Blog #4 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Sorry I missed my last two weekly blogs. Life got in the way.
The Devil is in the Details came about as I reflected on my disaster response duties in my previous career. It is difficult to convey the adrenalin rush of being thrown into a full-blown disaster in any position on a response team. Being a command leader of the total response effort is a super rush. What one learns from succeeding in this environment is monumental. As a person, a worker, a leader and a citizen you are tested to the nth degree. If you are good at it, a clarity in problem solving becomes a part of you. The self-confidence that is produced is immensely valuable. It becomes your currency for all your endeavors for the rest of your life.
There is also a warrior, military or bunker mentality that becomes a part of your persona. And if you are lucky enough to have many bunker-mates that have shared your experiences, you become life-long friends. The knowledge that you can depend on another in the worst of times cannot be duplicated. I cherish those times and what I have learned about myself and others in that setting.
There is always one person that becomes legendary in such times. I have recreated that person, Vic Majeski, as the main character in TDIITD. He's a true cowboy, but not in the sense of working ranches in the old West, but in the sense of his personality. He's fearless and unabashed. He arises as the chief investigator in this fictional U.S. Navy Fuel Supply Depot incident at Craney Island, VA.
His response company is called upon to help the Navy deal with the explosion of one of its many fuel tanks at this terminal and tank farm that fuels the Navy's east coast fleet. They expect it's the typical incident where mechanical failure or human error is the cause. However, the more Vic investigates the more it looks like intentional sabotage.
This type of cause is unchartered territory for Vic and his employer. However, as a disaster investigator you quickly learn to expect the unexpected. Vic follows his nose and intuition on a path the military won't support. It turns out he is the only one on the right path, and it leads to unimagined treachery and skullduggery in high places.
We also learn that Vic's unique personality and looks are very appealing to the women he encounters. He is an unashamed ladies man that, somehow, leaves his lovers happy with their unattached and occasional paramour, no matter the long gaps in their relationship.
In this novel I rely on two styles of story telling that made a huge impression on me as a reader. The authors were Fletcher Knebel and Tom Clancy, and the novels were Seven Days in May and The Hunt for Red October. In SDIM I was captivated by the conspiracy weaving, and in THFRD, it was the use of detail in technology and how it played a role in solving the mystery of the submarine they were tracking. Combined, these two elements dominate the storyline of TDIITD.
Interesting and talented people make life more interesting. Some are capable of unimagined great things. I am drawn to them and their stories. It is my belief they are the one element that makes a good story a great book. And don't think Victor Majeski is too talented to be real. I assure you, there is a living and breathing version of him among us. You might even know him. But there is one catch. You will never know that this big galoot you met is this guy until he decides he can trust you. It is only then that he removes the mask that hides who he really is.
To Vic: This toast is to you. Stay thirsty my friend.
Next week's blog will focus on the lost art of conversation and communication and how they are essential in most novels.