Next January will be a busy month in the life of prolific author Dan Greenburg with the release of his latest novel, a psychological thriller called Fear Itself, accompanied by the republishing of his previous two bestselling thrillers, Exes and Love Kills.
To research these books, Greenburg spent more than two years riding with New York City homicide cops, accompanying them to crime scenes, autopsies, lineups, interrogations, and on high speed car chases. He even participated in the capture of armed killers and once drove a patrol car with a perp and his arresting officer back to the police station.
He also spent time with the FBI profiling unit in Quantico, Virginia, and weeks in maximum security prisons in Vermont and California, interviewing violent inmates alone in their cells. One prisoner confided to Greenburg that it would be quite easy to kill him, but it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
Greenburg is the author of the humor books How to be a Jewish Mother, How to Make Yourself Miserable, and How to Avoid Love and Marriage. Several million copies of How to Be a Jewish Mother have been sold and the book is listed on Publishers Weekly's list of all-time bestsellers.
His other writing achievements include:
Movies: Six of his screenplays were produced as films; two are on Variety's list of all-time top grossers. The Guardian, a 1990 film, is based on his horror novel The Nanny.
Plays: Along with Jules Feiffer, John Lennon and Samuel Beckett, Greenburg was a co-author of Oh! Calcutta!, a Broadway play that ran for more than 21 years. He was also a contributor to Free to be...You and Me, which ran on and off-Broadway for many years.
Magazines: Greenburg’s nearly 125 articles have appeared in many national publications including The New Yorker, Esquire, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Time, Life and Newsweek, and were reprinted in 44 anthologies of humor in the U.S. and England.
Greenburg talks nervously about his adventures:
- While swimming in the deep ocean with 80,000 pound humpback whales and their calves, he got too close to a mother whale and narrowly escaped being whacked by her 15-foot-wide tail.
- At a wild animal ranch in Texas he walked tigers and lions on leashes and learned to discipline them by saying NO! and smacking them on the nose.
- Greenburg investigated a Connecticut home that was under poltergeist attack, searched for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, and took part in voodoo ceremonies in Haiti where people on all sides of him were handling hot coals, swallowing broken glass, and biting the heads off pigeons.
- He flew upside down over the Pacific with a stunt pilot in an open-cockpit bi-plane.
- He spent four months with New York City firemen, ended up following them into burning buildings and overcame a lifelong fear of fire.
- He also overcame a fear of public speaking, did a week-long run as a stand-up comedian at the New York Improv comedy club.
- Greenburg acted in several movies and had ten speaking scenes in "Doc," a 1971 Western about Doc Holiday filmed in Spain—starring Faye Dunaway and Stacy Keach.
He was born in Chicago, received a BFA degree from the University of Illinois and an MFA degree from UCLA. With his wife Judith Greenburg, author of Andrew Lost, an 18-volume series of children’s books, he lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, and in British Columbia. The Greenburgs have many cats.
Fear Itself is Greenburg’s 73rd book and the third volume in a series about NYPD Detective Max Segal. In this story Max tracks a diabolical serial killer who seduces phobic women into the areas of their greatest fears and then literally scares them to death.
Fear Itself is being published by Thomas & Mercer, and is available on Amazon.com. The release date for the book is January 21, 2014