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Operation Piňata

Operation Piňata

Revenge on the Mexican Cartels

Book 2 of the OMICRON Series

By

G.J. Rayner & E.M. Rayner

In this thrilling investigative tale, writers G. J. Rayner and E. M. Rayner create a realistic fictional world that revolves around crimes within a Mexican drug cartel. The story revolves around a private security company called OMICRON that works closely with American government, Secret Services specifically. The company gets involved with crime happening in Texas when the CEO Mike Cabott promises to help his old friend from school out by solving his wife’s mysterious murder. Through many twists and sudden developments, undercover agents work the case from many angles to get to the bottom of the drug cartel ring.

Undercover agents Mark Lockabee and Carlos Zepeda look into the suspicious murder of a successful Mexican business women under the order of a private security company. Originally taken on as a favor to a friend, as the depth of the cartels crimes develop, the CEO Mike Cabott realizes they’ve stumbled onto an important project.

Most of the story is comprised of undercover investigation, the operation control at headquarters, and the work that OMICRON conducts to try and sabotage and eliminate the drug cartel lead by El Jefe. The dynamic between the group leader Hans Brock and the other agents is really interesting to watch play out, too. They all do their best to work together as a well-oiled machine, but different issues arise that create problems within the workforce.

As the investigation heightens dangerous situations abound punctuated by explosions, leaving rarely a dull moment. The OMICRON team spies on the drug cartel and works it from different angles which treats readers with a dual view of the story. Intense action and perplexing mysteries keep you turning pages.

When Rita Malone, another special agent for OMICRON comes to replace one of the best on the scene, things really take a turn in the story. Her character provides startling action, and the dynamic between her and Carlos is really fun to read. I was rooting for her the whole time and she gives the story the needed presence of a strong, kick-ass female character to liven it up.

This book was really exciting to read. I loved that they added shock value in the first pages of the book. The writers really allowed the plot to take it’s time unfolding but kept things going in a fast enough pace that I never grew bored with the story. The characters were all unique and humorous, and I loved that the company’s mainframe computer CLEO even had some personality thrown in.

This is another action packed novel from the Rayner writing team that you shouldn’t miss.

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The Tenth Nail

The Tenth Nail5 Stars

The Tenth Nail, written by Kwen Griffeth is a novel that revolves around a homicide detective Nate Burns and his new partner Manuel Trujillo as they work together to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman, Via. Via is a prostitute and one night she is approached by a handsome man who lures her into an alley where she ultimately meets her demise. To avenge her death and find her killer, Nate and Manny, the dynamic duo, find themselves caught in a case that will twist and turn through good and evil and eventually lead to a mystery that will rock the core foundations of every police officer.

Kwen Griffeth’s edgy crime novel, The Tenth Nail, will have your heart racing in anticipation to find out what happens next as you are thrown right into the action with a murder in the first pages. A mix of crime, a dash of seduction and air of mystery, The Tenth Nail will fulfill your whodunnit fix and leave you eager for more. From prostitutes to police officers and the sweet life on a quiet farm to the busy strips on Las Vegas, this novel will take you on a whirlwind adventure of murder, integrity and seduction.

The character development is by far one of my favorite aspects of this story. Nate Burns, a strong man in both nature and physique is an honest family man who is determined to solve the murder of street walker, Via. He resembles something of a Texas cowboy, who loves his horse Babe, his wife and two children and demands attention and respect when he enters a crime scene. As the story develops you learn about his intriguing past that haunts his nightmares of today and the reader will slowly find the skeletons in his closet are indications of a man far more complex than you first expect.

At times I was disappointed at the integrity of characters and readers will question their belief that policemen are heroes and instead begin to realize that they too are people with their own set of complex beliefs and emotions. It gives you a taste of what many in our police force deal with daily and how they learn to become desensitized to some of the horrors that most ordinary folk will never encounter. Some of the events will leave other characters maturing into heroes and other characters developing into something more sinister.

One of my favorite lines in the story is when Nate tells Manny that fashion is “part biology, mixed with a little psychology, and spiced with sociology” as we all crave a little attention, even if it is just walking across a room. The entire novel is filled with ideas that encourage you to ponder about our world and where our own set of beliefs come from.

This novel is by far one of the most gripping stories I have encountered and Kwen Griffeth’s has an incredible ability to create a story that is riveting, entertaining, creative and leaves the reader gasping for more answers until the shocking end. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a fast-paced thriller styled novel.

Pages: 382 | ASIN: B01JTU2AZ4

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The Sightseers Agency

The Sightseers Agency (The Dreadnought Collective Book 5)5 Stars

The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.

The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.

Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.

Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.

Pages: 307 | ASIN: B01KBAKX1E

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Psychic Abilities Required

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

The Deaduction Agency follows a team of psychics, telepaths and remote viewers who investigate several cases of disappearances, murders, and missing persons. This is a thrilling paranormal mystery novel. What was the initial spark for this book and how did that develop as you were writing?

I empathize with psychics, whose skills gained credibility as I read about them in series such as Psychic Detectives. The willingness of the police and detectives to appear in the shows, often after retirement from the force, speaks volumes for their appreciation of the skills of the psychics they employed. What also emerged was the need of the program makers to pad out the stories of psychic detectives with endless repeats of the facts. This is because the crimes are resolved in such a straightforward manner that it makes regular policing look tedious – which it is.

The first case, of a complex divorce, took longer to resolve because it did not require psychic abilities. I used it to contrast the differences in time to describe regular, traditional policing and those cases that require the skills of a psychic.

To my regret, some reviewers failed to understand why this approach was taken.

The book covers several different cases which range from quick and easy to edge-of-your-seat thriller. My favorite was ‘Case of the Prodigal Son’. What was your favorite case?

The same ‘Prodigal Son’, plus ‘The Honey Trap’, where Richard’s possessive and devious nature is revealed to the full.

The psychics at this agency have skills and near-future technology that give them powers beyond what psychics can do now. What were the limitations you needed to keep them believable and what was something that you absolutely had to have for them to be interesting?

I accept psychic skills as they exist now, and have no patience with skeptics who try to fool around with their sensory perceptions, to prove they are frauds and have no special skills. However, in the book they had to be fully capable of reading minds, in order to be foolproof in their assessment of criminals. Even so, some reviewers failed to understand this, and judged the psychic teams to be behaving unacceptably in passing sentence on some criminals. Why, if they can read minds and know the vile nature of the people they are categorizing? It is hardly as if they are executing them! The aim is to re-incorporate them into society, with their souls purified.

This story is ripe with paranormal activity, remote viewing and the powers of the mind. Which power and character do you identify with?

Telepathy, having experimented with it in front of others, as a young teenager. I identify with Richard and Chuck and Joe, in different ways.

A final, general observation on the review itself. The opening scene is criticized for its excess of descriptive detail, That is almost a verbatim criticism made by another reviewer, Marta Cheng in 2015, who stated: In some places, such as near the beginning of the book, there is an inordinate amount of detailed explanation provided as to the set up of the agency’s offices – details that detract from the momentum of the story. In response, I cut down the detail to a mere 360 words, which is hardly inordinate! It also became apparent that Marta (who got fond of changing her surname to put me off the scent) had not read the book in its entirety and was intent on having a dig at another reviewer from the same stable as herself.

To emphasize why it was done, I then suffixed the description with the following sentences:

Richard, the most senior partner in the agency, was busying himself constantly re-arranging brochures on a side table in the waiting area in reception. It was a quirky habit of his that Honey found most annoying. It also reflected his fussy preoccupation with orderliness and exact measurements.

Naturally, he was the architect of the office layout, which Honey was often tempted to rearrange, solely to unsettle him.

Love scenes soon followed as well! Some of this preoccupation is revisited later, as part of Honey’s tangled love life. What more can an author do?

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blogspot

The Deaduction Agency

Witness at first-hand a group of specialist investigators, as they set up and run a new, innovative crime fighting agency. They are dedicated to the resolution of criminal cases using paranormal assistance. This will be a new, innovative and emerging brand of policing designed to protect the citizens of our country.

Read how they deal with the anti-social, disturbed behavior of a wayward, divorced husband, who is on the verge of destroying the lives of his ex-wife and their two young sons.

Read how they identify the members of a murderous ring of pedophiles from relatively few clues, and bring them to justice.

Read how they move from ineffectively resolving one case at a time, and onto tackling multiple cases with far more beneficial results to society.

Read thereafter how they clear the penitentiaries of criminals, starting with the most dangerous inmates, using novel means to cleanse their souls of sin, and equip them for new roles in life in special clearing centers. The objective is to reintegrate them into society, rendered capable of performing straightforward tasks and genuinely purified, via the novel process of atonement.

Read how they find one talented young man who was lost, presumed dead, and reunite him with his family. Thereafter, as agents of change, they help launch him on the path to stardom.

This is not a simple, gory, two dimensional book, but an exploration into the timely use of mediums in crime detection. It can pay dividends in assisting the fight against crime.

They use the latest techniques and technology in a future world that is not far removed from that which exists today.

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The Deaduction Agency

The Deaduction Agency4 Stars

Do you like TV shows like Psychic Detective, The Dead Files or Medium? If you do, this book is for you. A team of psychics, telepaths and remote viewers—along with police support—investigate several cases of disappearances, murders, and missing persons.

The author opens the book with a foreword with many examples of actual cold cases, murders and disappearances that were solved by psychics. Some of them went on to fame and fortune, while others work quietly with police, presumably to this day. However, the fictitious psychics at this agency have skills and near-future technology that gives them powers above and beyond what famous psychics can do.

The founders, Richard, Honey, Rose, and Chuck, are joined by Joe Fraser, a billionaire from the U.S., joins the firm to help them make connections with local law enforcement. Their first case is a real challenge, involving a contentious divorce rife with infidelity and manipulation. Could Ms. Nicky Lestrange be married to a psychopath, or are there even darker things afoot? Honey’s psychic trail leads them into the life of a man who is hiding more than a much younger girlfriend. This case is the longest and most detailed of all, and the rest of the book delves into cold case files and unsolved mysteries, and the individuals on the psychic teams that resolve them.

The Deaduction Agency had a slow start that bogged down the opening of the novel. The first two chapters seemed caught up in describing every detail of the office and their technology but didn’t flesh out the characters very well. Some of it was high-tech and interesting, but I found myself wanting to get back to the “Case of the Deranged Husband.” Once that first case gets underway, we get to know the characters very well, and the rest of the story shines through.

The many the cases undertaken by the psychics range from very quick and easy, like the “Case of Spontaneous Eruption,” to edge-of-your-seat cases, where one of the team members places herself in danger to catch a serial killer. My favorite was the “Case of the Prodigal Son” which offered a surprising conclusion. Each case is like a series episode, which makes it fun and easy to read. One involved a scene of vigilantes murdering two men. In another, a pedophile ring is broken up, and after the perpetrators are arrested, their memories (and their quite literal demons) are destroyed by a machine called a “spectrometer.” Later, we learn what became of those men, and while it doesn’t absolve the Agency, the mediums would be able to use their machine for a different purpose. Indeed, by the end of the novel it’s clear that the Agency is changing its focus—for better or worse, it remains to be seen—and greater things lie ahead for Richard. With all of this there’s still a primary plot that develops throughout the course of each investigation.

If you like tales of paranormal activity, remote viewing and the powers of the mind, The Deaduction Agency is a multi-layered story with intriguing characters that you’ll enjoy.

Pages: 316 | ASIN: B00Y2I8DB4

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A REPLY FROM THE AUTHOR:

A final, general observation on the review itself. The opening scene is criticized for its excess of descriptive detail, That is almost a verbatim criticism made by another reviewer, Marta Cheng in 2015, who stated: In some places, such as near the beginning of the book, there is an inordinate amount of detailed explanation provided as to the set up of the agency’s offices – details that detract from the momentum of the story. In response, I cut down the detail to a mere 360 words, which is hardly inordinate! It also became apparent that Marta (who got fond of changing her surname to put me off the scent) had not read the book in its entirety and was intent on having a dig at another reviewer from the same stable as herself.

     To emphasize why it was done, I then suffixed the description with the following sentences:

Richard, the most senior partner in the agency, was busying himself constantly re-arranging brochures on a side table in the waiting area in reception. It was a quirky habit of his that Honey found most annoying. It also reflected his fussy preoccupation with orderliness and exact measurements.

Naturally, he was the architect of the office layout, which Honey was often tempted to rearrange, solely to unsettle him.

Love scenes soon followed as well! Some of this preoccupation is revisited later, as part of Honey’s tangled love life. What more can an author do?

Pretty Hate Machine

Special Task Force: GREEN MAJIK #1 "Pretty Hate Machine": The Reader Feedback Dooms Day Edition by [Templeton, Don]
5 Stars

Special Task Force: GREEN MAJIK, Pretty Hate Machine, written by Don Templeton, is a high paced action novel that begins with a suicide mission of a nine year old girl, Sadie Hawkins.

Soon after, during a homicide investigation, a phone call regarding a hard drive captures the attention of Detective Jack Carnahan; a man who teeters on the edge of breaking the law in order to capture the crooks. Through a twist of fate, the detective finds himself teaming up with an unlikely duo to expose an unimaginable terror that will shock the world.

Homeland Security, the FBI, alligator farmers and hypnotherapists intertwine in a race against time to find the truth before a terrible secret is unleashed.

Be prepared to cancel all prior engagements as this action packed, edge of your seat novel is a story you will not be prepared to put down. From the suburban streets of Colorado to the headquarters of police in Denver comes a tale of power-puff dressed, mini sized suicide attackers, Charlie’s Angels themed police officers, prostitutes and detectives who will withdraw a glock the moment strife arises.

Not for the faint hearted, the tone of the story is set with the opening chapter exploring a nine year old girl’s suicide mission within her school yard. Enthralled instantly, the reader is left to question what could possess such a terrifying act of horror. On the other side of town, Detective Jack Carnahan stumbles across a home invasion of a UFO crazed family man and soon finds himself working with unlikely allies- an acid addicted journalist and a perky prima donna porn star. The action will keep you on your toes as Carnahan races against time to discover what the connections could be between the brutal homicide and the suicide school yard mission. Not everything is as it seems and Carnahan dives deep into a storm of lies, deceit and ultimate evil.

Don Templeton has a remarkable talent in which he is able to paint a picture with his words and I easily envisioned his characters from the innocent Sadie to the curious hypnotherapist, Buffy Rayburn. The characters are introduced intermittently and together they form the pieces of an intriguing conspiracy puzzle.

Each character delves from unique circumstances. From thugs to hypnotherapists and journalists to prostitutes, every reader will find themselves a character who they adore.

My favourite character, Mallory Hammond, takes you on a journey into the swamps of Louisiana where she is investigating a gang of alligator farmers. Here she discovers a secret that will take you to the depths of your nightmares. Her co-workers perceive her as crazy and a somewhat introverted FBI agent however circumstances transform her from caterpillar to butterfly- a butterfly that is a sexy, capable, tomb raider style fighting machine who demands respect and admiration.

Don Templeton’s vivid imagery often evoked strong emotion through themes of violence, action and comradery and Jack Carnahan’s bravery and thirst for the truth will leave the readers hungry for more. From rescuing scantily dressed teenagers to stumbling across botched cover-ups, Templeton takes you on a whirlwind adventure which leaves you wondering, who can you really trust?

Pages: 379 | ASIN: B017FWYIVC

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Nightmare From World’s End

The Nightmare From World's End4 Stars

The Nightmare From World’s End, a science fiction thriller by Robert J. Stava, takes place in Wyvern Falls located along the Hudson River. The action begins when various people begin to go missing along the river. Members of the community are confused about the disappearances until it’s discovered that a giant squid-like creature is wreaking havoc, leaving carnage and even more questions in its wake. That’s not all to the story, however. There isn’t just one creature, there’s two!

A major player in the chaos is John Easton, a private detective, begins to unravel the history around the two creatures. Alongside him is Sarah Ramhorne, a strong-headed Native American archeologist who seems to hold some of the answers. Together they, along with others, try to unravel the story that surrounds these two mysterious creatures and put a stop to the death that has been taking place along the Hudson River.

This book is definitely a thriller that will have readers flipping through the pages wondering what will happen next. The author holds nothing back when he describes each vicious attack committed by the giant squid. Also, the tie-in with Native American culture within the book was handled well. It’s obvious that Robert J. Stava did his research on the tribes in the Hudson Valley area, and while the main purpose of his book was to thrill his readers with the tale of giant, murderous, perhaps ancient sea creatures, a secondary purpose was to provide them with a history of the area and enlighten the reader on Native American history.

Adding to this point, Native American folklore is very present and relevant within the piece. The leading lady, Sarah makes it a point to educate those that she encounters about the injustice done to the tribes within the area. The author doesn’t just place Sarah’s dialogue as disconnected rants within the piece; it all leads up to the climax the unfolds towards the end of the story. This is evident through the actions of Crazy Jack, a homeless Native American (and real folklore character), that contributes to the climax of the story by waking up the second creature that lives on the other end of the river from where the squid is attacking. Throughout the story, Crazy Jack is guided by the voices of his ancestors, telling him what must be done in order to bring an end to the death and carnage unfolding.

This book has a lot going on it in; sea creatures, Native American history and folklore, a private detective with a tragic past, ancient aliens, mind-reading, and even ghosts. You name it, and it’s probably in this book. At times, it was a bit too much, and a little disconnected for the reader. Especially, the bit on ancient aliens. It’s hard to see how Guillamo Del Tesler and his fanatical theories about the river monster being an ancient alien come into play. He’s brought to the area after Jennie Roderick, a half-witted archaeologist student, mails him some doctored petroglyphs that indicate an alien existence within the area. While this part of the plot is an entertaining aside to the major drama going on in the story, it was difficult to discern how it actually contributed to the overall plot, if at all.

Overall, the author tells a good story. The entwinement of sci-fi thriller with Native American folklore is unique and provides a sturdy foundation upon which to base the plot of the entire story. Regardless of a couple smaller story lines falling out of place within the book, it was an entertaining read.

Pages: 249 | ASIN: B01MQLLNM3

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The TVC Project

The TVC Project4 Stars

The TVC Project is the story of a pre-med student Buck and detective Allyson Mancuso as they find themselves thrust into a dark murder mystery, rife with political intrigue. Despite the dangerous world, they have found themselves involved in a seductive romance. At the beginning of the book, Buck is a normal college student focused on his studies and his friends. But a normal night of studying turns his life upside down when his two best friends fail to meet up with him. When Buck discovers that they have been murdered he cannot let go of the investigation until he learns what happened to his friends.

The TVC Project was written by Tom Bridges published in 2013. He is from Dallas Texas and works within the medical field. Bridges background is perhaps the reason behind the realism of Buck’s medical knowledge in the book. Buck and Allyson are both intriguing characters that are given interesting backgrounds that fill out their character and make them feel real. Buck’s history in the navy, making him an older college student at 27, gives his character depth and makes his relationship with detective Mancuso believable. His flaw might be that while we are in his head we see that he perceives himself as an overall “nice guy” despite being sexually aroused in the middle of dealing with the murder of his best friends and memorial services. Allyson herself is given depth in her side hobby of rebuilding her house. The unrealistic part of these characters perhaps comes from how easily Allyson lets Buck in on the case and allows him to partake in the investigation.

One of the most interesting parts of the book is Bridge’s use of character perspective. While much of the book is written from Buck’s perspective; we also get to go into the heads of Allyson and some of the characters behind the murder itself. This writing choice is sure to keep readers captivated as answers coming flying in from different directions along with more questions. I liked that none of the characters had all the answers because this leaves the reader in a perfect position to piece the mystery together.

The story is a fascinating murder mystery and an exciting political thriller all tied up in a passionate romance. It successfully weaves these genres into a thought-provoking story. While the book does come to an end in a satisfying and unique way, it still leaves questions open and possibilities for more to come, which creates a desire to continue reading the second book Bridges wrote as a sequel, Surviving Ghosts. Overall the book was interesting and unpredictable, a necessity for an enjoyable mystery.

Pages: 295 | ASIN: B00FEN4RVG

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End of the Roaring 20’s

Ted Korsmo Author Interview

Ted Korsmo Author Interview

Wayzata takes place in 1930’s suburban Minnesota, but the tale still carries all the trappings of a 1920’s era LA noir. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

Erm…most L.A. noir stories actually take place during the ’30s, and my story is set in 1939, perhaps for the reason that this time period concerns the end of the so-called “roaring ’20s” and the eventual fallout from that decade (or so) of overindulgence and decadence. During this period, the Great Depression was still in full swing, war was imminent, most people had to scrounge to eke out a living, and crime was on the rise. Dirtbags and seedy establishments permeated society. I thought it might be interesting to set a story in a place insulated from most of that, so why not set this story in a remote, resort town town in the Midwest? It’s also helpful to narratively remove all coincidences, as, in such a provincial locale, everybody knows or at least has heard of everyone else; it wouldn’t be strange for people to run into one another on the street. Then I guess I have to divulge that I grew up near to Wayzata, spent time there, and was familiar with many of the locations, some of which I used in the novel.

I think that the story has roots in classic hard-boiled detective stories. Do you read books from that genre? What were some books that you think influenced Wayzata?

Indeed it does, and indeed I do. As a teenager I was a huge Coen brothers fan; Raising Arizona and Miller’s Crossing were just great, and I seem to remember seeing an interview with the Coens (who are from Minneapolis), talking about how the latter film sprung from reading their favorite author, Raymond Chandler. Fortunately for me, Chandler was not incredibly prolific, and I was able to devour all seven of his novels during my stint at college. Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain soon followed. These three are pretty well all you need, though there are certainly other excellent pulp writers out there. When I found out I had a knack for constructing similes, this genre seemed like a natural fit. Double Indemnity, the novel and the movie, was definitely an influence. I pay homage to it several times. The novel was written by Cain and the screenplay by Chandler. Coincidence?

Detective Carroll LaRue is an intriguing character. What were the driving ideals that drove the character’s development throughout the story?

Thanks for saying so. LaRue, like most private dicks portrayed in this type of novel, is a kind of highly moralistic individual who has to drink to cope with reality. He, like Marlowe, like Spade, is a kind of non-judgmental angel, slumming it by choice, yet exhausted and saddened by the depravity that surrounds him. (SPOILER ALERT) In Wayzata, when LaRue allows himself to be led astray by a pretty face, it turns out to be his undoing, and the tragedy of the story is that he is, for the most part, aware of it, but does it anyway.

I find a problem with well-written stories is that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?

At the moment, no. Since so much noir does tend to carry on with a character appearing and reappearing throughout several novels, I probably should have thought ahead. I have toyed with a notion of a prequel, a story in which LaRue still works in Los Angeles and how he comes to leave that place. He alludes to it in Wayzata. There’s probably something there, but, for the nonce, I am chosen instead to work on a couple collections of short stories and a novella.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

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Wayzata

Wayzata3 StarsIn Ted Korsmo’s Wayzata the author reaches way back into literary Americana to dust off an old fedora. While the book takes place in the titular Minnesotan suburb, the tale carries all the trappings of a 1920’s era hardboiled LA noir. The protagonist, a dour, serious-drinking gumshoe, is even named Carroll – a clear nod to Carroll John Daly, the founding father of the genre. Wayzata’s pages rumble from beginning to end like a Packard 8 overflowing with smoke, booze, hard luck women, philandering eggs, and quirky ne’er-do-wells.

Korsmo respects the genre, the material, and the framework. He attends all the logic and sensibilities of Carroll LaRue and his contemporaries as best a modern writer can. For those who have a fond attachment to hard boiled detective stories, there is a great deal to love in Wayzata. Korsmo distinguishes his novella by placing it, not in L.A. or New York or Chicago, but in suburban Minnesota, and this offers up whiffs of bucolic charm that are atypical for a noir. Subsequently, the author plays a deft hand with comic relief. Just as the correctly cynical and self-destructive protagonist threatens to swamp the reader, Korsmo careens him right into an oddball local, usually, to amusing effect.

I wouldn’t say this is an attempt at resurrecting a genre, because hard boiled detectives have never truly gone away. Generously, one could say this book is more of a reminder.  At it’s best, Wayzata is a new recruit into a club that has fallen somewhere between forgotten legend and simply esoteric. Inherently there are problems with a new entry into such a well stocked category, and they are twofold. Firstly, there is absolutely no dearth of hardboiled detective material – some pieces, in fact, are Iconic American literature – so in 2016 it’s hard to justify a new novella as much more than a nostalgic sandbox. Secondly, the hard boiled detective novel, even as subject of periodic revivals, was at it’s best during the era depicted. The content was meant to be de rigueur. Wayzata suffers from this disconnect because the actual detecting gets short shrift as Korsmo pours most of his creative energy into rebuilding the verisimilitude of a world and a character set that are completely alien to modern readers. Much more effort is expended selling the setting, jargon, and early modern sensibilities than is put toward mystery or suspense. The narrative plot of Wayzata is frequently waylaid by paragraphs of hard-boiling.

Wayzata earns a three-star rating, because when Korsmo is at his best, the story delivers some familiarity, some freshness, some humor, and a bit of suspense, but there is a boundary between an authentic aesthetic and a tableau of that same aesthetic. At points Wayzata is an enjoyable read that flows well and finds rhythm within itself. At other points it is very hard to ignore the performance.

Pages: 186 | ASIN: B00MBOYRVQ

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