Lance Charnes

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in California native, The United States
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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: 4.18 · 102 ratings · 49 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors
Doha 12

4.07 avg rating — 55 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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Chasing Clay (The DeWitt Ag...

4.29 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2019 — 2 editions
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The Collection (The DeWitt ...

4.08 avg rating — 13 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 — 3 ratings — published 2017 — 3 editions
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More books by Lance Charnes…

Chasing Clay underway

Chasing Clay, the third entry in the DeWitt Agency Files series, is at long last entering beta.

Life intervened in a grand way and delayed this one far past when I thought I'd have it done. I'm now aiming for late Q3 for its launch.

For more information about Chasing Clay or the DeWitt Agency series, check the series landing page on my website. Read more of this blog post »
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Published on July 17, 2019 20:53 Tags: chasing-clay, dewitt-agency
The Collection Stealing Ghosts Chasing Clay
(3 books)
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4.18 avg rating — 33 ratings

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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 the subject.

I've read a couple parts of it and it certainly seems thorough; however, it's quite den See Full Answer
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No Right Way drops a reasonably normal protagonist into the middle of the Syria
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No Right Way by Michael   Niemann
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The still-ongoing, slow-rolling tragedy of the Syrian civil war will certainly spawn a whole sub-genre of books in the years to come. Most will focus on the products of the crucible of slaughter and extremism (probably a whole generation of thriller ...more
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The Watchman by Robert Crais
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From time to time, a supporting character in a long-running series breaks out of the second-banana ghetto and gets to star in his/her very own novel. So it is here, when Robert Crais' stone-killer helpmate for Elvis Cole carries his own gun bags. Yes ...more
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A Love Life Like Karmic Disaster by Casey Pope
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The Frankenstein story has been reworked and repurposed ever since Mary Shelley and her boho friends cooked up the original on a rainy weekend back in 1818. It's come to be seen as the ur man-playing-god cautionary tale. While I'm hardly a Frankenste ...more
" It’s pure white, deep blue… and dirty all over.

Nam Ton ware – centuries-old ceramics from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle – captivated the DeWitt Age
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" It’s pure white, deep blue… and dirty all over.

Nam Ton ware – centuries-old ceramics from Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle – captivated the DeWitt Age
...more "
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The Virgin's Promise by Kim Hudson
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By now, Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers has become part of the must-read canon for writers. It boils down Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces into a form that can be used by authors and scr ...more
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Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev
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Winston Churchill famously called the Soviet Union "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."Opaque was the typical description for the black box of the USSR; many an intelligence analyst made a career of charting the ups and downs of high Sov ...more
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“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

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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

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July 2020 Group Reads - Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh and Where the Bodies are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre _ _ _ _ _ “It was a dark and stormy night ...more
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Robert Thanks for the friend request, Lance.


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