We are busy preparing for our fall release of White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume. This "hard-boiled African" detective story comes from a writer with a particularly interesting background. He's won multiple awards for his crime fiction and, as a former law enforcement officer, knows his stuff. He's a bit about who he is.
Laurent Guillaume was no ordinary cop, just like he is no ordinary writer. At school, he read more than he studied, and after getting a Master’s degree in law, he served under France’s flag. Once he finished his military service, he went to the police academy and graduated a lieutenant. Driven by a need for action and adrenaline rushes, he signed up to work in the projects on the outskirts of Paris, where he headed up an urban crime unit. The unit’s logo was a bat and the men called Batmen. They worked nights, in direct contact with dealers and drug addicts, thieves and vandals, traffickers and the down-and-out. Quickly recognized, he was a clever cop, respected by his men, who did what he had to do to get the job done, staying within the confines of the law. But soon the night and its shark-infested waters invaded his personal space, leaving his private life in chaos.
After further training, his excellent physical and organizational skills led him abroad, on missions of international cooperation in Chad and North Africa. In France, he returned to his home region of Annecy for a calmer job. There, he discovered crime fiction and devoured the founding fathers—Hammet, Chandler and Himes—and the contemporary masters—Block, Connely and Lehane.
Bored with his sleepy job, he returned to the streets with the drug squad, and after three years got antsy for something new. He signed up for a position in international police cooperation in Mali, a country that is key to France in West Africa. An advisor to Malian police, particularly on drug trafficking issues, that his where he started writing—a historical novel at first, until the crime fiction demon grabbed him by the collar—two novels, two literary prizes and TV rights sold right off the bat. Guillaume returned to France to work financial crimes in Annecy, where he hung on for a year and a half before leaving behind the red tape, judges and lawyers in 2013, when he started writing full time.