"...determination to confront his own potential for evil as he pursues the evil of others..."
The murder of a motion-picture cameraman in the darkroom of a Houston ad agency, leads Stuart Haydon into an investigation that ultimately brings him face to face with the darkest side of human nature. At the heart of all this is a legendary business magnate, a man as reclusive and mercurial in his business dealings as he is in his personal life, a man who denies himself nothing, not even when it requires everything of someone else. But Houston Homicide Detective Stuart Haydon has his own obsessions as well. His singular determination to confront his own potential for evil as he pursues the evil of others, draws him dangerously close to the brink of emotional breakdown.
"...I was stunned by the irresistible attraction to violence so deeply embedded in human nature."
When I first conceived of the Stuart Haydon novels, I knew nothing about the life of a homicide detective. I hadn't even read any mystery novels. I quickly plunged into a regimen of reading and research, and was fortunate enough to establish a working relationship with the Houston Homicide Division that lasted, off and on, for nearly two decades.
But I wasn't prepared for the intensity of violence I encountered in my research. I was stunned by my initial education in the real world of real homicide, with the grisly textures of the crime scenes, with the sometimes dumfounding complexities of the investigations, and with what I was discovering about the irresistible attraction to violence so deeply embedded in human nature. This novel was intended to explore that universal fascination.
The idea for this story came to me first as a fragment of imagined dialogue in which one character speaks to another about violence, saying that it generates an energy so intense that it was like the "heat from another sun". That bit of dialogue was the spark that set the fire. It wasn't much; but I knew instantly that I had my title, and the thematic framework for my next novel.