David Diegert is back, and this time, he faces his greatest challenge yet in Bill Brewer’s all-new thriller, Blood of the Assassin.
Now part of Crepusculous, a secret society that controls the economy, whether he likes it or not, David is forced to run operations he doesn’t want to carry out. Worse, his missions continue to get more dangerous until the unthinkable happens—he’s betrayed and framed for crimes he didn’t commit.
Now on the run with all sides closing in, Diegert, one of the most lethal killers on the planet, is forced to fight back like never before . . .
Just before the release of his new book, I caught back up with up-and-coming author Bill Brewer, who went back on the record for our Five Questions segment. Check out the full Q&A below, then click here to get your copy of Blood of the Assassin, now available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook.
TRBS: First of all, great job creating another page-turning thriller! Without spoiling anything, what can you tell readers about what David Diegert faces in this book?
Brewer: The theme for Diegert in Blood of the Assassin is recognition and realization. In the first book, Dawn of the Assassin, readers were introduced to Diegert, the book is his origin story. In the second book, the character learns a whole lot more about his employer, the secret society, Crepusculous. He realizes how powerful the organization is, and how deep he’s fallen into it. He recognizes that he must survive while also planning to escape the organization without getting those he loves hurt or killed. I hope readers feel the tension of the choices Diegert’s forced to make under extreme duress and with no time for contemplation. Diegert depends on his wits, in order to keep ahead of the criminals he must now serve.
TRBS: While the first book introduces the universe David Diegert operates in, this one further explores things. What can you tell us about that, and how does the villain evolve in this story?
Brewer: Readers will learn more about the powerful secret society of Crepusculous, and the plans they have for dominating the world economy. I want readers to see the vulnerabilities in our economic system that can be exploited by those who will benefit from disasters of their own making. Diegert will pass behind the veil of a clandestine global conglomerate, which is planning to enslave us all. Readers will feel the tension as Diegert realizes he’s working for some of the most devious people on earth.
As for the villain, Klaus Panzer doesn’t see himself as evil. He believes he is creating a world that will be fairer, with money being more available so everyone’s needs will be met. He believes that economic power is too important to be handled by public policies that are argued over for so long that by the time they’re enacted they’re already obsolete. He’s tired of the economy holding back progress. He believes his plan will make everyone wealthier, healthier, and happier. The villain evolves as he convinces the reader that his plan, although a bit drastic, is necessary for the world to prosper.
TRBS: With more books on the horizon, what are some of the challenges of writing in a series?
Brewer: A series allows for the full development of the characters. Through each book, Diegert will grow and develop like any young adult. He will realize the desire to form lasting relationships is critical to healthy adulthood. He will recognize that being part of a family, however that is defined, is an essential component of the human experience. He will grow to seek love in his life, so he can be truly known by a person to whom he can be honest, and with whom he will form an emotional commitment. All of this will be an entertaining emotional journey for readers that will take time to convey at a realistic pace. Diegert will do all these things while fighting to survive, striving to find relevance, and kicking ass as the assassin he truly is.
TRBS: When it comes to an action thriller, the action is pretty important. How do you go about constructing an action sequence?
Brewer: I love the tension and excitement in well-constructed action scenes. They give thrillers their oomph, and carry the reader through the seemingly impossible situations from which the character must not only survive, but also win. I always make sure the action is relevant. The conflict is essential for the story to move forward. The outcome is unknown, but we hope our hero prevails. I also like to describe the impact of trauma upon the body with anatomical detail. I want the reader to feel the strikes of the bullets, blades, and fists. The sensory overload that occurs in violent situations has to be conveyed so the reader feels it. Diegert never comes out unscathed; he gives it everything he’s got, so he gets tired, injured, and distraught. He often compartmentalizes his pain, but violence takes its toll, on not only the body but his soul as well. Diegert is not immune to the pain of his life as an assassin.
I feel action scenes are more effective when they are not too long. I like to raise the frequency of action scenes in my books but keep them short and intense. In addition, I will string scenes together, usually by changing location as a fight moves from one encounter to another. The fight scenes are brutal, visceral, and realistic. As the conclusion of the action, the reader will realize the outcome of the battle was necessary for the hero to move forward.
TRBS: Some say writing is an art, others a craft. What’s your take on that?
I see writing thrillers as a craft and like my brother, who is a master woodworker; I use skills and abilities along with tools to create something recognizable yet unique. A craftsman makes useful items that people want. Thrillers are a familiar genre, and a good one provides certain things people expect while delivering a tale that is original and distinct. A good thriller satisfies an audience’s desire for a certain type of entertainment. As a writer, I seek to create a story people will like, while also trying to make it different from other stories they’ve read before. My brother can make a piece of furniture with legs, drawers, and knobs, but it will look different from any other chest you’ve ever seen. I write stories that have heroes and villains, action, and adventure, but the journey will be different and captivating in its own way. As a story crafter, I’m writing to my audience, and I’m always working to keep them on the edge of their seats.
Praised as “One of the hardest working, most thoughtful, and fairest reviewers out there” by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.