C. Joseph Greaves spent 25 years as an L.A. trial lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. In addition to penning historical/true crime fiction (beginning with 2012’s Hard Twisted, from Bloomsbury), he writes (as Chuck Greaves) the award-winning Jack MacTaggart series of L.A.-based legal mysteries (Hush Money, Green-Eyed Lady, and The Last Heir) for St. Martin’s Minotaur. Greaves won the 2010 SouthWest Writers International Writing Contest and has been a finalist for many national honors including the Shamus, Rocky, Reviewers’ Choice, and Audie Awards, as well as the New Mexico-Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma Book Awards.
His latest book is Tom & Lucky (and George & Cokey Flo) (Bloomsbury), a novelization of mobster Lucky Luciano’s colorful and controversial 1936 vice trial.
From Greaves's Q & A with KL Wagoner for SouthWest Writers:
What is your elevator pitch for Tom & Lucky?Learn more about the book and author at C. Joseph Greaves's website.
My short pitch is: Boardwalk Empire meets House of Cards. My longer pitch, from the book flap, is: The year is 1936. Lucky Luciano is the most powerful mobster in America. Thomas E. Dewey is an ambitious young prosecutor determined to bring him down, and Cokey Flo Brown—grifter, heroin addict, and sometimes prostitute—is the witness who claims she can do it. Only a courtly Long Island defense attorney named George Morton Levy stands between Lucky and a life behind bars; between Dewey and the New York governor’s mansion. This is their story.
What inspired you to write the book? What made you choose to focus on the trial of gangster Lucky Luciano and expand on the lives of those involved?
In 1999, I was having lunch with a friend whose father, George Morton Levy, had been one of the most successful New York trial lawyers of the Depression era. My friend casually mentioned that after her father died in 1977, her family packed up all of his office files and stored them in a barn in upstate New York. Intrigued, I flew to New York, rented a car, and drove to that barn where, as advertised, I found fifteen or so rusting file drawers under a moldering tarp. I spent the better part of a day rummaging the drawers until I found what I was looking for—Levy’s file entitled “People v. Charles Luciano.”
I didn’t...[read on]
Writers Read: C. Joseph Greaves.