Friday, July 10, 2009

The Wall Street Journal Life & Style Profiles Writer George Dawes Green

Ravens by George Dawes Green

The Life & Style section of today's Wall Street Journal Online profiles thriller writer George Dawes Green, an author who publishes, maybe, a book a decade in contrast, the article notes, to James Patterson, who will publish 9 new books this year. Dawes' latest novel, Ravens, hits bookstores next week. Although his last book sold more than 900,000 copies and was made into a film with Demi Moore and Alex Baldwin, only 45,000 copies of Ravens will be printed. "He was last published in the dinosaur age," says his literary agent, Molly Friedrich. (His last book, for those who thought we wouldn't mention it, was The Juror, published in 1995.)

Green shrugs off any concern that he's not publishing often enough. He says he could never write a book a year, and he isn’t convinced that it's the right strategy for even the most admired authors.

It's hard to argue with his success. His first book, The Caveman's Valentine, won the 1995 for Best First Novel and was also made into a film starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Ravens took Mr. Green two years to finish, and aims to be realistic, right down to a chilling scene in which the lead character, Shaw McBride, plots his crime using various web sites, including Facebook, MySpace and VirtualBirdsEye.com, which offers aerial views of everything from stadiums to houses. "There’s a reason I hate technology," the author says. "The invasion of privacy is so terrifying."

About Ravens: When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko pull up at a convenience store off I-95 in Georgia, their only thought is to fix a leaky tire and be on their way again to Florida -- away from their dull Ohio tech-support jobs. But this happens to be the store from which a $318 million jackpot ticket has just been sold -- and when a pretty clerk accidentally reveals to Shaw the identity of the winning family, he hatches a ferociously audacious scheme: He and Romeo will squeeze the family for half their prize. That night, he visits the Boatwright home and takes the family hostage, while Romeo patrols the streets nearby, prepared to murder the Boatwrights' loved ones at any sign of resistance. At first, the family offers none. But Shaw's plot depends on maintaining constant fear -- merciless, unfaltering terror -- and soon, under the pressure, everyone's sanity begins to unravel. Publishers Weekly gives Ravens a starred review, saying, "This exquisite novel of psychological suspense builds to a devastating resolution that will leave readers with the cold shudders for a long time afterward."

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