Well-known around town as a photographer — his portraits of young athletes in motion, Purchase Street at night after a perfect snowstorm, a stop-motion Times Square traffic scene before Bloomberg insisted on a pedestrian plaza, and still life flowers that have as much life as any of Georgia O’Keeffe’s —Kevin Gebhard recently changed his focus.
By Robin Jovanovich
Well-known around town as a photographer — his portraits of young athletes in motion, Purchase Street at night after a perfect snowstorm, a stop-motion Times Square traffic scene before Bloomberg insisted on a pedestrian plaza, and still life flowers that have as much life as any of Georgia O’Keeffe’s —Kevin Gebhard recently changed his focus. The man of many talents and interests combined a few of them and has written the first of what he envisions will be a series of mysteries.
He didn’t have an agent or a publisher, so he simply posted “Weecho: First Shots” online last week. It can be downloaded as an eBook for $1.99 — a good deal for reader and writer alike. “Weecho” is a thrilling, fast-paced read, which left this reader impatient for the next. Gebhard knows how to get the characters in and out of scenes skillfully and efficiently.
In a conversation over coffee last week, he said, “It all came together pretty easily. I was born in New York. Both my parents were journalists, my mother a police reporter and my father a sports editor, so it’s in my blood. And I’ve been a big mystery reader and a photographer for a long time now.” He has also worked on Wall Street and as a character actor on such hit TV shows as “The Good Wife”. He does scary well.
The novel’s protagonist, Weecho Marti, is 17 and on his own. His mother is in prison for shooting his father, and so far he has outfoxed the truant officers by having his school records erased from the system. He’s started supporting himself through his photography.
The roving photographer happens upon a frightening scene and starts shooting a man arranging a deadly accident. Watching a beautiful woman die in the fiery crash — and not saving her life — haunts him. Her dying words lead him on a dangerous trail of espionage. The deceased turned out to be a supermodel/spy. (Imagine what Alan Furst, one of Gebhard’s idols, could do with this material. Gebhard has one thing over a lot of best-selling thriller writers, a well-trained photographic eye.)
After writing a number of screenplays on various subjects, Gebhard settled on a young hero, “who’s just old enough to be on his own, but young enough that he gets into things he doesn’t understand. That age is still full of possibilities.” He added, “Furthermore, I wanted a character I could keep going with and someone who could have a mentor as Weecho does in the Israeli fashion entrepreneur and spymaster in this book.”
At Weecho’s ago, Gebhard was doing a brisk business taking pictures of friends and their girlfriends or boyfriends. “I had my own darkroom and a close-up lens.” He has fond memories of his first camera, a Brownie Hawkeye. He later moved on to Canons.
When we last spoke, the author was hard at work on a Facebook page, because Weecho already has a following. Gebhard is on the case.