Thursday, September 9, 2010


Aldo Moro, photographed during his kidnapping ...Image via WikipediaDear You—

Thanks for telling me about your experiences recovering from a serious fall – five weeks for you to feel normal again -because I was beginning to think I was taking far too long to recover. However, I haven’t quite hit your figure yet and seem to feel more or less fit this week apart from some remaining damage to my left hand – and the occasional twinge from my neck and left shoulder as if I had whiplash. I probably did. Nonetheless, overall I guess I’m pretty lucky considering how hard I hit; and I agree that concussion is not to be trivialized. Relieved my hands are both functional at least. They are useful things in my line of work.

I have been reading through some of the correspondence between us, and it strikes me that I’ve been writing too much about the State of this Great Nation and not enough about life in general and my other books. My thanks to you for being so understanding though I know that you are as interested in trying to stop our decline as I am.

My main focus recently has been book covers. After much frustration, I seem to be making progress working with my good friend, Chris Carrdus, and at last to be making up for lost time. We have gone for a hard hitting approach rather than graphic elegance and the end result will leave you in no doubt that, for instance, THE BLOOD OF GENERATIONS is a thriller, and a Hugo Fitzduane thriller at that. It will be the fourth in the series after GAMES OF THE HANGMAN, RULES OF THE HUNT & THE DEVIL’S FOOTPRINT. We’ve included a banner ‘FITZDUANE IS BACK!’ so I hope all those thousands of readers who have written to me asking for another Fitzduane book will finally be satisfied. I blush when I consider how long it has taken to get this latest book together, but I don’t think readers will be disappointed. This is a ‘Big Thriller’ in the classic tradition.

We’ll be working on the book cover for SATAN’S SMILE tomorrow. That story links serial killing and nuclear terrorism and is set in and around Livermore but unfortunately ‘the Lab’ isn’t that photogenic. I originally went there in the Nineties to watch their hydrogen powered supergun fired and because I was a foreigner wasn’t allowed in the Green area, where the pre-shoot briefing was taking place, but was allowed to stand in the doorway and see and hear everything. Only in America! Still, meeting the scientists was both fun and fascinating with Dr. Strangelove himself, Edward Teller, living up to his reputation for being difficult – though he was also charming.

Saw THE AMERICAN recently with George Clooney. It is visually stunning but its pacing is strange and Clooney is not at his best being morose which he is for virtually the entire movie. Still, it was set in the Abruzzo region of Italy and brought back memories of Rome in the Seventies and driving in the dark to an Abruzzi restaurant along a road lined with the bonfires the prostitutes light to attract business. The food was worth the drive and much of it was cooked over open fires. It was an evening of flames. 

I was with Maria at the time and the whole city was tense because former prime minister Aldo Moro had been kidnapped by terrorists – and there were fears of more violence. The city was being searched block by block, cops with their fingers of the triggers of their sub-machine guns were everywhere, and there were piles of flowers where Moro had been ambushed and his bodyguards killed – near where Maria lived, as it happens. If you want to read a novel about that period, I recommend THE SALAMANDER by Morris West which captures the edgy atmosphere and paranoia of that period beautifully. Moro was eventually found shot to death not far from where I was having lunch. I went to look and felt vaguely ashamed of myself for enjoying the drama while looking at a tragedy.

Farewell. As always I miss your wit and your company.

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