Good day, my fellow book people. Instead of focusing on contemporary fiction, today our sights are turning to history, specifically historical fiction as I welcome the author of the recently released American Red, David Marlett. Mr. Marlett is an award-winning author of historical fiction and today he will be providing us with some background information on how this book came into being. So let’s travel back in time with Mr. Marlett and American Red.
Ten years ago, I had heard about the first assassination by bombing in the United States (of the governor of Idaho in 1906), and I was familiar with Clarence Darrow’s famous closing argument in the subsequent murder trial. But my interest in tackling this sweeping epic as a historical novel didn’t begin until I read J. Anthony Lukas’s non-fiction book on the subject, Big Trouble. That lead me to explore more, and with each additional trial transcript and uncovered fact, the closer I came to the story. Soon the characters began to take form, and the plot structure began to reveal itself. But, as it is a big story across a large part of the United States, a significant obstacle was narrowing the story to its key events and characters, finding the arcs, etc., and of course, deciding what I wanted the novel to say.
Even with that narrowing, and the merging (in a couple of instances) of historical characters into single invented ones, etc., American Red still plays host to an ensemble cast—each with unique traits, strengths, quirks, weaknesses. I was once asked whom among them I most enjoyed writing—to which I responded that it was the old Pinkerton, Chief Detective James McParland. He was one of American Red‘s many actual characters from history—a true-to-life man, bold and brazen—wildly famous at the time for his daring detective work. We find him squinting at the dimming light of his life and career, while rooted in the century that had passed. So, he does what he knows—he takes action—one big gamble, one last major action, convincing himself that the flagrant illegalities he undertakes are balanced by the justice he is trying to bring. I love his single-minded focus in the face of such obvious conflicts of loyalty and duty. That moral struggle and wrestling with mortality is so universal that McParland rises to almost iconic stature.
American Red is unique among historical novels, even those set in American history. Rather than addressing oft-trod paths and characters, American Red ventures into a societal wilderness, a lesser-explored time in American history that seems shockingly familiar, even over a hundred years later. I am hard-pressed to find a comparable book of that time and geographic area. Most historical crime stories of that era focus on mob developments on the east coast, of the first-generation immigrant experience. But American Red tackles the men and women of what was, by then, the end of the Wild West. The march of technological advancement had arrived, and their isolationist world was collapsing, with new international ideas flooding in, seeping out into the far west. To me, this is far more reflective of who/what America would become—as the nation unknowingly raced toward the World Wars and the Depression. Further, American Red provides a glancing, raw image of the unique role of faith of the era, and a candid look at the relationships between men and women. American Red is a tapestry of humanity (not just Americans), both in honor and in horror, both in victory and defeat—and therein do can we see ourselves.
David Marlett is an award-winning storyteller and writer of historical fiction, primarily historical legal thrillers bringing alive the fascinating people and events leading to major historical trials. His first such novel, Fortunate Son, became a national bestseller in 2014, rising to #2 in all historical fiction and #3 in all literature and fiction on Amazon. The late Vincent Bugliosi — #1 New York Times bestselling author of Helter Skelter
— said David is “a masterful writer of historical fact and detail, of adventure, peril and courtroom drama.” Just released is American Red which follows the extraordinary true story of a set of radical lovers, lawyers, killers, and spies who launched the Great American Century. Visit www.AmericanRedBook.com. He is currently writing his next historical legal thriller, Angeles Los, which continues some of the lead characters from American Red. Angeles Los is based on the true story at the 1910 intersection of the first movies made in Los Angeles, the murderous bombing of the Los Angeles Times, and eccentric Abbot Kinney’s “Venice of America” kingdom. In addition, David is a professor at Pepperdine Law School, was the managing editor of OMNI Magazine, and guest-lectures on story design. He is a graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, the father of four, and lives in Manhattan Beach, California. For more, visit www.DavidMarlett.com.
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on Tour July 1 – August 31, 2019
In American Red, as the Great American Century begins, and the modern world roars to life, Capitalists flaunt greed and seize power, Socialists and labor unions flex their violent will, and an extraordinary true story of love and sacrifice unfolds.
In his critically acclaimed debut novel, Fortunate Son, David Marlett introduced readers to a fresh take on historical fiction-the historical legal thriller-bringing alive the people and events leading to and surrounding some of the most momentous, dramatic legal trials in history. Now he returns with American Red, the story of one of the greatest domestic terrorists in American history, and the detectives, lawyers, spies, and lovers who brought him down.
The men and women of American Red are among the most fascinating in American history. When, at the dawn of the 20th century, the Idaho governor is assassinated, blame falls on “Big Bill” Haywood, the all-powerful, one-eyed boss of the Western Federation of Miners in Denver. Close by, his polio-crippled wife, Neva, struggles with her wavering faith, her love for another man, and her sister’s affair with her husband. New technologies accelerate American life, but justice lags behind. Private detectives, battling socialists and unions on behalf of wealthy capitalists, will do whatever it takes to see Haywood hanged. The scene is set for bloodshed, from Denver to Boise to San Francisco. America’s most famous attorney, Clarence Darrow, leads the defense-a philandering U.S. senator leads the prosecution-while the press, gunhands, and spies pour in. Among them are two idealists, Jack Garrett and Carla Capone-he a spy for the prosecution, she for the defense. Risking all, they discover truths about their employers, about themselves and each other, and what they’ll sacrifice for justice and honor-and for love.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: July 2nd 2019
Number of Pages: 535
ISBN: 1611881781 (ISBN13: 9781611881783)
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads
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