by Mike Nemeth
GENRE: Romantic Mystery
Framed by cops and chased by crooks, a white ex-con and a rebellious black woman become fugitives. They didn’t plan to fall in love.
After serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, Parker and his wife, Paula, hide from an old enemy in an Atlanta suburb. Their fresh start is disrupted when his new boss demands his involvement in a fraudulent scheme that will replace thousands of white collar American workers with artificial intelligence and offshore labor. Parker unfortunately suspects his secret and elusive birth father is mixed up in the fraud. Then a body is pulled from the Chattahoochee River and Parker believes Paula has murdered his enemy, but the police think Parker did it. He and his brilliant colleague, Sabrina, a woman who can trace her roots to Virginia slaves, steal the “smoking gun” that will expose the fraud and go on the run, pursued by cops and crooks. After a violent showdown in a frightening New Orleans cemetery, they connect the dots between a murder, fraud, and a man from his mother’s past. Parker’s loyalties are torn, but he must choose.
The terror Parker felt was what an antelope feels when it is about to be eaten alive by a pride of hungry lions. He took shallow breaths through his nose to mask the sound of his breathing as he listened to the blood coursing through his carotid artery—whoosh, whoosh. Where the hell is my backup?
In the crepuscular light, Parker saw her then. She emerged from her hiding place in the boathouse and assumed the shooter’s stance she’d been taught at the gun range. She gave the hunter no warning, just fired her compact Beretta once, and the man crumpled onto the Cool Crete surface with a thud and a rush of expelled air. That hadn’t been the plan. She was only supposed to balance the threat Parker suspected Meredith had posed. She wasn’t supposed to shoot anyone. It’s so easy to get these things wrong.
A scan of the house’s back windows revealed no sign of Meredith. Parker put a finger to his lips—don’t talk—and motioned for the woman to hurry into the shadows. The wounded man moaned softly, and Parker’s quick check confirmed that he was semi-conscious and neither moving nor watching. Parker took the woman’s pistol and shoved her toward the neighbor’s property. The snowbirds who owned the place were away enjoying the mild Canadian summer during the Florida off-season.
“Run,” he whispered.
She loped into the darkness. He counted to twenty—one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi—then he dialed 9-1-1.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Wisconsin (Willem Dafoe and Greta Van Susteren are homies), educated at the University of Wisconsin, so I’m a Badger and a Cheesehead. But I was discharged from the Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia and couldn’t help but notice that no one owned a snow shovel, so I moved to Atlanta and have been in the area ever since.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Kathryn Stockett (The Help) said to write about what disturbs you, particularly if it doesn’t seem to bother anyone else. So I always start with theme, what do I want to say? In this case I wanted to say something about how easy it is for law enforcement and the judicial system to get it wrong and how scary it is to be caught up in the system’s grinding machinery. I also wanted explore racism from the perspective of an unbiased white man.
How do you create your characters?
So, I start with theme and then I concoct a story/plot that makes the point. The last step is fitting characters into the story, sort of like casting actors for a movie. The characters must fit the story, not the other way round. The characters are generally a composite of people I’ve come across in real life (but I admit that the cop in Parker’s Choice was inspired by an actor on the TV show Suits) but their needs and motivations have to fit their role in the story so it’s authentic.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I grew up reading William Goldman, then John D. MacDonald, and then John Le Carre. I always wanted to be like them in the way that kids want to grow up to be Michael Jordan. Later in life I realized that writing entertaining books could be a way of communicating deeper messages about society. I think it was Faulkner who said a writer’s job was to expose the human condition.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I have a home office and my Belgian Shepherd, Scout, sits beside me as I write. A couple of cups of coffee get me started and off I go.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Kathryn Stockett (The Help) said writers should write about what disturbs them, especially it doesn’t seem to bother others. So, if it bothers me, I write about it.
What do you like to read?
Anything that’s a good story. If there’s no plot I’m not as interested. I particularly like historical fiction, Joseph Kanon is a favorite, and I’m now trying my hand at the genre.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Do it only if you are compelled to put your thoughts on paper. It is a vocation that chooses you, not the other way round. And be prepared for the folks who don’t care for what you put on paper.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Writers are ever grateful for every reader who takes the time to read our work. We treasure every review.
Mike Nemeth, a Vietnam veteran and former high-tech executive, writes love stories tucked inside murder mysteries highlighting America’s social issues. THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Southern Fiction and the Frank Yerby Prize at the Augusta Literary Festival. The novel inspired singer/songwriter Mark Currey to compose the song Who I am. PARKER’S CHOICE won a Firebird Award for thrillers and American Fiction Awards for Diverse and Multicultural Mystery/Suspense, and for Romantic Mystery/Suspense. Other credits include The New York Times, Georgia Magazine, Augusta Magazine, Southern Writers’ Magazine, and Deep South Magazine. In 2018, I was named Atlanta’s Best Local Author by Creative Loafing magazine. Mike lives in Villa Rica with his wife, Angie, and their rescue dog, Scout.
Social Media Links:
X (Twitter): @nemosnovels
Buy Link (PARKER’S CHOICE):
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Mike Nemeth will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway