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.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

problems that may get them killed - Down to No Good (Charlie Miner #2) by Earl Javorsky

Earl Javorsky’s DOWN TO NO GOOD is wildly original, wildly energetic, wildly funny – it’s just straight up wild, and I mean that in the best possible way. – Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE


Release Date: October 31st, 2017

Private investigator Charlie Miner, freshly revived from his own murder, gets a call from Homicide Detective Dave Putnam.

Self-styled “psychic to the stars” Tamara Gale has given crucial information about three murders, and the brass thinks it makes the Department look bad.

Dave wants Charlie to help figure out the angle, since he has first-hand experience with the inexplicable. Trouble is, Charlie, just weeks after his full-death experience, once again has severe cognitive problems and may get them both killed.

“Earl Javorsky’s bold and unusual Down Solo blends the mysterious and the supernatural boldly and 
“Javorksy’s writing reminded me of the Carl Hiaasen novels I’d read sprawled out on the deck on one sunny Florida vacation. Perfect entertainment, with the right amount of action to keep me alert (and to keep me from snoozing myself into a sunburned state). But there’s also a deeper layer in Down Solo, which left me thinking past the final page.– Bibliosmiles

“Javorsky’s dark and gritty prose is leavened with just enough humor to make Down Solo a compelling story that will take readers to the outer limits of noir.” – San Diego City Beat

The Biggest NOs and the Consequences of Breaking Them

I am compelled to begin with Elmore Leonard’s prime directive: Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. 

That said, clearly the biggest NO in the mystery genre must be this: Don’t give away too much too soon. Readers are smart. Foreshadowing is one thing, but tipping your hand too early can put you at risk of losing your reader’s interest. Too many Amazon negative reviews include the words “I knew what was going to happen.” 

When I was solving the Rubik’s Cube puzzle that became my latest book, Down to No Good, I repeated the structure that I used in the previous novel. My PI, Charlie Miner, has been shot in the head and is clinically dead but, inexplicably, can animate his body. Problem is, his memory is badly impaired, and so the events leading up to his own murder are unclear to him. Meanwhile, he becomes involved in a new investigation that leads to more complications. As the book moves forward, Charlie moves backward in time as pieces of his recent history reveal themselves. The challenge for me was to proceed from each of Charlie’s revelations, and each new event without giving away my hand as to what might happen next. 

I read once that jazz players intuitively know how to keep a listener grounded in the familiar, so as to keep their attention, but also know they have to deliver enough surprises that the performance provides a fresh payoff—think John Coltrane’s live version of My Favorite Things, always keeping the melody in mind but leaping into near madness before returning to know terrain. 

Here are a few more, in no particular order: 

· Trust the reader’s intelligence. Recap once in a while, but not too often. Don’t explain what can be inferred. 
· Make sure that characters are fully conscious beings, not just placeholders that fulfill a plot necessity. A lot of times, women and secondary characters in mysteries are what critics call two-dimensional—they’re cardboard cutouts of people. 
· I believe in tying up loose ends and maintaining storyline integrity. I have a lingering sense of dissatisfaction when I read a good book or watch a compelling TV series and when it ends I’m left wondering “What happened to Erica’s sister?” or “Isn’t the boat still in Mexico?” I work as a copy editor, and my job is to make sure that a Smith&Wesson on page 44 isn’t a Colt on page 98. A lot of readers register that something is amiss, but they’re not sure what; some will even flip back pages to confirm their doubts, and this will take them out of the flow of the story. 

Thanks for this opportunity to organize my thoughts, which otherwise mirror the mess on my desk.

About the author:
Daniel Earl Javorsky
was born in Berlin and immigrated to the US. He has been, among other things, a delivery boy, musician, product rep in the chemical entertainment industry, university music teacher, software salesman, copy editor, proofreader, and author of two previous novels, Down Solo and Trust Me.
He is the black sheep of a family of high artistic achievers.

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CMash said...

I like books that reel me in but not giving too much away. Great post!

dhowardx said...

Hook 'em first, then reel 'em in!