Hit or Miss by Jeff Markowitz

When you’re 21 years old, it can be hard under the best of circumstances to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect. Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case.

HIT OR MISS is set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Vietnam. As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counterculture. HIT OR MISS raises questions that were important in 1970 and still resonate today—questions about the rights of free speech and assembly, about the role of protest in a democracy. But the question that consumes everyone in Dutch Neck in the summer of 1970 is personal. Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

Jeff Markowitz recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, HIT OR MISS:

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

HIT OR MISS began with the decision to set a story in the summer of 1970. The mystery is set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Vietnam. As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation, and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counterculture.

Jeff Markowitz

What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?

HIT OR MISS raises questions that were important in 1970 and still resonate today—questions about the rights of free speech and assembly, about the role of protest in a democracy.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

The author who made me want to be a reader was Dr. Seuss. I have probably read And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street more times than any other book. The author who made me want to be a writer was Kurt Vonnegut. One of the personal highlights of my writing life was the chance to participate in the Slaughterhouse-Five 50th Anniversary Readathon in 2019.

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Jeff Markowitz is the author of five mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy Death and White Diamonds. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children and adults with autism, including 25 years as president and executive director of the Life Skills Resource Center before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is past president of the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.

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