Humor and murder. Oil and water?
Thrillers are supposed to thrill, keep you on the edge of your seat, the world as we know it hanging in the balance, right? So, exactly where is the “funny” in all of that?
If it’s me telling the story, then the funny is everywhere. Sarcasm and irony are tightly wound in my DNA. And I use them both to deflect when things get tense—just ask some of my exes. That’s simply the way it is. I used to fight against the urge to snark … now I’ve learned to roll with it.
And, as an author, if I’m going to open a vein and bleed all over the page, then it’s gonna be funny, or at least snarky (okay, tempered with some tenderness from time to time) cuz that’s where I live these days. Figuratively and literally.
You see, I live in Vegas… the epicenter of weird and wonderfully raunchy mischief.
At eh beginning of my fiction adventure, I was told to write what I know, and I took it to heart … sorta.
In addition to what I’d figured out, I threw in a dose of what I could imagine and WANNA GET LUCKY? was born. Yes, it’s a light mystery—emphasis on the light—although men often ask me if it’s a how-to book. I’m never quite sure how to respond, especially when they follow that question with, “Is it autobiographical?”
Really? Did they forget that whole what-happens-in-Vegas thing?
I can tell you one thing, though. While writing the first book in the Lucky series, I discovered that one should never, and I repeat NEVER, put that title (WANNA GET LUCKY?) in the subject line of an email to someone you don’t know. While I don’t know it for sure, I strongly suspect that little no-no put my name on several government lists of known perverts.
Such is the price of infamy.
That whole pervert issue aside, my mysteries do incorporate Vegas themes. I’ve tossed a gal from a tour helicopter right into the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show at Treasure Island. Yes, she made quite a splash. Then there was that unsavory odds-maker who ended up in the shark tank at Mandalay Bay. Oh, and the magician who really disappeared…. Well, you get the idea.
See, murder can be funny … or at least silly.
I was at a conference recently, explaining all of this to a tall gentleman in a cowboy hat. He looked a bit skeptical. When I’d finished my elevator pitch, he bent down and asked me my favorite (insert sarcastic tone here) question, “Have you written anything I might have read?”
His tone tempted me to say, “Gee, I don’t know. Do you read chapter books?” But, I remembered my grandmother beating those Southern manners into me, so I shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Give me some titles.”
“Okay, WANNA GET LUCKY? was the first, followed by LUCKY STIFF, and SO DAMN LUCKY.”
After a moment of shocked silence, he leaned in even closer and whispered, “You do know there’s a bit of innuendo in there.”
I told you there’s humor in mysteries. Okay, well at least he made me laugh.
The fourth book in the Lucky series is coming out May 14th. Three people died in this book. I still don’t know what was up with that, but, just to be on the safe side, I locked up the firearms.
The title is LUCKY BASTARD.
I wonder what that shocked gentleman would do with that one?
Anyway, this story revolves around a huge poker tournament. Now, if you’re like me, I find poker about as interesting as the reproductive habits of earthworms, but, the folks who hang around the money game? Now, they are an interesting crowd.
So, the whole thing kicks off with the discovery of the body of a young woman sprawled across the hood of the new Ferarri California with this season’s signature stiletto piercing her carotid. On being presented with the body and the attendant issues, our plucky heroine and amateur sleuth, Lucky O’Toole, head of customer relations at the Babylon Casino, home to the Ferarri dealership, remarks,
“Death by Jimmy Choo. At least she went out with style.”
And, as Sherlock Holmes would say, “Come Watson, the game’s afoot.
My mother tells me I was born a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I currently reside in Las Vegas, where my friends assure me I cannot get into too much trouble. Silly people. I am the author of WANNA GET LUCKY? (A NY Times Notable Crime Novel for 2010 and double RITA™ Finalist), LUCKY STIFF, SO DAMN LUCKY, and LUCKY BASTARD.
To learn more, please visit my website.
Interested in becoming a member of the International Thriller Writers? ITW offers Active and Associate memberships.
Latest posts by ITW (see all)
- November 13 – 19: “Can holidays like Thanksgiving be effectively used as the backdrop in thrillers?” - November 12, 2017
- November 6 – 11: “Is tone linked more to the author’s or the character’s attitude?” - November 5, 2017
- The November 2017 Edition of The Big Thrill is Here! - October 31, 2017