Saturday, March 16, 2013
The Devil’s Necktie by John Lansing
John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of “Grease.”
He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas’ “More American Graffiti,” and guest-starred on numerous television shows.
During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced “Walker Texas Ranger,” co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series “Scoundrels.” John’s first book was “Good Cop, Bad Money,” a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano.
The Devil’s Necktie is his first novel.
A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.
A Sizzling thriller for fans of James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell. An exciting tour into the real-life world of cops, crime, and murder. Retired inspector Jack Bertolino had strict rules when dealing with confidential informants. But Mia had the kind of beauty that could make a grown man contemplate leaving his wife, his job, and his kids. After a passionate night together, Mia is found murdered – and Jack is the lead suspect. Facing threats from the LAPD, the 18th Street Angels, and a Columbian drug cartel, Jack delves deeper into the seedy world of drug dealers and murderers and discovers that the top players knew Mia personally. And now Jack is torn between fearing for his life and seeking revenge for his slain lover…either way, the body count will rise.
1. What inspired you to write this story?
I’ve spent the past fifteen years of my television career writing about law enforcement, and I’m a huge fan of crime novels.
I wasn’t a big reader when I was a kid. I didn’t really discover books, and get the bug, the joy of reading, until I went away to college. And then I picked up Raymond Chandler and I was hooked.
I’ve always been drawn to flawed characters who were interested in reinventing themselves. Maybe that’s because I’m a flawed man who’s had a varied career myself. I wanted to write about a detective who was standing on the precipice, recovering from a nasty divorce, retiring from the NYPD, leaving Staten Island, and moving west. The old Yiddish proverb pretty much nails it. “Men make plans, God laughs.” My protagonist, Jack Bertolino, chose to do all of those things; it just didn’t quite work out the way he planned. Twenty-five years of taking down drug dealers, money launderers and killers came back to bite him in the ass, and shook up his newfound sense of peace in Marina del Rey, California.
That was enough of a hook for me to write “The Devil’s Necktie.”
2. How long did it take to write?
I think a banged out a rough first draft in about seven months. But the entire rewriting process, working with my editor, John Paine, and then my copy editor, Victoria Mathews, extended the schedule to a full year. It was one of the best years of my life.
3. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Getting in the zone. I learned about the zone in my acting career. It’s when you’re living entirely in the moment. That pure place in the creative process where time stands still. Where the characters take on a life of their own and guide the story, and it’s full of nuance and surprises. Where I’m so involved in the work that if my dog didn’t bite my hand and demand to be taken for a walk, I’d have forgotten to eat.
4. What is your least favorite thing about writing?
My least favorite thing about writing is having to shut it off at the end of the day. Once I blow through the terror of the commitment, it becomes a 24-hour process for me.
I read a short book written by Walter Mosley entitled, This Year You Write Your Novel. What I learned from Mosley was the importance of writing every day. Make it a habit. It might be the only habit you have that can enrich your life.
I still get concerned that if I step away from the computer, I’ll lose the groove.
5. If you could be any famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say President Barack Obama, because I’d really like to know what’s going on behind closed doors at the highest levels of government. I’m fed up being paid lip service about policy from politicians on both sides of the aisle, from newscasters with agendas, jaded pundits, lawyers, and bankers.
6. What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Let me look.
Ah. I found an apple in the back of the vegetable drawer. I think it’s an apple. I’d say six-months. Thanks for asking me to do this or it probably would have been in there for another six months.
7. What can readers expect from you in the future?
I’m two hundred pages into my next Bertolino book. It’s called, “Working the Negative.” Jack grew up in a Staten Island neighborhood populated with “made men” and friends of the Mafia. He cut all ties with the dark side when he entered law enforcement and thought he’d left his past securely behind when he moved out to California. But not so quick. Now that he’s retired, Jack finds himself owing a favor to a mob boss who may have saved his son’s life.
It’s a request Jack can’t refuse.
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