This past July, my publisher, Camel Press, set up a ten stop Blog Tour for my newest novel in the Laurel and Helen New York Mystery Series, THE HARD WAY. Here’s a synopsis of the story the bloggers received along with a copy of the book.
Private Investigator Helen McCorkendale’s childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan, has just opened January, the most lavish casino and hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip. After attending the grand opening, Helen returns to New York and encourages her friend, Laurel Imperiole, Senior Editor at Women Now magazine, to create a get-away contest for readers offering a weekend at the hotel as the grand prize. The winner, Dawn Chapman, a jewelry store employee from Cincinnati, denies entering the contest and initially refuses the trip. Finally persuaded by Laurel to accept, she arrives at the hotel and nearly faints when she passes the hotel’s elite meeting rooms where the International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding its annual meeting. She insists on returning home immediately.
Suspicious of her behavior, Jimmy visits her suite to encourage her to attend the Saturday afternoon pool party, saying she can leave on his private jet the next day. Later in the afternoon, he finds Chapman’s dead body by the pool. She’s been murdered—an unusual double poisoning by cyanide and diamond dust.
Dawn Chapman was not who she appeared to be, and therein lies a mystery. But to Helen and Laurel, the main task is to take Jimmy Scanlon off the suspect list and clear his name. Will their luck hold? Or will it be a crap shoot, as they roll the dice and do it ‘the hard way,’ going for doubles when the odds are against them. Losing may mean losing their lives.
I’m happy to report and extremely grateful that nearly all the bloggers really enjoyed the book and recommended it to their readers.
But what I really found as interesting as the Blog Tour reviews themselves was the unique perspectives each reviewer overlaid onto my story. Viewpoints I didn’t necessarily intend while I was writing it. These comments ranged from seeing good and bad characters reversing positions, to observations on Laurel’s life and how she should handle her relationship with her estranged boyfriend, Aaron Gerrard, to analyzing and expanding on the relationship dynamics between Helen and Jimmy, Laurel and Aaron and even the bad guys, Deirdre and Pieter.
When I thought about it a little bit more, I realized that’s the marvelous thing that people do when they read. Bringing themselves into the story and what they feel and believe, or what they wish would happen, makes it more compelling and enjoyable, and that makes the story come to life in ways different than the writer might have imagined.
While one reviewer felt THE HARD WAY was written in the passive voice, she did give it props for structure and description and joined the other bloggers who seemed to wish that January, an ice palace in the middle of the dessert, were a real place they could all visit. Me, too!