Friday, July 9, 2010

Obsessed With Firearms? You Be the Judge - Reece Hirsch


Today the Pens welcome thriller writer Reece Hirsch, whose debut novel THE INSIDER came out in May. Publishers Weekly called the novel "fast-paced and film-ready" and said the "tough, ambitious characters will keep fans of legal thrillers on the edge of their seats."

Reece lives right here in Northern California with the rest of us, so we're happy to have him in our Pens-tourage. (Like that? I just came up with it!! :)

The recent Supreme Court decision lifting Chicago’s handgun ban demonstrated once again that we are a nation obsessed with our firearms. The same goes for mystery and crime writers. If a handgun ban were to be imposed upon our genre, we would all be out of business. With that in mind, I compiled the following tally of weapons used in my debut legal thriller THE INSIDER, while trying to avoid spoilers.

Page 3. The weapon: concrete pavement after a fall from the roof of the Embarcadero Four building in San Francisco. Attacker: Unclear. Victim: Attorney Ben Fisher. Body count: 1.

Page 47. The weapon: a wineglass to the head. Attacker: Russian mobster Yuri. Victim: Corporate attorney Will Connelly, my protagonist. Body count: 0.

Page 73. The weapon: car cigarette lighter. Attacker: Unclear. Victim: Attorney Ben Fisher. Body count: 0 (this occurred before Ben hit the pavement on page 3, but we don’t learn about it until page 73).

Pages 83-87. The weapon: a box-cutter. Attacker: Russian mobster Nikolai. Victim: Will Connelly. Yes, Will is having a bad week, but the body count is still: 0.

Pages 225-233. The weapons: unspecified pistols. The shooters: Russian mobsters Nikolai and Yuri and a team of law enforcement agents led by Department of Justice Special Agent Joan Fisk. The setting: the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. Body count: 2.

Page 312. The weapons: unspecified pistols. The shooters: Two Russian mobsters in Puma track suits and four Department of Justice agents. The setting: Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. Body count: 3.

Pages 313-321: The weapons: first, it’s unspecified pistol versus unarmed person, followed by screwdriver versus hammer. Participants: Will and a bad person who shall remain nameless. Body count: 1.

As the above tally indicates, I’ve written a legal thriller, but not a courtroom drama. This count does not include: (1) brandishing of guns, (2) threatened use of guns and (3) use of fists.

I know that there are certain readers who love nothing better than to catch a mystery/crime author in a firearms error. If you say that a particular handgun has a safety, it had better have a safety or you’re going to be receiving some e-mails.

I bypassed that issue a bit in THE INSIDER because my story is told from the perspective of Will Connelly, a young corporate lawyer in a big San Francisco law firm. Will is no Reacher-esque action hero with a connoisseur’s appreciation of the damage that can be done with a particular handgun and ammunition. When Will handles a gun, he just notices how cold and heavy it feels in his hand. When someone points a gun at Will, he’s doesn’t notice whether it’s a Ruger or a Smith & Wesson, he just thinks about how to avoid getting killed. Putting much more detail about the make and caliber of weapons wouldn’t have been consistent with the limited-third-person point-of-view that I was using.

Like Will Connelly, I’m a lawyer who doesn’t engage in much gunplay in my everyday life. However, I know that, as a thriller writer, I’m going to need to up my firearms IQ soon because I’m working in a genre that favors a body count.

9 comments:

Lisa Hughey said...

Reese-
Love this description of Will (he doesn't notice whether it's a Ruger or S&W, he just thinks about how to avoid getting killed) :)

Welcome to the PensTourage!

ps-Sophie-I dig that term :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Hello Reece, and welcome to the Pensfatales.
Great post -- love the body count. No wonder you're called "film ready"!
The new book sounds great...and you're right, you'll have to get all those details right or there'll be hell to pay with readers. Still, research is part of the fun, right? Let's go shoot something!

Reece said...

Juliet, Lisa and (of course) Sophie -- It's great to be a part of the PensTourage today. I'm with Juliet, let's go shoot something!

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

Coming from a family of gun-positive people, I am always amazed at the mystique guns hold for people. They are a marvel of engineering, but still...

...I think I'll make up names for fictional guns, if the protagonist knows about that kind of thing. Hoping to entertain rather than offend those who Know Too Much About Guns (closely related to people who Know Too Much About WWII, but they get invited to more dinner parties)...

Martha Flynn said...

I've always wanted to know who would come out on top in a screwdriver vs hammer fight!

camille@minichino.com said...

I'm just worried that Reece and Julie will head for Castro Valley with their firm purpose of shooting something...

Reece said...

Martha -- As they say, you'll have to read the book to find out the answer to that question ....

Rachael Herron said...

I always worry about the potential for violence at the Pride parade -- maybe now it's been fictionalized, I'll stop worrying! :)

Jeorge Mackay said...

To finalise, Sunday payday loans are a best suggested financial aid which shows lender’s consciousness for their borrowers. Such kind of loans shows lender’s positive attitude towards borrowers and their needs in every situation and know more about our services please visit us sunday payday loans.

http://sundaypaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://12monthloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://weekendpaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/
http://weeklypaydayloans.directlendersuk.co.uk/