rough Rust Belt town.

Publishers Weekly just awarded the book by the Princeton, N.J., resident, set in rural Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, a starred review, and Philadelphia magazine named it one of the Top 10 novels of the summer.

Jaworowski is a seasoned playwright, as well as an editor and critic for The New York Times. He will be speaking and doing book signings in Princeton and Philadelphia in August, and he said he hopes to schedule a reading in Bucks too.

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