David S. Brody

David S. Brody

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
November 15, 2006

Q.    Who is David S. Brody?

A.   I guess the short answer is that I'm one of those lawyers who always wanted to be a writer, and then I did something about it.

[Long answer: Here is my bio:]

David S. Brody is a real estate attorney who graduated from Tufts University and Georgetown Law School. He was recently named Boston's "Best Local Author" by the Boston Phoenix, sharing the award with Dennis Lehane. This is his third novel in the Shelby Baskin series, the first of which, Unlawful Deeds, was a Boston Globe bestseller. Mr. Brody resides in Westford, Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Kimberly Scott, and their two daughters.

Q.    What inspired you to write the novel "THE WRONG ABRAHAM?"

A.   When I read, I like to be educated while I'm being entertained. So I try to both educate and entertain in my novels as well-I try to find compelling, real-world issues and then use them to trigger the plot in my stories. In the case of THE WRONG ABRAHAM, I was shocked to learn that these LNG tankers steam into Boston Harbor once a week despite the enormous security risks. The tankers are incredibly volatile-one study estimated that, if ignited, the explosion would be the equivalent of 55 Hiroshima-size bombs. Buildings in Boston's financial district would literally melt and crumble. Skin would burn off of people up to a half-mile away. The damage would dwarf September 11. And all it really takes is a terrorist on the shoreline with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, a weapon that is so easy to use and so available that it is called the instant camera of the weapon world. Just point and shoot. I have trouble accepting the fact that, more than five years after September 11, we haven't figured out a way to keep these tankers away from our population centers. And it's not just Boston, this is a problem up and down our coastlines.

Q.    What was the purpose of the KIDON organization that Abraham developed?

A.   In the story, Abraham, who is a Holocaust survivor and insurance industry titan with access to hundreds of millions of dollars, uses the Kidon operation to avenge acts of anti-Semitism. Abraham sees the entire world through the prism of the Holocaust, and has devoted his life-many would say obsessively-to making sure the Holocaust does not happen again.

Q.    How did you come about Abraham and Madame Radminikov's characters?

A.   They are both, of course, fictional. I developed the Abraham character-who is calculating and Machiavellian-as a counterbalance to the heroine of the story, his niece, Shelby Baskin, who is an idealistic attorney. But Abraham's character was so focused, so driven, so obsessed, that I found I needed a sidekick for him to help him interface with the world. Abraham is unable to deal with people on a personal level. Madame Radminikov is his loyal and shrewd assistant, but she also understands how the world works and frees Abraham up to scheme and plot and not have to worry about the niceties and demands of day-to-day life. He understands things. She understands people.

Q.    How did you come about Shelby and Bruce's character?

A.   They are both recurring characters from my earlier two books, UNLAWFUL DEEDS and BLOOD OF THE TRIBE. I actually created Bruce first-in UNLAWFUL DEEDS he was a young, rogue attorney torn between his love for Shelby and his plan to scheme a client out of millions of dollars. The Shelby character originally had a very small role, in fact I don't think I even named her. But the more I wrote, the more her character seemed to insert herself into the story. That happens sometimes-the characters take on lives of their own, and the job of author changes from one of creator to that of reporter. Bruce is no longer a rogue, but he still has a dark side. He and Shelby definitely have a Ying and Yang relationship.

6. How did you come about the idea surrounding Griffin?

A.   Rex Griffin first appeared in my second book, BLOOD OF THE TRIBE. I wanted someone cunning and diabolical to match wits with Shelby and Bruce. Many readers likened him to the villain in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. He was so popular-or should I say, unpopular-that I decided to bring him back as a recurring villain.

Q.    How did you come about developing Reb Meyer's motives?

A.   I think we've all know people in our lives who may be smart, but who aren't nearly as smart as they think they are. That's Reb Meyer. He is unwilling to serve as Abraham's underling because he thinks he knows better, he thinks he's smarter. Without ruining the story, in the end his actions are as much about him wanting to be in charge as they are about any agenda he might have.

Q.    How long have you been writing?

A.   My wife and I-she's also a novelist, Kimberly A. Scott-each began writing about 12 years ago, just after our first child was born. We had both always wanted to write fiction, and we found ourselves sort of tethered to the house with the baby. So we set up a schedule, and took turns on the computer pounding out our stories. It took a lot of discipline, and I'm not sure either of us would have finished were it not for the other one looking over our shoulder.

Q.    How many books have you written?

A.   I'm now starting my fourth novel, and Kim's finishing her third one.