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For the time being at least, the days of full-time lawyering are behind Douglas E. Winter, and the author of “Run” and several works of nonfiction couldn’t be happier about it. “I have not yet written a book with the benefit of being able to write every day,” says Winter, who retired as a partner at the D.C. office of Bryan Cave effective Jan. 1, 2000, although he remains with the firm as of counsel. He is at a point in his life where he wants to make writing his career, having dedicated many years to his air disaster litigation practice, defending manufacturers in some of the nation’s major air crashes, including Northwest Airlines Flight 255, which went down near Detroit in 1987. So Winter has traded in his Bryan Cave office for one in his Oakton, Va., home. “It’s a completely different orientation,” says Winter of working at home. “I get up, and write full days. I take a lot fewer telephone calls and have more time to think. It’s an interesting way to spend one’s time. I’ve never liked the social element of office life. And not having a commute is tremendous for productivity.” Winter is multitasking at the moment. He is making final revisions on a nonfiction book, a study of science fiction writer and film director Clive Barker, as well as working on a new novel. Hesitant to talk about his work in progress, Winter will say only that, like “Run,” it is “a dark thriller.” He explains that it is “a book that tries to do something a little different with a popular genre.” And, again like “Run,” it will be an attempt “to understand and explicate dark and violent urges.” When asked which writers he most admires, Winter mentions Joseph Conrad, George V. Higgins, and a trio of crime novelists from the 1950s — Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis. Goodis, whose novels include “Dark Passage” and “Down There,” best known as the source of Fran�ois Truffaut’s film “Shoot the Piano Player,” is a special favorite. “His books were darker, about people who were bruised,” he says. “So brief and passionate … they were what crime fiction is about.” Winter admits that he models his own writing after these noir novels: “When I wrote ‘Run,’ I was generally interested in creating a thriller with a twist and a unique style.” While “Run” is by and large a product of his imagination, Winter says that achieving verisimilitude demanded that he go outside his head. To get a better understanding of weaponry and criminal folkways, Winter relied on a number of law enforcement types. “There was an endless amount of research to be done — talking to people, seeing things, handling things.” Among those he named as offering technical help were Lt. Steven Mason of the Alexandria, Va., Police Department, retired FBI special agent Tom Walczykowski, and Andy Stanford, an expert in personal security. Winter also gave a nod to his son, who is a special agent with the FBI. One thing that would strike even the most casual reader of “Run” is Winter’s apparent depth of knowledge about firearms. Numerous weapons are lavishly described within its pages. Winter confesses that he fired his first handgun at the tender age of nine years old while growing up in Granite City, a community in Southern Illinois close to St. Louis. He and a friend, who had borrowed his father’s pistol without permission, sneaked out to a nearby woods for some clandestine target practice. “We were lucky we didn’t kill ourselves,” Winter muses. And Winter did receive formal training on firearms when he was in the Army, where his final posting was with the Judge Advocate General Corps. Yet Winter professes no affinity for firearms. “Ironically, I don’t own any weapons,” Winter says. “I don’t believe that I have a legitimate reason to own one.”

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