Clues to My Crime: Steve Israel’s BIG GUNS

In “The Clues to My Crime,” authors explain the influences behind their latest works of crime fiction. In this installment, former Congressman Steve Israel tells us about what inspired Big Guns, his latest satirical novel, which targets the firearms industry and the Washington political establishment.


Catch 22, by Joseph Heller (1961)

A satirical novel on the serious topic of the military and war, this masterpiece gave me the courage to apply satire to the serious and timely subject of the gun lobby and Congress’s refusal to stand up to it.


Thank You for Smoking, by Christopher Buckley (1994)

Although this riotous satire about the cigarette lobby captures the mercenary environment of lobbyists and just about everyone in Washington, its genius was also the use of a personal relationship to advance the story. Big Guns lampoons the gun lobby and a cowering Congress, but rests on a tenuous relationship between mother and daughter.


Stormy Weather, by Carl Hiaasen (1995)

Hiaasen’s crime fiction usually features memorable criminal half-wits. In Big Guns, I didn’t want to center the fiction on a policy debate in Washington. I wanted to show the impact of Congress’s failure to reduce gun violence on one small town. Hiaasen’s portrayals helped influence those scenes and I must say one of the best compliments I’ve ever received from a critic was from Ron Charles, who described my last novel as “in the full-tilt style of Carl Hiaasen.”


Gold Coast (1990) and The Gate House (2008), by Nelson DeMille

Nelson is a fellow Long Islander, and I grew up reading him (and I hope that doesn’t date him). Nelson’s ability to capture the essence of Long Island while building suspense is simply masterful.


The Congressional Record (1873 – Present)

Perhaps the most implausible dialogue that has ever appeared on the printed page.'

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1 Comment on "Clues to My Crime: Steve Israel’s BIG GUNS"

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  1.' Pat Rohner says:

    I am very interested in trying to weaken the gun industry and take guns away from children who shoot the students in schools. I will be interested in reading “Big Guns” by Steve Isreal.

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