Lance Charnes

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in California native, The United States
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December 2011

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I’ve been an Air Force intelligence officer, information technology manager, computer-game artist, set designer, Jeopardy! contestant, and now an emergency management specialist. I've had training in architectural rendering, terrorist incident response and maritime archaeology, although not all at the same time. My Facebook author page (https://www.facebook.com/Lance.Charne...) features spies, archaeology and art crime. ...more

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Lance Charnes For my principal characters, I start by figuring out what they have to be able to do (and not do) in the story they'll live in. They'll need certain s…moreFor my principal characters, I start by figuring out what they have to be able to do (and not do) in the story they'll live in. They'll need certain skills or experiences that will eventually allow them to get through the plot, or to fail in a way that's useful to me. Then I figure out what kind of personal history will give them (or not give them) these skills or experiences. BTW, this goes for the villains, too; I try to make my bad guys real people rather than Snidely Whiplash. The best villain thinks he's the hero, and could be under other circumstances.

I'm not a fan of superheroes or the hypercompetent demigods that stock so many thrillers now. I'm much more interested in what a fairly normal person will do in the circumstances I'm throwing at them. My protagonists tend to have relatively normal day jobs and usually have families; I think this makes them more relatable, and that readers will become more invested in them because it's easier for the readers to see themselves in the characters.

I like strong, self-reliant women and tend to put them in my novels. Each hero gets a heroine who's a more-or-less equal partner. If there's rescuing to be done, it's as likely she will rescue him as vice versa. This means the women often get non-traditional backgrounds as well as the men: Miriam in Doha 12 was in the Israeli Border Police in her youth; Nora in South was a former Army MP and an FBI agent; and The Collection's Carson is a disgraced Toronto cop.

I also aim toward the middle as far as looks go, too. You won't find very many ravishingly beautiful women or drop-dead handsome men in my books, and they'll never be the heroes or heroines. Again, it's relatability: a female reader is going to be able to get behind a female character who's "attractive" or "pleasant-looking" a lot faster than one who's a bombshell, and I for one am way over male characters who are so devastatingly good-looking that every woman who sees them immediately drops her drawers. It just ain't real, folks.

People who read my books often comment on how real the characters seem, and some readers get particularly attached to one or more of them. I caught some flak for the way South ended because of this, for instance. I like to think it's because I build my characters from the inside out and try to make them as normal as possible for the story.

My characters aren't usually doubles for real people, but I do keep in mind who I'd cast in their roles in the movie or TV series based on the story. None of the male characters are me; sometimes they share one or more of my tastes or interests.

I hope that answers your question. If not, let me know. Thanks for asking!(less)
Lance Charnes Maybe. I finally found a copy of Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators by John Madinger. It's supposed to be the leading textbook about…moreMaybe. I finally found a copy of Money Laundering: A Guide for Criminal Investigators by John Madinger. It's supposed to be the leading textbook about the subject.

I've read a couple parts of it and it certainly seems thorough; however, it's quite dense and not the sort of thing that's easily read all the way in one go, like Crime School was.

I'll eventually chip my way through it, then review it. Thanks for your interest.(less)
Average rating: 4.11 · 123 ratings · 55 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
Doha 12

3.98 avg rating — 63 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Chasing Clay (The DeWitt Ag...

4.32 avg rating — 19 ratings — published 2019 — 2 editions
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The Collection (The DeWitt ...

3.94 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2016 — 3 editions
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South

4.57 avg rating — 14 ratings — published 2013 — 4 editions
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Stealing Ghosts (The DeWitt...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 6 ratings — published 2017 — 3 editions
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Zrada (DeWitt Agency Advent...

4.25 avg rating — 4 ratings — published 2020 — 3 editions
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More books by Lance Charnes…

Zrada first draft completed

Zrada, my new action/adventure novel featuring ex-cop Carson from the DeWitt Agency Files series, finally has a beginning, middle, and end all in one file.

Next come several rounds of editing, alpha and beta reads, and all the admin work to launch a new title (and, perhaps, a new series). Release is tentatively scheduled for late Q3 2020.

For more information, check the new Zrada page on my website. Read more of this blog post »
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Published on July 12, 2020 15:47 Tags: dewitt-agency, zrada
The Collection Stealing Ghosts Chasing Clay
(3 books)
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4.12 avg rating — 42 ratings

Zrada
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4.25 avg rating — 4 ratings

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The Flight Attendant
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" The Silent Corner is an exercise in narrative speed triumphing over emotional engagement. The story's supersaturation of paranoia probably won't b ...more "
" Two priceless paintings. Two million euros. A civil war. What could go wrong?

The DeWitt Agency assigned disgraced ex-cop Carson a simple job: carry tw
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Real Dangerous Job by K.W. Jeter
" Werner wrote: "Lance, I just discovered that I'd never edited my review to incorporate the firearms-related correction you provided, but I have just n ...more "
" Two priceless paintings. Two million euros. A civil war. What could go wrong?

The DeWitt Agency assigned disgraced ex-cop Carson a simple job: carry tw
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Stealing Ghosts by Lance Charnes
“The little brain still wants a rematch with her. The big brain knows I’d have to sleep with one eye open and my back against a wall.”
Lance Charnes
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Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci
Long Road to Mercy
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I've lately been reading thrillers with female protagonists. I'm writing one, and I want to see what other authors have done with their lead character, things I should try to do, and things I should avoid. That led me to this, the series debut of FBI ...more
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The Spider Heist by Jason Kasper
The Spider Heist
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I'm always up for a heist story, having written a couple myself. Add to that the prospect of a female lead, and I should've been all-in about The Spider Heist. Yet somehow it didn't flip my switches the way I'd expected. Why is that? As they say on B ...more
The Late Show by Michael Connelly
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Harry Bosch has been an earner for Michael Connelly over the years. With 22 Harry-centric books and 34 in what GR calls the "Harry Bosch Universe" (take that, Stan Lee!), a hit prestige TV series, and at least one movie (Blood Work), Harry has paid f ...more
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“Does anything we do ever end it?”
Lance Charnes, Doha 12

“The little brain still wants a rematch with her. The big brain knows I’d have to sleep with one eye open and my back against a wall.”
Lance Charnes, Stealing Ghosts

“No. Do I need to spell that?”
Lance Charnes, South

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“Murder is such a charged word. You know how some people fixate and won't let things go? They're called cops. ”
Tim Dorsey, Nuclear Jellyfish

“It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to sound like it does.”
Elmore Leonard, Freaky Deaky

“Does anything we do ever end it?”
Lance Charnes, Doha 12

“No. Do I need to spell that?”
Lance Charnes, South

“People here notice when you have gunfights in train stations!”
Lance Charnes, Doha 12

19126 The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group — 22677 members — last activity 8 minutes ago
June 2021 Group Reads - The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri and Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger _ _ _ _ _ “It was a dark and stormy night. Ligh ...more
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Are you a fan of sword-swinging warrior women, pistol-packing cowgirls, tough female PIs, vampire huntresses, or any of the other strong, brave heroin ...more
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A group to discuss art crime. Anything from books on the subject to the history of art crime to the latest news about stolen art. Everyone is welcome.
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Robert Thanks for the friend request, Lance.


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