Gerald Petievich belongs to that tiny group of writers who came to crime fiction from careers in law enforcement. He has been an Army counterspy and a U.S. Secret Service agent, using his real life experiences to achieve verisimilitude in his fiction. His novels are known to come as close as any in the mystery- and-thriller genre to a genuine realism. Three of his novels have been produced as major motion pictures.
Gerald grew up in a police family. His father and brother were both members of the Los Angeles Police Department. He attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey and later served in Germany as a US Army Counterintelligence Special Agent. As Chief of the Counterespionage Section, Field Office Nuremberg, he received commendations for his work during the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In 1970 he joined the United States Secret Service where as a Special Agent he spent fifteen years engaged in duties relating to the protection of the President and the enforcement of Federal counterfeiting laws. It was during a long-term Secret Service assignment in Paris, France that Petievich discovered the works of Per Wahloo & Maj Sjowall, Graham Greene and John le Carre, and decided to become a writer. Later, while serving in Los Angeles as the US Secret Service representative to the Department of Justice Organized Crime Strike Force, Gerald's schedule consisted of rising at 4 AM to write before going to his government office.
In 1985, Gerald left the Secret Service to pursue his writing career full-time. Gerald's first novel, Money Men, the first of his Charles Carr series of police procedurals, was based on a real-life L.A. case in which an undercover police officer was murdered. This novel and his other police procedural novels belong to the school of inverted detection: that is, the criminals are known to the reader from the beginning, and the suspense lies in how they will be found out and brought to justice. Though some of the detection is of the deductive or scientific types, most of it, just as in real life, involves simple legwork and the use of informants.
Money Men introduces Charles Carr, a 20-year veteran of the Secret Service who is the central character in four Petievich novels. During a stakeout in a Sunset Boulevard motel, Carr and his partner Jack Kelly are listening in as an undercover agent arranges a counterfeit money buy in the next room. But the operation is blown and the agent is killed. After the shooting, Carr swears vengeance on the killer. The villain is Red Diamond, an aging counterfeiter just out of prison who is looking for another score. Carr's girlfriend is court reporter Sally Malone who fails in her every attempt to change Carr into something he isn't. Money Men was adapted into the United Artists motion picture "Boiling Point" starring Wesley Snipes and Dennis Hopper.
Petievich followed up with three other Charles Carr novels, One-shot Deal, The Quality of the Informant and To Die in Beverly Hills.
In One-shot Deal, Carr is six months from his 25-year retirement when he is assigned to hunt down Larry Phillips, a dangerous psychopath who plans to counterfeit millions of dollars in Treasury securities.
In Petievich's third novel, To Die in Beverly Hills, Charles Carr is back in Southern California. At the center of the story is one of the author's most interesting villains, the devious and untrustworthy Beverly Hills detective Travis Bailey. Bailey is at the center of a burglary ring victimizing the stars. Carr goes after Bailey, cop against cop.
In Petievich's novel The Quality of the Informant the story begins in a seedy a Hollywood bar, where villain Paul La Monica is discussing a cocaine deal with a movieland hair stylist known as "the dope pusher to the stars." The informant in the case, cocktail waitress Linda Gleason, provides the information to apprehend La Monica. But he escapes and kills her, setting Agent Carr on a trail of revenge.
In To Live and Die in L.A. Petievich departs from of the Charles Carr series to write a mainstream thriller concerning Secret Service agent Richard Chance and his quest to destroy a vicious killer. In this novel the morals of the "good guys" wind up as much in question as much as those of the villain.
To Live and Die in L.A. was the basis for the 1984 MGM motion picture of the same name, starring Willem Dafoe and William Peterson, who currently plays the lead in the number one rated CBS TV show "C.S.I." To Live and Die in L.A, has become a classic Film Noir and is a popular topic in film classes.
Petievich’s L.A. crime thriller, Earth Angels, was based on his hands-on research with the Los Angeles Police Department's newly formed specialized gang detail. The novel ironically mirrors the now infamous LAPD Rampart Division scandal, but was written more than ten years earlier.
Petievich’s next novel, Shakedown, was based on an idea that came to him while he was a U.S. Secret Service agent working on a long-term undercover operation involving the theft of government bonds. Petievich said: "I ended up in Hollywood being introduced to one of the most fascinating men I have ever met: a professional blackmailer who had spent years impersonating cops in order to extort movie stars. After I returned home, I sat up half the night making notes on what he had told me."
Gerald's novel, Paramour also had a non-fiction background. Written years before the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the novel was loosely grounded on a case Petievich actually investigated involving a mysterious woman who was involved with a high-ranking White House VIP.
Petievich's latest novel, “The Sentinel” is a political thriller that involves a White House Secret Service bodyguard and a beguiling woman with whom he is having a torrid affair: the First Lady. Critics consider sentinel to be Petievich’s most compelling novel to date. The motion picture based on it starred Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland and was a 2005 box-office success.
Gerald lives in Los Angeles with his wife Pam, a gourmet cook who trained at Paris' Cordon Bleu Cooking School. They have a daughter, Emma.
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A White House Secret Service agent has been blown away by a masked gunman. A neo-Nazi group has taken credit, but Special Agent Pete Garrison fears it's more than a warning shot delivered by extremists. An informant claims the group has one of its own in the W.H. A blackmailer has photos of Garrison in an affair with the First Lady, evidence that gives Garrison the perfect motive for murder.
The Quality of the Informant
T-Man Charles Carr depends heavily on informants in his pursuit of pushers, passers and makers of counterfeit "paper." Informants are as much a part of the seamy, violent L.A. underworld as are the crooks they inform on, and they are crucial to Carr's effort to track down Paul LaMonica, a smooth thug whose skill at manufacturing paper is matched by his murderous amorality, from L.A. to Mexico.
Charlie Carr is Petievich's brilliant creation - a bullish Treasury Agent in the street-smart sad-eyed tradition of Raymond Chandler. Carr rips the lid off an intricate scheme to print ten million in US Treasury notes on stolen government security paper - a scam that begins in the inner sanctum of the US Mint and ends in a pool of blood beneath the smoking barrel of Carr's .357 magnum
A suicide is discovered in a top-secret White House file room. Secret Service agent Jack Powers is assigned to keep the brewing crisis from the press. But death is just the tip of the iceberg--espionage is suspected of a beautiful woman who may be the President's mistress. Suddenly, Powers finds himself trapped in a labyrinth of deceit, murder and betrayal that can destroy him at any minute.
To Die in Beverly Hills
Treasury Agents Charlie Carr and Jack Kelly, investigating a counterfeiting ring, are tipped off by Det Travis Bailey of the LA police a cool, ruthless cop with some strange tastes in sex and women who warns them of a plot to murder their prime witness.
They become involved in a phony stake out and Kelly is seriously wounded. Deeply suspicious, Carr is determined to avenge his partner's murder.
To Live and Die in L.A.
Two U.S. Treasury agents, partners and antagonists, are drawn into a matrix of violence and corruption, southern California-style, that becomes a journey through a sunlit hell - at the end of which they become experts on the thin line between what it takes to live - and die - in L.A.
Detective Sergeant Jose Stepanovich and his elite tactical team were the toughest cops in the Los Angeles police force, handed the toughest jobs, like going up against the city's most vicious criminal element - the street gangs of East L.A. But somewhere along the lines the cops broke a few rules, turning a job into a personal vendetta, and suddenly it wasn't only the gangs they were fighting.
Charlie Carr is a ruthless T-man and hard nosed detective in the gutsy, no-nonesense tradition of Hammett and Chandler. Carr is hot on the trail of two thugs who have gunned down a young under cover agent - a torturous trail that will lead from the smoke-filled hangouts of sordid Chinatown, to a brutal blood drenched confrontation in a penthouse overlooing the streets of LA's seamy underworld.
Shakedown explores the sinister underworld of Las Vegas, where prostitutes, informers, hitmen and hustlers mix in the neon glare. The story is told from the point of view of both a con-man/shakedown artist and an FBI agent intent on putting away a mob kingpin whose path both characters cross. Petievich, a former secret service agent, brings the genuine, gritty authority of an insider.
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