Book Talk: Clive Cussler probes coal country, strikes in new book

Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:40am EDT
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By Billy Cheung

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Best-selling adventure author Clive Cussler, who published his first book 40 years ago, is still entertaining fans. His newest novel, "The Striker," released this month, has already sold thousands of copies.

"The Striker," Cussler's 55th book, follows detective Isaac Bell's investigation into union strikes in early 1900s coal country.

It contains many of the hallmarks of his earlier work. The story pits young Bell against another detective and his ruthless sponsor, both bent on fomenting violence between miners and industrialists. Bell does his best not to take sides as he has roughly a week to thwart a potentially bloody uprising.

Cussler, who writes with a co-author, said he will be producing more books, including one for The Fargo Adventure series, another for the underwater exploration series The NUMA Files, and a third for The Oregon Files about Juan Cabrillo and a special U.S. government sponsored group called the Corporation.

The 81-year-old author spoke to Reuters about the newest book, his method of writing and future plans.

Q: Your latest book, which is the sixth in the Isaac Bell character series, chronicles his early days as a detective at the Van Dorn agency. Why did you choose to go back in time for "The Striker"?

A: I had always wanted to do a western, just for fun. I didn't want to do one with stagecoaches, bandits and horses, and all that. So I moved it up to 1906 to get in old cars and old motorcycles, which I collect. The publisher asked me if I could continue the series because people quite like the hero Isaac Bell, which led me to write about railroads and mining for this book.

Q: The plot of the story includes great details about shipyards and coal mining. What inspired you to use this backdrop?   Continued...

Author Clive Cussler is shown in a 2012 handout photo taken at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. REUTERS/photosbyleanna/Handout