John Levitt - Author

Paperback: Mass Market | $7.99 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780441017980 | 304 pages | 24 Nov 2009 | Ace | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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Mason is an enforcer, keeping magical practitioners on the straight and narrow. His “dog” Louie, is a faithful familiar who’s proven over and over that he’s a practitioner’s best friend. But this time, Louie’s in the line of fire when practitioners in San Francisco accidentally unleash a monster into the world.

Double Take is the eleventh in the best-selling Dillon Savich-Lacey Sherlock FBI series. What do you think is it about these characters that makes them so popular with readers?

That's a kick of a question. Do you know I've never really thought of either of them in those terms. I mean, I like them, I admire them, watch them fight and laugh, work their tails off, be creative and real smart, and get the job done. I really like Savich's excellent physical self and his bone-deep honor. I admire Sherlock, always there for you, never falters, and I see her and her wild red hair so clearly. They're not goody-two-shoes; they're both as real as it gets.

I also like books where the mysteries are solved, the bad guys are brought to justice and the good guys are still alive at the end of the book.

You know, perhaps what I like is what most readers like too. Now, wouldn't that be nice?

Double Take probes the business behind the world of psychics. Have you had personal experience with the paranormal?

When I was in graduate school, I dreamed that my dad was in trouble; I called him immediately when I woke up. He'd been on the point of calling me because he'd dreamed I was in trouble. What to make of that? I don't have a clue.

Also, may back in the early part of the 20th century, and this is verified through hand-written letters from all the parties involved, it seems that my great-grandfather visited all of his five remaining children in their individual homes and farms, spread all over the Midwest. The only thing was, he'd died at the time he was paying the visits. Now, that tweaks the skeptic cells, doesn't it?

What kind of research did you do for the psychic elements of Double Take?

I spoke to several local psychics, read several books written by well-known psychics, watched them perform on TV, and read interviews. Then I started writing Double Take, here comes Wallace Tammerlane in his classic San Francisco Victorian house filled with Crimean War photos, and his butler-in-black, Ogden Poe; then Bevlin Wagner, young, still growing into what he's meant to become, in his eagle's nest home in Sausalito; and Kathryn Golden, her ambition glass near to overflowing, who has visions and connects mentally to Savich; and finally, Soldan Meissen, a pasha in his red robe, smoking his hookah, worrying over his ugly toes.

Who are they, you ask? And I'll answer you immediately. "They're San Francisco Bay Area psychic mediums, they communicate with dead people. They're quite real, to me and hopefully to you as well. Read on."

Your recent books, including Double Take, weave two mysteries into the plot. Do you start out with two in mind?

No, well maybe. In Point Blank, for example, I had a mental picture of crazy old Moses Grace and his teenage Lolita out to kill Savich, and I wondered, how the devil can they even figure out who this old guy is? The second mystery involves special agent and treasure hunter Ruth Warnecki searching for Confederate gold. Then there's Sheriff Dix Noble who saves her, and whose own wife Christie simply disappeared one fine day more than three years ago, back story, really, since I had no clue about what happened to Christie Noble, and it wasn't apropos to this story.

So two mysteries solved, BUT, I didn't address what happened to Christie. Oh, the abuse I've taken about that. I write to the irate reader explaining that the entire novel of Point Blank takes place in a week. You not only want me to solve two mysteries, you're unhappy that you didn't find out what happened to a missing woman three years ago with no clues?

All right, so this was in the back of my mind—what happened to Christie? Double Take is sort of a sequel to Point Blank. In Double Take, the two seemingly disparate mysteries come together and WHAP!

Now, this was a cool experience—two mysteries connect to one—finding out what happened to Christie, and finding out who was murdering all the psychics and why—and then, for the frosting, you get to wallow in the world of psychics.

Double Take offers an evocative view of San Francisco. Why did you select it as your setting?

As in most all my novels, they set themselves where they want to be set, which sounds weird, I'll admit, but some things you just have to go with. In Double Take, the first scene that came out onto the screen was of Julia at Pier 39—so we're in San Francisco. Since she has a big old mansion in Pacific Heights, a beautiful view, steep hills, a snooty area of the city and Cheney Stone has a modern condo on Belvedere Street, a quarter mile above Haight Ashbury, yep, it's firmly in San Francisco.

If a reader finds an error, they can sure tell me, but know I'll be totally bummed out.

What's up next for you—suspense or romance?

Next up is Wizard's Daughter, set in England in 1835, the Sherbrookes in a secondary role, and it involves strange and wonderful woo woo places and happenings. It'll be on the shelves in mid-December, in time for a whale of a Christmas stocking gift.

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