Daniel Silva Discusses Newest Novel at JCC


Gabriel Allon — the Israeli secret agent, art restorer and protagonist in more than a dozen thriller novels — is back.

In Daniel Silva’s books, Allon’s adventures have taken him across the globe to deal with terrorists, spies and a multitude of other antagonists. In his latest novel, The Other Woman, Allon searches for a Russian mole embedded somewhere inside Western intelligence and faces off against the Russians in an epic showdown.

Daniel Silva | Photo provided

As part of his book tour for The Other Woman, Silva will speak at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, N.J., on July 18, just a day after the book goes on sale.

“I just have a warm and loyal following there,” Silva said in a phone interview. “It’s a place that I look forward to going back to. I really do enjoy being at a JCC or a Jewish facility when I’m on a book tour. It just feels like family, like home, and I’m really looking forward to coming back.”

Tickets to the event, which include a book, are $30 for JCC members and $35 for guests. There are also a limited number of VIP tickets, $60 for members and $65 for guests, for a meet-and-greet reception with Silva, which also include a book.

This is Silva’s fourth time speaking at the Katz JCC. He has come before in 2011, 2013 and 2015 for Portrait of a Spy, The English Girl and The English Spy, respectively.

“Fans love Daniel Silva,” Katz JCC Cultural Director Sabrina Spector said. “They will come literally from Washington, D.C., just to see him. He is the most popular murder mystery writer out there. His fanbase will drive hours just to hear him talk. He’s an exceptional speaker. To be in the room with him, the writing process, the genius behind him, he’s just remarkable.”

Spector said that, based on the previous occasions, she expects the conversation to address current events, which Silva’s books often touch upon.

“He doesn’t pitch himself as a political expert,” Spector said. “He’s just very well-versed. He does a lot of research for his books, but he talks about what’s going on on the other side of the world that impacts us. He talks about why some of the politicians think one way or the other.”

Silva has written more than 20 books since 1997, but started his career in journalism. He worked for United Press International in San Francisco, at the foreign desk in Washington, and in Cairo and the Persian Gulf as a Middle East correspondent. He also worked for CNN as the executive producer for its talk show unit but left after the publication of his first novel, The Unlikely Spy.

In The Other Woman, Russia’s world role serves as a theme, so Spector said there’s a good chance that will come up as a topic.

“I’m fascinated by the new Russia and Vladimir Putin,” Silva said. “Needless to say, I view him as a malevolent force in the world and not a friend to the United States. And as we have seen very recently, his intelligence services are very active, and they were active in our last presidential election. They have a very clear mission, and that mission is to weaken the West, weaken NATO, so that Russia can pursue its goals and its ambitions. That’s ultimately what the book is about.”

Silva, Spector said, usually likes to be interviewed. For this event, Spector requested that his wife, CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel, do the interview, having seen several videos of her interviewing him.

“The two of them have such a great rapport,” Spector said. “It will be interesting to really see how the dialogue goes.”

Besides current events, Silva said audiences often like to hear about his writing process. He said he famously writes in longhand and doesn’t outline his novels.

For The Other Woman, he said he used a different technique to write about the titular character, who makes this novel stand out from his others.

“We meet [this character] through an interesting sort of trick that I played on myself as a writer, where I started writing about a character that even I didn’t know everything about,” Silva said. “I won’t say anything more than that because it involves some spoilers for the plot, but I will say that what I like most about this book were a couple of chapters I wrote concerning the ‘Other Woman’ herself, and the technique that I used to write those chapters was quite different. Even I did not know everything that had transpired.  In fact, at the time I wrote them, I didn’t even know the character’s real name.”

szighelboim@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0729


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