MURDER BY ROAD TRIP, the sequel to PLEASURIA: TAKE AS DIRECTED, is coming soon. I retired from a long and stressful career in the high pressure biotech and pharmaceutical industry five years ago and started my writing career with two serious dark murder mysteries, The Guardian Angel Series. These books include good mysteries with lots of twists and turns, but I found myself stressed and depressed after spending so much time with a serial killer and a cult leader.
Does everything always have to be so serious and stressful? Why can’t a murder mystery be fun? Why couldn’t I write something really new and different; unique and borderline ridiculous? What’s wrong with comedy of the absurd? And why not set it in the biotech industry where I worked for 40 years? So many questions…
I always liked Inspector Clouseau and Adrian Monk, although I’m nothing like either of them. I’m a very serious person by nature. Just ask my wife (I’m looking up, waiting for the lightning to strike). Actually, come to think of it I relate to the Brits, very serious at work but give them a couple of drinks at night and out comes Monte Python and Benny Hill.
My comedy murder mystery series started with PLEASURIA: TAKE AS DIRECTED (Koehler Books). The main character is Dr. Jason Longfellow, a bored FDA drug reviewer in the midst of a monster midlife crisis. He’s stressed, neurotic, mildly OCD, mumbles to himself, married with three daughters and may be a little afraid of his wife. He longs for the freedom of the road, as in ‘run away, run away’. (This guy’s nothing like me at all; I’m actually very OCD). He decides it’s time to shake things up, so he gets a private eye license online. His wife, Chelsea, a strong-willed, jealous nurse, hates this turn of events. PI’s don’t make much money; young daughters are expensive.
Obsessed with the PI thing, he begins looking for cases to solve. Is that guy asleep in his car in the Walmart parking lot actually a murder victim? Why has the attractive neighbor lady not returned from jogging yet? How will Jason investigate his own murder when his wife kills him? (Again, nothing like me. I don’t have any neighbors that jog).
His first real case falls in his lap when his shy new carpooler starts acting strange on the way to work. She goes from a sleepy good morning, to “hello big boy”, to “Oh God! Oh God, that’s sooooo good” in a matter of minutes, and his hands have never left the steering wheel. He’s very confused, a little jealous that he’s been completely left out of the festivities, freaks out, takes her to the ER where his jealous wife works; bad idea (Again, nothing like me. I’m way smarter than that in real life).
What’s wrong with Jason’s carpooler? Why isn’t her husband upset or surprised? The husband thinks this may be attempted murder. Why on God’s earth would he hire Jason to investigate the case? Why would Jason take the case, when his wife, the nurse, might hurt him? Jason is excited, and sad.
Dr. Longfellow shines as an FDA drug reviewer, but not so much as a private eye. He trips over several clues; a number of strange but unrelated deaths, a company called CureStuff Pharmaceuticals, freaked-out rats, and an elderly couple whose love life has been mysteriously restored. He stumbles onto some suspects; interrogating the female suspects could be hazardous to Jason’s health, if his wife finds out.
As the story unfolds, the plot thickens and you have to wonder, how on God’s earth will this lunatic detective ever figure out if this is murder? And if that’s the case, can he catch the killer? I say, you gotta give the guy a break. This is his first case, he’s new to the PI thing and he doesn’t get a lot of support.
My publisher for PLEASURIA: TAKE AS DIRECTED had found the manuscript a good mystery with laugh out loud comedy. With PLEASURIA I had created a bumbling, lunatic of a character, an amateur PI, and I had wandered into the realm of absurd comedy…murder by pleasure. I struggled with whether or not to write a sequel to PLEASURIA and continue down this road, for about thirty seconds. I had written a comedy murder mystery, found a publisher and actually sold some books. So, a no-brainer. I went in search of a plot for the sequel to PLEASURIA.
I finally came up with a way to keep this character going. In July of 2016 my youngest daughter (22 at the time) and I took a 30-day, 7500-mile road trip around the US, from the east coast to the west coast and back. We had a wonderful time, brought home a buffalo named Barry, she showed me that my Subaru Outback could do 110 miles per hour, we saw some incredible things and I realized that this trip could serve as the setting for the sequel to PLEASURIA.
My daughter is a marketing expert and English minor. Since she does the early edits of my books and she took the trip with me, I co-authored the book with her, because I thought she might kill me or put me in a home otherwise (I’m not a young guy anymore, and I’m no dummy). I hope she had as much fun writing it as I did.
In this sequel to PLEASURIA, for some unknown reason (you’ll have to read the book), Dr. Longfellow and family take a road trip across the US. The plot revolves around the fact that he thinks someone is trying to kill him. Is someone really trying to kill him? If so, why?
He’s also having an identity crisis; is he an FDA reviewer or a PI? He’s trying to be Dr. Jason Longfellow, FDA reviewer, like Chelsea wants, but he keeps running into random crimes that bring out the private eye guy. Why is this happening, and why does Chelsea keep solving his cases? And, why has his libido gone over the top, which Chelsea doesn’t hate?
The trip includes cowboy museums, Border Patrol, a Titan missile base, missing buffalo, Fred Flintstone and a whole host of great vacation destinations, each with its own unique set of circumstances that only a bumbling detective could screw up. Will Jason and family survive the trip? Should Jason continue his work as a PI? Will Chelsea finally kill him? Has there been a murder? Will I be able to come up with a third book in this series? For the answers to these and other serious questions, you’ll have to read MURDER BY ROAD TRIP, coming later this summer. (No, really, I’m serious…)
If you liked this blog, you might also enjoy my book PLEASURIA: TAKE AS DIRECTED. Now available on Amazon for only $0.99 at http://bit.ly/pleasuria