Monday, November 9, 2015

C. Joseph Greaves

C. Joseph Greaves spent 25 years as an L.A. trial lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. In addition to penning historical/true crime fiction (beginning with 2012’s Hard Twisted, from Bloomsbury), he writes (as Chuck Greaves) the award-winning Jack MacTaggart series of L.A.-based legal mysteries (Hush Money, Green-Eyed Lady, and The Last Heir) for St. Martin’s Minotaur. Greaves won the 2010 SouthWest Writers International Writing Contest and has been a finalist for many national honors including the Shamus, Rocky, Reviewers’ Choice, and Audie Awards, as well as the New Mexico-Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma Book Awards.

His latest book is Tom & Lucky (and George & Cokey Flo) (Bloomsbury), a novelization of mobster Lucky Luciano’s colorful and controversial 1936 vice trial.

Recently I asked Greaves about what he was reading. His reply:
Writing Tom & Lucky required a tremendous amount of reading; not just everything previously written about defendant Lucky Luciano, prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, and defense attorney George Morton Levy, but also the entire trial and appellate record and transcripts, which comprise many thousands of pages, as well as Levy’s personal file from the trial, to which I was given exclusive access. On top of that, I’d committed to writing a bi-monthly book review column for my local newspaper, the Four Corners Free Press, here in southwestern Colorado. Plus I belong to a book group, and I try to squeeze in the occasional guilty pleasure on the side. That makes for a lot of reading!

I’m currently reading Purity by Jonathan Franzen, who’s a great favorite, and while it’s too soon to render a verdict, I’m enjoying it tremendously. Before that I read, in galley form, City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg, and was enthralled by the scope of both its ambition and execution. The book is set in New York City circa 1976-77, when I too
lived there, and it does a wonderful job of capturing the decrepitude and menace of Manhattan at its modern nadir.

Before that I read the delightful This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison, which is an allegorical journey through life as told from the perspective of a 78-year-old widow. Jon is a friend with whom I try to have a beer whenever he’s in the neighborhood, and he’s had an incredible string of successes starting with All About Lulu, followed by West of Here (his first New York Times bestseller) and then The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which will soon be a major motion picture starring Paul Rudd. Jon is living proof that good things sometimes actually happen to good people (but I suspect that being immensely talented also helps.)
Learn more about the book and author at C. Joseph Greaves's website.

--Marshal Zeringue