Aside from the weekend, Thriller Thursday is my favorite day of the week. Today, I have a special guest, C.J. West, with his latest book Dinner at Deadman’s. A great read with a quirky main character, lots of humor, and a mystery to boot.
Lorado Martin has loved junk since his grandparents took him bottle digging in the backwoods of New England when he was a boy. The search for antiques and collectibles led him to a unique hobby: digging through the estates of the newly deceased, arranging the sale of goods for the heirs, and keeping the leftovers for himself.
To make a living he builds and maintains housing for recovering addicts and along the way he’s employed a number of his clients. The men wrestle with the siren call of drugs and teach Lorado about the difficult struggle to stay clean one day at a time.
When these two worlds come together, Lorado learns that not every elderly person dies of natural causes and that some estates are sold to benefit a killer. His latest project hits close to home. A woman he’s known since childhood haunts him from a fresh grave. Her grandson, an affable addict who has fallen off the wagon, stands to inherit a considerable sum whether he deserves it or not.
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Jennifer Chase: Welcome, C.J. If Lorado Martin was trapped in an elevator with three other people, how would he devise a plan to escape? Would he take any of the people with him?
C.J. West: Lorado thinks he can fix anything and he’s right about most things. He wouldn’t be able to fit through the hatch at the top of the elevator car and he certainly wouldn’t be able to jump that high. He’d probably wind up opening the panel and checking the wiring in case that would help.
Jennifer Chase: Hmm… I’m getting a clearer picture of Lorado now. So how do you get inside his head when writing?
C.J. West: Funny story. Lorado is based on my real brother. I was looking for a funny, likeable hero and he fits the bill perfectly. While writing Dinner At Deadman’s I spent time working with my brother and his crew to experience what his life was like.
Jennifer Chase: I love hearing background on the creation of a story and a fun character. What’s your specific genre? If you could write in any other genre, what would it be and why?
C.J. West: I typically categorize my work as suspense, but I do a lousy job following genre rules. Dinner At Deadman’s is a traditional mystery and probably the book of mine that colors inside lines best. I don’t need to pick another genre, I probably wouldn’t follow that set of rules either.
Jennifer Chase: I like that philosophy! So why should readers pick up Dinner at Deadman’s?
C.J. West: Dinner At Deadman’s is a light mystery that offers a view into the world of used merchandise sold at estate sales, yard sales, and on eBay. The book also offers a realistic view into the lives of recovering addicts as seen by someone who works with them on a daily basis.
Jennifer Chase: What types of emotions will readers experience when they read your book?
C.J. West: Readers will be nostalgic for all the old treasures they remember from when they were kids. They’ll be intrigued as they follow Lorado and his attempts to solve Mary Newbury’s murder. They’ll laugh with Lorado’s antics and they’ll be saddened by the plight of those addicted to narcotics.
Jennifer Chase: Now, please bear with me, it’s time to play word association with your main character. Please respond with one word that comes to mind (in your main character’s voice) to the words listed below.
Omnipresence What does that mean?
Thanks so much C.J. West for taking the time to stop by and give us some insight on Dinner at Deadman’s!
Author Bio: C.J. West is the author of seven suspense novels including The End of Marking Time and Sin and Vengeance, which was optioned into development for film by Beantown Productions, LLC (screenplay by Marla Cukor). C.J. blogs at www.cjwestkills.wordpress.com. You can also find him at www.22wb.com or at www.facebook.com/cjwestfans
Terrific interview! I love stories with “real life” ties, CJ. Yours sounds like a must-read. Cheers!
Thanks August. This one was really fun to write. And it felt like cheating being able to talk to my main character anytime I wanted to!
Great interview! I have a deep appreciation for family bonds. Sounds like this was a real bonding experience.
It was great, Kim, but now everyone wants a book written about them!