Hello lovely readers. Today I have for you a guest post with a Q&A provided and a release announcement for:
by Todd Merer
When the world’s most notorious cartel bosses get arrested, they call Benn Bluestone. A drug lawyer sharp enough to exploit loopholes in the system, Bluestone loves the money, the women, the action that come with his career…but working between the lines of justice and crime has taken its toll, and he desperately wants out. He’s convinced himself that only an insanely rich client can guarantee him a lavish retirement.
When the New Year begins with three promising cases, Bluestone thinks he’s hit pay dirt. But then the cases link dangerously together—and to his own past. Does the mysterious drug kingpin Sombra hold the key to Bluestone’s ambitions? Or does the key open a door that could bring the entire federal justice system to a screeching halt and net Bluestone a life in jail without parole?
Q: The Extraditionist is clearly based on your own experience as a criminal attorney—but, given the danger and illicitness that surrounds protagonist Benn Bluestone, hopefully not too closely! How much of the novel is rooted in truth, and how much of it is imagination?
A: To quote Mr. Nietzsche, “We have art in order not to die of the truth.” Yes, Benn and I have shared experiences. We both are old-timey Brooklyn born and bred, we both have been threatened – legally and physically – we both made and lost fortunes, we both have been privy to deep, dark secrets. Like the time an insane Mexican drug lord locked me in the basement where he stashed his millions (fortunately, when I started a fire he unlocked the door and in the ensuing panic I escaped). But since I don’t care “to die of the truth,” names and other particulars have been changed to protect the guilty…and I confess to adding a few dollops of imagination.
Q: You make the unusual decision to have two narrators—Benn Bluestone and Alune, the god of the Logui people and, it is soon revealed, the drug lord Sombra. Why did you decide to share this second perspective (unknown to Benn) with readers?
A: I thought that because the readers – being the proverbial fourth wall audience – already have so many twists and turns to keep track of, two narrators would help their understanding of Benn’s journey. Not to mention my own enlightenment.
Q: The Extraditionist is so intricately plotted, with dozens of characters and three main storylines all weaving in and out of each other. What techniques did you use while writing to keep everything straight—and make sure that every loose end was tied up?
A: Hmm. No big deal. First I conjured up the central story, then I spliced its three parts together. Second, I obeyed the old writer’s dictum: Revisions, revisions, revisions…
Q: Early on, Benn Bluestone professes a hatred of the acronyms that surround his life and career—yet he continues to use them, even when they’re not necessary, throughout the manuscript. What did you intend for this to say about Benn’s character?
A: I wouldn’t say hatred, rather intense dislike. And Benn’s smart enough to know that if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Q: Billy and (briefly) Bea, who live in Benn Bluestone’s old neighborhood in Brooklyn, are special in that they are the only characters who don’t touch on Benn’s sordid life of drugs, murder, and mayhem. Tell us about the role you feel they play in Benn’s story and why you decided to include them in the book.
A: Billy and Bea provided a way to reveal Benn’s backstory, which needed telling because it’s the foundation of who he truly is. As for old, pre-gentrified Brooklyn, East Flatbush was a neighborhood where the lingua franca was dis and dat, and whose mean streets were my classroom.
Q: The end of The Extraditionist teases a possible return for Benn Bluestone. Can you tell us anything about what you have planned next?
A: Benn takes Horace Greely’s advice: “Go west, young man.” In Benn’s next great adventure, he’s westward bound on the Orient Express.
In his 30 years as a criminal attorney, Todd Merer specialized in the defense of high-ranking cartel chiefs extradited to the United States. He gained acquittals in more than 150 trials, and his high-profile cases have been featured in the New York Times and Time magazine and on 60 Minutes. A “proud son of Brooklyn,” Merer divides his time between New York City and ports of call along the old Spanish Main. The Extraditionist is his first novel.
What new books are you looking forward to?