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Is It Simple Revenge?

Gojan Nikolich Author Interview

Ashes in Venice follows a detective in Las Vegas who must find a murderer that is killing murderers in gruesome ways. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted to explore the psychological similarities of good and evil and how the line between the two can often become blurred, depending on the circumstance. In this case, one of the book’s main characters decides to take the law into his own hands when traditional police work falls short of delivering justice. But is this true justice or is it simple revenge? When is violence justified? Is “an eye for an eye” still a valid answer to an unpunished crime? If a good person does something bad long enough, does he or she ultimately also become bad?

Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the character’s personalities grow organically as you were writing?

I first sketch out the general direction of a novel so that I have a feel for its beginning, middle and end. I then draft key scenes and dialogue by hand in a notebook until things fall into a natural chronology so that I get a sense of how the story should be paced and plotted. By habit, I speak out the dialogue as I write it. The more I flesh out characters, the more attached I become to their personalities, and this helps determine if they become primary or secondary players in the story.

Once I have about 30k words of a first draft completed I’m usually confident of expanding what I have into a full novel of at least twice that length. I actually enjoy editing and revising a book more than I do assembling the first draft. It’s an agony for me to get the first draft to the point where I think it can grow into a completed book that somebody might actually want to read.

I’ve abandoned more books than I’ve finished and this is probably a good thing. My background is newspaper reporting, a job where you throw away more writing than you keep, which is a good rule of thumb for any writer.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The blurring of the line between good and evil. The difference between justice and revenge. How all acts have answerable consequences: we are accountable for what we do and what we say and this determines the paths we take in life.

How life is never black and white, but rather a general scale of varying shades of gray that are constantly changing and adapting based on how we act toward each other.

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A heartless psychopath with size 16 shoes, nursing home hookers and an irreverent Las Vegas homicide detective with a gambling habit set the tone for this off-beat tale of revenge and retribution.
Blackjack addict Frank Savic is deeply in debt and facing family problems when he’s asked to delay his retirement to catch a vigilante killer who murders other murderers in a manner the veteran cop has never seen.
While dead bodies stack up in quick succession, the motorcycle-riding policeman also finds himself reluctantly involved with a desperate mother who will do anything to get justice for her dead son.
Savic, his investigation complicated by a suspected FBI coverup and a prison bribery scandal, is unaware that the murderer might be the solution to his own financial and domestic dilemma.
Add a vengeful killer who seeks justice for his own unbearable loss and you have a teasing psychological thriller that blurs the line between good and evil and where surgical bone saws and spiders are just tools of the trade.
Yes, there are spiders.

Ashes in Venice

Detective Sergeant Frank Savic is getting ready to retire from the Las Vegas Metro Police, so he can help out his wife Maria and settle some debt. Until Captain Paul Monaghan asks him to stay on for at least another 30 days. A murderer was murdered. A man named Carlo Cavilleri. This leads to an investigation that uncovers more murderers being murdered. They are all somehow connected, but Detective Savic isn’t sure how. Finally, detective Sergeant Savic finds clues to see how they are all related and who this mysterious serial killer is. Follow along as Detective Savic tries to uncover this enigmatic serial killer.

Author Gojan Nikolich’s Ashes in Venice is an unforgettable book. The descriptive language used for the murder scenes is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s books. The details of the murders are plentiful and leave readers with no doubts as to what happened to the victim. What was amazing was how seamlessly the author fit these detailed scenes into the whole novel. Everything about the novel’s setting is told with the same quality of detail, allowing the reader to feel like they are on the streets of Las Vegas. Readers will feel like a detective following along with Frank as he investigates each new case.

Detective Sergeant Frank Savic is a well-rounded and dynamic character. He comes across as a genuine person despite his troubles with money. The only thing I didn’t like about his character was when he would calculate what percentage of clothing a woman was wearing. It seemed like an odd thing to do. But, that aside, his dedication to his work and his wife Maria makes him a likable character.

When it comes to the killer, he is well-developed. Readers will question why he’s doing what he’s doing and, as the book unfolds, will get clues about his reasons. There is one scene where the killer uses spiders in his devious plans, those with arachnophobia may find this part disturbing, but the killer gets extra points for creativity.

Ashes in Venice is an unpredictable psychological thriller with multiple murders. Readers will find this crime thriller has been well researched for police procedures, and the details really give the novel an authentic feel while adding the suspense they are looking for.

Pages: 339 | ASIN : B09KV7WXVV

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