Now Google This: Vincent Zandri, Romantic Suspense Writer
By Vincent Zandri
Vincent Zandri, romantic suspense writer…
If anyone called me that just a year ago I might have knocked their block off, or at the very least pressed them to “take another sip.”
I’ve always thought of myself as a tough guy. An apple that fell off the Robert B. Parker or even the Norman Mailer tree, and didn’t roll very far. I write books like THE INNOCENT, a psychological thriller about a prison warden accused of killing his own escaped cop-killing convict. Or MOONLIGHT FALLS about flawed P.I. and suicide survivor, Dick Moonlight who must live with a little piece of .22 caliber bullet lodged inside his brain—a man who could die at any moment should the bullet frag shift.
Even though my books are big E-Book bestsellers (THE INNOCENT sold 100,000 copies in just six weeks this past Spring), I’m not necessarily known for sentimental stuff. I write hard-boiled thrillers propelled by pile-driving plotting with tough characters who say what they mean and mean what they say and are willing to back it up with their actions, fists and automatics.
But then there’s THE REMAINS.
A novel that began in the wake of my second divorce a few years ago. I’m not sure where or how I got the idea for the novel, but somehow (and this might very well have come from a dream) I became obsessed with the notion of how one person views a piece of abstract modern art very differently from the next person. Taken a step further, what if a woman begins to see words and messages inside a piece of art that other people couldn’t see? That is, unless the words were actually pointed out to them?
And what if this person has an identical twin sister and what if the two sisters were abducted back in the late seventies and held against their will inside the basement of a house in the woods behind their parent’s farm? What if the two kept the abduction a secret from their parents for fear that the man who did it, Joseph William Whalen, would somehow kill them?
All these ideas and more kept going through my head, not the least of which was using a woman, Rebecca Underhill, who is an artist and art teacher, as the narrator for my novel. To make matters more difficult, I wanted Rebecca’s twin sister Molly to be deceased as the novel opens, and for the two to still be able to communicate almost telepathically.
To make an already difficult novel even harder, I wanted the hero of the novel to be an autistic savant. Francis Scaramuzzi is a brilliant painter who, because of his emotional disability, can only communicate with Rebecca through his paintings. So when the man who abducted she and her sister all those years ago is finally released from prison after thirty years and has his mind made up to go after Rebecca to finish off the job he started and failed at, it becomes Francis who must take on the awesome responsibility of warning her through his paintings.
You still with me here?
I know what you’re asking: Now that we know about the suspense in THE REMAINS, where dies the romance come in?
Rebecca is divorced from her husband Michael, a writer. But the two still spend almost all their time together. In fact, Michael can only write if he’s writing inside Rebecca’s apartment. As the novel opens, the two team up to try and find out if Whalen is in fact about to go after her. In doing so, the two realize a love for one another that, despite their divorce, will never die.
Taken from my own experience with my ex-wife, Laura?
Which is probably why the novel works so well. In many ways, I not only created the story of THE REMAINS, but I lived inside it.
But judge it for yourself. This novel should make you sit on the edge of your seat. But it should make you cheer and laugh and cry. You may even feel the need to close your eyes for a brief moment or two. But don’t close them for too long, you’ll want to see what happens next, and why Rebecca and Michael can’t help but love one another forever.