When I came home tonight from my exciting adventures in the Valley, I automatically anticipated the usual warm and amusing greeting from my adorable Isis the Dog — and then I remember that she passed away a couple weeks ago. and she won’t be waiting for me at the top of the stairs, wagging her entire rear end as fast as she can — and then runs to get a dog toy and bring it to me –Prehaps she is showing off (I have this and you don’t).
I didn’t grow up with dogs or cats around the house. My mother was terrified of cats — never understood that one–and my dad was not fond of dogs as he was attacked by a pack of wild dogs when he was a little kid in Russia.
In Mystery Fiction there are emotion triggering devices that are considered “low hanging fruit” — techniques that are too easy and often exploitive . Among these are ‘Kid Jep” and “Pet Jep” — Jep stand for Jeopardy. If you put a kid or a pet in jeopardy, you exploit the easily manipulated emotional angst of a non-psychopatic adult humans who will have an immediate protective engagement if a child is in danger or, often even more compelling, danger to a doggie or kittie.
They say you can never bump off a pet in a novel or mystery “and get away with it” — meaning the readers will be upset and outraged and harbor ill-will against you. They (whoever the hell they are) also say you can’t go back and forth in time in a first person present tense narrative. Wanna bet?
When agent Jane Gelfman first read my novel HEADLOCK: A Jeff Reynolds Mystery, she said “what you have done is heretical, but it works!” Now for 25 points can you guess what happens at exactly half way through the novel? No? Oh c’mon. you can too.
I believe WildBlue Press is going to republish HEADLOCK in a snazzy new addition in the near future…most likely prior to the joyous publication of the new true crime book I’m currently writing with famed journalist Frank Girardot..the reason we are holding back the true crime book is because a certain TV network wants to do a one hour prime time special about the book and the obviously brilliant authors and both the book and the TV special would show up about the same time.