As we move through the final weeks of winter 2021, it seemed a good time for this Winter 2021 Newsletter. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy as the soul-crushing pandemic continues.
Also, I hope for those outside the U.S. that your governments are doing a far better job getting the coronavirus vaccine to those who want and need it than our completely inept government has managed here. We continue to see the vaccine trickling out of the pipeline at the same glacial pace. The utter incompetence of America’s political leadership of every stripe, especially at the federal level, has never been more thoroughly and shockingly displayed than during the COVID-19 epidemic.
At least here, the hopes for a return to something approaching normalcy any time soon are fading as 2021 shapes up to be a repeat of 2020, a sort of Apocalypse Now Redux. But enough of the gloom and doom.
While it’s hard to find anything good about these times defined by a global pandemic, the restrictions the circumstances have imposed on our everyday lives has produced a few positives. It’s allowed me to find a great deal more time to write and to read, two of my favorite pastimes.
Malone Novels Updates
This past October, we published Perchance to Dream, the eighth novel in the Malone series featuring LA’s best private detective. I truly enjoyed writing this novel and hope those who read it have enjoyed it too. There haven’t been many reviews so far, but those that have come in have been positive, which I’ve found gratifying. After all, the reason I write is to entertain readers with a good story. When I see readers have enjoyed a book, it’s truly a motivational boost to write new stories.
The ninth book in the series, Strange Bedfellows, is scheduled for release next year in March 2022. I’m about sixty-percent through the first draft. It will definitely be ready in time for the projected publication date.
New Howard Drew Novels Series
I’m excited about a brand new police procedural series I’ve started. The first book, Omerta, is already available in hardcover and will publish in digital and paperback next month, March 2021. The electronic version is available for preorder at a discounted price at all online booksellers. Save two bucks when you preorder Omerta by March 9 from your favorite digital bookseller.
I started the novel more than a year ago but wasn’t happy with the story’s direction. So, I put it aside for a long while and worked on other projects. Then, after a moment of
inspiration, I went back to it, did some rewrites, changed the title, and finally completed the first draft. After tweaking things a bit more, I came up with a story I was happy with and that I think crime fiction fans will enjoy. As much as I like writing the Malone private detective books, I’ve wanted to write a police procedural series since publishing Come What May years ago.
Since finishing Omerta, I’ve almost completed the first draft of the second Howard Drew novel, The Pendulum, which releases in September 2021. The series will continue with the third novel, Darker Angels, in 2022. I’ve outlined that one but haven’t started writing it yet. Inspiration for this series comes from actual past LAPD homicide cases.
So if you enjoy gritty, realistic murder investigation stories, you’re sure to like the Howard Drew novels. While I’d never compare myself to a brilliant crime fiction writer like Michael Connelly, who I consider the best American contemporary police procedural author out there, by design, I’ve written the Howard Drew novels in a similar style to his Harry Bosch series.
What I'm Reading
Enough about me. Let me introduce you to a new crime fiction author I recently discovered courtesy of Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books. I love many of the terrific crime fiction authors published by Orenda and have added a new one to my list of favorites, Icelandic crime fiction author Ragnar Jónasson.
Years ago, when I discovered Stieg Larsson and later contemporary Norwegian crime fiction writer, Jo Nesbø (author of the Harry Høle detective crime novels), I fell in love with the Scandi-noir genre. When Nesbø chose to publish a new stand-alone novel this year instead of another Harry Hole installment, I was scrambling to find another good Nordic noir writer. I saw a Tweet from Karen Sullivan mentioning Ragnar Jónasson’s newest release and took a look. Discovering that it was the newest book in an existing police procedural series, I immediately ordered Ragnar’s first novel in the series, Snow Blind. I was instantly hooked. I’ve now read Night Blind, the second novel in his Dark Icelandic series, and am now reading book three, Whiteout.
Even if you’ve never tried Nordic noir, if you enjoy a taught, suspenseful police procedural, I can’t recommend Ragnar Jónasson’s too strongly. He is every bit as good as Jo Nesbø. I’ll remain a Harry Høle fan for life, but I’m truly happy I found another brilliant and entertaining Scandi-noir writer who keeps me spellbound with every book.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy.