Coffee & Crime Fiction
It was in 2014 that I first had coffee with Don Bruns. After two winter seasons in Florida, it was time to branch out and find authors from the Sunshine state. It was a good conversation about books, writing and everything in-between.
Bruns kindly gave me a copy of his book Reel Stuff – Book seven of the Stuff series. His Caribbean series has five books and yes, Prolific should be his middle name.
We’ve chatted off and on during SleuthFest: 2015 & 2016 (if I remember correctly) but it wasn’t coffee either time. Now Bruns has launched a new series: Quentin Archer. Casting Bones is the first of the series and may well be his next USA Today bestseller.
I asked Don if he’d like to discuss his research for this new series and he responded with an amiable, “Of course.”
Research can be hard work. When I did my Caribbean series, Jamaica Blue, South Beach Shakedown, Barbados Heat, Bahama Burnout and St. Bart’s Breakdown, people told me, sarcastically, that they felt so sorry for me because I had to visit the islands, taste the food, drink the beverages…WELL, I did! And there are harder ways to make a living, I understand that.
However, as a writer you are keeping a record of everything you hear, see, smell and feel. If you are giving your reader a true ‘location’ experience, it has to be believable. It’s the best feeling in the world when someone says “I’ve been there and you captured it perfectly!”
So, when I decided to write my new New Orleans series, I wanted to be as authentic as possible. In Casting Bones, I chose a detective from Detroit who has recently moved to the Big Easy. He doesn’t know the city very well (plays well for me as I learn the city), and he’s often exploring his territory.
Oh, I tasted the New Orleans cuisine, drank the exotic Crescent City cocktails, hung out at the bars and clubs, but I also sat down with the homicide detectives, beat cops, did a private tour of the entire city with a friend who drives taxi.
I visited the devastation caused by Katrina, had long conversations with high level politicians, bartenders and strippers. I think it came together very well. People who live there tell me that I nailed New Orleans. Some of the reviews have complimented the fact that the city becomes a character in the book.
A young, attractive voodoo practitioner and Quentin Archer team up to solve the murder of a judge. I love the characters, I love the story, but even more, I love New Orleans.
My friend Jeff Deaver says “I can’t think of a better portrayal of the most exotic city in America, New Orleans.” Lee Child says “superb locations and a great, hard-edged story.” And Lee goes on with my favorite quote for Casting Bones. “If you love the crime genre, this is not just highly recommended, but mandatory.”
Start one series or all of them, you can’t go wrong either way.
Bruns’ books are available: