Monday, November 24, 2008

Author Interview: J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is one of my favorite non-Texas writers. She has a new book coming out in December called "Cruel Intent". She is about to go on tour for her book and I was pleasantly surprised to discover her book tour schedule includes the Dallas, TX area. I am looking forward to meeting her in person. If you are interested in her book tour schedule, you can click here. I was also pleasantly surprised when she agreed to my request for an interview on my blog. The interview follows.

MR: "Cruel Intent" is the fourth book in the Alison Reynolds series and I have read 13 books in the Joanna Brady series. What makes Alison Reynolds different from Joanna Brady?

JAJ: Ali was quite a bit older when her books start. She's lived a far more sophisticated and lavish existence than Joanna even though they both have small town roots. Both come from strong family structures with loving if complicated parents.

MR: Joanna Brady and J.P. Beaumont were in some books together where there stories were merged. Are Joanna Brady and Alison Reynolds likely to share a book together?

JAJ: Joanna and J.P. can share the same book, as they will in next summer's Fire and Ice because they share the same publisher. Ali and Joanna have different publishers and, as a consequence, are unlikely to be in the same book.
MR: This certainly makes sense. When I read the first book with Joanna and J.P. in it, I decided I wanted to go back and start reading the J.P. Beaumont series as well.

MR: How did your idea for this book / story evolve?

JAJ: I think we all assume we have a certain amount of privacy on the Web. The problem is, that ain't necessarily so. And the fact that some of those Internet predators are. . . well . . . predators shouldn't come as a big surprise.
MR: I am definitely looking forward to reading this book now.

MR: What has been your biggest challenge in writing?

JAJ: I've written more than 40 books. Published books. I need to meet deadlines while at the same time keeping a fresh outlook on the characters while also making them consistent from book to book. I need to write the books and promote the books. (Two a year at the moment.) In other words, I think the biggest challenge is juggling.

MR: Do you have a favorite kind of book you like to read?

JAJ: No big surprises there. Mysteries. My favorite book this year is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. That book is about a lady writer just after WWII, and the beginning of the book (letters written while she was on a book tour) actually made me laugh aloud.
MR: Once again, thanks for letting me have this time with you.

It's All About Reading!!!

Libraries are community treasure chests, loaded with a wealth of information available to everyone equally, and the key to that treasure chest is the library card. I have found the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card. ~ First Lady Laura Bush

In case you can not tell, one of my favorite things to do is to read. Knowing this, you probably would not be surprised to know that some of my favorite places are the public library, Barnes and Noble, Half Price Books, and the Book Cottage. Of course these places are just means to an end because the books (and your imagination) are really what take you places.

As you may know, I have a particular fondness for mysteries. I remember reading mysteries as a kid like the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Sherlock Holmes. But there is so much other stuff I read as well. I enjoyed reading Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and J. Frank Dobie. I liked reading about people like Helen Keller, Abe Lincoln, Davey Crockett, and Daniel Boone.

I started this blog (Mystery Reader Discussion) because I liked to read. I became a member of the Friends of Sachse Library. I joined a mystery discussion group at Barnes and Noble. Let’s face it – it’s all about reading!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thought Provoking - The Price of Death

Most people have heard the phrase “I’m a lover – not a fighter”. Well…, I want to use a little different variation on that phrase and say “I’m a reader – not a writer”. I like to read – especially mysteries. A little over a year ago, I decided to start this blog and write about what I read – the mysteries, the characters, and the authors.

My last post was on “The Price of Death” by S.J. Robinson and I had a real tough time with it. The difficulty was not because I did not like reading the book - I did enjoy it. My difficulty was because I had a hard time knowing what I wanted to say and how I would say it. In my previous blog, I mentioned this was a fictional account addressing a serious issue. This was an AWESOME task for the author to take on. It was very thought provoking!!!

Our main character is Jessica Lamm – a attorney that does medical malpractice. Most people have their views of attorneys and those that do medical malpractice. Basically what we know is limited. They have these cases with huge settlements and they get a huge percentage of the settlement. Our writer uses her book (and the character) to teach us more about what is involved. I will only highlight some of these lessons in this blog because you should really read the book to see how the author reveals these lessons.

Why are the settlements so huge? There are several reasons. One reason is the cost of producing the case. In most cases, expert witnesses are needed to testify in the case. There are risks – especially monetary – in testifying against your colleagues. Then there are the current and future losses by the victim(s) of the case.

And if you think it is easy to have a case of medical malpractice, think again!! In order to bring a case of medical malpractice, you have to have grounds. Plus you have to provide proof. The author (who by the way was a previous nurse and a previous attorney) shows the thought and time that goes into making a case.

Granted not all malpractice attorneys are like Jessica Lamm but there are attorneys who actually care about what they do and the people they help. By writing this book, S.J. Robinson has given us some food for thought and she has definitely stirred up my "grey matter".

Monday, November 17, 2008

"The Price Of Death

Do you remember the phrase “the names have been changed”? That was from Dragnet – and yes – I may be dating myself. Well, I just completed another book recommended to me by Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. The title of the book was “The Price Of Death” and it was written by S.J. Robinson. It is NOT a cop thing like Dragnet was, but I thought about Dragnet because this book is a fictional account addressing a real issue.

Speaking of “names being changed” our main character is Jessica Lamm. She used to be a nurse who went to law school and became an attorney. This sounds a whole lot like our author – S.J. Robinson!!! Jessica Lamm’s practice also sounds similar to that of the author – she deals with medical malpractice.

Jessica Lamm has taken on a case involving a death during an emergency room visit. The man who died was a young man in the prime of his life with a wife and kid. Although he went into the emergency room with a problem, it did not seem to be sufficient cause for his death. The emergency room doctor was from Iraq. In his initial confusing conversation with the wife, he indicated the death should not have taken place. The CEO for the hospital showed up and spoke with the wife after he sent the doctor away. The wife requested an autopsy be done on her husband and has decided to get a lawyer – Jessica Lamm.

But this is no simple case of malpractice. Do you think a simple case of malpractice would not lead to a break-in, bugging, attempted murder, and murder? Hardly!!! On the other hand, a business involving counterfeit drugs could. To discover how the connection is made, you need to read the book.
One thing I will say about the book, it was interesting to read what is involved in a lawyer's investigation. The lawyer has to think about different things uncovered in the investigation and how to proceed from there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FOLLOWUP - Mystery Reading Group

We had our discussion group meeting tonight at Firewheel Barnes and Noble and I wanted to followup on a couple of things.

First - this months selection "Booked To Die" by John Dunning was a big hit. 100% of our group (12 out of 12 attending) gave it a thumbs up. Each person seemed to like something different about the book / author.

Second - I want to give some credit where credit is due. As a result of being a part of this group I have come across some authors I may not have come across. I have to say these have been some interesting books. THANKS to each member of the group. One of our previous selections was "The Fifth Vial" by Michael Palmer. I was thrilled to discover a link to my blog on Michael Palmer's website ( Again I have to credit the group for selecting such good books.

Our group takes a break in December but will be starting up our meetings again in January (2nd WEDNESDAY in the month). You are welcome to come join us. - Misterreereeder.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Discussion Group Selection For November

November’s book for our Mystery Discussion Group is “Booked To Die” by John Dunning. This is the first book in a series that introduces Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway. This is a detective who has an interest in collecting books – especially old valuable books. Before I do my review, our reading group has a custom – thumbs up or down for the book. I give it (let the drums roll...) a thumbs up. I enjoyed the book and will be inclined to read the other books in the series. Now onward…..

This book starts with the murder of a book scout. This murder definitely will make a difference in our sleuth’s life (as well as others's in the book). Janeway is one of the detectives responsible for investigating this case and it has some similarities to some previous murders. They also have a suspect in those previous murders but the thug has escaped conviction for those murders. One of the first things to do in investigating this murder is to go talk to this thug. It turns out the thug has an alibi for the time frame of the murder – he was with a girl. Janeway rescues the girl from the thug during the investigation. But the girl refuses to press charges even though Janeway warns her that the thug will be coming after her again. It isn’t long afterwards until he has to rescue her again. This will lead to a legal suit and Janeway has to retire from the police department.

When he leaves the police department, he decides to open a book store. He had learned a lot over the years and during the investigation about the business. His life has taken a professional turn and the case of the murdered book scout it now police business. He sets out to open and operate his new business hiring a young girl from out of town to help run his business. Things are going well until his employee is murdered. This brings Janeway back into his personal investigation of the murders of his employee and the book scout.

I want to leave the review here because it is a worthwhile book to read. I know it is short but there is just to much to miss if you do not read the book for yourself. One thing I will mention is I think the author expertise in the field he is writing about makes the book especially interesting. The author - John Dunning actually owned and operated a book store much like the ones used in this story. And to the person in our group who suggested reading this book - GREAT SUGGESTION!!!!

Note From Misterreereeder: An opportunity for a book giveaway is coming soon - stay tuned.