Thursday, January 12, 2006

Meet the Author: Earl Staggs

Kevin’s Corner

One of the things I have noticed about my local paper is that book coverage continues to shrink and shrink. With every design change to improve readability and to stop the steadily shrinking customer base, books are covered less and less. In so doing, author appearances are also covered less. Neither one is a good thing at all and maybe the bean counters at the paper ought to figure out that the better idea would be to cover more and quit dumbing down the paper.

In the meantime, I’m doing my part to help promote an author and a good friend. As some of you may know, Earl Staggs has been involved in the Short Mystery Fiction Society list for years. He was one of the first to welcome me with open arms on that list and has suffered through reading my efforts many times and has always offered constructive criticism on my efforts.

He was also aware that despite our friendship, if I thought his book stunk, I would say so. I do that something that used to get me in trouble with my bosses at the bookstores because they believe a book is a book is a book. They aren’t. Some books are just flat better than others. Fortunately for both of us, his book was/is really good and I was very pleased to write a very positive review of it for the online site Mysterical-e That review is on down the page as a refresher for you.

If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area there are four chances coming up to “Meet The Author” as the say in the publicity world. So come on out, say hi to Earl, buy the book if you like, and make sure to tell him Kevin sent you.

January 14, 2006

Saturday, 10.30 AM
Barnes & Noble Booksellers #2193
2201 I-35 East South
Denton, Texas 76205
Event: Book signing

January 21, 2006

Saturday, 3 PM
Barnes & Noble #2060
Stonebriar Centre
2601 Preston Road, #1204
Frisco, Texas 75034
Event: Book signing

February 11, 2006

Saturday, 2 PMBarnes & Noble #2584
3909 S. Cooper
So. Arlington, TX 76015-4124
Event: Book signing

March 26, 2006
Sunday, 11 AM - 6 PM
5th Annual Plano Book Festival for Adult Literacy
Plano TX

Memory Of A Murder
By Earl Staggs
Quiet Storm Publishing
Summer 2005

In Ocean City, former FBI Agent Adam Kingston has made a bit of a name for himself since he left the bureau. Thanks to a rather freakish accident, he has the ability to touch objects connected to individuals and see what has happened to them elsewhere---a sort of remote viewing. Such talent comes in handy at times, especially when the mother of his godson asks Adam to check on him.

Other than a brief image of a strange unkempt longhaired bearded man, Adam Kingston sees that everything is fine with Junior. Random images often drift into the viewing of the person he is concentrating on, so he isn’t that concerned about the man. But then the vision of the strange man appears in the flesh on his doorstep seeking Adam’s help. Suffering from amnesia, the man who gives his name as Chip Weathers, also believes he may have committed a murder. He has seen news reports of a body that was recently discovered buried in a basement in Baltimore. The woman died approximately sixteen years ago, which was about the same time as his amnesia. According to Chip, the doctors blame his amnesia on the shock of a tragic event. Chip believes he knew the woman and killed her and wants Adam to find out who she was and why he killed her.

In Baltimore, Detective Brenda McCort has her hands full. Not only is she working the female body in the basement case, she now has another body to deal with. “This time, a man shot, wrapped in black plastic trashbags and left in the trunk of a car.” (Chapter 2) He hasn’t been dead long and won’t be the last, as her cases will lead her to Ocean City and Adam’s case. Not only will they have to solve a sixteen-year-old murder case, but stop a new wake of killings based on the past.

Shifting in point of view from Adam, to Brenda, to a killer who enjoys the work way too much, this novel moves forward at a rapid pace. Both primary characters have suffered major traumas making the past a heavy and recurrent theme in the work. At the same time, both have survived and by being rich in such detail, become very real to the readers. So too is the killer who, unlike in many novels, is not a cold calculating unfeeling killing machine. While he may be a product that showcases the worst society has to offer, his motivations are clear and realistic and the killer becomes just as real for the reader.

As in a few other offerings I have had the pleasure of reading from this publisher, this is a quality novel. The characters are real, the story complex and changing, and Mr. Staggs performs an excellent piece of literary deception that keeps readers guessing to the end. Fans of his numerous short stories will not be disappointed and neither will those new to his work.

More next time and as always feel free to drop me a note here or at with your comments, observations, and suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin R. Tipple © 2005

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