Mad in Pursuit Notebook

The Sudden Silence


Oct 21, 2015. [Cont'd from 8.1.2015] Finally, my work-in-progress has been locked down and sent out into the world. "What's it about?" you ask. Here's where I always fumble for that perfect 30-second elevator pitch. I can reduce it to a popular plot device: the burnt-out expert is persuaded to do one more job, because... this time it's personal. Thus, the hair-raising and suspense-filled adventure begins. Add to it the complications of love. Plus the exotic locale of Thailand.

The burnt-out expert is Martin Moon, who has long led a double life of antiquities dealer and confidential informant for an art recovery service. The question for your book club might be whether or not he lives up to the heroism expected in this genre. Or more deeply, what is the nature of heroism? One of the special influences on this novel was HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell, a classic exploration of myth and heroes, which snagged my imagination in college.

THE SUDDEN SILENCE was 25 years in the making, drafted in 1990, and meant to be the first in a series of novels about a team of international art-crime detectives. The series idea was dropped, but what I now have are two stand-alone novels based on the same premise (burnt-out expert, etc.), with a similar trajectory (off to Asia!), and a look-alike trio of main characters. But PASSION AND PERIL ON THE SILK ROAD has its own backdrop and its own special complications to differentiate it from THE SUDDEN SILENCE. Thus, book clubs can compare and contrast and readers can pick their favorite.



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