If you’re a fan of hard-boiled PI novels like me, you’ll definitely want to check out the Maggie Sullivan series by M. Ruth Myers. . . and now is the perfect time to get an introduction to the character because the author has just released a brand new Sullivan short story FOR FREE! It’s called “The Barefoot Stiff,” and to get your free copy, click the link below and enter coupon code AM64N when you check out.
Also, you should Like the author’s Facebook page, which will keep you abreast of new writing projects.
Finally, be sure to check out her Shamus Award Finalist novel DON’T DARE A DAME (Maggie Sullivan #3).
There are thrillers that focus primarily on plot, narratives that, by in large, burn fast and hot and fizzle out quickly. And these can often be very enjoyable, the literary equivalent of eating a Big Mac when you’re hungry: it’s fast, tastes great . . .but it leaves you hungry again half an hour later.
And then there are slow-burning, perspective-shifting thrillers like Moving Day by Jonathan Stone. This novel is equal parts crime thriller and (unintended) master class in fiction writing. But more on that later. First: the plot.
Peke is a wealthy seventy-two year old retiree who is moving from New York to the beaches of Santa Barbara, California, and on the day before the scheduled move, a seemingly legitimate moving company shows up and transports his belongings to the new home. But then the following day, the actual movers show up, and Peke and his wife realize they’ve been robbed. Peke, a Holocaust survivor, manages to track his down his belongings and recovers them. Nick, the sadistic thief behind the caper, then raises the stakes by kidnapping Peke in exchange for the stolen goods. What I dig about this plot is the utter low-tech-ness of the crime itself. Nick is that unicorn rare criminal who has intelligence, patience, and discipline, which makes him the perfect adversary to Peke, who also possesses those qualities.
For my money, the character development and the never-ending supply of brilliantly written passages are what make this book so satisfying. Stone manages to capture the internal worlds of a career criminal and a Holocaust survivor, and this frequent shifting of perspective adds layer upon layer of meaning to the narrative. Below I’ve quoted a few fantastic passages from the book, so you get an idea of what I’m writing about.
From a passage where Peke discovers outside the thief’s hideout a large pile of trash: “He feels that simple realization like a weight on him. Amid the exhilaration and excitement of retrieving his belongings, a sudden weight of brooding. . .This is where it will end up for the thief, too. Their odd communion. Meaninglessness piled high.”
From a passage where Peke remembers being in Poland evading the Nazis: “He watches the bug. . .He looks at it. Watches it scoot frantically around on his broad, ancient, creviced palm, looking for a path, an exit. . .Then, impulsively, he slaps the black bug into his mouth, bites down a few times, hears and feels the unmistakable crunch in his jaw, then swallows.”
Paragraphs like these are everywhere in this book, and Moving Day is worth reading for the pure joy of language alone.
Bottom line, this thriller inches along at a snail’s pace, builds the tension very, very slowly, yet very, very effectively. You live and breathe in Peke’s world, in Nick’s world, and that level of realism makes for a highly readable book. Put another way: Moving Day is no Big Mac, and Jonathan Stone is no short order cook. Moving Day is a complex entree with a multitude of tastes and textures, and Jonathan Stone is a master chef.
It’s pretty cool that GO GO GATO has, for now, cracked an Amazon list. Right now, it is #69 on Best Sellers for Baseball. . . right in front of a book about Dom Zimmer, which is awesome. I was a Cubs fan during the late 1980s when Zimmer coached there, and they stunk. RIP Zim!
Here’s the proof as it were:
It’s almost been one week since my novel was released, and I’m pleased to report that there are (7) five-star and (2) four-star reviews on Amazon. As an obsessive-compulsive personality type, of course, I’ve read every word of those reviews, and I’m grateful and flattered some readers have taken the time. I’m also grateful for any and all who have bought my book and will just ask when you finish it to a) drop a few nice words over on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and b) maybe mention GO GO GATO on social media. Again, for a small press author, word of mouth is crucial, so I apologize if I harp on the review requests. . .
In other news, I finished a final edit on A SUNDAY IN ALPHABET LAND (my gritty crime thriller), and I’m shopping it to agents. Quick word to aspiring authors like myself: take your time when writing the agent query letter and plot synopsis. These are, I’ve learned the hard way, incredibly important. I’ve linked to some excellent articles and websites below that will help in those enterprises. (Thanks to my wife Libby for hunting them up for me and forcing me to read them!).
And finally, I just turned in final grades for the semester, and it is time to go back to work on the Eli Sharpe series. Over the next several months, I will be revising and editing the second Eli Sharpe book, which should be released some time later next year, and I will begin writing the third book in the series. After spending three months writing a pretty dark novel, I’m looking forward to getting to know Eli Sharpe again–his sarcasm, his strong moral compass, and, of course, his keen skills of detection.
Excellent website for sharpening your agent query letter:
Great article on the basics of writing a plot synopsis for agents:
There are already some very kind words about my novel on Amazon and Goodreads, which I really appreciate it. (6 five-star reviews, 2 four-star reviews.) Just a quick reminder: GO GO GATO is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com, among other places. You can get the eBook for less than a sawbuck ($4.95) and the trade paperback is only $13.
Amazon review excerpts:
From LA Noir: “Max Everhart scores a homerun with this first novel in his new Eli Sharpe mystery series. . .Like a good curveball you won’t see the twist ending coming at you.”
From stewartgark: “The whole plot flows along so nicely. The ending didn’t feel rushed at all. I’m a big fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross series and I think that Everhart has the potential of reaching that level as well. I look forward to the next in the Eli Sharpe series.”
From Eddit Iturbi: “Everhart sets this fine novel in Asheville, NC and he breathes new life into an old form with a convoluted plot, detailed characters, and a very flawed detective. Chandler would be proud.”
From Elizabeth Dutton: “This excellent neo-noir mystery expertly blends baseball and detective work.”
Finally, the day is here: Go Go Gato is officially available for sale (eBook or trade paperback) on Amazon! To all those who pre-ordered, I say thank you. I worked pretty hard on this book, I’m proud of it, and I sincerely hope everyone enjoys reading it half as much as I enjoyed writing it. And again, if you do read my book and enjoy it, please do me one more favor and write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and well, anywhere else. And then, tell a friend about it. Or an enemy. Or both.
Some more good news: to celebrate my book launch, I am the guest blogger today over at Southern Writer’s Magazine. I’m honored and grateful they allowed me to write 424 words about how I managed to write and publish my first novel. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t easy.) I’d love for you to click on the link below and read my article and spend some time browsing and/or subscribing to Southern Writer’s Magazine. I read and enjoy it all the time.
I’ll sign off by saying it has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid to be a novelist, and now, my dream is coming true. So thanks again!