John Lutz on Writing The Honorable Traitors

I’ve turned to the spy thriller for the first time because it gives me the opportunity to work on a larger scale than I have before. The fates of nations are in play. And at the climax of this novel, more than a hundred thousand lives are at risk. Grave risk, because the villain will stop at nothing. He has a bigger bag of tricks, a wider range of lethal capabilities than my previous bad guys. He also has, in a perverse way, loftier goals. He’s taken it upon himself to avenge one of history’s greatest wrongs. As he sees it, of course. To oppose such a man, you need a larger-than-life hero. Thomas Laker, my new series character, is a college football star who could have gone to the NFL but chose to serve his country instead, as a CIA agent in Iraq. Wounded, he could’ve taken a high-up desk job at Langley, but instead chose to join The Gray Outfit, a super-secret agency that tackles only the most dangerous assignments.

This book also covers more ground than my previous novels, crossing the country from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii. Doing my research, I delved into some dark corners. I hadn’t known that in Hawaii during World War II, Japanese-Americans were put in internment camps, just as they were in California. On the lighter side, I got to sample Hawaiian cooking. The novel’s climax is set in New York City, more familiar ground for me, and my readers. I enjoyed exploring new locations–the Whitney Museum, the High Line, and Governors Island. The Honorable Traitors also covers a lot of ground historically, which led me into the palatial Moscow subway Stalin built in the ’30s, the torture chambers of wartime Tokyo, the dinner parties of JFK-era Washington, the Potsdam summit conference where the victors decided Nazi Germany’s fate. It’s amazing how far imagination, aided by research, can take you.

John Lutz Is . . .

“A Major Talent.” —John Lescroart

“Among The Best.” —San Diego Union

“In Rare Form.” —The New York Times Book Review

The Unknown Spy

Officially, Thomas Laker is an employee of the NSA. His real employer, known as the Gray Outfit, is not listed—anywhere. When a Washington, D.C., insider is killed in a bomb explosion, Laker teams up with cryptographer Ava North on a desperate search for clues. The only thing certain is that another act of terrorism is imminent. Delving into the dangerous past when America was drawn into global conflict, they discover one of history’s greatest—and deadliest—secrets. In the wrong hands it can unleash unimaginable destruction. Now, to keep his homeland from plunging into its darkest hour, Laker will have to defend everything he believes in . . .

“Lutz Offers Up A Heart-Pounding Roller Coaster Of A Tale.” —Jeffery Deaver