Today I am interviewing Steve Levi, author of the crime novel, The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound.
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DJ: Hi Steve! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Steve Levi: I like to think I’m an odd duck. As a writer, I can’t be put into any of the usual writing categories. My motto is “If you do not have something unique you have nothing.” I want every one of my books, fiction and nonfiction, to be unique, something no one has done before. As an example, in nonfiction I concentrate on the Alaska Gold Rush. I am an Alaskan, by the way. The Alaska Gold Rush is the least-studied era in American history. Most people believe that the Klondike Gold Rush made famous by Jack London and Robert Service, is the Alaska Gold Rush. It is not. The Klondike Gold Rush was in the Yukon Territory of Canada and lasted about 14 months. The Alaska Gold Rush started in 1880 and ends with the First World War and covered an area about 1/5 of the lower states. My composite history of the Alaska Gold Rush included events, stampedes and people no one else had heard of. My book on Alaska’s ghost ship, the CLARA NEVADA, was another first. The CLARA NEVADA went down in 1898 and came back up in 1908 – missing 100,000 ounces of gold. Supposedly there were no survivors BUT a handful of months later, the captain of the ship has a brand-new steamboat on the Yukon River. Humm, how interesting.
When it comes to fiction, I, again, look for something that is unique. That’s why I created my own genre, the ‘impossible crime.’ An impossible crime is one where the detective has to solve HOW the crime was committed before it is possible to go after the perpetrators. My impossible crime novels – available at www.authormasterminds.com – include a plane which lands at Anchorage International Airport with no pilot, crew or passengers yet LEFT Seattle with a pilot, crew and passengers and did not land anywhere along the way. That book is THE MATTER OF THE DESERTED AIRLINER and in THE MATTER OF THE DEMATERIALIZING ARMORED CAR, the perpetrators make an empty armored car ‘demineralize’ in a tunnel. An empty armored car? Why? If the perpetrators are going to steal something of value, what is the value of an empty armored car?
In my murder mystery, DEAD MEN DO COME BACK, the corpse makes three different appearances. It’s an Alaska Gold Rush mystery and the United States Marshal has to figure out WHY the corpse keeps making the appearances and how it is connected with two robberies of 250 pounds of gold from the Juneau mine. And HOW do you have 250 pounds of gold vanish off a steamship if it was loaded under guard and never offloaded?
Overall, in everything I write, novel or short story, I want my readers confused as long as possible, hopefully to the last page. I hate books and movies where I have figured out ‘who dun it’ within the first chapter.
DJ: What is The Matter of the Vanishing Greyhound about?
Steve: Again, as much as possible, I want my readers to be confused until the last page. In THE MATTER OF THE VANISHING GREYHOUND, as an example, the police in San Francisco are following a Greyhound bush loaded with four bank robbers, a dozen hostages and $10 million in cash. The bus rolls onto the Golden Gate Bridge and the police close the bridge at both ends. When the police send in their hostage negotiator, there is no bus. It has vanished off the Golden Gate Bridge. (And let me tell you, I had a hard time convincing publishers this was NOT science fiction.) Now the detective has to figure out HOW a Greyhound bus, being followed by the police, can vanish off the Golden Gate Bridge and if the perpetrators already have the money, why do they need hostages? Continue reading