MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 29, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Gray Man, an international thriller written by author Mark Greaney, is slated for release in the United States today by a division of Penguin Group, one of the world's largest book publishers.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6647

The 456-page thriller is Greaney's first published novel and the first of an initial three-novel series scheduled for publication through 2011 by Penguin's Berkley Publishing Group.

The Gray Man is set to come public with an initial press run of 115,000 copies, significantly higher than industry averages for debut works of fiction. And earlier this month, Greaney reached agreement to option the film rights to a production team with established successful partners in the United States and the United Kingdom. Details are withheld pending a formal announcement.

Advance commentary for The Gray Man has been strong. "Hard, fast, and unflinching...exactly what a thriller should be," said Lee Child, author of New York Times best-seller Gone Tomorrow. And James Rollins, author of The Doomsday Key, also a New York Times best-seller, characterized The Gray Man as "Bourne for the new millennium."

"My life is moving as fast in reality as the Gray Man does through my book," said Greaney, 42, who grew up in Memphis and graduated from the University of Memphis. He wrote The Gray Man while working full time at Medtronic Sofomor Danek and left the spinal division in April to work on his sequels.

The Gray Man is the story of former government agent turned independent contractor Court Gentry and the obstacles he faces as he runs a pan-European gauntlet of assassins arrayed by corrupt corporate interests and foreign powers to save an innocent family and himself.

"When I realized that the best part of my day was the 90 minutes I spent writing each morning before work, I decided to pursue it with unrelenting determination, day after day after day," Greaney said. "Thinking about a novel is overwhelming. But if you write every day and work enough days, you can produce something satisfying to yourself and interesting to others."

His team includes literary agent Scott Miller of Trident Media in New York and executive editor Tom Colgan, a 25-year publishing industry veteran.

To research his book, Greaney traveled across seven European countries and trained extensively with firearms, battlefield medicine and close-range combat along side military and law enforcement personnel. He credited his interest in world affairs to his father, Ed Greaney, who was affiliated with WMC-TV Channel 5 in Memphis for more than 50 years before he died in 2005. "He was curious about absolutely everything," Greaney said. "He was always reading a book."

Additional information about author Mark Greaney (GRAY-knee) and The Gray Man (ISBN: 978-0-515-14701-8) may be found at www.markgreaneybooks.com. Media interviews and review copies are available upon request.

The photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com, and via AP PhotoExpress.

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