The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Next Big Thing

My friend Pat Bertram invited me to participate in this blog chain. 

The idea of this ongoing blog chain, called "The Next Big Thing," is to answer 10 questions about my current Work In Progress, and in turn "tag" 5 other writers who will write posts on their blogs. I thought this might be a good excuse to tell you about the next novel featuring Roger and Suzanne; this time they'll be investigating crimes closer to home rather than in South America.  The fun part for me in this work in progress is trying to integrate my love of mysteries with my (and my wife's) love of German Shorthaired Pointers.  I'm also toying with the idea of a future trivia question on this blog asking how many references readers can find to German Shorthaired Pointer dogs in the previous books in the Roger and Suzanne series.  I can think of several.

What is your working title of your book?  "The Deadly Dog Show"

Where did the idea come from for the book?   My wife, who has been urging me for at least a year to get Roger and Suzanne to buy a dog, to go to dog shows, and to solve the killing of an unloved dog show judge.  The suggestion was recently reinforced by a reader of a short story I wrote about a P.I. and a dog who asked me on Facebook to write a Roger and Suzanne novel with a dog-based theme.

What genre does your book fall under?   Hard-boiled mystery

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  I think I see
Kristanna Loken as Suzanne---a tall, blond, and athletic woman of 30-ish.  If you are asking WHO at this point, look her up on Google or The IMDB (try the name or the SyFy Channel series, "Painkiller Jane").  Roger---how about Aaron Eckhart?  They'd make a nice couple.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?   It's too soon to know, but let's try this one:  Roger and Suzanne

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Deaths Than One, by Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram's newest mystery novel is entitled "More Deaths Than One".  Pat was kind enough to subject herself to an interview about her new novel, about how she writes, and about her website and her blog.  For all of you who have gotten this far, enjoy a visit with this successful author.
What is your book More Deaths Than One about?
More Deaths Than One tells the story of Bob Stark who returns to Denver after 18 years in Southeast Asia to discover that the mother he buried before he left is dead again. He attends her new funeral and sees . . . himself. Is his other self a hoaxer, or is something more sinister going on? And why are two men who appear to be government agents hunting for him? With the help of Kerry Casillas, a baffling young woman Bob meets in a coffee shop, he uncovers the unimaginable truth.
What inspired you to write this particular story?
More Deaths Than One started with an obituary for a stranger that could have been for a friend’s mother. The woman who passed away came from the same city as the friend’s mother, had a similar name, and had two sons about the same age as my friend and his brother. Jokingly, I said, “Maybe this really is your mother.” We had great fun that day trying to figure out how it could be possible for him to be the dead woman’s son. The story we came up with captured my imagination, and so I had no choice but to pursue it.   

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Recent Review of The Matador Murders on Amazon

"The Matador Murders, written by Jerold Last, is a fun, fast paced murder mystery about the exploits of a husband and wife team working on a homicide case that implicates a good friend. The story opens with the execution style death of crooked cop Jose Gonzales. When the murder is blamed on his honest associate, Martin Gonzales, Martin sends out a cry for help to Roger Bowman and Suzanne Foster. The married team immediately heads to Paraguay, bringing their six-month-old son and a decidedly different nanny with them. When they see their investigation leads to a series of shady land grabs in Uruguay, and the implications of a vicious drug cartel behind the murder, they go undercover in order to foil the plans of a kingpin they call Mr. X.
            In between the intrigue, actions scenes, and comical moments involving the baby, Roger and Suzanne's snarky banter and loving moments give the story its heart. The secondary characters are drawn well, the bad guys are deliciously evil, and the couple's labyrinthine efforts to get to the heart of the crime make for an enjoyable read.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The first review of The Body in the Bed

"The Body in the Bed", a suspenseful whodunit novella, brings Roger and Suzanne back to Montevideo, Uruguay where another bloody murder needs to be solved.   One reviewer says:   

"Tightly plotted novella that will please followers of the Roger and Suzanne series, as an addition to the existing novels in the series. I enjoyed this *interesting weekend* with characters I plan to meet again.  Nice stairstep storyline that leads logically from beginning to end with a very good feel for the people and the country as usual. This has always been one of the major attractions of this series for me and was not lacking in this short story. I also enjoyed the suggestion of what I suspect may be a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor on the part of the author."

If you're looking for the perfect Holiday Season gift for that friend who likes to read mysteries, you can't beat this novella, which you can purchase for less than $2.00 per gift copy with a single click from Amazon.  Treat yourself to a copy, too.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Iranian Connection

The Uruguayan economy, as was the Argentine, was mainly based on beef, leather, and dairy products for almost two centuries.  Before commercial scale freezing and shipping of beef and beef by-products after World War II created competition from Australia and New Zealand, corned beef, canned beef, dried beef, and leather goods from Uruguay were shipped to Europe, and exported beef products were the source of enough wealth that the Uruguayans had one of the highest per capita incomes in the entire world.   They used this money to build a functional economy that featured free universal health care, free education through college and post-graduate (law, medicine, etc.) professional training for all who wanted it, and a more than adequate system of Social Security for the elderly.

Post-World War II Europe needed meat it couldn't produce in war-ravaged countries, and imported it in large amounts from the USA and South America.  But with competition from many other countries that had cheap land for ranching and with European farm recovery, the bottom fell out of the beef export market for Uruguay, and they became a poor country within a single generation.  They suddenly had a very high cost of living due to large Social Security (for the elderly and disabled) and free universal healthcare systems for an aging population.  Only now are they beginning to recover economically from their former total dependence on the beef industry, and they still are dependent on high quality free range-grown beef as an export item. 

The Body in the Bed

The next entry in the Roger and Suzanne South American mystery series is a new novella, The Body in the Bed" (18,000+  words), which was just uploaded a few minutes ago to Amazon.  In this new book, Roger and Suzanne are back in Montevideo to attend a festive dinner honoring their friend Martin Gonzalez's promotion to police captain.  But, there's a surprise guest waiting for them when they get to their hotel room (hint:  that is where the title of the novella comes from).  Roger and Suzanne are the lead suspects in a murder, their allies on the police forces of Uruguay and Paraguay may be the targets of a conspiracy, and nobody can be trusted.  This fast paced, action filled, novella should satisfy readers of the previous books in the series as we renew acquaintances with old friends and enemies, and say farewell to one of them.  Readers new to the series can enjoy this book as a stand-alone introduction to the region and to the series characters, while series veterans should enjoy getting reacquainted with several characters from The Ambivalent Corpse and some of the later stories.  I've posted a link to the new book in the right hand column on this page.  Just click on the image of the book title, which will take you directly to the book page on Amazon Kindle.  
I like this little story a lot---as you can read in the new accompanying blog entry ("The Iranian Connection"), it has a solidly researched background in reality as the basic premise for the fictional story.