Project Moses Guest Post and Book and $10 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway!
Posted by Krystal Larson at 3:17 PM Thursday, June 21, 2012
*LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $10 Amazon GIFTCARD AND THIS AWESOME BOOK*
WHAT INSPIRED THE PLOT?
The main crime in Project Moses – aside from the murders of many possible witnesses – has to do with bioterrorism and the use of genetic engineering techniques to cause mischief.
I’ve long been interested in the technology and implications of various types of genetic engineering and simply understanding what genes do. When I was in law school, one of the requirements to graduate was to write an extensive paper – almost like a dissertation really – about some topic with some significant legal issues. I tackled the implications of the genetic testing of people in terms of health insurance. What happens when employers and insurers can tell through genetic tests whether you are a higher risk for heart attacks or cancer?
That was really the genesis of the main conspiracy in the book. I just started thinking about what might happen if some bad characters could use this technology. Early in the book, I wanted to have a mysterious murder that would be one of the threads pursued in the beginning. I picked a plant as a key element and that sort of drove the plot toward a plant biology story.
Of course, I set the story mainly in the San Francisco area since that is where I live and have worked for the past 20 years. Also, it’s a place people love and therefore, I think, a nice frame for a story. Having a plot heavy on the high-tech, biotech themes was a natural for the setting.
WHAT CHARACTERS WERE HARD TO PORTRAY?
This was my first book so, in a sense, they all were a little tough for me, although most readers so far seem to like them which gives me great relief and satisfaction. This was a book that I wrote once and then rewrote parts of several years later before it was published. I’d say the greatest changes I made were to the two main characters – the reporter Enzo Lee and his love interest, Sarah Armstrong, who is the niece of an early murder victim and becomes a target herself.
The characters stayed pretty consistent, I think, in terms of personality and how they react to things. But, on the second pass through I had them nailed a little better and could describe them with more authority. I also tweaked their back stories a bit. I eliminated some details because I realized perhaps people didn’t need to know every detail and it slowed the narrative somewhat. I also started to feel that I would use the characters again – or at least in the case of Enzo and some lesser characters – so wanted to hold back some background that I could use later and perhaps weave into another tale.
I also found myself reworking dialogue and some of the romantic parts quite a bit. That’s when you find yourself sitting at the table having one side – or both sides – of the conversation. Or, imagine your reaction if you overheard two people having it. I guess the challenge is to make it believable given the situation, who the people are, and their relationship. At the same time, it can’t be boring and needs to advance the story.
WHAT ABOUT HOLLYWOOD ENDINGS?
I tend to resist them on general principle although if it’s required for a movie, I might not fight it. After all, that would be Hollywood, right?
REVIEW SOUND BYTES
A journalist and a lawyer stumble upon secret experiments and a government conspiracy in Lowe’s debut mystery novel.
Reporter Enzo Lee is keeping a low journalistic profile in San Francisco by specializing in light newspaper features. After he reluctantly tackles a story of a judge found dead in her office, avoiding front-page news becomes the least of Lee’s worries. The judge’s death is associated with a prosecutor—killed by a hit-and-run—another attorney and the judge’s niece, Sarah Armstrong, who’s nearly a victim herself. As more people are murdered, Lee and Sarah learn of a company, AgriGenics, that genetically enhances fruits and vegetables—but the company’s ties to biological weapons put the snooping couple in its scope. Lowe's taut thriller is fronted by a likable protagonist who retains his sense of humor even under a constant threat of death. Lee easily generates sympathy, especially since he doesn’t particularly enjoy his unbearable circumstances—he was content averting controversy with his newspaper features. Both he and Sarah are resourceful characters, and their mutual attraction and ensuing relationship is believable. In the same regard, the two convincingly manage the intrigue: Sarah connects the murders through her prior involvement and Lee, the former hard-hitting reporter, utilizes sources and information as a means to take the offense. The story’s long-reaching conspiracy is elaborate but never overwhelming, so readers can appreciate the stockpiling of secrets, elusive characters and murders committed to preserve those secrets. One of the supporting players, a female detective named Bobbie Connors, who proves an asset to Lee, threatened to steal the spotlight completely if she’d been allowed a more substantial part in the story.
A thriller with an ideal fusion of wile and wit.
Robert B. Lowe is a Pulitzer-prize winning author whose fiction is based in San Francisco, his adopted home.
His past experiences – a 12-year career in investigative journalism and a Harvard Law School degree – enable him to write gripping mystery thrillers in both the legal and journalistic fields. Lowe draws his inspiration from John Grisham, Dick Francis and Lee Childs and adds his own San Francisco twist. Readers will enjoy his references to the city’s landmarks such as Chinatown, North Beach and Pacific Heights and the Bay area’s foodie culture.
When Lowe isn’t writing he enjoys a day at the golf course and spending time with his wife and daughters.
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