Happy Friday, and I’m so excited to bring you the Kismet blog tour stop for Jonathan Watkins’ legal thriller Motor City Shakedown. Mysteries and thrillers are my go-to genre and I love the variety that there is to read inside therein. I asked Jonathan to share some of his favorite books that he could recommend to fellow mystery/thriller lovers.
Darren’s Bookshelves – what Five books might Darren recommend to all the mystery/thriller lovers out there?
- Taming a Sea-Horse, by Robert B. Parker. This Spenser novel puts the Boston gum shoe’s pure and idealized love for Susan Silverman at the fore. Darren could relate to the lengths Spenser goes to protect Susan, as he would do the same for Issabella. More than any literary couple, the love and respect Spenser and Susan share for one another was a tremendous influence on my shaping the relationship between Darren and Issabella.
- Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett. It’s a classic, responsible for so much of the detective fiction that has followed in the decades since. I think Darren would have read it when he was young, as he enjoyed a rich man’s privileged education and would have been exposed to seminal works of all variety. The protagonist of the story is not shy about breaking rules and stirring up trouble in order to get to what he personally considers justice, which is a quality Darren shares.
- Flood, by Andrew Vachss. The first book in the series introduces Burke, a paranoid, damaged, and exceedingly dangerous anti-hero and his fiercely loyal ‘family of choice’. Darren would likely be drawn to the insights that Vachss (a lawyer who specializes in representing abused youth) offers about the criminal justice system and the myriad ways it fails the victims of abuse, both children and the adults they grow up to become.
- Any of the Travis McGee mysteries by John D MacDonald. Darren would love Travis. Like Darren, he is a bit of a knight-errant, striving for the noble and the sublime but all-too-often finding himself entangled in the banal, violent machinations of bad men. Darren’s personal favorite would likely be Nightmare in Pink, with its prophetic whimsies about the future and the condition of the individual in a too-modern world.
- Tough Guys Don’t Dance, by Norman Mailer. The book, taken as a whole, is absurd. It’s a catalogue of every aging man’s fears: failure to live up to the measure of your father, a true love in the arms of a man who pleases her better than you ever could, and not being up to the fight when the fight shows up. It’s exaggerated, lewd, and preposterous. Still, Mailer was a master of pouring his id all over the page. I think Darren would appreciate the introspective passages, where Mailer discards the pretense that he is writing from a fictional point of view and just lays out his big, rude, and fascinating soul.
About Motor City Shakedown:
Darren Fletcher, once the rising star of Detroit’s criminal justice system, has fallen far. All the way to an office in a smoky dive bar on the wrong side of the city. But a single phone call could be the key to climbing out of his downward spiral: a police brutality victim needs his help, and the family’s willing to pay. Big-time.
Issabella Bright’s daily panic attacks aren’t entirely due to her decision to forgo a flashy firm and go out on her own, but that’s a large part of it. She never thought she’d resort to ambulance chasing, until the story about a SWAT raid gone wrong proves too intriguing to ignore—it’s the perfect chance to prove she made the right decision.
But Issabella’s not the only one after the job.
Darren’s connections are enough to get past the cops stonewalling them both at the hospital, but only a judge’s order makes Issabella even consider teaming up with the disheveled attorney and his weird—and weirdly effective—methods. But as the case deepens and it becomes clear the Detroit PD is concealing a much bigger conspiracy, Darren and his methods may be all that keep her alive.
About Jonathan Watkins:
Jonathan Watkins lives and works in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Children’s Literature from Eastern Michigan University and his Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. A life-long fan of detective fiction, Jonathan is the author of the Bright and Fletcher mystery series. He lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, who is too good for him. They are blessed with two kind-hearted sons.
Monday, October 12th – Books and Things
Wednesday, October 14th – Nick’s Book Blog
Friday, October 16th – Curling Up With A Good Book
I’m definitely going to checkout the ones that Jonathan has recommended! What is a favorite book of yours in the mystery/thriller genre? Let me know in the comments below.