(From the San Jose Mercury News)
Piedmont author releases his second thriller
By Marta Yamamoto
Posted: 01/10/2013 10:43:23 AM PST
Updated: 01/10/2013 10:43:24 AM PST
PIEDMONT — Robert Lowe’s first mystery thriller, “Project Moses,” sat around for 15 years before being rewritten and released last January to positive response.
Luckily, fans of San Francisco investigative reporter Enzo Lee won’t have to wait around another 15 years to read the second book in the series. Lowe released “Divine Fury” on Dec. 11, and readers are already deep into the pages of Enzo Lee’s latest involvement in criminal conspiracies.
The Piedmont author brings a varied and story-worthy resume — including having been a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and a lawyer and spending time deep within Silicon Valley in high-tech industries. He’s turned his attention to full-time writing and is incorporating many of his experiences into his stories.
Lowe always had an interest in writing, but it wasn’t until 1994 when he was between jobs as a lawyer, living in San Francisco, that he penned his first book during a four-month break. Work and raising a family took over for the next 15 years until his company shut down in 2011 and time again stretched ahead for Lowe.
“I had not read the draft of ‘Project Moses’ for 15 years, and there were parts that I had forgotten,” Lowe said. “To read something you had written with fresh eyes, it was really like reading someone else’s work.”
The reading public liked Lowe’s characters and the familiar settings he choose, including San Francisco’s Chinatown, North Beach and Pacific Heights, and the foodie culture that Lowe described so well. The book also received strong recognition by serious reviewers.
Now Enzo Lee is back in “Divine Fury,” once again drawn away from his comfort zone of “fluff” features into political intrigue and murder, as an openly gay San Francisco politician makes a bid for governor, releasing a swarm of dirty tricks, efforts to sabotage his campaign and an assassination attempt.
“Enzo Lee gets pulled in, and soon he’s up to his eyeballs in skulduggery,” Lowe said. “He’s trying to unravel it and come up with a good story and expose it.”
As with any good read, Lowe brings his experiences and likes into his stories including the mystery-thriller genre where Lowe models his work on that of Lee Child and John Grisham, appreciating the suspense they build up.
“They write the kind of books that for me are the can’t-put-down kind of books, and I always wanted to write books that people had that response to,” he said.
For his main character, Lowe chose to create a complex man with a scandaled past that caused him to leave New York and reinvent himself in San Francisco. The character is not Lowe, but they both pursued the same line of work, allowing Lowe to get into Lee’s mindset.
Lowe also chose to make Lee half-Asian as representative of Bay Area culture.
“To me, it just fits the Bay Area,” he said. “When I think of the Bay Area, I just think of this mélange of ethnic and lifestyle things being all thrown together.”
The author hopes foremost that his readers are entertained and that they feel engaged and present in the story. With his background and intricate story lines, Lowe presents readers with layered, complex books with enough mental activity involved to keep them interesting. Again, this goes back to Lowe’s background.
“One thing I bring to these books is that I’ve been a reporter, so I’ve been on the inside; I was a lawyer so I’ve spent time in meetings where I experienced the whole dynamic of the board room,” he said. “Then I’ve been in high-tech, so I know how things work in Silicon Valley, so there’s a lot I can write about with some authenticity.”
Lowe is committed to a third Enzo Lee mystery thriller, and fans are hoping that its release is a timely one.