I've been absent from this place for some time now. I offer no excuses. No explanations--other than to say I've been gone for a while working on other projects (other writing projects and, frankly, the day-to-day pressure-cooker of a seventy-plus year old trying to survive on a daily basis).
But I'm back and I thought I'd share some thoughts and images on a few of the projects I'm working on. First up, the fourth novel, a new one, in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales police-procedural series. Here's the proposed cover I'm hoping to see.The artwork, again, is by my friend and a talented artist, Javier Carmona. He hand I have worked on every cover for the Turner/Frank stories from the get-go. As to whether my publisher will actually use this design is up in the air.
The fourth installment is an experiment for me. The first three outings were written with the voice and hubris of Turner Hahn explaining the action, the confusion, and the irony off homicide cops more or less go through everyday. But in this one, I decided to go to a third-person limited voice.
I decided to go down this path because it allows me to introduce some new characters into the series and color in their personalities an hiccups without straining the credulity of using a first-person singular voice.
As to the basic plot itself, it goes like this. It starts out when Turner and Frank discover the body of an honest-to-god cowboy lying face down in an intersection in a quiet residential section of town. And then it goes on to someone trying to kill Turner's girlfriend in a rather diabolical way.
Project number two is the reintroduction of my hit-man character, Smitty. It will be a re-issue of the original novel entitled Dark Retribution. If you are not familiar with this character, let's just say Smitty is unusual in his choices of who he will and will not hunt.
In this novel a cop asks, of all things odd, for Smitty's help. A serial killer is making his mark cutting through the city's night, taking out a cadre of rather highly successful Ladies of the Night in a very disturbing way. The next victim appears to be the woman who leads this cadre of independent ladies. And she happens to be the sister-in-law to the cop.
It's a novel of a hunter hunting the one who hunts the defenseless.
Its dark, extremely noir in taste. And the first of a series I want to continue with.
Again, I'm hoping the publisher will use the artwork provided. There's no guarantee the lettering will look like this (I'm guessing).
Which brings me to the last reintroduction I'm hoping my publisher will bring out this year. This one features my art-thief turned reluctant detective, Jake Reynolds.
Jake is an accomplished artist with an uncanny talent of copying another's masterpiece stroke-by-stroke with the paintbrush. So good are his reproductions for the first forty years of the 20th Century it was almost impossible to tell which masterpiece was the fake, and which was the real one.
But Jake has a fault he constantly has to overcome. On many of his heists, he runs into the form of a dead body littering the floor. Usually in the same room where he wants to exchange his fake for the real canvas. His flaw is that he, for some reason yet to be explained, he cannot abide with someone getting away with murder. He has to solve the crime and bring the murderer to justice.
Hard to do when you are, in fact, committing a felony yourself.
Add to his conundrum, Jake is working in the depths of World War One. So I'm blending in a little history along with a murder mystery.
Actually, this is book two of the series I'm hoping will come out sometime this year. Book One will come out eventually. When, is left to the whim of the gods.
All of the above have the next in the series being worked on. And thus, I've been busy.