mystery

Christmas in July!

Christmas-in-July

Yo ho ho!

I’m participating in a terrific free and 99c sale, so good, it’s just like Christmas, only without the mistletoe. Sorry, guys and girls.

There’s Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Paranormal/Fantasy, Humour (oh, all right then – Humor. Just this once, mind), Family/Inspirational/Heart-Warming, and there’s even some for Children. But this Christmas it’s mostly for grown-ups, the kids will have to wait till December.

My book is A Thrust to the Vitals, and it’s 99c. It’s under the Mystery section. You can’t miss it, because it’s the last in the section. 🙁

Here’s the link: http://stacyclaflin.com/promo/

PS I forgot to put the connection with the other Amazon sites. Sorry. I can’t put for all the other books in the Christmas in July promo as it was only done for the US site, but here’s my book, if you like mysteries:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thrust-Vitals-Rafferty-Llewellyn-Book-ebook/dp/B00DV6J5YC/ref=sr_1_17?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1468593838&sr=1-17&keywords=geraldine+evans

https://www.amazon.com.au/Thrust-Vitals-Rafferty-Llewellyn-Book-ebook/dp/B00DV6J5YC/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1468593940&sr=1-7&keywords=geraldine+evans

https://www.amazon.ca/Thrust-Vitals-Rafferty-Llewellyn-Book-ebook/dp/B00DV6J5YC/ref=sr_1_14?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1468594060&sr=1-14&keywords=geraldine+evans

If the promo price isn’t set on the book/s you’d like, just wait a while. These Global things are a swine to get the time right.

Happy Christmas!

Want a free audio novel?

I have a few audio books going free (UK only at this time).

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It’s my first in the Rafferty & Llewellyn British mystery series. Now 16-strong in the ebook edition, it features DI Joe Rafferty, newly-promoted Essex detective, a victim whom the media has dubbed ‘The Faceless Lady’, Rafferty’s family, about whom the less said, the better, and his new Sergeant, Dafyd Llewellyn, who will be lucky if Rafferty hasn’t murdered him by case end.

If you’d like a copy just email me on the contact form above, agree to write a short review (good, bad or argh), and I’ll send you a code for audible, the audio-book people, so you can claim your free audio-book.

 

Win a Kindle Fire!

Someone’s got to win!

So if you want to be in with a chance of winning a Kindle Fire or a $100 cash during February, you’ll find the link below.

You can also buy some awesome books at bargain prices (including Death Line, #3 in my Rafferty & Llewellyn British Detective series), though there’s no obligation to buy any book during the promotion.

My book has also been reduced in price at other Amazon stores (UK, Europe, etc) and at Kobo (though I don’t know if the same applies to the other books. You can choose to simply enter the kindle giveaway and then, if you decide to buy a book, just go to your own country’s site to purchase.).

You can enter this Rafflecopter Giveaway here: http://www.freekindlegiveaway.com/current-giveaways/

And here’s the Rafflecopter code:

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/17d5b1d669/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”17d5b1d669″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_mx2htzf4″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=”//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js“></script>
Good luck and Best Wishes!

PUBLISHED AT LAST! All the Lonely People, Rafferty & LLewellyn #12

LONELY PPLE BRIT TEC SERIES EBOOKselfpub-72dpi-1500x2000 (13)

#12 Rafferty & Llewellyn series

Finally got over the last hurdles with this book and published it to Amazon last night. So pleased. And so relieved! I swear that malevolent fate that follows my poor DI Joe Rafferty around has transferred its attentions to me. 🙂

But it’s done now, in spite of the lost disc, in spite of the endless copy- typing to update the digital edition, in spite of my hatred of copy-typing and the unwelcome attentions from the fates, I finished sorting everything out. And it feels wonderful!

I’ll get busy today and upload it to the other retailers, too.

Heres the blurb and the links:

All the Lonely People

#12 of 15 in the Rafferty & Llewellyn British Detective Series 

A Little Laughter. A Little Mayhem. A Little MURDER…

For readers who like cozy mysteries, humorous mysteries and police procedurals. 

When Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty visits his local pub for a quick drink, he’s looking to forget his troubles, not add to them. His ex-fiancée Abra is still refusing to talk to him, and he’s fast losing hope of a reconciliation. But Rafferty is not destined to enjoy his drink in peace. Because a man is found dead – stabbed in the pub’s car park – and a preoccupied Rafferty is to lead the investigation.

What at first appears to be an open and shut case quickly becomes a lot more complex. The witnesses all plead alcohol-induced amnesia, and Rafferty’s habitually cautious sidekick, Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, isn’t helping either—casting doubt on all of Rafferty’s conclusions.

And as Rafferty wrestles with the case, he also has to wrestle with Abra’s determination to avoid their problems. Soon, he is in despair on both counts…

The twelfth book in the quirky, not quite so Traditional British mystery series. 

LINKS:

AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Lonely-People-Detective-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B00P5EPSXK/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415022404&sr=1-2&keywords=geraldine+evans

AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/All-Lonely-People-Detective-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B00P5EPSXK/ref=sr_1_20?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415023098&sr=1-20&keywords=geraldine+evans

AMAZON CA: http://www.amazon.ca/All-Lonely-People-Detective-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B00P5EPSXK/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415023311&sr=1-3&keywords=geraldine+evans

AMAZON AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/All-Lonely-People-Detective-Llewellyn-ebook/dp/B00P5EPSXK/ref=sr_1_22?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415023486&sr=1-22&keywords=geraldine+evans

 

 

 

 

 

WHY I DECIDED TO GIVE MY BOOK AWAY FOR FREE

Why free? Because you get reviews (good, bad, indifferent). And reviews sell books. That’s what we all hope, anyway!

 If you would like a FREE copy of DEATH DUES #11 in the Rafferty and Llewellyn procedural series (more cozy than noir), in exchange for an honest review, check out my StoryCartel Book Page:

http://storycartel.com/books/881/death-dues-11-in-the-rafferty-and-llewellyn-procedural-series/

DEATH DUES

REVIEW ‘Lively and fun, with absorbing interplay between DI Joe Rafferty and sidekick Sgt Llewellyn. Replete with strong protagonists, infused with British atmosphere, and filled with intrigue and personal concerns alike, Death Dues is a fine detective saga.’ D DONOVAN, eBOOK REVIEWER, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW http://www.midwestbookreview.com/mbw/jan_14.htm#donovan

 GEvans_DeathDues (2)

BLURB

When one John ‘Jaws’ Harrison is found with his skull caved in, in an alleyway backing on to rundown Primrose Avenue while on his way to collect debt repayments from the residents, Rafferty and his intellectual partner, Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, imagine the case will be easily solved. Armed with a list of local debtors, they begin their investigations. But they hadn’t counted on the conspiracy of silence amongst the residents — most of whom had good reason to want Jaws dead.

 Rafferty is forced to make some unorthodox decisions and stretch his intuitive powers to breaking point to find the solution.

 PLEASE SHARE. TELL YOUR FRIENDS. TELL ANYONE YOU KNOW WHO LIKES MYSTERIES (ESPECIALLY ONES WITH A BIT OF HUMOUR). ESPECIALLY IF  THEY’RE FREE!

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty riffled through the quotes from caterers and venues, photographers and florists, and thought, Why so expensive? It’s only a wedding, not the Second Coming.

When he’d proposed to Abra the previous Christmas, he’d been astonished that she’d said yes. His beguiling, spirited Abra could have married anyone, yet she’d chosen him. He’d wafted around in a rose-pink cloud for days. Then it had been all hearts and roses. But now the cold reality of a modern wedding hit him in the face with the force of a frozen kipper.

He ran a hand over his unruly auburn hair and muttered under his breath, ‘I can feel my credit cards wincing from across the hall.’ And he hadn’t even looked at the honeymoon brochures yet.

Abra reached across the breakfast table, took his face in her hand and forced an involuntary pucker. But she didn’t kiss him. Instead, she said, ‘You won’t be a tightwad about it, will you, Joe? We don’t want a hole-in-the-corner wedding. People will say we’ve something to hide.’

With no kiss forthcoming, Rafferty eased his head out of her grasp, picked up the stack of papers and let them drop again. ‘If we fork out for what this lot are charging, we will have something to hide. Us! From friendly, neighbourhood bailiffs.’

Abra tossed her chestnut hair. She slid around the table onto his lap to poke him slyly in the ribs. ‘Aren’t I worth it, then, love?’

He buried his face in her long hair and breathed in its just-washed lemon scent. ‘Of course you’re worth it, my little peach melba. But I’m not Rockefeller. Only a humble copper still paying off the re-decoration of the flat.’

‘That’s another thing.’ She gave him a lingering kiss which put him on his mettle, before she said, ‘I think we ought to sell this place and buy a house.’

‘But we’ve only just decorated,’ he protested. ‘All the new furniture!’

‘Exactly. That’s the most sensible time to sell. When the flat’s looking its best.’

‘I’d prefer to enjoy it looking its best myself,’ he said, disgruntled. ‘Anyway, I thought we were discussing the wedding, not moving home. Isn’t getting married big enough?’ It’s certainly stressful enough, he thought.

‘Where’s your ambition?’ she challenged. Then immediately softened. ‘Sorry, love. I’m being mean. But try to look at it from my point of view, Joe. This flat’s not mine, and it never will be. I want a place that we’ve chosen together. A place that’s ours. Is that so unreasonable?’

‘No,’ he conceded. ‘But we still haven’t settled a date for the wedding, poppet.’ Rafferty pushed her hair behind her ears and kissed her nose.

‘What about May?’

Rafferty nodded with relief. ‘May’s fine.’ That was one thing sorted. He eased her off his lap onto his chair as he stood up from the table. ‘And now I’ve got to get to work.’ He slid his arms into his jacket and straightened the frayed cuffs. ’Earn the money to pay for it all.’

Abra looked up at him with a winner’s grin. ‘Love you.’

‘Reckon it’s my money you love, you hussy.’ He bent and kissed her. ‘But I‘m pretty keen on you, too. Just try not to put my Mr Plod salary in too steep a debt spiral or we’ll be climbing out of the pit from here to eternity.’

As he picked up his raincoat and felt in his pocket for his keys, he shook his head. These wedding costs were getting seriously out of hand. Abra seemed to hope for the pomp of Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding—but look how that marriage turned out. His lovely fiancée had been taken over by an alien being—a mischievous wedding sprite, and he didn’t know how to get her back.

Abra shuffled the wedding quotes into a neat pile. ‘I’m off work today, so you can leave these to me. I’ll whittle them down. Some are charging way over the odds.’ She flashed her dimples. ‘I’ll ring round and see if I can’t knock them down a bit.’

Rafferty swallowed the sigh with the thought: A lot would be better. He bent once more, gave her a lust-filled kiss and made for the hall.

He only hoped this marriage worked out better than his first.


The weather was playing tag with Rafferty. A fierce wind blew his hair into that just-out-of bed look that was so fetching on Abra, whipping his raincoat into a veritable Irish jig as rain lashed him from all sides. He wished he was feeling as lively as his raincoat. He put down his head and dashed to the car, trying to restrain his flapping mac. Please God, let nobody get themselves murdered today. He didn’t fancy hanging around street corners in a downpour, musing on the type of house Abra might choose in her current mood. Buckingham Palace? Windsor Castle?

He hoped she hadn’t meant it. It wasn’t as though the flat wasn’t big enough. With three bedrooms, it could easily house a family. His Abra might long for Princess Diana’s fairy-tale wedding, but Rafferty—like Prince Charles—was no Prince Charming. And Rafferty lacked that princely income.

He threw himself into the car and slammed the door against the wind and rain, then glanced at his watch. His work day not even begun, and he was already behind.

Elmhurst was an attractive Essex market town that even the grey day couldn’t make ugly. Its quirky, individual architecture seldom failed to cheer him. Rafferty sped through it, quickly correcting as his back wheels aquaplaned through a puddle that had overwhelmed the drains and slid around a corner. He pulled into the car park off Bacon Lane, the police station’s back entrance. Naturally, the car park was full. Even the Super had beaten him to work today, his shining Lexus parked in the bay nearest the station’s rear entrance, a space sanctified by both Superintendent Bradley and, presumably, God. Rafferty had trespassed once or twice on its holy space and been roundly rebuked.

He parked in the last open space on the street and ran head-down and splashing through puddles to the station’s rear entrance. He opened the door and hurried dripping up the concrete stairs, leaving with each squelching step little slippery droplets to catch the unwary. Perhaps the sainted Super would have reason to come down shortly and injure his dignity. Rafferty smiled. A man can dream.

As he walked along the second floor corridor, he wrung out his hair and raincoat, wishing, in spite of the wedding arrangements, that he was still at home, in bed with Alba with her long, chestnut hair let down and her silky nightie soft under his hands. He quelled the thought. Inappropriate for work, isn’t that what they called it these days? He opened his office door.

His sergeant, Dafyd Llewellyn, was already at his desk, as usual. Llewellyn looked both industrious and bandbox-smart, also as usual, with a workspace as neat as conscientious industry could make it.

By comparison, Rafferty felt like something the cat dragged in. He glanced at his own desk and almost laughed as he realised that, like Llewellyn, he too was a good match for his workspace. Sometimes even the usually restrained Llewellyn’s fingers gave in to the itch to straighten the towering piles of papers, folders, and other impedimenta that covered the surface and threatened to spill over the sides.

Rafferty smoothed his unruly hair into some sort of order and sat down, shaking out the soggy ends of his trousers. ‘So what have we got, Dafyd? Anything exciting today?’

‘Not yet,’ Llewellyn replied evenly. ‘Unless, of course, there are any further muggings.’

‘Less of the fate-tempting, if you please.’

‘There’s still that report Superintendent Bradley wants you to read and initial.’ Llewellyn’s voice had the slightest tinge of disapproval. ‘It’s been on your desk nearly a week.’

Rafferty pulled a face. ‘I suppose you’ve read it?’

Llewellyn nodded.

‘Give me the condensed version, then, there’s a good chap. You know how wordy these bloody reports are. Mostly bumf.’

Llewellyn proceeded to explain the lengthy report in his calm, level manner, but as he proved almost as wordy as the report itself, Rafferty stopped him at Section 3 Subsection iv c. ‘Can you simply nod if the powers-that-be have ordered another meeting to discuss their preliminary findings?’

Llewellyn nodded.

Rafferty sighed. ’Meetings and more meetings. It’s a wonder we have any time to solve crimes. I’ll initial it. They’ll still be discussing it come Doomsday. Anything else?’

‘Superintendent Bradley asked for you to pop in to see him, if you haven’t arranged a prior appointment.’

‘What’s the old bugger want now?’ Sarky git, he thought. Trust the Super to assume he was given to making spurious appointments so as to avoid him. He’d only done it twice. Or it might have been thrice. But even so—Rafferty thumped the weighty report. ‘Not to discuss this, I hope.’

Llewellyn’s lips twitched slightly. ‘I think not. I understood him to say that he wishes to speak with you about the recent spate of muggings against moneylenders’ collectors.’

‘He wants to know what I’m doing about it, I suppose?’ Truth was, Rafferty wasn’t doing a lot. The local loan sharks’ collectors were nothing more than bullying thugs adept at putting the frighteners on little old ladies. Mugging was too good for them. ‘Throw a few grand-sounding phrases together for me, Daff. You know I’m no good at that sort of thing. Loads of long words and Politically-Correct bollocks. The Super’ll like that.’

Llewellyn raised dark eyebrows that were as neat as the rest of him. Rafferty swore he plucked them. ‘Something along the lines of: “We’re proceeding with our inquiries and have a number of promising leads,” you mean?’

‘That’ll do for starters.’ He felt in his pocket for some change. ‘But before you do that, can you get the tea in? I’m gasping. You can think up a few more bunches of bullshit while you’re in the canteen instead of chatting up the lovely Opal.’ Rafferty stifled a grin at his sergeant’s blush. Opal was a Caribbean lady of lilting accent, ample charms and an irrepressible sense of fun that believed flirtation should have a dangerous edge. She had taken a fancy to Llewellyn and seemed to find his puritan soul a challenge. ‘One of the muggers was thought to be Asian, so perhaps you can work in something about ethnic sensitivities.’

‘Wouldn’t it be easier to investigate the muggings?’

‘Probably. But I hesitate to interfere with anybody making the streets of Elmhurst safer. Oh,’ Rafferty shouted just before Llewellyn closed the door. ‘Fancy a hot-cross bun?’

Mock-serious, Llewellyn frowned. ‘I think you’ll find it is now called a hot-lined bun. Religious symbolism is also on the veto list.’

‘Veto my arse.’ Rafferty slammed the door for added emphasis. But he knew that no matter how many PC-worded explanations Llewellyn came up for his lack of progress , he’d have to do something about the muggings eventually.

Llewellyn was back in the office within minutes, a cup of tea in each hand and hot cross buns balanced precisely dead centre.

‘Managed to escape Opal’s blandishments again, hey?’ Rafferty teased.

Llewellyn placed Rafferty’s cup on a folded paper napkin which he’d earlier had the prescience to clear some space for on Rafferty’s cluttered desk.

Rafferty pulled a thin file on the investigation towards him. He began to read, liberally scattering crumbs across his front, his lap and his paperwork.

He was interrupted by the ringing of the phone.

‘Ah, Rafferty. You’re in, then?’ It was Superintendent Bradley.

The intimation that he’d been late wasn’t lost on Rafferty. He crossed his fingers behind his back. ‘Bright, shining, and ready to go, sir.’ Hey paused to swallow more tea before adding, ‘I’ve put in a couple of hours’ working from home.’

This brought a stunned, disbelieving silence, and across the room Llewellyn shook his head.

‘Right.’ The Super’s voice barked unexpectedly, so that Rafferty almost dropped his tea. ‘You can start by coming along to my office. I’m sure Llewellyn told you I wanted to see you first thing.’

Rafferty kept shtum.

‘I want to talk to you about these muggings.’


Superintendent Bradley was in lecturing mode. ‘You’ll have to do better than this, you know, Rafferty.’ The Super waved a thin sheaf of papers under Rafferty’s nose. ‘Your reports are sparse—very sparse.’

Rafferty began his explanatory spiel. He wished the Super hadn’t rung before he’d had time to get Llewellyn to prime him with the correct verbiage, but he hadn’t, so Rafferty did his best.

Superintendent Bradley interrupted him almost immediately. ‘It won’t do, Rafferty. It won’t do at all. I’ve had the Deputy Chief Constable on my back about these cases. He’s a golfing buddy of one of the moneylenders whose collector was assaulted. Man by the name of Forbes. That’s the wrong side of the brass to be on, Rafferty. Which makes it the wrong side of me. Do I make myself clear?’

As crystal.

Rafferty nodded glumly and made his escape.

He’d barely got back to his office when the phone went again.

It was Abra. ‘Hiya. Missing you already.’

‘Ditto, darlin’. The Super’s really not up to the job of standing in for you, more’s the pity.’

‘He’s dragged you into his lair already, has he? Poor Joe.’ Abra paused tellingly, then said, ‘I’ve been ringing round a few of the venues, and I simply can’t get them to drop their prices. I wondered—’ A more delicate pause this time.‘ How much might I spend?’ She named a figure that made Rafferty’s eyes water.

‘For a measly chicken salad and a few olives thrown in?’ He didn’t even like bloody olives. ‘What do they do in their spare time? Rob graves?’

‘It’s a normal quote, Joe. What did you have served at your first wedding? Sausage butties all round at the corner chippie?’

‘Abra, darling. You know I’d rather nip up to Gretna Green and forget this whole thing.’

‘I suppose Gretna Green is good enough for a man who’s been married once already. But this is my first—my only—wedding.’ The note of tears in Abra’s voice worked its magic. In truth, they’d never been far away once she set sail aboard HMS Romance. ‘I want to do it properly with all our family and friends there to wish us well.’

That was two people Rafferty had upset, and it wasn’t even ten o’clock in the morning. ‘All right, sweetheart. But can we talk about it tonight? I’m up to my eyes here.’

‘Tonight, then. Promise, Joe?’

‘Cross my heart. Love you, Abra. I’ll see you tonight.’ Rafferty had just set down the phone when it rang for the third time right under his hand. He braced himself.

‘Inspector Rafferty? This is Constable Smales. There seems to have been a murder, sir. Just called in.’

‘Where?’ Rafferty sat up straight, knocking his bun to the floor.

‘An alleyway adjacent to Primrose Avenue.’

‘What happened?’

‘Constanble Green, who’s on the scene, reports it as blows to the back of the victim’s head. Quite a mess, sir.’

‘Any idea of the victim’s identity?’

‘Not yet, sir. His wallet’s missing. Lizzie Green thinks he’s a man called John “Jaws” Harrison. Works as a collector for Malcolm Forbes, one of the local loan sharks.’

Oh great, thought Rafferty. Now he really would have to take action.

‘All right, Smales. I’ll be out there right away.’

Rafferty gulped his lukewarm tea, picked up his bun from the floor and dusted it off, before cramming its remains into his mouth. Muggings were one thing. But now they’d escalated to murder he knew he’d have to do more than a ‘little something’ He’d likely need the bun’s sustaining carbohydrates during the following busy hours.

All about the indie life v traditional publishing: See my article on the storyreadingapesblog

I wrote an article about my experiences both before and after I took up the indie author lifestyle for thestoryreadingapesblog. I enjoyed writing it and I’ve had some lovely, appreciative comments for my honesty (Rafferty’s family wouldn’t be impressed!). If you’re contemplating the indie life yourself, you could do worse than take a look. Here’s the link:

http://wp.me/p3mGq7-1QU

 

New Rafferty & Llewellyn ebook: DEATH DUES #11 in the series

Just published!

Latest Rafferty & Llewellyn ebook. £0.77 / $0.99 / Euro 0.86

Bargain Price for two days only!

‘Evans writes clearly and realistically. The wry humour in the badinage between Rafferty and Llewellyn keeps the story moving.’

BOOKLIST ON DEATH DUES

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A Rafferty & Llewellyn cozy procedural #11

With his wife-to-be’s wedding budget spiralling out of control and his superintendent demanding the swift resolution to the series of muggings of local loan sharks, DI Joe Rafferty is anticipating a long and trying week. And sure, enough, he isn’t disappointed.

 When one John ‘Jaws’ Harrison is found with his skull caved in, in an alleyway backing on to rundown Primrose Avenue while on his way to collect debt repayments from the residents, Rafferty and his intellectual partner, Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn, imagine the case will be easily solved. Armed with a list of local debtors, they begin their investigations. But they hadn’t counted on the conspiracy of silence amongst the residents — most of whom had good reason to want Jaws dead.

 With the Super breathing down his neck and fiancée Abra sending his blood pressure to boiling point, Rafferty is forced to make some unorthodox decisions and stretch his intuitive powers to breaking point.

LINKS:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00G2JOHCU

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00G2JOHCU

https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00G2JOHCU

 

JOHN DESJARLAIS INTERVIEW

Today I’m very pleased to welcome JOHN DESJARLAIS, the author of VIPER, BLEEDER and other books. A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, re-released 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval thriller, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, re-released 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press, 2009 and 2011 respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. His work has appeared in periodicals such as Student Leadership Journal, U Magazine, The Critic, On Being, Student Soul, Apocalypse, The Upper Room, The New Pantagruel, The Karitos Review, Dappled Things and The Rockford Review.  A member of The Catholic Writers Guild, The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in Entertainment, and  Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

On All Souls Day, Selena De La Cruz’s name is entered in her parish church’s “Book of the Deceased.”

The problem is, she’s not dead.
And someone thinks she should be.  

Is it “The Snake,” a notorious drug dealer Selena helped to put in prison when she was a Special Agent with the DEA years ago? Or someone far, far more dangerous?

VIPER  a mystery

by john desjarlais
coming March 2011
from Sophia Institute Press

the thrilling sequel to BLEEDERHaunted by the loss of her brother to drugs and a botched raid that ended her career with the DEA, insurance agent Selena De La Cruz hoped to start afresh in rural Illinois. But her gung-ho former boss needs her back to hunt “The Snake,” a dealer she helped arrest who is out of prison and systematically killing anyone who ever crossed him. His ‘hit list’, appended to a Catholic Church’s All Souls Day ‘Book of the Deceased,’ shows Selena’s name last. Working against time, small town prejudice and the suspicions of her own Latino community, Selena races to find The Snake before he reaches her name while a girl visionary claims a “Blue Lady” announces each killing in turn. Is it Our Lady of Guadalupe or, as others believe, the Aztec goddess of Death?

See the 30-second video trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vY1wljwPe5w

That certainly sounds intriguing. Tell us a little more about your latest novel, Viper.
VIPER is the sequel to BLEEDER, a mystery published in 2009. It features a minor character from the first book as the protagonist, Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz. Since the first book touched upon immigration issues in rural Illinois and my main character Reed Stubblefield was disabled and dealing with insurance problems, Selena provided a way to present a positive and empowered Mexican-American character while at the same time addressing those insurance claims. As soon as she walked on the stage in those cherry high heels and with that attitude, I knew she had a story of her own. She played a larger role in BLEEDER than I’d originally envisioned. Then, in thinking about the next book and the “Book of the Dead” on All Souls’ Day, I learned that the Mexican holiday called “The Day of the Dead” runs nearly concurrently with that feast. It was clear to me then that the sequel would feature Selena and the story would be told against a rich tapestry of Aztec mythology and Mexican Catholicism.

What age were you when you decided to write a book and what prompted you to do it?

I was 35 and working as a scriptwriter in a small media company that produced videos for corporate training and public relations. I produced a documentary on the history of Western Christianity and became intrigued by the Irish monastic movement – scholarly men and women who valued art, literature and poetry, who were close to nature and champions of womens’ rights. Columba of Iona fascinated me in particular – a hot-tempered monk with “Second Sight” from a royal family who went to war over a disputed manuscript. 3,000 men were killed in the “Battle of the Book” in 560 AD, and in remorse, Columba exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic. He’s also the first man in recorded history to have encountered the Loch Ness sea-beast. This was material for a novel, I told myself, and I wrote “The Throne of Tara” in 1989 (it was published in 1990 and re-issued in 2000).

You have written historical novels – do you have any plans to write more?
No – I’m hooked on mysteries for the time being.
Did you find your background in teaching a great help when it came to
writing novels and if so, why?
Teaching literature and writing has provided me with a short cut in learning the elements of style, perhaps, although I’ve benefited more from writers’ conferences and books about genre novel-writing.  Being a teacher allows me time to write, especially since I have summers free – and my college granted me a sabbatical to finish a draft of BLEEDER.I imagine, as your books combine history, religion and mystery that you must
do a lot of research. How do you set about this? Does the research take
longer than writing the novels?
Research is time-consuming but opens up many character and plot possibilities. I love libraries, and the Internet has changed everything. I conduct interviews where needed. You might think that the historicals require more research than the mysteries, but it is a different kind of research and nearly as demanding. For historicals, one must re-create a world and pay assiduous attention to every detail of clothing, customs, architecture, weapons, food, the works. Everything contributes to atmosphere and authenticity but must never be overbearing. With contemporary mysteries, there are a whole new set of concerns. For BLEEDER, I needed to do research on blood diseases, cancer treatment, anxiety medications and other medical things. I needed to learn about the mystical phenomenon of the stigmata and the Catholic Church’s procedure for investigating such things (they are quite rigorous and skeptical about it), as well as know the process of canonization. I was not Catholic at the time of drafting and so I needed to learn about the Mass and the special services on Good Friday (I didn’t know there was no Mass on Good Friday). Then there’s all the police procedure, police interrogation techniques, police report writing, coroners’ inquests, etc. VIPER was even more of a challenge, since I had to create a credible Mexican-American female protagonist in the insurance business with a troubled background in the DEA and ongoing issues in her family.  So research about Aztec religion, snake handling, vintage car repair, firearms, DEA undercover operations and crime scene management were all easier than learning to “be” a 30-something Latina.

Tell us about your heroine, Selena De La Cruz, and why you decided on her
character. Is the choice of name of any significance?

Selena is a thirty-something Mexican-American woman in a family of three brothers; her Mami and Papa were well-off since he was a PEMEX executive before becoming an official in the Mexican consulate in Chicago. The family was raised in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. Selena’s fraternal twin Antonio developed a drug problem in the Army and was killed in a car accident in Germany, leaving her with his chili-pepper red 1969 Dodge Charger called “The Beast.” Always a tomboy anyway, Selena was motivated by this incident to join the DEA where she applied her finance degree from Loyola in the Financial Tracing division before hitting the streets where she really wanted to be. She is handy with a P226 SIG Sauer pistol, does undercover work well, and knows how to maintain her awesome car. She’s fond of expensive shoes (seized drug money pays for them) and struggles with living in two worlds at once, being bi-cultural and being an independent woman in a man’s world. Her real name is Selena Perez; she changed it to De La Cruz when she left the DEA under a cloud and wished to start afresh as an insurance agent in rural Illinois. The name is from a medieval Spanish poet and mystic she admires, Juan De La Cruz (John of the Cross). 

Here are some reviews for VIPER

“I just couldn’t put it down! More compelling than BLEEDER!”
     Regina Doman, author of The Shadow of the Bear and The Midnight Dancers

“Non-stop action, nail-biting suspense –and enough genuine compassion to warm the coldest heart. A winner, start to finish.”Jeanne M. Dams, author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries

“A compelling mystery that will keep readers in suspense.” spiritualwomanthoughts

“Desjarlais keeps you guessing as the action accelerates faster than De La Cruz’s souped-up vehicle. VIPER strikes fast and sinks its teeth in you. You won’t be able to put it down.”Tony Perona, author of Second Advent and Angels Whisper

“A don’t miss it page turner that blends ancient Aztec mysticism, Catholic Mariology, and a good old-fashioned whodunit.”Mike Manno, author of Murder Most Holy and End of the Line  
 

Wow! As we can see, above, you’ve had some tremendous reviews. So what next for John Desjarlais? It sounds as though your novels would make for exciting movies. Is there anything in the wind?

No movie options yet. I need an agent for that, and my previous agent left the business after a serious car accident. I managed to sell BLEEDER and VIPER on my own.

What are you currently writing?

I’m working on the third book in the mystery series and, at the moment, I think it will be the last in this arc. I’d like to try a stand-alone thriller and pitch it to an agent next year. Let’s see if Selena has other ideas.

Clearly religion has played a big part in your life. Tell us about your upbringing, where it happened and the importance that religion had in it.

I was raised Roman Catholic in north-central Massachusetts but it didn’t mean anything to me and I chucked it all in high school. However, I discovered Jesus in college and was utterly transformed. After bouncing among churches, I finally landed in the Presbyterian Church where I was a devout disciple for years along with my wife. Around age 50 I began reading the Church Fathers and Catholic poet and intellectual Thomas Merton, seeking a closer, more ‘sacramental’ union with God through contemplative prayer. I went to Catholic monasteries on retreats and came to see that the majesty, mercy, and mystery in the Catholic tradition was completely fulfilling. It was nothing like what I knew as a kid. There is a beauty, peace and wisdom here that has made me a new man. I appreciate the Catholic social teaching on justice for the poor and the weak, and the historic support of the fine arts is also a wonderful thing.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that your readers would like to know?
My wife and I are involved in retired racing Greyhound rescue. These gentle creatures make excellent family companions and I’d encourage everyone interested in adopting a dog to do a little research at a site like regapgreyhounds.org in Illinois (REGAP is “Retired Greyhounds As Pets”);  there are REGAP chapters in many states and rescue organizations in many other countries.
Thank you, John. A most interesting interview. I was intrigued to learn about your background and the widely divergent style of your novels.
An interview with John can be found in Novel Journey and Time with Tannia.Contact John at his website: http://www.johndesjarlais.com/

Visit John’s blog,
Johnny Dangerous

Meet John at www.facebook.com/jdesjarlais1.

Follow John on Twitter

Viper is not yet on Amazon, but here are the links for Bleeder – USA paper, Kindle, and UK paper, Kindle:

Dowm Among the Dead Men ebook

Down Among the Dead Men, my first ebook, is now up for sale on kindle. This book, the second in the Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, was originally published in hardback by Macmillan in 1994. It’s so exciting. It took a few weeks getting it ready as Kimberly ‘Hitch’ Hitchens, the lady who masterminded this, was a hard taskmaster and seemed to expect me to proofread it three times. Three! My print publishers have never expected more than one proofread. Anyway, I thought two was plenty, so two it got. If you go to amazon and click on ‘books’ and then ‘kindle books’ and type my name, you’ll see it. It’s a bargain at £2.23. I really love the cover. The book is also shortly to be available as an epub for ipads,
B & N, etc.

Book Trailer for Down Among the Dead Men

Here’s the book trailer for my first ebook. Would have put it up before, but I forgot how to do it!

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The Author

Geraldine Evans is a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama Her15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series features DI Joe Rafferty, a London-Irish, working-class, lapsed Catholic, who comes from a family who think - if he must be a policeman - he might at least have the decency to be a bent one. Her 2-strong Casey & Catt series features DCI 'Will' Casey, a serious-minded, responsible policeman, whose 'the Sixties never died', irresponsible, drug-taking, hippie parents, pose particular problems of the embarrassing kind.

AUTHOR MEMBER: ALLi

The Alliance of Independent Authors — Author Member

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