Thursday, April 14, 2016

Interview with Larry D. Thompson, author of 'Dark Money'

Larry D. Thompson was first a trial lawyer. He tried more than 300 cases throughout Texas, winning in excess of 95% of them. When his youngest son graduated from college, he decided to write his first novel. Since his mother was an English teacher and his brother, Thomas Thompson, had been a best-selling author, it seemed the natural thing to do.

Larry writes about what he knows best…lawyers, courtrooms and trials. The legal thriller is his genre. DARK MONEY is his fifth story and the second in the Jack Bryant series.
Larry and his wife, Vicki, call Houston home and spend their summers on a mountain top in Vail, Colorado. He has two daughters, two sons and four grandchildren.
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About the Book:

DARK MONEY is a thriller, a mystery and an expose’ of the corruption of money in politics.

Jackson Bryant, the millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work in Dead Peasants, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from his old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a
Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.
Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman among The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar---wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape.
Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Zandt and attack the Alamo Defenders’ compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father, founder of the Defenders, is killed in the attack and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case---but Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by the fund raiser host and the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the dark money of political contributions from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

For More Information

  • Dark Money is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thanks for this interview, Larry.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

To understand where I come from as a writer, it is important to know that my first career was that of a trial lawyer. I have tried more than three hundred civil lawsuits in my home state of Texas. I can safely say that no writer knows more about trials, judges, juries and courtrooms that I. With that knowledge, I began writing legal thrillers about ten years ago. Dark Money is my fifth.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

My wife and I travel. I have kids and grandkids in Austin, Boca Raton and Vail. We spend two months each summer in a house on a mountaintop in Vail, where we entertain guests. I play golf with my son and we enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. We also hike the trails that are so abundant in the area, listen to concerts and enjoy fine dining. Back at my home in Houston, I enjoy golf and reading thrillers written by other authors. Last, as we have gotten older, Vicki and I have recognized the importance of staying fit. So, we joined a health club and work out regularly with a trainer.

Congratulations on your new book! Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Jack Bryant turned his old red Dodge Ram pickup into the driveway of the Greek revival mansion at the end of the cul-de-sac in Westover Hills, an exclusive neighborhood in Fort Worth. He was amused to see Halloween ghosts and goblins handing from the two enormous live oaks that fronted the house. The driveway led to a wrought iron gates that permitted entry to the back. A heavy-set Hispanic man with a Poncho Villa mustache in a security guard uniform stood beside the driveway near the gates, clipboard in hand. He was unarmed.
Jack stopped beside him and lowered his window. “Afternoon, officer. Fine autumn day, isn’t it?”

The guard sized up the old pickup and the man wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. “You hear to make a delivery?”

Jack reached into his left rear pocket and retrieved his wallet from which he extracted a laminated card. “No, sir. Name’s Jackson Douglas Bryant. I’m a lawyer and a Tarrant County Reserve Deputy. My friend, Walt Frazier, is part of the Governor’s Protective Detail. Said Governor Lardner is attending some big shindig here tomorrow night and asked me to lend a hand in checking he place out before he hits town. My name should be on that clipboard.”

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

The short answer is “no.” This is my fifth novel. I now have an agent and a publishing and promotion plan. However, the road to getting So Help Me God, my first novel, published was so rocky that I even abandoned any hope of getting it done. Then my wife (who is my publicist) and I re-grouped and self-published. We promoted it heavily and after far too long a time, my agent, Ken Atchity, agreed to represent me. My first three books were with New York houses (Tor/Forge and St. Martin’s). Then I realized that they paid only a modest advance, did no promotion and took most of the profits. My agent had started his own imprint, Story Merchant Books, in conjunction with Amazon. I moved to Story Merchant and believe I have found a home.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

Dark Money is a legal thriller, a mystery and an expose of the corruption of big money in politics.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

First, I am a very good writer and teller of stories. Then, I write what I know. Lawyers love my thrillers because they know that I am writing from experience. By the way, Dark Money currently carries 4.8 stars on Amazon. Very few books achieve that success.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Memorial Day. It’s a great summer beach, cruise or airplane read. It does come with a warning: Once the reader starts, she will be reluctant to put it down.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Dark Money is my second Jack Bryant story. The first was Dead Peasants where I introduced Jack. Readers enjoyed it so much that they asked for more thrillers with him as the protagonist. I will not stay exclusively with him, but he will be back a few more times.

What’s next for you?

This is interesting and somewhat different from what I usually write. My brother was a best-selling writer of true crime in the eighties. He died way too young. His best book was Blood and Money, the true story of murders in the ultra-expensive River Oaks section of Houston. Because it was true, the characters were real. He and Doubleday were sued for libel three times. I successfully defended all three cases. The trials were fascinating. Now, after 30 years Blood and Money is to be made into a television series (things move slowly in Hollywood).In conjunction with the series, I am going to write Blood and Money, The Libel Trials. It will read like fiction but will be completely true.

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