Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gabriel Cohen

1 - What's your latest?

Gabriel Cohen: It's a crime novel called THE NINTH STEP, the fourth in my series from Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press. They're set in Brooklyn, NY and feature NYPD homicide detective Jack Leightner.

2 - Assuming I haven't read it, why should I?

Gabriel Cohen: Aside from the fact that I hope it tells a pretty exciting fictional tale about crime in present-day New York, the book incorporates a number of true historical events, including the most amazing story I've come across in 25 years of freelance writing: the story of how a munitions ship caught fire and almost blew up in New York harbor during WWII. If it had gone up, it might have led to the greatest disaster in human history (the shock wave would have taken out a number of towns along the Jersey shore, the northern tip of Staten Island, and the southern end of Manhattan). The only thing that saved the entire area was the incredible bravery of a little band oflocal firefighters and Coast Guardsmen.

3 - What can you tell us about your main character that you hadn't realized until you answered the question?

Gabriel Cohen: I like the idea of main characters who change and discover new things about themselves over the course of a series of books, rather than staying exactly the same from book to book. (I was inspired early in my career by how the main character changes in Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novels.)

4 - What's your favorite scene and why?

Gabriel Cohen: I'm partial to the first scene, in which a stranger shows up while Jack is at home enjoying breakfast on a day off and tells him something which totally changes his view of the most significant event in his childhood.

5 - What's next?

Gabriel Cohen: I'm writing a new novel, and also working on an essay about another true and very personal story: five years ago, I unwittingly moved into a Brooklyn apartment where an actual homicide had taken place just seven months before: my landlord murdered his wife. That apartment, believe it or not, is where I wrote THE NINTH STEP.

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