By Lee Goldberg
Thomas & Mercer
Lee Goldberg, who is a successful TV writer/producer on shows like Diagnosis Murder and Monk, is also a #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty books.
Goldberg is known for his witty wordplay, twisty plots, and captivating characters.
In his latest work, True Fiction, Goldberg turns the lens back on himself and his colleagues in a fast-moving adventure where the line between fact and fiction is blurred.
The main character is “Ian Ludlow,” which is the pseudonym Goldberg used to write .357 Vigilante, his first series of novels published in 1985.
Bestselling writer Ian Ludlow is in Seattle on a book tour to promote his latest Chris Straker thriller when he learns that a passenger jet has crashed in Waikiki, Hawaii.
It’s a terrorist attack that matches a horrific story that Ludlow dreamed up for the CIA, which years ago recruited him and a few other writers to imagine terrorism scenarios to help the government prepare for the worst.
To his horror, Ian finds out that the other writers that were recruited by the CIA have all died in mysterious ways and that his own recent spate of accidents were actually assassination attempts. He now is the only person alive who knows how the terrible plot was executed and who is behind it.
Ian runs, sweeping up and innocent bystander in his plight – Margo French, a dog walker and aspiring singer.
Assassins, who are part of an all-seeing global-intelligence network, are relentlessly are in pursuit of Ian and Margo and they won’t stop until they are killed.
Ian has written thrillers like this before, but since this is real life, he doesn’t know how it will end, or if he will even be around to find out.
The only hope Ian has for survival is to think and act like a character he created, Clint Straker, who’s a spy for hire and an unstoppable killing machine…even though Ludlow himself is an overweight, middle-aged writer with a broken arm.
Goldberg, in speaking to Publishers Weekly, said of how he came up with the main character, “Ian Ludlow is me. I wanted to create a character with zero superskills. He’s not Jack Reacher or James Bond. He’s not Navy SEALs, Special Forces, or even a superlover. He’s a writer. He makes stuff up. He has to become a hero. Ludlow is out of shape and doesn’t have sex. He’s anything but the stereotypical super character. He faces danger and runs like hell – until he’s forced not to. The only person in the novel who has special powers is utterly insane.
On how important humor is in his writing, Goldberg told PW, “It’s crucial. Even in the most dire situations humor is instrumental to survival. Every dire situation contains humor. I find books that do not contain humor to not accurately portray life. Looks at James Bond, Star Wars, and Star Trek. The challenge is finding the delicate balance between the story and the thriller plot line and the humor. You don’t want to cross the line into Austin Powers territory. Elmore Leonard was a pro at striking this balance. True Fiction is a thriller that also makes fun of thrillers, and it shows that a hero can be as human as you or me.”
True Fiction is a compelling story and, thanks to Goldberg’s background as a screenwriter, it reads like a motion picture, very vividly.