Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, September 18, 2017

the way he prefers it to be - In It For The Money (A Blu Carraway Mystery #1) by David Burnsworth

Hop on board for a hard-edged debut that’s fully loaded with car chases (particularly Mustangs), war veterans, old grudges, and abundant greed. A choppy start belies a well-executed plotline enhanced by the atmospheric Palmetto State setting.” – Library Journal (on Southern Heat)


Published: September 12th, 2017

Lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway needs a new client. He’s broke and the tax man is coming for his little slice of paradise. But not everyone appreciates his skills. Some call him a loose cannon. Others say he’s a liability. All the ex-Desert Storm Ranger knows is his phone hasn’t rung in quite a while. Of course, that could be because it was cut off due to delinquent payments.

Lucky for him, a client does show up at his doorstep—a distraught mother with a wayward son. She’s rich and her boy’s in danger. Sounds like just the case for Blu. Except nothing about the case is as it seems. The jigsaw pieces—a ransom note, a beat-up minivan, dead strippers, and a missing briefcase filled with money and cocaine—do not make a complete puzzle. The first real case for Blu Carraway Investigations in three years goes off the rails.

And that’s the way he prefers it to be.


1. OK, let’s make some light: who are Blu Carraway and Brack Pelton and what is the connection between them? How IN IT FOR THE MONEY came to life? (Is BLU HEAT the only story in which they are working together?) 
Blu Carraway is a PI who prefers jobs on the rougher side of the business. He’s got a solid but deadly reputation. He served during Desert Storm and later became an Army Ranger. And, he lives on a nine acre (depending on the tide) island with a herd of Carolina Marsh Tackey horses which he takes care of inasmuch as they’ll let him. 

Brack Pelton is an ex-Marine who owns two bars in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Like Blu, he’s an action junkie. When his uncle was murdered almost in front of him a few years ago, he stepped in and found the killer. He’s about ten years younger than Blu and has a lady-killer of a dog named Shelby. 

In the novella BLU HEAT, two men walk into Brack’s Isle of Palms bar to murder a patron there. Brack shoots it out with them. The man they gun down was there to meet Blu who arrives as the smoke clears. Brack doesn’t like anyone shooting up his bar and Blu wants to find who killed his potential client so they team up. 

IN IT FOR THE MONEY, the first full length Blu Carraway novel, Blu takes a missing person job to find the privileged son of a wealthy Charleston socialite. It wasn’t a job he really wanted, but he was out of money and needed income to keep his business going. The hunt takes him down the darker streets of Charleston. I was ready to start a new series with a PI and after Blu and his island home came to me, this book soon followed. 

Going forward, Blu and Brack will make guest appearances in each other’s books. I think they work well together and I like their chemistry. They are not necessarily friends, but their strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. 

2. Follow the money, Cherchez la femme etc – what do you think about such “guiding lines” and in what measure are they applicable in your novels? 
Money is a strong motivator. It causes us to sometimes do stupid things. Depending on where someone’s internal boundaries are, it could cause them to go too far. Another motivator is status. If someone puts too much weight on their reputation and what others think, they might take drastic steps to avoid embarrassment. And then there’s relationships. Wanting what we can’t have; the hunt; jealousy. They all play a part in my novels. 

3. What fascinated you by the Deep South and what makes IN IT FOR THE MONEY a (new) Southern noir?
An aspect of noir that I like is that in the end, even though good prevails, there is a sense of loss. The characters are stronger because they just went through hell, but they lost something that they can never get back. My characters, because of who they are, don’t back down and sometimes set themselves up for tragedy. The question I like to reflect on is, “Was it worth it?” 

Southern noir adds the flavor of the American South to the story. Some say setting is a character. I think of it as the world in which my characters live. They can’t avoid something that always surrounds them. In the summer of the Deep South, the heat and humidity are always present. But there’s also the culture. And in the lowcountry, life on the islands happens at a slower pace than on the mainland. 

4. What are the most important (or relevant) dos and don’ts in your mystery stories? 
Justice prevails and my characters grow. And I try to keep the language and content fairly clean. 

5. How does an engineer become a writer? Are there any similarities between designing a machine and a story? 
I’m a degreed mechanical engineer and I’ve done some design work, but I mostly focus on problem solving these days: What is the problem and how do we solve it? 

While I have always enjoyed math, I also like creative writing. My novels allow me to exercise another part of my brain. 

Engineering has taught me structure. Not just like buildings and things, but structure in life. Stories have problems and require some structure to solve them. 

About the author:
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. He is the author of both the Brack Pelton and the Blu Carraway Mystery Series. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.
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Book Concierge said...

Great interview, thanks!

Wall-to-wall books said...

Very interesting interview! This sounds like a great book.