Friday, January 24, 2020

LISA BLACK GOES (MORE) ROGUE: In the Rogue Limelight

by Chris Goff

Ever wonder where writers get their ideas? Sometimes brilliance strikes in the most unusual places--like our own Lisa Black, New York Times bestselling author. I had the chance to talk with her and get the lowdown on her latest novel.

Me in Tahiti
I was actually—and I swear I am not making this up—sailing in Tahiti when I got the idea for Let Justice Descend. I add the disclaimer because, though it was over two years ago, I still can’t believe I actually did it, took a small ship cruise with my sisters through the crystal clear waters with a bunch of other non-bazillionaires. Anyway, we were snug in our cabin one night, my sister reading in bed with a small light on, when I suddenly sat up and started scribbling on a piece of paper. It wasn’t long or particularly coherent, just that I wanted this to happen, then that, then that, but the killer would turn out not to be person A but person B. I had no idea how or why all that would occur…but I’d figure that out later.
            The flesh of the story, in which a senator is killed on her doorstep three days before a hotly contested election, grew from a single cell of intense annoyance when I received a fundraising call from a political party—I don’t even remember which one—a week after a national election. I told the caller “The election is over. Why are you still making calls?” He tried to deflect me with this: “Well, that’s not the question you should be asking. You should be asking—”
            Bullying + condescension does not equal compliance. “Don’t tell me what question I should be asking!” I barely refrained from adding ‘you arrogant little pup.’ Needless to say he didn’t get a penny, but he did leave me with a nagging question: why was he calling? Why had political fundraising grown to a 24/7/365, doesn’t-need-a-reason continual onslaught?
            But where the money goes is only one of the details in Let Justice Descend.
I now fear that I picked the wrong topic, as possibly I did in my last book, Suffer the Children. I had written about violent and at-risk teens and children at a treatment facility. I don’t have children myself, so the information I found fascinated me…plus, I thought, most people do have children and will be interested in a story about problem ones.
Hmm…not so much. Being a parent tended to bring the topic too close to home and at bookstores or libraries I’d summarize the plot to potential customers, only to have them grimace and select another book instead.
            Now I fear it may be the same with Let Justice Descend. I thought that—like my political-junkie husband—readers would be fascinated with a completely nonpartisan look at the not-commonly-publicized inner workings of the parties. But maybe many readers are—like me—suffering greatly from politics fatigue.
            But wait! Let Justice Descend isn’t really about politics and certainly not about current issues or personalities. It’s about deception and the forms it takes: bribery, corruption, dereliction of duty, and maybe killing people and saying you didn’t because it’s for a good reason. The victim had lied, the suspect lies, the witnesses lie…but then, Jack lies. And Maggie finds herself lying to protect him, and herself. Deception can take many forms, for many reasons—but they all have consequences.
            And that is what Let Justice Descend is about.

I've got my copy! Do you have yours?

3 comments:

  1. I read LET JUSTICE DESCEND - it's a terrific story. Congrats to Lisa for writing another great novel!

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  2. It definitely sounds intriguing! I know what you mean, though. I can't tell you how many times I've passed over a book, because the initial topic was something I didn't think I wanted to read (for whatever reason), only to go back to it and think: How on earth did I not read this book back when! I'm always pleasantly surprised! Looking forward to it!

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