As seen in the May issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Uncaged: Can you tell readers more about your Jarvis Mann detective series?
Jarvis Mann is your classic hard-boiled private detective, living in Denver, going the extra mile for his clients. He is smart, tough and funny, with as many faults as virtues. There have been seven books so far dealing with all kinds of cases, including a missing baseball card, a client who is being stalked, a blackmailed college football player, helping his brother out of a jam with a brutal mobster, and so on. And I’ve surrounded Jarvis with a rich cast of characters, both friends and foes that keeps him on his toes. There is a lot of mystery, suspense, twists and turns, and a little bit of lust in books to keep readers entertained.
Uncaged: What are you working on now?
I’m working on book 8 in the Jarvis Mann PI series, tentatively titled Mann in the Crossfire. Some storylines from the last book, The Front Range Butcher, will carry over into this book. Much of this new book will be spent in Southern California, where he is trying to figure out who murdered an associate of his. He will be neck deep in danger in this next chapter in the series.
Uncaged: What inspired you to write the Jarvis Mann series? Do you take anything from real life, i.e., people, places, today’s news?
I wanted to create a character in the classic PI mold, like Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe, but update the stories with more modern plots and twists. And I do borrow from today’s news. In the fifth book in the series, Dead Man Code, Jarvis tries to solve the murder of a computer engineer and goes up against Russian mobsters, Chinese government thugs, and internet hacking, all real-world news that is happening right now.
Uncaged: You are an attending author at Wild Deadwood Reads this year. What are you looking forward to the most from this convention?
Talking to readers and potential readers of my books and what they most enjoy about reading. Those interactions and conversations are priceless.
Uncaged: Do you read your reviews? What do you take away from them?
Yes, I read every review and try to respond to the reviewer when possible, thanking them for taking the time to post, whether the review is good or bad. Fortunately I’ve not received too many bad reviews. But I take to heart every word written, helping me to be a better writer.
Uncaged: What is one of the nicest things someone has said to you about your books?
There have been so many nice things written about my books, but I’d say when someone tells you how they got emotionally invested in the story, finding it hard to put the book down, is the greatest thing to hear.
Uncaged: What is your favorite parts about being an author? What have you found to be the least favorite?
My favorite part is talking and hearing from readers about my books and how much they enjoy them. The least favorite is having to handle most of the marketing side myself and how much time it takes.
Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Where is one of your favorite places on Earth?
I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling in our RV, working in my yard and riding my motorcycle. One of my favorite places to be is high up on Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park at night, staring at the sky full of stars.
Uncaged: What is the hardest part of a book to write? What is the easiest? From start to finish, how long does it take to finish a complete book?
The re-reading and editing are probably the hardest part of writing. But the actual writing is what I find is the easiest, as once I get going it flows out of me quickly. First drafts can be written in two to three months, but the rewriting and editing can add two to three more months to the process.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
Thanks to all of them out there who have supported me through the years. And be sure to always leave a review, for it’s so important for indie authors to help build their success. You can follow me on my website and through the following social media links. Don’t be shy as I always have time to talk and interact with people.
I live in the Mile-High city with my wife, daughter and dog, where the Rocky Mountain High isn’t always achieved with an herbal substance. When not glued to the computer for work and writing,
I relax by enjoying the outdoors; playing tennis, traveling in our motorhome and riding a motorcycle wherever the wind takes me. My writing beckons back to the days of detectives and dames, but with modern plots and twists. PI Jarvis Mann is tough, resourceful and a man with as many faults as virtues. His oddball sense of humor is much like mine, though I’m not nearly as tough and fearless as he is. Though no evil stands a chance against my written word!
The Front Range Butcher
JARVIS MANN PI IS BACK IN HIS MOST DANGEROUS CASE YET!!
Twenty-two years ago, the slayings began, a new body nearly every month, front page news for all to read. Gruesome in nature, the victims nearly all female, the killer terrorizing the residents of Colorado’s biggest cities. Until one day the murders stopped leaving no clue, or closure. No one knew who he was, his motive for slaughtering them, and why the urge to kill suddenly ended.
Now, more than two decades later, the urge has resurfaced. Carved remains of loved ones left to be found, lives of families ruined, the slayings echoing an all too familiar case from a past once forgotten. Bold headlines return to the local papers, the police and FBI still just as helpless, even with today’s modern advancements. Has the killer resurfaced again? Why did they disappear for so long? How many more will brutally suffer the same horrendous fate?
Hired to find the serial killer, private detective Jarvis Mann digs deep, fighting FBI resistance, with life threatening danger lurking around every corner. His cunning leads to a man he must match wits with, a man the FBI can’t touch. Interrogating to get into his psyche in an all-out attempt to stop the insanity and bring him to justice. Cold and calculated, intelligent and coy, the man, wheelchair bound, holds the answers and the secrets. For he is the only one who could be the evil manifestation of: The Front Range Butcher.
Can Jarvis outwit such a mastermind, or has he met his match?
They were waiting for me when I got home. The parking lot was dark, though bright enough from a security light on a poll and the lamp from my stairwell to see where I was going. A dark sedan, either a BMW or Mercedes, sat there, the motor running. I parked the motorcycle a couple of spots over from them and dismounted. I had my .38, placing it in my jacket pocket, my right hand tucked inside, helmet in my left. There was someone behind the wheel and another waiting in the stairwell, the smoke of his cigarette trailing up into space easily seen, thanks to the light.
“May I help you?” I yelled out, still holding my distance, the bike between me and them.
“Jarvis Mann,” replied the voice from the stairwell. “We are here to talk.” There was an air of confidence in his voice.
“About?” I had regained my composure after what happened with Milani.
“A mutual acquaintance.”
I didn’t care much for riddles. “A name would be helpful.”
“I can’t say. But you know him.”
“I don’t like dealing with those I can’t see. Step out where I can see you. The one in the car too.”
My hand tensed up waiting for any aggression. The man in the stairwell walked up, cigarette still in hand, taking a long draw, before dropping it to the ground and crushing it with his foot. My eyes were adjusting to the darkness, and I could see the outline of his frame, covered in dark slacks and sports coat, his hands tucked into the pockets. When clear, he waited for the other in the car to step out. Both were decent size, taller and heavier than I was. The one in the car was wearing a jacket over jeans, the jacket not fitting him well, a dark ball cap on his head. This could be round two to convince me to leave Simon alone. This time though it wouldn’t be cordial.
“If you’re here to tell me to leave Simon Lions alone, that isn’t going to happen.”
“Never heard of the name,” he said. I didn’t believe him.
“Then why are you here?”
“It will be apparent soon.”
With his words, I sensed someone behind me and I turned quickly, swinging the helmet in defense. I caught the man on the side of the head, a loud crack sounded but he didn’t go down. Adrenaline flowing, I fumbled to pull out my gun, as he hit me with something hard on the side of the neck and I hit the asphalt. My head was spinning, and I tried to focus getting my gun out and firing, though I couldn’t see anything. I got off two shots before it was pulled from my hands, apparently missing the mark.
Attempting to stand I was struck again on my shoulder, the pain all too real. I tried to roll but couldn’t get anywhere, my path blocked. Something kicked me in the ribs, the wind leaving me. I tried to suck in what air I could, considering options, but there were none. I heard footsteps but couldn’t see a thing. I knew I was done for, if they wanted me dead.
Someone grabbed me by the hair and spoke into my ear.
“Quit messing where you don’t belong, or you will end up dead,” said the voice. “Do you understand?”
My mind wavered on what to say. How to answer.
“You should gargle before heading out to rough up people. Your breath stinks.” I coughed out.
He wasn’t laughing. “I heard you were a funny guy.”
“We can go inside. I have some Scope in the medicine cabinet you can borrow.”
It would be my last words as he punched me in the face, my head striking the ground. There was little I could do as I felt another kick or two, before hearing sirens, the noise of those two gunshots saving me, and then all was still.
My mind drifted in and out. I heard voices, some I knew, others I didn’t. Was I taking that long walk to purgatory, a chance to cleanse my sins, the weigh station to heaven or hell? Would family be there to greet and make me feel welcome? I saw lights. They were bright and sounds of human traffic all around me. Someone asked, “Is he going to make it” with a positive response from another voice. All seemed peaceful, and numb, until pain started to wake me up. And it was wall to wall. There was only one word for it.
“F**k!” I said, to whoever was there listening.
“He is coming around. Jarvis, can you hear us?”
I didn’t know the voice that was calling my name, but I had a feeling I had to answer. “Yes. Who is this?” My eyes weren’t open or if they were I couldn’t see much.
“Denver paramedic. You’ve been injured. Likely beaten. Can you tell me where it hurts?”
“Be easier to list where it doesn’t. Side, ribs, neck and my jaw for certain.” I groaned.
“You may have some broken bones. We are going to take our time checking you. How does this feel?”
He started probing me on my left side, his hand checking for injuries. It wasn’t pleasant.
“F**k!” I said again.
“F**k yes. The more f-words I use the worse the pain.” I gasped as I took a breath and felt pain shoot across my chest.
“I see you haven’t lost your sense of humor,” he chuckled.
“As long as I have it and my teeth, life is good.”
The paramedic laughed and continued the exam. If he missed any injured spots, it wasn’t from trying. There wasn’t an inch on my body that wasn’t hurting. Soon they had me strapped to a backboard and a brace around my neck. I was on a gurney and in the ambulance, when I heard a familiar female voice.
“Couldn’t stay out of trouble,” said April. “My last night of work, and you end up in the hospital. Now I get to spend the night in an uncomfortable chair and not in your warm bed.”
“Sorry, I didn’t know you were planning to stop by.”
She leaned down and whispered in my ear. “I was going to sneak into your place, crawl in your bed and do unspeakable things to you.”
“That might be the one part of my body that isn’t hurting,” I replied, coughing. “I always wanted to do it in a hospital bed. Tonight, could be the night.”
Leaning down she kissed me, before climbing out of the ambulance. “Once my shift is over, I’ll stop by and check on you.”
The ride wasn’t too long, and I was wheeled into the ER at Swedish Medical Center. They ran all types of tests, finding nothing broken, but lots of bruising. The doctors, nurses and techs were nice enough, but I still hated hospitals.
I talked to so many people, having to explain repeatedly what happened. The police included. I’d have been happy to tell them I knew who the attackers were, but I didn’t. I was tired, and hurt like hell, even with the pain meds.
Several hours passed and I finally fell asleep, though it wasn’t good rest. If there were carnal activities awaiting tonight, I’d have to perform them in my sleep.
I went into this well-established series, this is the 7th installment, without reading the others and the book stood well as a standalone, not once did I feel lost in the book. This has a classic crime/suspense noir feel to it and the detailing of the different cases was just right, not overdone to slow down the story, but enough that even us lowly citizens can follow along and understand. There was enough humor to offset the nail-biting moments.
When I get some extra time, I’m definitely going back and reading more of this series, even though this genre isn’t on the top of my go-to list, it was enough to make me a fan. Reviewed by Cyrene