Stuff & Nonsense 062: Fear the Future
Greetings from Queens, New York.
I write to you in a state of great anticipation. I can't really say more beyond that. Overall, things are good and busy. I turned in the manuscript for the next/last-for-a-while Pete Fernandez Miami Mystery, Miami Midnight, which hits in August from Polis Books. I'm also plugging away at a few other, still-secret projects. Some prose, some comics, some misc. You can pre-order Miami Midnight from the usual places, and if you're a reviewer/book blogger, I'm sure Polis Books will have it up on NetGalley and so on soonish.
Before we get to the big draw of this newsletter - an essay from the fantastic Hilary Davidson - some writing news bits:
My second Pete novel, Down the Darkest Street, appears to be on sale as an ebook for 99 cents.
There are plans for me to sign copies of Miami Midnight on the Thursday of Book Expo, in May. More details as I get them.
I had a fun time interviewing pal and author Lee Matthew Goldberg about his latest, The Desire Card, at Kew & Willow Books recently. The book's a lot of fun and pure candy for conspiracy thriller buffs.
The New Zealand Herald had nice things to say about my most recent Pete novel, Blackout. The review was in great company, too - alongside Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz's must-read The Sopranos Sessions. And I'll take comparisons to George Pelecanos and Michael Connelly any day of the week. Full review here.
While I may be maxed out in terms of Q&As, I'm always open to spotlighting authors discussing their new or upcoming work. Want me to consider you? Please email me.
I'm very excited and honored to have Hilary Davidson pop in to talk about her excellent new novel, One Small Sacrifice. Hilary's one of my oldest crime writing pals, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how her latest is received. I've long been a fan of her novels and short stories, but One Small Sacrifice feels like such a leap forward. You guys will love it. In case you don't know the particulars of Hilary's CV:
Hilary Davidson is the author of the Anthony Award-winning Lily Moore series—which includes The Damage Done, The Next One to Fall, and Evil in All Its Disguises—and the hard-boiled thriller Blood Always Tells. Her short fiction has won the Anthony, Derringer, and Spinetingler awards. Her next novel, One Small Sacrifice, will be published in May by Thomas & Mercer, and she’ll be on tour in NYC, Denver, Scottsdale, Houston, St. Louis, and Toronto. Visit her at www.hilarydavidson.com for event news.
With that, let's learn a bit about Hilary's latest:
My new book, One Small Sacrifice, is the start of a new series, and it’s a big departure for me. I’ve written a series before—the Lily Moore books, starting with The Damage Done—and the stories were all told from Lily’s first-person perspective. I loved working on them, but I also found it limiting to only represent one character’s perspective. When I started writing One Small Sacrifice, I was conscious of wanting to represent different perspectives.
One Small Sacrifice centers around two characters: a photographer named Alex Traynor, and an NYPD detective named Sheryn Sterling. Alex has spent a lot of time in war zones and suffers from PTSD; the book begins two days after his fiancée vanished. Alex doesn’t know where she’s gone, though he does remember fighting with her before she left. Sheryn investigated Alex a year earlier, when a female friend of his fell off the roof of his building; she couldn’t put together enough evidence to convict him then, even though it was clear that he was involved.
When you write from a first-person perspective, it’s easy for a reader to have empathy for your main character, because their world view subtly becomes the reader’s world view. In One Small Sacrifice, the reader doesn’t know who to root for. When you see the world through Alex’s eyes, you experience PTSD with him and understand the guilt he’s carrying about the friend who died; when you see the world through Sheryn’s eyes, you understand why she views Alex as a threat and why she’s determined to lock him up. There are two other characters whose perspectives are represented (I won’t name them, because that would lead me into spoiler-y territory). Telling the story this way allows for a great deal of intimacy with the characters. The reader gets to know them so well, and to understand their minds and their lives and where they’re coming from, even when they make terrible decisions, like lying to the police in a way that impacts the course of the investigation. It was a complicated balancing act—and a serious challenge from a plotting perspective—but it was the only way I could tell this story.
A handful of quick links:
I made no secret that I was blown away by Leah Carroll's jarring, intense true crime/memoir, Down City. The story of Carroll retracing her mother's own murder left me shook and in awe of her. So, yes. Read that book. After that, read this equally-inspiring and thoughtful story she wrote about becoming friends with the daughter of the man who murdered her mother.
This profile of Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan and the growing success of his chain of South Florida indie bookstores is relevant to my interests - and yours!
I usually don't post "deal news" or straight publishing items, but this struck me as interesting and significant.
My dear friend Chris and his girlfriend Melanie are opening a pizza/Korean bites kitchen in St. Louis and I think you should swing by if you're in the area.
Craig Pittman's look at the environmental slant of Travis McGee creator John D. MacDonald's work is a must-read.
I've been revisiting Joe McGinniss's controversial Fatal Vision for an upcoming interview and enjoying it much more than I expected. As some of you know, the Jeffrey MacDonald case was a huge influence on my third novel, Dangerous Ends, which focused on Pete and Kathy investigating the case of a disgraced Miami cop spending life in prison for the murder of his wife. I came into the MacDonald case backwards, in a way - starting with the Errol Morris book (A Wilderness of Error), which was very much pro-JM, then Janet Malcolm's much-discussed take, and ending with McGinniss's Fatal Vision (and his brief coda, Final Vision, published via Byliner, and apparently no longer available?). I do regret not reading them in reverse order, as I think it's easier to digest the facts of the case the other way - and, coming back to Fatal Vision, I'm impressed by McGinniss's writing style at the top of his game. I'll have more to say about it on Toby Ball's "Deep Dive" podcast - which is an offshoot of the excellent Crime Writers On podcast - so, do tune in if you can.
Okay, that's it. See you on the other side.