**I have a real treat if you tune in tomorrow. The NYT best-selling author of Killer Summer, Ridley Pearson, has given Fumbling with Fiction an essay entitled “Writing a Killer Series” for me to post. All you series writers will definitely want to check out his advice and words of wisdom on the subject.
Sheriff Walt Fleming grows suspicious when he sees a tow truck crossing a bridge with a car in tow while out on a fishing trip. When he catches up with the truck, he discovers a dead man in the car with a briefcase chained to his wrist. In the briefcase are three bottles of wine purportedly to have been a gift from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams. Immediately, Fleming starts to think that he’s stumbled upon a plot to steal the wine. But the further Fleming digs, the more he discovers that something much more elaborate and sinister is afoot.
Favorite thing about the book?
I’m a big fan of the premise here. Three bottles of wine that had purportedly been a gift from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams. For some reason, I always enjoy books that can make food an integral part of the story. And I feel that Pearson has made a book that melds a foodie hobby–wine tasting–with mystery. So in other words, the basic premise alone has appeal to wine lovers, mystery fanatics, and history aficianados.
Beyond that, this story mixes murder mystery with a heist plot. And there’s even a nice nod to Ocean’s 11 when one of the characters is dubbed “George Clooney.” Nice touch, Mr. Pearson.
What was most surprising about the book?
I did not know there was a quasi-Hamptons of Idaho. Ok, that’s probably not what surprised me most, but seriously, I’ve never heard someone describe Idaho so vividly.
Walter Flemings, the main character/detective. I haven’t read the previous books in the Killer series, but I know this is not Walter’s first adventure. You’ve got to love when an author has been writing a character for awhile and it seems like the author can just wear that character as comfortably as an old shoe. There’s a familiarity with Walter that makes him leap off the page. Clearly, Pearson has put a lot of thought into his main character’s backstory without making the mistake of vomiting it all onto the page. I love the social awkwardness in Walter that I don’t see in a lot of adult capers–especially from male detectives. And you’ve got to feel for the poor guy. His ex-wife’s seeing a deputy!
Although Walter remains my favorite, I have to say props to Pearson for fleshing out his teen characters. As a YA-lover I really enjoy seeing adult authors deal realistically with their teen cast.
There are a fair number of family strife-type the,es going on here, but, thankfully, they take a back seat to the mystery and the action.
After this book you felt…?
Surprised. It’s a mystery after all.
Who would you recommend this book to?
Folks that like a good caper or heist story. I could even see younger readers who enjoyed the movie National Treasure getting into the Killer Summer.
Also, if you like twists on history or fine wine then this is a cool read.
Finally, how long did it take you to read?
A couple weeks. It’s a nice summer read and a page turner. Bring it to the beach and relax.