Guest Author James LePore

I don’t know about you, but when an author revisits here at the CMash blog, for me, it’s a delight.  It’s like an old friend stopping by, sharing a cup of coffee and catching up on the latest news.  And today is just that case.  James LePore was here the last time talking about his book, Blood of my Brother and today to tell us about his latest novel, Gods and Fathers.  So have a seat, grab your coffee and let’s visit with an old friend, Mr. James LePore.


James LePore is an attorney who has practiced law for more than two decades, and an accomplished photographer. He is the author of three previous novels, A WORLD I NEVER MADE, BLOOD OF MY BROTHER, and SONS AND PRINCES, as well as the story collection, ANYONE CAN DIE. He lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife, artist Karen Chandler.

Nationally bestselling author James LePore has established a reputation as a writer whose vividly drawn characters and morally complex plots have kept readers up to all hours turning pages. His new novel promises more sleepless nights and more nonstop thrills.

I practiced law for twenty-five years before retiring in 1999 to write and take pictures. My photography can be seen here.

I have written a number of works of short fiction that have evolved from my novels. After each novel was completed, its characters continued to live in my head, telling me, it seemed, that they wanted to go on living on the page. The stories that grew out of A World I Never Made were published in February, 2011, in a volume entitled, Anyone Can Die. My second novel, Blood of My Brother, and my third, Sons and Princes, are available now at amazon and all other online booksellers.

I have heard it said that genre novels are plot driven, while novels in the literature category are character driven. I believe that my novels offer something of both: compelling, fast moving plots in exotic venues, and characters that are complex in that they are flawed, and, finding themselves caught up in situations of extraordinary stress and danger, are forced to face their own demons in order to prevail. It has been gratifying to find that many readers and reviewers have enjoyed this blend in my work.

My first three novels all feature people from the area where I have lived all of my life, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The characters in these novels are not the same and there are no connections between them. But the novels’ themes are the same—the struggle of flawed men and women to change and grow in the face of great danger. In this sense the three novels can be categorized as a trilogy, the Tristate Trilogy is the name I am giving them.

The hardcover version of A World I Never Made, published in April, 2009, attracted a passionate audience of readers. The paperback version, along with the releases of my next two novels, are an opportunity for a broad, mass-market readership to experience my work. I do not think that anyone who reads my novels and stories will be disappointed. I am recently finished my fourth novel, Gods and Fathers—the story of a high profile Manhattan prosecutor whose son is wrongly accused of murder—which will be published in February, 2012. I live in South Salem, NY with my wife, Karen Chandler, an artist whose work can be seen here.

P.S. As you may have guessed, I am an avid reader and have been all my life. I have compiled a list of my fifty favorite novels (the “LePore Top Fifty”). The list changes from time to time (since I have sole control over it), and I am working on a second Top Fifty list, but If anyone is interested in receiving a copy of the first list, just go to the “Contact The Author” page and ask for it in an email to me and I will send it along.
You can visit Mr. LePore at his website here.


            The Conception and Birth of a James LePore Novel.

             To me, my novels are ‘born’ when they’re published. It is the process of conceiving and creating them that your readers might find interesting. For example, the idea for my first published novel, A World I Never Made, came to me one night while having dinner with friends. One of them was telling a sad story of a woman she knew whose thirty-year-old daughter had committed suicide out of the blue. Her family thought she was happy, in her work and in her life, then suddenly she kills herself and leaves an audio cassette for each of her parents and six siblings by way of personal explanation. Such planning, so meticulous. Of course, there have been countless novels whose premise was the question of whether a dead body was a suicide or a homicide. I was not inspired to do another one. Then it occurred to me that similar planning, similar attention to detail, could go into a faked suicide, and with that thought, A World I Never Made was conceived.

Blood of My Brother, my second published novel, was conceived many years ago when I came across this from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon:

             And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

            I typed it on a piece of paper, pinned it above my desk, and began writing a novel that was going to be titled, Drop by Drop Upon the Heart. That novel, many years later, was published as Blood of My Brother. The inspiration for it was the death, many years earlier, of a childhood friend, a death that I still mourn today, though much less so after writing the novel.

A word on creation, that is, the work of actually writing (and rewriting) that takes place between conception and birth. I change. I am a different person when I am writing a novel. I write every day, with few exceptions. I think of my plot and my characters as I’m falling asleep each night. When I’m not writing, I do things that require no brain power, but my novel is never far below the surface. I am always conscious that I am creating something out of nothing, more so of course when I am at my computer, but even away from it. Also a word on perfectionism: I am a great believer in reviewing and rewriting, which is how I start each day. I want my novel to be perfect, which is not possible of course, but to not try to make it perfect would be wrong, a sin, I think. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp—as Gerard Manley Hopkins put it, or what’s a heaven for?



Matt DeMarco is an accomplished Manhattan attorney with more than his share of emotional baggage. His marriage ended disastrously, his ex-wife has pulled their son away from him, and her remarriage to a hugely successful Arab businessman has created complications for Matt on multiple levels. However, his life shifts from troubled to imperiled when two cops – men he’s known for a long time – come into his home and arrest his son as the prime suspect in the murder of the boy’s girlfriend.

Suddenly, the enmity between Matt and his only child is no longer relevant. Matt must do everything he can to clear his son, who he fully believes is innocent. Doing so will require him to quit his job and make enemies of former friends – and it will throw him up against forces he barely knew existed and can only begin to comprehend how to battle.

GODS AND FATHERS is at once a powerful mystery and a provocative international thriller, all of it presented with LePore’s signature fascinating characters placed in dire circumstances where every choice poses new and potentially fatal challenges.


“Why can’t you stay at your mother’s when they’re away?”
“I told you, Basil’s worried about security.”
Though this statement was challengeable on several levels, Matt let it pass. The marriage six years ago of Debra DeMarco, nee Rusillo, and Basil al-Hassan, a rich and handsome Syrian businessman, had marked the beginning of the end of Matt’s long and tortured fight for a place in his son’s heart. Armed with the ultimate weapon—-her new husband’s money—-Debra had made quick work of destroying the last vestiges of Matt’s hopes. A penthouse on Park Avenue, a beach house in Easthampton, a flat in Paris, a “cottage” in Bermuda, clothes and cars virtually on demand, Matt had no way of competing with all this, and no way of expressing his anger—-until tonight.
“What about Mina?” Matt asked.
“What about her?”
“Why aren’t you seeing her?”
“She’s studying.”
“Yes, studying. You keep repeating what I say. She’s a student. Students study.”
This statement was delivered dismissively, not sarcastically. You’re stupid, Dad. I’m tired of you. Why am I bothering with you? are what Matt heard, and it occurred to him, with a clarity that shocked him after all these muddled and painful years of effort and rejection, effort and rejection, ad nauseum, that he could not hurt Michael, that his own son was indifferent to him, and this was a blow, and strangely a release.
“Well, your friends are assholes, and you are too, Michael. You’re an arrogant, shallow asshole. Where you came from, I don’t know. But not from me.”
“That could be. Maybe Mom had an affair–like you did–and I’m not your son. Do I care? No, I don’t. Can I go upstairs now? I’ll leave in the morning.”
In the kitchen, Matt poured himself another scotch. He took the pizza out of the refrigerator and sat down to eat it, surprised to find that he actually had an appetite. Until tonight, despite the bad cards he had drawn, he had never stopped trying to break through to his son. It’s over, he said to himself, over and done. He’s not your son. He’s Debra’s son, Basil’s son. You lost him a long time ago.
He finished the pizza and was wrapping the garbage to take out in the morning when the doorbell rang. Looking out the kitchen window he saw that it was snowing heavily. Those idiots, he thought, they’re probably stuck someplace. No choice but to let them in. But when he swung open the front door, it wasn’t Adnan and Ali, but his friends Jack McCann and Clarke Goode, homicide detectives who he had worked with for many years, standing facing him. He could see their unmarked car at the curb, and behind it, blocking his driveway, a Pound Ridge patrol car, its engine running and headlights on, two uniformed officers in the front seat. McCann, a florid Irishman whose blue eyes were usually lit by some inner secret joke, looked grim; and Goode, a gnarled black man who never failed to greet Matt with a big smile, was not smiling. Far from it.
“Come in. What’s up?” Matt said. Then, nodding toward the street where the patrol car sat: “What’s with the uniforms?”
The two detectives stepped into the foyer.
“Take your coats off,” Matt said. He could see they were dressed for work, sport jackets and ties on under their trench coats.
“Matt…,” McCann said.
“Talk, Jack,” Matt said. “Is somebody dead?”
“Is Michael home?” Goode asked. He had not taken off his coat, and neither had McCann.
“That’s his car out there,” Matt said. “You know that.”
“Where is he?”
“He’s upstairs.”
Matt looked from McCann to Goode, then back to McCann; looked in the eyes of each, and did not like what he saw. “What about Michael?” he asked.
“We’re here to arrest him,” McCann replied.
“For what?” Drugs, Matt thought, good, let the kid get a taste of the pain he’s always inflicting on others. Him and his two Arab suppliers.
“For murder, Matt,” Goode said.

See my review here.

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me,
in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive
are ever sold…they are kept by me,
or given to family and/or friends.

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