This week we are blessed to feature Tom Wallace, author of Gnosis.
Gnosis: Greek word meaning knowledge. Murder, mystery and redemption are at the heart of “Gnosis.” Detective Jack Dantzler has no clue why he has been summoned to the prison to meet with the Reverend Eli Whitehouse, a man convicted of committing a double murder twenty-nine years ago. He is stunned when Eli claims to be innocent and wants Dantzler to prove it. But Eli only gives Dantzler a single clue—look at the obituaries in the local paper for a specific two-week period. Reluctantly, Dantzler agrees to look into the case. As he does, two more people are brutally murdered. And although Dantzler isn’t aware of it, he has become a target for the killer. Dantzler goes back to Eli and pleads for another clue. All Eli says is, “think of Jesus’s empty tomb.” It will be this whispered utterance that unlocks the mystery and reveals the killer’s identity. But this isn’t just any ordinary killer. This is a man with a dark and bloody past, a man with connections to the highest levels of organized crime. Dantzler is now on the trail of an ice-cold assassin, fully aware that one slip will mean instant death. Sometimes having too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences.
Tom Wallace is the author of two previous mysteries featuring Detective Jack Dantzler—What Matters Blood (2004) and The Devil’s Racket (2007), both set in Lexington, Kentucky, where Tom lives. He also wrote the thriller, Heirs of Cain (2010). Tom spent many years as a successful, award-winning sportswriter in his native Kentucky. He authored five sports-related books, including the highly popular Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia, an in-depth history of the University of Kentucky’s legendary hoops program. Tom, a Vietnam vet, is an active member of Mystery Writers of America and the Author’s Guild. His Web site is www.tomwallacenovels.com.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was sportswriter at the time, and I simply wanted to try my hand at writing fiction. I started maybe a half-dozen books, only to discard them shortly after beginning. Then, in 1989, I began one titled “Match Point” that I stayed with. It was eventually published in 2007 as “The Devil’s Racket.”
How did you come up with the title?
For the current book, “Gnosis,” coming up with the title was easy. Gnosis is a Greek word meaning knowledge. In the book, several people have knowledge that, if revealed, will lead to their death. Sometimes having too much knowledge can lead to deadly consequences.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably Michael Connelly or Lee Child.
What book are you reading now?
Michael Connelly’s “The Drop.”
What are your current projects?
I have finished the third edition of “The Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia,” which will be out in March. I am currently halfway through a new novel, tentatively titled “The List,” which will feature the Jack Dantzler character from my three detective novels and the assassin Cain from “Heirs of Cain,” which came out last year.
Do you see writing as a career?
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No. I think it came out pretty much the way I intended.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
In 8th grade, I became a fan of Poe’s writing, particularly his poetry. Later, I was influenced by Bob Dylan. Those two guys triggered my love for words, which led me into more serious literature. Once that happened, I became an avid reader. I read everything – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, philosophy, biographies and plays.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Dostoyevsky is my absolute favorite writer. I love his realism, and the way he can probe the tortured psychological depths of his characters. Dante would be my No. 2 choice.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don’t think anyone can be a good writer (or anything, for that matter) unless he or she is an avid reader. So, my advice is to read, read, read.
What books have influenced your writing?
All kinds of books have influenced me. For “Gnosis,” Harold Bloom’s book “Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine” was a huge influence. A slim novel titled “The Pledge” by Friedrich Duerrenmatt has been an influence. So have books by William Goldman. A couple of books about the secret history of the CIA influenced “Heirs of Cain.”
What genre do you consider your book(s)?
What is your favorite theme/genre to write about?