So this is a question I get a lot: why would anyone set a crime thriller in Alaska? Of all places, right? Well, there are a couple reasons…
The first is easy: I used to live there. Just as The Broadcast takes place in my backyard of Indiana, Family Ties takes place in a locale I know well. I spent most of high school and my first year of college in a small town just outside of Anchorage. Just like Indiana, Alaska played a huge part in my life and is still the place I think of as “home.” There’s an old saying that authors should “write what they know.” Well, other than worlds of my own creation, I’ve never known a setting better than the two used in these first books with NBM.
Beyond that, Alaska is a great location for any story. But it’s particularly good for crime. Sound crazy? Well, stay with me. You see, the sixties in Alaska were a wild time. The closest thing to the Wild West since… well… since the Wild West. The oil boom brought people to Alaska in droves. They were promised a good living, and that’s exactly what a lot of them got. The city’s population exploded with hardworking men and women who suddenly had money to spend. But here’s the rub — unless you’re an avid outdoorsman, there isn’t a lot to do in Alaska, especially come winter. Luckily, criminals were there fill the void. Gambling, prostitution, drugs — they were all prevalent in those boom years. In fact, there’s a great non-fiction book called Johnny’s Girl by Kim Rich that details the Anchorage underworld in the 1960s that I can’t recommend enough.
Now, Family Ties doesn’t take place in the 60s. Instead, it’s about a man who prospered in those years but struggles to find his way now that he’s behind the times and “Alaska went and got herself civilized.” But that doesn’t mean the location doesn’t play a vital role. In most good crime stories, the location becomes a character itself. Think about The Sopranos? Can you imagine that story unfolding anywhere but Jersey? What about the great crime movies Ben Affleck has directed over the last few years? Do any of those work outside of Boston? When you watch a movie like Untouchables you actually feel like you’re living in Chicago for those two hours. Hopefully, that’s what will happen as you read Family Ties. Hopefully you’ll put the book down and feel like Family Ties couldn’t have taken place anywhere else. Hopefully you’ll feel like you’ve been there…
About the book:
By Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon
Hoping to secure a future for his children, an aging Alaskan crime boss looks to retire and divide his empire amongst his three heirs. But when his idealistic son refuses the inheritance, the old man disowns him. This turns out to be a fatal mistake when he sees his cold-blooded daughters use their new-found power and influence against him. Inspired by the classic play KING LEAR, THE GODFATHER meets Shakespearean tragedy in this epic tale of betrayal and loss.