Short, Sharp Interview: Jochem Vandersteen

PDB: Can you pitch GUILT in 25 words or less?

Years ago, Noah Milano, son of a mobster now security specialist killed a young girl’s father. To make up for that he ends up trying to prove her stepfather is not a psycho killer.

PDB: Which music, books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?

I’m digging Trivium and Fiver Finger Deathpunch a lot lately. Also loved The Conjuring. On TV there’s not that much I like right now really.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader?

Nope.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?

I would love to write a TV show in the style of The Equalizer or Stingray.

PDB: How much research goes into each book?

Depends for each book. I always need to do some research into firearms, martial arts and US cities.

jvds (2)PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer?

I can’t promote my work without them. I haven’t got an advertising budget, the only thing I can do is spread the word via social media and hope other people help spread it further.

PDB: What’s on the cards for 2014?

I’m writing the first in a new series featuring true crime writer Vance Custer who investigates crimes for people if he gets the book- and movie rights. Also, in early 2014 the new Noah Milano novella The Death Business comes out. I’m also doing bits and pieces of superhero related stuff because I love that genre.

Bio: Jochem Vandersteen blogs about PI fiction at http://sonsofspade.blogspot. com and founded the Hardboiled Collective, a group of hardboiled writers promoting the genre and their books. He also writes the Mike Dalmas and Noah Milano books and has recently started an anthology series showcasing PI fiction. He’s also a big fan of rock music and comic books, blogging about those as well.

FAST FIVE WITH CAROL MALONE

Writing as Jill Tunney, Carol Malone has recently injected a touch of romance into the two-fisted, pulp-infused, Fight Card series with her debut novel, Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night … Boxing and love? What’s going on here?

How did a nice girl like you end up in the ring with a bunch of tough guys?

I was raised with four older brothers, so I held my own against a bunch of tough guys since I was born. Sports, in my family, was an obsession. I learned to score a baseball game before my ABC’s. The consummate Tom-Boy, I love sports more than Barbie’s. I was drawn to the Fight Card series because of my friend and author, Paul Bishop, who also mentors a writer’s group I belong to, is one of the co-creators of the series. The face-packed, powerful stories knocked me out with their quiet, center-ring style of heroism. Each story packs a real punch with grip-the-bottom-of-your-seat action.

What else should we know about the Fight Card series?

Paul Bishop and Mel Odom, co-creators, have lots of ideas for expansion of the Fight Card dream. Paul is currently working on his sequel to Felony Fists – a novella entitled, Swamp Walloper. Other exciting new writes are working on more stories. By the end of 2013, twenty-seven Fight Card titles will be launched, including three new titles for the MMA spin off, and the debut of my novel to the group, Fight Card Romance; Ladies Night.

What inspires you to write?

Creating captivating, complex, and flawed characters. Like a lot of writers, our characters originate in our heads speaking to us in the shower, in our dreams, and while we’re driving. I finally found a water-proof recorder for the shower so I won’t miss a word of action.

In your opinion, how are the opportunities in e-publishing changing the game for writers and readers?

E-publishing has expanded the world of publishing to include anyone who has something to say and a platform to do so. I believe a lot of promotion and sales result in word of mouth, much like being featured on differing blogs. People who respect the blog and their content will sit up and take notice. It’s a fascinating time to be publishing in the e-crazy world we live in.

What’s next for Carol Malone?

I’m writing a baseball novella in the same tradition of Fight Card and the “Complete Sports” magazine of the 1940’s. My story is about a kid playing for the Sox on the fast track for Rookie of the Year until a slump chases him into a whiskey bottle. I just started a fireman/nurse sweet romance, and I might do another Fight Card romance featuring my tough-minded detective from Ladies Night. Stay tuned.

To find out more about the Fight Card series vist www.fightcardbooks.com

Recommended Reads. June 2013

1 lost summerRichard Godwin – One Lost Summer

Richard Godwin’s masterful One Lost Summer is a sweltering, intense noir set amongst London’s rich and powerful.  A claustrophobic, psychological study of obsession and loss, voyeurism and sex, with echoes of Simenon, Highsmith and Hitchcock.

Col Bury – The Cops Of Manchester

Another hard-hitting and realistic collection of flash fiction and short, sharp stories from Col Bury. The standouts are the grittiest – ‘A Public Service’ and the fantastic vigilante tale ‘Mopping Up.’ More from The Hoodie Hunter please?

Noir Nation: International Journal Of Crime Fiction 2

I was lucky to have a story – Who killed Skippy? – in the first issue of Eddie Vega’s Noir Nation. The second issue is another classy mix of great visuals, non-fiction and short stories. Cort McMeel‘s interview with Madison Smart Bell is fascinating and the short stories from Ray Banks, Court Merrigan and Andrew Nette are particularly splendid. All in all, a gem of a magazine.

Tony Black – Killing Time In Vegas

Tony Black’s Killing Time In Vegas is a typically tightly-written, hard-hitting, short story collection which sees the master of Tartan Noir turn a bleary eye on America’s underbelly. Every story is a great example of hardboiled crime fiction, though the title story was my favourite.

Darren Sant – The Bank Manager & The Bum

Darren Sant is best known for his fantastic and gritty Tales From The Longcroft books. But there was always a big heart inside all that grit and with The Bank Manager & The Bum he has given us a heart-warming slice of hard hitting urban fantasy. Great stuff it is, too. His best yet.

Edward A. Grainger – The Adventures Of Cash Laramie & Gideon Miles Volumes 1 & 2.

If you like westerns, you’ll love The Adventures Of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. If you like crime fiction, you’ll also be well served. And if you like both genres, then these are the books for you.  The stories in these collections are perfectly formed tales of the old west with a more modern slant. Cash and Gideon are Marshals, one white, one black. Men of honor dealing with the problems of violent and dangerous times. Every story is a gem but favourites are the hard-boiled noir of ‘The Outlaw Marshall’ and the intense tale of child abuse, ‘Melanie.’  In volume 2, Edward A. Grainger gives us another great collection of stories about good men in tough times. The first story – written with Chuck Tyrell – is probably the best of the bunch as it gives us Cash’s back story, telling us about how he was raised by Native Americans. The final story is a shot of the dark stuff.  Reflections In A Glass Of Maryland Rye, is pure western noir showing Cash Laramie’s darker side. The stories in between are gems also. Highly recommended.

laidlawTimothy Hallinan – Crashed.

Timothy Hallinan’s splendid Crashed introduces us to Junior Bender, a well-read burglar who is hired to steal a Paul Klee painting and ends up caught in a game of double-cross, triple- cross and more. Crashed is a very well written and immensely enjoyable crime caper full of rounded, realistic and interesting characters and peppered with sharp satirical swipes. A corker, for sure.

 John Llewellyn Probert – The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine

A serial killer is on the loose in Bristol. But not just any serial killer. No, this one is clearly obsessed with the films of the late great Vincent Price and is putting his obsession to good use by murdering doctors in various ingenious ways. The Nine Deaths Of Dr Valentine is smoothly written and  bloody marvellous fun, capturing the spirit of Dr Phibes and then giving it an extra twist. Highly recommended.

Nick Quantrill – I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

P I Joe Geraghty is hired to solve a disputed murder case in this short and sharp slice of crime fiction from Nick Quantrill which is a great introduction to his writing and his immensely likable PI.

William McIlvanney – Laidlaw.

A young girl’s body is found in a Glasgow park on a bright sunny day. The killer hides out in a derelict house; the only person that he can trust is Harry Rayburn, a former lover. Rayburn is a nightclub owner and low level criminal. Bud Lawson, the victim’s father, is full of violent rage and out for revenge, no matter the consequences. John Rhodes, Glasgow’s biggest gangster, has been asked to help him. D C Harkness is assigned to the case alongside Jack Laidlaw, a brooding hard-bitten cop with the soul of a poet.

Laidlaw is an artful, gritty, social-realist novel that was written in the mid `70s and has only recently been republished. It is a hard-hitting, multi-POV collection of rich character studies, the most potent character being the city of Glasgow, as conflicted and conflicting as Detective Laidlaw himself.

Laidlaw is the impressive start to a short series of novels featuring Detective Laidlaw, a series that I look forward to following. Marvelous stuff.

Red Stripes – A Joe Hunter Short Story by Matt Hilton.

red stripesJoe Hunter is bored and killing time drinking expensive coffee, when the waitress tells him that someone has been looking for him. The someone in question is a loose end from a kidnapping case that Joe had recently been involved in. A dangerous loose end at that.

Red Stripes is a tightly written and hard hitting short, sharp story which packs a hell of  lot into its forty pages.

And Joe Hunter is easily the most likeable action hero around – the only one I’d like to have a pint with, that’s for sure!

Red Stripes is a great introduction to Matt Hilton‘s cracking high-octane series.

Matt Hilton is a member of THE HARDBOILED COLLECTIVE.

To Beat The Devil by Michael Haskins – First Two Chapters

Michael HaskinsKey West based writer Michael Haskins is the author of the highly successful Mick Murphy books.

The next in the series, tentatively titled To Beat The Devil, is the sequel to the best-selling Stairway To The Bottom.

It will be published in March 2013 and you can have an exclusive peek at the first two chapters here.

Michael Haskins is a member of The Hardboiled Collective.

Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends.

Euripides, 480 – 406 BC

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.

Thomas Aquinas, 1225 – 1274

Only solitary men know the full joys of friendship. Others have their family; but to a solitary and an exile, his friends are everything.

Willa Cather, 1873-1947

 Friendship is a common belief in the same fallacies, mountebanks, and hobgoblins.

H. L. Mencken, 1880 – 1956

A friend in need . . .

PART ONE

NORM’S STORY

 

What’s friendship’s realest measure? I’ll tell you. The amount of precious time you’ll squander on someone else’s calamities and fuck-ups.

Richard Ford, author


Chapter One

The Russian mobster sat naked in the old office chair, his cloths discarded in a pile on the warehouse floor. Duct tape secured his wrists to the armrests and more tape forced his legs backward, attached to the wheel spokes below the seat. Welts and open bruises, red, purple and black, covered his chest and stomach, blood flowed from his broken nose, both eyes were swollen closed from the beating, and on the left side of his head, he had a torn ear. The mobster breathed through his open mouth and I could see broken teeth and blood. His engorged scrotum looked like a red and purple softball.

My friend Liam Mick Murphy stood in front of the condemned man, a three-foot length of rubber garden hose in his hand. The hose still had its new-bought shine except where blood stained it.

I stood about twenty feet away and slowly scrolled through the mobster’s cell phone.

“He’s not gonna talk,” I said, but kept my attention on the cell phone. “He knows you’ll kill him if he does. If you don’t kill him, Alexei will.” I looked up.

“You tell me what I want and you can run and hide from Alexei,” Mick Murphy said to the man.

The mobster said nothing.

“I think what we want is in his cell.” I held the phone up and pointed to the screen. “Names and numbers. He has eight on the speed dial. One and two are men, the others are clubs.”

“And what does that tell us, Norm, that this fucker won’t?” He raised the hose and brought it down hard on the mobster’s shoulder. A moan squealed from the man’s bloody mouth.

“How do you arrange the names on your speed dial?”  It was a rhetorical question because we prioritized our speed dial.

“Is one of the names Alexei?” He hit the mobster again.

“No.” I didn’t expect it to be, neither did Mick Murphy.

“Then how the hell does it help us?” His words came slowly, angrily. Torturing a man tires you and Mick Murphy needed sleep, but he was frantic and wanted to find Alexei and kill him. It was a difficult task, finding and killing him, but Murphy was determined and for reasons that would’ve made me determined too.

I’ve known Mick Murphy for more than twenty years and I’ve seen him caught in situations between leftist guerrillas fighting government soldiers, and Mexican drug cartels fighting everyone, and know he can be tough and defend himself.

I tried to tell him before this crusade to find and kill Alexei began that being the aggressor was a whole different world than using violence to defend yourself. He would be responsible, I told him, for what went down, not someone else, because he was the initiator. What he wanted to do would close doors that would never open for him again. I don’t know if he heard me, or if he cared. I talked from experience.

He lived in a world of hurt and thought killing Alexei, the guy who put the play in motion that killed his fiancée, sank his sailboat and all but killed him, was what he needed. His physical wounds took six months to heal but his head was somewhere else, far from the carefree, Key West, sail-bum/journalist I know, and far from healing. He used vengeance as a painkiller. I watched his detachment as he beat the mobster.

“We’re moving up the food chain.” I read the names to myself. “Two men. He reports to one of them, maybe both. One and two on the speed dial.”

“We done here?” He grunted the words with rage and frustration.

The mobster turned his head slowly and looked toward me. He couldn’t see with the swollen eyes, but he knew the direction of my voice and his fate.

“Yes.” I put the cell phone in my jacket pocket.

“Let’s go climb that food chain.” Mick Murphy dropped the hose and walked to the exit door. “Coming?” He said it as a dare.

“Be right there,” I said.

Mick Murphy walked outside and when he opened the door, the harsh South Florida sun shot into the room, blinding me. He closed the door and the warehouse was dim again.

The mobster’s damaged stare followed me as I walked toward him.

“Alexei will kill you both.” The words spit from his mouth between bloody bubbles. “And not so quickly.”

“He’ll try,” I said, and shot him between his swollen eyes with a small twenty-two semi-automatic. He couldn’t see the gun but knew the shot was coming. It was his destiny and he accepted it. The shot’s report was lost within the empty warehouse as his screams had been.

Chapter Two

Mick Murphy sat impatiently in the SUV, as I exited the dark warehouse and into the scorching June heat. Even in the morning, the mugginess of Fort Lauderdale was high. I stopped in the empty, fenced-off parking lot and dialed my cell phone.

“SoFlo, fifteen,” I said when the call was answered. “Cleaning crew.” I hung up.

The warehouse was oneof many safe house locations, a secret branch that joint military intelligence agencies controlled around the country. The address, for my purposes, was SoFlo, fifteen. It meant Southern Florida, number fifteen. When we returned, the body would be gone.

The industrial complex that housed the warehouse, took up a few city blocks in a once-thriving area on the fringes of Fort Lauderdale, but companies found cheaper labor outside the country and now only a few buildings had occupants. It was the perfect location for our purposes, not many inquisitive neighbors.

The agency kept most of its safe houses empty, though a few stored items that came from or went to Mexico or Central America. We needed empty and this was available with no questions asked.  It was a favor owed and now paid.

Mick Murphy sat with the door open, looking straight ahead. He could’ve started the engine and had the A/C running, but he lives in Key West and likes the heat. Maybe he’s preparing for his time in hell. I got in and had the A/C on high right away. If Mick Murphy thought he was taking me to hell with him, he was mistaken. I live in Southern California where the heat isn’t usually as brutal, but my time spent in Central American countries helped me adjust.

“What now, Norm?” Mick Murphy is a get-to-the-point kind of guy.

He was in a hurry but didn’t have a clue as to where he was going. I’ve spent the last six months trying to help him get well, to slow him down, control his anger, set a direction. This kind of shit, seek and eliminate, is what I do for the military, for the decision makers in Washington, but I do it outside the country where laws and rules are a lot more flexible. The golden rule is don’t get caught. I have no delusion about what would happen if I were caught, the brass and decision makers would deny involvement with me.

“We go back to the hotel and sleep,” I said. We had hotel rooms in South Beach because that’s where Alexei and the Russian mob had its private clubs. “I call the clubs on his speed dial.” I drove toward the freeway.

“And then?” He played it like a chess game and always thought two or three moves ahead of where he was. At least that hadn’t changed. Yet.

“Either Viktor or Yakov run the clubs. I call, ask for them and someone will tell me when to call back.”

“Simple as that?”

“No,” I said. Kidnapping Russian mobsters is never simple, dealing with them is near impossible. “But someone will tell me and then we’ll know which club to go to.”

“Late, like with this bird?”

“They show up when the action begins, so late. Maybe before midnight.”

“And this gets us to Alexei how, Norm?”

“One of these guys runs the clubs in South Beach. He knows when Alexei is expected. He’s in Alexei’s outer circle, maybe knows his local routine because he wants to be impressive, and that gets us closer. Both these guys want to be in the inner circle, that’s where the power and money are. One of them is on top of things, to look good to the boss. Maybe even knows where the boss is. Alexei protects himself with layers and doesn’t trust too many, even in his circle.

You don’t get to be old an old KGB agent if you’re too trusting.”

“How come Alexei walked up to me in Key West, if he’s so cautious?”

“You weren’t a threat to him,” I said. “He wasn’t alone. He’s never alone and that’s going to make taking him difficult. Messy.”

“You think there’s a better way to do it?”

“No, not if you want to face off with him.”

“I want him to know it’s me.” Mick Murphy’s words came out hard, determination pushing them.

“It’ll take time and we have to be as cautious as Alexei,” I said and turned onto I-95 and hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. “I’m not interested in a suicide mission.”

“You’re right, Norm.” Murphy slumped in the seat.

“What’s wrong?”

“Tired, I guess.”

“You having second thoughts about interrogating these guys?”

 “Whatever it takes to get Alexei,” he said and closed his eyes. “I’ve got no problems with it.”

“It’s gonna take more than you and me,” I said and Murphy grunted a reply. “Whichever one of these guys we go after, it could be hard to grab him. They’ll have some form of security.”

“I’m not afraid of hard, I’m afraid of failure,” he said without looking at me. “What about your spook buddies?”

“I’m off the radar,” I said, only a half lie. Traffic moved forward a few feet. “We’re lucky to get the warehouse.”

I’m with Mick Murphy because he’s a friend in need. I owe him for saving my life a long time ago. I’m indebted and spent the past few years paying him back, though he never asked me to.  He has never asked me why I’m there for him, either. Then again, I’ve never asked him why he’s shown up in my life the few times that I’ve needed him.

My usual array of magic tricks that were called-in favors from the intelligence agency when in trouble, were less available to me now. All I could offer him for sure was my experience and support.

“You always have a plan, what is it?”

“Someone to do surveillance for us. You with the red hair and beard stand out too much and I don’t want to run into any Russian thug that might remember me.”

“I trust Pauly.”

Pauly is an ex-drug smuggler friend of Mick Murphy’s who retired to Key West. I, personally, have a hard time thinking he’s retired, or even liking him, but he’s Mick Murphy’s friend and proved it a few times. Trusting him, from my point of view, is a whole other issue.

“If Alexei thinks that you’re looking for him, it’s as good as over. You understand that, right?” The words sounded cynical because I was repeating the warning for the hundredth time.

“I’ve spent the last six months listening to you,” he said, matching my sarcasm. “If I didn’t believe you, I wouldn’t be here. You do this for a living. I’m along for your expertise and expect to get Alexei. I’ll do the rest. You tell me what to do and I’ll do it, no questions asked.”

 “Mick, you don’t know how to not ask questions.” He’s a journalist, and like cops are always cops in and out of uniforms, Mick Murphy is always a journalist in his ways.

“I’m learning from the best,” he said and smiled to himself, but I caught it.  “I’ll call Pauly if we ever get out of this traffic and back to the hotel. Then we’ll get some sleep.” Three cars stopped at a red light in Key West is traffic to Mick Murphy, not like on I-95, it was making

him anxious.  “When I wake up, I want to know your plan.”

“So do I.”  Traffic moved at a snail’s pace. It reminded me of Los Angeles and that put me in my comfort zone.

(c) Michael Haskins.

The Hardboiled Collective

BITS N BOBS.

cropped-cropped6.jpgRUNAROUND … NOW!

I’m interviewed over at MORGEN BAILEY’S BLOG MARTIN STANLEY reviews 13 SHOTS OF NOIR and DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOONCHRIS LEEK  reviews DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOON over at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINEANDREW PETERS  gives DEATH ON A HOT AFTERNOON  a 5 star review at  GOODREADS … my latest BRIT GRIT ALLEY column is also over at OUT OF THE GUTTER ONLINEZOE SHARP talks about money at THE HARDBOILED COLLECTIVE…

Cliff Walk by Bruce DeSilva – Read The First Two Chapters.

Cliff walkThe Blurb:

‘Prostitution has been legal in Rhode Island for more than a decade; Liam Mulligan, an old-school investigative reporter at dying Providence newspaper, suspects the governor has been taking payoffs to keep it that way. But this isn’t the only story making headlines…a child’s severed arm is discovered in a pile of garbage at a pig farm. Then the body of an internet pornographer is found sprawled on the rocks at the base of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.

At first, the killings seem random, but as Mulligan keeps digging into the state’s thriving sex business, strange connections emerge. Promised free sex with hookers if he minds his own business—and a beating if he doesn’t—Mulligan enlists Thanks-Dad, the newspaper publisher’s son, and Attila the Nun, the state’s colorful Attorney General, in his quest for the truth. What Mulligan learns will lead him to question his beliefs about sexual morality, shake his tenuous religious faith, and leave him wondering who his real friends are.

Cliff Walk is at once a hard-boiled mystery and an exploration of sex and religion in the age of pornography. Written with the unique and powerful voice that won DeSilva an Edgar Award for Best First Novel, Cliff Walk lifts Mulligan into the pantheon of great suspense heroes and is a giant leap for the career of Bruce DeSilva.’

Read the first two chapters of Cliff-Walk here.

Bruce DeSilva is a member of The Hardboiled Collective.

Top Tips: Recommended Reads

Car Wash Blues by Michael Haskins.car wash blues

Journalist Mick Murphy takes his girlfriend’s car to a car wash and gets caught up in a bloody shoot-out. And then things really get out of hand as a couple of Mexican drug cartels descend on Murphy’s sedate Key West home intent on killing Murphy and his friends. Car Wash Blues is a breathlessly fast-paced crime story full of well-drawn characters and with  a strong sense of place.

Long Way Down by Tony Black

Gus Dury is back! In this short, sharp novelette the foul mouthed, booze sodden protagonist of four of Tony Black’s novels is hired by a mobster’s henchman to track down a blast from Gus’ past that has just been released from the slammer. Ex- IRA gangsters, lowlifes, dodgy pubs and familiar faces are all thrown into the mix in a hard hitting and very welcome return.

The Blues Detective Saves Christmas by Andrew Peters.

Otis King is a Welsh Blues Musician working as a private eye in Memphis. King is settling himself down for some Christmas inebriation when a femme fatale walks into his office and asks him to perform the unthinkable. The spirit of the Damon Runyon looms over this hilarious and curmudgeonly short story. LOL. PMSL, ROTFL as Mr Peters would no doubt say.

The Hardboiled Collective – zup?

What’s happening with the members of The Hardboiled Collective, you may well ask?

Well, over at the THC blog,  Zoe Sharp  talks about flying and her forthcoming trip to Bouchercon.

THC founder Jochem Vandersteen has a look at Chris Knopf’s Dead Anyway at Sons Of Spade.

And Micheal Haskins has let us know that his  short story “Vampire Slayer Murdered in Key West” has been nominated for a Shamus Award!

It’s all happening!

Recommended Read: Skin Deep by Timothy Hallinan

It all starts in a bar. Los Angeles based Private Eye Simeon Grist is getting nicely souses and trying to pick up the barmaid when in walks the aptly named Toby Vane. 


Vane is the star of a prime time television show who gets his kicks beating up women. When he starts to slap around his beautiful Korean companion, Simeon steps in. 


And ends up being offered a ton of dosh to be Toby Vane’s minder. And then things really go downhill.


Skin Deep really is a fantastic crime novel. It’s fast paced, funny, moving, tense and packed with some brilliant one-liners, wonderfully descriptive language and great characters. 


This is the first Simeon Grist novel that I’ve read and it won’t be the last. Apparently,it was the first one that Hallinan wrote, although it was published third in the series, back in the ’90s.


Timothy Hallinan‘s Skin Deep is an immensely enjoyably novel and I’m really looking forward to reading more Simeon Grist books.



And I’m pleased to say that Timothy Hallinan is a member of The Hardboiled Collective.

Short, Sharp Interview: Chris Knopf

PDB: Can you pitch your latest publication/ project in 25 words or less? 
Re-release of The Last Refuge – my first book, suddenly in demand because of subsequent books in the series.  We have a cleaned-up trade paperback and Kindle version. (Okay, 27 words.)

PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently? 
I don’t participate much in popular culture, regrettably (two books a year and a full time, intense job…) So I don’t get out much. But I did see and loved Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  My favorite espionage novel, re-read dozens of times.  I once ripped off aspects of the ending, but in which of my books remains top secret.

PDB: Is it possible for a writer to be an objective reader? 
No.  I’m constantly editing what I read.  I tend to whipsaw between appreciation and criticism. That said, I can still get lost in a story, which is the proof a great work.

PDB: Do you have any interest in writing for films, theatre or television?
Absolutely.  I’ve written lots of TV and radio commercials. I have no fear of scripts.  Hey, Hollywood, make me an offer.  I’m all ears.   (We’re constantly “in discussions.”  Someday, maybe something will drop). 

PDB: How much research goes into each book? 
Very little until the new standalone, Dead Anywaydue out in the Fall of 2012.  It’s a mystery/thriller involving lots of digital technology, financial shenanigans and identity theft.  Before this book, I could draw on all the stuff I’ve learned in my business and through personal interests (some might say obsessions).  Wikipedia is my new best friend.

PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as a writer? 
Very, in that it keeps me in touch with people in our mystery community.  It’s also good for promoting new releases.  It’s the future, might as well dive in with both feet.  PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?

 

Ice Cap, a Jackie Swaitkowski mystery out May, 2012 from Thomas Dunne/Minotaur.  Dead Anyway a standalone out Fall, 2012, from Permanent Press.