Eisler’s thriller The Killer Collective (Thomas & Mercer, Feb.) teams assassin John Rain with Seattle PD detective Livia Lone.
How easy was it to come up with a crossover with two of your series leads?
It wasn’t that hard, because Rain is always trying to retire—to kill his way out of the killing business—but he never seems to make it. And Livia and Rain’s partner, former Marine sniper Dox, teamed up in the previous book, The Night Trade, which turned into an interesting relationship. I started wondering what would happen if Livia, in the course of her Seattle PD sex-crime detective duties, uncovered something so big that she was targeted in an attempted hit? Would she call on Dox for help? Would Dox call on Rain? And what if Rain had earlier been offered the hit himself?
How do you keep up with the constant developments in the state-of-the-art technology that’s a big part of your books?
I follow Edward Snowden on Twitter, and he’s been a terrific resource in bringing attention to the government’s increasingly Orwellian surveillance apparatus. Facial recognition technology combined with vehicle- and officer-mounted video cameras, increasingly miniaturized drones, voiceprint technology, portable cellphone trackers, ubiquitous license-plate readers, and so on. The government knows more and more about us while we know less and less about it. If you’re writing political thrillers without taking Big Brother into account, you’re probably missing a degree of realism.
Do you employ a different approach now in your writing vs. when you started?
The biggest change in my process is how I’ve come to collaborate with my wife, Laura Rennert, who’s also my literary agent. I was much more solitary at the outset, but now I brainstorm every step of the way with Laura. I read her the manuscript and get a ton of ideas and refinements from her. Probably not a coincidence that I write a lot faster now than I did 15 years ago!
What does the clear heroes of this story being a team of assassins say about the state of our government?
Without getting too political, I think trends like Brexit in Europe and Trump’s election here illustrate that many people believe that our leaders have become parasitic, and so, in desperation or rage, they do the electoral equivalent of calling in an air strike on their own position. As faith in institutions fades, people search for saviors from outside that framework. That works great in fiction, but in reality—not so much.