Friday, October 3, 2014

SUSPECT is Robert Crais' Best Yet

Understand first I haven't met a Robert Crais novel I didn't like. Haven't given them all five stars, however, as RC is always on his game but some are better than others. So when I give SUSPECT five stars, I'm saying this is one his best. BUT -- I would give this book six stars if could because I believe this is his best book ever. I just loved it. I put it down -- had to go out to dinner -- but it was done by breakfast the next morning because I wanted to see how Scott and Maggie came out. I couldn't put it down is a cliche in this business. I did. I had to in order to sustain my marriage. But I didn't want to stop.

Who is Maggie, you might ask? Well this book is about Maggie, an ex-Marine German Shepherd who's now about to be rejected from the LAPD K-9 unit, and Scott, a LAPD patrol officer who lost his partner and was shot three times in an unsolved murder. Scott wants to join the K-9 unit to an effort to heal himself and get back to work. He dreams and thinks of his dead partner much of the time. Maggie the dog thinks about her dead former partner too, a Marine killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Maggie was shot twice trying to protect her Marine handler after the explosion. Both Maggie and Scott are wounded emotionally and physically. Both have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What a team!

The story is about Scott and Maggie learning to work together, both of them needing the other's help. Can they get their act together and solve the murder that killed Scott's former partner? But I called this story RC's best ever because of two things: One, the emotional level of this book is over the top for RC's work. These two protagonists will wrench your guts with their mistakes, their courage and the love they eventually share. Two, significant scenes are told from Maggie's point of view, and for me this was stunningly unusual and a joy to read. You will learn unbelievable facts about dog's noses and how they see the world, and if you have any love for dogs or animals in general, I believe this could be your favorite Robert Crais book, too.


Please, RC, give us another Maggie and Scott story someday. -- AC

Friday, September 26, 2014

TFA Takes a Vacation

Figures. We have a new book coming out next month, we're locked and loaded in our final re-write of BIG SHOES -- number four in my mystery series -- and The Famous Author has major commitments due for fancy blogs. So where is he when most needed?

Hilton Head. Of course.

"Relax, Austin, I'll be back this weekend."

"That's what you said a few years ago when I had to track you down in Mexico."

"Yeah, but I'm a much better person now. I quit drinking that mescal stuff."

"Oh, well, then everything's fine. What was I thinking? So what's with the alligator?"

"Number two son and I saw one on the golf course Monday. Looked exactly like this one."

"Poor baby."

Thursday, September 4, 2014

BIG MOJO Available for Pre-Order

It's taken only six years, but like some old general once said, I have returned. That's right fans. Austin Carr--that's me--has zombied up with a new adventure. We've talked about BIG MOJO many times. Number three. Mama Bones plays a major role, casting bullets, spells and wicked lies. But now you can actually pre-order my first new novel since 2008. I'd better stop saying that out loud, else The Famous Author might faint.

TFA finally found me some stockbroker love at Down and Out Books. Thank you Eric the Publisher.








Monday, August 18, 2014

Read the Opening Paragraphs of BIG SHOES

Dana King tagged The Famous Author to be next in line for a blog hop. (Thanks Dana!) Writers answer four questions, then tag two other writers to answer a week later. Well, TFA called in sick today. The flu, he says. So I'm stuck me with contacting the other authors and writing the answers for him. Boy will he be sorry.

What am I working on?

TFA is working on #5 in my series, BIG SHOES. I stole this draft opening off his computer:

The big thing about my temporary business partner, Angelina “Mama Bones” Bonacelli, the mildest of professional consultations can deteriorate into crime and violence. Lunch negotiations have turned into shootouts. Her Power Point presentation to a Jersey state racing commission last summer was raided by the FBI. As a Jersey shore racketeer with direct ties to what's left of a once powerful New York crime family, Mama Bones even packs a loaded semiautomatic.

Our association has been ... well, problematic. Bullets, knives and poison keep turning up at our mutually occupied locations and joint functions. In fact, I am lucky to be alive -- charmed, really -- and I've decided I need a new partner and a new livelihood. Trying to explain these concerns and my desires to Mama Bones last month, following the funeral of one Heriberto Garzia, a man murdered right before my eyes, Mama Bones told me to take a vacation. Think about my future, she said. Don't rush into drastic change. "Maybe when Vic gets better, you'll feel different," she said. Not likely. Her son Vic -- my real business partner, who Mama Bones is subbing for -- remains physically wounded and mentally unstable following an earlier, unrelated shootout. Unrelated, except minutes before being shot, both victims were talking to me.

I did take some time off, per Mama Bones' strong suggestion, but the results are not what she'd hoped. An exhaustive detailing of past events and stern logic worked against her, particularly a list I made of her associates who were murdered or who disappeared in the last three years. Honestly, only a suicidal fool would stay. This morning, my vacation is over. I'm here to tell Mama Bones that Bonacelli Investments will have to do without me. I've sold my last tax-free bond.

I don't think Mama Bones is going to let me out of the business that easily, do you?

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In the sub-genre of funny mystery, TFA tries to do what everybody else does -- make the reader laugh. The one thing that makes me (Austin Carr) unique is my background -- that is, growing up in Los Angeles and moving to New Jersey. It's a scary place for easy-going guys like me.

Why do I write what I do?

I don't write it. TFA does. What a dumb question.

How does my writing process work?

Same thing. I don't have a writing process. I don't write. I'm a character. I sit inside TFA's head and whisper stupid stuff to confuse him. Or sometimes I tell him dirty jokes, make him spit coffee all over his desk. Ha. Man does that tick him off.

Travis Richardson was just nominated for an Anthony and other awards. He's a fine young man with a lovely wife. You can look at his Amazon author page here and his blog here. Les Edgerton is another award-winning author, teacher, coach and mentor to hundreds of writers across the globe. You can see his author page here and his blog right here. Both of these fine authors will answer these four questions next Monday. Don't miss them, especially Travis.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Funny Crime Authors to Try Besides TFA

Donna Andrews was born in Yorktown, Virginia, the setting of Murder with Peacocks and Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos, and now lives and works in Reston, Virginia. When not writing fiction, Andrews is a self-confessed nerd, rarely found away from her computer, unless she's messing in the garden. She is a member of Sisters is Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Private Investigators and Security Association. www.donnaandrews.com












Jeff Cohen is the author of the Comedy Tonight and Aaron Tucker mystery series, and as E.J. Copperman writes the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, whose sixth installment INSPECTOR SPECTER will be published by Berkley Prime Crime in December. Jeff collaborated with E.J. Copperman (and the negotiations were intense) on the Asperger's Mystery series from Midnight Ink, which begins in October with THE QUESTION OF THE MISSING HEAD, introducing Samuel Hoenig, a borderline genius with an autism spectrum disorder who answers questions for a living and narrates his stories.



Jeff Markowitz is the author of the Cassie O'Malley Mysteries, an amateur sleuth series set deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Jeff holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Princeton University and graduate degrees in special education and human services. He has spent four decades working in the non-profit sector, developing services for children and adults with autism. Jeff's new book, the stand-alone mystery, Death and White Diamonds, will be released by Intrigue Publishing in January 2015. Jeff is a proud member of the New Jersey Authors' Network and the Mystery Writers of America.










The Famous Author (TFA) used to be a newspaper reporter. Big deal. I'm still the best thing that ever happened to him. You can click on my blue or green adventure on the right side of this blog, or you can wait until this pink one comes out in October. Though it's almost ready, the boss says October 14 because he's trying to earn some early reviews. Go Eric! TFA and I greatly appreciate the thought and extra work.




By clicking on each author's name (except TFA) you will travel to read about and potentially purchase a new clever and LOL mystery novel. I know, everything's lol these days. Shopping lists are ROTFL. But these three authors made me laugh literally, both this weekend at the Deadly Ink mystery writers and readers convention and conference, and also when I've read their books over the years. Promise: These are smart funny people.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Will I Always Be a Work in Progress?

So The Famous Author is busy busy busy with the final touches on my new adventure, number three in The Austin Carr Mystery Series, BIG MOJO from Down and Out Books. Below you can see the preliminary cover and an early blurb from TFA's friend and mentor, Hank Phillippi Ryan. Actually, several of the ladies over at Jungle Red Writers have served as TFA's mentors over the past few years, offering advice and manuscript help, most often Roberta and Halle. The female point of view has greatly improved TFA's writing, not to mention his language and manners.

Okay, so farther below is the back cover copy that still needs work. TFA labors away while I speak, searching for catchy phrases and popular hooks to make potential readers open up to Page One. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or hard work would be appreciated in the comments section and I'm guessing probably rewarded with a free copy of Mojo when she hits the market sometime in August. Deadline is next week.

DRAFT #21

"Gordon Gekko meets Janet Evanovich in this wry and winning caper--Jack Getze does it again!"    

      Hank Phillippi Ryan
      Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award winning author of TRUTH BE TOLD
  

Wall Street's miasmal garbage washes up on the Jersey Shore when a small time broker falls in love: Is he attracted to the beautiful lady -- or her brother's inside information? Held spellbound by a steamy, auburn-haired woman with a questionable past and a get-rich-quick, insider trading scheme, Austin Carr knocks down a beehive of bad-acting Bonacellis, including the ill-tempered "Mr. Vic" Bonacelli, who wants his redhead back, and local mob lieutenant Angelina "Mama Bones" Bonacelli, architect of a strange and excruciating death trap for the fast-talking stockbroker she calls smarty pants. To survive, Austin must unravel threads of jealousy, revenge and new affections, discover the fate of a pseudo ruby called the Big Mojo and slam the lid on a pending United States of America vs. Austin Carr insider trading case. Can Austin and his Jersey Shore mouthpiece possibly out maneuver the savvy U.S. District Attorney from Manhattan? Will 
anything matter for Austin ever again if Mama Bones flips that switch?



Saturday, July 5, 2014

This D-List Redhead Makes Our A-List

Fifty-three-year-old Kathy Griffin moved to Los Angeles from Illinois at the age of eighteen, studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and several years later became a member of the improvisational comedy troupe, The Groundlings. Griffin began making people laugh as a standup comic in the 1990s. She then appeared as a guest star on several television shows, and finally achieved major public recognition on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan, beginning in 1996.

Wikipedia says her breakthrough came on the Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2005–2010), which became a ratings hit for the network and earned her two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Program. Griffin has since released six comedy albums, with all of them receiving Grammy Award nominations.

Griffin has taped numerous standup specials with HBO and Bravo. For the latter network, she has recorded 16 specials, breaking the record for the number of specials in any network. In 2011, she also became the first comedian to have four televised specials in a year.

Besides her comedy career, she is an LGBT activist involved in causes such as same-sex marriage and the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell". She has also participated in two USO tours. After being nominated for six years in a row for "Best Comedy Album", she finally won the Grammy in 2014, becoming only the third woman to win the category. Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin are the other two. Nice company, huh?

You can follow Kathy on Twitter. Or check out her tour dates, find out when she'll be close to your city. You make us laugh, Kathy. Thanks to you and Wikipedia for the info.