Meet Douglas Corleone, author of “Good As Gone“, an international thriller exposing the heinous world of organised human trafficking. You may have heard of this crime often, but you won’t get the full picture until you’ve read this newly available crime mystery. Introducing private investigator Simon Fisk, this book is masterfully written by the award-winning author of One Man’s Paradise, a finalist for the 2010 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and won the 2009 Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, 1975-born Doug now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel.
Doug’s contemporary crime novels are published by St. Martin’s Minotaur, or in Australia by Pan Macmillan . I’ve had the honour to review this masterpiece and my review is attached at the end of this interview.
Hello Doug, thank you for coming in. First, congratulations on producing a marvelous story with such impressive characters and settings. Tell us, what compelled you to write Good As Gone?
As a society we tend to shy away from difficult issues like child abduction. But avoiding a problem has never helped solve a problem as far as I know. I’m under no illusion that my book is going to change the world, but if it sheds even a hint of light on the subject, I’ll feel as though I’ve done my job.
Yes, you’ve successfully exposed to us the shocking world of organized human trafficking. Your book is so powerfully moving. You ripped readers’ hearts apart from the opening chapter. And along the way we can see you. How could you stand the bleeding of writing Good As Gone? Would you share this with us?
Writing this novel was difficult at times. By the end of the day I usually found myself mentally and emotionally drained, which was an entirely new experience for me while writing. I started this book around the time my son Jack was turning two and already developing this wonderful, unique personality. In the morning I’d try to imagine what it would be like if he was suddenly taken from me, and I used those emotions to bring the character of Simon Fisk alive. It took a lot out of me, but I think the depth of those feelings shows on the page. At least I hope they do.
Yes they do, some parts are deeply harrowing, making readers think of the victims, of Simon/the families, and of numerous other people you described throughout the book. The kinds of lives they have are simply haunting.
Simon is decent, smart, and ruthless. How real are your characters?
When I set out to create Simon Fisk, I wanted to magnify the contrast between his outward appearance and his internal conflict. To other characters, Simon may appear stoic, but inside readers know he’s brimming with rage and anguish. And only when he’s confronted by monsters who would cause children harm do we really see that rage spill out and when it does, it’s genuine and pure, and you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of it. I think we all can relate to having bottled-up feelings while wearing a brave face in front of others. I think that’s what makes Simon real.
Your experiences as a criminal defense attorney inspired parts of this story. Would you like to share some highlights from that time?
Unfortunately, highlights in the career of a criminal defense attorney are generally considered lowlights by the rest of society.
Oh right, I was imagining your formidable Anastazja Staszak! 🙂
Good As Gone, crime mystery and international thriller by Douglas Corleone, introducing private investigator Simon Fisk, former fugitive hunter, retriever of missing children, the next hero to fall in love with.
Would you share with us a memorable moment in completing this novel?
The most memorable moment for me, when writing any novel, is when I first come up with the idea. For Good As Gone, the idea arrived while I was thousands of miles from home in New Haven, Connecticut, working on one final federal criminal case. That morning I’d spoken to my literary agent, and she said that my publisher would like to see something new from me (as opposed to a fourth Kevin Corvelli novel). I’d read this one-page article online two years earlier about a private investigator from Tampa who specialized in retrieving children abducted by their estranged parents and taken overseas to countries that don’t recognize U.S. custody decisions, and that’s what immediately popped into my head. I spent most of that day creating Simon’s backstory, and most of the plane ride home deciding what would cause him to break his rule of not getting involved in “stranger abductions.” That’s when Lieutenant Davignon of the French National Police was created.
Congratulations on creating these interesting characters! They sure are strong hooks for the next installments your Simon Fisk series.
Now, you’re currently at work on your next novel. What’s cooking?
The next Simon Fisk novel is under contract and I’m awaiting an editorial letter.
What’s the proposed title?
The second novel in the Simon Fisk series will be released next year. It’s titled “Payoff”, and it’ll take Simon from Los Angeles to the Caribbean and Central and South America in search of the teenage daughter of a Hollywood movie mogul.
Why is this a must-read?
If you enjoyed Good As Gone, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the sequel.
We’re looking forward to that!
Now, on writing. As a master in this art, what, in your opinion, are the most important elements of a great mystery thriller?
I think the combination of deep characters and moving the story forward (which are often at odds with one another) is what makes a great novel, particularly in the mystery and thriller genres.
Thank you! Who gives you the most encouragement, Doug?
My readers. There is nothing that motivates me more than an email from someone who just finished one of books and tells me that they loved it and asks me to please keep writing.
Any writing tips?
Just the usual. Persistence is key to succeeding. Oh, and steer clear of anyone who tells you to write only what you know. One of the greatest joys of being a novelist is researching new settings and learning about new cultures and professions.
Thanks again! And you sure have done a marvelous job in learning. And personally, what did you learn from writing your novels?
I love writing, but not so much the business end of things. I’m active on social media, but I’m not entirely comfortable tweeting and posting. I love that I can interact with my readers, but I’d prefer that interaction to be one on one, in an email or letter, rather than holding conversations in front of thousands of other users. I’m just as honest, but probably far less open when the conversation can be seen by others.
Where did you grow up? I’m imagining a lovely Italian home with lots of affection and endless yummy food—is this true?
No. I think if I had, I’d be writing something much different and certainly less noir. I might not be writing at all.
We are what we have overcome. The past have made you a great person, Doug, but I’m glad the past is over. Share with us your Hawaii home.
“I love consistency, especially while I’m writing, and Hawaii gives me that. I live on the leeward side of Oahu, where the weather is consistently brilliant and the people are consistently friendly. It’s a remarkable place to live and work.”
Nice. Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.
Above all, my children. I have three. Jack is 4, Maya is almost 2, and Kyra is 3 months. They’re my world; they’re my everything.
You are so blessed! Enjoy the kids, they’re young only once, and only for a short time.
Thanks again for chatting with us, Doug. Best wishes for Good As Gone!
And readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting the fabulous crime author Douglas Corleone. Come follow Doug’s latest news on Facebook and Twitter. His amazing new book Good As Gone is available from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | iBookstore | IndieBound ~ and in Australia online from Pan Macmillan or from the shops beginning September 1, 2013.
Following is my review of the book.
The Heinous World of Human Trafficking: “Good As Gone” Reviewed by Ia Uaro
Book title: Good As Gone
Series: Simon Fisk Novels (Book 1)
Author: Douglas Corleone
Publisher: Minotaur Books; St. Martin’s
ISBN-10: 1250017203 ISBN-13: 978-1250017208
6-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears in the middle of the night from a Paris resort-style hotel room. The National Police doesn’t want a media circus which will endanger Lindsay’s life as well as the country’s reputation; therefore Simon Fisk’s expertise is quietly sought.
Simon is a former fugitive hunter who now works privately retrieving children abducted by non-custodial parents. He is a very kind and sensitive man with nothing to lose. Carrying a heavy burden of loss, Simon agrees to take on the assignment to retrieve Lindsay so that there will be two less parents in the world walking aimlessly through their own hell on earth.
Simon’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding. He is focused, disciplined, systematic, thorough and meticulous. Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes he spots tiny details that other trained investigators have missed, while his brilliant logics connect dots with amazing precision. And all the while he hurts. He knows what the parents are going through and he feels for them. Genuinely worries about Lindsay’s welfare, Simon puts her priority in the foremost of his mind when making abhorrent decisions, such as, having to end his opponent’s life in self defence, even though, personally, in getting himself killed he has nothing to lose.
Good As Gone is masterpiece crime thriller that will keep readers on edge as Simon races against time to save an innocent life, from Paris to various international cities and alleys, dealing with dangerous lowlifes from smelly street thugs to the vilest professional criminals, and of course, corrupt law enforcers and treacheries.
Don’t mistake this as just another Madeleine-McCann-inspired story: Good As Gone is a highly original fast-paced ingenious suspense, and you will never mistake Douglas Corleone’s writing style with anyone else’s because Doug’s work is supremely above today’s other crime writers’. He is a lot like Simon Fisk:
- Doug’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding, delivering the exceptionally complex plot in a clear voice and easy-to-follow methodical narration, which is a high achievement considering the fast pace of the intricate twists and turns.
- Doug is focused, disciplined, systematic, meticulously thorough and logically brilliant, leaving no chance for readers to get confused in a convoluted maze, taking them along with him through dangers, action, and heart-wrenching pain.
- Doug has perfect knowledge of the content, either from his professional research or experiences as a former defense lawyer.
- Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes Doug spots tiny details to the tee, and this applies in both his superbly comprehensive story and flawless English, such as, though I received a review copy marked “uncorrected”, I could only spot a few tiny errors.
- And unlike the majority of today’s men-fic, Doug isn’t afraid of honesty. He shows us how men too feel, and feel deeply, even those who often have to act with ruthless brutality. He is witty and he is polite in his speech, with very rare use of strong language. (Who did say, never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary?) In Fisk, you can see Doug clearly: he is caring, and he respects women.
Don’t miss reading this book, even though I’m sure a movie deal isn’t too far away. Simon Fisk and the story are that good you’ll be glad this is going to be a series.