The story begins much like the old joke, “A guy walks into a bar…” Except, in this case, the bar is a restaurant and the guy behind the bar is a waiter or waitress who looks perfectly wholesome and trustworthy. Unfortunately, your server has a camera phone and a friend who steals credit card information.
Con artists and scammers come from all walks of life; they look just like you and me. The difference is that most people don’t want to make a living by taking advantage of others, but those other guys…well, they’re just different. That’s part of the reason I like to write about them. I have a column on Examiner.com that focuses on real-life scams and cons. While I love doing the investigation and writing for that column, it’s much more fun to bring characters with less-than-honorable intentions into a novel where they can really cut loose.
Let’s take another look at that opening example. What if the waiter is a young kid struggling to pay down his student loans and has a wife at home with their newborn son? When an acquaintance asks him if he’d like to make a little extra cash, he remembers the ache on his wife’s face when they talked about her going back to work; he remembers the smell of his newborn son right after a bath; and he worries about how they’ll ever put together enough cash to move out of the dump they must live in now. He jumps at the chance to make more money, even though he knows he’s doing something illegal, by rationalizing that the only ones who will really lose anything are the big banks who will hold those gigantic student loans over his head for who knows how many more years.
Our waiter is truly a character in conflict. If he accepts the chance to make some quick cash, he’ll likely travel down a very dark path before he finds his way back to the ideals he held so dear just a few years earlier. When I’m writing fiction, the characters are the ones I believe drive the story. If the character is a “normal” person who’s been driven by circumstance to the wrong side of the law, there’s so much potential to create a compelling plot driven by emotions and needs. To me, that’s what good fiction is all about—the character.
In my new novel, “License to Lie,” two characters who view the law quite differently meet and are forced to work together by circumstance. The result is that these two, both from opposite sides of the law, find themselves questioning every lesson they ever learned—including, who should they trust when they can’t trust a soul…even their own.
Here’s what two early readers said:
“License to Lie is fast and well written, almost sure to satisfy discerning readers of thrillers.” — T. Jefferson Parker, author of “The Jaguar” and “The Border Lords”.
"Fast-paced, unpredictable, and a lot of fun--no one is who they seem in this smart and twisty tale of high finance and double dealing." — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity award-winning author
Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark to “help” when negotiations failed.
With $5 million and their lives on the line, can a determined criminologist and a beautiful con artist learn to trust each other? Or themselves?
Roxy Tanner lies for a living. Skip Cosgrove uncovers the lies others tell. Together, they have twelve hours to meet a ransom demand or her father will die. When Roxy reveals that she has the money, Skip is sure of one thing: his way-too-attractive client is lying to him.
As events unfold, these two loners discover that for those living on the edge, trust is a luxury they can’t afford. There’s only one thing left for them to do.
Never trust a soul…even your own.
I'm really impressed by the caliber of your early readers and what they had to say. Wow! What great endorsements for your book!