Pull Focus: A Novel

Walsh, Helen

  • “Part Real Housewives, part grown-up Nancy Drew.” — Missy Marston, author of Bad Ideas

    When Jane’s partner goes missing she needs to find out if he’s in danger while also contending with the politics of a large international film festival: Hollywood power brokers, Russian oil speculators, Chinese propagandists, and a board chair who seemingly has it out for her.

    Jane has been appointed interim director of the Worldwide Toronto Film Festival after her boss has been removed for sexual harassment. Knives are out all around her, as factions within the community want to see her fail. At the same time, her partner, a fund manager, has disappeared, and strange women appear, uttering threats about misused funds. Yet the show must go on. As Jane struggles to juggle all the balls she’s been handed and survive in one piece, she discovers unlikely allies and finds that she’s stronger than she thinks.


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  • Helen Walsh is the founder and president of Diaspora Dialogues, Canada's premier literary mentoring organization. Formerly the publisher of the Literary Review of Canada and a founding director of Spur, a national festival of politics, arts, and ideas, Walsh spent five years working as a film/digital media producer in L.A. and New York. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

  • Published: September 2021

    ISBN: 9781770415799

    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.

    Pages: 272


“Two thumbs up for action, suspense, and lust.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In the end, I couldn’t put this novel down. Pull Focus is a propulsive mystery of financial machinations, international malfeasance, and sexual impropriety, but it starts off deceptively, as a sardonic romp among film festival glitterati. The multi-talented woman at the heart of the whirlwind needs to smooth-talk arts board members, play tough with dangerous scoundrels, and manage all of this in the midst of romantic convulsions.” — Antanas Sileika, author of Provisionally Yours

“A spellbinding debut from Helen Walsh, Pull Focus is a tense, sexy, emotionally charged thriller. Jane, its resourceful, outspoken, often witty central character will not allow herself to be defeated by the dangerous forces that conspire to end her career and, perhaps, her life.” — Anna Porter, author of Deceptions

“Perfect for anyone looking for an action-focused mystery/thriller with a strong female lead. It will satisfy your cravings for a feminist heroine and provide a good mystery to boot!” — (e)Book Nerd blog

“The novel is as addictive as they come, painting a detailed and rich picture of the complications of the film industry. Walsh paints her characters with real poise and art, with recognisable but not caricatured characters. The novel is amazingly propulsive, taking a huge amount of different issues as its theme … A masterclass debut that shows Walsh as a talent to watch.” — Off The Record

“With bated breath, I fell deeper and deeper into the complex and intricate mystery so artfully created by Helen Walsh. Jane’s world felt both familiar and unlike one I’d ever seen before. Pull Focus is like a shot of adrenaline … with every page, you keep wanting more.” — Deepa Mehta, film writer and director

“Part Real Housewives, part grown-up Nancy Drew, Pull Focus gleefully skewers all players in the international film scene while deftly unspooling a good old-fashioned thriller. Walsh creates a world of glamourous parties, dirty money, and weaponized sex.” — Missy Marston, author of Bad Ideas

Pull Focus is a sexually driven thriller and gets steamier with every turn of the page … Walsh should get this story onto a script so more people can experience this thrill ride.” — The Miramichi Reader

“[An] accomplished thriller debut … Walsh’s expert knowledge of the film industry, the corporate world, and the ruthlessness of players in both adds arresting verisimilitude to this novel … [A] gripping novel that focuses on the high-stakes and quickly changing world of the film industry.” — BookLife by Publishers Weekly