Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Avery Duff

Avery Duff was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he attended Baylor School and graduated summa cum laude. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He then joined a prestigious Tennessee law firm, becoming a partner in five years, before moving to Los Angeles. His screenwriting credits include the 2010 heist drama Takers, starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, and Hayden Christensen.

Duff's first published novel is Beach Lawyer.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m reading two books at the moment, each for different reasons.

Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard goes first because that’s where he belongs in my pantheon of writers, even though he wrote crime, as he put it, not mystery/thrillers. I’m studying this book—set in Rwanda among the Hutu murdering their Tutsi countrymen—not just re-reading it, trying to figure out how Mr. Leonard exposits this genocide in small, graphic bites without lecturing the reader–look, here’s my Rwanda research—as he introduces U.S. expat, Father Terry Dunn.

Terry’s hearing confessions from, among others, a Hutu, Bernard, the Hutu bragging about how he’d murdered Tutsis in Terry’s own church, Bernard having graphic visions about murdering Tutsis again and taunting Terry about the confidential nature of what he’s just revealed to Terry in confession.

As Bernard’s leaving the make-shift, thatched confessional, Terry calls out to him: “Hey, Bernard…I have visions, too.” (Even Mr. Leonard’s priests are cooool.)

I’m beginning to see that I learned about this genocide from inside (the characters) out. Beginning to see, too, that Mr. Leonard wasn’t in a hurry. As the story goes on, he slips in more exposition and reader knowledge grows. In my limited experience, that’s really hard to pull off and is something to shoot for in my future.

For entertainment, I’m about one-third of the way into The Dry by Jane Harper, her first novel, a fact that impresses and annoys me in unequal measure. The opening of this one is told from the POV of blowflies, the first to arrive at this small-town Australian murder scene. Never saw anything like it before, and the scene is filled with important information. I knew from page one I was in good hands—just took a minute to reread it and it’s better than I remembered. Again—unequal measures of impressed and annoyed.

Way to go, Ms. Harper!
Learn more about Beach Lawyer.

My Book, The Movie: Beach Lawyer.

--Marshal Zeringue