Jeffrey B. Burton was born in Long Beach, California, but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received a BA in journalism at the University of Minnesota. Jeff was delighted to be one of the winners in ThrillerFest X’s 2015 Best First Sentence Contest in New York City with a winning entry of: Alison chewed through relationships like a teething puppy.
Jeff is an active member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Horror Writers Association.
THE LYNCHPIN (MP Publishing, spring 2015) is the second novel in Jeffrey B. Burton’s Agent Drew Cady mystery series. Its predecessor, THE CHESSMAN, came out in 2012 to some excellent reviews, including a starred one in Publishers Weekly, and went on to sell to Random House in Germany as well as to other publishers in The Netherlands, Turkey, and the U.K.
THE LYNCHPIN begins with Agent Cady having waved goodbye to Washington, D.C., and ten-plus years of chasing violent felons for the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. He’s moved to Minnesota to be with his fiancée, and now works on the FBI’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Life could not be better. However, Cady’s tranquility is short-lived. He is ordered to help the local authorities investigate the murder of a young woman whose body was pulled from Lake Superior, then his workload doubles when his former boss kills a fellow agent and stands accused of being a spy. Cady’s plans of living the dream dissolve into a nest of killings and foreign intrigue.
Where do you get your ideas?
If an idea occurs to me, I’ll jot it down on a piece of scratch paper and toss it in my idea drawer. Then I’ll let the idea ferment for awhile to frame the rest of the elements of the story. For example, a few years back I’d jotted down “serial killer in hot pursuit of his own copycat.” Originally, it was going to be a short story, something along the lines of Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, where the killer has trapped his copycat and, whilst exacting revenge, explains exactly why his captor should never have insulted him by stealing his M.O. But the story kept getting longer and longer, and eventually it grew into THE CHESSMAN.
Please tell us about your writing process
I’m a bit of a binge writer where, if I get in the zone, twelve hours fly past and I have to remind myself to let the dogs out. Sometimes this goes on for days, which is a good thing as I’m able to make huge strides. And the dogs have for the most part been good—only a few messes.
In terms of working with editors, I’ve had the great privilege of having Ed Stackler edit both THE CHESSMAN and THE LYNCHPIN. Ed edits all of Greg Iles’ novels and his insight is invaluable. Both times Ed provided copious feedback, and, after calling the dogs a few less-than-hospitable names, I rolled up my sleeves and wound up incorporating all of Ed’s edits, which made the books much better.