FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why genre fiction?
The word `genre’ has a negative connotation, the implication being that thrillers or romance novels have little to offer beyond their entertainment value. I disagree. Some of the most important novels of our time have been set squarely in the realm of what we’d call genre fiction. The detective novel, or the police procedural, occupies a particularly important place. I admire and respect the authors of ``serious’’ novels, but I find the narrative structure of the thriller a compelling milieu in which to base a story. Thrillers allow for topical commentary on the most important themes of the day. There’s nothing more satisfying than a plot-driven thriller built around compelling characters. The icing on the cake, if you’ll pardon the cliche, is the opportunity afforded the author to make observations or to comment on the world as it exists at the moment.
What are you working on now?
I’m going back to the beginning in a way. The next book will actually be a short novella exploring the Casson case. It’ll center around Paul Casson, the hedge fund manager found slumped over the steps of the Boston Common bandstand with a bullet in his brain. The events of the novella have a direct bearing on Brant’s state of health.
Where did Jonas Brant come from?
Jonas Brant was born and raised in South Boston. He’s a lieutenant in the Boston Police Department working out of a building on Tremont Street. We know he’s a father and that his wife was killed in a car accident several years previous. We know he has a sister and his father has cancer. We know he likes lattes, scones and classic rock from the ‘80s. We know some elements of his life, but I wanted to keep much of his background vague — at least for the moment. I want to take the reader on a journey as, together, we discover more about the man and his family.
Does the world really need another morose cop?
Absolutely! I love series characters. There’s nothing better than a character brought to life through both the minutia of daily life and the broader story arc presented by whatever case is being investigated at the moment. There’s no coincidence that many of the police officers and detectives I most like reading about are hampered in some way by physical or mental ailments. It’s what makes them interesting. It’s what keeps me reading. I am particularly fond of Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko and Ian Rankin’s John Rebus. These are real characters facing real challenges. While I’ve tried to make Jonas Brant as original as possible, some readers may see a bit of Renko or Rebus in his demeanor. But I wouldn’t say Brant is morose. He’s skeptical and he’s questioning and he’s faced some pretty significant set backs in life, but he hasn’t crossed the line fully into cynicism. And that’s a good thing.
Will we see Sergei Volodin again?
Yes, Sergei Volodin will make another appearance. I thoroughly enjoyed creating Volodin and bringing him to life. Even the Wind presented only one facet of his personality. There’s much more to explore. I’d like to find out what motivates him, what drives him.