Friday, July 28, 2017

Q & A with John D. Brown

John D. Brown writes, besides a fantasy series, a series about ex-con, Special Forces vet Frank Shaw. The series is doing pretty good, so I figured I'd ask him all about his series and his view on our favorite genre.

Q: What makes Frank Shaw different from other hardboiled characters? 
Frank is an ex-con who is out of prison and trying to fly straight. Yes, he has skills. He is a Special Forces veteran and worked for a private contractor afterwards. But the thing that distinguishes Frank from many other characters is his down-to-earth appeal. There are some action thriller characters who never make a mistake and always seem to have the upper hand. Not Frank. I also enjoy his sardonic wit.

 Q: How did you come up with the character?
Frank was inspired by a fine old brother in my church in Ohio who was one of those salt of the earth folks who also happened to have at one time been a bank robber. When he got out of prison, he determined his life would change. He married a good Methodist girl he met at a church dance, went into the laundry business, and never looked back. It was my privilege to record his life history. At the time, it struck me that I rarely saw stories about ex-cons who actually make it out of the recidivism cycle. I thought, I’m going to write one and have a ball doing it.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
I love it. My debut was with a big New York publisher, and I learned a lot working with them. But there’s so much freedom with indie ebooks.

 Q: What's next for you and your characters?
Frank’s nephew Tony makes a reappearance in the third book, which is called Gray Hat. I’ll be working on that in the coming months. Tony and a group of his nerd friends have stumbled onto a crime and have gotten way in over their heads. And Frank comes in to work with them to save the day. After that, I was invited to co-author a book with New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia. That one will be a big, fun, high-action science fiction story about gun runners in space.

 Q: What do you do when you're not writing?
Teach, hike, and enjoy my time with my wife and children. And have a blast researching the next book. For example, some of that recent research included shooting carbines, riding horses, taking a class from those who have trained our special operations forces on how to disable an attacker, and traveling to Southern Utah where my second novel is set.

Q: How do you promote your work? 
The most effective promotions I’ve found are advertisements on social media and discount book services.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like? 
I like almost all genres. What I’m looking for is a good story.

 Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
I have no idea. In the last century you had a small set of publishers effectively controlling which stories and authors made it to the market. With the ebook revolution those constraints are gone. And so you will have thousands of authors inspiring thousands of other authors. As for who the next biggie will be, that’s like predicting who will win the lottery.

 Q: Why do you write in this genre?
Because it’s fun. Really, it boils down to that.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Down Solo (Charlie Miner) by Earl Javorsky

This one is a little more out there than the PI books I usually read. Charlie Miner is a PI who is in fact... Dead! He's trying to solve his last case and save his daughter while he faces drug dealers and Mexican gangs. Taking place in Southern California and with a cool and dark sense of humor this one might well do good as a Netflix show.
It's an original, genre-bending romp which will appeal to crime fans looking for something a bit different.

Polo's Long Shot (Nick Polo) by Jerry Kennealy

How cool is it to see Nick Polo back in action? He was one of those cool PI's in the nineties when the PI novel was pretty popular. Nick is an ex-cop and ex-con who likes to unwind by watching the bubbles go from a bubble machine. He's also very believable in his investigations, due to the fact his creator is an actual PI himself.
In his return he is hired to track down a stolen antique knife. During this investigation he meets rich folks, other private eyes, gangsters and a femme fatale. The prose or story aren't ground-breaking. There are no huge twists to the archetypical PI character either.
What we do get is a solid PI tale that is easy to read with an engaging protagonist. I applaud Down & Out Books for getting him back on the streets and hope they will do that with more PI's from the nineties.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Shallow Grave (Pete Fernandez / Jackson Donne) by Alex Segura and Dave White

I used to love those special times characters like Superman and Spider-Man teamed up. Two great heroes from two creators, together. Showing their differences and what they had in common. So of course I was excited about this crossover between two other beloved characters, Alex Segura's Peter Fernandez and Dave White's Jackson Donne. Both writers love their comic books, so I was sure they would do a good job.
Fernandez is hired to find a missing person. During that investigation he asks Donne for help, as he was the PI who was hired before for the job. The catch here is that Donne is in prison but he still manages to do some more hands-on work than you'd think.
Extra cool points go to the fact the missing person is a musician. As an amateur rock journalist I love the music scene so with the added crossover thing this was the sort of read I love. Add to that it's a novella which form I absolutely adore as well this is a personal favorite.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Guest Post: Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp

I haven't done any guest posts in awhile but I couldn't refuse this one by Scandanavian bestselling author Emelie Schepp, whose Jana Berzulius is a very interesting character. Although a public prosecutor she has some of Spade in hter. Emelie explains why.

In MARKED FOR LIFE a man has been found brutally murdered in his own home. The victim, Hans Juhlen, had no shortage of enemies. But the case stalls when a child's handprint is found inches from where the dead man fell. Hans Juhlen had no children. Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius has perfected the art of maintaining a professional distance from her cases. But when the body of a small boy is found - and with him, the weapon that killed Juhlen - Jana's impenetrability is tested to its limits. Berzelius is drawn more deeply into the case for as she attends his autopsy, she recognizes something strangely familiar in his small, scarred, heroin-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory of her own dark, fear-ridden past. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core. 

Because of an accident as a child, Jana lost her memory and she doesn’t know anything about her childhood. But she realizes that the small boy can lead her to the truth. So, in parallel with the investigation, and off the record, Jana tries to understand who the boy is and where he is coming from. The more she finds out about the boy’s background, the more she finds out about her own. And to protect her own hidden past, she must find the suspect behind these murders, before the police do. 

I would consider Jana a private investigator. She is focused in trying to understand herself, who she is, why she is capable to doing things no one would be capable of. She has a personal connection to the case, and so is investigating it separately from, and in competition with, the police. Her motivations are not purely for legal justice so she is not committed to following procedure and the investigation becomes her own.

Emelie Schepp’s Marked for Life is out 6th July (HQ, £7.99)
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