20 March 2013

Guest Blog: January Justice

Happy Wednesday! Ah, hump day. The next best thing to Friday. Today's guest is Athol Dickson, author of January Justice. He's gracing us with a guest post regarding the top ten rules for writing criminal mysteries. Enjoy!

January Justice (The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs #1)


Release Date: November 29th, 2012.

Genre: Murder Mystery.

Formats Available for Purchase: Paperback, Kindle, PDF

The book is PG 13. Very little sex and nothing explicit in any way. There is some violence but again nothing graphic: gun shots, etc…


Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous.

Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest.
Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind.
His own.


I was looking forward to reading this book especially when I discovered the author was returning to the mystery thriller genre. No one can weave a story, create real live characters and make someone enjoy the English language as much as Athol Dickson can. From page one I was hooked. The story was intense and deep. The plot was complex but I never felt lost. We stayed right with the main character Malcolm Cutter as he deals with his wife's death, re-cooperates from a near death experience and tries to get his life back together while undergoing a deep international plot to clear a terrorist organization of wrong-doing.
Never before in a book have I ever become so well-acquainted with a person who was never in the book but only mentioned in a past tense. It could only have been pulled off by an author that understands human nature and how we think deep inside.
- Steve Taylor-  


Chapter 48:
One of the strangest things about the city was the sudden way it disappeared around the edges. One minute you were down on Sunset Boulevard surrounded by glass and concrete, and the next thing you knew you were up on Mulholland Drive, alone in the rough country. From a high window or a rooftop almost anywhere in Los Angeles you could see the mountains, and there was always something ravenous up there looking down.

I was up among the hungry creatures, standing at the edge of a cliff, with Hollywood and Santa Monica far below me in the distance. One step forward and I would be in midair. I was looking down and wondering if Haley had considered how suddenly you could go from city to wilderness. Then I wondered if it was a distinction without a difference, if the city might be the wilderness and the wilderness the city, and maybe Los Angeles’s edges seemed to disappear so suddenly because there really was no separation between sidewalks and mountain paths, buildings and boulders. Up in the mountains or down in the city, either way the carnivores were in control.

I imagined Haley, out of her mind, running full speed off the cliff. I wondered what it had been like, that final second or two before she hit. Had she realized what was happening? Did she recognize the city lights below for what they were, or did she really think she was flying toward the stars? And did she think of me?
Stepping closer to the edge, I slid the toes of my shoes into the air. I looked down two hundred feet, toward the spot where she had broken on the rocks. I stood one inch from eternity and tried to imagine life without her. I could not summon up a single reason why I shouldn’t take that final step, except for one. I thought about the kind of animal who would drive someone to do what my wife had done. Predators like that were everywhere. I should know. I had trained for half my life to be one of them. I was hungry, looking down on the city. If I was going to live, the hunger would have to be enough, for now. But I would sink my teeth into him, sooner or later. I would do that for Haley, and for myself, and then maybe it would be my turn to see if I could fly.

I stepped back from the edge.

Guest Post:

SOME RULES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN. Others are broken at our peril. And still others are made to create peril, delicious, lovely peril for the victim in a good old fashioned murder mystery. With that goal in mind, for your consideration I hereby present my Top Ten Murder Mystery Rules. Mystery authors should feel free to stretch them to the breaking point, but do bear in mind that most of the great murder mystery novels abide by them all, and for good reason. They work.
1. There must be at least one murder, or else good reason to believe a murder has been, or will be, committed.
2. The murderer’s identity must be unknown to the reader. If the murderer’s identity is unknown to the protagonist but known to the reader, the book is a suspense or thriller novel, not a murder mystery.
3. The murderer may not be identified through a character’s psychic powers, or through magic, or through time travel, or a futuristic machine. In such cases, the book is some form of speculative fiction, not a murder mystery.
4. The murderer and the motive for the murder must be clearly identified in the novel, preferably at the end.
5. While the murderer may be insane, the reason for the murder must be understandable.
6. The protagonist may have companions who assist with the investigation, however the ultimate solution must be discovered or deduced by the protagonist.
7. The protagonist must be in immediate danger as a result of the investigation, or else responsible for saving or defending another character who is in immediate danger.
8. The act of murder must be consistent with the murderer’s personality and abilities.
9. The murderer must be a human being. If the murderer is an alien, a ghost, or a monster, it is science fiction or a horror novel, not a murder mystery.
10. All clues used by the protagonist to solve the murder must be revealed to the reader and the protagonist simultaneously.

About The Author:

A master of profound suspense.
Athol Dickson's mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol's They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.
Critics have favorably compared Athol's work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher's Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O'Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.
Find more about Athol Dickson at: http://www.atholdickson.com


Tour Schedule 
First Part of the tour:
March 18: Black Lion Tour Blog: Introduction.
March 19: Cheryl's Book Nook: Guest Post.
March 20: Tina's Book Reviews: Guest Post.
                 Lindsay's Scribblings: Guest Post.
March 22: A Writer's Life: Caroline Clemmons: Guest Post
March 23: 
Laurie's Non Paranormal thoughts and Reviews: Interview.
March 24: 
Makayla's Book Reviews: Guest Post
March 26: I know that Book: Interview
March 27: My Devotional Thoughts: Review.
March 28: MK McClintock Blog: Interview
Second Part of the tour: 
April 3: Deal Sharing Aunt: Review.
April 4: 
Libby's Library: Review.
April 6Books, Books the Magical Fruit: Guest Post.
April 7: Kimberly Lewis Blog: Guest Post.
April 9: Marketing Cafe': Guest Post
April 12: Pure Jonel Blog: Review and Guest Post.
April 14: BK Walker Books Etc.: Interview
April 15Bookworm Babblings: Review.
April 16: Bunny Reviews: Guest Post.
April 17: Black Lion Tours Blog: Wrap- Up.


Rhomy P said...

Thanks for having Athol today! The post looks great!

Shannon R said...

Your escape plan is hilarious, only from the mind of a writer. I look forward to reading the book

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