By Don Helin
Kathleen George’s seventh installment in her Richard Christie thriller series is A MEASURE OF BLOOD. In the story, the major crimes commander collects his best detectives to investigate the murder of a woman—an investigation that centers around the son she left behind. The police have just one clue—the man who killed Maggie Brown claims he was the boy’s father. But is it true? The puzzle turns out to be very complex and culminates in a race to save the boy. A MEASURE OF BLOOD is brimming with page-turning action, much of it on the road, some of it set in the theater department at the University of Pittsburgh where George is a professor.
Kathleen George is the author of TAKEN, FALLEN, AFTERIMAGE, THE ODDS (Edgar finalist for best novel), HIDEOUT, and SIMPLE. She is also the editor of PITTSBURGH NOIR. A MEASURE OF BLOOD is her seventh thriller set in Pittsburgh. As mentioned, she is a professor of Theatre Arts at Pitt and has directed many plays, including several by Shakespeare who is always thrilling. She credits her theatre background with giving her the tools to write thrillers.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Kathleen George and ask her a few questions.
Is there anything special you’d like to tell us about A MEASURE OF BLOOD?
I started it in 2008. At that time, I was researching foster care in New York City. Wow, that was one of my toughest research assignments. I was told the system was tough, almost inflexible. I thought, why am I setting this in New York? More and more, as I thought about it, it became a Pittsburgh story. The sense it made to me—Commander Christie’s emotions, my own work in theatre, the Pittsburgh locations—I can’t even remember now why I thought I was going to set it somewhere else. It’s quite an emotional story about longing and family.
Did any particular event inspire the plot?
Well you know how one idea morphs into another . . . I know a woman, a distant relative, who was thrilled to have a child by artificial insemination. When he was still small (I think, seven) she became seriously ill. All of us who know her were devastated. What would the child’s life be like? She couldn’t care for him any longer. What was going to happen? I began wondering and concocting a plot. In my story, a woman, Maggie Brown, who has had a child by artificial insemination is murdered. The murderer is a man who is furious because he believes the child is his and that she has kept the child from him. He has to run from the scene before he can snatch the child. But he’s not done. He wants that boy.
I love the way real life events roll over and allow other things to enter the fictional dream. By the time the dream is going full steam, there is only a hint of the inspiration in it.
What are you doing to promote your book?
My website; I plan to do a summer book tour to interested bookstores; and there are always blogs for various sites; Skype sessions with book clubs; social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn.
I have coming a standalone novel about the Johnstown Flood, titled THE JOHNSTOWN GIRLS. It’s scheduled to come out April 1, 2014. Meanwhile I am working on another novel (of course!). I wrestle with it and it wrestles back. It’s got two fascinating angles that require a lot of research so I am doing that research. And I’m not a biologist or a chemist. Otherwise I shall remain mum about it.
When you’re not writing, what are you doing (hobbies, family, etc.)?
Eating. See the Culinary Tour on my website. I eat out a good bit. And then I have my characters eating at those places. Or vice versa. They eat somewhere and I go to check it out. It’s fun. Otherwise from April to October, I watch baseball, specifically the Pittsburgh Pirates. From August to January, I add the Steelers and Pitt Panthers.
A few favorite jacket blurbs:
“Hideout barrels like a locomotive. The fast-paced suspense pulls you along for the ride.” —Kathy Reichs
“Kathleen George is not only a crack mystery writer, she is a crack writer. Period. Exciting and elegant. What a combination.” —Robert Olen Butler
“If anyone’s writing better police thrillers than George, I don’t know who it is. A-“—ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“I look forward to reading anything that Kathleen George writes.” —George P. Pelecanos
Your book looks terrific, Kathleen. I look forward to getting a copy.
Kathleen George Is the author of TAKEN, FALLEN, AFTERIMAGE, THE ODDS (Edgar finalist for best novel), HIDEOUT, and SIMPLE. She is also the editor of PITTSBURGH NOIR. A MEASURE OF BLOOD is her seventh thriller set in Pittsburgh. A non series novel is also coming out in 2014–THE JOHNSTOWN GIRLS. She is a professor of Theatre Arts at Pitt and has directed many plays, including several by Shakespeare who is always thrilling. She credits her theatre background with giving her the tools to write thrillers.
To learn more about Kathleen, please visit her website.