Search

The Protagonist Speaks

Interviews with the characters of your favourite books

Tag

Mystery

Emmaline (Emme) Mayson (of Mayson-Dickson Mysteries, by Jocie McKade)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman thrown into becoming a private detective. She is here to talk about opening her own agency, of murders, betrayals, and dysfunctional family relationships.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

Hey, I’m Emme Mayson, well now, I am. I used to be Emmaline Roberts, until my life got really twisted, like trying pull on spandex panties on a wet body. If you hear a voice in the background it’s my sister Jackie Dickson, just ignore her.

I was raised in a little town call Scrugg’s Corner, Alabama. It’s not too far from Huntsville. My dad raised me, as my mom died when I was two, at least that’s what I was told. Ms. Rose Dushae who babysat me became my ‘mom’, and I trust her on all things. She was widowed and had three sons, so I grew up a ‘tom-boy’. One my early loves was old buildings and I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Architecture. Go War Eagles! Go Tigers! Hehe, y’all we just do that to confuse Yankees.

Now, I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with a twin sister I never knew existed. That little tidbit begins our Mayson-Dickson Investigations.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Being raised by a single dad had it challenges. I mean, did you ever try to talk to you dad about ‘girl’ things, or sex, or, well, you get the idea. Bless his heart he did pretty good, but usually he just called Rosie and asked for help, and he always bought me jewelry and it was always a heart.

On the plus side, I can fish, clean it and eat it too. I’ve driven NASCAR race cars and he enrolled me in defensive driving programs. That could be why I terrify my sister when I drive.

“Ya, think?” Came a voice from the background.

I warned you about my sister.

Anyway, I’m a very outdoors girl, and even won the Junior Championship Skeet Shooting contest three years in a row.

While I didn’t know it at the time, the best thing my dad taught me was to be observant and always look for a way out. I did not know how handy that would become.

One thing I’ve always wanted though was to know my mom. I never got a chance, and dad didn’t talk about her much. I think it was just too painful for him.

What do you do now?

I am a partner in Mayson-Dickson Investigations. You might say I fell into the job. Shhh! My sister Jackie Dickson is laughing at me. Alright, I’ll tell the truth Jackie, you just hush. Jackie and I were thrown, yes thrown, into an ‘off-the-books’ Witness Protection program. That is how we ended up in Virginia Beach. “What? I am getting to the point! Yankees. She’s from BOOOSSTTON.” Anyway, as we were trying to figure out what was going on, we walked along the beach and a very dead body washed up, landing on me. Ewww! Ewww! I will never get over that stink.

As we tried to drown our uncertainly with margaritas, we decided we’d make good private investigators, and it would be a legitimate way to look for details as to why we are in this witness protection program.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

So far, we’ve solved a few cases, but as for the investigation into our parents we’ve just gotten more questions than answers. In our second caper YANKEE TENACITY, a murder victim literally falls into the bed of my brand new truck. I’m a pickup truck girl, and, hang on….”Jackie, do not be calling me a redneck. I’m surprised you can say the word since y’all from Boston have no letter “R” in your alphabet.” Sorry, where were we? Oh, ya, dead body in the bed of my truck dressed in a kilt no less.

“I’m getting to it.” Why are Yankees always in a rush? Just let me tell the story.” There are currently four books in the series, and I have a habit of attracting dead bodies. “What’s that?” Oh, that’s my sister’s maniacal laugh. She seems to think it’s funny that dead bodies have a way of, well, finding me.

Our author has a released coming out in late September — Battlemints of Blue — yes, I know it’s misspelled, but y’all will understand when you read it. It begins with the dead body of the director of our Witness Protection program dead…..and gulp……ME being kidnapped. Oh, and the introduction of a new cast member U.S. Marshall Dillon.

Continue reading “Emmaline (Emme) Mayson (of Mayson-Dickson Mysteries, by Jocie McKade)”

Cal Rogan (of his eponymous Cal Rogan Mysteries series, by Robert P. French)

Dear readers, tonight with us is an ex-cop private investigator. He’s here to tell us about living on the mean streets, and coming out of retirement to save an innocent kid from jail.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up all over Vancouver. I only have a vague memory of my dad. My mother and I moved a lot. It was only as I got older that I learned she saved money by defaulting on rent payments so that she could send me to university. Because we moved so much, I didn’t make a lot of friends until I got to high school.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

I guess I had the usual toys, such as my mom could afford. The only vivid memory I have is of watching TV with a man. I guess he was my dad, though I can’t say for sure. It was an old cartoon about a moose and a squirrel I think.

What do you do now?

I’m a private investigator. I started Stammo Rogan Investigations with another former cop, Nick Stammo. Nick was run down by a couple of crooks and he’s in a wheelchair now. He was my partner at the time and I always think that if I could have done more, I could have avoided the event that put him in that wheelchair. It’s funny, in the VPD, we really disliked each other but now we’re partners.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I’d kind of retired from the PI business. There was an unfortunate conclusion to a case of a missing girl who had been abducted. It really soured me to the business of saving people. But when I heard about this kid who was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, I just had to help him. It was tough. All the DNA evidence pointed to him being guilty of killing his girlfriend but I knew the cop who investigated the murder and he was dirty. I knew I had to help the kid. Little did I know the problems it would cause and that it would put my whole family in danger.

Continue reading “Cal Rogan (of his eponymous Cal Rogan Mysteries series, by Robert P. French)”

Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a woman who landed her dream job as the receptionist at a karate school. She’s here to tell us about handsome instructors, a local bookie, and more mysteries than she’d counted on.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I grew up in the same small town I live in now, Sandstone Cove, on the shores of Lake Erie. My dad was a police officer and my mom stayed at home with me until I was a teenager. It was a safe place for a kid even with the influx of tourists all summer. My friends and I used to ride bikes and spend a lot of time at the beach. I loved to spend time on the front porch listening to my dad and his buddies talk about cases they’d worked on as well as working in the garden with my mom.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

My favourite toy as a child was my bike – until my dad died. He and I used to ride around town and around the shoreline as far as we dared to go. He’s where I got my curiosity for solving puzzles and my sense of justice from. Once my mom went to work for an interior design company, Dad and I spent more time together. Since he died a hero, the town renamed the park near where I now live in his honour. If I need a dose of his wisdom, I simply go for a run there to reconnect.

What do you do now?

What I know now is that my little world isn’t as black and white as I’d thought as a kid. My dad was shot while responding to an armed robbery at a bank and one of my most supportive friends now is in the mafia. It’s both scary and comforting that he sits out front of my house when I get myself into trouble.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

While Dead Without Remorse isn’t about my latest adventure, it does fill in a couple things that readers of the series missed due to an anthology story in between Dead Without Glory and Dead Without Pride. This is the adventure where an explosion leaves a gaping hole in the streetscape where the Nine Lives Consignment Shop and the former Yoshida Martial Arts School once stood.

When police find remains of a bomb—and a body—inside, I need to track a killer before the suspects scatter like debris. Especially after my boyfriend, Mick Williams, crawls out of the rubble! Let me tell you, I was terrified!

Continue reading “Gilda Wright (of the Gilda Wright Mysteries series, by Diane Bator)”

Pamela Williams (of May It Please the Court, by Daniel Maldonado)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a private investigator. She’s here to tell us about being drawn into a court case starting with the severe injury of a mother at her daughter’s sweet sixteen party — followed by her even more suspicious death.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I’m a military brat.  My father served in the US Army Special forces.  So I’ve lived in various places in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

Following in my father’s footsteps, I also served in the military and ultimately became a private investigator when I retired. 

What do you do now?

As a private investigator, I work with law firms and individual clients.  Sometimes, it’s the run of the mill divorce case spying on cheating spouses and catching them in the act.  But when I work for law firms, it can vary depending on the assignment.  I may have to spy on the firm’s clients to ensure they’re on the up and up.  Or I may have to investigate and interview witnesses to a murder scene.  It all depends.  That’s why I love my job.  It varies day by day. 

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

In my latest adventure, I work with the Mendoza law firm to find out why a hotel guest unexpectedly injured herself by falling down the stairs.  Complicating things is she ultimately died under suspicious circumstances.  Inevitably, I have to investigate in various states including, Las Vegas, NYC, and Phoenix, Arizona.

What did you first think when you when to saw the scene of the accident?

The luxury hotel premises were lush and beautiful.  I wished I was staying there myself rather than working.  But what I found there, wow, it changed the whole investigation.  I’m skilled but sometimes luck plays a big part of it.

Continue reading “Pamela Williams (of May It Please the Court, by Daniel Maldonado)”

Andy Thomas (of Suffer the Little Children, by Tina Helmuth)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a man accidentally drawn into the dark world of child trafficking and abuse, and facing real and supernatural dangers.


Tell us a little about where you’re from and growing up.

I was born in Grass Valley, California, which is near Sacramento, the city where the seat of government for the state is.  My dad’s career was in the Army, so we moved around a great deal.  We spent time in Japan and Germany and once dad became a General, we moved stateside and came back to Grass Valley.   My dad was quite the inventor so when he was home, we would work on projects together.  We spent most of our time inventing things around the house for my mother.  I suspect she just put up with our inventions since she didn’t really care for things like a vacuum that cleans, sort of like the Roomba that seems to be all the rage today, though for her, it just keep getting under her feet.  I used to laugh when she would get a broom and try to sweep it out of the kitchen, only to have it come back.  Frankly, I think the thing did it just to bug her because it knew how much she disliked it.

My dad traveled back and forth to Washington DC, since he worked in the Pentagon, so my mother and I spent a lot of time alone.  I wanted a sibling, but evidently my father was too busy even for that, so I entertained myself.  I discovered I had a knack for computers and started tinkering with them.  In the early days of computing, well since I’m only in my 30’s, not the really “OLD” days where the computers used a dot matrix printer and were huge, I started writing code.  I was never a hacker, because frankly I wasn’t interested in breaking into sites, but I liked to write programs for me to do things with.   I also love photography and since I lived near the Redwoods, any chance I got to go there I took.

When I hit my 20’s, the General as I liked to call my dad disappeared.  The military told us they had no idea where he went though they kept visiting my mother and me at least once a month until finally after years had gone by, they just checked in once a year to see if we had heard from him.  My mother died broken-hearted and for me, it took a long time to get over my anger that he just up and left.

The General left behind some plans that I found one day while going through his stuff that my mother refused to get rid of and I discovered detailed plans for a noiseless drone that was smaller than anything the military had and could fly up to 30,000 feet as well as being undetectable by anything like radar.  I decided to build it to use for my photography even though he had left instructions on how to weaponize it.

Any cherished memories?

One of my most cherished memories is while living in Japan; before we left the country we went on a sightseeing tour.  The General didn’t normally have to time to do these kinds of things with us, but for one week we went to places like Kyoto and Nagoya where we visited some incredible Shinto temples.  I was into photography then and had a Polaroid that I used to take pictures with; I still have those photographs, the only pictures I have of all of us together.

What kind of work do you do? 

I have my own company which is basically computer tech support.  My mother left me the house where I live in Grass Valley, so I work out of the house.

Continue reading “Andy Thomas (of Suffer the Little Children, by Tina Helmuth)”

Emily Kostova (of Emily’s Lair, by Cary Grossman)

Dear readers, tonight with us is the owner of a local bookstore. Her knowledge of the Whitechapel murders and of Jack the Ripper bring her to the attention of the police. She is here to tell us about how investigating a current murder brought up a woman accused of witchcraft in the seventeenth century.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Emily, the proud owner of Emily’s Lair, a private, non-corporate bookshop in New Vernon, Connecticut, with a wonderful variety of books. There’s an entire wall dedicated to classic literature, for example, sections on art, exploration, science, history, ancient civilizations, even true crime. You can get the latest releases, of course, but most of the shop is made up of books that I find interesting and think other people will too. I’m especially proud of the special section in back that’s filled with books on the European witch hunts. It also features more than one biography on the woman responsible for singlehandedly ending the witch hunts, Liesbeth Jansson.

Liesbeth Jansson? Who was she?

She was a woman from Breda, a city in the Netherlands. She got married to a professor from Leiden, a city that became a beacon of the Enlightenment. He died when the Plague swept through Leiden, and because Liesbeth was smart and strong-willed and refused to conform to what citizens at the time considered to be a “proper Christian woman,” she became a target. At that time, women who were different, or, especially, who weren’t submissive to men, were often accused of witchcraft.

Was Liesbeth Jansson accused of witchcraft?

Oh yes. But she fought back. You see, none of the women accused of witchcraft—the accused were almost always women—were actually witches. Many were elderly spinsters, midwives, or rich widows like Liesbeth. If you had money, you were a prime target because a witch’s money was always seized by the state, and witch hunters loved money. But with Liesbeth they had stumbled on someone they never expected to encounter—a woman with real power. She escaped, hunted down each of her accusers, and killed them in a very public and brutal manner. Once people realized there was a chance that they might accuse a woman who could fight back, the witch hunts ended.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

I met Will, a homicide detective. I fell for him right away despite that he was questioning me. You see, I was a person of interest in a murder that Will was investigating because I had once dated the man who was killed. Will came in the shop to ask me some questions; that’s how we met.

Continue reading “Emily Kostova (of Emily’s Lair, by Cary Grossman)”

Robinson Lubank (of Alexander Southerland P.I. series, by Douglas Lumsden)

Dear readers, tonight we revisit the world of Alexander Southerland, P.I., whom we visited before. This time we reprint a magazine interview with his gnomish lawyer, that lovable scamp Rob Lubank. Caution: foul language ahead.


Welcome to Community Outreach. Today’s guest is one of the most well-known defense attorneys in Yerba City. Could you please introduce yourself to our audience?

Glad to. I’m Robinson Lubank, attorney at law. What th’fuck d’ya wanna know about me?

You’ve been described as someone who has his finger on the pulse of Yerba City. Would you say that this is an accurate assessment?

You kidding me? I’ve got this town by the balls! I’ve got the dirt on every important person in the metropolitan area, and that includes the judges. That’s why I’m the best defense attorney in the city.

Have you always wanted to be a lawyer?

I’ve always wanted to make a lot of dough, and I figured out pretty early in the game that making it as a mouthpiece would be a hell of a lot less risky than robbing banks. As you can see by my big adorable round ears, I’m a gnome. I don’t pack a lot of muscle into this three-and-a-half-foot body of mine. I’ve got more brains than brawn, and the law is a good racket for a mug like me.

Gnomes are known for their financial success, aren’t they?

Hey, that’s a stereotype! Not all gnomes are rich, but, yeah, a lot of us are. We tend to have good heads for business. When the Dragon Lords stormed out of Hell, they brought trolls and dwarfs along to slap their enemies around on the battlefield. They brought us gnomes along because they needed people with intelligence to build their economic infrastructures. We gnomes prefer to do our fighting across a table in the boardroom, or in the courts.

What was it like growing up in Yerba City?

I had it pretty good. My father was a bank manager. Very fuckin’ respectable. He taught me the value of money, which is something I’ve never forgotten. School was okay. I made some dough helping some of the guys get through it, you know, doing their homework for them and “convincing” some of the teachers to alter their grades.

How did you do that?

Hey, teachers aren’t any cleaner than anyone else. They’ve all got something to hide. Maybe from their spouses, or maybe from their bosses—maybe even from the coppers! Once you’ve ferreted out their little peccadilloes, they become very willing to make deals.

So blackmail is the key to your success?

Watch it, pal! “Blackmail” is such an ugly word. It’s not my fault that so many people have skeletons in their closet, or that I’m so good at discovering them. Once my operation started to grow, I began hiring investigators to get the dirt for me. There’s this hard number named Alex Southerland, for example. He’s done a lot of good work for me. We have a nice copacetic little arrangement. He tends to get himself into a lot of hot water with the boys in blue, and it’s my job to get him out it. For a price, of course. I make sure that I rack up a lot of billable hours keeping him free to operate, and, as a result, he’s into me deep. He pays some of it back by doing investigative work for me, but the poor bastard will probably die owing me money. And the way he operates, that could happen sooner rather than later.

Continue reading “Robinson Lubank (of Alexander Southerland P.I. series, by Douglas Lumsden)”

John Conquer (of Conquer, by Edward M. Erdelac)

Dear readers, tonight with us is a P.I. from 1976 Harlem — the cat you call when your hair stands up, a supernatural brother like no other.


Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?

I was born in New Orleans but came to New York with my parents when I was seven. We stayed with my Uncle Silas till he passed. I was raised on West 115th in the Foster Projects in Harlem. They call ‘em the MLK Projects now. It was cool growing up. We had the big playground, monkey bars, ball courts…good old PS 170. When my daddy died and my mama got run down by a taxi, I stayed with Consolation Underwood in East Harlem. She was a bookie for King Solomon Keyes, and an Ifa priestess – an Ìyánífá. She taught me divination with the opon Ifa, had me memorize the 256 odu, while other kids were doin’ times tables. Said ‘cause I was born with a caul I ought to learn, maybe become a babalawo some day. She was Mama to just about every orphan in Harlem at one time or another. Always some kid coming or going in her kitchen. Me and her niece, little Phaedra Williams were the ones who stayed the longest. I used to walk Phaedra over to the pool at Marcus Garvey Park in the summer, stand under the monkey bars to catch her if she slipped. That was before ‘Nam.

Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?

We couldn’t afford much in the way of toys. Played outside most of the time. One of my favorite memories is of sittin’ up late with my Daddy and my Uncle Silas beatin’ on these handmade mahogany Rada drums he had. My uncle taught me to beat the rhythm on the Boula when I was six. My mama would dance till the sweat made her arms shine in the dark.

What do you do now?

I’m a private investigator now, got an office on 33 St. Marks Place. I run down stray husbands and wives mostly, but sometimes folks call me when the hair on the back of their neck stands up, you dig? I got a reputation around town after I took down a rakshasi one night at the Empire Roller Disco in Brooklyn. Brought it in a lot of weird business. Weirder by the day, sometimes I think. Lucky I inherited a library from my godfather, Fish Marmelstein. He used to own a supply company, Brother Hoodoo. My daddy was his top salesman. Anyway, it’s got most everything I need. I got books on Vodoun, Hoodoo, Kabbalah, Hermeticism…you name it. And if I don’t have it, I know where to find it.

What can you tell us about your latest adventure?

Well, I wouldn’t call it an adventure. Adventures are supposed to be enjoyable, right? Where do I start? It’s been an eventful year. I took down a clique of vampires in the Harlem Hospital morgue, helped out my Uncle Silas’…..I don’t know what you call Verbena Mechant, a partner? Husband? Wife? Hell, you call her whatever she wants to be called. I learned that the hard way. Anyway, Auntie Verbena had a boo-hag causin’ problems with her girls in Crown Heights. Let’s see….there was that time Lou Lazzeroni found Genie Jones shrunk and floating in a lava lamp and called me in….there was that thing eatin’ graffiti taggers in the subway. Then there was that other thing running rampant at the Vatican…sorry, that’s what Pope used to call the apartment building where he housed his girls….ugh…sorry, Pope’s the pimp whose ghost haunts my car….eh, that’s a long story. I don’t wanna get into that mess. Let’s see….my last ‘adventure’….finding the dude who shot Preacher dead with an arrow in front of Hekima Books. Preacher, that was Benny Galarza, one of my oldest friends. We started the 167th Street Black Enchanters back in ’69 when we got outta Vietnam see….him and me and Black Adam. It had to do with a butchered gorilla carcass the cops found laying in an intersection in the Bronx. I just got out of the hospital from all that. It was a bad scene. Nearly got my black ass pitched off a roof.

Continue reading “John Conquer (of Conquer, by Edward M. Erdelac)”

Tillman Rosenbaum (of the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series, by Debbie Burke)

Dear readers, tonight in an interesting twist we have both a character — and his author! He’s a lawyer assisting the protagonist, and has his own style of doing things.


Debbie Burke: Tillman Rosenbaum is the brilliant, arrogant, cynical attorney who elbowed his way into
the first book in the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series and refused to leave. Today, I’m interviewing Tillman for The Protagonist Speaks. Thank you for talking with me, Tillman.

Tillman Rosenbaum drinks Glenfiddich single malt scotch while his intense dark eyes pin.me to my barstool. His baritone sounds like God in a cave.

TR: Get this straight right up front—I didn’t agree to this interview. Tawny did.

DB: You seem hostile?

TR: We can talk all day about landmark cases, precedents I’ve set, innocent people I’ve
gotten acquitted. But nothing personal. Understand?

DB: Uh, okay. Since Tawny is one of the innocents you saved, why don’t you tell us how
you first met?

TR: Tawny had unwittingly gotten involved with a terrorist (Book 1 – Instrument of the
Devil
). Feds were after her, seized her bank account. She was in deep shit and her only crime
was trusting the wrong guy. I like a righteous cause.

DB: You’re the crusader hero?

TR: I’m the asshole who backed down Goliath. Afterwards, I offered her a job. She was
broke from her late husband’s medical bills, doesn’t have much education, dyslexic—helluva
time reading, can’t spell. But she’s really bright and has this gift. People open up to her. Clients
tell her the secrets they’re afraid to tell me.

DB: You’re six-seven, aggressive, and sarcastic. Can’t imagine why clients would be scared
of you.

TR (snorts): I scare prosecutors and judges, too. Underneath this gruff exterior beats a heart
of stone. In more than twenty years of practice, I only lost three cases.

DB: Your style of questioning differs from Tawny’s.

TR: Hell yes. I jump on ’em with both feet. She just smiles, like the sun breaking through
clouds, and then she listens. Finds out the damnedest shit that way. (shakes his head in
amazement
)

DB: So your skills complement each other?

TR: Oh yeah. Like when my old man was targeted by this sexy con artist (Book 2 -Stalking
Midas
). He’s a smart financier, made millions, but an unprincipled prick. Serial womanizer.
Drove my mother to suicide. Suddenly he’s broke. Refuses to talk to me. But damned if Tawny
doesn’t get him to open up. She cracked the scam. Unfortunately, the con artist almost killed her
in the process. (looks away, blinks hard, and swallows)

Continue reading “Tillman Rosenbaum (of the Tawny Lindholm Thriller series, by Debbie Burke)”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑