Monday, August 15, 2011

Where my book ideas come from: Fast Lane

I'm going to borrow from Patti Abbott's blogpost from yesterday, and each day over the next two weeks write about where the idea for one of my books came from, and I'm going to do this in the order in which I wrote these books. So first up is Fast Lane.

Back sometime before 1990 I was listening to the Jerry Williams show (a Boston area radio talk show) where he had a PI on as a guest, and the PI was talking about a young girl who had been adopted and who hired him to find her biological parents, and how things did not turn out well when he found the girl's biological father.

That was what sparked the idea for Fast Lane, which would be my first novel. At the time I was reading a lot of Ross Macdonald, and my first attempts at Fast Lane were to have a Lew Archer-like PI uncover the sordidness and coverup of a fellow PI, but it just wasn't working well. Then I discovered Jim Thompson and saw a completely different way to write this.

What also plays heavily in Fast Lane was at the time that I wrote it (1992) I was kind of annoyed at the direction popular PI novels were heading in, with what I considered these more cartoonish white knight-like PIs who'd carry out their own vigilante brand of justice to the scum they were dealing with, and I wanted to show this type of behavior could also be pointing out a psychotic personality, and this pushed Fast Lane to being both psychotic noir and somewhat a deconstruction of the hardboiled PI genre.

Fast Lane was first self-published in 2002 under the title In His Shadow, and later a slightly altered version was published by Point Blank Press with the Fast Lane title. It was also published in Italy by Meridiano Zero.

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