Sunday, May 14, 2023

Verlin Darrow

Verlin Darrow is currently a psychotherapist who lives with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near the Monterey Bay in northern California. They diagnose each other as necessary. Darrow is a former professional volleyball player (in Italy), unsuccessful country-western singer/songwriter, import store owner, and assistant guru in a small, benign spiritual organization. Before bowing to the need for higher education, a much younger Darrow ran a punch press in a sheetmetal factory, drove a taxi, worked as a night janitor, shoveled asphalt on a road crew, and installed wood flooring. He missed being blown up by Mt. St. Helens by ten minutes, survived the 1985 Mexico City earthquake (8 on the Richter scale), and (so far) has successfully weathered his own internal disasters.

Darrow's new novel is Murder for Liar.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Lately, I've been revisiting a few of my favorite authors, both because I've forgotten some of their work enough to enjoy them again, and because some have continued to turn out novels I haven't read yet. In Donald E. Westlake's case, I'm discovering a trove of early work using various pen names. He was far too prolific for his publisher.

Others include Jonathan Carroll, Thomas Perry, Thomas Berger, and Elmore Leonard. I highly recommend these authors to anyone who hasn't tried them, each for a different reason. Westlake combines character-based humor with twisty crime plots in which everything always seems to go wrong for the main characters. Carroll is definitely in the literature category, with evocative, rich writing, and fantastic elements, which I like. Thomas Perry's more recent novels keep me in suspense all the way through. Thomas Berger's books are haunting and disturbing, although the events in them are almost always ordinary, but twisted. And Elmore Leonard is a master at making you like characters with questionable morals. Also, his books make me laugh.

I find all of these authors inspirational, and they serve as positive role models as I attempt to emulate what these maestros have accomplished. Also, their work helps me feel okay about writing outside the box of a given genre--including elements that might not ordinarily be included--and stretching to posit how someone would respond to extraordinary events I've never directly experienced. Indirectly, I've run into a lot of unusual circumstances since I've been a psychotherapist for decades, but translating these into a book is challenging.
Visit Verlin Darrow's website.

--Marshal Zeringue