'Order your copy of the Manhattan Puzzle before they find out what’s in it. If anything fatal happens to the author know this: he would never commit suicide and he drives very carefully.'
Laurence O'Bryan's first novel The Istanbul Puzzle was shortlisted for the Irish Crime novel of 2012. His roots go back to a small estate deep in the Mountains of Mourne, near the Silent Valley, in County Down, Northern Ireland. He went to school in Dublin, drank way too much, studied English and history, then business, then IT at Oxford University.
In 2007 he won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer's conference for The Istanbul Puzzle. He says, 'I flew back to Ireland on cloud 999. It wasn't about the money. There wasn't any. It was about knowing I was on the right track.'
His research has taken him all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Muslim world. He likes looking at the stars and listening to the stories of strangers.
Welcome to my blog, Laurence, and congratulations on the publication of the latest in your bestselling Puzzle thriller series, 'the Manhattan Puzzle'.
First Istanbul, then Jerusalem and now Manhattan; what made you choose each of these places as the setting?
Thanks Jean! We have high hopes for my third novel. I chose Istanbul because I visited it and it was so different from what I had expected. Jerusalem I chose because of its importance to so many people. And Manhattan because it always seemed such an amazing place, open, yet full of secrets.
Will there be more Puzzle books? If so, do you know where they will be set? If you haven't already chosen, I'd like one with Venice as a setting.
I have plans for a Nuremberg Puzzle, a Turin Puzzle and a Kashmir Puzzle. When they will come out I do not know!
You often get likened to Dan Brown. How do you feel about this?
I thought The Da Vinci Code was very entertaining. I don’t have any role in deciding who I get compared to. So I just ignore it mostly.
Do you find it difficult to write the violent scenes in your books?
It’s difficult and easy. Difficult because I know violence is hard to stop once it has started and easy because there really is a lot of it around. If you open your newspaper any day you can read about horrible murders. Reality is a sickening place for a lot of people.
Do readers' expectations influence you?
The publisher's expectation, through the editors do, and the sense of people waiting to see what's in the new novel does too. It leads to a few sleepless nights, as I pushed myself to the limit with The Manhattan Puzzle.
You've used your very popular blog to showcase many new and emerging writers (including me). Did this initiative go as you expected?
There has been a huge interest in being showcased and I am happy with that. I didn't know what to expect, but I have been pleasantly surprised. I enjoy helping other writers and this is such a small thing.
What tips do you have for other writers?
Work on your craft, be patient and join a good writing group.
You use your own photos to enhance your blog. Does this mean you're also an amateur photographer? What gear do you use?
Well almost all of us are amateur photographers now. I bought a dedicated camera, but now all I use is my iPhone. The pictures are certainly good enough for the web and you have it with you at all times.
GUEST POST from Laurence O'Bryan
The Themes of The Manhattan Puzzle
By Laurence O’Bryan
What has been hidden in Manhattan by the most powerful people on earth?
What would you do to a Manhattan banker who treated ordinary people like slaves?
What magic is buried under Manhattan that allows it to rise again from anything the world throws at it?
BXH Bank building, Manhattan, vehicle entrance visible under the arch.
Image © LP O’Bryan
These are the themes of The Manhattan Puzzle. The story sees Sean and Isabel (my characters from The Istanbul Puzzle and The Jerusalem Puzzle) reunited in Manhattan at the headquarters of one of the world’s largest banks, BXH. There’s been some grisly murders, and now the plot takes a new twist. The contents of the book they found in Istanbul are revealed.
My personal journey with this story grew out of my disgust at the financial crisis that has brought many so low. I am interested in the myths and the beliefs of those who value money above everything.
But The Manhattan Puzzle is about other things too. For instance, what would you do if your partner didn’t come home one night? And what would you think if the police turned up at your door the next day looking for him?
Relationships are under stress everywhere, because of the demands placed on us by our jobs, but few of us will face what Isabel has to face when Sean goes missing.
There is violence from the start in The Manhattan Puzzle too, but the opening has a woman inflicting it on a man. I am tired of reading about men inflicting sexual violence on women. I think it’s time for the handcuffs to swop wrists. And they certainly do in The Manhattan Puzzle. You can download the first chapter here as a pdf.
But don’t get me wrong. I love Manhattan. It’s a city in a snow globe of dollar bills. So look in your bookstore and on your E-readers and order it too, if you want.
To order The Manhattan Puzzle click here
Or visit my website
And thanks for reading this and for buying The Manhattan Puzzle, if you do. I hope you find it entertaining and the themes interesting.