By Cornelia Read, kind of
I’d like to thank everyone in the Murderati Tribe for your kindness over the last couple of weeks since my father’s death. I’m still feeling a little wobbly, but the memorial gathering my stepmother Bonna organized in Calabasas, California, was beautiful, with about 150 friends and family members attending–including three wonderful pals of mine who drove down from the Bay Area, setting out at 6:30 a.m.: Sophie Littlefield, Julie Goodson-Lawes, and Muffy Srinivasan. My daughter Grace and I are now back in New Hampshire and feeling way better about it all.
And on a much happier note, please allow me to introduce Reece Hirsch, an extraordinary writer whose debut thriller The Insider deserves wide attention…
My debut legal thriller The Insider is the story of Will Connelly, a young corporate attorney in a big San Francisco law firm who is on the verge of making partner. He thinks that becoming a partner will solve all of his problems but, in fact, his troubles are only beginning. In the week after being elevated to partner and taking over a major technology company merger, Will becomes the prime suspect in a colleague’s murder and an unwilling participant in a complex criminal scheme that involves the Russian mob, insider trading and a secret government domestic surveillance program.
Who’s wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Rock bands may have the edge when it comes to sex and drugs, but you just can’t beat writers when it comes to committed drinking. Writers drink like they mean it. Anyone who’s been to the hotel bar at a Bouchercon can testify to that.
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Here’s a favorite passage from Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim that might describe the night after the Bouchercon hotel bar:
Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not so much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.
How do you relax?
See the two responses above.
What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
My subscription to DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, so that I can watch all of the Minnesota Vikings games. They rip out my heart every season, but in a good way. I’m not quite sure if this indulgence is benign or wicked.
Readers love to find little factual errors in novels. How’s THE INSIDER holding up to that scrutiny?
My book has a chase scene and shoot-out set in the middle of San Francisco’s Gay Pride Parade. The scene features the aptly named Dykes on Bykes, a fixture of the parade. I was informed that I incorrectly placed the bikers in the middle of the parade when they are, in fact, always at the forefront, marking the launch. I stand corrected.
But what really concerns me is my upcoming appearance at the annual fundraiser for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in D.C. That consumer privacy group is referenced in THE INSIDER and the book touches upon encryption and domestic surveillance issues. At that fundraiser, I’ll be facing a room full of about 200 privacy and security wonks and wonkettes. If anyone is going to call me out on my book’s handling of data security issues, it’s that bunch.
If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and the subtitle?
I Fought The Law (And The Law Won). (I’m a partner in the San Francisco office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.)
Why do you write?
Given the demands of my legal practice, there are a million reasons why I shouldn’t write. I suppose I just can’t help myself.
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
I am a film fanatic with a predilection for the films of the Seventies. Here’s my list of great books about Hollywood:
The Player by Michael Tolkin
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
The Devil’s Candy by Julie Salamon
The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald (the Pat Hobby stories are also great)
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind
The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans (Audio Book). This is a rare instance where the audio book improves immeasurably upon the text. There’s nothing like hearing Evans himself ask the reader a question, then answer it with, “You bet your ass it was.”
Okay ‘Ratis, how about your indulgences, wicked or benign?
I loved this interview!! Hirsch is hilarious. As soon as the stores open I am going to grab myself a copy of The Insider. Can’t wait.
One of my benign indulgences is reading this blog in the mornings. My wicked ones? The Snickerdoodles that my hairdresser used to give me. They were laced with_____.
and potato chips……..you can keep your chocolates……..just leave me the bag
Glad you are on the heal, Little Girl, what a year so far, ‘eh?
This year has had some truly sucky episodes, but some splendid ones too.
I admit to an indulgence my pals Rae and Maggie got my hooked on: Ruffles dipped in chocolate, white, milk, and dark. Luckily, the store they had them shipped from in Florida has closed, otherwise I would now weigh seven bazillion pounds.
Welcome to the madhouse, Reece, from a fellow San Franciscan.
Thanks, Cornelia, for sharing your spot today. I’ve been enjoying this blog for a long time now.
And, Louise, I’m with you on those In-N-Out Burgers.
A Buchercon and I can’t go. No belly up to the bar for me. Reece hope to see you at MWA when you can stop to take a break
Cornelia I gained three pounds just reading about your ruffled and I think my blook sugar spiked!
Hi Judy — I was sorry to have missed the last MWA meeting, but I was in the middle of my book tour. And I’ll raise a glass in your honor at Bouchercon!
Welcome and look forward to reading your book. Sounds quite interesting.
Indulgences – would be Dreyers Double Fudge Brownie ice cream – my must have for dessert.
Reece, you live in my favorite city in the world. Congratulations on your debut, it sounds fantastic.
And I’ve read and love those same books about Hollywood. Devil’s Candy was a favorite, and The Kid Stays in the Picture is priceless. AND I’ve listened to Bob Evans read the audio book, too, and it simply can’t be beat. I don’t know how many people here know that Dustin Hoffman was doing an impression of Bob Evans in the Mamet/Levinson film Wag the Dog. And he was spot on.
Of course, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is a classic, too. The 70s was the best era for film making.
Thanks, Stephen. Glad to find a kindred film-geek spirit here at Murderati. I went to law school at U.S.C. and lived in L.A. for a while, and I think it’s pretty great as well, particularly if you love movies. And, as you might guess from that book list, I once tried my hand at screenwriting.
You’re among friends here, Reece. Quite a few of us have done the screenwriting thing. And I think we’re all happier being novelists.
By the way, I’m reeling over the news about Dennis Hopper.
I know, Dennis Hopper. 🙁 At least we know he packed several hundred lifetimes into this one.
Current favorite indulgences are this fantastic street dance class – teacher with the energy and charm of a young Cuba Gooding Jr., only with even more pure fire.
And YA novels, I’m hooked on Melissa Marr’s faires. And that is SO not me…
Congratulations on the debut, Reece, and thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Alexandra! And it’s so sad to hear about Dennis Hopper. I think I’m going to have to reread that chapter in the Biskind book about the making of "Easy Rider."
I took one look at the blog this morning and my brain said, "RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!" But while skimming I also noticed the reference to the Vikings and I thought, hey, fellow fan, and had to come back. So now I have another new-to-me writer whose work sounds intriguing and has been added to my must read list. Damnit. You all are expanding my horizons in a manner that is terrifying to my budget.
And I have no indulgences. Not even one. Really.
Note to self: Make sure all insurance premiums are paid up in advance if you ever get a chance to attend Bouchercon.
Hang in there, Cornelia. It gets better if you let it.
Nice to meet another Vikings fan. After our history of frustrating playoff losses, I think the Vikings have more of a support group than a fan base. We’re sort of like the Red Sox fans before the curse was broken. But don’t get me started ….
Ok Cornelia. I think you are on to something here. The new Fondue party. You serve the ancient port and the guests bring bags of their fav potato chips to dip in the various heated pots of chocolate colors. Fuck the kiwi and strawberries. So healthy. Yooouuuccchhkk (yiddish spelling) This is the emmes. Ruffle Fondue parties combined with Bonko .. Bingo.. Bungle……whatever they call it…..a night out for the bored suburban ladies to drink, get away from their men and eat potato chips and chocolate………now combine that with a mystery book club and you have it all………..
We had Reece in to sign his book at Seattle Mystery Bookshop on Friday and he’s just as charming as he sounds here! Buy his book, seriously!
Late as ever – just managed to check in.
Hang in there, Cornelia ;-]
My indulgence at the moment? Time at home.
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