I DON'T KNOW WHY I WRITE ABOUT BAD GUYS. Maybe it’s my love of films like The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs and The Maltese Falcon. Or maybe because I was always in trouble growing up and understood firsthand the relationship between good nature and bad behavior.
Either way, I’ve found a passion for creating characters who wander through the dark world of crime. But it’s not all bad. I always find a way to showcase their flaws as well as their kind hearts and vigilant spirits. They’re stronger than the rest of us—they’re the ones who put their lives on the line for loyalty, ambition and principle, even when the reward is something meaningless. In the end, I think it all boils down to personality type. We all search for the things that make our hearts beat quicker, our smiles grow wider, but very few of us actually have what it takes to get there—our fears stand in the way.
So when I wrote the main character, Henry Sirola, for The Shadowmaker, I wanted him to be one thing above all others—fearless. But confidence comes at a price, and when Henry began to evolve and mature on the pages in front of me, I knew what was coming—at some point, he was going to realize that the line between fearlessness and foolishness is often blurred.
I wanted him to be easy to root for, even in the face of unrelenting criminality. Beneath his polished exterior and world-class reputation lies small doses of humility, kindness and empathy.
Henry grew up in a culture where he had no choice in his future. As an orphan of the Croatian War, he had been groomed by mobsters, raised by assassins and trained by soldiers. A life of crime came as naturally to him as breathing.
But our hero has a secret—something he unknowingly stepped into, something his moral compass had come to allow. For the past five years, Henry has been an FBI informant. This is the character’s desperate attempt to balance a life of evil with a sliver good.
His relationship with Special Agent Miles Brennan is harmless at first. He’s brought in for questioning on multiple robberies and heists and becomes familiar with the agent always sitting across from him. And then they share a drink together at a local pub, a cup of coffee at a nearby diner, until eventually, Henry is trading secrets for protection.
As a writer, I tend to have an instinctual pull towards chivalry and compassion. My main characters—as defective and imperfect as they may be—typically wind up transforming themselves right before my eyes. They bend and break and shatter before eventually picking up the pieces and finding the strength to overcome all odds and the resolve to defeat their enemies.
So you can imagine the scene where Henry comes face to face with the man who killed his parents, the chapter where the score of a lifetime is sitting right in front of him and his FBI handler is begging him to do the right thing.
As you’ll soon find out, The Shadowmaker is the action-packed story of one man’s quest for self-discovery. And the battle between good and evil gets personal.