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He writes legal thrillers, he is a practicing lawyer, and he has been at it since 1990—one year longer than John Grisham. But even if San Antonio’s Jay Brandon hasn’t matched the success of the author of The Firm and The Pelican Brief, he logs remarkably good sales and keeps producing book after book: His ninth novel, Angel of Death (Forge Books, $24.95), hits stores in November, and he’s already 325 pages into his tenth. What’s the secret of his staying power? Perhaps it’s his willingness to take suggestions from his readers. “A lot of people told me that they wanted me to mention more real places and settings in San Antonio,” says the 45-year-old, “and I’ve done that a lot more in the new book.” He doesn’t write about real people, though, even if fans in the Alamo City’s legal community think he does. “That’s one of the reasons people in the courthouse world read my books,” he says. “No one ever tells me that they think a character is based on them, but they do see other people they know.” And that’s particularly true if it’s a sleazeball villain. “If the character is obnoxious or otherwise bad,” Brandon says, “no one ever thinks, ‘It’s me!’”