The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Richard Doetsch and
The Thieves of Darkness

November 15, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Well before gaining recognition for his clever, backward tale of The 13th Hour, Richard Doetsch had established a reputation for inspired writing with The Thieves of Heaven and The Thieves of Faith — both featuring reformed thief Michael St. Pierre. And, in the author’s latest thriller, The Thieves of Darkness, this unique anti-hero returns — not necessarily to save the world — but to save those he loves.

As with any genre, there are thrillers and then there are quality thrillers of substance. And Richard’s thriller has been classified as:

“[A] masterpiece. . . . Richard Doetsch handles all the elements of a classic thriller superbly, and his characters are fleshed out and involving. He has earned his seat at the table with other A-list thriller writers.” — Booklist (Starred Review)

In his guest post, The One Thing a Writer Needs to Do Every Day, the author explained how he writes a daily story to keep the creativity flowing and when he’s ready to begin a new novel there are a lot of ideas on hand. According to the writer, The Thieves of Darkness contains five of the following one page stories:

1. A story based on Alistair Crowley’s expedition to climb Kanchenjunga and the question of what a man who was into the black arts was looking for.
2. The Piri Reis map story revolving around the fascination with this real map, housed in Topkapi Palace, that shows parts of the world in detail from 6000 B.C. long before man supposedly sailed the seas. But my story was about the other half of the sea chart, the half no one ever asks about, where was it and what did it depict?
3. A woman who worked for me left school at 6th grade to raise her younger sister when her parents were no longer capable of doing so. This gave me a story of true sacrifice, a story of a girl who has to go out and steal to raise her sister despite her own morals.
4. A story of Shambhala, and how it was both holy and evil, in balance, the concept of yin yang where one couldn’t exist without the other.
5. A story where a criminal had to break into prison to save his friend.

All of these came together to evolve into the novel and its synopsis:

An irresistible treasure, two master thieves, and a secret as old as mankind . . .

Michael St. Pierre, a reformed master thief, thinks he has left his criminal days far behind him, when he receives word that his best friend, Simon, has been locked up and sentenced to die in a brutal desert prison. Breaking into jail for the first time in his checkered career, Michael is stunned to discover that his new girlfriend, KC, is connected to Simon’s case.

With a madman on their heels, the three adventurers make their way to Istanbul in search of the mysterious artifact that landed Simon behind bars in the first place: a map containing the location of a holy place lost to the mists of time, a repository of knowledge and treasure predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Testing their courage and wits, Michael and his team are forced to plot a series of daring thefts that take them inside some of the city’s most celebrated (and heavily guarded) sanctums, from the imperial harem of Topkapi Palace to the tombs of the Hagia Sophia itself. More than priceless artifacts are at stake—the lives of loved ones and perhaps the fate of humanity itself hang in the balance.

A globe-trotting adventure that wings from the glittering banks of the Bosporus to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, The Thieves of Darkness confirms Richard Doetsch’s place as the modern-day master of pulse-pounding suspense.

Please click on Read an Excerpt (at Barnes&Noble’s site) for Chapter 1.

Not only is this book entertaining and enlightening, its writing is detailed, vivid, and fast-paced. In essence the reading experience is engaging and The Divining Wand wondered if that was because everything played out in Richard’s mind like a movie or does he write to create a movie? He said:

“I see it in my head as a movie. I’m not sure how other people write, but it all plays out in my mind’s eye. I usually have music going and that can really help drive the images out from somewhere deep within me.”

Now that is simply a remarkable gift and, as for his ability to present multi-layered, believable characters, Richard admits that Michael St. Pierre is based on himself. The reformed thief’s thoughts, feelings, and physical skills come from the author’s life in order to keep the character real. Still the truth is that he loves creating all the characters by observing friends/acquaintances so when he does a daily story there is usually a character in mind for the leading role.

Although Richard successfully challenged himself to write The 13th Hour in 30 days, The Thieves of Darkness — written beforehand — required six months to compose. In addition to the storyline and the characters, there is the intensive research involved. Research that made the novel 50% longer before it was edited out in favor of pacing.

Hmm, so what is the key to writing a good thriller? From his experience, the author thinks this type of book needs to have a rhythm. As he explains, “it needs to build like a song with tension growing higher and higher until release, then it needs to breath and start on that ride again. To me, characters are the most important part. If people care for and can identify with them, then the jeopardy is so much more palatable, you don’t need to threaten the world just threaten the characters people care about. When I’m in full on writing mode, my brain doesn’t stop. I’m usually plotting throughout my time away from the keyboard which my wife and kids always know by that far off look in my eyes.”

That far off look ultimately results in taking the reader to far away locations filled with mystery, suspense, and action. It’s truly an escape, a fun and refreshing change of reading pace for anyone. Of course it would be natural to suggest The Thieves of Darkness for every male on your holiday gift list and, yes, they would be thrilled (pun intended) to receive a copy. Yet what about you, don’t you deserve an escape too? Take off around the world with Michael St. Pierre and enjoy every page….as much as I did!

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Richard Doetsch’s The Thieves of Darkness in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Robert Gregory Browne’s Kill Her Again

June 30, 2009 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Robert Gregory Browne (author of Kiss Her Goodbye and Whisper in the Dark) offers a new thriller in Kill Her Again released today, June 30, 2009, just in time for summer beach reading

Would you like to learn more About Rob and his background? By clicking on that website link, you’ll discover:

“Rob was born in California, but at the age of 11, moved with his family to Honolulu. His father had threatened to quit his job in Los Angeles, but the company wanted to keep him so badly they offered to send him wherever he wanted to go. He jokingly said, “Hawaii” and the next thing he knew, the transfer was approved.

“It took Rob a while to adjust to life on a tropical island, but once he got used to it, he fell in love with the place. In high school, he exchanged glances with a cute girl at the back of one of his classes (just prior to dropping it) and had no idea that he was looking at his future wife. As of this year, he has been married for 30 years.

“During those thirty years, Rob has spent time as a musician, a screenwriter, and now novelist — all the while holding a variety of jobs to keep his family eating. He worked as a janitor, a flower delivery boy, a Hollywood messenger, a hotel room maid, a clerk for the Hawaii Legislature, a criminal intake processor for the Honolulu Public Defender, a legal secretary, a magazine columnist, and a video editor.

“Ever since that first year living in Honolulu, Rob has browsed the bookstores, looking longingly at the shelves full of books in hopes that he’d one day see his name on a novel of his own. He now has three of them in (or about to be in) stores and has just completed his fourth thriller for St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan UK, and Droemer Knaur Germany.

“Rob and his wife have two grown kids, one cat, two dogs, and live in California.”

Ideas for his novels come from everywhere as he admits: “I get ideas from watching news shows, reading books, newspapers, browsing the Internet, etc. Most of the ideas pop into my head as fragments that eventually work themselves into something whole. Once they take enough form to get me excited, then I start seriously thinking about writing a book.”

Yet what’s most revealing is that Rob is a “pantser” — that is, he doesn’t outline his novels. Instead he notes, “Once I come up with a premise and a few characters, I start writing. When you’re on pages 25, you know as much about what’s going to happen as I did when I was writing it. I figure if I can surprise myself, then you’ll be surprised, too. I’m basically reading to myself.”

And here’s the story he came up with in this Kill Her Again Synopsis:

Ever since a close call with death, FBI Agent Anna McBride has been having strange visions of a kidnapped little girl… a little girl who is about to be murdered. Is she going crazy? When Anna is assigned to a multiple homicide case, her visions recur with an even fiercer frequency…and she can’t shake the feeling that what she’s seeing is somehow connected to this latest grisly crime.

When Anna meets Daniel Pope, a hypnotist who’s no stranger to the paramormal, he suggests the impossible: that the girl in her visions is Anna in a past life. But Anna refuses to believe Pope — until she finds herself face to face with the killer from her nightmares. Now she must go into the dark recesses of her mind and relive the horrors of her past to find a diabolical psychopath who won’t rest until he kills her again…


Now visit the Kill Her Again book page, scroll down a bit to read an Excerpt.

Fascinating and chilling? So what makes this writer’s heart pound? You may be surprised by reading Rob’s post, Every Day, from Wednesday, June 17, 2009 on the Murderati blog. And that’s a wonderful glimpse into an author’s life beyond his pages.

So for all those who seek a great mystery thriller, remember Kill Her Again is available everywhere today, including Amazon’s Kindle!