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Old Pueblo is setting for tale of murder

Book reviews by Larry Cox


Tucson Citizen

Louise Ure wrote her first novel on a dare.

Speaking from her home in San Francisco, the Shamus Award-winning
author says she vividly recalls a conversation she had with a friend
that changed the direction of her life.

“We were just casually talking when suddenly she asked that if it
all ended tomorrow, what would I regret most,” Ure says. “My immediate
response was that I had not written a book, and she then challenged me
to do it.”

A short time later while visiting a nursery, Ure saw a tag on a
plant that said “Forcing Amaryllis,” and thought that it would be a
perfect title for a novel. Within a week, she had started writing what
would become her first book.

Ure points out that in each of her three novels, “Forcing
Amaryllis,” “The Fault Tree,” and “Liars Anonymous,” the titles always
came first. After picking a title, the more difficult work of
constructing a plot then followed.

The Tucson native, who is now based in the Bay Area, returns to the
Old Pueblo for the setting of her latest novel, where readers will
experience such regional delights as shopping at El Con Mall, sampling
the fine dining experience of Denny’s on Speedway, and knocking down a
few cool ones at some of the more colorful biker bars of Nogales.

The idea for “Liars Anonymous” (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $13.95
softbound, release date: April 14, 2009) came about while watching
television one evening with her husband.

“During an On-Star commercial, I turned to my husband and wondered
out loud how many dead people roadside assistant operators have tried
to communicate with following a bad wreck or emergency. And the more I
thought about it, the more intrigued I became,” she says.

At the center of her new novel is Jessie Dancing, an operator
working in Phoenix, who late one night is connected to a signal from a
motor vehicle somewhere in Tucson. Through the static, she is convinced
she hears a murder in progress.

“What makes this novel work so well is that we all know people like
Jessie, a hardworking woman just trying to sort out her life and
survive,” Ure says.

Her new book, like the previous two, took about five months to complete.

“I consider myself fairly disciplined and try to write at least a
thousands words each day,” she says. The final draft of a book, she
adds, requires at least seven or eight major drafts and numerous

Ure is often asked if she bases any of her characters on people she knows.

“Everyone I write about is fictional, even though occasionally one
of my characters will share a trait or tic with someone I actually
know,” she says. She cites as an example a character in “Liars
Anonymous” with teeth that click and clack as she speaks. Although she
knows someone with that trait, Ure points out that is where any
similarity ends.

Even though “Liars Anonymous” will not be in bookstores until
April, Ure is already at work on a fourth novel, “Doing Hadley Time.”

“My new story is about a man in his 70s, with no family, no money,
and no prospects, but sets out nevertheless to kill the most evil
person on Earth,” she says. He wants to commit this murder, she
continues, so he can then surrender to authorities and let the state
care of him for the time he has left.

Ure visits Tucson as often as possible and has dozens of family
members scattered throughout the area. Visiting the Old Pueblo, she
says, keeps her centered.

“I have a deep affection for southern Arizona since this is where my family has lived for at least three generations.”

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