Monday, March 10, 2014

Q&A with Peter Leonard, Author of EYES CLOSED TIGHT (Giveaway)


Peter Leonard
The Story Plant; March 4, 2014
 Paperback, 300 pages
Thriller, Mystery
O'Clair is a former Detroit homicide investigator who now owns a motel in Pompano Beach, Florida in his retirement. He runs the place with his much younger girlfriend, Virginia, who's a knockout and can fix anything. One morning, he’s cleaning up after the previous night’s partiers when he sees a lovely young woman stretched out asleep on a lounge chair. He shakes her gently. Then he touches her neck and feels for a pulse. There isn't one. Her skin is cold, body starting to stiffen, definitely in the early stages of rigor. When a second girl is murdered, O'Clair knows someone is trying to send him a message. The way the girls are killed reminds O'Clair of a case he investigated years earlier. Now convinced the Pompano murders are related, O'Clair returns to Detroit Police Homicide to review the murder file and try to figure out what he might have missed. And when Virginia is kidnapped by the killer, the stakes grow exponentially higher. The most powerful work to date by one of the most thrilling suspense novelists of our time, EYES CLOSED TIGHT is relentless, surprising, and deeply satisfying. 

Pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee, and enjoy our interview with author Peter Leonard.

Q. Peter, welcome to Mina's Bookshelf. In preparation for writing EYES CLOSED TIGHT, you spent a month with Detroit police detectives investigating murders. How did the experiences help you prepare and develop your characters?
A. I spent a lot of time talking to detectives, listening to their stories and the rhythms of their speech. I watched them in action at crime scenes. All of these experiences helped me develop characters who sound real.

Q. How did your experiences with the Detroit detectives compare to your expectations before the research?
A. I thought it would be interesting. I had no idea how interesting.

Q. Was there a particular case that you shadowed that inspired you for the book?
A. There wasn’t a particular case. It was the complete experience that helped with the background of my story, the procedural aspects of investigating a homicide, watching the Detroit detectives in action.

Q. When you were growing up, how did watching your father Elmore Leonard inspire you to be a writer?
A. If I ever aspired to be a novelist, I gave up the notion when my father appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine and became famous.

Q. You spent much of your career in the advertising industry. What made you decide to become a full-time novelist a few years ago?
A. I was bored out of my mind. At age fifty-two I thought, if I’m ever going to do it I better get going. One evening on my way home from a client meeting at Volkswagen, I stopped at my father’s house. Elmore was writing The Hot Kid. He picked up a piece of paper and read a scene he had written that day. He was excited, enthusiastic about what he was doing and I wasn’t. That might have been my epiphany. A couple months later I started writing my first novel.
Q. At the start of your writing career, you dabbled in scriptwriting. What made you decide to move to novels?
A. My father said, “If you want to write, write a novel. Writing scripts is like wanting to be a co-pilot.

Q. Of all the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite?
A. I don’t have a favorite. I like O’Clair from Eyes Closed Tight, Harry Levin from Voices of the Dead, and McCabe from All He Saw was the Girl.

Q. How has living most of your life in Detroit shaped your writing?
A. If you write crime fiction you couldn’t find a better city than Detroit.


The publicist is offering one copy of EYES CLOSED TIGHT to a lucky follower of this blog (US residents only). Please comment in the section below and include your email address for a chance to win.

About the author

Peter Leonard is a second-generation thriller writer and son of the renowned Elmore Leonard. Author Carl Hiaasen said about Peter’s work, “Clearly, great storytelling runs in the Leonard family’s DNA.” EYES CLOSED TIGHT (The Story Plant; March 2014) is one of Peter’s most satisfying works to date—relentless, surprising and deeply satisfying. Previous novels include Quiver, Trust Me, Voices of the Dead and All He Saw Was the Girl.


  1. Sounds like a good read (and the setting is near where I live)—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  2. Enjoyed the interview. Some of the answers had me chuckling lightly :)

    tdrecker At gmail Dot com

  3. Thanks for the interview would love to read the book.