Meet David Rabin – An Author!

Like me and others who I have interviewed, David Rabin is a member of the Black Rose Writing publisher. He is also a crime-thriller writer. David grew up in Chicago, where his book is based. He moved to Atlanta and worked as a trial lawyer for thirty-three years, and is now retired. When he isn’t writing, he spends his time competing in rifle sports, running a competitive shooting program at his club, and writing crime fiction. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

What genre do you write and why?

I write crime thrillers that include aspects of military thrillers. Those are the genres I most enjoy reading, so I gravitate to them as an author. Also, it’s easier to create stakes when there’s violence. A famous revolver shooter, Ed McGivern, once said, “The human target element always stimulates interest.”

What was it that made you decide you had a story to tell and to become an author?

Thirty years ago, an idea for a story popped into my head. I wasn’t even thinking about writing a book. It was just something to think about during idle moments to keep myself entertained. Eventually, the thought occurred to me: I wonder if I could turn this story into a novel. I thought about it every day for the next twenty years and, after I retired, forced myself to sit down and start typing it. My goal wasn’t to become an author; I just wanted to get the story out of my head and onto paper so I wouldn’t be disappointed in myself for never having done so.

Besides writing and telling a good story, do you have any other talents?

I’m not sure I’m talented at anything, but there are two other activities I enjoy and can do better than anything else I do. One is public speaking; I majored in Speech Communication in college and spent a good part of my career doing public speaking in situations where someone stood to gain or lose something, depending on how I performed. The other activity is competitive rifle shooting, in which I’ve shot at paper targets at distances ranging from fifty yards to 1,000 yards.

If you were to name one or two books that you deem unforgettable and that had a major impact on you, what would they be, and why?

Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. The way he creates and manages multiple plot lines and integrates different points of view is just masterful. He’s also a superlative wordsmith. I’d recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn how a thriller should be structured and paced.

Is there something you set out to do, but somehow, it didn’t work out for you? (In writing, or something else you felt was important to you at the time?)

I wanted to be a blues-rock guitarist, not at a professional level, but good enough to play decently. I took lessons for a while but quickly plateaued, and my plateau wasn’t very high.

What tips would you give to new writers?

1. The biggest mistake I made in my author journey was not studying the craft of novel writing before I wrote my first draft. Don’t be me! There’s a lot to writing a novel that’s not apparent from reading them. Take some classes or read some books about the craft. Had I done so before I started, it would have saved me a lot of re-writing.

2. Join a writers’ club, go to conferences and workshops, and develop relationships with other authors.

3. Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of failing. You can’t succeed if you hold yourself back. If you’re like the vast majority of authors, you’ll get a lot of rejections and criticism. Remind yourself it’s par for the course.

How do you handle a negative critique?

If it’s because of poor execution on my part, I learn from it and resolve not to repeat it. If it’s due purely to the reader’s personal preference, I ask myself whether I truly think the book would have been better if I’d done what the reader wanted. If my conclusion is no, I don’t fret over it. Every reader has personal preferences, and there’s nothing the author can do about that. We won’t be able to please all the readers all the time.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent—and thus far only—book is a revenge story called In Danger of Judgment. It begins in 1972 in Vietnam, when the head of a covert operation turns his men over to the enemy and gets them killed. One man swears revenge.

Fast forward fifteen years to 1987 Chicago. Police Detective Marcelle DeSantis and her partner, Bernie Bernardelli, are working a series of heroin-related murders when their job gets more complicated. The man who sabotaged the Vietnam operation, Robert Thornton, is now the chief enforcer for a Southeast Asian heroin cartel, and after fifteen years overseas, he’s arrived in Chicago to eliminate the reigning cartel and seize control of the city’s heroin trade.

Racing to stop a drug war, Marcelle and Bernie don’t realize they’re about to be caught in a deadly crossfire: another man is circling in the wings, one of Thornton’s soldiers from Vietnam, who’s preparing to exact his long-sought revenge against his former mentor. He’s the last person anyone would ever suspect, and when he finally makes his move, the paths of these four people will explosively converge.

How did you come up with the title?

One of the book’s themes is the morality of killing. The title is taken from Matthew 5:21: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.”

From your book, who is your favorite character?

I birthed and raised my characters, and like my real-life children, I love them all equally. But I will add this: if I had a daughter, I’d want her to be Detective Marcelle DeSantis. She’s smart, doesn’t hesitate to use her power and agency, and takes no grief from anyone.

What is the most interesting feedback you’ve received?

One of my characters is a certifiably crazy professional assassin named Ed. The book spends a fair amount of time in his point of view so the reader can see how warped and cold-blooded he is. But I didn’t want Ed to be a cardboard cutout, so I tried to humanize this otherwise inhumane person—he dotes on his lawn, is well-liked by his neighbors in his suburban community, and genuinely loves children. One of my readers—a perfectly normal person, by the way—named Ed as his favorite character. I figured that if I could get a normal person to be enchanted by a psychopathic murderer, I’d done my job as an author.

What do you consider to be your obligations to your readers?

I am obliged to respect the reader. I assume my reader is attentive, patient, and smarter than I am. If I write about a subject matter on which I have no expertise, I’ll research it and consult with experts to make sure I get it right. I’ll leave no plot holes and won’t take easy outs. I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that every scene and the story as a whole are plausible.

For me, this was a fascinating interview. There are some commonalities between David and me. Love of music, being a public speaker, and his feelings about his characters. I also liked how he came up with the title of his book. That particular Bible verse has impacted one of my characters, Brian, from my books.

If you want to follow David, here are his social media links:

David Rabin’s Social Media:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s