Life of a Thriller Writer



Joel Goldman started writing thrillers when one of his law partners (back in the day when he was a working lawyer) complained to him about another partner. Joel suggested taking out their aggression by writing a murder mystery—they would kill the son-of-a-bitch off in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. He followed through on his plan to enter the mystery business and never looked back. That was in 1992. Ten-years later, in 2002, he became an overnight success with the publication of his first book, Motion To Kill, introducing trial lawyer Lou Mason. Lou made his second appearance in 2003’s Edgar® nominated The Last Witness, and managed to keep getting into and out of trouble in Cold Truth (2004) and Deadlocked (2005). Deadlocked was not only nomi- nated for a Shamus award, it has been optioned for film. Joel retired from his law practice in 2006 and still hasn’t looked back. The publica- tion of Shakedown (2008) marks the beginning of a new series featuring FBI Special Agent Jack Davis. Jack’s world is coming apart, and one reason is a rare movement disorder that has come out of nowhere, causing him to shake when he should shoot. It’s something Jack and Joel have in common, and it provides Joel a way of understanding his own affliction. His books are set in Kansas City, his hometown. Great writers, he says, make the setting where the story occurs as real and influential in the story as any character, whether it’s a neighborhood, city, county or region—or dare we say, a small town!

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