Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI, the Box-Brain Detective

I thought I’d explain how I developed the character Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI, the Box-Brain Detective. A few years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “The Male Box Brain Versus Female Spaghetti Brain”. It turned out to be a very popular blog, especially with women. The Box-Brain Detective

The basic premise of the theory, as developed by my wife and three daughters, is that a man has a box brain while a woman has a spaghetti brain. According to them, the box brain is severely limited. A man with a box brain has a brain containing many boxes, but he can only use one box at a time. For example, if he has engaged his sports box, watching a basketball game on TV, he is totally incapable of listening to anything anyone says to him or focusing on anything else. The Box-Brain Detective

Same with his car boxmusic boxeating boxmotorcycle boxgiving unwanted advice box…you get the idea. Then there’s the nothing box, the box where a man goes to hide when forced to do things he doesn’t enjoy; go clothes shopping, pretty much any type of shopping really (except cars, motorcycles, and electronics), watch cooking shows, go to the theater, art museums…again, you get the idea. The man goes into his nothing box to hide out and become oblivious to his surroundings. The Box-Brain Detective

It has been explained to me that this is why I cannot multitask, and why I am so infuriating at times. I am always stuck in one of my brain boxes, and it takes a lot of effort to switch me from one box to the next. The worst is the lust box. Apparently when a man falls prey to this box, he is laser focused, and entirely useless for anything else. The Box-Brain Detective

I’m told that a woman has a much better brain, a so-called spaghetti brain. The female brain is much more flexible and capable of multi-tasking along several different interwoven strands at once. The Box-Brain Detective

My wife and daughters can cook, watch TV and converse about home decorating all at the same time. The conversation can abruptly change to traveling to Europe, on to yoga class, and then to politics, all in the span of a minute or two. None of the females have any difficulty following along. I am completely lost, stuck in my cooking box, or at best my home decorating box. That’s when I often hear those loving words, “Come on Dad, at least try to keep up.”  The Box-Brain Detective

The female brain is even more superior. When raising the children, my wife could take care of the baby, do the dishes, watch the news, fight with the oldest daughter, and provide me with helpful suggestions as to what chores I should be doing, all at the same time. Those are the times when I escaped to my run-away box. I grabbed our male orange tabby cat, and we would head for our basement man cave and enter our nap boxThe Box-Brain Detective

Since I wanted to write a comedy murder mystery series with an inept male PI, I thought it might be fun to apply this brain box concept to the main character. Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI often gets stuck in a single brain box and can only focus on one thing at a time. This results in obvious clues leading him in odd directions, like concluding the murderer is a swarm of killer mosquitoes. Or strange methods for catching a killer such as using himself as bait. The Box-Brain Detective 

He also has additional human foibles. For example, Jason has no filter between his brain and his mouth. He is prone to blurting out nonsensical things at the most inopportune times. This makes for some wacky interrogations, “Is your wife having an affair? I’d be happy to follow her and take pictures.” His interactions with law enforcement can also get out of hand, like “Oh my God, it looks like I’m a person of interest.” The Box-Brain Detective

Jason is also OCD. When he gets upset, he counts things, like bathroom tiles, or makes sure cabinet doors and drawers are closed. He also gets into trouble trying to show his wife, Chelsea, that he is a manly man, which he is not. And worst of all, he is under the mistaken impression that he is an expert at everything, from being a PI, to boating, to shooting, to water skiing…you name it. Chelsea is constantly having to save him, from himself. The Box-Brain Detective

The interactions between this wacky married couple of twenty years will seem familiar to many. Chelsea feels like she is raising four children, three daughters and Jason. She didn’t want him to do this PI thing, but he’s adamant, and inept. So, she has to help him out. He has trouble staying focused and on the case. When he gets out of hand, she has taken to whacking him one on the back of the head. Their oldest daughter is concerned that dad might end up with permanent brain damage, but Jason clearly demonstrates just how hard his head really is. The Box-Brain Detective  

There are four Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI murder mysteries to date, the latest being the newly released A Fishy Tale. These are standalone books. One can start reading any of them and then go back to earlier books later. The books are fun reads, written to make the reader laugh and to provide a good mystery with lots of twist and turns. You never know what Jason is going to step into next. The Box-Brain Detective

The original book, Pleasuria: Take as Directed, introduces Dr. Jason Longfellow, PI, a bored FDA reviewer who loses his mind, decides to get his PI license online, and take on murder cases part-time. He’s stuck in a PI brain box. His nurse wife Chelsea is furious, because they have three daughters, he’s not very good as a PI, and he can’t make any money from it. This first case involves a serial killer and a drug side effect that will knock your socks off, and then kill you. Chelsea must help Jason solve the case, since he is adamant to do this PI thing, and he wouldn’t recognize a clue if it bit him. The Box-Brain Detective

I co-wrote the second book, Murder by Road Trip, with my youngest daughter, now 29. It is staged based on a 30-day, 7200-mile trip we took together across the US in 2016. The destinations are real, but the story is hilariously fictitious. The Box-Brain Detective

In this one, Jason travels cross-country in an RV with his entire family, on his way to the West Coast for an interview for a lucrative job with a drug company. The trip begins with a toothache. For some reason Jason keeps getting friskier and friskier with his nurse wife Chelsea (constantly in his lust box). The crime, someone is trying to steal Jason’s teeth and kill him (his paranoid box). In this one, Jason is still somewhat effective as a PI, but Chelsea has to work hard to keep him alive. He keeps following the wrong clues. She proves to be the better PI and solves the case. The Box-Brain Detective

The Realtor’s Curse won The Firebird Book Award for both mystery and comedy. In this one the dysfunctional duo travel to St. Augustine, Florida to buy a vacation condo on the beach. A young female realtor attacks Jason with an electric mixer while showing them a condo. Jason goes into his fear box. The Box-Brain Detective

Why are the realtors so angry? Why does every condo they look at come with a dead body? Chelsea looks for clues to the killer, while Jason has trouble focusing. He gets lost in his vacation box, off exploring water sports, kite surfing, jet skiing, motorcycling, and boating. Disasters abound and back to his fear box, he thinks Florida is trying to kill him. He’s also fixated on killer mosquitoes. Chelsea solves the case and catches the killer, in spite of Jason’s help. The Box-Brain Detective

In A Fishy Tale, Chelsea inherits a small fortune. They move the family to a peaceful mountain lake to escape frenetic Northern Virginia. They don’t need to work anymore. To avoid boredom they set up their own PI agency, Chelsea Longfellow, PI, and Associate. She is the better detective, and it is her money. The Box-Brain Detective 

They discover the mountain lake isn’t so peaceful after all. The fish are growing at an alarming rate, and fishermen are disappearing from the lake overnight. Chelsea Longfellow, PI, and Associate are on the case. Jason gets lost in his bait box. Jason’s brilliant idea of using himself as bait to catch the killer, whether it’s man or beast, does not go well. He’s fixated on catching unbelievably large fish (his fishing box) and literally uses his hard head to find the killer. Once again, it’s Chelsea to the rescue. If you read this one and don’t laugh, you should probably check your pulse. The Box-Brain Detective       

The Midwest Book Review said of A FISHY TALE, “A Fishy Tale blends comedy with a murder mystery designed to keep readers both laughing and intrigued… The unexpected blend of boating and fishing experience, murder mystery, and wry inspections of marriage and watery circumstances, with the humor overlay, works very well. These elements create a compelling story that should entertain even readers who do not normally choose comedy or murder mysteries.”

Men will enjoy these books for the action, laughs, and intriguing murder mysteries. In addition, women will get a kick out of Jason and his box brain and relate to how Chelsea has to keep him in line. And married couples will recognize and enjoy the banter between this married couple of twenty years. The Box-Brain Detective   

 If you’re looking for a fun read, something to keep you reading and make you laugh, then one of these books will do the trick. Join Chelsea Longfellow, PI, and Associate as they solve crime after wacky crime. The competition is on. Jason versus Chelsea, who can solve the crime and catch the killer first? It’s part of the fun, and who knows, you just might be surprised. Go to johnjjessop.com for more and links to buy the books on Amazon, directly from IngramSpark at a reduced price, or from bookstores everywhere.