by Diana Hockley
This week we are reviewing the thriller Russian Roulette by Christopher Lynch and we have a fun interview with him. At the end of this post are details on how to enter to win a copy of Russian Roulette.
Russian Roulette By Christopher Lynch
Pay attention! You don’t want to miss out on any part of this superb thriller!
“I’m an expert in the business of secrets. I discover them, record them, assess them and offer a monthly payment plan to those who would prefer to keep them cloistered,” says Jack Sharp.
In the strain of: Bob’s a carpenter, Harry’s a butcher, Greg’s is a plumber, Jack’s a blackmailer…you get the picture! Jack’s business is blackmail and he runs it with charm, empathy, professionalism and due respect to the IRS.
The story starts out with a narration, explaining the background to the plot and rapidly picks up pace and heat. A routine infidelity investigation turns into a scam, the proportions of which keep Jack Sharp on the run. Finding himself besieged on all sides as he tried to protect the innocents, Jack dodges the assassins in the pay of Victor, the Russian mobster responsible for Jack’s nickname – One Eye. Saving the widow of the plastic surgeon who – unwisely – rearranged Vicktor’s face in order to enable the mobster to live secretly in the USA, Jack encounters many players in the game to stay alive.
This fast-paced thriller is a gem to read. It has it all – murder, romance, intrigue – ingredients designed to make this reader keep her wits about her. There were times when I actually gasped and occasions when I laughed aloud.
What I particularly like about this novel, is the author Christopher Lynch’s ability to create a character who should be despicable. When a victim has a problem paying his dues, Jack will do his best to help and not only because of the payments. Jack genuinely cares about his “clients” and about the people he meets along the way – except for Victor and his henchmen.
The romantic side of the story is sweet and shows a side to Jack, which is not incompatible with his public persona.
Totally enjoyable, this plot is an exciting read for women as well as men and comes highly recommended. I would love to read another Jack Sharp novel and I hope that Christopher Lynch is typing his fingers to the bone right now!
Interview with Christopher Lynch:
KRL: Did you start writing from a young age and are you a dedicated reader?
Chris: I didn’t start writing until I was an adult. I’ve always loved to read; mostly crime fiction.
KRL: When did you start seriously writing and what did or do you do other than writing?
Chris: I wrote several short stories and several screenplays when I was in my twenties. But I wasn’t successful until I really found my passion and started writing about the things and the characters that interested me. My other interests are distance cycling and mountaineering.
KRL: Where did you find your inspiration for the plot?
Chris: I’ve always been interested in the concept of a blackmailer as a main character. Usually extortionists are minor characters that you never really get to understand the motives of or, how they operate. I wanted to develop a character where people could not only understand his Modus Operandi, but also what made him tick internally. That’s why I enjoy writing in the first person; you really get into the character’s head.
KRL: How do you plan your books and for how long before you actually start writing?
Chris: I guess I’m what’s known as a “pantser” as in, flying by the seat of. I start with a very basic plot and a couple of characters – not unlike the blurb on a book cover – then I take off like a rocket. I only outline when I really need to organize my thoughts and pretty much let the story run. I know that many would consider this dangerous, but I find it very exciting. After all, I don’t even know where the thing is heading.
KRL: What research do you do for your novels? E.g. physical/library/mentors.
Chris: I’ll use the internet and then rely on pestering people with questions about specific things, like technology. I really don’t rely on others for writing advice and I don’t use beta readers or critique groups.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for writing?
Chris:I usually only get time to write on the weekends.
KRL: Do you set yourself a goal of so many words per day?
Chris: I don’t set a word count as much as I like to get certain chapters done. I write short, snappy chapters, and usually try to end it on a cliffhanger. The next time I sit down to write, I re-read the previous chapter to get myself into the flow and the mood.
KRL: How do you cope with writer’s block?
Chris: I accept that it is a normal part of the process and try to not myself get all worked up. Riding my bike is a great head-clearer, and sometimes I can work through a plot issue that way.
KRL: Do you have a writing mentor – someone you can ring up and bleat to if necessary?
Chris: As a member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles, there are several that I rely on from time to time. A few that have been invaluable to me are: Kathy Bennett, Jill Amadio, and Rebecca Forster.
KRL: Does someone else check you plot as you go along, or do you keep it a secret until you have finished the first draft? Or finished altogether?
Chris: I don’t let anyone see it until I’m done.
KRL: How do you keep track of the characters and what is happening at any given time in the story?
Chris: I keep track of the characters on a white board by my desk. I keep the timeline straight by typing in the day/time at the beginning of each chapter. I was going to remove it during the final rev. of Russian Roulette, but decided I liked the way it helped keep the fast pace of the novel going; it was like I was in a race against time.
KRL: If you had a choice – and you may well have – what time of the day do you like to write?
KRL: What are the titles of your other books?
Chris: My debut novel, and the start of the One Eyed Jack series, was titled simply, One Eyed Jack. And I’m proud to say that it was a 2013 Shamus Award finalist. I’ve also got several shorts on Amazon.
KRL: Do you have a favorite book-signing or fan mail story which you would like to share?
Chris: It’s not really a fan mail story. But an elderly gentleman in Florida got my name from someone who heard me speak at an author event. The gentleman had lost his wife recently and she had written several children’s books that were unpublished. To honor her, he’s trying to get them self-published. With several indie books under my belt, I feel as if I’m kind of an expert now. I’m mentoring him through the process and want to help him make his dream to publish his wife’s works a reality.
KRL: Future books?
Chris: My next project is an authorized biography of TV’s preeminent bad boy, Eddie Haskell from the Leave it to Beaver show. It’s been a blast getting to interview him, Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers.
KRL: What do you like to read? And do you read your own books after some time has passed and think “Oh no, I could have done that better!!!” and gnash your teeth? 🙂
Chris: I like to read crime fiction. I never read my books after they’re published – other than at an event.
KRL: Do you have any advice for new writers?
Chris: If you don’t love it, find something else to do. It’s a ton of work, especially the promotion.
KRL: Where do you see the publishing industry going in the next few years?
Chris: I think we’ll see traditional publishers begin to operate more like the POD model, which would be smart for them. Gone will be the days of a 5,000 book run on an offset press. The consumer doesn’t know the difference – nor care how the book got made.
KRL: Do you live in the city or the country and how do you relax between bouts of writing or procrastinating?
Chris: The suburbs near the beach. I LOVE IT!
KRL: Do tell us about your pet or pets, if you have any.
Chris: A great little Cocker Spaniel named Nina.
To enter to win a copy of Russian Roulette, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Russian,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 23, 2013. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.