Monday, December 29, 2008

Reed Farrel Coleman

Reed Farrel Coleman, Brooklyn born and raised, is the former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America. He has written ten novels in three series including two under his pen name Tony Spinosa, including the recently released The Fourth Victim.

From ITW contributing editor Karen Harper's interview with Coleman about The Fourth Victim:

The Fourth Victim features Joe Serpe, a disgraced NYPD detective turned truck driver. In what ways is your real-life bio reflected in this character's interests or endeavors?

Although I've never been a law enforcement officer, disgraced or otherwise, I did deliver home heating oil on Long Island for seven years. What I noticed was that deliverymen are invisible. Or as I like to put it, people know more about their mailbox than their mailman. This seemed like an interesting concept to explore, especially from the point of view of a former narcotics detective. As a deliveryman, I was privy to all sorts of things people would normally never let a stranger be witness to: drug use, violence, people in all manner of undress. It was amazing. And time in the truck alone gave me a lot of valuable space to think about my work.

How does having Joe be a former detective and one who was disgraced set him up as a compelling main character as opposed to having him a currently successful detective?

It's more the reason for Joe's disgrace that makes him compelling. His ex-partner, best friend, and godfather to his son developed a coke habit. Out of loyalty, Joe hid the problem until it got so his partner began doing more than taking product to feed his habit. Just as Joe was about to turn his partner in, he was arrested and forced to testify against his partner in open court. When that happened, Joe lost everything. Now he uses his job as an oil deliveryman to try and redeem himself by solving crimes either no one cares about or no one wants any part of. The journey back to grace is far more compelling than grace itself.
Read the complete interview.

Read Jim Winter's Q & A with Coleman at The Rap Sheet.

Learn more about the author at Reed Farrel Coleman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Redemption Street.

The Page 69 Test: Empty Ever After.

My Book, the Movie: Reed Farrel Coleman's Moe Prager Mystery Series.

The Page 99 Test: The Fourth Victim.

--Marshal Zeringue