Pulitzer winner makes switch to fiction

Writer Lou Kilzer, now living in Costa Rica, says a publisher once gave him a simple but unfading piece of advice: Write about what you know. As a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who spent more than 30 years as an investigative reporter and wrote a pair of revealing World War II books, Kilzer’s well of knowledge runs deep.

In combining his lifetime’s worth of knowledge with a creative imagination, he managed to make the mystery thriller “Fatal Redemption,” which he co-authored with business consultant Mark Boyden.

The recently published novel follows protagonist Sally Will, a young reporter for the Chicago Tribune, in her quest to uncover the true identity of one Mr. Wood, an ordinary man on the surface who carries the secret desire of becoming the world’s greatest hit man.

This twisted ambition takes him along a trail of blood that runs through federal witnesses, mob bosses, and even reaches the White House where the president of the United States has his life in danger. Sally and her lover, Lou Elliot, a tough former FBI agent, take it upon themselves to unmask the crazed antagonist and put an end to his mad streak.

“Once you fall in love with the characters, you hope your readers will fall in love with them, too,” Kilzer said.

After finishing an initial draft of the mystery thriller six years ago, Kilzer said he had to thoroughly edit it to keep it up to date with fast-changing technology, among other modernizations. The author, who lives in Escazú, has also penned two history books in “Churchill’s Deception: The Dark Secret That Destroyed Nazi Germany” and “Hitler’s Traitor: Martin Bormann and the Defeat of the Reich”.

In his transition from a storied career in non-fiction to a new frontier with “Fatal Redemption,” Kilzer warned that this newfound freedom of imagination can be a challenge for writers of journalism or history. “What you initially find as liberating can actually be dangerous,” he said, pointing to a trap that first-time fiction writers can often fall into with distracted or meaningless passages.

Kilzer said he is already 36,000 words into the sequel, which he estimated to be about a third of the way towards completion. He recently joined A.M. Costa Rica as an editorial consultant.

Lou Kilzer

Lou Kilzer

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