Thursday, February 15, 2007

Today is the day!!!

Delivery Date

DOR. Date of release. To writers it’s a big deal. To me, it’s the start of a busy month. More specifically it is TODAY! That’s right today is the day that Putnam chose to release my newest novel, Field of Fire.

The cover is a lot different than my previous series to point out that this is a police thriller. Many people have said the cover looks like a Joseph Wambaugh cover and I don't mind the comparison. Here's the paperback cover of Escape Clause which will be out in early March. See what I mean.

Not only is it important to me because it’s one of my books, but it’s the first book I’ve had published that’s not part of a series. My first three novels all concerned Florida Department of law Enforcement agent Bill Tasker. They tended to be funny and fast. A lot like police work. I enjoyed writing them. I got reasonably good attention with them. My editor liked each one better than the one before. Then I got stuck. Not so much on a story for Bill Tasker but on a new character. An agent with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The ATF. I work with ATF agents all the time and they are widely considered the workhorses of the federal government. They help local cops. They focus on violent crime and they rarely complain. That makes them a cop’s friend.

I got stuck on the idea for a novel. No, not Field of Fire. I had another idea that I liked. A lot. My editor liked it too. Except the ending. It is one of the few things I’ve disagreed with him about. “The ending is the whole story,” I argued. “No, the story is good, the ending would confuse it with others books,” he would counter. In the end, I deferred to his judgment. After all he has had some success over the years with a few authors like Tom Clancy, W.E.B/ Griffin, Clive Cussler and John Sandford.

But the new character, Alex Duarte, a former combat engineer and son of an immigrant from Paraguay, intrigued me. I started with a few different ideas. What made this guy tick? Why was he so intense? I know guys that become intense from experiences in the military. I know others who become intense through a desire to excel. Some people are brought up that way. Some are just born intense. It took some time before I felt I knew this new character, Alex Duarte, and once I did, he acted in a rational manner. Not perfect. Not how many people would act. But his actions made sense. Then I wanted his personality and life experience to be different and created an ambitious ATF agent with little experience with women. He lives in an apartment behind his parents but recognizes the error in doing so.

Most importantly he has a sense of justice and fair play even if they are not written in policy or laid out in the law. Some people are averse to this kind of attitude. Most are not. I invite people to try Alex Duarte and come to your own conclusion. He surprised me. And that’s why I wrote the book.

I will be touring quite a bit on this book and hope some of you have the time or inclination to come out. Paul said to mention specificially that I will be at the L.A. Mystery Bookstore on March 6 at 7:00pm.

Here is most of the schedule:

February 15 Miami, FL Books & Books, 6:30 PM
February 16 Largo, FL The Book Bank, 1:00 PM
February 16 St. Petersburg, FL Haslam’s Book Store, 4:00 PM
February 17 Sarasota, FL Circle Books, 11:00 AM
February 17 Cape Coral, FL One For The Books, 3:00 PM
February 20 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Borders, 7:00 PM
February 21 Islamorada, FL Hooked On Books, 4:00 PM
February 22 Del Ray Beach, FL Murder on the Beach, 7:00 PM
February 27 Deland, FL The Muse Books, 7:00 PM
February 28 Vero Beach, FL Vero Beach Book Center, 7:00 PM
March 6 Los Angeles, CA Mystery Bookstore, 7:00 PM
March 7 Scottsdale, AZ Poisoned Pen, 7:00 PM
March 8 Houston, TX Murder by the Book, 6:30 PM
March 14 Plantation, FL Barnes & Noble, 7:00 PM
March 15 Wellington, FL Barnes & Noble, 7:00 PM

If you get the chance to come out, I’d love to see you.

A Blogmate’s Pride

I am very proud to be on the blog with not one but two Edgar nominees. I know it’s been mentioned but I wanted to express my own good wishes to them both.

I’ve known Paul Levine for some time and enjoyed his books since before we met. I even have a signed copy of To Speak For the Dead. If that doesn’t show my interest then nothing does. Aside from being the butt of Paul’s jokes, I have also provided him with the impetus to start the Solomon vs Lord series. I think I said something like, “Are you still writing that Jake Lassiter shit?” So I guess, I should be mentioned in that Edgar nomination. But I’ll be big and step aside.

Cornelia’s Field of Darkness is not only one of the best titles around but I liked the complex heroine, Madeline Dare. It’s not a good first novel (the category she is nominated it), it’s a good novel. I’m not sure I even like that category because so many writers have several unpublished novels before their first published one. Regardless, Cornelia has a well-earned nomination. I’d like to take some credit for her success too but unfortunately I don’t see the chance. Yet. Give me a couple of days.

It is an honor to be nominated for any awards and I, for one, don’t mind being associated with either of these fine writers.


  1. "It is an honor to be nominated for any awards and I, for one, don’t mind being associated with either of these fine writers."

    False Profits is the most talked about book at my mother's assisted living facility. Doesn't that count for anything?

    Congrats on the release of your latest blockbuster. See you in LA.

  2. Patty,
    I appreciate that. I'm looking forward to my western visit this year.

    I don't realize how bust I get at my day job until I try to clean up everything before I leave.

    False Profits deserves the praise.


  3. Patty and I cannot wait for you to come to the Mystery Store in Westwood so we can heckle you mercilessly.

    And that Florida schedule! I don't know anyone who's covered so much of the state, with the possible exception of a Truly Nolen termite inspector.

    Best wishes on the stand-alone. The comparisons with Joe Wambaugh are well-deserved. As I was reading "Hollywood Station," I said: This reminds me of Jim Born. Not so much the prose, but that trans-sexual tweaker on Hollywood Boulevard...

    See you soon.

  4. Ouch, that was harsh.

    I am, if anyone doesn't realize it, a huge Wambaugh devotee. He's also been very helpful in the advice department. As much for my police career as my writing.

    Is truley Nolan a national company? That's a great line. On Wednesday I hit most of the sotres in the Keys all in one shot.


  5. Jim,
    Please stop blogging and go out and catch some criminals.

    Truly Nolen Pest Control is in Florida, some parts of CA and several other states and foreign countries. Most people think the name is invented. And they laugh at the VW Beetles with the ears and tails, made to look like mice. However, Truly Nolen is real. A great guy. A pilot, yachtsman, and storyteller who lives on the West Coast of Florida and still runs the company.

  6. If you have any free time while you're in LA, Paul/Polly and I will take you to Venus Beach to see the chainsaw juggler. He gives free lessons if you want to try your hand at it...not your signing hand of course.

    See you at TMB. I'll bring the tomatoes.

  7. Jim, congratulations on you big day, and I hope you have great success and a wonderful tour for Field of Fire... We should get a group shot someday with Denise Mina--Team Field: Fire, Blood, Darkness... all the good stuff!

    And thank you so much for your kind words. I am so happy to be blogging with you, and only wish your tour would be bringing you up to Northern California. LA has all the luck....

  8. I'm late - sorry, I banned myself from the web today.

    Congratulations, Jim, this is great news - I'll try to get along to one of your readings. Oh, and remember the Airborne. If you want to avoid all the dreaded viruses and ebolas out there while on book tour, get yourself stocked up with Airborne - it's cheaper at Costco. I would have been in a fever hospital without it on my last book tour.

    Have a great time, Jim!