Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where my ideas come from: A Killer's Essence


The ninth book I wrote, A Killer's Essence, will be published this September and will be my 10th book published (with Blood Crimes and Julius Katz and Archie self-published as ebooks). The original title I had for this was Essence, and my publisher and I went through a long list of titles before settling on "A Killer's Essence". While very different than my "man out of prison" noir books, this and my still unpublished, Murder Club, are easily my two best crime novels, and I'm in the process of wrapping up a film deal for this one which I should be able to talk about more in a few weeks.

So the idea for A Killer's Essence came from a very cool idea that hit me. With the book coming out very soon, I don't want to ruin it by talking about what this idea was, but when you read the book you'll see.

So now that I had this idea, I had to work it into a story. I started this in November of 2007. The Red Sox had just won their second World Series in three year. 2004 was a cathartic moment for millions of Red Sox fans, and making it even more so was the way they came back from the dead against the Yankees in the ALCS. Whether this was a conceit on my part or not, I wanted to center this book during the 2004 ALCS, and a good part of the book takes place then with the Sox-Yankees series being more than just a backdrop but in a way integrated into the story. The book didn't seem to fit the Boston area, so I placed in the New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan respectively), and with it set there, I got to have some fun and show the ALCS (and the Yankees massive chokejob) from the point of view of a diehard Yankees fan.

So far I really haven't talked much about what A Killer's Essence is about. Let's just say this is my most character driven novel, and in a way it's about two very damaged people, Stan Green, a decent man and a good cop whose personal life is spinning out of control, and Zachary Lynch, a recluse who is barely able to fit in this world, and how they ultimately end up helping each other.

When I finished A Killer's Essence, I was sure I had a book that the Big 6 publishers would want to buy, and I showed it to an agent who used to be an editor for Gold Medal. She told me if she was still at Gold Medal she'd buy it in a heartbeat, but that the book was too gritty and different for publishers today. I ended up finding an agent, Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger, who fell in love with this book and ended up selling it and The Caretaker of Lorne Field to Overlook Press. Maybe it is too gritty for the Big 6, but I'll be finding out in the next few weeks whether it's too gritty for today's crime readers.

One last note, Matt, who lives in Brooklyn, was convinced when he read the book that I must've lived there at one time also because of how authentic it felt. Nope. If I ever lived there it was in a previous life, and if that was the case, I hope I wasn't a Yankees fan then!

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