Friday, August 06, 2010

Rick Mofina - Guest Blogger

It's a pleasure to welcome Rick Mofina as guest blogger today. Sometimes we don't appreciate Canadian authors as much as we should, so this is my opportunity to introduce Rick. He brings his journalism background to his bestselling crime fiction. His latest book, The Panic Zone, features Jack Gannon, a crime reporter.  Gannon also appeared in last year's Vengeance Road.

I'm going to turn it over to Rick to tell you more about his latest novel.

How I Wrote My New Thriller, The Panic Zone -

By Rick Mofina

My latest crime fiction novel, The Panic Zone, concerns the story of Emma Lane, a young mother who survives a car crash in Wyoming, which claims her husband and baby boy.

In the confusion she thinks she sees someone rescue her son. But in the hospital she's told she's enduring trauma and that her husband and baby are dead. A few nights later, while grappling with her grief, a stranger calls, telling her: "Your baby is alive."

Eventually, Jack Gannon, a wire service reporter based in New York City, helps her search for the truth about her baby. They learn that the tragedy may be tied to deadly conspiracy that reaches around the world with chilling implications and their pursuit becomes a panicked race against time.

The Panic Zone is the second book in the Jack Gannon series. Thriller fans met Gannon in the first book in the series, Vengeance Road when it was released in 2009. The International Thriller Writers (ITW) named Vengeance Road a finalist for a 2010 Thriller Award in the category of Best Paperback Original.

The Panic Zone is my 11th crime fiction novel and in writing it, I drew upon my experiences as a former crime reporter. For example, I was a working at the Calgary Herald when Columbine broke and I was dispatched to cover the story -- told to get on the next plane to Denver with nothing but a laptop and a credit card -- to buy what I needed in Colorado.

My stomach was in knots at the magnitude of the tragedy and later I invested that unbearable tension in the early chapter when Jack Gannon is dispatched from New York to fly to Rio de Janeiro to cover the breaking story of a cafe bombing -- I used my experience of being thrown into chaos with a clock ticking on a deadline.

For another assignment I was dispatched to Jamaica to investigate the murky background of an ex-Jamaican cop who’d murdered a police officer in Canada. While there, I rode in the back of a pickup with Jamaica's anti-drug task force on drug raids in the slums of Kingston.

As our vehicles marshalled and the cops locked and loaded these two white guys in dark glasses materialized and came to me, asking: "Who are you? I’m a reporter," I said. "Who are you? – We're not here," they said.

Later, one of the Jamaican cops beside me told me the strangers were CIA working on something. It stayed with me and got me thinking about the ghost work carried out in exotic places.

Another time, I was on assignment in Africa when I was bit in my lower leg by a dog in a village in Ethiopia. We were in a 90% exposure zone and doctors were extremely concerned, they feared a bat could have infected the dog, which might account for its aggressiveness. But because the bite was in my lower leg, I got pre-exposure shots for rabies in Addis Ababa, and I was fine.

Still, it got me thinking about bats carrying diseases. I did more research and soon imagined clandestine scientific expeditions into remote African jungle caves to collect lethal saliva from bats carrying a new lethal strain.

In writing The Panic Zone, I was also inspired in part by the public record and accounts of people subjected to experimentation without their consent. I did a lot of on-line research, and spent a lot of time at my local public library studying information on disturbing projects conducted, or secretly planned throughout history.

I weaved all of these aspects, and a few others, into the fabric of The Panic Zone.

Thank you, Rick.  I think you've enticed many of us to check out the latest book that combines your experiences and your imagination, The Panic Zone.
Rick Mofina's website is
The Panic Zone by Rick Mofina.  Mira, ©2010.  ISBN 9780778327943 (paperback), 406p.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like a fascinating story! Great way to kick off the plot to have this tragedy that ends up leading into a kidnapping.

I'm sure your background in reporting has really come in handy with plot generation!

Ricky Bush said...

Thanks for sharing this , Rick. I always love to hear what drives a story. You gain a fan, here.

Gerrie Ferris Finger said...

I've enjoyed each and every Rick Mofina book, and I'm sure I'll have a happy day of reading this one.

Lesa said...


I think Rick Mofina's background has been very useful, according to his blog.


Lesa said...


Then Rick's blog succeeded if he gained a fan. I hope you pick up his latest, The Panic Zone. Thanks!

Lesa said...

Oh, good, Gerrie. I'm glad you've enjoyed Rick's earlier books. Nice to know you have one to look forward to!

Pat R. said...

The Jack Gannon novels are great and I'm hoping the next one will be out soon. I have liked all of Mofina's books. I may have missed one or two but I do intend to get them all read and hope for new ones.

Lesa said...

Great recommendations from you and Gerrie, Pat. Thank you.

Sheila Beaumont said...

I really enjoyed Vengeance Road, and I'm delighted that I have 10 more books by Rick Mofina to look forward to.

Lesa said...

Isn't it great, Sheila, when you discover an author, and have a number of books to read? I love that! Glad you have so many of Rick's to read.

Camille Kimball said...

Just wanted to say, Go Rick! The reporter's life is full of unusual scenarios and Rick is just talented enough to ask "what if?" and explore them far beyond where the newspaper takes him (which is already pretty far! no one ever sent me to Ethiopia!!). Rick and I share an agent, so I'm especially delighted to see him here, Lesa. Go Rick!

Camille Kimball
A Sudden Shot: The Phoenix Serial Shooter
What She Always Wanted: A True Story of Marriage, Greed and Murder

Lesa said...

Thanks, Camille! And, the Chicago Sun-Times picked up this posting, which is great for Rick and The Panic Zone.

You're right. I admire authors who ask "what if?" and take off with it.

Looking forward to your appearance here in October!