The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


My current WIP novel “The Deadly Dog Show” is just about ready for publication.  The penultimate version is being proofread, edited, and tweaked before being sent next week to a short list of would-be reviewers to critique on Amazon and/or Goodreads.   Please add a comment here after this post or e-mail me directly if you’d like to request a review copy (PDF format) before publication of the book on Amazon KDP.   Reviews improve the author's writing and sell his or her books, so are an essential component of the overall publishing process.   I’ll do one more round of edits and tweaks while that’s occurring and the book should be on Amazon and available for readers to enjoy.  

The new novel features Roger doing an undercover investigation of alleged improprieties at several California dog shows, ably assisted by Robert’s nanny Bruce and by Suzanne.  Bruce is a nanny of many talents, including his abilities as a dog trainer and handler in the show ring.  Vincent Romero, the former CIA agent from Chile who we first met in “The Surreal Killer”, rounds out Roger’s investigative team in this entry in the popular series.  In between finding bodies at dog shows and discovering the identity of Suzanne’s mysterious stalker, Roger and Bruce have time to pick up a purebred Champion hunting dog named Juliet to lend credibility to their undercover identities as an owner/sponsor and a professional handler at several shows and for Bruce to train in tracking and scent work just in time to find a key clue as to who killed the murder victims.

This will be by far the longest novel I’ve written thus far, at more than 78,500 words and still growing a bit.  My normal length for a novel has been about 50K+ words until now.  We thought an epilogue to update the ending might be in order, so that brief additional chapter has been under construction this weekend and will join the rest of the book in proofing and editing later today.  With a predominantly Northern California setting, close to where we actually live, the book is a departure for this series from the previous novels, all of which have been set until now in South America.  It was fun to write about a different place and to think about what Roger and Suzanne would do close to home.  I’ve tried doing this earlier in short stories set in Los Angeles like “Someone Did It to the Butler” (which also featured Vincent Romero and Bruce, available as a post earlier on this blog) and the novelette “The Body in the Parking Structure” (also featuring Vincent and Bruce, available from Amazon with a link on this page), but it’s different in a full-length novel like the present one.

My wife Elaine had a pretty good idea of what Juliet (her favorite character in this book) should be like.  No surprise there.  Juliet is pretty much cloned from our real dog Jolie, our role model for Juliet.  Elaine’s shown Jolie in all of the shows that Juliet participates in during the novel, so she has a good sense of the show locales and peculiarities.  So do I for the most part---I’ve been a spectator at all of the venues described (except for two or three, we're not sure which), and I’ve actually “handled” a dog at one of the dog shows we attended (more details in the new book's Acknowledgements).

Taking Roger and Suzanne on the road may be the wave of the future.  I’ve started several other books for this series, at least as far as the plot and idea phases, that will take place in The Galapagos Islands, Alaska (Anchorage and Denali National Park), the Washington, D.C. suburbs, and (?, no locale as yet).  If any of them come to fruition you’ll see them on Amazon.  There’s also another book in the works featuring South America, maybe Montevideo one more time.  I’ll be visiting Montevideo for a week or two in July and promise to take copious notes.

The idea of letting my series characters solve murders anywhere in the world sounds like a great excuse to travel a bit in real life to find exotic locales.  Does anyone have a suggestion on where they’d like to see Roger and Suzanne go to find another body? If you do, please just add a comment and I’ll do my best to keep a list of nominations for future reference.  By the way, this blog just hosted its 10,000th visit this past week.  Thank you all for your support.  It’s appreciated!

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