Harvard dropout and ex-Special Forces operative Joe Brody is climbing the ranks in the criminal underworld, earning the trust and respect of the city’s most dangerous denizens. Which is why his newest task—retrieving a pet pigeon snatched from a rooftop coop in Brooklyn—has Joe puzzled … until he learns that the bird is valued at close to a million dollars. Joe hatches a plan to sneak into the luxury park-side apartment building where the pigeon is held captive. But that simple plan takes a deadly turn when he stumbles upon a nest of international war criminals and a ruthless building manager overseeing the nefarious operation. With a bounty on his head, Joe will need a wing and a prayer to elude his new enemies.
“The theft of a caged bird may seem like no big deal, but in author Gordon’s hands the recovery mission assumes epic proportions…. Breathtakingly over-the-top.” ― Kirkus
“The series has an alternate world appeal not unlike John Wick, but run through with a deep appreciation for classic literature?and classic crime fiction in the Donald Westlake and Lawrence Block mold. It’s not to be missed.” ― CrimeReads
David Gordon recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, THE PIGEON.
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
The idea for The Pigeon began very specifically with an email I received from my friend, Hampton Fancher, who among many other things, wrote the Blade Runner movies. He and I were collaborating on a video game of all things – it’s far-future sci-fi based and due to come out in 2026 – and he sent me a link to an article about a racing pigeon that had sold for over 1 million euros. The note just read: “You can do something with this.” He was right. I immediately thought that Alonzo, this Brooklyn crime boss who has featured in the series, was someone who might keep a rooftop pigeon coop, and if his prize bird was stolen, all hell would break loose. That was the beginning.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
What draws me in, is what I hope also seduces the reader, a desire to go deeper into this world and these characters and to explore their relationships and the fascinating environment they inhabit, which is my own natural habitat, New York. I also am fascinated by the form itself, and in this case I was intrigued by the idea of a story that starts very small – Joe, who has battled terrorists, drug smuggling mercenaries and a serial killer, is forced to track a stolen pigeon, or as he says a “lost pet,” his FBI-agent lover, Donna Zamora, is reluctantly assigned to protect a visiting VIP, and even the corrupt cop Lt. Fusco is stuck hunting for a vandal targeting illegally parked cars – but that builds and builds, becoming more complex, more comic, more deadly, eventually coming together in a sort of beautiful and elegantly destructive explosion.
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
The protagonist of The Pigeon, is Joe Brody, who has been the main character in this series for five books now, beginning with The Bouncer. I have always been a fan of caper novels, and I thought I had a good one when I got the idea of New York’s mob bosses deciding to protect the city themselves by hunting down a terrorist in their midst. Who do people call for help, if they can never call the police? This gave me the idea for Joe, who is a new kind of anti-hero – not just in the sense of having a dark side, though he surely does, but because he operates completely outside of society’s limits and codes. He fights for what he thinks is right, or best for himself and his friends, or just because he owes a favor or needs the money, but he is a criminal and beyond the law which creates a very different sort of “crime” novel.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
I am currently writing a stand-alone noir mystery set in LA in the 90s, which takes place in the worlds of print porn publishing, New Age spiritualism and the movie business. It’s called Beyond Sunset, named for the hills beyond Sunset Boulevard, where a number of the characters reside. Though not the main character, who lives in a converted garage in the hot, dusty flats below. He is very different from Joe – a struggling writer, a shy nerd out of his depths in the grit and glitter of Hollywood’s hidden backwaters. When he is drawn into a celebrity blackmail plot involving his first crush and his childhood best friend he stumbles into a mysterious maze of desire, danger and destruction from which no one emerges innocent. It draws, loosely of course, on my own experiences as an aspiring writer in LA.
David Gordon was born in New York City. His first novel, The Serialist, won the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award. It was also made into a major motion picture in Japan. His work has also appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, Purple, and Fence, among other publications.