By Don Helin
In his latest novel, Tunnel Vision, International best-selling author Gray Braver unleashes a plot so fiendish that New York Times best-selling author David Morrell says, “Fascinating and scary, Gary Braver’s Tunnel Vision, goes one step beyond, between life and death. It grabbed me and educated me.”
Zack Kashian has a biking accident on the Boston streets and lapses into a coma. When he suddenly snaps awake on Easter muttering the Lord’s Prayer in the original Aramaic, the media is abuzz about the “Miracle Man”; and religious fanatics flock to his hospital bedside.
Zack’s revival also catches the attention of neuroscientists conducting secret research into near-death experiences to determine if there is anything to the claims of trips down tunnels into the celestial light. In short, Is there an afterlife or is it all neurobiology. If they can verify the existence of the afterlife and, by extension, God, that would be the greatest religious discovery ever.
But dark forces also take interest in Zack. To some, near-death experiences are not glimpses of Heaven but deceptions by Satan himself. And these people will stop at nothing to disrupt the experiments.
I managed to catch up with Gary the other day to ask him a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about Tunnel Vision?
Tunnel Vision is the culmination of a goal I had set for myself 10 years ago: to write stand-alone, “high-concept” thrillers centered on break-through medical discoveries—discoveries that would be big and widely coveted and whose ultimate message is “Watch out what you wish for.” It began with my fourth novel and the first of five books that I would do with Tor/Forge. Elixir—development of an anti-aging drug that prolongs youthfulness for decades but which could tear apart the very fabric of life; Gray Matter—boosting the intelligence of “slow” kids for parents wanting to raise the Super-Tot; Flashback—rushing to market a flawed pharmaceutical cure for Alzheimer’s Disease; Skin Deep—buying the face of supermodels through cosmetic surgery. Tunnel Vision: trying to prove scientifically there is an afterlife and, by extension, God. You may discern a pattern here the older I get. Probably my most ambitious effort yet, the story centers on a grad student who has a biking accident on icy Boston streets and lapses into a coma. Not only would proof of the afterlife answer the greatest mystery of all time, but it promises to end religious strife while uniting all of humanity. The stakes are as high as they get. But, of course, this is a thriller driven by dread. So there’s a dark menace in the book that wants to terminate such grand efforts.
As with my other books, my objectives were to create a tantalizing story idea, fully-rounded characters—even the villains—and a narrative thrust that keeps readers turning the pages. And as an English professor, I have high standards of writing—fresh, evocative language and clean prose style.
Did any specific event inspire the novel?
No, but the older I get, the more I’m in favor of an afterlife. My fourth book, Elixir–the first under my pen name, Gary Braver–came to me from looking at magazine and television ads. Every other pitch was aimed at being, looking or feeling youthful. The appeal was to an aging America. What could be more coveted than the development of a fountain-of-youth serum? Well, it’s 10 years later, and we’re all a decade older; and as the clock runs down, hope runs up that there’s something beyond the grave.
What are you doing to promote your book?
Everything I can. I think it’s my best book and one with the highest potential. It’s gotten some great endorsements, including a fabulous blurb from brand-name authors, including the legendary Ray Bradbury (“a wonderfully frightening and insightful tale on this theme that shatters my bones and leaves me to piece myself back together”); also flattering pre-publication reviews and some movie interest.
To let the world know, I’ve had my website redesigned, including posting a great looking trailer for the book. On the site, I’ve announced a free Kindle drawing of the first 100 people to pre-order the book. Also planning an electronic blitz to announce the publication and to invite people to launch parties. Also setting up radio and print interviews as well as talks and signings at bookstores and libraries.
The working title of my next book is Primitive. It’s about a young high-tech guy who is tired of the frenetic pace of his digital world in Boston and decides to explore his ancestral home on a remote Mediterranean island. Romantically hoping to go “primitive” and to discover the quiet, simpler life of his ancestors, he finds himself enmeshed in ancient traditions and customs he never could have imagined. Again, it’s watch out what you wish for.
When you’re not writing,what are you doing (hobbies, family,etc)?
Family comes first, although my two sons are now living on their own and out of the Boston area. I have two other professional lives. I’m an English professor at Northeastern University. I also have six college writing textbooks, with overlapping revision schedules. So I always have a new revision I’m working on. I just finished the 13th edition of Exploring Language, which represents my 35th textbook revision. In my spare time, I go biking, hiking, and traveling.
Thanks, Gary. The book looks terrific, and I can’t wait to read it.
“I have long believed that science will move us more toward God and give us proofs of his creations. With Tunnel Vision, Gary Braver provides a wonderfully frightening and insightful tale on this theme that shatters my bones and leaves me to piece myself back together.” — Ray Bradbury.
“Gary Braver’s books will thrill you, scare you, and compel you to read to the very last sentence. And with Tunnel Vision, he does it all again. Gary Braver is one of the best thriller writers in America today.” – Tess Gerritsen, NY Times best-selling author.
“A tantalizing premise, stylish prose, sharply-etched characters, and tension that ratchets up degree by degree, that’s what you get with a Gary Braver novel. I’ve been a fan since the beginning and I look forward to each new Gary Braver adventure. With Tunnel Vision, he not only hits the marks, he demolishes it.” – Steve Berry, NY Times best-selling author.
Gary Braver is the international best-selling author of eight critically acclaimed thrillers including Flashback, Skin Deep, and Tunnel Vision. His novels have been celebrated for their high-concept, careful craftsmanship, well-rounded characters, and page-turning momentum. He is the only thriller author to win the prestigious Massachusetts Book Award; and the only novelist to have three different titles listed in the top-10 highest customer reviews on Amazon.com at the same time. His novels have been translated into five languages, and three have been optioned for movies. As Gary Goshgarian, he is an English professor at Northeastern University where he teaches Modern Bestsellers, Science Fiction, Horror Fiction, and Fiction Writing.