When I started Payback, I wanted to include several elements that I felt would be entertaining for the reader. First, I wanted to present a protagonist who was as close to real life as possible. Someone that the average reader would be able to relate to. My characters, unlike those in many thrillers, do not leap tall buildings in a single bound nor do they rush headlong into dangerous situations. Bruno Pedace has avoided conflict and confrontation his entire life. I wanted the reader to be sympathetic toward Bruno but, at the same time, wanted him to stand up for himself.
The second element I wanted to inject in the story was a strong female character who had overcome a difficult background and who would befriend Bruno. Janet Jenkins is that character. She is a strong, caring individual who becomes an inspiration for Bruno. Bruno and Janet become good friends and, at the end, the reader is left with the hope that they will become more than that.
The third element I put in Payback is an historical connection to the irresponsible behavior of the investment banking community during the Capital Markets Meltdown that occurred in 2007-2009. I wanted the reader to understand how the economic upheaval that affected almost everyone came about, without getting too deeply into the weeds and turning the book into a financial thriller alone. The antagonist in this novel is an investment banker, Sy Rosen, who is a sinister character who will do anything to preserve his power and to grow his wealth.
Payback is a thriller about everyday people who are confronted with evil and must decide how to react. Do they run? Do they stand up and combat evil? There is a common theme that runs through all my books: the triumph of good over evil. Payback is perhaps the penultimate example of that good versus evil battle.