1) Tell us about Bullet for One.
John Coburn is a private eye who won’t let the law get in the way of justice.
Five years ago Coburn watched as his father was gunned down by a masked man. Tortured by the fact that the killer was never caught, he fights the feelings of failure that haunt his every waking moment.
Now, history has repeated itself. When his best friend Felix is murdered after agreeing to protect a witness, John Coburn dives in to catch the killer before the police and FBI. Battling official law enforcement and his own demons, Coburn turns over every lead, rattles every cage, and stretches his own moral code to the breaking point. As he digs deeper into a mystery that involves a team of thieves, corrupt businessmen, and a mafia kingpin with a price on his head, Coburn realizes that revenge has a cost he cannot calculate.
If he fails, can he live with another ghost?
If he succeeds, can he live with the consequences?
2) In this book you wrote about a private detective. In Justified Sins you wrote about a vigilante. Many short stories in Reaper’s Dozen feature crime busters who are not cops and one or two feature criminal protagonists. Show No Mercy was about a CIA agent. So most of your work features “outsiders” who do not operate within an organized bureaucracy. Why does the independent hero appeal to you?
Truthfully I’ve never noticed the pattern, but since you ask I can say that members of a bureaucracy are locked into a culture that prevents them from doing anything productive, so only an outsider can solve a problem. He’s not loyal to anybody or kissing up to get ahead. When you mix an outsider like Coburn with the FBI agents and police officers he encounters in Bullet for One, you get a great cocktail of conflict and suspense.
And I can’t believe that you used “organized” and “bureaucracy” in the same sentence.
3) You have said on your blog that Mickey Spillane had a strong influence on Bullet for One. Why?
There’s a narrative power behind Spillane’s best work that grabs you by the throat and demands attention and his sucker punch twist endings have no equal. The final line of Vengeance is Mine always makes me smile and no writer since has been able to end a book like that one. I wanted Bullet for One to have the same effect. I think the ending is shocking in its own way.
4) Why should readers care about this book?
On the surface you might think it’s just another Death Wish rip off but I tried to do something different with that subject matter. I wanted to treat the subject of “revenge” in a different way. Coburn wants to kill the man who killed his friend. In any other book, that’s the extent of the emotional content and there’s a shootout and the bad guy gets it. I wanted a story that showed that such an effort does more damage than the personal loss that instigated the effort. The futility of revenge became the theme of the book, and I think that’s what makes it different from others like it and why readers should care. What happens in Bullet for One will follow Coburn into future adventures and he’ll have to deal with it somehow.
5) So we can expect a sequel?
I have at least two planned that will tie up certain plot points in Bullet for One which I decided not to address because it’s part of the back story that motivates events. But it’s from that back story that we will get the sequels. I’ll do one or two in 2012.
6) What else is coming next?
I have another novel called The Rogue Gentleman that will be out in September or October. That finishes my writing schedule for this year. Starting in January, I will release a novella once a month featuring the Rogue Gentleman character and his fellow buccaneers. Each story will have its own adventure but there will be a common plotline running through each that will be resolved at some point. I want these to be like an episodic television show, along the lines of White Collar and Leverage, which feature a similar formula. And, of course, I will do a couple of stand-alone novels. The novellas are already written and I’m waiting for January 2012 to release them.
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