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The new and unique way to discover an Author




Interview with Gregg Hurwitz 2007

Image: Author, Gregg HurwitzBy Chris High

Gregg Hurwitz has something of a “hands on” approach when it comes to his work. With four acclaimed novels featuring Deputy US Marshall Marshal Tim Rackley already under his belt in the US, Gregg has veered away from the series to write his first stand alone, I See You, for Sphere in the UK, discovering for the first time that not all researching needs to be as intense as it had been previously.  ‘The past books provided me some pretty great learning opportunities,’ Gregg explained. ‘Blowing up cars on demolition ranges, swimming with sharks in Galapagos, going undercover into mind-control cults and a whole lot more besides, helped in ways well beyond my writing. With I See You, simply living the life of a crime writer covered most angles of the research. Of course, I had to dig in to get some of the odd bits nailed down, but for the most part, I just wrote. It is the first time I’ve written in the first person and probably chose to do so because of how close I felt to Drew. The main challenge, aside from not starting every sentence with “I”, is of course viewpoint. Funnelling all that information — and all clues — through one man’s perspective is tough, especially since I See You is a novel of paranoia.’

When best-selling thriller writer, Andrew Danner, wakes up in a hospital bed with no idea how he got there, he is horrified to be told that he is responsible for the murder of his ex-fiancée. In the resulting celebrity trial, Drew is exonerated on the grounds of temporary insanity caused by a recent brain tumour, but when another woman is discovered dead, murdered in the same way as Genevieve, things grow ever more sinister for the author. Trying to clear his name and understand what's happening to him, Drew enlists the help of a tame forensic scientist, a sympathetic detective, his staunch friend Chic who has helpful underworld connections and an over-confident teenager. ‘In the course of writing my own books, I’ve developed relationships, and a lot of close friendships, with a variety of consultants; Criminalists, Navy SEALs, SWAT team guys, demolition breachers, prosecutors, deputy marshals and so on. The list is pretty robust and it struck me that if I ever got into trouble, I have a pretty good Rolodex to call upon. There is more of me in Drew than in any character I’ve written. He thinks like me in a way that none of my other characters have but there are also a lot of differences. He’s funnier than I am and I still drink my bourbon, rather than pour it down the sink. And would I take my brain tumour home in jar, too? Absolutely, God forbid that I should ever be given reason to of course.’

A bizarre twist came when life mirrored art prior to Gregg writing the book. ‘My wife’s father is Robert Blake, the actor found not guilty in 2005 of murdering his wife. At the time of his arrest in 2002, I was working on another thriller when suddenly there was this strange confluence of my work and personal life. I was on the phone with defence attorneys, prosecutors, cops, and jail guards researching the book and dealing with a similar cast of characters in real life. I soon realised, like Drew, that while some of what I’d learned about this whole fictional world we create as writers was useful, much of it was entirely different when put up against the real thing.’

Gregg grew up in the Bay Area of Los Angeles and, while completing a BA from Harvard in 1995 and a Master's in Shakespearean tragedy from Trinity College, Oxford in 1996, he wrote his first novel. ‘I’ve wanted to write mysteries or thrillers for as long as I remember. I still have my first ones—which I wrote and glued inside cardboard covers that were illustrated, no less, in third grade. For some reason, from an early age, I was drawn to mysteries—the puzzle aspect—and to books with adventure and excitement and, yes, violence. I was reading Stephen King by fifth grade and couldn’t believe how much fun it was to get that scared.’

He still lives in L.A. where he continues to play round ball football, though frequently injures himself. ‘I grew up in a fanatical soccer family, but I have to say I’m not sure most Americans know what to make of this whole Beckham thing that’s happening here. It’s going down not with a bang but a whimper and of course, being L.A., I’ve already had at least one person ask, “Isn’t that the guy from that Keira Knightley movie?” Naming my team is probably the quickest way to lose a large section of readers, but, hell, for the record it’s Manchester United.’

This is Gregg’s first outing with Sphere, who have laid out an extensive marketing campaign. Such promotion, Gregg feels, is important in establishing an author. ‘Sphere has been incredibly innovative and supportive. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done and I’m very excited about my first UK release. It’s difficult to say what the differences between UK and US readers are, but I do think the UK has a higher percentage of people genuinely interested in books, with a more discerning eye toward what constitutes solid writing and not just storytelling.’ And, like most authors, Gregg met with resistance to his novel writing at first but again, like most authors, found perseverance to be the key. ‘Patience is probably the biggest obstacle to writers getting published and a lot try to sell their work before it’s truly ready. It is, of course, a terribly tough market, so it must be approached only when the work is as good as it can be.’

Front cover of the book by Gregg Hurwitz: I See YouAs well as writing for TV and film, Gregg has also published many highly thought of articles on Shakespeare and his work. ‘I studied English and Psychology at Harvard because I had a strong interest in Jungian narrative analysis; how stories function and what they mean, that sort of thing. With Shakespeare, I particularly love the tragedies and I’ve always thought of Macbeth as a perfect mob thriller. Shakespeare is also, frankly, high-concept and genre. The plays are highly structured and plot-driven, just like most of what I like to read. I’ll take Lehane over Derrida any day. ’

I See You (reviewed here)is published by Sphere on August 2nd. For more information about Gregg Hurwitz go to

Parts of this interview have, or will, appear in other publications and in other formats.

If you would like to comment on this interview with Gregg Hurwitz, please feel free to contact me - GUESTBOOK

“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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