mystery

The Dying Dance

The Dying Dance - Ricardo Fleshman

When writing thrillers, it can be difficult to find the middle ground between suspenseful and unrealistic. Ricardo Fleshman obviously does not have that problem. Not only did I have trouble putting the book down once I started reading it, but on more than one occasion, I felt my anxiety rise as Mose found himself in yet another difficult position. 

The characters were gloriously detailed -- yes I used the word gloriously. Fleshman's writing is so vivid that I had no trouble visualizing each and every character and scene. I felt as though I was in Louisiana -- and I've never been there before!

I absolutely loved the character of Armond and desperately wished to see more of him throughout the work. I'm hoping that he's a repeat character in future Mose books. I wanted to sit down and drink wine with him and Mose too!

I was extremely sad at Daniel's demise. I'm not sure if it was because the book starts out from his point of view, or if I was just attached to him as a character, but I very desperately wanted to know more about him and I was sad when Lisette moved on so quickly. But my disappointment strengthened my opinion of the book. Fleshman created characters that I was so attached to that I was upset at their passing. So bravo to him!

What excited me even more as I read this work was that with Fleshman's skills and the vast potential for suspense and intrigue in Louisiana, there is a world of possibilities waiting for Fleshman to explore with his Mose series. And quite frankly, I do plan to read them all. 


Some Bio Information

Ricardo Fleshman is the author of the Detective Byone series. The Dying Dance (2013), The Devil’s Serum (2014) and The Cemetery Paintings (2014) are the first Detective Moses Byone novels that follows the detective through the dark and sinister cases set in 1970’s New Orleans, LA.

Ricardo is an avid reader, travels extensively with favorite destinations in the United States South and also international locations in South America and Europe. He is a fan of horror books and movies, dark art and "The Blues." He is a graduate of Lynchburg College in Virginia. He resides in Northern Virginia with his family where he continues to write more stories of Detective Moses Byone.


Q&A

1. Who influences your writing the most? (not necessarily an author)

I think my influences have been private detectives of old, Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe, Shaft (movie), Columbo (t.v. show) and writers Mickey Spillane, Dashielle Hammett, Raymond Chandler those all captivated me when I was young.

2. Daniel seems to have quite the mysterious past – is that another story?

Daniel’s story does have yet to be told and I have been mulling around it as an entire different series.

3. What prompted the setting in Louisiana?

The Vieux Carre- the French Quarter chose me- the city if so ripe with history and a distinctive culture all its own- it was very hard not to write something set there.

4. What led you to be a writer?

Reading so much when I was young and having that same need to tell the stories that were in my head. I wanted to see readers get as much satisfaction from my writing as I got from my favorite writers- that has not changed.

5. Favorite past time?

Reading- when I’m not writing, I read one sometimes two books a week.

6. Describe your ideal writing setting.

The city of New Orleans, in the Vieux Carre just before dawn.

7. What’s the most difficult part about being a writer?

Bringing the living characters, settings and stories that I have in my head to paper. Finding the right words to convey the story that is alive in my head is the most difficult part.

 

Lilac Lane

Lilac Lane - Ann Swann

Starting over is scary enough without having someone you're running from. I think that's part of what makes Ella's story so intense -- that and the author's brilliant use of dramatic irony. Early on in the book, the reader learns that Anson has been released from jail and he's looking for Ella and Nick. But Ella continues to believe that he's still in jail. Because of this, each time something bizarre happens, Ella assumes that it can't be Anson because he's still in jail. 

The other genius part of this thriller is that, while the reader knows that Anson is on the loose, there are several other possibilities placed before us and it's difficult to guess what direction the author will choose. There are the raccoons, the idea of a ghost, Mrs. Benefield and her "little boys in the attic," and most of all, there's Chet. While he seems to be the perfect man (albeit with a small amount of baggage) he could be an insane psychopath stalker that is trying to scare Ella into his open arms. The part that I found most fantastic about all of this is that I, as the reader, would have been content with any of these scenarios!

Finally, and possibly my favorite part, was that although there is some romance between Chet and Ella, this is truly a story about mother and son. Throughout the book, the bond between Ella and Nick grows stronger as they count on each other to survive the difficult situation. I loved this aspect and appreciated the strength of these characters. Family is so important and I think we tend to forget that. 


Some Bio Information

Ann lives in Texas with her husband and rescue pets. She loves libraries and book stores and owns two e-readers just for fun. Ann writes what she likes to read. Her Romantic Suspense series (5 Prince Books) consists of: Book One, Stutter Creek, and Book Two, Lilac Lane. Book three will be out in 2015. Her other book for 5 Prince Publishing is All For Love, a women’s novel of heartache and hope.

Her paranormal book series centers around a couple of teenage ghost-magnets: Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, Stevie-girl and The Phantom Student, and Stevie-girl and The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge.

Ann also has short fiction in several anthologies. The most recent short story, Sleepaway Pounds, won first place in a short-story contest. It is included in the anthology, Seasonal, Sweet, and Suspenseful.


Q&A

1. Describe your optimal writing environment.

My optimal writing environment is on my iMac at my antique teacher’s desk in my den. I’ll have some music on, but nothing too distracting. I actually like to have the radio on so there is a variety, but I often turn it down so low I can barely hear it. Background noise, I suppose.

2. Chet and Ella's story seems a bit open ended. Are you leaving it up to the reader's imagination, or are you planning to continue their story? 

Great question. I don’t believe in easy endings. I wanted Ella to be more careful after all she (they) had been through. And YES, there will be a bit about them in the next book, but they will not be the major characters this time.

3. I find the character of Mrs. Benefield intriguing. Is she merely a red herring or is that a story for another time? 

Poor Mrs. Benefield (fictional name) was based on a real woman who used to call me when I was a nighttime police dispatcher. She had dementia and she would call me in the middle of the night and whisper that “those boys” were back in her attic. It always gave me chills so I had to include her somewhere. But basically she was just a red herring here.

4. Describe the ingredients for a perfect suspense thriller. 

Another great question. Each book is different, but of course there must be someone in distress, someone (or something) threatening to harm them in some way, and of course the satisfactory resolution. I know that is super simple, but I often write about “evil” humans because I’ve met a few of them in real life. It’s my catharsis.
 
5. Why do you think Anson was trying to inflict psychological damage as well as physical damage? He had the element of surprise initially. 

He wanted more than just physical revenge. He was going to make them suffer and he didn’t want it to be over too quickly. 

6. For the most part, Lilac Lane is told through Ella's perspective, but you break from that on several occasions -- why? 

I like for the reader to be in different characters’ skin. I feel it lends immediacy to the story. I also write what I like to read, and I love to look at things from different perspectives. I get bored easily.

7. Where do you draw your inspiration?

Everything I write began with something that really happened. Sometimes it is something that occurred locally (as with the little boy beside the road in Stutter Creek), or something that I read about in the news (as with husbands who murder their estranged wives and/or girlfriends). Often I have to write about horrific things just to get them out of my mind.