Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Moonlight Weeps, A Dick Moonlight Mystery by Vincent Zandri, Now Available at a Special Price

Amazon Kindle Countdown Deals are limited-time discounts on Kindle-exclusive books.

Omnimystery News is pleased to present you with one of today's titles … but take advantage of this deal now as the price will go up to its digital list price soon! (See the countdown clock on the book product page to see how much time remains on this deal.)

Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri

Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri

A Dick Moonlight Mystery (8th in series)

Publisher: Down & Out Books

Price: 99¢ (as of 04/29/2015 at 8:30 PM ET).

Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri, Amazon Kindle format

Nominated for the 2015 Thriller Award for Best Paperback Original by the International Thriller Writers organization.

Dick Moonlight can't help himself. Moonlight, the private detective known as the head case with a bullet lodged in his brain, should be grateful for his current job. But when it becomes clear the cash-starved brain surgeon he's been hired to drive around is protecting his son from a rape conviction, Moonlight is disgusted.

Worse, when the charges turn into a case of "reckless murder," Moonlight's the only one trying to keep the kid from the electric chair though the girl — a state senator's daughter — clearly committed suicide. Then Moonlight and his unwilling assistant, a fat Elvis impersonator owing him money, stumble into a much bigger plot and are soon dodging Hollywood obsessed drug-running Russian thugs, corrupt government officials, and the specter of Moonlight's recently diseased girlfriend.

Moonlight Weeps by Vincent Zandri

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

No Place To Hide, The Devlin Group by Shannon Stacey, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the author …

No Place To Hide by Shannon Stacey

No Place To Hide by Shannon Stacey

The Devlin Group (4th in series)

Publisher: Shannon Stacey

Price: 99¢ (as of 04/29/2015 at 8:00 PM ET).

No Place To Hide by Shannon Stacey, Amazon Kindle format

Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she's back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he's only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he'll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack's about to learn what hell really is.

In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer's identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.

No Place To Hide by Shannon Stacey

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Review: Cold Trail by Janet Dawson

Mysterious Reviews: Reviews of New Mysteries, Novels of Suspense, and Thrillers

A Mysterious Review of Cold Trail by Janet Dawson. A Jeri Howard Mystery.

Review summary: There is a great deal of underlying tension and suspense in this solidly plotted mystery, as the series lead searches for her missing brother. With sharply drawn characters, vivid settings, and a relentless pace, this is a strong entry in this series. (Click here for text of full review.)

Our rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cold Trail Janet Dawson

Cold Trail
Janet Dawson
A Jeri Howard Mystery
Perseverance Press (April 2015)

Available from Amazon.comAvailable from Barnes & Noble

Publisher synopsis: Oakland PI Jeri Howard tackles her most personal case yet. Her brother, Brian, has disappeared and has been missing for four days before she is notified. The trail is getting colder as the anxious PI searches for Brian across Sonoma County for clues to explain why he disappeared. She'd thought Brian's life was in great shape. But her investigation uncovers cracks in his marriage and problems with his job. To complicate matters, there's a body on a boat along with Brian's MedicAlert bracelet, and two police detectives who think Brian is involved in the homicide.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking …

New This Week: Fury, The Blur Trilogy by Steven James

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during April 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Fury by Steven James

Fury by Steven James

The Blur Trilogy (2nd in series)

Publisher: Skyscape

Price: $3.99 (as of 04/29/2015 at 6:30 PM ET).

Fury by Steven James, Amazon Kindle format

The disturbing visions that helped Daniel Byers solve a deadly mystery have finally quieted, and the sixteen-year-old basketball star is looking forward to things settling back to normal. But when his father mysteriously disappears, Daniel realizes that the key to finding his dad rests in deciphering his chilling hallucinations.

Soon, long-buried secrets begin to surface, revealing clues that could help him locate his father. But as the past collides with the present and reality begins to blur around him, Daniel faces a race against time to save his dad before it's too late.

Fury by Steven James

See also the first book in this trilogy, Blue, for $3.99 on Kindle.

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Exposure, A Suspense Thriller by Alan Russell

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during April 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Exposure by Alan Russell

Exposure by Alan Russell

A Suspense Thriller

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Price: $3.99 (as of 04/29/2015 at 5:30 PM ET).

Exposure by Alan Russell, Amazon Kindle format

This is a new ebook edition of a mystery first published by Minotaur Books in 2002.

Capturing the seedy and sordid side of life isn't anything new for photojournalist-turned-paparazzo Graham Wells. But when a shoot turns deadly — secretly causing the car crash that takes the lives of two beloved public figures — he knows the ensuing media spotlight could easily destroy him. Fortunately, no one else knows his shameful secret except for a mysterious CIA operative, and that clandestine agent swears he'll keep quiet … for a price.

Blackmailed into documenting the orchestrated downfalls of some of Hollywood's biggest stars, Graham finds his role in the operation disturbingly murky. But the picture soon begins to clear and comes into horrifying focus after he prevents the suicide of celebrated actress Lanie Byrne, revealing a sprawling web of lies that reaches from the glittering lights of Hollywood to the dark political intrigue of Europe and Washington, DC.

Exposure by Alan Russell

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Sinful Resurrection, The CSA Case Files by Kennedy Layne, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the author …

Sinful Resurrection by Kennedy Layne

Sinful Resurrection by Kennedy Layne

The CSA Case Files (2nd in series)

Publisher: Kennedy Layne

Price: 99¢ (as of 04/29/2015 at 5:00 PM ET).

Sinful Resurrection by Kennedy Layne, Amazon Kindle format

Sins of the past have been resurrected, predetermining their path to love. Can they overcome the treacherous obstacles set before them?

Jax Christensen likes his life just the way it is. He has his work, his club, and the occasional naked submissive to take his mind off everything else. He doesn't talk about the past, as there is no point in reminiscing about things that cannot be altered. His chest has an empty hole where his heart used to be, but he's grown accustomed to the constant pain. It's become the only thing that reminds Jax that he's alive.

Emily Weiss has never forgotten the one and only man she's ever loved. She's hidden for two long years in an attempt to protect Jax and herself, desperate to try and stay one step ahead of those who want her dead. She has information that could destroy the United Nations. Unfortunately, they want to eliminate her first. Emily's exhausted and wants more than anything to feel safe once more. That was how she felt in Jax's strong arms and she longs to be there again.

When Jax sees that Emily has risen from the grave, his heart and soul are full of anger and regret. He'll never forgive her lies and deception. He will, however, keep her safe. He hates her for what she's done, but he doesn't want her death on his conscience. He'll protect her and then walk away.

Secrets are revealed and the danger is more sinister and deadly than anyone could have guessed. Jax and Emily are forced on the run and the passion they once felt for one another burns even hotter and brighter the second time around. Jax doesn't know how he'll walk away this time or if he even wants to. Emily is determined to expose a high-level official within the United Nations and walk away unscathed. She wants a second chance with her first love — even if it kills her.

Sinful Resurrection by Kennedy Layne

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Old Scores, A Barry Gilbert Mystery by Scott Mackay

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during April 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Old Scores by Scott Mackay

Old Scores by Scott Mackay

A Barry Gilbert Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Diversion Books

Price: $2.99 (as of 04/29/2015 at 4:30 PM ET).

Old Scores by Scott Mackay, Amazon Kindle format

This is a new ebook edition of a mystery first published by Minotaur Books in 2003.

When a music mogul is found strangled in his apartment, Detective Barry Gilbert immediately finds out he is no ordinary victim: music-producer Glen Boyd has a prodigious list of enemies,men and women who have any number of reasons to kill him. Even Gilbert once wanted to murder the man for nearly stealing his wife.

From Boyd's own world-famous ex-wife, to a rock guitarist, to a notorious drug kingpin, Boyd's shady business dealings have affected the wrong people in the wrong way. But there is one suspect Gilbert is too close to, and refuses to include even though evidence keeps piling up,Regina, the woman he has been married to for the last twenty years. With outside pressure mounting, time becomes critical, and Gilbert must embark upon a distressing and personal journey to find the true culprit behind this sad but vengeful crime before his family is torn apart.

Old Scores by Scott Mackay

See all three mysteries in the Barry Gilbert Series for $2.99 or less each on Kindle. The first book in the series, Cold Comfort, is currently FREE!

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Caedmon Wolves, A Boxed Set by Ambrielle Kirk, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Obsidian Gem Publishing …

Caedmon Wolves by Ambrielle Kirk

Caedmon Wolves by Ambrielle Kirk

A Boxed Set

Publisher: Obsidian Gem Publishing

Price: 99¢ (as of 04/29/2015 at 4:00 PM ET).

Caedmon Wolves by Ambrielle Kirk, Amazon Kindle format

Enjoy the first 3 books in the Caedmon Wolves series in one steamy bundle!

Wolf's Haven (Book One) — Can Tamara trust Devin or will the memories of her abuse dissuade her from being bound to the wolf?

Wolf's Promise (Book Two) — True love awaits in the path of danger, but will Selene and Nick let the chaos destroy their bond?

Wolf's Touch (Book Three) — Wolf shifter Jayson will put his life on the line for Arianna, but will he gain her love and acceptance in return?

Caedmon Wolves by Ambrielle Kirk

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The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence, a New 1st in Series Mystery Introducing Bianca Goddard

Omnimystery News is pleased to present in this post one of this month's new 1st in Series titles, a mystery, thriller or suspense novel that introduces a recurring character (or characters) …

The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence

The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence

Series: A Bianca Goddard Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence, Amazon Kindle format

What we know about the character: Bianca Goddard is the daughter of an infamous alchemist, in pursuit of science to create medicines to help the sick in Tudor London. More about her first murder …

In the year 1543 of King Henry VIII's turbulent reign, the daughter of a notorious alchemist finds herself suspected of cold-blooded murder …

Bianca Goddard employs her knowledge of herbs and medicinal plants to concoct remedies for the disease-riddled poor in London's squalid Southwark slum. But when her friend Jolyn comes to her complaining of severe stomach pains, Bianca's prescription seems to kill her on the spot. Recovering from her shock, Bianca suspects Jolyn may have been poisoned before coming to her — but the local constable is not so easily convinced.

To clear her name and keep her neck free of the gallows, Bianca must apply her knowledge of the healing arts to deduce exactly how her friend was murdered and by whom — before she herself falls victim to a similar fate …

The Alchemist's Daughter by Mary Lawrence

When a Hard Rain Falls, A Suspense Thriller by Jeffrey Miller, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the author …

When a Hard Rain Falls by Jeffrey Miller

When a Hard Rain Falls by Jeffrey Miller

A Suspense Thriller

Publisher: Jeffrey Miller

Price: 99¢ (as of 04/29/2015 at 3:00 PM ET).

When a Hard Rain Falls by Jeffrey Miller, Amazon Kindle format

What starts out as a long overdue camping trip for Keith Mitchell and his two sons turns into one of terror and survival. Mitchell, who wants to spend a week with his two sons before his estranged wife moves them to another state, takes them on a camping trip — the kind that Mitchell used to go on when he was a child.

However, the trip quickly turns deadly as Mitchell battles the forces of nature during a torrential thunderstorm and puts him on a collision course with a broken man on the run from the law who won't let anyone stand in his way.

When a Hard Rain Falls by Jeffrey Miller

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Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Gathering Prey by John Sandford, New in Bookstores during April 2015

Today's featured new hardcover mystery, suspense, or thriller title scheduled to be published during April 2015 is …

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

Gathering Prey by John Sandford, a Lucas Davenport Mystery (25th in series)

Publisher: Putnam

Gathering Prey by John Sandford, Amazon Kindle formatGathering Prey by John Sandford, Nook formatGathering Prey by John Sandford, iTune iBook formatGathering Prey by John Sandford, Kobo format

They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes — they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.

Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she'd befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody's killing her friends, she's afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She's hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn't know what to do.

Letty tells Lucas she's going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty's getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman's story, though, he begins to think there's something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger — but just may change the course of his life.

Gathering Prey by John Sandford

For a list of more new hardcover titles to be published this month, visit our New Mysteries page for April 2015. For new paperback mysteries, visit The Mystery Bookshelf where a selection of April 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers are shelved.

Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco, New on the Mystery Bookshelf during April 2015

New on the Mystery Bookshelf during April 2015 …

Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco

Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco, An Allie McMurphy, Candy-Coated Mystery (3rd in series)

Publisher: Kensington

Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco, Amazon Kindle format

Red, White, And Boom …

It's not Fourth of July on Mackinac Island without fireworks and fudge. The Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is supplying the treats — and Allie has hired Rodney Rivers, the biggest name in aerial displays, to create an unforgettable spectacle. Unfortunately, Allie finds him dead, covered with screaming chicken fireworks, just before the entire warehouse of pyrotechnics goes up in smoke. Is it arson or is it murder?

Allie and her bichonpoo, Mal, must sift through the suspects until the killer is caught and the island can enjoy a star-spangled celebration.

Oh Say Can You Fudge by Nancy Coco

To see more new paperback titles scheduled to be published this month, visit The Mystery Bookshelf for April 2015. For new hardcover mysteries, visit New Mysteries where for a list of April 2015 mysteries, novels of suspense, and thrillers is provided.

The Devil's Quota, A Novel of Suspense by Tom Avitabile, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, The Story Plant …

The Devil's Quota by Tom Avitabile

The Devil's Quota by Tom Avitabile

A Novel of Suspense

Publisher: The Story Plant

Price: $1.99 (as of 04/29/2015 at 1:00 PM ET).

The Devil's Quota by Tom Avitabile, Amazon Kindle format

The devil is in the details when the one percent gets what the one percent wants … no matter what, no matter how much or how legal. NYPD Detective Mike DiMaggio is catapulted into an international conspiracy when the details of a not-so-routine murder investigation get his partner killed and him fired. His suspicion that Cassandra Cassidy, a sexual behavioral psychiatrist right out of the society pages, is somehow connected to this syndicate proves to be dangerous. It sets him on a journey that soon has him pitted against the most powerful forces in this country and around the world.

Meanwhile, one victim of this international treachery, special forces operative Master Sergeant Eric Ronson, abandons his unit and is hell-bent on protecting Setara, the Afghan girl he loves, from its evil grip. He's an army of one, and soon his rescue mission crosses international datelines and crosses paths with Detective DiMaggio. None of this is good for the fat cat power brokers and inhuman traffickers who will soon learn the high cost of satisfying the Devil's Quota.

The Devil's Quota by Tom Avitabile

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New This Week: Scrappily Ever After, A Cumberland Creek Mystery Novella by Mollie Cox Bryan

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during April 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Scrappily Ever After by Mollie Cox Bryan

Scrappily Ever After by Mollie Cox Bryan

A Cumberland Creek Mystery Novella

Publisher: Kensington

Price: $1.99 (as of 04/29/2015 at 12:30 PM ET).

Scrappily Ever After by Mollie Cox Bryan, Amazon Kindle format

Springtime may be for lovers, but for one of the ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop, it's turning into a season of conflict. Still smarting from her divorce, Vera can't decide whether to accept a marriage proposal. She doesn't want to spoil a good thing by putting another ring on her finger. On the other hand, her mother Beatrice has flown off to France with the man of her dreams. But when folks claim to have seen Bea around town and Vera can't reach her, she starts to search for her mother. Is Bea still in France? And if not, what has happened to her?

As Vera tries to solve the mystery of her missing mother, other problems crop up for the scrapbookers, including a health crisis in Sheila's family and a surprise announcement from Paige's son. If only life could be as neat and pretty as a scrapbook album! Some of the answers to their recent dilemmas will bring surprises that the croppers could never have predicted!

Scrappily Ever After by Mollie Cox Bryan

See all of the books in the Cumberland Creek Series. The 5th book in the series, to be published in September, is available to pre-order.

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A Conversation with Crime Novelist Josh K. Stevens

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Josh K. Stevens

We are delighted to welcome author Josh K. Stevens to Omnimystery News today.

Josh introduces former gangster Deuce Walsh in the first of a thriller trilogy, Scratch the Surface (280 Steps; April 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats), and we recently had the chance to spend some time with him talking about it.

— ♦ —

Omnimystery News: Introduce us to the lead characters of Scratch the Surface. What is it about them that appeals to you as a writer?

Josh K. Stevens
Photo provided courtesy of
Josh K. Stevens

Josh K. Stevens: Deuce and Colm are my pulp version of The Odd Couple. They were brought together by chance (Deuce is expecting a baby with Colm's sister) and, while they have similar mindsets, they approach their problems and their lives from vastly different perspectives. I love the character of Deuce because in all actuality, he's a pretty average guy with a few skeletons in his closet. He's trying, in vain, to put those days behind him and lead a normal life but he can't seem to get away from the sultry sirens of his past life trying to call him back. He misses the adventures, the "fun", of his youth. I think that everyone can associate with that on some level. Everyone, even those who seem to have their lives figured out, can't help but sometimes look back at some previous point in their life and say, "Man, those people I was with, that life I was leading, I wish I could go back and do that again for a bit." It's a pretty natural emotion to glorify the "simple days", the "good old days." Colm, on the other hand, is the guy that is leading a sordid variation of the life that Deuce misses. The only difference is that Colm's just not good at it. He's a horrible gambler, his crew doesn't take him seriously, and he really has no real "resume" to speak of. But Colm is a likeable guy, a loyal guy, and there's something to be said for that. What appealed to me most about these two characters was that they are real people who find themselves in an extraordinary situation. I'm always curious about how "normal "people react when the chips are down.

OMN: How do you expect these characters to develop as the series progresses?

JKS: I definitely want the characters to change from book to book. I want them to evolve and grow as the situation around them does. Obviously there are threads that keep them connected to the person that they started off as because that's how real life is. No matter how much you grow, there's always something that makes you remain true to yourself.

OMN: Into which fiction genre would you place your book?

JKS: I would classify my book as a pulp novel. It's really a throwback to the classic hard-boiled thrillers of the forties and fifties but updated to have a contemporary feel. The biggest disadvantage to the voice and style that I write in is that I realize that it's a genre that is very specific. Not everybody out there is going to like reading about an anti-hero. Fortunately, I think that's the case for anyone who writes any type of genre specific story.

OMN: Tell us something about Scratch the Surface that isn't mentioned in the publisher's synopsis.

JKS: Deuce Walsh is a wiseguy who was left for dead. He's leading his life as a regular Joe under an assumed identity and gets pulled back in to the life when his brother in law is in danger. The only way out is to finish one last job and hope that he makes it out alive.

OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in the book?

JKS: In a roundabout way, everything that I write is based on personal experience. I just add some excitement to what's happening. As for the characters in the series, every single one is based (some more loose than others) on people that I know. Some of the events are based on fact but a lot of what I write is a retelling of some capacity of the truth.

OMN: Tell us a little more about your writing process.

JKS: When I'm writing, I always let the story expand. When I come up with a character, I get to know them a little bit, but I let the character tell me who he or she is. Once that's been established, the character leads the way and I follow behind, writing what I'm seeing them do. It's really the characters who develop the story, letting me know what their needs are, where they have to go in order to move the plot along. When I start, I have an idea of the cast of characters that are going to appear, but the character list expands based on necessity. They also contract... but that's mostly because it's a pulp novel. No one is ever really safe in a pulp novel.

OMN: And where do you most often find yourself writing?

JKS: My writing environment for this trilogy changed with each book. I needed to find a place that was conducive to the particular book that I was writing. I wrote the first and second books mostly in my garage at my workbench and the third book was written in my office. Generally, when I'm writing, I need to have my computer, my music, and a pack of cigarettes. A drink helps sometimes, but that's generally optional. As long as I have those items, I can write anywhere.

OMN: How did you go about researching the plot points of your stories?

JKS: For the majority of my work, fact checking was unnecessary. I try to write about places and things that I know. For the few items that needed to be checked, I spent time on the internet doing research or I reached out to friends who had the proper backgrounds (for instance, my friend Andrew Hawes worked in the medical field for several years. He was who I turned to when I needed verification about how long a stab wound in the hand would take to heal).

OMN: Tell us a little more about the setting.

JKS: While my books are set in a fictional place, they are all based on my surroundings in Midwest America. I take creative liberties regarding certain locales as necessary. I think that I base my works in this area because, when I was growing up, it seemed as though nothing exciting ever happened around here. As I got older, I started to realize that things do happen, they're just kept behind closed doors. I was fascinated.

OMN: If we could send you anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, to research the setting for a book, where would it be?

JKS: When I was writing the Deuce Walsh trilogy, I have always known that there was a backstory in which Deuce fled the country after his attempted murder. In my head, he was living in a small town in the back country of Ireland, trying to stay off the grid, but getting himself in trouble. I'd love to spend some time in Ireland to better prepare for this story. On a smaller scale, I have a story idea that takes place on the border of Texas and Mexico in a town called Eagle Pass, so I'll have to take a trip there at some point.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? And have any of these found their way into your books?

JKS: I'm a movie/television junkie, so I spend a lot of time catching up on that. Presently, I'm making my way through Californication and loving every second of it. I listen to a lot of music and, once a year I make what I call a "life mix", creating a soundtrack to the previous year. I love roller derby so I go to that when I can (this definitely found it's way into the second book in the trilogy Delving Deeper). My favorite past time though is spending time with my kids and reliving my childhood.

OMN: What is the best advice — and harshest criticism — you've received as an author? And what might you say to aspiring writers?

JKS: The best advice that I can offer to anyone was given to me by author Marcus Sakey and it was legitimately one of the best pieces of advice that I've ever been given, "Keep your ass in the chair and your fingers on the keys." That's the only way that you're going to get anywhere as a writer. That's how you create and that's how you learn. That's where you're going to find the voice that works for you. Always be writing.

To me, the harshest criticism is going to come from yourself. When my first book came out, one of the very first reviews that I read was from a blogger who just tore me apart. His review went on for pages and it didn't really have anything in it that I could take away and learn from. Not a single sentence of his critique had anything that I could expound on and rectify. I read it and the only thing I could do was laugh it off. That's really all you can do when you see a bad review. Look it over and see if there's anything that you can learn from your critics. If there's not, then put it aside, move on, and keep writing.

Apart from that, I think the only sound advice that I can offer is to read as much as you write. Take everything in that you can. That's the only way that you're going to get better.

OMN: Complete this sentence for us: "I am a crime novelist and thus I am also …".

JKS: I am a crime novelist and thus I am also completely out of my mind. I have chosen to spend my time living with criminals inside my head, following them from room to room, city to city, watching what they do and listening to what they say, all the while dictating and taking notes. These people are who I have chosen to be my invisible friends. They are bad influences and yet, I love every second of it.

OMN: How did Scratch the Surface come to be titled?

JKS: Throughout the course of writing this novel, I had no real title. The working title was "The Deuce Walsh Piece". I have always had a tendency to go overboard with the titles and it was worrying me that I hadn't come up with anything for this work. I was making a list of titles and none of them really seemed to fit properly. One night, as I was staring at the words on the page, I started to think that, if this was the first book in the trilogy, how did this correlate to what was going to happen next. In this book, as the title states, Deuce Walsh literally is just scratching the surface for what comes next.

OMN: What kind of feedback have you received from readers?

JKS: The most often asked question that I've received is "When's your next book coming out?" It's such a bittersweet question. I love it because it means that people are legitimately interested (or at lease feigning interest, which I'll also accept) in reading more of my work. Yet, I also loathe this question because a lot of the time, I have no idea. My answer is usually "Soon … just keep watching Facebook/Twitter." That usually appeases them.

OMN: Suppose Scratch the Surface were to be adapted for television or film. Who do you see playing the key roles?

JKS: Every piece that I write is written as though I'm watching the story unfold on the movie screen of my mind, so I tend to think a lot about who could potentially play a character if my novel got adapted to the big screen. I would actually love to see Arthur Darvill play Deuce Walsh. I think he's a fantastic actor and I think he could play both the average Joe and the tough guy as the part needed.

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

JKS: As a kid, I was really into the horror novels. I loved R.L. Stine and Alvin Schwartz, so when I first started writing, I used to dabble in horror. I never felt that I was really all that good at it. It wasn't until I got a little older (junior high/high school) and got my first taste of Mickey Spillane that I fell in love with the hard-boiled pulp.

OMN: When selecting a book to read for pleasure now, what do you look for?

JKS: I always look for a character and a plot that I can relate to on some level. I tend to find myself always gravitating towards books about books and writers, hard-boiled pulp, or post-apocalyptic futures. I basically need something that grabs me from the first page, sinks it's teeth in and refuses to let go.

OMN: What types of books do you usually pick up to read today?

JKS: I don't read series fiction regularly, but when I find one that I enjoy, I tend to go out of my way to read it through to it's entirety. My favorite characters are Joe Pitt (from Charlie Huston; a tough guy who is also a vampire written in classic pulp style) and Mike Hammer (from Mickey Spillane; in my opinion, the original tough guy). I've always loved the anti-hero and I thoroughly enjoy both of these characters because they truly just make their own rules. They do what needs to be done to finish the job and they leave a trail of wise-cracks and broken bones in their wake.

OMN: Have any specific authors influenced how and what you write today?

JKS: There are so many authors that I could point to as culprits for my writing style. Stephen King really made me want to become a story teller, but I was reading a lot of Charles Bukowski and Charlie Huston when I started to realize that I had found my voice. Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, and all of the forties and fifties pulp novelists were hugely influential.

OMN: You mentioned you are a film junkie. What do you usually watch?

JKS: I love film and will watch just about anything. I've always been a huge Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino fan. Those two guys are just absolutely brilliant. I was at a very impressionable age when Tarantino first came on the scene. I saw Pulp Fiction at the drive-in when I was in junior high and I was blown away. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I would definitely say that he left an impression on what I write these days. His use of dialogue is absolutely amazing. As far as favorite films go, best to narrow it down to the top five: True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, The Departed, Taken, and The Jerk.

OMN: Create a Top 5 list for us on any topic.

JKS: Top Five Songs that Could (and should) Be Themes for a Pulp Novel

1. Blue Jeans — Lana Del Rey
A story about a girl who is in love with a criminal and she's willing to stand by his side no matter what. Reminiscent of Bonnie and Clyde. Sang in Lana's sultry, sexy, siren's voice, this is what pulp is all about.

2. Alice — Tom Waits
A story about a man who is battling demons about a lost love named Alice. Tom Waits growls through the lyrics with perfect melancholy.

3. Twilight Zone — Golden Earring
The pulp is strong in this one. A full on story about a "double crossed messenger/All alone". Smoking guns, bullets, cheating, double-crossing, this song has it all.

4. Long Cool Woman (in a black dress) — The Hollies
Another strong pulp story. A man in a bar who is working for the Feds on a sting operation, the title character singing a song, and a police raid. What's not to love?

5. Short Change Hero — The Heavy
This one may not be as cut and dried as the rest. Something about this song just screams pulp to me. A very cool beat, fantastic lyrics that sound like their coming from a smokey bar on a rainy street. I can't help but picture a man in a black suit with a skinny tie taking vengeance to the streets.

OMN: What's next for you?

JKS: As far as writing goes, while I've got several story ideas kicking around in my head at the present time (a couple of full on pulp novels, a contemporary western, and a young adult book) I think that the first project I'm going to undertake is polishing up a work that I finished about ten years ago and has been sitting in a drawer ever since. The tentative title is Smooth Beans and it's another pulp thriller that centers around a couple of twenty-somethings working at a chain coffee house. They receive a box of smuggled diamonds at their location that were supposed to sent to the corporate office. They decide that this is fate interjecting and they decide to try to fence the diamonds. A series of events unfolds that forces them to hole up in the coffee house and general chaos ensues. Ever since I started writing this, many moon ago, I kept having the tagline run through my head "What if you fell ass backwards into a life of crime?" Beyond that, I've been slowly working towards opening my own bookstore and I'd like to put some focus on that so that I can make sure that like-minded people have a place to come and discuss the written word.

— ♦ —

Josh K. Stevens' short stories have been published in RAGAD, Boston Literary Magazine, The Woodstock Independent, 55 Words and decomP. The author of Bullets Are My Business, he lives in the Midwest.

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

— ♦ —

Scratch the Surface by Josh K. Stevens

Scratch the Surface by Josh K. Stevens

A Deuce Walsh Thriller

Publisher: 280 Steps

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)

Deuce Walsh is a former gangster trying to keep his past hidden in the middle of nowhere Midwest. Seven years ago, his colleagues — The Chianti Brothers — made a power play and left him for dead. He survived, but had to leave everything behind and start from scratch with a new identity.

But when his brother-in-law Colm, a degenerate gambler and wannabe wiseguy, gets himself into trouble, Deuce is brought back into the life of crime and finds himself helping Colm pay off a debt to the very people who tried to have him killed in the first place.

Scratch the Surface by Josh K. Stevens

 

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