Shane Gericke is a bulldozer of a man, with shoulders broad enough Carl Sandburg could’ve been writing about him when he described Chicago.
So it’s no surprise Shane’s novels are muscular, intense, and often explosive. I like to watch him guarding the door to a room where a panel is being held. The unregistered do not challenge him. Grrrr. It makes me chuckle.
They’re missing the twinkle in his eye, the wacky jokes, and the kindness that caused him to plant a tree in Israel to honor my previous husband, Dennis Lynds, who had just died. I call that amazing, sweet, thoughtful. That’s the Shane I know.
Years ago, when David Morrell and I and a handful of other folks started a new authors’ organization called International Thriller Writers, Shane e-mailed me. His first novel, Blown Away, was coming out, and his publisher suggested he get involved with this new group. Researching him, I discovered he’d been an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. Ah-ha, I thought, this is not only a talented man, but a reliable one. The only question is, can he pull off a caper?
Chicago would host Bouchercon, the huge mystery-book festival, in a couple of months, and ITW would hold its very first membership meeting there in the same hotel. We had a problem, though—the hotel wanted nearly $2,000 to provide snacks, sodas, and liquor. We barely had that much in the treasury. Even if we brought in our own food and drink, the hotel would charge us a fortune to get it up to the room.
I called Shane. “Do you have a car?” I asked, knowing he lived near Chicago.
“I have the perfect job for you.” I described what we needed. “Kath has the ITW credit card.” A fine author, Kathleen Antrim was in charge of the project, but lived in San Francisco, and would be there sans car.
Shane started laughing. I held my breath.
He agreed to do it.
Meeting Kath at the airport, he drove her to Costco, where they grabbed a handcart and hurried inside.
“M&M’s?” Shane asked.
“Get a bunch,” Kath said. “Authors.”
Their purchases filled Shane’s trunk. At the hotel, he found a laundry cart and blanket. The cart full, the blanket bulging over the Costco loot, they slipped past guests, security, and the Teamsters and finally arrived at the meeting room. As expected, it was empty, but there was still the risk the hotel staff might discover their shenanigans because the meeting was several hours away. They stuffed flats of sodas and beer, bottles of semi-cheap wine, and bags of chips, nuts, and candy into closets, table drawers, and under the sofas.
Whew. The meeting happened. The members were watered and fed. No one complained about the wine. It was a great success. And, unsurprisingly, Shane and Kathleen were heroes.
I’ve known Shane for seven years now and had gladly given him a jacket blurb celebrating his terrific writing. He’s one of a kind, an original. As we say in Ireland, a darling man. I salute Love Is Murder’s excellent taste in honoring him.
And if you need someone for a caper, Shane is your man.
Gayle Lynds is the New York Times bestselling author of THE BOOK OF SPIES and other works. With David Morrell, she founded International Thriller Writers.