KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
A PERFECT EYE
Women Sleuth Murder Thriller
BY STEPHANIE KANE
“An artistic thriller that will keep readers guessing.” — Kirkus
“This really is one of those books you can’t put down. It is both an enlightening and wonderfully told inside story of the world of art curators and forgeries and a gripping thriller. You wonder why you didn’t see the ending coming, which is truly the mark of a compelling and skillfully told mystery.” — Harry Maclean, Edgar Award Winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of In Broad Daylight
“Lily Sparks’ keen powers of observation and Stephanie Kane’s snappy, hard-edged writing make for a highly original mystery that provide a whole gallery full of heart-pounding chills.” — Mark Stevens, author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series including T he Melancholy Howl
Some are born with a perfect palate, others with perfect pitch.
Denver Art Museum’s Conservator of Paintings Lily Sparks was born with a perfect eye. When the museum’s billionaire benefactor is brutally murdered, the grisly tableau stuns her: it’s the human embodiment of the museum’s prized landscape by famed Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte.
Lily comes to believe the Caillebotte was forged and the killer is a painter the art world spurned. But as she confronts where art ends and fraud begins, she must face the deceptions in her own past.
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. To put 2000 miles between me and my folks, I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder where I majored in Italian. After graduating, I owned and ran a karate studio and then went to law school. I practiced at a big firm and also did criminal defense work.
Before A PERFECT EYE, I published a stand-alone mystery (QUIET TIME) and three legal thrillers (BLIND SPOT, EXTREME INDIFFERENCE and SEEDS OF DOUBT). My last two thrillers won one Colorado Book Award and two Colorado Authors League Awards for Genre Fiction. I also write Cold Case Story Blog (www.writerkane.com/blog ), which examines the true facts behind the murder on which QUIET TIME was based, and the cold case that was opened as a result of my book.
I’m basically a homebody and an introvert. A few years ago, I learned to swim. Now I use swimming and coffee to rev up my brain to write. I also love to garden and knit. I live in Denver with my husband and two cats.
1. What appeals to you about the genre that you write?
I love twisted psychological motivations, misdirection and turning a plot. I grew up on Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone so my stories skew a little dark. I also like quirky heroines who look at the world in interesting ways. My legal thrillers star Jackie Flowers, a dyslexic criminal defense lawyer whose reading challenges make her a better lawyer. My latest heroine, Lily Sparks, is a paintings conservator who was trained to be hyper-observant from the time she was a kid. That gets her into trouble as much as it helps her to conserve paintings and solve cases.
2. Are you a plotter or a pantser (one who writes “by the seat of your pants”)?
I’m a plotter. It comes naturally to a control freak. That said, one of the thrills of writing is departing from what you thought would be the plot.
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
Basically any part that’s going well at the moment. Each phase has its demands and rewards. My process is pretty front-end loaded, meaning I devote a lot of time to researching and trouble-shooting a concept before I settle on a plot. When I research, my mind roams and the possibilities seem endless. When I plot, the possibilities narrow but become more exciting because the strands start coming together. Writing is the most frustrating and demanding phase because I have to stick my butt in a chair and crank it out. It’s also the most exhilarating because as the story and characters come alive on the page, they often go in more exciting and fulfilling directions than planned.
4. If you had to give up writing and do something else, what would you do instead?
I definitely wouldn’t got back to law. If I could do anything, I’d tend a formal Japanese garden.
5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?
Dinner, because it’s my time with my husband.
6. Which are your favorite characters to write, the female characters or the male characters? Why?
Female characters because I can give them attributes I wish I had. Nuanced bad guys who put my heroines to the test are also fun to write.
7. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it?
I’d like to be able to freeze and bend time. That would give me twice as much time to write, more time with my friends and family, and time to think before I act!
8. Many writers dream of having the ideal location to write. If you could live anywhere in the world or live a particular lifestyle, where would you be answering these questions right now?
From a porch overlooking a wild grey ocean.
9. Do you have any rejection stories to share? Reviews that meant something special to you?
Chainsaw Moore, who’d been confined to a wheelchair after an accident and was serving life at Colorado’s maximum security prison for murdering and dismembering his roommate, sent me a six-page handwritten critique of BLIND SPOT.
After rating the Denver County Jail’s food as “good” and quibbling over my description of a guard tower and whether a fractured hyoid cartilage is detectable in a skeleton, he got down to the real business. The forensic psychiatrist in my book tells Jackie that killers start early and small, and to work your way up to decapitating an adult takes time and experience, the refinement and acting out of deeply ingrained sadistic fantasies. Moore wrote, “Decapitating an adult? Not spot one. A rage can be the first real rage. If you want more, ask.” He should know.
I’m happy to report that Moore rated BLIND SPOT’s ending as “great”, and said I did a “great job!” and made “fewer mistakes than the few others I’ve read in the genre.” I always respond to readers who write to me, and I wanted to thank Moore for his time and follow up on a couple of his finer points. But my husband is a judge, and this is the one time in our marriage when he put his foot down. NO CONTACT!
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
In THE AUTOMAT, paintings conservator Lily Sparks solves a series of murders involving artworks by Edward Hopper. It’s slated for Fall 2020.
Stephanie Kane is a lawyer and award-winning author of four
crime novels. Born in Brooklyn, she came to Colorado as a
freshman at CU. She owned and ran a karate studio in Boulder and is a second-degree black belt. After graduating from law school, she was a corporate partner at a top Denver law firm before becoming a criminal defense attorney. She has lectured on money laundering and white collar crime in Eastern Europe, and given workshops throughout the country on writing technique. She lives in Denver with her husband and two black cats.
Extreme Indifference and Seeds of Doubt won a Colorado Book Award for Mystery and two Colorado Authors League Awards for Genre Fiction. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and the Colorado Authors League.
Links to Stephanie‘s Website, blog, books, etc.
AMAZON KINDLE: https://amzn.to/2KQnupL
AMAZON PAPERBACK: https://amzn.to/2rpwAD2
Thanks, Stephanie, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!