A fabulous warm Bookboodle welcome to author Kfir Luzzatto who has written an interesting guest post for me on ‘Genderless Reads’. Read on for my thoughts on his latest novel Extralife, Inc.
Male and female readers were not created equal. For instance, romance is a genre that is not only strongly dominated by women writers, but also predominantly read by women. Similarly, martial art fiction finds its audience mostly with men. There is also a difference in the age groups that read different genres and sub genres. On the other hand, certain genres – notably, thrillers – offer a high proportion of books with universal appeal. So what turns a thriller into a genderless read?
First of all, like every other fiction book on earth, it has to be entertaining and make the reader want to turn the pages. Good writing is usually a prerequisite (although some poorly written, predictable and quite boring thrillers have mysteriously attained great success.) But great prose and a strong plot are not enough. Here are some elements of a story that can appeal to both female and male readers:
A familiar setup. A plot revolving around scientists marooned in a North Pole base can make for a great story, but the environment and characters would be unfamiliar to most of us, making it difficult for the reader to identify himself with them and to become easily immersed in the first pages of the book. On the other hand, when the inducing incident (the incident “that starts it all”) is introduced via characters pretty much like those we meet every day, it is easy for us to make the connection between the story and our own life and to become engrossed in it at an early stage.
A captivating leading character. I know that a mysterious, face-scarred, dark individual has more thrilling potential than the lame professor, who reminds us of our daughter’s history teacher. But when bad things start to happen to the professor we can much more easily relate to him and, since he is a likable character, we care about him and read on to find out what happens next.
Unexpected twists. When we’re busy with a chase on the North Pole, everything is unexpected (because, unless we’ve been there, we don’t know what to expect from that environment) and after a while the novelty wears out and the next time that a bear shows up and tries to chew up our hero, we just yawn and say to ourselves, “Oh, another polar bear”, and move on to the next page. On the other hand, if a bear strolls into our teacher’s office while he is working on the slides for tomorrow’s lecture on Napoleon…you get the idea.
Some romance. Just because we want you to bite your nails it doesn’t mean that we need to forget about romance. The romantic element can be merely hinted and almost nonexistent, as in my latest thriller, “ExtraLife, Inc.”, or may be central to the plot, as in my 2012 thriller, “The Evelyn Project”. However, the total absence of any tension between sexes is untrue to life and without it the story would be flat.
These elements may help make a thriller right for male and female readers alike, but the essential ingredient is the author’s ability to view his story, as it develops, through the eyes of his male and female audiences and to give each their due in dialogue and character development. It sounds easier than it is in practice, but when it’s done properly readers can tell the difference.
What’s it about?
David Wolfson, a Jerusalem scientist, claims to have found the cure for cancer. He and his wife, Tamara, seek the help of RichardLunz, a Tel Aviv attorney, to fight the powerful bureaucrats who want to appropriate David’s invention. Richard can’t resist the temptation to participate in what looks like the discovery of the century and it takes a first death to make him doubt that something in the project is not what it seems. And then other people die. Following clues that take him to Eastern Europe and to America, Richard finds more answers than he wished for. But he just can’t stop looking.
Well the first thing that kind of freaked me out was the fact that some of this novel is based on true events. If you read this book, you’re head will be torn with trying to figure out which parts are true and which are fiction. It’s not possible! But it’s pretty scary thinking about that this stuff does go on behind closed doors!
I really enjoyed this book; it’s got all the elements I love in a good thriller – there’s a good guy, bad guys, legal stuff, murder, intrigue, breaking and entering and trips at a moments notice to Europe and the US hunting down clues, oh and a potential cure for cancer. What more could you possibly want? This is a page-turner that I felt delivered.
The Wolfsons are a very deceptive couple and really take advantage of Richard; the main character. I wasn’t sure if I liked him at the start but I did warm to him eventually and was really rooting for him to discover the truth.
Some of the science was a little over my head – it was quite in-depth but it added an air of authority and realism. If you’re trying to patent a product or theory then I guess it has to be descriptive.
I could have done with chatting with someone over the ending, I’m a little confused as to what the final outcome was with some of the plot.
Read if you enjoy books like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code or just like a really good thriller!
Thanks to Kfir for sending through a copy for review 🙂
About the author
Kfir Luzzatto was born and raised in Italy, and moved to Israel as a teenager. He acquired the love for the English language from his father, a former U.S. soldier, a voracious reader and a prolific writer. Kfir has a PhD in chemical engineering and works as a patent attorney. He lives in Omer, Israel, with his full-time partner, Esther, their four children, Michal, Lilach, Tamar and Yonatan, and the dog Elvis.
Kfir has published extensively in the professional and general press over the years. For almost four years he wrote a weekly “Patents” column in Globes (Israel’s financial newspaper). His non-fiction book, THE WORLD OF PATENTS, (a not-so-boring tale of what patents are about, in Hebrew) was published in 2002 by Globes Press. He is the author of several short stories but now mostly writes full-length fiction. His first novel, CROSSING THE MEADOW was published by Echelon Press (October 2003) and was voted “BEST HORROR NOVEL” in the 2003 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
Kfir is an HWA (Horror Writers Association) and ITW (International Thriller Writers) member and also serves on the editorial board of The Harrow Press as Anthology Editor. His second novel, THE ODYSSEY GENE, was published by Echelon Press (July 2006) and was a finalist in the Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards. He got the inspiration for his 2012 thriller, “THE EVELYN PROJECT”, from an in-depth research into the family archives, and for his new thriller, ‘EXTRALIFE, INC.”, from his work as a patent attorney.
Thanks so much to Kfir for his guest post today. I really appreciate the time taken out of his day to write such an interesting post 🙂
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