Wife's suggestion led to bestselling series

Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:02am EDT
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - John Verdon was 65 and retired, reading a lot of detective stories and talking about them with his wife, when one day she suggested he write one himself.

He took her up on the challenge, and Dave Gurney - a retired New York City homicide investigator just beginning his new life when mysterious letters start arriving - was born.

The book was snapped up by a publisher and came out in 2010 to rave reviews, and Gurney's adventures have continued with two more books, the latest - "Let the Devil Sleep" - just out.

Verdon, a former advertising executive who retired at 53 and turned to furniture making before writing, said he has been surprised and pleased by the results.

"When I wrote the first book I didn't even imagine it would be published. I had the time to do it, my wife encouraged me to do it, and I wrote the first one hoping she'd like it," he said, noting that the suggestion for more came from his agent.

"From that point on I think it kind of took hold of me, because during the course of finishing the first book I'd become close to and interested in the characters. So the idea of putting them in new situations and being with them again felt comfortable to me."

As the new book starts, Dave has fallen into a depression as the result of injuries suffered in his previous escapade, but the reappearance of a serial killer after a decade gradually rouses him to action.

Verdon, who said he'd always wanted to write but thought advertising was the only way he could write and make a living, said that one of the challenges of carrying on with a series is working to keep the reader interested.   Continued...