SHOW GAME by Steve Anderson
SHOW GAME by Steve Anderson
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The Big Thrill Discusses SHOW GAME with Steve Anderson

Book Cover: SHOW GAMEThe pandemic may be over, but the world is not safe for those who prey on the innocent. A vigilante known by the alias “Alex” knows what these transgressors have done. And taking them captive is only the first step toward vengeance. In order to be set free, they must first play the Show Game . . .

A predatory priest, a double-dealing politician, a fraudulent philanthropist—Alex has ways of making them confess, on camera, for all the world to witness. But the Show Game is building toward a darkly personal finale: exposing society’s most notorious and evil abuser.

As Alex gets closer to the main event, investigative reporter Owen Tanaka is determined to unmask the vigilante’s true identity and motive. But when a shocking revelation hits close to home, Owen must decide whether to stop a criminal mastermind’s devious scheme . . . or let the Show Game play its final round.

Steve Anderson recently sat down with The Big Thrill to discuss his latest contemporary thriller, SHOW GAME.

Author Photo: Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

My wife Rene gave me the idea! Like many, she was fed up with seeing the worst abusers of power and people in our society constantly getting away with everything all the time while the normal transgressors would immediately go to jail. The writer in me took it from there and started asking those questions that writers ask. What would drive Alex and Owen to go there? What would stop them? What would be the consequences?

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?

I started playing around with the concept and could not stop. I did a first rough draft right before the pandemic, but then got to the good stuff — the deep rewriting and revisions — during the pandemic. It was a way to find release but also to get through those long days being cooped up, and then here in Portland that first summer (I think) we had smoke from forest fires which turned the outside into a hellscape.

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?

Like in my other novels, my characters often come from that writer Eric Ambler school of character — they are not professional or even proficient in what they attempt to do, but they use what skills they have to give it a go.

Alex has experienced a very personal loss that drives them to this. But, as we go deeper into the story, the readers discovers and even harsher abuse that hit Alex personally. It’s made Alex somewhat self destructive.

Owen Tanaka works in a world where he learned how to become skilled as an investigative reporter, but it’s all changed by the time he’s at the peak of his skills. I realize now it’s not unlike a lot of us writers, who when we started writing thought we were entering a far different business and world than what it’s evolved into.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

That they will be able to live vicariously through the main characters risking all and going for it. They’re doing what so many of us wish we could do.

Both Alex and Owen, at their hearts, want to get at the actual truth. They want to cut through all the noise and reveal things for what they really are. They’re coming at it from far different angles, but then they come to realize that they are actually pursuing the same dark and evil truth — without giving anything away. Once they realize that, they have no choice but to pursue it.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I’ve started the first draft of book number three for my Wendell Lett series, set mostly in the Pacific Northwest in 1950, a different setting with equally different themes.

There’s also a darkly comic espionage story involving academics, set in 1990, and influenced by my time living in Germany, partly as a Fulbright Graduate Research fellow.


Steve Anderson writes the Kaspar Brothers historical thrillers and other novels. His latest novel is Lines of Deception. Anderson was a Fulbright Fellow and has translated bestselling German fiction. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

To learn more about the author, please visit his website.