I’m so pleased to be introducing my fellow author Joan Livingston today. Joan has a fabulous, engaging style and writes terrific murder mysteries that grab you by the scruff of the neck and draw you right in. Her first book, Chasing the Case, came out earlier this year and her second, published today, is Redneck’s Revenge.
Here’s Joan explaining how the title of her book came about:
‘Revenge can be sweet. It can also be deadly, which, for me, works better in fiction than real life. That’s why I call the second book in my Isabel Long mystery series Redneck’s Revenge.
Actually, originally I was going to use the title Redneck’s Revenge for a short story I was writing. It was inspired by a real-life experience my husband and I had with a local contractor when we lived in rural Western Massachusetts the first time. My plan was to write a series of short stories likewise inspired by my experiences. It would be another case of taking what I know and having my way with it. The title of the collection was to be called: Redneck’s Revenge and Other Stories.
But, as author Annie Proulx said, it is harder to write short stories than a novel. That’s certainly true for me. I suppose I am more of a long-distance runner than a sprinter.
But I loved the title Redneck’s Revenge.
And it’s a perfect fit for my new mystery when Isabel Long, an amateur sleuth who lives in the sticks of Western Massachusetts, takes on her second case. Her client, Annette Waters, runs a junkyard and garage she inherited from her father. She hires Isabel — the pay is service on her car — to find out what happened to her father. The official word is he was passed-out drunk when his house caught fire. Annette says he was murdered.
For this case, Isabel ventures to an unfamiliar town. The people she meets are rough and tumble country. I suppose you could label them rednecks. Isabel’s investigation takes her to a rival junkyard, a biker bar, and a gas station called the Pit Stop. I believe you get the picture.
Here’s an excerpt from Redneck’s Revenge, which is out today. Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother — are interviewing Al Sinclair, the owner of the rival junkyard.
Al’s eyes have a lock on me.
“I will say one more thing, and then we’re done. Once in a while, we’d end up at the same place together. I wasn’t afraid of tellin’ that son of a bitch what I thought of him like the time he cheated my boys when they were playin’ cards. There’s other stuff like that.”
“Yeah, Junior and Roy.”
“How much did they lose?”
“More than they could afford. He even took my father’s gold watch Junior put up. Yeah, yeah, the kid shouldn’t have done that.” He leans over the desk. “The worse part is I think Chet enjoyed it.”
“You’re right about that,” he said. “Eh, I got back at him for that. I told a dealership in the valley Chet was out of business.” He makes a head-shaking laugh. “Somebody new answered the phone, so I pretended I was Chet.” He laughs that way again. “Took Chet a coupla weeks to figure that out. Revenge is sweet.”
I ponder that statement. I’ve witnessed numerous cases where somebody managed to take it out on somebody else. The locals turned it into an art, against each other sometimes, and even against newcomers. Once, the guy who put in the cellar when we were building our house got pissed off because Sam didn’t hire him for a job. Sam wasn’t the general contractor, but Ed didn’t forgive him for that. Sam tried to make it up to the guy by having him do more work at our house. Ed strung us along for months. In the end, we both chalked it up to redneck’s revenge. I’d say Chet and Al were pros at it. As for Ed, we ended up getting somebody else to do the work for cheaper. I say so much for revenge.
“I suppose,” I tell Al.
“His daughter, Annette, thinks somebody killed her father. It could be true, but it wouldn’t have been me. If so, I would’ve done it years ago when I was young and hotheaded. I’ve got too much to lose now. I’ve got family and a business.”
Here’s the blurb for Redneck’s Revenge:
ISABEL LONG’S SECOND CRIME MYSTERY – REDNECK’S REVENGE
Her next case. She’s in it for good.
Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over, but no surprise there since his sister turned out to be the killer. Then cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.
Encouraged by her Watson — her 92-year-old mother — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.
The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.
Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.
Wonderful stuff. And, if like me, you’re dying to read on, then here are all Joan’s social media details, including the all-important links to her books:
Book links to Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge:
Here’s some more background on Joan:
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.
Hope that’s whetted your appetite for Joan’s new book. Here are her buy links again: