Thursday, October 2, 2008


"While the nation’s attention is focused on a provocative presidential race, Dr. Alexandra Blake investigates the unexplained death of a DEA agent on a Mob stakeout. Within hours, similar deaths occur throughout the Southwest. Is it a naturally occurring epidemic—or has a lethal bioweapon been released in the United States?"
Lori Andrews on IMMUNITY

HANK: Yeah, Lori knows all the most cutting edge scientific stuff. She's advised presidents. Written internationally acclaimed treatises on the most lethal and dangerous weapons and disease-causing agents the world has ever known. But she knows there's one pressing question that often defies even the most brilliant mind: What do I wear?

by Lori Andrews

The man who is about to teach me to shoot calls to say, "Wear something casual. You’ll get gunpowder all over you."

With my closet full of lawyer suits, this request is tougher than it seems. I choose a pair of hand-me-down jeans (hand-me-up?) from my younger sister and, at the back of a shelf, find a T-shirt from a documentary filmmaker friend. This black sleeveless body-hugger touts the hip-hop movie, "Death of a Dynasty" by Rock-A-Fella Films. Nah, I think, the guys at the range won’t find this amusing.

I choose instead the "Mystery Chix and Private Dix" T-shirt that Hank Phillippi Ryan created for our mystery writers group. ((Hank says: well, it actually my graphic designer, Bonnie Katz. My role was to say "Yes, that looks nice." Okay, Lori, back to you.))

Finding sensible shoes – flats – is the next problem.
Not sure what to expect, I enter the gun shop, where I can get a deal on everything from the type of gun Sean Connery used as James Bond to the ones that cops strap around their ankles as back up. Despite the sunny summer weather, there’s a line for the 10-lane indoor range.

My friend and I lean against a counter in a waiting room that smells of acrid powder and shakes with an unbelievably loud sound each time someone opens the door to the range. The place looks like the back room of an Italian restaurant in a Mob movie. But at the long table, instead of passing around a plate of cannoli or dividing up the take from the numbers racket, older men are passing around guns, admiring each other’s scopes. Though none of the men are Italian, they are all white. I’m glad I left the hip hop shirt at home.

When it’s our turn for Lane 6, I realize I’m sweating. I adjust the safety goggles and the ear protectors and my friend hands me a Browning .380 short, a gun, I’m told, a lady could sleep with under her pillow. With ear protectors on both of us, we can’t speak to each other without leaning extraordinarily close.

My hand trembles as I try to position the wisp of metal at the tip of the barrel between the V of the sight at the rear. Behind me, unobtrusively, my friend angles his right shoulder and knee so that the kick from the gun doesn’t knock me to the floor.

My third shot hits the two-dimensional target in the heart. As congratulations, my friend makes the okay sign to the left side of my face. As other shots score in the inner two circles, I realize that I’m doing better than my mystery series character, Alexandra Blake, did her first time at the range. All she managed to do was to shoot targetman in the balls.

After I discharge a few rounds, my friend moves me up to a Beretta 9mm, a Sig Sauer 9mm, and finally, a Sig Sauer .40, the gun Alex’s partner, a DEA agent, uses in my new novel, IMMUNITY. Each gun has a bigger kick, lifting my hand after each shot and propelling my shoulders backwards. I thought I’d prefer the lady-like Browning, but I like the feel of the Sig Sauer 9mm. The sight is better and the gun, despite being heavier, seems steadier than the Browning.

In my best shot of the day, from the Sig, the bullet barrels toward the black and white target, then hits him in the 10-point spot, creating a surge of iridescent green, like some alien blood. But before the bullet reaches the target and I see the jubilant "okay" sign from my friend, the hot metal of the expelled cartridge hits me square in the forehead, branding me. I think of ashes being applied to the forehead on Ash Wednesday as the priest says, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return."

Shooting a gun, even on a range, changes you.

The American Bar Association Journal listed Lori Andrews as a “2008 Newsmaker of the Year -- a lawyer with a literary bent who has the scientific chops to rival any CSI investigator.” But More magazine got a little more personal, describing her as “Petite and blonde, with classic features, she appears as aristocratic and self-assured...Off camera, though, you encounter a very different Andrews: warm, outgoing, self-effacing, giggly, indefatigable.”

Well, it's true.

Immunity--her latest, came out in September 2008.


Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot?


Sex or violence?

Both, shaken and stirred.

Pizza or chocolate?

Fueled by chocolate.

Daniel Craig or Pierce Brosnan? (We won't even include Sean Connery because we know the answer. Don't we?)

Daniel Craig! Pierce lost my vote with his silhouette in the opening credits of GoldenEye. His legs were just too skinny to hold up a real James Bond.

Katherine Hepburn or Audrey Hepburn?


First person or Third person?

Third, but intimately.

Prologue or no prologue?

Prologue at the scene of the crime, since my protagonist, Alexandra (Alex) Blake is in every scene after that.

Your favorite book as a kid?

Why, the Nancy Drew series, of course.

Making dinner or making reservations?

Reservations. When my publisher asked me if I provided any recipes in my latest book, IMMUNITY, I pointed out that Alex was so busy tracking a killer and trying to identify an epidemic new disease that her idea of a gourmet dinner is mixing sliced apples and cheese with a can of tuna. I must confess, she got that idea from me.

And also: the Jungle Red Quiz. Tell us four things about yourself. Only three can be true. We'll try to guess what's false.

I killed off my old boyfriend in one of my mysteries.

I traveled to Dubai to advise the government on cloning men.

I contracted malaria while in Vietnam doing research for THE SILENT ASSASSIN.

When the White House called and asked for my social security number, saying the President wanted me to drop by, I hung up thinking it was a credit card scam.

HANK: Gotta believe the boyfriend thing is true. Haven't we all done that?

But hmmmm...what do you all think? Thanks, Lori!


  1. Hey all--because you have all been too chicken to guess, I can tell you Lori did NOT get malaria.

    But the White House DID call!

  2. Great interview. I'm amazed at all the cool research Lori does for her books.

    My hubby's idea of a hot date is a couple hours at the gun range. Sometimes he even takes me along!

    I like a 9 mm for target practice, but a .45 makes a most satisfying BOOM--and blows the heck out of a pumpkin come early November!

  3. Same here, Laura. Me and my husband are fond of guns. Actually, we are going to visit a gun shop later.