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Finally!

The new book is out!

Actually, it hasn’t really been that long, but it seems as though I’ve been talking about it for a while, so…finally!

It’s called Loose Canon and as the Amazon book description (think dust jacket) says:

Carina Quintana’s latest case takes her back to New York, where someone is leaving bodies, gruesomely stabbed in the heart, on church altars. Now wealthy and celebrated through her true crime books and settled in with the alluring Alice, the former chief of Miami Beach PD is in need of new challenges. She accepts a position with the mega-private investigations firm to which her ex-NYPD partner, Pete Simpson, escaped, and is immediately thrust into what may turn out to be the biggest–and most book-worthy–case of her career. Scouring the city’s grandest, as well as its more modest houses of worship, they hunt clues to a serial killer whose methods reflect a twisted mind, only to uncover what may be another deliverer of death, one whose own motivations can hardly be fathomed. Following up on the intriguing Dead On A Rival, Loose Canon is yet another of the author’s (as Kirkus Reviews put it) “tightly plotted crime thrillers…sure to please fans of police procedurals.”
So, go out and buy it and tell all your friends and neighbors and colleagues and your lawn guy and…well, you get it, and ENJOY it.
Oh, and the iBooks version is in the works, too, but for reasons best known to someone other than me, it takes MUCH longer to publish on the non-Kindle sites as for Amazon. And, of course, I’ll let you know when it happens!
So there you have it. Loose Canon. Aloha.


Jack Russells and Autonomous Cars

Back when Laura and I were living in Northern Virginia, we were walking around Old Town Alexandria one sunny Sunday afternoon. Outside a Starbuck’s on King Street, a woman stood wrangling two puppies. One was a skinny, Italian breed (as we later learned) that was so shy it would not get out from behind its master’s leg when Laura tried to pet it. The other was a Jack Russell, and as you might imagine it was not quite as shy.

In fact, of course, the Jack was jumping up and down, yanking at its leash, intrigued with everything around it. Laura’s problem in trying to pet it wasn’t the puppy’s reticence; it was trying to find a moment when the dog was still enough to be petted!

We chatted with the woman, who turned out to be a breeder/trainer, and with regard to the Jack Russell, she said,  “Oh, they’re great dogs, you just have to learn how to channel their energy.”

It was then we decided that if we ever got a dog, it would NOT be a Jack Russell. We flattered ourselves thinking we had better things to do than to figure out how to channel a dog’s energy.

Roll forward a number of years. We now seem to be faced with a cadre of people who think it would be a good idea if your car drove itself, at least part of the time, starting with freeways. (Google is a major proponent, an investor, by the way.) In any case, whatever you might think about the concept–and especially the reality–of “autonomous,” or self-driving, cars, a recent experience put what I suspect is a little-thought-about aspect of this possibility into focus for me.

Laura and I were on Interstate 75 heading to Naples, FL at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Traffic was heavy, but moving at the speed limit or better, when I noticed in my rear view mirror an older gold-colored Honda Accord with rims sticking out way past the side bodywork seriously weaving in and out of traffic. This wasn’t your garden variety weaving, as practiced fairly regularly in South Florida and elsewhere, this was professional grade, two lanes or more at a time and virtually no space into which to slide, but did it anyway, repeatedly.

In addition to thinking the usual why is there never a cop for this but I’ll probably get a ticket for going 81 in a 70, another, very different thought crossed my mind:  When we do get self-driving cars, how are we ever going to channel the energy of guys like this?

Now forgive me for being unkind (not to mention practicing psychiatry without a license), but my impression of such drivers (this one was male, and they usually are, although that seems to be changing a bit lately) is that they’re probably not the brightest folks in the world and are likely unhappy, unsuccessful people who feel they have to show the world how much better they are than everyone else in some way. Also, perhaps at least some of them are anti-social, dangerous in other ways, too, and possibly even criminal.

Anyway, if we were to take away their (perhaps only?) opportunity to “express” themselves/blow off steam, by eliminating their ability to demonstrate their extraordinary driving skills in such ways, what then?  How would they channel their energy? And what effect would it have on the rest of us?  I could speculate, but the fact is I have a bad feeling that whatever the answer turned out to be, the police and something more than a moving violation would be involved.

Self-driving cars are NOT a good idea, and this is yet another reason.

Okay, well, since this is a writer’s blog, I suppose I should mention that I’m about a third finished with my final read-through of the new Carina Quintana Mystery, Loose Canon.  Next step, Laura as usual gets to be the first person to read it. Hopefully, it’ll be published sometime in April.

Aloha.

 

 

 

Nemo’s redux and more

All the way back in February 1997–an age when you’re talking about South Beach, and I am–Laura and I were invited to a dinner the evening before I was to give a presentation to a group of clients of the Ernst & Young Miami office. (I was an international tax partner at E&Y at the time.)

The partner who was hosting the meeting picked us up in his Volvo outside the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami (which was across the street from the E&Y Miami office) and drove across the MacArthur Causeway to the Beach, turning right at the end of the causeway and wending his way through a neighborhood that at the time seemed a bit rundown. The area was unfamiliar to him (and might as well have been another planet to us) and it took a few minutes to find the restaurant. When he did, he parked on the street around the corner and I recall Laura being concerned as to whether he really wanted to leave his car there.

The evening turned out to be delightful. There were perhaps eight or 10 or us and we sat at a table outside in a beautiful courtyard dominated by a what I thought was a cypress tree–not bad for February, this DC-based boy thought!–and had an excellent, seafood-centric dinner.

Roll forward to November 1999. Laura and I had just moved into our first condo at the Yacht Club at Portofino, one of the first new highrises in the soon-to-be-incredibly-hot South of Fifth/South Pointe neighborhood.  Tired and elated, at dinnertime we walked toward an area a few blocks away where, we had been told, there were a few restaurants. The neighborhood was still just a bit run down and we decided to walk up First Street in the middle of the road, rather than on the sidewalk. At the corner of First and Collins, we saw the lights of what appeared to be a restaurant, turned the corner, and, OMG!, it was the same place we had eaten on that February 1997 evening!

The restaurant was called Nemo’s and it became the place we walked to for dinner each evening after we arrived in Miami from DC. Over the next five  years, we dined there probably close to 100 times. Over time, though, after the owner opened the fab Prime 112 a block away and then Prime Italian, things went a bit downhill at the somewhat neglected Nemo’s. No worries, really, as dozens of excellent restaurants had opened in South Beach by then.

But now, after several years in which the space lay empty and a brief stint as an upscale-ish Mexican restaurant, Nemo’s has been resurrected by its original owner as Prime Fish!

Circles-and roundabouts, everything old is new again, whatever. Laura and I had dinner there last Friday, their first night open for business, and we had a wonderful time, both reliving “old” times and enjoying the new. The space and the menu have been updated, but the feeling’s the same and the food is still excellent. There were even fireworks midway through the evening–probably courtesy of a party at the nearby Nikki Beach Club–to welcome Nemo’s…er, Prime Fish, into the world.

And lest I forget, as for Carina Quintana, fear not, I continue to write and recently finished the first draft of her new adventure, the fifth, which is called Loose Canon. Watch for it in the next couple of months.

And if you (and your friends and neighbors and colleagues!) have not yet read any of the other Carina books, please do. Late Boomer, Roomer Has It, White Tie & Tales and Dead On A Rival are all there waiting for you to enjoy!

2014

Strangely, it doesn’t sound…strange…like new years so often have.

Perhaps it’s because we’re finally rid of a year with the dreaded number 13 in it. Or, in my case at least, perhaps it’s because 14′s always been a good number for me; my birthday is Dec. 14.

The first really strange year for me was 1960. Makes sense, I suppose, since every year of my life up to that point had had a 50 in it. And on top of that, JFK got elected later in the year and soon I had to contend with President Kennedy, when up till then it had always been President Eisenhower. Talk about strange!

And then there was 2000, of course, a year that seemed both so far off and so impossible way back in the 80s and even the 90s, at least until all the (misplaced) fuss over the so-called millennium bug made it so ubiquitous that when it did finally arrive it was almost an anti-climax–almost.

In any case, I’m expecting that 2014 will be the year in which I write the last Carina Quintana Mystery, at least for a while. The Carina book I’m working on now–Loose Canon–will be number five in the series and that’s always been a good number for me, as well.  It’s a good signal to take a break and spend some time going in a different direction. Stay tuned for what that will be; I have some ideas but haven’t made a final decision yet.

And speaking of Carina, a friend who is not exactly generous with compliments told me recently that the latest Carina Quintana Mystery, Dead On A Rival, is my best book yet. I happen to agree, although I’m not necessarily totally and completely objective about it!

So if you haven’t read Dead On A Rival yet, please do, and have all your friends, neighbors and colleagues do the same. And look for the fifth, and last for a while, in the series in a few months.

Then it’s on to other things in 2014, which I hope will be a terrific year for all of us!

Dead On A Rival

The long-anticipated (!) fourth installment in the Carina Quintana Mysteries series has now been published!

Following up on Late Boomer, Roomer Has It and White Tie & Tales,  in Dead On A Rival, as the virtual dust jacket says:

Detective Carina Quintana’s latest challenge takes on an unwelcome personal flavor in the harrowing Dead On a Rival. When the apparent accidental fall of a handsome Brazilian tycoon from a luxury cruise ship in the Caribbean interrupts Carina’s holiday with the edgy Alice, Carina is not the only one to wonder if murder might not be a more accurate description for what happened in this particular case of man overboard.

Enlisted to investigate the incident by the ship’s captain and security officer, it is not long before Carina begins to wonder whether the gorgeous former super model the mogul dined with shortly before his death might have been responsible. But as she attempts to unravel the mystery back on land, an unscrupulous local politician threatens to uncover a secret that could cost Carina the coveted Miami Beach police chief job and tear her world apart. In this high-stakes world of international corporate takeovers and big money players, catching the elusive killer and avoiding her own personal disaster will take every ounce of intellect and grit that Carina can muster, along with some timely help from former NYPD partner Pete Simpson.

Dead On A Rival is available from Amazon and most other e-book retailers, as well as through smashwords.com, just in time for Christmas!

Tell all your friends and neighbors!

Eleven-eleven

Yes, I know, it’s Veterans Day and I don’t intend to ignore the fact. It’s just that eleven-eleven has another meaning to me, as well. It’s the day Laura and I were married, 29 years ago.

Did I mention that we met about five years before that in the snack bar of the building in which we were both working at the time, in Washington, DC? It was, and still is, the IRS headquarters building and its address is…wait for it…Eleven-eleven Constitution Avenue.

So we’ve always had kind of a thing for eleven-eleven.

There have been others along the way, too. The most recent–and those of you who are familiar with South Beach might have noticed this–is the address of the futuristic, and somewhat controversial, Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage/retail space building at the corner of Lincoln and Alton Roads. It’s Eleven-eleven Lincoln Road, which is proclaimed in huge red neon numerals on both the Alton Road and Lincoln Road sides!

Gee, wonder what I think about when I see that!

So, November 11 is fraught with memories for me and, yes, thoughts of our veterans, too. I’m not a vet, having missed the Vietnam War, my only “chance.” I’m not sorry; it was arguably much less justified than Iraq/Afghanistan and we lost more people, way more people, there. In retrospect I’m hurt by the way the country treated returning Vietnam vets, largely because the war became so universally unpopular.  I’m guessing that lots of Vietnam vets are not real happy today. But I’m elated to see how we’ve tried to honor and embrace the vets of today.

Anyway, it’s a special day for the country, but for Laura and me it’s even more special.

And did I mention that our wedding, on eleven-eleven, took place at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center in New York? Ah, but that’s a story for another time….

 

It’s Only Rock & Roll, but…

…I like it!

We’re just back from Cleveland and, yes, the purpose of the trip was to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Why else would anyone go to Cleveland, right? (More on that later.)

The spectacular I.M. Pei-designed museum opened in 1995 and I can’t believe it took us this long to get there!  If you’re a fan of rock music (or blues, or soul, or hip-hop) it’s a must, but even if you don’t give much of a damn, you really should go. Among the exhibits are small theaters where, for instance, you can sit down and see rare footage of OLD American Bandstand broadcasts where (subsequently) well-known artists are introduced or those newly-famous are welcomed back by an always young (despite the long span of years) Dick Clark. Or you can watch a film montage of artists and bands inducted year-by-year into the Hall. Or you can play around with the excellent interactive touchscreen devices and use them to select your music by artist or categories like “one-hit Wonders”, “British Invasion” “metal” or the category of your choice. Enjoyed for as long as you like it the semi-privacy of soundproof coves.

There’s also room after room of “artifacts”. As you would imagine, there are guitars galore and clothing worn by your faves while they were performing. (Interesting how small a lot of those guys are/were–must be the drugs!) But what really got to me were the hand-written lyric sheets–sometimes on a hotel notepad, other times a legal pad, otherwise whatever scratch paper was available–by dozens of rockers. Truly amazing!

So, you’re getting the idea that Laura and I liked it, right? In short, it was terrific, and we didn’t even get to spend much time in the special 50 years of The Rolling Stones exhibition, as closing time was approaching. It was surprisingly easy to spend 4+ hours there, with lots still left to see.

As for Cleveland, this was my first real visit–I’d been there on a one-day in-and-out to see a client years ago–and it’s not a bad place, at least not in late September with 73 degree sunny weather! The aforementioned spectacular building is right down near the lake, close to the Browns’ cool-looking football stadium and other attractions. A truly nice place to be. There’s little traffic and the airport’s an easy 20-minute cab ride to downtown.

I can even see using the locale in a book some time!

Then there are the restaurants. I’d never known that Cleveland has apparently always been known as a foodie town and there are plenty of resto choices. We had our hearts set on two restaurants run by Michael Simon, one of Laura’s favorite “celebrity” chefs from TV show competitions and such. We had dinner at his more casual spot, Lolita, the first night and his more formal place, Lola, the second night. All I can say is that if Lolita was in our neighborhood we’d have dinner there once a week and the more elegant Lola would be a once-a-month place! And if Carina Quintana ever does make it to Cleveland, she’ll be having dinner at one of them for sure!

Speaking of Carina, Loose Canon is coming along and Dead On A Rival will be available before Thanksgiving. Tell all your friends!

And get yourself to Cleveland!

 

 

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