Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jumping for joy...Kirkus reviewed Troubleshooter and called it Potent!
 

KIRKUS REVIEW


A U.S. marshal’s 30-year search for a fellow Vietnam veteran who killed the love of his life may be nearing its conclusion in the author’s debut thriller.

Ezra “Hoot” Hooten’s transfer to Spokane, Wash., has nothing to do with a desire for a change of scenery and everything to do with the possibility of finding Norman Carpenter there. Norman, Hoot’s childhood friend, married Donna, the girl Hoot left behind before joining the Army. Norman was convicted of Donna’s murder and escaped custody years ago, but a chance encounter with unhappy wife and mother Angela, the spitting image of Donna, might finally help Hoot catch up to Norman and end the hunt that has long dominated the marshal’s life. Lindsey’s potent novel is dark, opening with Hoot under fire, his partner dead (the third in five years) and a nearby officer bleeding to death. Hoot is a curious but deeply flawed protagonist who blames himself as much as Norman for Donna’s death and becomes obsessed with the search for his former pal, which ultimately ruins his relationships with his ex-wife, Linda, and their children. The other characters have their own defects: Norman is a hit man who thinks beating up punks for hire is beneath him, and even Angela isn’t very likable, expressing no remorse over having left her kids just a couple of weeks before Christmas. Some readers may not appreciate the novel’s portrayal of women, who are typically depicted in physical terms, especially since Angela and her new lover, Liz, work as strippers (at a club where the three leads’ paths all converge). Hoot doesn’t even respect FBI agent Patricia Peyton, insinuating that affirmative action is the sole reason she has a job. But the men fare no better, in particular Norman, who seems to get progressively crazier in his desire to kill Angela, whom he eventually takes to calling Donna or, more to the point, “the woman…wearing Donna’s skin.” Flashbacks appear at random intervals in Hoot’s and Norman’s lives, usually involving their teen years and their stints in Vietnam, aptly revealing the love triangle (of sorts) with the two boys and Donna, as well as Norman’s descent into what some would consider madness.

Heavy in its despondence and bleakness but a story that readers are unlikely to forget.

Thursday, December 26, 2013



A Christmas Recollection

Christmas has come and gone once more and the Christmas gene remains strong in me – I’m talking about more than my close resemblance to Santa Claus here; I’m talking about traditions.  The way they can grab people and then carry on with a life of their own.  Powerful stuff, traditions are, and we create them left and right with hardly a second thought.  They become part of us so quickly and so thoroughly – the slightest special detail in the most ordinary routine can tweak our DNA and…voila!  Next thing you know we’re passing special details and routines on to the next generation for generations to come.  I talked to my daughter, on Christmas, and she told me that she had resurrected the dollhouse I made for her when she was a girl about the same age my granddaughter is now.  She told how a ‘last gift’ was discovered under the tree – an item of dollhouse furniture.   How unwrapping this gift led to a treasure hunt of clues culminating in a trek to the downstairs family room where the resurrected dollhouse awaited her decorating and playtime flair.  Hearing about this treasure hunt brought tears of joy to my eyes as I remembered Amber scrambling for exactly the same sorts of clues thirty-five years ago…tradition in action.  Then the tears turned to laughter as she related how my granddaughter had enticed her father to play with the dollhouse with her, how my granddaughter’s miniature Barbie princess collection had immediately moved into the dollhouse, how her father had pretended that his Barbie princess needed to go to the potty in the worst way, and how pretty soon all the Barbies had to go.  My daughter said that she discovered my granddaughter near hysterics playing with her father because the Barbies had plugged up the dollhouse toilet.  This holiday anecdote was immediately precious to me; perhaps because I was a dirt-poor artist/construction worker simply struggling make Christmas special for my kids, and somehow managed to create the seed of a tradition in the process when I first built the dollhouse.  I’m pleased it turned out to be something lasting and worthy of being passed down to another generation.  Now I’m a dirt-poor author, still struggling to make Christmas special for my loved ones and delighting in finding evidence of traditions that I’ve helped create along the way.  Handmade ornaments.  Homemade cookies.  Precious gifts that can’t be bought.  It’s all good.  It’s all Christmas…and I’m already looking forward to the next one.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

 



“I’m a beamwalker,” Hoot said.  “My whole life I’ve been walking the beam, straight and narrow and above it all.  I never had to make any real choices about direction because the only direction I knew was straight ahead, the only direction that mattered.  Anything else, you fell off the beam.  You know how it is. 

“Now, I see that the choices were always there.  I just didn’t notice them overmuch at the time.  I ignored them, the choices I had to make.  Concentrating on straight ahead, I made them without seeing them.  Career choices.  Family choices.  Life choices.  Never even bothered to look too close.”
 
Ezra Hooten, from Skyshooter



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

 


It's that Ravenhaven time of year again! Time for Uncle Hubert's Thanksgiving Crow Logic
 


Uncle Hubert’s Thanksgiving Crow Logic
(a character study)
 
Hoot’s uncle Hubert had suffered a stroke in his early teens that left him with a lifelong limp and a useless left hand always tucked into his trouser pocket.  Hoot remembered how Uncle Hubert drove a column-shift 1954 Ford in 1961 – the year Hoot turned twelve.  This was before the days of power-assisted steering, power brakes, power anything – and watching his uncle execute a braking turn (including a downshift) using only his right hand to operate the steering wheel, turn signal lever, and gearshift lever while working the clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals with only his right foot was like watching a ballet of quick-draw speed and gunslinger purpose, a sight that has stayed with Hoot the past half-century.
            Every year Uncle Hubert would come home from Albuquerque for Thanksgiving, and they would go crow hunting – man stuff – Hoot’s father with his .22 carbine and Uncle Hubert with his sawed-off shotgun made into a blunderbuss pistol, Hoot tagging along with his B-B gun.  It was a stretch, no doubt, but ‘taking the boy hunting’ for any kind of critter was the epitome of rural male bonding in the early sixties, and they made a big deal out of it including breakfast at Grandma Theo’s before setting out. 
Hubert had a crow call that made a sound like Donald Duck with laryngitis and could bring curious birds from two pastures away in close.   Hoot remembered his uncle’s wisdom regarding crows: “Smartest of all birds,” he would say.  But curiously, he had no qualms about hunting these smart creatures for the simple pleasure of having something to shoot at.  Crows were a nuisance to farmers, and weekend holiday nuisance hunters were welcome on most farms.  Hoot’s ol’ man and Uncle Hubert were careful to close gates behind them.  Ask permission beforehand.
            Hoot remembered crossing a field with Uncle Hubert one Thanksgiving, a flock of crows up in the branches of the tree line ahead, Uncle Hubert called them a sizeable murder of ravens claiming that Edgar Allan Poe would have called them that.  Hoot hid his B-B gun under his coat similar to the way his uncle concealed his shotgun, assumed an exaggerated limp to mimic his hero, and walked proudly to the fray.
            “You don’t need to hide your B-B gun,” Uncle Hubert said.  “Crows know the difference between a B-B gun and a real one.”
            Hoot remembered keeping his not-so-deadly weapon hid anyhow as they crossed that field…just in case.  He smiled – at all the years that had passed by in a slow flash.  He had often yearned for those long-ago Thanksgivings.  Broad fieldsAnd for not-so-deadly weapons.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

 

 
After a brief absence to chase the almighty buck a bit I'm back to work on Skyshooter.  A sample from Chapter 21:
 
***
Once he made the connection between her and Harold Hesse, Hoot would act – Jesse had been sure that he would; his track record made it clear he was very predictable that way.  The question, as her father had so pointedly put it, was how would he act?  Usefully?  Or not?  And now here he was, standing alone in spotlighted darkness on the deck of the Playa Rocosa Golf Club, looking entirely out-of-place and determined as hell; just as she had expected he would be.  A relentless two-legged hound on her scent.

“Hello, Hoot.  Do you golf?” she said to his shadowy back.  His hair was a halo of shimmering light, the glare of spotlights in the mist backlighting his tall and slender form without revealing details.
 
“No,” Hoot answered, still facing the beach.  There was a slight breeze out of the southwest, the underlying aroma of the sea – definitely different here than back home around the tidewaters of Puget Sound, but still the same; living and dead smells stirring it up.
 
“I can’t recommend this golf course,” Jesse said.  “This isn’t a good course for beginners.”
 
"Yeah?  All the bad guys and bullets make it hard for a newbie to concentrate?”
 
She snickered and replied, “Too much crosswind here; exaggerates hooks and slices.”

“Hooks and Slices,” Hoot parroted.  “Sounds serious.”
 
“Yes.  Very serious…if you’re serious about the game.”
 
“It’s a goofy game, golf.  I never could see the point of it.”
 
“Maybe that’s because the point often has more to do with being in the game and very little to do with actually playing the game.”
 
“Precisely why it isn’t my kind of game.”

“What is your kind of game, Hoot?”
 
He stood silent a moment, as pale and still as carved marble, ethereal stone both at rest and on guard.  Then he slowly turned to face her and said, “Solitaire.  Sometimes I win at Solitaire.”



Sunday, April 28, 2013

 




Deeply-tanned skin the color of cinnamon, there was something odd about the skin texture on the left side of Jesse Vega’s face.  Heavy makeup concealing a blemish of some kind.  Scar tissue.  But her eyes drew him past it without close scrutiny.  She was the sort of woman, he suspected, could be trouble without even trying, and the tone of her voice combined with the look in her eyes told him that she was probably trying.

Skyshooter

Tuesday, April 16, 2013



Working on Skyshooter, near the climax, & Jessica Vega (the antagonist) is starting to creep me out.