"Defensive Tactics" by Steve Westover – Review

“Defensive Tactics” proved to me that an “LDS Thriller” can be done right.  It combined elements of a redemptive story in the character of Jimmy, and provided a suspenseful chase as FBI agents try to close in on the corrupt Judge Craven. 

I found the characters both well-drawn and likeable.  Especially enjoyable were the antics and witty banter of Jimmy, who can’t seem to hold down a steady job or take life seriously.   He filled in the details of the characters in quite imaginative ways.  (For example, Jimmy gets fired from a fast food job because he was sneaking meatballs and keeping them in his pockets.  The image made me chuckle)
The well-executed characterization makes it so that you really care about the characters’ plight as they all get entangled in a web of a corrupt judge and his cronies.  I found the plot interesting without becoming confusing. Best of all, it feels like a well-balanced story with a variety of elements of action, romance, suspense, and redemption.  

Paul Stephens has it all–a wonderful job at the FBI, a new girlfriend, and a great apartment. Even when Jimmy, a friend from his past, unexpectedly ends up on his couch, Paul has no worries. But when arresting a corrupt judge puts his girlfriend’s life in danger, Paul and Jimmy will do anything to save her. How far will Paul go to protect the ones he love? Filled with suspense and action, Defensive Tactics shows just how much the bonds of friendship can endure. 

Pick up a copy just in time for the Holidays.  You’ll be glad you did.  

"Defensive Tactics" by Steve Westover – Author Interview

  1. What influenced you to want to become an author? Curiosity. I’ve always enjoyed writing and even took a creative writing class at BYU once, but I had never considered writing a novel. Then one morning a couple of years ago I woke up with three characters in my head and I thought, “That would be a cool book. I wonder if I could do it.” So I started writing as an experiment because I was curious to see if I could write a novel and Defensive Tactics was the result.
  1. In “Defensive Tactics” you talk a lot about the FBI. Do you have any work-related experience with the FBI, or did you have to do any research?
I’m a boring banker so I can relate to Paul’s work in the FBI with financial analysis but that’s it. Wait…I also researched endless hours, watching X-Files, Numbers and thousands of other TV shows throughout my life. Does that count?
  1. Are characters or elements of characters ever inspired by people you know? Is this a good idea?
My wife says she can see a little bit of me in all of my characters but I did not model any character after people I know. My characters are amalgams of characteristics and personalities. I think it’s dangerous to link fictional characters too closely to real people as offense could be taken. Besides, I want to give my character room to breath and grow without chaining him/her to someone I know.
  1. What plans do you have for your writing future? Are there other genres you would like to write in?
Right now I am in the most frustrating part of the writing process—looking for a publisher/agent. I recently finished a youth Fantasy/Adventure called Crater Lake: Battle for Wizard Island. I think the story is a lot of fun, but now I’ve got to convince a publisher.
I’m also working on a second episode with some of the same characters from Defensive Tactics.
  1. What was the hardest part for you of completing a novel?
I’m usually a huge planner. I create checklists and write goals but with Defensive Tactics I just figured out the plot and characters as I went, hoping that things would work out in the end. It was actually a great experience to see how characters come alive and direct the events and outcome of the story. But the hardest part is the patience that is required. Writing…editing…editing…editing…shopping for a publisher…waiting…rejection…resubmit…waiting…waiting…editing…waiting…editing…waiting…then finally it is released and then publicize…publicize…publicize and hope for the best.
  1. What’s the nicest compliment you have ever received about your writing?
A couple of my siblings read the book and were amazed, “Wow, that was like a real book.” They know I’m not much of a reader so they were shocked that I could write. “Yes, it is like a real book.”
  1. How do you combat discouragement when working on such a large project?
Great question…next.
Fine, I’ll answer. I keep the discouragement, criticism and rejection in perspective. I know that some people won’t like my book. I expect that I will experience failure and I consider any success as a gift. If I can internalize these truths, I will be fine and the rejections and criticisms will motivate me to keep trying. I’m confident in who I am and recognize that my value as a person is not tied to my success in writing.
  1. If you could meet any other author, living or dead, who would it be?
Honestly I don’t read much, therefore I don’t really have a favorite. Reading has always been a challenge for me because I read so slowly but I’m thrilled others can pick up my reading slack.
But if I could meet 1 author I think I would choose Hitler so I could smack him around a bit.
  1. Is there anything you would like to say to your adoring fans?
Absolutely—Defensive Tactics makes a great Christmas gift. Its shameless I know, but true. Honestly, I am thrilled that people read my book and enjoy it. It is an amazing feeling. Thank you!
Thanks Steve!  You can visit Steve online at http://stevewestover.com/Home.html.  My book review of Defensive Tactics will be posted in a few days.