Tuesday, January 14, 2014

John Katzenbach

Three of John Katzenbach's novels have been made into feature films: In the Heat of the Summer (adapted for the screen as The Mean Season), Hart's War starring Bruce Willis, and Just Cause starring Sean Connery. His other books include the New York Times bestseller The Traveler; Day of Reckoning and The Shadow Man. Katzenbach was a criminal court reporter for The Miami Herald and Miami News and a featured writer for the Herald’s Tropic magazine.

His new novel is Red 1-2-3.

Recently I asked Katzenbach about what he was reading. His reply:
Recently I have been ensconced in student papers. I teach what I consider a boutique undergraduate course at the University of Massachusetts called: Journalists in Film. My modest qualifications for this position are: I was once a journalist; my books have been filmed, including one about a journalist and a killer. The curious thing about student papers is that some of the "Utes" (to quote both Joe Pesci and the late, great Fred Gwynne from My Cousin Vinny) don’t realize how much skill and talent they actually possess. Anyway, the final assignment was to correlate All The President’s Men to Mark Slouka’s wonderful and profound essay "Arrow and Wound." For students accustomed to tweeting and Googling, the movie is a revelation, and the essay provocative.

All that said, the two novels I have recently found astonishingly insightful are Anita Shreve’s Stella Bain which is incredibly sophisticated, almost poetic, about injury, trauma and the infancy of psychoanalytic inquiry, and William Bayer’s Hidden in the Weave, which ostensibly is about a prep school death, but is actually about how we develop as artists, and how we can be trapped by emotions – all in the guise of a thriller. Two books I recommend highly. Both of them made me jealous, wishing that I’d written each. They are wonderfully constructed and passionately thoughtful.
Visit John Katzenbach's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: Red 1-2-3.

--Marshal Zeringue