In crime on December 20, 2011 at 12:00 am
Christopher Goffard has been writing fiction since he was a kid and subbed to every publication under the sun.
He wrote “science fiction and horror stories that were rejected by every publication from “Twilight Zone Magazine” to “Playboy,” and a lot of more down-market ones whose names would embarrass me to mention.”
Writing therefore wasn’t totally foreign to him when he decided to give fiction a go.
“Over years in courtrooms and squad cars and at crime scenes I filled notebooks with material – character sketches, dialogue, scenes – that never made it into the paper, but seemed increasingly like the spine of a novel.”
Even though Christopher had been an award winning journalist when he tried to sub his first fiction effort, he says “it took a while even to find an agent who would agree to represent me, so I didn’t take anything for granted. I eventually found a good one in the UK, and Snitch Jacket sold there first, and came out to some nice reviews, but only after that did a U.S. publisher take a chance on it.”
Snitch Jacket “it’s about a snitch, a hit man, a murder-for-hire, and a weird festival in the California desert. It’s a kind of crime-mystery book, at least superficially, but doesn’t read much like one, because for me the characters and the sentences and the riffs are always more interesting than the genre furniture.”
His second book is called You Will See Fire: A Search For Justice In Kenya.
It’s the story of “a paratrooper-turned-missionary from Minnesota, John Kaiser, who spent most of his adult life in Kenya and denounced the regime at a dangerous time when a more cautious man would have kept quiet. And it’s about the Kenyan attorney, Charles Mbuthi Gathenji, who sets out to unravel the mystery of Kaiser’s death.”
Due to Kaiser’s earlier mental issues, the FBI ruled his death a suicide, but many others thought he had been murdered. Among those was Charles Mbuthi Gathenji, a strong minded local lawyer, who took it upon himself to “unveil the truth”.
Both the priest and the lawyer “share some qualities – they both are extremely dogged.”
“The lawyer is the one who unpeels the mystery. His life story is deeply affected by the politics of the times, and that is exactly what Kaiser was addressing. They’re interwined.”
Gathenji never finds out who murdered Kaiser, but at least establishes it wasn’t suicide.
Christopher also doesn’t make any suggestions about the possible murder.
The reader is left to make up her own mind.
To find out more, check out Christopher’s website:
Next week’s interviewee is the talented and inspirational Denise Noe, true crime writer and Charles Manson’s pen pal. Don’t miss it!

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