Five Movies and Books that made me the writer I am...

The creative process requires a great deal of input, a constantly changing stew of ingredients. Trying to narrow down only five things that have influenced me as a writer is a difficult task, like trying to rope the wind. In no particular order, here are three books and two films which have had a big impact on my writing. A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR by Dennis Lehane. Arguably one of the finest detective novels of the modern era. Lehane’s debut takes all the old tropes—a troubled investigator, his attractive associate, a psychopathic sidekick—and makes them fresh and believable, giving the characters a depth and emotional resonance rarely seen in...

FIVE CLUES THAT YOU’RE READING A BRIAN FREEMAN THR...

• THE WEATHER IS BAD One of the many things that impresses me about Michael Connelly is that he manages to bring drama and suspense to Los Angeles, where the sun is always shining. You’d think that the criminals would simply put down their guns and say, “Wow, what a gorgeous day. Let’s go to the beach.” My own criminals (and heroes) have to slog through truly awful weather. I wrote about so much snow and ice in my early books that Minnesota readers began urging me to write a summer book to talk about some of our good weather. I did—but then I electrocuted one of my characters during a summer lightning storm. When I went to Florida in Season...

Five Favorite Things – Horror Movies from ne...

1. The Exorcist The Exorcist has the best setup of any horror film. It uses the decency of the characters and the stark realism of the dialogue and the cinematography to suck you in. Father Karras’s goodness, guarded as it is, is something you feel just by looking at his face. He’s suffering over the death of his mother, and he’s questioning his faith in God. He represents most of us, I think, in that he sees how the existence of God gives life meaning, and yet he simply can’t get himself to believe. He has a depth I always wished to see in a priest when I was a kid—but never did. It is against this backdrop—of a man searching for and...

Five Things I learned writing THE HUNTING GROUND

  The fact that usable DNA can survive for hundreds, if not thousands of years after the death of an organism. It all depends on how securely the body has been protected from light, heat, water, and oxygen. Recently archaeologists found the bones of England’s King Richard the Third buried under a parking lot in Leicester. He was killed in battle in 1485, about 530 years ago. He was positively identified when surviving mitochondrial DNA was compared with a descendant of his sister.   The city of Chicago was once buried under the Ice Age glacier that scoured out the Lake Michigan basin. Most of Chicago is pancake flat. But there is an area on...

TOP 5 MOVIES by Gerald Elias

There are two general things I appreciate about a piece of music. One is craftsmanship. The other is integrity: how true it is to what it is. For example, I enjoy listening to a Strauss waltz as much as I do a Mahler symphony. The former exists to entertain and delight, the latter to make a profound statement about life and death. Each accomplishes its goal with consummate skill and conviction. If a composition lacks craftsmanship or has pretentions of being something it isn’t I much prefer the honesty of silence. I’ve try to hone my skills as a writer, and make no apology for trying to write mysteries intended simply to entertain the...