Saturday, February 02, 2013

Please Welcome Novelist Collin Tobin

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Collin Tobin

We are delighted to welcome novelist Collin Tobin, who is on tour with Red Adept Publishing promoting his new book. We encourage you to visit all the host sites on his tour; you can find a schedule of events here.

Collin's new novel of suspense is Upload (Red Adept Publishing; December 2012 trade paperback and ebook formats).

Today Collin shares with us some thoughts about the "big reveal".

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I have a confession to make. I've been having a crisis of faith lately with the mysteries and thrillers genre. I'm wondering if you've felt the same. My problem occurs at a very specific point in the story — in the first few pages of the final, big reveal, when all is about to be explained. I cringe, grit my teeth, and can hardly read on. As you know, for the most part, the ultimate truth behind the most complex mysteries ends up being as mundane and unimpressive as you can make it: Oh, Arnold didn't get enough love from his mother. Suzanne haunted the house because of her wrongful death. Turns out, that evil oil company up the road was dumping on protected land and killed people to cover it up. What? That guy? Oh, he kills because he witnessed his mother's own killing. Or, the narrator is actually the killer and he has been — tsk-tsk — lying to us all along! That greedy land developer, turns out they greedily wanted to develop more land! The answers are all so … blah.

Collin Tobin
Photo provided courtesy of
Collin Tobin

But what was the great resolution I was hoping for? Shouldn't the answer to most complex puzzles be just plain elegantly simple? Most times, I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting, but in the middle of the story, I was there. I was ready to be wowed — to be slapped in the face with the answer and walk away dumbfounded, working my stunned jaw loose. At some point in the story, I'm convinced there are a wonderful array of possibilities to explain the mystery. Right now, I'm considering a branching infinity of possible scenarios. Why then, when I learn the core of the mystery, am I so utterly disappointed? Maybe it's because I know it's the end of that great part of any mystery: the enchanted wonderment stage. But what also bothers me is that when finally armed with the answer to the story's riddle, why is the story, when reread or watched again, so completely flat, boring, and unimaginative? Oh — all those great things I had hoped for, the infinite array of possibilities and explanations — you can forget those. Writing a mystery or thriller is really just like mismanaging a secret in a very controlled fashion. I believe it just might be the long teasing out of the answer that intrigues us, and not the answer itself.

Perhaps that's why some of brand of mysteries stick with us longer — when they're somewhat unresolved and still up for debate. For movies, I'm thinking of Mulholland Drive. But how does a reader walk away from an unresolved mystery? Intrigued? Discontented? Angry? I think that may be it. It's not that the explanation to the mystery is too mundane, it's that if an explanation is supplied, it is hardly ever fantastic and satisfying enough to replace the thrill of pending discovery. It's the depressing denouement. It's just simply over. We don't like to let go.

I even wrote a short story about what happens to the characters when they're dismissed from the story forever, called “The Denouement Room”. The story told two stories: the main story, and the story of what happens to the characters once they're dismissed. They all get shoved into this little room with no lines, no stage directions, and only the vaguest of memories of their original purpose bouncing around in their heads. I suppose this is what the characters of past books we've read do now, if they're lucky enough to remain immortal — bounce around in our brain as they repeat little bits of favorite dialogue, make the same interesting gestures that somehow caught our attention, replay the brief moments of courage and bravery we wish we saw in ourselves.

So I think I've solved it — for now. My faith in thrillers and mysteries cautiously restored. I'll accept the simple conclusions of the most complex, mysterious stories, hoping that just around the corner, another book or movie will come to dupe me once again into thinking so much is possible.

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Collin Tobin lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters. He holds a bachelor's in English and master's in Education. He has worked in the software industry for the past twelve years.

He was the recipient of the Mississippi Literary Festival's 1st place in poetry and has also published poems in character i and The Drum.

When he's not writing, he enjoys re-reading Nabokov's fiction in chronological order, eating very hot salsa, and dreaming up inventions with neither the capital nor the initiative to see them through.

You can learn more about the author and his work on his blog, Gathering Bits of Fluff, or find him on Facebook.

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Upload by Collin Tobin

Collin Tobin

Someone's always watching …

Jay Brooks's life is in chaos. His mother's sudden death has unhinged his father, making Jay a stranger in his own home. He seeks solace by spending his spare time with his best friend, Bennie, but matters are further complicated by his crush on Chloe, Bennie's older sister.

A wheelchair-bound hacker, Bennie Welch practically lives in his basement computer lab. Longing to make genuine connections to the outside world, he secretly films people's precious memories for later sale and surfs the crowds at rave parties, despite the danger to his frail body.

One night, Jay's hobby of Wi-Fi hotspot hunting turns serious when he unwittingly blunders into the scene of a crime and downloads a mysterious transmission. When Jay brings Bennie the contents of the transfer, Bennie embraces the opportunity to use his skills to investigate.

As Jay and Bennie dig deeper into the world of electronic secrets, they find that the simple video has far-reaching implications that not only threaten their lives, but society as they know it. Tracing the mysterious coalition responsible leads them on an inexorable journey that will change them forever. Print and/or Kindle Edition  Barnes&Noble Print Edition and/or Nook Book  Kobo eBooks

1 comment:

  1. I remember mysteries for how they are solved more than the who and why.


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