At seven years of age I wrote my first story for a summer camp magazine. Growing up in Manhattan, I studied painting at the High School of Music & Art, then continued on to Cornell University, where I rowed on the crew, wrote romantic poetry, decided I wasn’t a great artist and instead dreamed of becoming a great writer.
After Cornell I worked as a copy boy for the New York Times, saved my wages, and in 1953 sailed to Europe, determined to make my dream into a reality. I walked from France to Spain across the Pyrenees; stumbled upon the then-unspoiled Mediterranean island of Ibiza -- in those years, an expat in Spain could live comfortably on $50 a month – and wrote my first novel.
I sent it to a literary agent in New York. Miraculously, so it seemed to me, she read it and liked it, and G. P. Putnam’s Sons published it.
Was it really as easy and as quick as that? Of course not. I was lucky. And dogged.
I kept writing. After teaching at UCLA graduate extension school in 1961, I became a correspondent to the Middle East for NBC. I wrote short stories, travel articles and plays. Writing is my life. Over time I managed to finish eighteen books that were published to varying degrees of success by Putnam, St. Martin’s Press, Stein & Day, McGraw-Hill, and Simon & Schuster. Of my novel, “Trial,” Caroline See in the Los Angeles Times wrote: “Don’t begin this book at bedtime or you’ll be up all night . . . it’s made by a master.” And Donald Westlake, reviewing “Final Argument,” said, “Every part of it is terrific. What a wonderful piece of storytelling!”
Those are the kind of accolades that make it all worthwhile.
In 1970, I created a writing event which became the notorious Howard Hughes Autobiography Hoax. Hughes’ biographer, Michael Drosnin, claimed in “Citizen Hughes” that the threat of the book’s publication caused the White House to worry that I was in league with the Democratic National Committee, and presidential concert about Hughes’ revelations of bribery led o that President Nixon approved the Watergate break-in to find out if I had revealed . But that’s another story, for someone else to write.
“Move over, Butch and Sundance, it’s not that I love you both less, just that I’ve come to love Pancho and Tom more”– the New York Times Book Review wrote that opinion about my novel “Tom Mix and Pancho Villa,” which I sometimes think is my best book, although “Trial,” followed by “Daddy’s Girl” and “Final Argument” – all legal thrillers – are the hottest sellers. I stand by them all.
The Chicago Tribune described my investigative book “Fake!” as “the wild, true story of three men who raped the art world . . . one of the most sophisticated suspense sagas of our time.”
Twenty five boxes of my manuscripts, notes, journals and correspondence have been stored by the Center for American History at the University of Texas (Austin), which acquired the archive from me in 2013.
Ex-priest DI Frank Farrell has returned to his roots in Dumfries, only to be landed with a disturbing murder case. Even worse, Farrell knows the victim: Father Boyd, the man who forced him out of the priesthood eighteen years earlier.
With no leads, Farrell must delve into the old priest’s past, one that is inexorably linked with his own. But his attention is diverted when a pair of twin boys go missing. The Dumfries police force recover one in an abandoned church, unharmed. But where is his brother?
As Farrell investigates the two cases, he can’t help but feel targeted. Is someone playing a sinister game, or is he seeing patterns that don’t exist? Either way, it’s a game Farrell needs to win before he loses his grip on his sanity, or someone else turns up dead.