Video: Roger Hobbs Explores the Criminal Underworld for Ghostman

Weekly Lizard

Unlike the novel’s protagonist, the expert lingo and criminal expertise that fills every page of smash hit Ghostman didn’t come from out of nowhere. It took author Roger Hobbs a great deal of digging into seedy underbellies to create his mysterious antihero and the immersive, richly detailed atmosphere of his dark, bestselling first thriller. And what he learned surprised him.

“I found a man who would steal for hire,” Hobbs says with a grin. “A bespoke thief.”

Hobbs’s brushes with criminality informed the writing of Ghostman, which follows a mysterious, chameleonic fixer as he’s sucked into the challenge of a lifetime: scouring Atlantic City for the $1.2 million prize from a heist gone wrong while also eluding the law enforcement operatives and double-crossing, murderous crime bosses on his tail. Oh, and do it all in 48 hours. Clock’s ticking.

Hobbs unearthed a treasure trove of criminal minutiae—from the weapons preferred by heisters to the way the Federal Government tracks stolen casino money—that imbues Ghostman with an authenticity that sets it apart from its crime genre peers. And, as Hobbs can attest, he traveled to some rather unsavory destinations to do so:

Of course, more traditional academic research also played a role in the writing of Ghostman. Hobbs has nurtured a longtime fascination with film noir, which inspired the book’s crackerjack dialogue:

To learn more about the shadowy origins of Ghostman, watch more of our fascinating interview with Roger Hobbs.