Why this story?

Since the publication of Shattered Triangle, people have frequently asked me why I wrote this novel. How did I come up with a murder, and why this particular story?

For some time my friends were trying to convince me to write a book. Initially, I did not give it serious thought. I did not know what I wanted to write. Would it be an academic effort, perhaps a reflection on religion or politics? Should I attempt a biography or history? Maybe even science fiction?

Finally, one friend suggested a murder mystery or detective story. As I recall, he said: "You like those kinds of stories." And, indeed, I grew up as a great fan of Agatha Christie, Earle Stanley Gardner and Arthur Conan Doyle. At the same time, I was not sure how to concoct a modern murder. I remember responding by rolling my eyes and saying, "Everybody in the world has already been killed. You need an angle to write something like that." Then it happened.

One day, while driving down a Los Angeles freeway, I thought, "I could kill off an entire family." I admit that is not exactly a pleasant thought at any time, let alone while driving. But then again, it was L.A., and perhaps the freeway shootings that are a part of local lore were working their way into my subconscious. In any event I began ruminating more and more about this family.

I wanted both politics and religion to play into the story, and I wanted to focus on more than just the detective. I was intrigued by the idea of using twins and having them grow up close friends with the detective. I want to create a close connection among the three characters, hopefully allowing them to share the tragedy on a deep level, each making a unique contribution to how the story unfolds.

At its core, Shattered Triangle is a mystery/thriller. The family of a prominent California politician has been murdered. There is little evidence at the scene and the motive is unknown.

Narrated by Lieutenant Tom Moran of the Los Angeles Police Department, the book begins at the funeral for the politician's family. Because there are three characters of equal import, Shattered Triangle includes a significant backstory. Moran grew up with twin brothers, Giovanni and Giuseppe Lozano, and at the funeral he begins to reminisce about their lives. As he does so, the reader accompanies him from their childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood. When the narration returns to the funeral there is still no explanation for the murders. The story continues to unfold through the dedicated work of Lt. Moran.

One of my goals was to make the characters in the book believable. To allow the reader to identify with them. To feel and think as they do. To see reality in the way each of them responds to such a senseless tragedy.

It is sometimes said that people grow closer through tragedy and death. To some extent that is true. But certain crises are almost unbearable and leave scars that never truly heal. How will these three characters be changed by murder and death. Will they ever be the same. Would you?
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