Thanks Private Eye Writers of America: SPLIT TO SPLINTERS is a 2016 Shamus Award Finalist!

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Grateful is my word of the day because Split to Splinters (Eli Sharpe #2) is a finalist in the Best P.I. Paperback Original category for the 2016 Shamus Awards.

Bill Pronzini.  Ross MacDonald. Harlan Coben. Robert Crais. Dennis Lehane. Michael Connelly. Alison Gaylin. Paul D. Marks. M. Ruth Myers. These are just some of the many previous Shamus Award winners whose work I greatly admire, whose books have entertained, thrilled, challenged, and inspired me.  My love of reading is the main reason I started writing, and today, I’m feeling particularly grateful to all the aforementioned novelists for providing the blueprint on how to craft a first-rate mystery.  But, perhaps more importantly, I’m grateful to my publisher Camel Press. Thank you Catherine Treadgold for taking a chance on an unknown writer, and thank you Jennifer McCord for the editorial guidance.

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I’m also grateful to The Private Eye Writers of America, not only for selecting my book as a finalist, but for staying committed to celebrating, recognizing, and elevating the sometimes maligned P.I. genre.  Without PEWA, an organization that I use as a source for book recommendations, I might never have discovered many of my favorite sleuths such as Elvis Cole, Myron Bolitar, and Maggie Sullivan. For that, too, I thank you.

So congratulations to all the nominees this year, and I like forward to meeting everyone in New Orleans at Bouchercon.

 

4 Dialogue Commandments

Originally published at MotiveMeansOpportunity.

Dialogue matters.  A lot.  In fact, I have stopped reading many an otherwise solid novel due to subpar dialogue, and I wanted to provide a friendly warning to authors out there: even casual readers can sniff out sloppy dialogue, and that could cause said readers to stop reading, which could mean they write a bad review, or worse, no review at all.  And what happens to the novelist then?  Well, that lack of reviews could lead the writer in question to quit writing and take up drinking, which could lead to the downfall of his marriage, which could lead to him losing custody of his kids, which could lead to more drinking and financial problems, which could lead to getting behind on the mortgage.  The end result: the writer ends up homeless.  . . .all because he wrote piss-poor dialogue. Tragic.

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Anyhew, I’m in the midst of new writing project, and to remind myself not to screw up dialogue and end up drunk, divorced, destitute, and only seeing my adorable son Harry on every other weekend, I’ve jotted down what I’m calling the 4 Dialogue Commandments. Go forth and spread the good word.

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Commandment #1: Dialogue creates tension.

  • Speaking in completely reductive but useful terms, I lump all novel writing to do with tension-building into two broad categories: characters either DO things that create tension, or characters SAY things that create tension. So when writing dialogue remember to allow a character’s true personality come out to play. If they’re mysterious, dole out their words carefully, and with utmost attention paid to timing. If they’re a smartass, dialogue is an ideal place to showcase that particular talent (yes, it qualifies as a talent; otherwise, I would have no discernable talent).

character counts

Commandment #2: Dialogue builds a character’s backstory.

  • It takes a seasoned novelist to achieve what I’m about to suggest, but it can be done and done well: use dialogue to help round out a character’s backstory. Now I’m not suggesting nor do I advocate for information dumps; those take readers out of the story, and defeat the purpose. But if you can weave in memorable (and, occasionally, important) bits about a character’s biography then dialogue is wonderfully efficient place to do so.

dialogue new newCommandment #3: Dialogue helps create separate and unique characters.

  • Every character, from the protagonist to a minor character with only a few lines, should have a distinct way of speaking. This helps brand them as unique characters, and it helps readers differentiate between characters, especially recurring ones who have lots of dialogue.

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Commandment #4: Dialogue, on occasion, reveals a character’s thoughts and feelings.

  • Again, a seasoned novelist will do this sparingly. Unless, of course, the character in question is someone who wears his or her heart on his or her sleeve and keeps up a constant monologue. But still, dialogue is a nice place to, on occasion, toss in how a character feels about an issue (say, the crime in question, for example). This will help cement a reader’s feelings toward the character, and it will also help other characters who are involved in the dialogue parse their own feelings.

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So how important is dialogue to you as a reader? Got any tips on how to create meaningful and memorable dialogue? Would love to hear from you. Drop us a comment.

Eli Sharpe is #1. . .and FREE!

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Exciting news item #1: “Pink Elephant,” an Eli Sharpe mystery, is FREE on Kindle right now, AND it has reached #1 on one of Amazon’s bestseller lists. Please, go download this fast-paced story involving a stuffed pink elephant, drugs, and a bad guy named Mr. Spoon immediately. (Thank you in advance for leaving reviews on Amazon!)

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Exciting news item #2: Ed, Not Eddie (Eli Sharpe #3) is out today and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Only $4.95 on Kindle or Nook, $14.95 for paperback. This go round, Eli Sharpe is tasked with figuring out who is sending death threats to a hotshot female knuckleball pitcher in rural Cook, South Carolina. It’s good. I promise. So buy it and read it and review it.

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Exciting news item #3: The Kindle version of Split to Splinters (Eli Sharpe #2) is only .99 all throughout the month of April. That’s right: you can get a brilliantly-written, highly-entertaining piece of literature for less than a dollar. AND, if you’ve already purchased the paperback, you can get the Kindle version for FREE! Just get as a gift for someone else who hasn’t read it. Or read it again on a different format. Just get it, pretty please.

Alphabet Land Official Release

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Alphabet Land, my first noir crime thriller featuring the problem-solver The Rook, is out today! Pick up the Kindle version ($4.99) or paperback ($14.95) here on Amazon. For fans of Barnes & Noble, go here, or if you prefer, buy it from Books-a-Million, my former employer while in grad school, here. And, of course, you can purchase my book from IndieBound, too.

I’m pretty proud of this book, and I believe readers will have a tough time putting it down once they start reading. . .and when you do finish reading it,  please write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and/or anywhere else you see fit. Reviews need not be long, but if you want to gush and ramble on and on and on about my brilliance as a novelist, well, I won’t stand in your way.  But seriously, for small press authors, reviews are very important, so thank you in advance for taking the time.

Enjoy!

Max

GO GO GATO Reviews

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.”

http://www.amazon.com/Gato-Eli-Sharpe-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B00M179URO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

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Early Praise for GO GO GATO

Thank you very much to Steve Ulfelder, James L. Thane, Jack Remick, and Paul D. Marks for reading GO GO GATO and providing blurbs. It is always nice when authors you read and respect end up liking your work, too. Check out what they had to say about my debut novel below.

From its hero to its milieu to its eccentric, three-dimensional characters, Max Everhart’s GO GO GATO is a terrific read. The North Carolina minor-league baseball scene feels authentic and beloved, and I was always rooting for protagonist Eli Sharpe. The best news is that this excellent mystery is first in a series. Fans of Harlan Coben will want to check out Max Everhart, a major new talent!

– Steve Ulfelder, Edgar finalist author of WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE

GO GO GATO is the debut entry in a promising new series by Max Everhart, and it’s a fast-paced, entertaining tale. Eli Sharpe is a very appealing character who combines just the right amounts of wit, humor, intelligence and courage, and it will be fun to watch him in action as the series continues to grow and develop.

– James L. Thane, author of UNTIL DEATH and NO PLACE TO DIE

A missing person’s case turns deadly. In Go Go Gato, Everhart executes the classic mystery with ease and more than a few twists. All the modular scenes are there—the sleuth’s office, first encounter with the femme fatale, the victim’s lair, digging up the past, witness interviews, suspect interviews, and that essential—the corpse. But we’re not in LA or Boston. We’re not in SF or NYC. 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.

– Jack Remick, author of THE BOOK OF CHANGES

Max Everhart scores a homerun with this first novel in his new Eli Sharpe mystery series. Eli finds much more than he bargained for in his search for a missing baseball player in this fast read, best enjoyed with a glass of George Dickel in hand since that’s Eli’s favorite “poison”. Like a good curveball you won’t see the twist ending coming at you.

– Paul D. Marks, author of the Shamus Award-Winning novel WHITE HEAT

 

Press Release for GO GO GATO

Camel Press Announces the August Release of Go Go Gato, by Max Everhart: A Ballplayer Vanishes

Seattle, WA.—On August 1, 2014, Camel Press will release Go Go Gato ($14.95, 278 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-911-4), by Max Everhart, the first book in a new mystery/suspense series featuring Eli Sharpe, a former baseball player turned detective.

From its hero to its milieu to its eccentric, three-dimensional characters, Max Everhart’s GO GO GATO is a terrific read. The North Carolina minor-league baseball scene feels authentic and beloved, and I was always rooting for protagonist Eli Sharpe. The best news is that this excellent mystery is first in a series. Fans of Harlan Coben will want to check out Max Everhart, a major new talent!

–Steve Ulfelder, Edgar finalist author of WOLVERINE BROS. FREIGHT & STORAGE

Go Go Gato is the debut entry in a promising new series by Max Everhart, and it’s a fast-paced, entertaining tale. Eli Sharpe is a very appealing character who combines just the right amounts of wit, humor, intelligence and courage, and it will be fun to watch him in action as the series continues to grow and develop.

–James L. Thane, author of UNTIL DEATH and NO PLACE TO DIE

When Almario “Go Go” Gato, a handsome young Cuban baseball player, goes missing mid-season, his agent Veronica Craven hires a private investigator to track down her best client. No police. No press. Enter Eli Sharpe, an Asheville, North Carolina-based ex-ballplayer turned private detective who specializes in investigating professional athletes.

Eli begins by questioning Maria Gato, Almario’s roommate and fraternal twin. Maria watched while both her parents drowned on the boat ride from Cuba to America, so she is naturally desperate to get her only brother back. She tells Eli a secret: Almario may have a problem with drugs and alcohol.

Eli tracks down Almario’s supposed girlfriend, a rich sorority girl, but is soon led to another woman in his life, Sheri Stuckey, his cocaine supplier and fiancée who works in tandem with a gay bartender named Dantonio Rushing. Stuckey, a drug abuser and single mother, claims Almario split because she wanted the two of them to check into rehab. But Rushing, dazzled by Almario’s boyish good looks, tells a different tale: Almario has taken out a $500,000 life insurance policy on himself and named Stuckey as the primary beneficiary.

With the help of his a mentor—a former homicide detective—and five ex fiancées who still care about him, Eli follows Go Go’s trail, determined to locate the elusive ballplayer before one of the nasty people in his life—or his own bad habits—do him in. Max Everhart had this to say about his protagonist:

Eli Sharpe is an amalgamation, a Frankenstein I cobbled together out of spare parts just lying around the junkyard in my brain. From television, I constructed my detective from Atlanta Braves games circa mid-1980s, reruns of The Rockford Files, the first season of The Wire, and the Fletch movies. From hard-boiled PI books, I borrowed elements from Lew Archer, Philip Marlowe, C.W. Sughrue, Archy McNally, and dozens of other fictional detectives. From my own life, I drew on half-remembered conversations between my father and me, fragmented images from my time in Asheville, and god-only-knows what else. But in the end, Go Go Gato is the kind of story I like to read, and Eli Sharpe is the type of detective that I, as a reader, would become obsessed with. Hopefully, other readers will share my obsession.”

Go Go Gato is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.com. After August 1st, it will be also for sale in eBook and print editions on BN.com, the European Amazons, and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order by contacting info@camelpress.com or through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, or Partners West. Libraries can also order through Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service. Other electronic versions can be purchased on Smashwords or at any of the major online ebook stores.

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Gato-Max-Everhart/dp/1603819118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399319850&sr=8-1&keywords=go+go+gato