Shane Gericke
September 2010
Author of the Month
Suspense Magazine Review
of
"Torn Apart"

“Torn Apart” is the latest
novel written by Shane
Gericke. Shane throws the
reader in the driver’s seat
with no brakes from page
one. The setting of the book
is divided up into two areas,
central Wisconsin and
Naperville, Illinois.

Four killers, who name
themselves after zodiac
signs, begin the crime spree
by working with a man called
Cash Maxximus. The zodiac
quartet kills a young girl and
dumps her body in central
Wisconsin, but not before
they have a shoot out with a
local officer. Cash Maxximus
is a child porn/slavery runner
and drug dealer, that gets his
victims hooked on a new,
designer drug called Katrina.

Detective Emily Thompson
lives in the quiet Chicago
suburb of Naperville, IL
where violent crime is non-
existent. Emily is tracking a
serial killer named “Hacksaw”
who is sending her body
parts in the mail. Police
Officer Robert Hawkins
(Hawk) is a father in
desperate need of raising
four million dollars to save
his daughters life and will do
anything to get the money.

Shane brings all these
storylines into one gripping
climax. “Torn Apart” is not
just a fast-paced thriller;
Shane takes the book into
light speed. He does an
outstanding job of weaving
many different subplots into
one, all while breathing life
into his characters. With a
hint of romance and a no
nonsense thrill ride, “Torn
Apart” should be considered
one of the best books to hit
the shelves in 2010.

Reviewed by: John Raab,
CEO/Publisher/EIC of
Suspense Magazine
since. How fortunate for the lovers of thriller novels.

For twenty-five years, Shane was a newspaper editor and writer. He covered football
games and even Liberace. He was a senior financial editor at the Chicago Sun-Times when
business news took an entirely different direction going from feel-good, merchant profiles
to swashbuckling tales of corporate raiders and the like. It only went to prove once again
it’s better to be lucky than good.

After having his fill of editing and all the business news had to offer, he decided to nurture
a childhood need: to write thriller novels. He left a guaranteed, weekly pay check and
headed for the world of crime fiction.

“Torn Apart” is his newest thriller novel, the third in the Emily Thompson and Martin
Benedetti cops-vs-killers series he started in 2006. However, it’s not his first. He has also
wrote “Cut to the Bone”, “Blown Away” and four International books. “Torn Apart” was
launched worldwide on July 6, 2010 from Pinnacle Fiction. Shane has enjoyed accolades
from New York Times bestselling authors such as Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Tess
Gerritsen, Douglas Preston and Erica Spindler, just to name a few. His books have also
been translated into German, Chinese, Slovakian and Turkish.

Shane lives in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois with his wife Jerrle of thirty-one
years, who supports him completely. He also serves as chairman of the ThrillerFest
literary conference in New York City. He is a founding member of International Thriller
Writers as well as a member of Mystery Writers of America and The Society of Midland
Authors.

Suspense Magazine was lucky enough to get a few moments with Shane to find out a little
bit more about him and his work.

Suspense Magazine (S. MAG.): You mentioned during your recent appearance on
Suspense Radio that “Torn Apart” was the final piece in your book deal with Kensington
Books. Do you anticipate starting the process all over again in order to shop out new ideas
to new publishers?

Shane Gericke (SG): Actually, it was the last book in a three-book deal. Kensington
already wants a fourth and more, which delights me no end. Whether it’s a continuation of
the current Detective Emily Thompson series or something brand-new, we’re kicking the
tires on that right now.

S. MAG.: Are you already working on a new project?

SG: As we speak, I’m madly conjuring a terrific possibility for a series. If I am a good
enough writer to pull it off, it will sweep readers off their feet and into spasms of joy and
gratitude. Well, it will sweep me with joy, anyway; readers will have to judge for
themselves. It’s too fragile an idea to speak about now, but when it’s all firmed up and
ready for its cotillion, you’ll be the first to hear about it. After my publisher, editor, agent,
wife and trusted friends, of course. Mama Gericke didn’t raise no idjit children.

S. MAG.: Do you feel it’s more important to be true to the facts and reality of a situation or
take a little more poetic license in your writing?

SG: I don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good story. I write fiction to entertain
readers, to give them a rollicking good adventure and leave them gasping for more. Facts
are important for making them think this story is happening in real life—that wonderful
suspension of disbelief we all aim for in our books—but should not be the end-all of
fiction. That’s what nonfiction and journalism is for. That said, I try not to screw up
intersections when I write about real cities. (Like “the intersection of Main and First”
when those two streets never cross.) Readers HATE that.

S. MAG.: It is our understanding that you have two early manuscripts that were tabled
pretty early on…any thoughts of pulling them out and dusting them off now that you have
a larger fan base?

SG: Absolutely. It was once said of Chicago meatpackers that they used every part of the
pig but the squeal. So I will butcher and wash and scrub and pat dry those wonderful early
manuscripts and use them again in some form. Literature as hot dogs!

S. MAG.: ThrillerFest was an eye opening experience for us. Can you tell our readers how
you got involved and how you became the Chairman?

SG: My editor at Kensington, Michaela Hamilton, had just bought my debut novel,
BLOWN AWAY, and wanted me to immediately start raising my profile in the thriller
business. (I came from newspapers, so nobody in fiction knew me.) She mentioned there
was a new organization being formed for thriller writers, called International Thriller
Writers Inc. She suggested I get involved because in a new organization, new people have
a chance to grow as fast as their talents allow. So I e-mailed Gayle Lynds, who co-founded
ITW with David Morrell, and asked if I could join and whether I could help. She said yes
to the first and then asked if I had a car. Yep, said I; what do you need? Beer and snacks,
she replied. ITW’s first meeting will be at Bouchercon in Chicago (where I live) and
authors like to drink and snack while they talk. So Kathleen Antrim and I took my Honda
Civic to the store and bought several hundred dollars’ worth of Fritos and Michelob. Five
years later, she’s a vice president of ITW and I’m chairman of ThrillerFest. Along the way,
I ran our agent festival, our charity auctions, helped judge writing contests and other
stuff. It’s been a great run, and I have only Cheetos to thank.  

S. MAG.: What does your position with ThrillerFest entail?

SG: The chairman is the main conduit to ITW members and ThrillerFest attendees. So, I
write the smart-alecky e-mail that convinces people to spend a bunch of their hard-earned
dollars to come to New York for ThrillerFest. Sometimes they sign up because they like
the mail. Other times, in spite of it. Any reason works for me. I answer individual member’
s questions, too, anything from “How do I get to the hotel from the airport?” to “What
kind of shoes should I wear to the banquet?” Details are important to folks who haven’t
been through the process—we all want to fit in, so I do my best to answer them fast and
thoroughly. They deserve my best efforts.

S. MAG.: Do you have one question that stands out as the most frequently asked by your
fans?

SG: Folks who knew me before my thrillers say, “How can such a nice young man write
this kind of horrible, bloody stuff?” Folks who know me only as a thriller writer ask, “How
can a man write a female character so expertly?”  I’m flattered by both questions, because
it means I surprised my readers. That’s essential to making a good story for them to read.

S. MAG.: Do you miss the newspaper business and the smaller goals?

SG: Yes. Newsrooms are filled with towering characters who are very, very smart and
know how to condense a lifetime of impressions into just a few paragraphs. They also love
to tell stories. That kind of face-to-face camaraderie is so desperately missing in today’s
Web-enabled lives. I also miss the “smaller goals” of putting out a product every day for
people to read. Books come out once a year. Newspapers come out every day—in some
cases, six or seven times a day if you stop the press for breaking news. You worked hard,
went home, saw the results the next morning as the rooster crowed—in real ink on real
paper. There’s no finer instant feedback. And if you screwed something up, you heard
right away from readers and your glowering editor. Terrific training for book work.   

S. MAG.: Are you a superstitious man?

SG: Nope. But put that black cat in the bedroom, would,ya?

S. MAG.: What book changed your life?

SG: “Day of the Jackal” by Frederic Forsyth. I grew up in a tiny town in farm country
south of Chicago. Not much exciting happened there, except the time Robbie White set a
field on fire and a bunch of us had to stamp it out with feet and coats so the fire whistle
wouldn’t blow and make us all arsonic felons. When I read “Jackal,” it made me realize
that there was a whole ’nother world out there to explore. A world of assassins and
detectives and threats and politics and foreign countries and desperate lives hanging in
the balance, all played out in real time, really fast. (“Watching the corn grow” really IS an
apt euphemism for life in a small country town.) That book became a drumbeat in my
head—Paris!!!--and I was determined to grow up, do well and see what life was like outside
our ten gravel streets.

Fan Question: How do you come about finding a target audience for a thriller novel?

SG: I try not to think about “target audience” and “multi-platforming” and “synergy.” It’s
too clinical, too number-crunchy. I just write for the neighbor down the street. For the
guy I wave to driving to the hardware store, but don’t know his name. For the woman who
cuts my hair. In other words, I write the kind of thrillers that I love to read myself, and
leave it to bigger minds than mine to get them into the hands of folks who might love them
too. From that, I’ve attracted a big audience that’s still growing, for which I thank my
lucky stars every single night. And, I’m on Facebook. That helps too.

We here at Suspense Magazine would like to thank Shane for taking the time to answer our
questions and provide his many fans with a little extra something about one of the twenty-
first century’s favorite authors. If you’d like to know more about Shane and his books,
please visit his website at
http://www.shanegericke.com.