ILLEGAL Debuts Today: First an apology. I'm going to flog my new novel like an old mule the next couple weeks. I've already been doing that on FACEBOOK, and my friends are probably more annoyed with me now than they usually are. (If you're not my friend and you're on FB, please drop me a note so we can link).
As has been said here many times, the shelf life of a novel is approximately that of yogurt. (This lactobacillus existence is not true for Jim Born, whose work seems to have the shelf life of Budweiser).
For starters, I'm giving away a couple copies of the book to those who sign up for Volume 1, Issue 1 of my newsletter. Sign up here.
THE BACKSTORY: In the past two years, I’ve trudged through the Mojave Desert and climbed the Tehachapi mountains. I’ve followed the toxic sludge of the New River as it winds a serpentine path from Mexicali to the Salton Sea. I’ve hung out at Border Patrol stations in Calexico and picked peaches in Kings County.
THE CHARACTERS: A shady lawyer. A missing woman. A lost boy. And a wealthy rancher with a twisted vision of his own power. It’s about unspeakable pain and loss and the love of family. It’s about greed and corruption, revenge and redemption, all set in the dark world of human trafficking and sex slavery.
A PERILOUS ROAD TRIP: ILLEGAL will take you from the dangerous streets of Mexicali, north to Hellhole Canyon, and northward still through the Tejon Pass into California’s San Joaquin Valley. That’s the perilous road trip taken by Jimmy (Royal) Payne, the hero of ILLEGAL. Did I say hero? Payne, a Los Angeles lawyer with an anger management problem, skims money from a bribery sting, punches out two cops, and skips town when he’s jailed for contempt. But when it’s time to choose between risking his life for a boy with a missing mother or surrendering to his own demons, his choice is….well, you gotta read the book for that.
THE TONE: Inspired by real events, ILLEGAL is harder-boiled than my SOLOMON vs. LORD novels. But if you liked Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, you’ll love trouble-prone Jimmy Payne and ex-wife Sharon, a cop who once shot him and now would love to arrest him. The Solomon books were frequently compared with the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn films, particularly Adam’s Rib. ILLEGAL combines the moral decay of “Chinatown” with the sudden violence of “No Country for Old Men.”
A SNEAK PEEK: The first two chapters are posted on my website. There are also convenient buttons to order the book from Amazon, your local independent stores, or to have me personally deliver it if you live within five miles of VITELLO'S restaurant in Studio City, CA, where Robert Blake did NOT kill his wife, according to the jury.