Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where my ideas come from: Killer

When Serpent's Tail told me they wanted to publish Pariah, I threw out the idea of a book based loosely on Boston hitman, John Martorano, as a third book to make Small Crimes, Pariah, and now what would be Killer, a 'man out of prison' noir trilogy. Martorano had killed 20 people and then was able to serve out only 12 years in prison when he cut a deal to give evidence against Whitey Bulger. I had no idea what this third book would really be about, but I wanted to have a 2-book deal with Serpent's Tail so I'd get to write a book for once without having to hustle afterwards to sell it.

I never had any intention of writing a 'man out of prison' noir trilogy in the first place. I started Pariah with Kyle Nevin leaving prison because I thought it would be an interesting contrast to what I did in Small Crimes since Nevin is almost the opposite of Joe Denton. While Denton is deep in denial as to how much damage he's caused and what he really is, Nevin is just a force of nature--someone who remorselessly leaves death and destruction wherever he goes.

So now that I had this third book that I needed to write, the trilogy took shape as everything just kind of coalesced. It just ended up fitting so well as you had each protagonist going down their own paths--for Joe Denton it was a search for redemption, for Kyle Nevin it was money, revenge and to reestablish himself as a man to be feared, and for Leonard March, my ex-hitman protagonist of Killer, it was a search for self identity.

So while I had no clue what Killer was really going to be about (other than this very vague notion that it would be loosely about someone like Martorano) when I threw out the idea to Serpent's Tail, I ended up both creating and finishing off my noir trilogy with what many (myself included) feel is the best book of the three.

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