Saturday, 28 March 2015 11:03

hartcarolyn dontgohome
Favorite characters become part of our circle of family and friends. We become anxious to visit with them, to find out what they’ve been up to and what adventures we might share with them.

And when a series has gone on a long time, it’s also easy to take those characters for granted, as if they will be with us forever.

But as we know, all things end, even beloved characters.

And sometimes not.

When Carolyn Hart’s Don’t Go Home comes out on May 5, it not only will be the 25th novel in the Death on Demand series, but it also was to be  the finale.

I was prepared that we would be missing Annie and Max and Broward’s Rock.

I had even written this essay after receiving a note from Carolyn Hart explaining the difficult decision of ending this much-loved series.

 Hart has been writing two novels a year for some time and it was becoming too much for the author.

“I decided that I no longer wished to write two books a year and I had to choose between the Death on Demand series and the Bailey Ruth series,” she said.

So she decided to continue the Bailey Ruth novels and let Annie and Max have a rest.

“I have chosen Bailey Ruth because the books are exceedingly challenging to write,” said Hart, whose next Bailey Ruth novel Ghost to the Rescue comes out in October 2015.

“That might seem puzzling because Bailey Ruth, a redheaded ghost who returns to earth to help people in trouble, involves a lot of laughter. At least on my part and I figure if I’m laughing, a reader will laugh,” added Hart, who was one of the MWA Grand Masters for 2014.

“Bailey Ruth might appear to have every advantage as a sleuth since she can be invisible and overhear and see amazing moments. But the challenge is that every time she is at a particular spot, there has to be a logical reason she is there. Nothing can happen by chance. Trust me, that is hard to do.”

In her note, Hart added, “Annie and Max, thank you for the good times, for your kindnesses, courage, humor, and grace.”

But sometimes, we change our minds and Hart certainly did.

And we are glad she did.

A few days after I wrote this blog--and had it scheduled to be posted--I received a most welcomed note from Carolyn Hart.

Annie and Max will return.

"Annie and Max looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t even think about it!” I realized I’d miss them too much. So I changed my mind and hope to write their 26th adventure as soon as Bailey Ruth persuades a lovelorn  ghost to climb the shining stairs to Heaven," Carolyn Hart emailed me.

We all are allowed to change our minds.
Thank you Carolyn Hart, for all these wonderful stories about Annie and Max, and in deciding to give us more time with these characters.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 12:03

kellermanjonathan motive
Last week, my home was filled with the voice of actor John Rubinstein.

My husband is a theater critic and he was interviewing Rubinstein, who will be appearing in the South Florida tour of Pippin. Rubinstein had played the title role when the musical was first on Broadway in 1972. Now Rubinstein is playing the king, the father of Pippin.

Meanwhile, I was listening to Rubinstein narrate Motive, the latest novel by Jonathan Kellerman.

Before their interview started, my husband mentioned that I was listening to Motive.

Rubinstein mentioned what a job it is to narrate Kellerman’s Alex Delaware and that he also is a fan of the novels.

For me, Rubinstein is the perfect reader for the Alex Delaware series, as he truly makes different voices for each of the characters.

Rubinstein’s Alex sounds nothing like Milo Sturgis, the LAPD detective with whom Alex works and is his best friend.

Anyone who listens to audiobooks knows that it all hinges on the reader. Even the best plot with the best characters can be a mess if the reader doesn’t deliver.

Scott Brick is another reader who elevates the books he narrates.

Sunday, 22 March 2015 04:03

palmermichaeldaniel trauma
It’s not unusual for authors to collaborate with each other.

P.J. Parrish is actually two sisters; P.J. Tracy is a mother-and-daughter duo; Sparkle Abbey is two friends. Of course, other authors such as James Patterson just add their co-authors to the title page.

Daniel Palmer has collaborated with another author and, in this case, I am sure he would have given anything to avoid the reason behind this collaboration.

Daniel Palmer is the son of the late author Michael Palmer, a bestselling author of medical thrillers. Michael Palmer was working on his novel Trauma when he died suddenly on Oct. 30, 2013. He had suffered a heart attack and stroke the day before.

Throughout his career, Michael Palmer, who also was a physician, wrote 19 novels, many of which landed on the bestseller lists. His novels were known for their strong plots and views of the medical world. Those who knew Michael Palmer often commented on what a nice man he was.

Daniel Palmer, one of Michael Palmer’s three sons, inherited his dad’s writing talents and has written five thrillers. In addition, those who have met Daniel Palmer also have commented on what a nice man he is.

The two authors sometimes appeared on the same panel at writers conferences. When they were both at Sleuthfest a few years ago, it was interesting to see father and son talk about their respective writing careers and the respect and love each had for the other.

At the time of his death, Michael Palmer was working on the manuscript of Trauma, which would have been his 20th novel. Working through his grief, Daniel Palmer did what authors do best—he wrote, taking over Trauma to finish the novel for his dad.

Having grown up surrounded by his father’s novels, Daniel Palmer got into the groove of his father’s style.

As a result, Trauma is a unique novel that shows the strength of both authors’ work. Trauma comes out in May 2015.

Trauma’s plot revolves around Carrie Bryant, a physician who makes life-altering mistakes in two separate surgeries. She returns to her hometown where she becomes involved in an experimental program to treat PTSD.

This is the first time that Daniel Palmer ever collaborated with his father. Michael Palmer’s last novel, Resistant, was released in May 2014, after his death.

This isn’t the first time that a mystery writer has finished the manuscript of someone he or she cares about.

Last year, Les Standiford, director of the Florida International University’s creative writing program, and Dan Wakefield, who was the writer in residence at FIU for 15 years, finished the manuscript of their friend Anthony Gagliano, who had received critical acclaim for his first novel, Straits of Fortune. Gagliano was working on his second novel, The Emperor’s Club, when he suffered a stroke and died at age 53.

The two authors, both of whom have a number of fiction and nonfiction titles to their credit, spent a couple of years working on The Emperor’s Club.
After hearing about the project, their FIU colleague, and fellow author, John Dufresne agreed to edit the finished book. Dufresne also found a publisher, the small but growing MidTown Publishing.

Daniel Palmer’s father would be proud of the novel Trauma.