Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Please Welcome Crime Novelist Marc Krulewitch

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Marc Krulewitch
with Marc Krulewitch

We are delighted to welcome mystery author Marc Krulewitch to Omnimystery News, courtesy of TLC Book Tours, which is coordinating his current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find his schedule here.

Marc's second mystery to feature PI Jules Landau is Windy City Blues (Alibi; January 2015 ebook formats), and in his guest post for us today, he provides the backstory to it.

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Marc Krulewitch
Photo provided courtesy of
Marc Krulewitch

Windy City Blues is the second book of my crime series featuring private investigator, Jules Landau, the youngest of a family of petty criminals stretching back to Prohibition.

I've always been drawn to quirky characters that are interesting in their own right, while reflecting some aspect of the human condition. That said, the book begins with a peculiar, twenty-something man stopping by Jules' office one morning. For reasons not clearly understood, the man has taken the name of a Holocaust victim and employs the stereotypical mannerisms and affectations often associated with the early Twentieth Century immigrant. "Call me Izzy," he says to Jules. Izzy wants to know why a parking enforcement officer was brutally beaten to death in the neighborhood where Izzy lives.

While genre fiction is generally considered plot-driven, I don't think this has to be the case. After spending two decades imagining myself as a writer of literary fiction, I asked myself: how about combining literary themes and characters within the context of a private investigator conducting a murder investigation? The key to utilizing these characters effectively, I said to myself, is to avoid heavy handedness. Nobody wants to be beaten over the head with a character blathering on about his or her philosophy, unless it's a vehicle the hero can use in discovering something. Jules, for example, does not preach vegetarianism, but while he lunches on a rice, bean, and soy burger, his beloved cat dines on an exclusive diet of raw animal organs. What's the implicit statement the author is making from this juxtaposition? Who the heck knows?

In the course of Jules' investigation, he uncovers a convoluted racketeering scheme involving Russian gangsters, a media mogul, and plenty of Chicago bureaucrats. Admittedly, using Chicago as the backdrop for corruption, is as low-hanging a fruit one could hope to pick. In fact, the fruit is no longer hanging, but laying on the ground not far from the tree. That is, Chicago and corruption are inherently cliché. But golly! Ain't it the truth? I mean, nothing freaking changes except the names of the politicians — and sometimes that doesn't change either.

Bureaucracies are inherently corrupt. They can't help themselves. It's in their DNA. Maybe it's my DNA that makes me extra sensitive to machine-politics corruption. After all, my great-granddad, Morris Eller, was an old fashioned Prohibition-era boss who, according to the newspapers of the time, ruled Chicago's "bloody 20th ward" with an iron fist, and was particularly adept at extorting money from the poor huddled masses of the Maxwell Street Market. Great-granddad was affectionately known by many names in his day, among them political dictator, city hall chieftain, scoundrel, and tyrant. In addition, he was respectfully referred to as Boss Eller while his employees were known as Boss Eller's henchmen, and his election day shenanigans were considered acts of terrorism (yes, they used the word "terrorism" back then). Despite once sharing a headline with Al Capone — the man who put the "bloody" in the bloody 20th ward — Great-granddad was never called a gangster. But nobody's perfect.

Not coincidentally, I spent seven years as a parking officer for a small Colorado city 25 miles northwest of Denver, and saw firsthand how a municipal bureaucracy drifts into a de facto system of corruption, cronyism, and hypocrisy. Yes, bureaucracies are inherently corrupt, a fact that will ensure fiction writers will always have something to write about.

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Marc Krulewitch Book Tour

Marc Krulewitch's Jules Landau mysteries take place in Chicago, where he was born and where his family has lived for generations. He now resides in Colorado.

For more information about the author, please visit his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Windy City Blues by Marc Krulewitch

Windy City Blues
Marc Krulewitch
A Jules Landau Mystery

Jules Landau feels right at home in the ethnic stew of the Windy City, where he's indebted to the hopes and schemes of his criminal ancestors. Street-smart and college-educated, Jules wants nothing more than to go straight and atone for his family's past. But when he investigates a horrific killing, Jules uncovers a hidden world of lucrative corruption.

Jack Gelashvili had his head bashed in and no one knows why. The most obvious answer is that he was a parking cop, a universally loathed job — especially in Chicago. Turns out there's a lot of money to be made on expired meters, and when Jules starts making noise, he starts making enemies — from the head of a media empire to the mastermind of a prostitution ring. When rumors of bloodthirsty Mob connections arise, Jack's gorgeous cousin Tamar objects, and Jules is increasingly swayed by the logic and charms of the sexy baker. Following this beautiful woman into the cloistered world of Georgian immigrants, Jules brings his hunches, his family connections, and his gun. But he's just one man against a pack of criminals with a million reasons to shoot first.

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