#eNovAaW Guys and Gals of Murder, Mayhem & Mystery
I was born and came of age on the mean city streets of New Jersey. As a young man, I served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, which included a year in Vietnam. After that, I began a career as a computer professional in California’s Silicon Valley.
Since quitting the workaday world to pursue my passion for writing, I’ve authored six novels, a collection of stories, and a memoir, titled The Way I Saw It. I’ve written other books, too, that never saw the light of the published world, when I was young and still learning the craft.
My novels include the three volume City Different mystery series, set in Santa Fe, NM, available individually on Amazon, and recently released as a complete Boxed Set, titled The City Different Series. Separately, the three volumes of the series are City Different, Nina’s Time, and Finding Nina. I’ve also published three other novels of contemporary life, the collection of stories and the memoir mentioned above.
Currently, I divide my time between New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment and Orange County, California, pursuing the craft of a writer of contemporary fiction, mystery/suspense and crime/thrillers.
Reacher books–My guilty pleasure
Lee Child is the wildly successful author of 19 mystery/suspense thrillers featuring Jack Reacher, an outsized superman of a protagonist, who only goes by the name of Reacher in the books. Collectively, the novels are referred to as Reacher books, and I have read most of them. I call the series my guilty reading pleasure. A guilty pleasure can be defined as, “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt enjoying it.” I don’t feel guilt when I read Reacher’s incredible exploits, but I sometimes feel I get too much pleasure from them. So let me try to explain.
I began my life as a writer aspiring to write literary novels in the fashion of my artistic heroes: Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, Norman Mailer, Cormac McCarthy, and others. I wanted to be an important writer. But I did have a soft spot for mystery/suspense novels, and after writing several so-called serious books, I decided to try my hand at writing a mystery. That one, City Different, demanded of me a sequel, Nina’s Time. A few years later, a third volume, Finding Nina, happened along, and now, suddenly, I had a series of my own.
Lee Child also writes mystery/suspense novels, but the stylistic differences between his books and mine are vast. I write what I like to think of as literate novels of the genre. My protagonists are ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances–the Internet entrepreneur of City Different, for instance, who suddenly finds himself desperately trying to solve a murder because his wife is the accused murderer, and she has disappeared. And while Lee Child is an excellent writer, who is also very smart and knows how to write page-turning thrillers, he is not what I would call literate. He writes what appeals to his audience, people who like plenty of action and don’t care about having to suspend heavy doses of disbelief, a requirement when reading his books. Child’s protagonist, Reacher, is anything but ordinary. He travels the country alone carrying nothing but a toothbrush. He wears his clothes, usually bought at surplus stores, for three or four days, and when they get dirty, he simply buys more and throws the old ones away. And in the course of his travels, wherever he goes, he naturally finds himself inserted into the midst of action, adventure and romance, all of it rolled into thrilling tales of derring-do.
To say Reacher is outsized is an understatement. He stands six-foot five and weighs in at around 240 pounds, all of it solid muscle. He easily takes on two and three bad guys at a time, and he knows how to fight, clean or dirty, with the fights almost always being no contest. As a former Military Policeman and U.S. Army Major, he knows everything there is to know about every kind of weapon imaginable, including the most exotic military ordinance. He usually outthinks ordinary cops while solving the crimes that generally stump them, and there is always a woman in his adventures, usually described as one of the most beautiful women he has ever seen. In one book, The Affair, there are three, all in a small town in Mississippi, all of them astonishingly beautiful. And of course the beautiful women usually fall for him in the course of his exploits, as he unravels the crime de jour or rescues an old friend who only calls on Reacher because Reacher is the only one who can possibly help.
As I snap up each new edition Lee Child churns out, I like to think of Jack Reacher as Superman’s second cousin, with the mind of Sherlock Holmes and the sex appeal of a rough-hewn rock star. He is truly my guilty reading pleasure.
by Stephen Hazlett
City Different, A Santa Fe Mystery – Volume 1 of the 3 volume City Different Series
Eddie Collins, the CEO of a successful Internet company, has two problems: the dead man found in his Silicon Valley home and the disappearance of his beautiful wife Nina. A bullet hole in the man’s chest needs no explanation. What does is the fact that the police see Nina as the killer. They claim there is evidence that she was the victim’s lover, and that something went wrong between them. Disbelieving, Eddie goes after Nina to prove her innocence. He follows her to the one place he knows she will run to when in trouble, her birthplace of the City Different of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
His search leads him to the home of Helen Rodriguez, Nina’s Aunt Helen and the wealthy widow of an influential New Mexico state senator. At first he believes Helen is his ally in finding Nina and proving her innocence. What he finds, though, eventually leads to what was behind the murder in his California home.
In the meantime, Eddie becomes embroiled in Santa Fe’s modern dilemma—its old ways versus its place in the new west of money and power. His search takes him to the art galleries of Canyon Road and to the places where Santa Fe’s better half congregates. Twice, he is arrested and briefly jailed. His interest becomes piqued by Maribel Orozco, the young, Mexican maid of Helen Rodriguez, and she becomes his confidant. A platonic love interest develops between the two, and as time passes she begins to occupy his thoughts more and more. And he begins to learn fragments of the story behind the murder, involving the embezzlement of millions from his own Internet company. He learns the truth behind his relationship with his wife, Nina, as the tale spins into one of love and lost love, murder and betrayal.
Nina is finally found and arrested, and Eddie is reunited with her in the Santa Fe jail. She reveals her part, though an unwitting one, into the embezzlements, the murder, and the reason she went into hiding. Now that it’s all over, she just wants to go back to the old life she and Eddie had before any of this happened. But Eddie cannot. He finally sees his Nina without the magic glow she’d always carried for him.
by Stephen Hazlett
Santa Fe Detective Ray Sanchez attends with a different agenda: to discover the whereabouts of Nina’s ex-husband, Eddie Collins. In a bizarre twist to the murder in Volume 1 of the series, it is Eddie who is now a suspect in this murder, and he has now disappeared. Detective Sanchez believes that Nina might know Eddie’s whereabouts. As he questions her, a spark of interest is kindled between he and Nina that develops into a romance as the tale progresses.
When Eddie Collins is finally found, he denies any knowledge of the killing, even though his fingerprints were found in Helen’s car where her body was discovered. The murder weapon, also bearing his prints, turns up, and Eddie is arrested for the murder.
Meanwhile, Nina has her own problems: the once wealthy Helen was not only broke when she died; she was in debt. As Helen’s only living relative, Nina inherits the debt, along with some seemingly worthless land north of town that Helen called Canyon Creek. The land was once promising for development, but it always lacked the one essential ingredient in this semi-arid Southwest: water. Now Nina believes she can revive the development of Canyon Creek with an old dream of Helen’s to pipe water to the land.
Into the mix is Ray Sanchez’s own stalking of Nina, with Nina being more than obliging. A sidelight of this is that he keeps her informed of the case against Eddie, which once seemed strong but is now developing cracks. Nina begins to believe that Eddie may not have been Helen’s killer, but the police have no other suspects and the case against him continues.
When someone makes an attempt on Nina’s life, it seems obvious that Helen’s killer is still out there. She finds a clue among Helen’s old files that leads her to suspect who and what was behind the murder: But there is no real proof of anything, just Nina’s speculation.
She decides to put everything behind her, forget about everything that has happened, and start a new life somewhere else. But there is one more stalking of Nina. Helen’s supposed murderer makes what seems like an attempt on her life. And now he is dead, and Nina is in jail, facing serious jail time. Doubt enters Nina’s mind for the first time. She begins to think that the whole story, starting with the man’s supposed murder of Helen and his stalking of Nina was all in her mind. The big question becomes, will Nina’s life be changed forever by all these strange and seemingly disconnected events that are now seemingly transpiring against her?
I write humorous mysteries about an annoyingly tenacious tall, blonde and beautiful, ex-model turned crop-duster who, to quote Lalla Bains, says: “I’ve been married so many times they oughta revoke my license.” I wanted to give readers a peek at a not so-perfect life of a woman who is not afraid of chipping her manicure because she doesn’t have time for a manicure, what with herding a bunch of recalcitrant pilots and juggling work orders just to keep her father’s flagging business alive.
Beginning with #4 in the series, A Dead Red Alibi, Lalla and her family will reside in South East Arizona where she will divide her time between a fledgling P.I. business with cousin, Pearlie Bains, and volunteering as a team member with Cochise County Search and Rescue.
I also write a romantic sailing mystery trilogy: A Dangerous Harbor and Hurricane Hole. Coming in 2015: Dead Rise
A Dead Red Heart
Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.
Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, was an Amazon #1 bestseller, it was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She penned three novels since – two stand alone sequels and a historical/women’s fiction novel that she co-wrote under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Abby hopes to publish another historical novel, and a paranormal romance story in 2015.
Abby, a former lawyer and college professor, has a degree in Economics, a masters in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her three wonderful grandchildren.
Kerry J. Donovan
Kerry was born in Dublin. He spent most of his life in the UK, and now lives in Brittany with his wife of thirty-seven years. He has three children and three grandchildren, all of whom live in England and all of whom think he’s nice (strange the way that works out). An absentee granddad, Kerry praises the advent of video conferencing.
I former lives, Kerry has been a furniture designer/cabinet maker, a research scientist, a house restorer, and now spends all.most of his time writing crime thrillers and what he likes to call adventure yarns. He recently topped the Amazon UK bestseller genre list for his paranormal thriller, The Transition of Johnny Swift.
There are currently two book in his DCI Jones Casebook series and a new addition is due out in the New Year.
I live and write in a small village about thirty miles upstate of NYC, and share my home with my wife, Bonnie and our dog Alfie, an apricot poodle.
When I began writing in 1980, I had no idea where I was headed. Since then, I’ve published thirty-five novels, thirty-three of them with traditional publishers, but I decided I wanted more freedom than the traditional publishers would allow and began a new phase in my life as an Independent Author.
My first Independent novel Angels In Mourning, was my ‘homage’ to the old time private detective books of the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. I used to love to sneak them from my parents’ night-tables and read them as a young boy. Angels, is a modern day take on the old style hardboiled detective. Angels In Mourning won the Amazon.com Book of the Month Reader’s Choice Award shortly after it was published.
My most current thriller, The Cured, was written with Terese Ramin.The idea for this Medical Thriller came shortly after the death of a close friend. I couldn’t help but wonder about the medication….
My previous suspense thrillers are The Hyte Maneuver, (a Literary guild alternate selection); As Peace Lay Dying, Conspiracy of Mirrors, And Down will Come Baby, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and Shadows.
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