Finding a place

Author Andrew Grant flips through his newest novel, “False Witness,” Wednesday morning at his home on Fish Creek Ranch Preserve.

The latest thriller from author Andrew Grant, who recently moved to Laramie from Chicago, is in stores this week.

“False Witness,” published by Ballantine Books, is the third installment in a series that follows police detective Cooper Deveraux.

Grant said he was inspired by the work of FBI profilers and criminal psychologists in crafting the plot for his seventh novel, which features intersecting storylines and a hero trying to make sense of a bizarre series of murders.

He described Cooper Deveraux as a man at the top of his profession.

“He’s completely dedicated, and he will do whatever it takes to get the job done,” Grant said. “But sometimes that means things that his bosses don’t like and may stray into gray areas of what’s legal.”

The previous two books in the series have presented Deveraux with revelations from his past that have left him reeling. In “False Witness,” he’s also working to balance his professional life with a new personal dimension that includes a girlfriend and daughter.

“He’s a fish out of water when it comes to this new domestic life, and he’s doing his best,” Grant said. “It’s a fun contrast.”

The series is set in Birmingham, Alabama, which Grant said provides a mix of big city scenery and nearby rural locales that intrigued him during a visit several years ago. He remembered the setting when it came to creating a home for the Deveraux series.

Coincidentally, Grant is himself a Birmingham native, just not the same one. He grew up in Birmingham, England, and described himself as someone who’s always loved to tell stories even though he never dreamed he’d be a novelist.

“When I was late with homework, I could always think of some crazy excuse for not having done it,” he said.

During college, he discovered a love for theater, and he joined with several friends to start a theater company after graduating. They produced their own work, which they took to several festivals and on a national tour.

“We ended up achieving everything we set out to achieve,” he said.

Despite their critical success, the effort folded after a couple years because of financial reasons and Grant went searching for a “regular” job. He spent the next 15 years working in the telecommunications industry.

“I got sucked in,” he said.

During a career that required lots of travel, Grant put his love of live theater to the side and began reading more, gravitating towards thrillers and mysteries. Soon he found himself imagining the choices he would make if he were the author.

“Once you start thinking in those terms, then you’re doomed, because it becomes an itch that you just have to scratch,” he said.

After accepting a severance package to leave his job, he spent a year writing his first novel, “Even,” which was published by Macmillan in 2009.

“I had a lot of fun,” he said.

While attending an industry conference in Baltimore, Maryland, he met author Tasha Alexander, whom he later married. They lived in Chicago until last spring, when they moved to a ranch south of Laramie near Tie Siding.

The decision to move to Laramie happened during a road trip through the West in 2016 with Alexander.

“When we got here, that was it,” Grant said.

Alexander said they didn’t hesitate to make the move.

“Within 24 hours of getting into Laramie, he turned to me and said, ‘Can we live here?’” she said.

While living in England, Grant said, he’d never imagined living in a place like Laramie because he’d never imagined there were such places. The United Kingdom is slightly smaller than Wyoming with a population of more than 65 million people.

“When you look at the sky, the mountains — there is just nothing like it,” he said.

Grant said he enjoys writing without the soundtrack of car horns, car alarms, emergency sirens and motorcycles, among the other distractions of urban living.

I feel like I’ve found my place,” he said.

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