By Rick Reed
THE TROJAN COLT, the newest Eli Paxton PI mystery from award winning author Mike Resnick, revolves around the down-on-his-luck private eye who is hired to guard the high-priced yearlings of the Lexington Kentucky classic winner, Trojan, and is no sooner on the job than he must respond to a fracas in the horse barn. Rushing in, he’s just in time to thwart a vicious attack on a young groom. The assailants get away, leaving the groom bloodied and too terrified to talk. The next day the groom doesn’t show up for work, and the Trojan colt that was in his keeping sells for a record price.
Now assigned to investigate the boy’s disappearance, Paxton focuses on the Lexington breeding farm. It turns out that two other staff members have disappeared in the past couple of months. The owner of the farm, while denying it, appears to be in financial straits.
As Paxton worries that all three missing boys may never be found, he runs smack into a multimillion-dollar plot that the perpetrator will kill to keep secret.
Prometheus Books will release this second Eli Paxton mystery, THE TROJAN COLT, in June 2013, and it looks like Resnick is just getting started.
Mike Resnick is the author of DOG IN THE MANGER, the first Eli Paxton mystery. He is the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction, he has won five Hugos (from a record thirty-six nominations), plus other major awards in the United States, France, Spain, Croatia, Poland, and Japan. He is the author of sixty-eight novels, more than two hundred fifty stories, and two screenplays, and he had edited forty anthologies. His work had been translated into twenty-five languages.
“Told in an amiable first-person narrative dripping with sarcasm, Resnick’s engrossing puzzler . . . captures the essence of the antiheroic PI. Resnick . . . writes with a speculative tone that translates well to the detective genre. May there be More!”
“Eli Paxton is a likable addition to the ranks of fictional private eyes. Mike Resnick’s fast-paced, cleverly plotted, wryly amusing adventures are sure to please both mystery readers and fans of his award-winning science fiction.”
—Bill Pronzini, Grandmaster of Mystery Writers of America
“Appealing. . . . Resnick brings firsthand knowledge of show dogs and irrepressible enthusiasm to this tough- guy tale along with plenty of Cincinnati local color.”
Tell me about Eli Paxton? What kind of person is he, and how did you create his character?
I grew up loving the private eye stories of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and I’d always wanted to write one. But by the time I got around to it, a lot had changed. No one hires a private eye to solve a murder, because there’s no way he can compete with a modern forensics lab. And I never agreed with the fictional staple that there’s a contemptuous enmity between private eyes and cops. So when I created Eli – a down-on-his-luck strapped-for-cash, divorced private eye; that much I could keep from the Old Days – I knew that the only way he could solve a murder was to be hired for something trivial by comparison, such as finding a missing show dog or providing security for a valuable yearling at a sale – and as he attempts to solve the problems he’s hired to solve, problems that fall beneath the cops’ radar, he peels back layers and layers until he comes upon far greater crimes. And since he doesn’t view the cops as enemies, he shares with them, lets them know where he’ll be and what he’s doing. And in two books he hasn’t punched any bad guys out. So I view him as a Spade or Marlowe brought up to 2013.
You are best known for writing science fiction. What prompted you to write private eye books, and what genre do you prefer?
I enjoy both genres. The reason I’m a little late getting into mysteries is economic, not artistic. I wrote DOG IN THE MANGER about 20 years ago, and offered it to Ace Books, which was publishing some of my science fiction at the time. They loved it, and offered me a 3-book contract for that and two more. Problem was, they were paying me literally five times as much for my science fiction book as they were offering for the mysteries, and when they wouldn’t change the offer to just DOG IN THE MANGER, I took it elsewhere and sold it to Alexander Books. Then I got too busy to give Eli another thought…until a year ago when Lou Anders, who is editing my science fiction at Pyr, told me that Pyr’s parent company, Prometheus, was starting a new imprint, Seventh Street. I figured if I didn’t get back to mysteries now I never would, so I sent Dan Mayer, Seventh Street’s editor, DOG IN THE MANGER and an outline for THE TROJAN COLT, he bought it, and two decades later I’m back in the mystery business.
Are there any current television series that would compare with the story line in THE TROJAN COLT?
I have no idea. I got tired of having my intelligence insulted on a nightly basis, and have not watched an episode of any TV series since 1982. Somehow I do not feel culturally deprived, and I’ve probably written an extra 30 books in the time I’ve saved.
What did you do before you became a writer?
Nothing. I wrote my way through college, and got a job as an editor in 1965, and have been a full-time freelancer since the mid-1969.
I sold my first article at 15, my first poem at 16, my first story at 17.
What advice would you care to share with beginning writers?
Writers write. Would-be writers, who are never going to make it talk about writing.
What’s next for Eli Paxton?
Just signed for another Eli Paxton book with Seventh Street, to be titled CAT ON A COLD TIN ROOF. I believe it’s due to come out in the early summer of 2014, (always assuming I deliver it on time.)
What’s next for Mike Resnick?
Right now I’m just finishing THE DOCTOR AND THE DINOSAURS, the 4th and probably final book in the Weird Western series I’m doing for Pyr. As I write these words I owe a novella, a novelette and five short stories to various magazines and anthologies; I’m doing 2 Stellar Guild novels (a series that I’m also editing for Arc Manor) with different protégés; I have an anthology (co-edited with Bob Garcia) titled THE WORLDS OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS coming out from Baen Books; I’m negotiating the next science fiction titles with Pyr; I need to write 3 more Lucifer Jones stories and then Subterranean Press will be coming out with VOYAGES, the 5th Lucifer Jones book; Dog Star Books is bringing out a new edition of A MIRACLE OF RARE DESIGN; I’m collaborating on a (hopefully) final draft of a screenplay tentatively titled SOME HERES DIE with writer/producer Harry Kloor; and I’m editing GALAXY’S EDGE, a new bi-monthly magazine that launched in March. Oh, and Barry Malzberg and I do a quarterly column – The Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues” – for the SFWA Bulletin. (We just handed in our 62nd.). And of course I’ll be writing CAT ON A COLD TIN ROOF sometime this summer/fall. Not bad for an old geezer who just turned 71.
Mike Resnick (Cincinnati, OH) is the author of DOG IN THE MANGER, the first Eli Paxton mystery. The all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction, he has won five Hugos (from a record thirty-six nominations), plus other major awards in the United States, France, Spain, Croatia, Poland, and Japan. He is the author of sixty-eight novels, more than two hundred fifty stories, and two screenplays, and he has edited forty anthologies. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages.
For more information about Mike Resnick and THE TROJAN COLT, please visit his website.