VJ Books Blog

One of the elements that readers like the most about my writing is the complex web of family ties and family relationship dynamics that weave throughout my stories. In DON’T LOOK TWICE, I explore the bond between two brothers – as well as the parent/child relationship (across two sets of characters). Readers often ask what draws me to focus so deeply on family in my novels and why I think that quality is so compelling. It’s never my precise goal to write “crime” novels, but to write stories about compelling, human situations in which a crime, or some other world‐shattering event, takes place. My stories are rooted in the drama of broken trust, of calm disturbed, when something a person counts on for sure turns out to be false. The family unit is the most universal one where a rupture can feel the most traumatic. I know I’m not exactly the first to work with this material. Our most compelling stories and myths are tales of families in conflict going all the way back to Genesis.

My previous novel, THE DARK TIDE, literally started with a bang. DON’T LOOK TWICE continues this tradition. I’ve been asked how important is the opening scene of my novels? What do I think it has to do to be successful and how I come up with them? Well, call it my Patterson training, but I believe in hooking the reader in conflict right from the start. It doesn’t always have to be a bomb or a shooting. In THE BLUE ZONE, it was a happy, prosperous family torn apart by a father’s arrest. My goal is to make the reader care about the character quickly–in a few pages–and then rip the rug out from under that security. DONT LOOK TWICE is different, in that the hero and his daughter are thrust into the middle of that action from the starting bell. I think readers will care for Hauck because of the way he handles himself and protects his daughter as the bullets are flying.

DON’T LOOK TWICE is set in a relatively small town, mostly in Greenwich, CT…but it has global implications, from NYC to Asia to the Middle East. Greenwich is a perfect “small” place with universal dimensions. It is the home to hedge fund barons and powerful CEO’s. Yet, as I like to say, it’s a town of yoga moms and dads who cheer their kids’ teams from the sidelines. So what happens in the “big” world filters down to the small world pretty quickly. My books are also about conspiracies, and ultimately, the people behind them, who are not bigger than life, or twisted, evil doers, but people we all might know, and people for whom, greed, fraud, and deceit are part of the corporate misdeeds. People who have been tilted off the moral plane by the evil in life.

Yet the large-scale issues I write about also have ramifications that can feel intimate, life-changing, and personal. Like I said, these “macro events” are only the public arena for the drama that’s really playing out behind the scenes. For me, the seeds of corruption and cover‐up that pit two brothers against each other, as in DON’T LOOK TWICE, are much more compelling than what happens in boardrooms and statehouses. The death of Hauck’s closest colleague is the true cost of deceit, not the profits or loss.

Ty Hauck, the Greenwich cop who is the ‘white knight’ of both THE DARK TIDE and DON’T LOOK TWICE, finds himself in some unlikely places– such as in the pit boss’ lair in one of Connecticut’s casinos. I’ve been asked what motivates me to put him in such high-stakes situations. Is Hauck worthy enough to go up against the modern day “fortresses” of people far more powerful and connected than he is? That’s the question for him. Some of what he does is literally in defense of “the damsel.” And some of it is simply the dogged, age-old mission to find the truth. He is a romantic, and is rooted in the trenches. Each book seems to have him asking, am I capable? Am I the person to do this? Yet the true triumph is always when Hauck outwits and defeats forces that he cannot even imagine bringing down when he started.

So what’s next for Ty Hauck? Well, it was hard to set these books around NYC and Greenwich and not deal with the financial meltdown. So the next book pits Hauck in the middle of a group of conspirators who use vulnerable fund managers to bring an already teetering economy to its knees. For me, the struggle is for the whole story not to be too gloomy–especially when it deals with the personal side of what’s going on today–because I don’t believe in gloomy, especially for escapist fiction. But again, I think Hauck will find himself on a similar quest.

(huffingtonpost.com, Andrew Gross, Mar. 5)

Order signed copies of Andrew Gross titles from www.vjbooks.com