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Shame Paperback – December 11, 2012
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Author Tess Gerritsen Interviews Shame Author Alan Russell
Alan Russell: That’s right. We discussed your latest book Last to Die and explored your San Diego roots.
TG: Being a San Diego native, my first few winters in Maine weren’t easy.
AR: I think I’d hibernate.
TG: Actually, winters are my most productive time to write. And speaking of hibernation I understand you’ve emerged from it with a new book (Burning Man).
TG: I missed Shame the first time around. What’s it about?
AR: My first insight into writing the book occurred when I read about Ted Bundy fathering a child while in prison. That got me to thinking about how terrible it would be to be the child of a serial murderer.
TG: So much for a normal childhood.
AR: Exactly. Given that circumstance, I figure I’d want to escape the sins of the father as soon as I could. And that’s what my protagonist does.
TG: Let me guess, he’s not able to escape his past?
AR: Even though he has tried to carve out a life outside of his father’s shadow, it’s always there. His wife and children have no idea about his past, but it still taints him. The past catches up with him when a series of murders occur with his father’s M.O. Suddenly, he’s not only outed, he’s the prime suspect.
TG: That doesn’t sound like an easy book to write.
AR: It was the book from hell. I was on deadline and for the only time in my life I was late. In order to make the book right, I had to balance the past of the father with the present of the son. I also found it necessary to have not one major protagonist, but three. I brought in a true crime author whose career path was started when she survived the father’s visit to her sorority and he spared her life. And filling out the triumvirate is a drag queen.
TG: Dare I ask if that’s something you have personal experience with?
AR: The only time I’ve been in drag was when I played the role of Mother Ginger in the West Coast Ballet Company’s performances of the Nutcracker. And no, I’m not a dancer. The only reason I was in that production is that I’m 6’ 7” and they needed a tall performer to hide all the little dancers under a huge hoop skirt. Someone recommended me for my height, and though I was terrified at the prospect of performing as a writer I couldn’t say no to such an experience.
TG: Do you have pictures?.
AR: You wouldn’t want to see them. I was not an attractive woman. My oldest son claims he still has PTSD from seeing me dressed that way.
TG: Do you still think of Shame as your book from hell?
AR: I must admit I really enjoyed rereading it. I guess enough time passed to forget the pain. It must be like women with childbirth. And speaking of childbirth, even when you were a practicing doctor and the mother of two you kept up a demanding writing regimen and still do. What’s your secret?
TG: Sheer stubbornness and an obsessive-compulsive streak. I hate missing deadlines, so I stay at my desk until it's done.
About the Author
Alan Russell is an award-winning writer and California native whose wild imagination continues to get the best of him when it comes to his literary achievements. A proud father of three and an avid gardener, Alan blames his busy home-life for the long delay between works—though his readers agree each new book is worth the wait. Inspired by the “what if” factor, Shame is his sixth novel and explores the psychological inner-workings of a serial killer whose son is forced to live in his shadow. Drawn to the bold and daring, Alan continues to churn out new page-turners that are sure to continue to thrill his readers. To find out more about Alan Russell please check out his website: www.alanrussell.net
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Top customer reviews
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I call SHAME a roller coaster because I found myself on a ride of excitement and interest, and then dipping into moments that seemed to just drag on and lose my interest. All in all it did leave me wanting to finish the ride.
I found the story had some very interesting characters, and I truly adored Lola. What a gal! I did get a little annoyed with her going on and on and on about the reason she was a drag queen and the reasons behind it. I just felt like she was trying to validate her reasons for it rather than just being who she was. For some reason this part of her character bothered me. Hum, I guess it just didnt need to be there and became rather redundant.
I would have liked to have known more about Shame himself with a bit of more detail into his crimes. For me, Shame was the true terrifying person in the story. Since Elizabeth was so intimate with the killer I had hoped there would have been a bit more insite to him. I felt a little empty.
There was also quite a bit of back building in the story. A lot actually. I found it fairly distracting and a little bit confusing.
I thought the story was very well written. Good characters, intriguing plot, and some pretty good action scenes. For example, when Caleb is tied up in the kitchen, I found myself gripping the Kindle and yelling at him. It was a good ride, I just felt that, for this psycho thriller ride, there were far too many long valleys and not near enough hills.
I am giving this three of five stars. It is a good read. I definitely want to try another book by this author! From what I have read in other reviews this was not one of his better works. I would have given four stars were in not for the slow parts that had me losing interest.
This book resonates with anyone who has been bullied, taunted, sidelined, or tainted by parents’ transgressions or because they are different. That cuts a big swath among supposed misfits, shy or solitary people, outcasts, kids who suffer growing up because they don’t fit in. What happens to those kids when they become adults? Is “evil” hereditary? These are some of the social issues brought up in this book that addresses the mocking, derisory, taunting aspect toward those who don’t fit into the all-American profile.
Dr. Elizabeth Line is the journalist who has written about mass murderer Shane and is probably the foremost authority on him. His son Cal has found a measure of peace in a quiet life until this is shattered by a new murderer following the same pattern as Shane. Whether or not Cal is guilty, he is already condemned by his father's reputation and the fact that some people believe "evil" is hereditary. It seems to be general opinion that if the real Shane isn't around to commit the murders, then it must be the son who is following in his father's footsteps.
While ignorance abounds, it is hard as a reader to understand why the cops are so eager to pin the murders on Shane’s son. Also, the wrap up made this reader feel as if something important had been kept secret from me thus nullifying any chance for me to reach my own, however misguided, conclusions.
Some brilliant passages. “No one can look into God’s face without going insane. It’s too complicated, too brilliant, too unfathomable.”
Thank you Alan Russell for such a great read!!!!!
Most recent customer reviews
A good book. Written with strength, sensitivity and careful humor. You sense how intelligent and vulnerable the characters are and that allows a personal...Read more