David Levien is the author of City of the Sun. He also cowrote the screenplays for Ocean’s Thirteen, Runaway Jury, Rounders, and several other films.
From his interview with Ali Karim at The Rap Sheet:
AK: One of the pivotal scenes in City of the Sun involves a personal tragedy that defines Frank Behr. But you wait to introduce that scene and talk of the tragedy until halfway through the book. I’m talking here about the scene in which Frank loses control, and it is cathartic for the reader to see him trash a street sign in a rage. How difficult was it for you to keep Frank’s tragedy out of view for so long?--Marshal Zeringue
DL: Well, I wanted Frank to be marked by that tragedy [as a way] to give him darkness and depth of character. Like in life, most people don’t introduce themselves with the worst tragedy that happened to them. Nor did I want to save it for a key moment, but rather keep the pressure on in the current case he’s working on in concert with all the things in his past that it was evoking. That scene you’re talking about is when he goes to the street where he used to live, before the “thing” happened, and he flashes back to that night.
AK: I found it remarkable, in City of the Sun, that you managed to not go overboard with the pathos and tragedy that was unfolding, especially as the opening details a child’s abduction, told from the parents’ point of view. Had you read much crime fiction before working on City of the Sun? “The missing child” is, after all, a rather well-worn convention of private-eye novels, yet you reworked it completely by having the parents active in the investigation.
DL: I...[read on]