The thing about writing crime fiction is that your mind never really turns off. You (the author) think about interesting ways to kill people with whom you have no particular argument and then how to conceal the deed in a way that seems impenetrable but has one fatal flaw, because the sleuth you send to catch the dastardly villain has to outsmart him/her in the end.
I’m Rachel Goldman and I write the Duffy Madison series. Duffy, as you’re aware if you’ve been following the four books in the series, is a special consultant to the Morris County (NJ) Prosecutor’s Office whose expertise is in missing person cases. If you misplace a loved one in Morris County, Duffy is the guy you want on the case.
My days as a mid-list author are fairly normal most of the time, and chronicled in some detail in Written Off, a new “novel” (for legal reasons) by E.J. Copperman that depicts my new dilemma: a man claiming to be the real Duffy Madison (as if there were such a person) shows up at a book signing of mine and asks—pleads, if you want to be honest—for me to help him in his current case. It seems someone is abducting, and eventually killing, women of a certain profession.
That’s right—crime fiction authors.
So when Duffy showed up in my life (and I call him “Duffy” because he refuses to answer to any other name) I did what any intelligent, considering human being would do: I freaked out. I mean, it’s one thing to have devoted fans but this was taking it to a disturbing new extreme, don’t you think?
So my routine has become somewhat less normal these days. In addition to revising the fictional Duffy Madison book I have on my hard drive, I’m dealing with the flesh-and-blood “Duffy Madison,” who has the character down so perfectly he’s sort of becoming the man in my head. And he’s leading me into places only a TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) character in a crime fiction novel—the kind I try scrupulously to avoid—would go.
I’m not going into detail because this Copperman person has the rights to the story, but for the sake of clarity let’s assume I am not a completely willing participant in the proceedings, and when the maniac who’s going after crime fiction authors gets wind of my involvement. . . Well, you’ve no doubt read the back cover of a mystery novel before, so you can insert the proper cliché. One that ends with “might be next on the killer’s reading list” or some such hyperbole.
And I can’t count on Duffy Madison to help me out of a jam because, well, who knows if he’s real or a figment of my imagination?
It’s going to be a long week.
Written Off is the first book in the NEW Mysterious Detective mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, June 2016.
Rachel Goldman writes mysteries in which Duffy Madison, consultant to the county prosecutor’s office, helps find missing persons. Rachel is busy working on her next book, when a man calls out of the blue asking for help in a missing persons case. The caller’s name? Duffy Madison.
Is this real or has she lost her mind? She doesn’t have much time to find out because a serial killer is on the loose, kidnapping and murdering mystery authors. And Rachel may just be the next target.
Full of uncanny intrigue and witty humor, E.J. Copperman’s imaginative series debut Written Off is sure to be a new fan favorite for readers of Donna Andrews.
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About the author
E.J. Copperman is the author of Written Off, the first in the Mysterious Detective Mystery series, as well as the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series (Ghost In The Wind) and the co-author with Jeff Cohen of the Asperger’s Mystery series (The Question Of The Unfamiliar Husband). But don’t worry—next year Copperman will add another series to fill the time.
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