David Baldacci’s King and Maxwell is the sixth in his series featuring these title characters, ex-secret service agents turned private investigators. They stumble onto a plot involving a teenager and his father, an army sergeant who was supposedly killed in action. David talks about how he goes against conventional gender roles with his leads, and how the CIA is actually dwarfed by another spy agency that receives far less media attention. Suspenseful reading— as Baldacci typically peels away layers of intrigue to reveal the truth.
Doug Preston and Lincoln Child’s latest Pendergast novel is White Fire, which delves deeply into their hero’s Sherlockian roots and similarities. We talk to Lincoln Child about the confusion readers have with him and Lee Child, of Jack Reacher fame. Paramount has options on the Pendergast character, and Lincoln has the perfect actor in mind for the role. Included in White Fire is a Sherlock Holmes short story written by Child, endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate.
Dust is Patricia Cornwell’s twenty first novel featuring Kay Scarpetta, who, like the author, has migrated from Richmond to Washington and now Cambridge, Massachusetts. In our interview, Cornwell reveals plans for a new ABC TV series with a new character, a female New Jersey detective with an interesting past. She talks about authenticity in her portrayal of a medical examiner and how geographical details become almost a character in her writing. She explains where she feels comfortable stretching reality and where she feels obligated to strictly adhere to fact.
Scott Turow’s Identical centers around two Greek families harboring decades-old grudges, some valid and some inconsequential. Set in fictional Kindle County like many of his other works, Scott explores how identical twins are not the same in many ways and how those differences affect the arc of both characters’ lives. Inspired by his own sister’s stillborn twin, the novelist, in our discussion, relates how the story emerged from events in his own childhood .
Jeffery Deaver has come up with an innovative approach regarding the structure of his latest novel. The October List is written backwards – chronologically, the end happens before the beginning, a la the film Memento. In our conversation, Deaver delves deeply into his writing technique, including how he edits various drafts and how he decides how many characters will populate his work. Fascinating insight into the mind of a top flight writer follows.
Sandra Brown is one of the few female writers in the action/thriller genre. Her latest, Deadline is a suspense novel laced with romance, set in a Georgia seacoast town. She talks about how she inhabits her characters and balances the relationship aspects with page-turning action sequences. Brown has written over eighty novels, and a recent USO tour of Afghanistan gave her inspiration to include both military and civilian veterans of that conflict in Deadline.
Nelson DeMille wrote The Quest almost forty years ago – his first full length novel, originally released only in paperback. He always considered it to be one of his finest works, and upon revisiting it recently, decided it deserved to be exposed to his legion of fans. Working with his editors, he virtually doubled the length of the original manuscript, using his decades of writing experience to develop the characters more deeply and strengthen the plot lines. He shares some of the wisdom he’s gained as a novelist in our conversation.
Critics say that Never Go Back may be Lee Child’s best Jack Reacher novel to date. Does the writer think so? And what is the future for Reacher films – will they feature Tom Cruise? Can a man Reacher’s size actually take on two men with his hands tied behind his back? The novelist answers these questions and many more in a fascinating interview.
Forty years ago, Clive Cussler wrote his first novel, The Mediterranean Caper. Already in his mid thirties, this advertising executive had no idea what life had in store for him after the paperback publication. His protagonist, Dirk Pitt, became a template for future action heroes and his model of weaving historical events into the basis for modern thrillers is reflected in the works of Steve Berry and Dan Brown. Cussler is active into his eighties, salvaging significant shipwrecks and continuing his writing, albeit now often with the help of co-authors. He explains the process of assembling novels with others, and often throws curveballs past their pre-arranged plot lines. A lively chat with an old master follows, celebrating the release of his initial novel for the first time in hardcover.
Karin Slaughter’s Unseen is set in the small Georgia town of Macon and involves cop-killers who run a prescription drug ring. Undercover work, savvy forensics and good old fashioned police work highlight this latest thriller. Karin talks about the dynamic between her two female protagonists, (who despise each other), a Georgian’s take on neighboring Florida and Hilton Head Island, and her laments on the drug war and its victims.