Red Fish, Dead Fish Blog Tour Stop 4
The Lovely Ms. Kim Fielding
By Amy Lane
Okay folks—so, I’m here today to promote Red Fish, Dead Fish, my latest story in the Fish Out of Water series. Now, usually in a blog tour, we talk about ourselves and our newest book until we can’t hardly stand it—but this time out I decided to do something different. I’m going to talk about other people’s books—because I know some amazing romantic suspense authors, and I wanted to celebrate them instead.
So Red Fish, Dead Fish is out on Amazon, it’s the second in the series, and I think you’ll like it very much a lot! That being said, let’s talk about Kim Fielding!
I have to admit, I’m biased about Kim Fielding. We’ve been on road trips together to Las Vegas, where we saw where the lazy mobsters hid the bodies, and to San Diego, where we got butt lost somewhere in LA. We even threw our combined children in the back of the minivan and left them to Mate’s devices while we gossiped in her amazing Mini, and the whole lot of us went hunting for ghosts in the Sierra Foothills.
And after all this time together, I’ve got to tell you—there’s something terrifically and deliciously not right with Kim Fielding.
She’s a criminal justice professor in her other life, and she’s got a pixilated sense of humor to go with her knowledge of where the bodies would be buried and which law enforcement agency would dig them up when they were. When I first wrote Fish Out of Water, I sent it to her, so she could spot any inaccuracies—she was my resident expert, and I flat out revered her opinion.
That, and she laughs at my jokes and isn’t afraid to be lost in the middle of Southern California with me.
And she writes terrific books. For a touch of paranormal, I’d recommend Motel Pool, but if you want some romantic suspense—even if it’s just the suspense of a lover’s past coming back to bite him in the ass, go with the Love Can’t series, which seriously made me cry. But really, you can’t go wrong with Kim Fielding no matter which book you pick up—so kick back and enjoy her interview, and hope that maybe one day, you’ll get to join her on a ghost hunt too. Even if you don’t find any ghosts, I promise, you’ll enjoy the trip!
What do you think is the most delicious part of a suspense novel or a mystery?
Fielding: The human beings involved. Obviously, plot is important in these genres. Everything needs to be tighter and needs to serve several purposes. But I won’t care at all about the world’s most beautifully crafted plot if I don’t care about the characters. I want heroes who are flawed. I want villains who are sympathetic. I want minor characters who feel like real people and not just Plot Enablers. I want the characters to be smart. This is important. I once read a novel in which the protagonist was such an idiot she couldn’t have qualified as a hall monitor, yet she was supposed to be an FBI agent. Right. On the other hand, I want these smart people to have weaknesses and do stupid things now and then, because don’t we all?
Tell me about body counts–seriously. How many corpses make a good suspense novel, and why?
Fielding: Depends on the corpses.
For me it’s not about how many die, but how and why. Are their deaths truly furthering a plot point? Were they predictable? Were they realistic? Are they all just rehashes of the same crime? And who are they?
“Who are they?” is an especially important question. A murder is often more effective if the reader has some emotional connection to the victim. It can be a negative connection. For example SPOILER HERE SPOILER SPOILER weren’t you deeply satisfied in Game of Thrones when Ramsay Bolton got eaten by his own dogs? I know I was. But of course the connection can be positive
too. Stephen King is wonderful at making his characters come alive, making us love them, and then killing then off. This connection can even happen with minor characters. In my book Love Is Heartless, a bad guy murders two people who we’ve met only briefly, yet I think their deaths resonate because readers liked those poor men.
The other most important question for me is how realistic the murders are. My day job is criminal justice professor, so I’m critical of authors who do a sloppy job on research. That kind of stuff throws me right out of the story. In my opinion, an author who’s going to write a suspense novel should take the time to ensure the details are right. He or she should to cops, lawyers, or criminologists, or read guides like Geoff Symon’s books on Forensics for Fiction. Because if there are mistakes—especially big ones—I’ll judge that author. A lot.
What’s your most creative way to kill someone?
Fielding: I don’t know that I’ve ever caused the a death in an especially creative way, but I’ve done some interesting things with people after they were dead.
I can’t be specific about this because it’s spoilery, but I have a novel in which I killed off one of the protagonists TWICE—and still managed a happy ending. I’m pretty pleased with that one.
I have a recently finished novel (currently under submission) in which an unpleasant fellow dies by getting his throat sliced. But my hero needs the information this guy had, so he lops of the dead guy’s head and drags it to a necromancer. Unfortunately, the deceased isn’t any more loveable than he was when he was alive.
I also have to mention a death in Love Is Heartless. A man has disappeared, and some time later a homeowner finds the missing man’s jawbone in his front yard. Police focus on the homeowner’s neighbor, who’s kind of a lowlife—but security camera footage reveals that the jawbone literally fell from the sky! How? Well, you’ll have to read the book to solve that mystery. But what I wanted to share was that this really happened not far from me; I got the story from a local deputy coroner and was thrilled to include it in a book.
Dish about TV shows–which ones do you love and which ones do you hate from a suspense POV? Which TV show/movie do you most want your books to resemble?
Feilding: I watch almost no TV. It’s not that I have anything against it, but between writing, the day job, and the family, I just don’t have time. I do, however, tend to have a single show I follow. For the past several years that’s been Game of Thrones. GoT’s season is really short, though, and this year I’ve added a second series, American Gods. That’s it for now. Part of the fun of GoT is you never know who’s going to die. And with both GoT and American Gods, you’re never sure they’ll remain dead.
I generally avoid cop and lawyer shows because they get too many things wrong. I sit there shouting, “That’s not right! That’s not how they do that!” until my husband gets annoyed with me and turns of the TV. One exception was Dexter. No, it wasn’t realistic either, but I was able to overlook that because the rest of it was really fun.
When you read outside your genre, what’s your candy? (I ask everybody this–I think it’s fascinating!)
Fielding: I read a lot of stuff. On more than one occasion, a bookstore clerk has commented on my eclectic choices, and this pleased me. My most common go-to, however, is speculative fiction. Under that wide umbrella, I especially love urban fantasy and magical realism. For instance, I’ll snap up just about everything by Neil Gaiman and Isabel Allende.
More generally, though, I adore books in which the author surprises me with something fresh. Some recent ones I’ve enjoyed? The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, about a pair of gold rush-era hitmen. It’s violent but also funny and delightfully weird. Helen Wecker’s The Golem and The Jinni is also delightful. It mashes together golem and jinni mythology, it’s set in New York around 1900, and it’s sweet and sad and amazing. It’s the kind of story that swallows you up. Another recent favorite was Frederick Busch’s The Night Inspector, which also takes place in New York, but a few decades earlier than Wecker’s book. There’s a lot of brutality in it, but that was a brutal time, and the protagonist is beautifully flawed.
You can see in the last paragraph that I’m a fan too of historical fiction. I prefer stories that focus on common people rather than the rich, titled, and famous. And while I’ll read any timeframe, I have a special weakness for the California gold rush, probably because I live very close to where it happened.
For more interviews and author close ups for Romantic Suspense, check out the rest of the blog tour—
July 28 – MM Good Book Reviews Amy Lane
July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews (Just a little about Jackson in Fish Out of Water)
July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews Andrew Grey
August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed Kim Fielding
August 2 – My Fiction Nook Rayna Vause
August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents Ava Drake
August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter Melinda Leigh
August 7 – Long and Short Reviews Karen Rose
August 8 – Love Bytes Charlie Cochet
August 10 – The Novel Approach Tere Michaels
Red Fish, Dead Fish
July 28 – Alpha Book Reviews
July 31 – Open Skye Book Reviews
August 1 – Two Chicks Obsessed
August 2 – My Fiction Nook
August 3 – Tammy’s Two Cents
August 4 – Happily Ever Chapter
August 7 – Long and Short Reviews
August 8 – Love Bytes
August 10 – The Novel Approach
They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.
Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.
Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.
Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.
“Ellery, hand me my phone,” Jackson mumbled. “It’s ringing.”
“You’re not back at work yet,” Ellery slurred. “You have two more weeks.”
Jackson rolled over on top of him and as he reached unwisely for the phone Ellery had strategically put on his own end table. For a moment, Ellery was covered with tense, warm man, and then he shoved Jackson off.
“I’ll get it!” he snapped, officially awake. “Jesus, what in the—”
“It’s Mack’s ringtone,” Jackson defended. “I told him what we were looking for.”
Ellery tried not to roll his eyes. Mack. This was the same Mack who had helped Jackson out when Jackson had wrecked the car unofficially helping Ellery with an investigation.
At the time, Ellery had been so happy to get Jackson back in one bruised piece—and on a plane to somewhere he could rest without incident—that he hadn’t questioned this Mack’s existence. Once he found out that Mack Flanders had been Jackson’s bedmate a few years ago, he’d been irritated but unsurprised.
Now that Mack was calling them in the whore of dawn’s sweaty crack, Ellery wanted to kick him in the balls.
“Cottage Park, near the outbuilding. Yeah, I got it. There’s a way to get in there, right? I’m not climbing the fucking fence. Of course there’s cops and crime scene tape. That’s not what I’m asking.” The voice on the other end spoke patiently, and some of Jackson’s defensiveness seeped away. “Okay. Thanks, Mack. Owe you another one. No, sorry—told you. Not paying favors that way anymore, but it’s nice of you to ask.”
“God in heaven,” Ellery muttered.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there in half an hour.”
“We’ll be there.” Ellery rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. Thirty seconds to run some soap under his pits and pack a suit for court later that day. He could do it.
“Crap,” he could hear Jackson say as he closed the shower door. “We’ll be there. Thanks.”
Five seconds later, Jackson stepped into the shower with him and grabbed his own shower gel from the corner of the tub. They’d had some nice times in there together—particularly when Jackson was still healing from his gunshot wound and his shattered scapula and needed Ellery’s help.
They’d had a few after that too, but not today.
“Body?” Ellery asked, not really needing confirmation.
“Yeah.” Jackson scrubbed his pits with care but not vigor—moving was still painful and probably would be for a little while. He’d gotten out of the hospital less than six weeks earlier. By all rights he should still be chilling in the fall sunshine, maybe swimming in the pool at the gym—but not Jackson.
Ellery had needed to haul him to San Diego to give himself time to recover.
It was even more infuriating that he was right today. There really was no time to rest.
Jackson shook the water from his dark blond hair and squinted at Ellery through eyes as green as bottle glass. “We have a kind of dead body? Most couples just go with favorite song.”
Ellery soaped his hair efficiently. “You know what I mean.”
Jackson grabbed the shampoo. “Yeah.”
Jackson, the private investigator at Ellery’s defense firm, had gotten shot helping Ellery bring down a ring of corrupt cops. They’d put the ringleaders in prison—but one of the underlings had gotten away.
Turned out he was the one the police should have been chasing all along.
“Young,” Jackson said, ticking off items on the list. “This one’s Hispanic. Male, but slender. Recent involvement with drugs. Maybe a week of turning tricks.”
“Dirty pretty,” Ellery confirmed grimly. They had been Scott Bridger’s words, actually, one of the men they’d brought down, to describe the kind of person who had disappeared on his partner’s watch. Gender hadn’t mattered, nor race. Just a little bit of street dirt and some physical beauty.
Tim Owens liked to take the “dirty pretty” ones and make them not so pretty anymore.
“Mack says there’s something new about this one,” Jackson said, stepping in front of him to rinse his hair.
Ellery wasn’t sure why he did it, except it was not yet four in the morning and he and Jackson were naked together, and that wasn’t something he’d learned to take for granted yet.
He wrapped his arms around Jackson’s shoulders and kissed his neck, softly, gently, with just enough tongue and teeth to make Jackson regret they weren’t making love this morning but going to work instead.
Jackson tensed for a moment, probably caught off guard, but then he relaxed into Ellery’s arms and leaned his head back.
“What?” he asked suspiciously.
Well, Ellery had been known to be an autocratic bastard—that was probably warranted.
“Just….” Ellery couldn’t find words. Or he could find words, but neither of them had said the words yet, and you just didn’t spring those words on a guy whose entire life had been an act of insufficient self-protection.
With a sinuous movement, Jackson turned his head and caught Ellery’s mouth, something he couldn’t have done a month ago, something that felt huge and necessary now.
“Don’t worry about me, Counselor,” Jackson said cheekily, pulling away. “But the cuddle was downright friendly.”
Well, sure. Friendly. Just two friendly lovers getting out of bed extra early to go catch a serial killer. Nothing strange about that at all.
“Just be careful,” Ellery said, trying not to sound bitchy or officious and failing. “He’s got your cell phone. You know that, right?”
“Well, he had it for a couple of hours before it got deactivated,” Jackson said. “And yeah—fuck me for owning an Android with the shitty security. Thank you so much for the iPhone, Ellery. Now I am safe from serial killers everywhere.”
The snark in his voice was the only thing that kept Ellery from conking him over the head and tying him to the bed in a completely non-kinky way.
PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.
Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.
Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.
Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.