ABOUT THE BOOKSTHE JACK MCMORROW MYSTERIESBRANDON BLAKE: A CRIME NOVEL

Posts Tagged ‘Maine Crime Writers’

January 2nd, 2014

The Big Chill

Hey all. Cold up here today in Jack McMorrow’s neck of the Maine woods. High today was minus 8. Tonight 15 below. Thirty mph winds tomorrow and high of 3 degrees. Nothing like a Maine winter to weed out the wimps.IMG 1220 250x186 The Big Chill

So happy New Year, 2014. We’re keeping the home fires burning and the pets in, except for Flossie the barn cat, who has decided that winter or no winter she now lives in the barn in the bow of the boat. I bought her a new cozy cat bed at Marden’s but so far she’s turning up her nose. You can lead a cat to water ….

So that’s the weather report. On the book front (finally, you say) I expect to have news tres soon about McMorrow in ONCE BURNED and Brandon Blake, both returning to entertain you on cold winter nights or haunt your dreams, or both. We’re in the throes of the business end of the process and the devil is in the details, as they say. I’d rather just write but hey. More in short order. Some good news coming.

Also on the book front, Dubliner Emily Westbrooks (fromchinavillage.com) and I are setting out to sell our Irish mystery, DEAD SAMARITAN, in the UK. I just reread SAMARITAN and I like it. A lot. And Emily and I can’t wait to get it out there. It’s a true page-turner. And a thriller. And a love story. And serves up some very serious bad guys. More to come …

So I’ll be in touch via Facebook (gerry boyle author), Twitter (gerryboyle), and mainecrimewriters.com. Or you can just shoot me an email (gerry@gerryboyle.com) and I’ll add you to the news list.

Stay warm. Be well. And always be partway through a good book.

Gerry

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 29th, 2013

Headed for the Big House

Hey all,

Starting to think about buttoning things up here in my neck of the Maine woods. Finish raking. Start to load firewood into the shed and the cellar. Fire up the woodstoves. Hunker down with a good book, or maybe even write one.

IMG 00391 250x186 Headed for the Big House

A recent autumn morning on the lake where I live.

Speaking of writing, I’m in the process of choosing a publisher for McMorrow No. 10, ONCE BURNED. A variety of factors go into this decision but I have a good feeling about where we’re headed. I’ll let you know as soon as we sign on the dotted line. I’m also working on McMorrow No. 11, working title STRAW MAN. It’s going well and I’m pretty excited about it (as well I should be). I’d tell you about the plotline but if I did that I’d have to kill you. Just kidding. I’m just superstitious about revealing anything about a book until it’s done. Suffice it to say this has made pitching book ideas to agents and editors a bit of a challenge. I can recall a couple of pitches that ended with, “It’s a great idea. Trust me.”

They did and onward we went.

Lastly, I’m going to do a book event Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. in Augusta. Haven’t been out and about much on the book talk front much of late so this should be fun. It’s at the Blaine House, the official residence of Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann. The First Lady is the host for a 2 p.m. panel put on by the Friends of the Maine State Library. I’ll be on hand with fellow Maine mystery writers Paul Doiron and James Hayman. And if you’re not a Friend of the Maine State Library, you should be. You can become one in good standing by signing up at the door.

Paul and Jim are interesting writers and good speakers. It should be a good time. Hope to see you there.

 

 

July 13th, 2012

So many authors …

Hey all,

Saturday Aug. 14, it’s off to the Boothbay Book Fest. Forty authors, including moi. A flash mob of Maine authors of all sorts and sizes.  Don’t miss it. If you do, hope to catch you later on. The list of my stops for the summer is below, or click on the “events” tab.

April 9th, 2012

Ireland, Scotland and other April news

Friends:

I’m calling this the Summer 2012 Maine Library Tour. Libraries are special places for readers and writers and I’m going to hit a few in coming weeks.  Here’s the latest:

May 24, 7 p.m., North Gorham Public Library.

June 7, 6:30 p.m., South Portland Public Library.

July 2, 6 p.m., Auburn Public Library.

July 14, 12:30-3:30, Boothbay Harbor, Books in Boothbay.

July 17, 6 p.m., Rangeley Public Library.

July 25, 5:30 p.m.,Tenants Harbor Public Library.

Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m., Newport Cultural Center.

Hope I see you along the way.

February 22nd, 2012

On the Portland Turf of Brandon Blake

Le cover, c’est moi.

I’m talking about the Gerry Boyle cover photo of the February/March issue of Northern New England Journey magazine. I wondered if it would be noticeable.

0312 NNE Redux 188x250 On the Portland Turf of Brandon BlakeThe cover photo was taken on Custom House Wharf in Portland’s Old Port. I like it down there and so does my series protagonist Brandon Blake. I walk the city’s streets and docks. Brandon walks (and drives) the beat. He also lives on a vintage Chris Craft cabin cruiser in Portland Harbor.

When photographer Nance Trueworthy called to schedule the photo shoot, she asked me to take her to all of the places my detective (patrolman) hero goes. We wandered around the Old Port, where Brandon helps keep the drinking crowd under control. We explored the Parkside neighborhood, where Brandon searches for a missing baby (pre-Ayla Reynolds) and comes up empty for more than 300 pages. (More to come on the Ayla case). We tromped around Munjoy Hill, the Eastern Prom, where Brandon is given a hard time for being a cop. We walked Upper Congress Street in a blisteringly cold wind.

But we settled back into the waterfront because that’s where Brandon is most at home.

There’s nothing like the film noire feel of a working waterfront, especially at night. The photo was shot after we asked a guy working at The Comedy Club, which was closed, if he could do us a favor and turn on the outside light. He thought about it for a minute, then helped us out. Thanks, bud.

We shot in a brick-lined alley. On the edge of the wharf. With boats in the background. But it was the hollow-sounding boardwalk, the purple wall with the hole in the siding, the vintage signs that kept pulling us back. We wanted to get the half-wild wharf cats in the shot but they were too elusive.

So do I wander the wharves in a Sam Spade overcoat, my fedora pulled low? Well, maybe not. I prefer a baseball cap and leather jacket. But we were trying to capture the spirit of the nighttime city streets, the mystery of the darkened wharves. I hope that when you look at the photo you feel a little of that.

I sure did.

Catch you on the streets.

December 20th, 2011

Ayla Reynolds, deja vu

I read all the news stories about Ayla Reynolds, the 20-month-old girl reported missing from her bed in Waterville, Maine, last Friday. I watch the TV news. I even watched CNN’s Nancy Grace: (“Tot snatched from bed—Exclusive”) as Nancy interviewed Trista Reynolds, the child’s mother. “All I want to know is where she is,” said Trista, who lost custody of the little girl a couple of months ago and has reportedly struggled with drug addiction.portland press herald 3600858 187x250 Ayla Reynolds, deja vu

It’s all pretty horrible. And familiar.

I say this, not because I’ve seen other kids snatched from their beds, but because I’ve written about one. A lot. His name was Lincoln and he was almost a year old. He disappeared from the bedroom of his mother’s apartment in Portland. Mom was a drug addict and for several hours didn’t notice he was gone. When it sank in, she freaked.

This was in my last crime novel, PORT CITY BLACK AND WHITE. My fictional cops converge on the neighborhood. They bring in tracking dogs. They interrogate the mom, her boyfriend, the child’s father, all of the neighbors, a homeless woman who roams the neighborhood.

Nothing.

Days go by. The mom and her family accuse the police of dragging their feet. The dad beats the boyfriend to a pulp. The neighbors say they’ve seen nothing, heard nothing, know nothing. The child has simply vanished.

Of course, he hadn’t. And some of the people in the book know where he was. Even as the cops speculate that little Lincoln has been snatched to leverage a drug debt, or maybe has been sold on the street. I knew what had really happened. I’d made up the story.

I had someone tell me just last week that they couldn’t read my book because it involved a crime against a child and they didn’t have the stomach for it. I was surprised because as the author, I hadn’t found the story terribly disturbing. But then again, I knew how it would end.

That’s not the case with Ayla Reynolds. I walk out to the mailbox to get the paper every morning and, with trepidation, open the front page. (Today was a $30,000 reward). I don’t want to see bad news. Like everyone else, I want to see the story that says the blonde, smiling innocent toddler has been located and she’s live and well.

As I write this, I’m still hopeful. As a crime writer, I can come up with any number of scenarios that involve all sorts of deception—and no violence. I can envision any number of ways this all could play out, and end with the child safe and sound. I know the tangled webs that people weave, how one lie leads to another and before you know it, every investigator in the state is at your house. I know that because I’ve invented those stories. I can invent one with a happy ending for Ayla Reynolds—but I can’t write it.

It’s an odd feeling, seeing things happen that are right out of my book, but knowing that this case has a life of its own. Something happened to this little girl last week and the dominoes continue to fall, day after day, cold night after cold night.

It’s made me wonder why I invented such a story—a child snatched from his crib, his mother distraught, racked with guilt—but  in the end, it’s just that—a story. And just as I have the power to imagine such a mess, I have the power to clean it up. I can put little Lincoln in harm’s way, but I can also save him.

Not with Ayla. I just follow this story like everyone else, with the hope that she is fine and the guilty parties in the case will be brought to justice. It happens in books. Let it happen one more time.

November 10th, 2011

Quick note on a rainy day in Maine

Hey all: Just a quick post to let you know what’s happening in my neck of the Maine woods. Three bank robberies in a week in nearby Waterville—chalk that up to Oxycontin! One arrest, no injuries.

And in book-related news, I’ll be making a couple of pre-holiday stops:

On Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., I’ll be at the Mr. Paperback store at Elm Plaza in Waterville. Signing and general chit chat.

On Dec. 9, 4-7 p.m., I’ll be at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine. A book signing and a great museum for all things nautical and historical. I guess they thought my boat bum Brandon Blake was the right fit. This is a big day in Searsport. Tree lighting and related festivities, so come and check it out.

And lastly, if you’re headed for the New England Crime Bake in Dedham, Mass. this weekend, I’ll see you there. Should be a good time.

And truly lastly, don’t forget to check out the Maine Crime Writers blog. Me and a bunch of other mystery writers sounding off on all sorts of things.

Take care,

Gerry

October 31st, 2011

Crime, all around me

A while back Dave Kanell at Vermont’s amazing Kingdom Books asked if I’d write a bit about my influences, some favorite mysteries. I did but never posted it here. So, in case you missed it …

I swiveled my study chair, reached for the shelf. Books and writers I really like—they get to stay in the study. Others are vanquished to bookshelves elsewhere in this rambling old house.

So what did I come up with? It’s an eclectic mix:

  • The Laughing Policeman by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo. First published in 1968 by the husband-wife team from Sweden. Their Martin Beck mysteries are solid police procedurals. You can’t go wrong with any of them.images 157x249 Crime, all around me
  • Just a Corpse at Twilight by Janwillem van de Wetering. The Zen master of mysteries, van de Wetering wrote mysteries set in Amsterdam. They have a dreamy quality to them that I find beguiling. A brilliant guy, van de Wetering lived all around the world before settling on the Maine coast. He died in 2008.
  • Farewell My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. Enough said. I turn to these from time to time to witness wonderful writing. Every page has a sentence you feel you should remember. This one, picked because that’s where the book fell open. “He lay smeared on the ground, on his back, at the base of a bush, in that bag-of-clothes position that always means the same thing.” Nice.
  • God Save the Child by Robert B. Parker. Chandler’s only true heir. I read the last Spenser, then reread some of this one, his second, published in 1974. I like the early books best. Parker was a gifted writer, known for his dialogue, but his descriptive stuff, which fell away over the years, was very good.images 1 Crime, all around me
  • Blitz by Ken Bruen. The UK’s master of dark and gritty crime novels set in South London and Galway. Inspector Brant, his amoral London detective, is a masterful creation.
  • The Deep Blue Good-By by John D. MacDonald. I’ve read everything MacDonald wrote and have a collection of his Travis McGee paperbacks with their quaintly lurid covers. A great storyteller, skilled at narrative, powerfully descriptive. “She was a tall and slender woman, possibly in her early thirties. Her skin had the extraordinary fineness of grain, and the translucence you seen in small children and fashion models. In her fine long hands, delicacy of wrists, floating texture of dark hair, and in the mobility of the long narrow sensitive structuring of her face there was the look of something almost too well made, too highly bred, too finely drawn for all the natural crudities of human existence.” Is that good or what?

So these are a few of the influences. Reading the work of writers like these, and spending more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, landed me in this chair. Today I continue with PORT CITY UNDERGROUND, the second Brandon Blake mystery. I’m pondering a character whose biggest flaw is a highly developed sense of right and wrong. Could that flaw be fatal?

October 22nd, 2011

On gunshots and old friends

Hey all. November approaches. As I write this, I can hear shots from a high-powered  rifle. Deer season starts on Halloween and somebody is sighting a rifle in the fields behind the house. The sounds of autumn in Maine.

I won’t keep you, but I have something to report. One, I had a good time at Lithgow Library in Augusta earlier this week. Very nice people, most of whom had read several of my books. It’s interesting how after you do this for a while, you have people who show up at the same place. Year after year. They bring faded paperbacks for you to sign. Sometimes they bring their kids–the next generation of readers.

It was really fun, more so than usual. A woman named Fran sat in the front row. She had a copy of Port City Black and White for me to sign.

Many years ago, Fran invited me to speak to a fraternal organization, the women’s branch. I don’t recall the name of it but I remember we met at their hall, on the second floor of an old brick building on Water Street in Augusta. Fran’s husband was in the men’s side of the group. I remember that before I talked, we ate. It may have been spaghetti. Homemade. The ladies made me feel at home.

Fran is a widow now, her husband passed. She’s had cancer but she’s of tough Maine stock and she came through it. She gets along pretty well now, and she isn’t the type to complain. She’s the type to make the best of things. She calls me, “dear.”

Fran said she had read Port City Black and White and liked it. She did say, “Jack McMorrow will always be my favorite.” She asked me when the next one would be out. I said probably not until late next year. Fran looked disappointed. When you’re older, the end of next year can seem a long way away.

It made me want to write faster. In fact, this week  as I sat in my study, moving McMorrow and friends through their paces, I thought of Fran and while I didn’t write faster, I did spend an extra hour or two in the writing chair. It’s the least I can do.

October 19th, 2011

Augusta bound

Thursday, Oct. 20, Lithgow Library, Augusta, Maine. Don’t be afraid of the poster. I promise I MysteryMonth2011GerryBoyle 193x250 Augusta boundwon’t talk you to death.