Books By Me
The Vengeance Season is a classic private detective novel that takes place in the Los Angeles of 1946. Roy Doyle has returned from the war as a stranger in his own land with no prospects and little hope, but circumstances conspire to move him into the world of the private detective.
My interest in writing this book was to look at the process of becoming a great private eye. We always seem to greet these characters at the height of their competence and so are always left wondering what sort of mistakes did Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe make on their way to becoming the best in their field.
That’s the difference with Roy Doyle. He’s a beginner and he makes some pretty awful mistakes, some with terrible consequences, on his way to solving the mystery.
A Girl Unseen is the story of Lou Campanella, a lowlife gumshoe at the end of his shelf life, who takes on unwinnable cases simply to soak his clients for as much rate as he can. His easy, if intellectually lazy, life comes crashing down around his head when he gets involved with a high maintenance party planner who holds the clues to the mystery of a missing Austin socialite.
This book grew out of a desire to write a really twisted buddy story. The idea was to put two people together who really don’t like each other and see what happens. What happened was the organic creation of one of my favorite characters ever: Murray. You just have to read the novel to understand why.
The Answer Man is about Vanya, a Russian interrogator who always gets the information he’s after. It’s up to his victims how long that takes and how much pressure must be provided. But when he opts not to terminate an innocent bystander caught unawares in the vicinity of one of his operations, he sets off a chain of events that has repercussions across the globe.
I worked for NSA during the Cold War in the Soviet Division. It was a fascinating time and far more rewarding than spying on our own citizens (I assume). During this time, there were rumors about a Russian interrogator who got his information without ever speaking. He never even asked a question. This (probably apocryphal) story stuck with me and decades later I created a character based on it.
Murderology is about a group of experts that gathers together to track down a legendary serial killer only to discover that he never existed. But as they begin to unravel the mystery, their own members begin dying off under strange circumstances.
I personally don’t like serial killer stories. I feel like Hollywood turns these monsters into twisted geniuses when, in fact, they are mostly just opportunists with a cagey sense of self-preservation. So I decided to try to write a book in which there is never a scene with a woman trembling under the terrible gaze of a criminal mastermind.
I also decided to make the group of experts as bitchy and internecine as academics typically are with one another in real life. That turned out to be the real fun, making the experts into nutcases nearly as bizarre as the person they’re chasing.