...well, o.k., it was live when Hilary went but she isn't reporting live now. So that makes it just a tiny exaggeration, right?
Bless her heart, in the midst of edits for her own book, Hilary Davidson was generous enough to cover Brad Parks' event at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. I owe her big for this. I would have loved to have been there to heckle...er, I mean support...Brad on his big night. Alas, I was unable. But the wonderful and talented Hilary pulled double duty and here's her wonderful report and photos from New York City:
That Brad Parks is a master showman is a fact no one can dispute. What, you want proof? Check out the infamous video of Brad at ThrillerFest 2010, where he serenaded Brad Meltzer with a song set to the tune of “Maria” from West Side Story. Even better: catch him while he’s on tour promoting his new novel, EYES OF THE INNOCENT. It’s the sequel to his brilliant FACES OF THE GONE, which has the distinction of being the only debut novel ever to win both the Shamus and Nero awards.
I saw Brad when he hit The Mysterious Bookshop in New York on February 11th. While I’d expected a toga party, given his latest newsletter (if you missed the photos of Brad wrapped in a sheet, sporting a leafy crown and lipstick, you should really go back and have a look), Brad was decked out in clothing not unlike what his main character — intrepid Newark, NJ, journalist Carter Ross — would wear. While telling the crowd that Carter is not his alter ego (unlike Brad, the fictional journalist is not left-handed), he acknowledged that the two have much in common, including the background in newspapers. In fact, the story behind EYES OF THE INNOCENT started when Brad was still a reporter for a Newark paper, The Star-Ledger, and noticed in early
Authors Hilary Davidson and Brad Parks
2008 that mattresses were strewn over some streets. It turned out they were tossed when families were forced to leave because of foreclosures. “I started wondering, ‘Wait, people who couldn’t afford moving vans could afford houses?’” Brad said. “What I was seeing was the ground floor of the global financial crisis.”
This ego is left-handed.
One of those foreclosed homes caught fire on March 7th, 2008… and again on March 10th. Three days later, Brad walked inside to see the incinerated remains up close. “The question ‘What happened here?’ is a great start to a mystery novel,” he says. While the foreclosures and the fire provided inspiration, they were just a starting point for the novel. As he noted, “In journalism, when you make things up, you get fired. In fiction, when you don’t make things up, you get sued.”
Brad read a couple of sections from the book, then took questions. When asked about his influences, he named Harlan Coben and John D. MacDonald. He admitted that he occasionally writes at his local Hardee’s, where there are “no kids, no Internet, and free Coke Zero refills.” There were several questions about how much he has in common with his main character. “Carter’s my buddy. I miss him when I’m not writing about him,” he admitted. While their personal lives have nothing in common (Brad’s second child was born just three days after he finished writing EYES OF THE INNOCENT), he admitted that he and Carter have a similar attitude. “Smart-assness is part of my own personality,” he said. “Also, it’s New Jersey and if you don’t have attitude in New Jersey they rip your lips off and throw you in a Dumpster.”
Is Brad singing again?