“For Love and Crime” an interview with author David Corbett

david corbett The first word that comes to my mind to describe David Corbett is, “depth.” That shows through in his writing and in the man himself.

A reader will get the sense from his descriptions of complex characters in his three crime drama novels, The Devil’s Redhead, Done for a Dime, and Blood of Paradise, that he isn’t just telling stories ─ somehow he knows that the gradations between what makes a human being a law-abiding citizen, a convict, or a villain, can be very thin.

And know that, he does. Because for a decade and a half, Mr. Corbett worked for a private investigative firm, taking part in many drug, murder, and fraud litigations, including The Cotton Club Murder Case, The People’s Temple Trial, the first Michael Jackson child molestation case, and a RICO civil litigation brought by the Teamsters against former union leaders associated with organized crime.

One would think that having slogged about in the muck of the crime world for fifteen years, in the same way the characters in his novels slog about in assorted crack dealings, arsons, assassinations and gruesome murders throughout Las Vegas, El Salvador, San Francisco and more, should have made David cold and cynical. But it hasn’t. Mr. Corbett, in his writing, let’s us know that all of us are capable of committing crime, but he is keenly aware of what qualities it takes inside us to ignore those urges, or to fulfill them.

Nonetheless, he writes with a unexpected caring about the misguided, the foolhardy, and the self-destructive. And because he is so clearly concerned for them, his readers are, too.

When interviewing David Corbett, after having met him at a Mystery Writers Conference at Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, I thought that perhaps his depth of character grew off the fact that he was one half of the whole of a very poignant love story. David’s wife, Terri, died of ovarian cancer only a little more than a month after his first novel was sold.

Of her, David wrote:

“[My first novel] The Devil’s Redhead would not exist if not for Terri’s continuous devotion, encouragement, editorial advice and technical assistance. The sight of her bundled up in our lamp-lit bed, surrounded by the dogs as she pored through the manuscript, making her notations—I’ll treasure that memory long after any praise the book garners fades away. Her ear for pacing, her contempt for pretense, her big strong heart, her constant reminders to, “tell the love story”… they resonate on every page. It feels like a curse, the fact that the book now has a place in this world, but she does not.”

Naturally, David dedicated The Devil’s Redhead to Terri. But, he’s done more than that for his wife—he has immortalized her in his essay of her life, Cesidia and in the love story of wildcat smuggler, Dan Abatangelo and his redhead, Shel Beaudry, a woman who, to my mind, bears a remarkable resemblance, in many ways, to the very complex and compassionate woman who was David’s beloved wife, Cesidia Therese “Terri” Tessicini.

Having never been an avid reader of ‘crime drama,’ I read The Devil’s Redhead to prepare for this interview. But when I was through with that, I picked up Done for a Dime and Blood of Paradise, and read both of those, as well. I recommend all three.

David’s fun to talk, too. Trust me, baby, it’s not going feel like you’re in for ‘a hard ten,’ when you listen to the author of The Devil’s Redhead, get interviewed by me, “The Italian Brunette.”

…You know how to listen to a podcast, don’t you? You just put your finger on that mouse and click.


More on David Corbett



David’s Guest Writer’s Page


Guest Writer, David Corbett, on Harlots’ Sauce Radio


Articles Written by David


The Fortieth Day, then The Forty-First

Excerpts from the Author’s Note on Blood of Paradise




Last 5 posts by Patricia Volonakis Davis

Last 5 posts by Patricia Volonakis Davis