When a U.S. Senator is found dead on a golf course in Mexico, it falls to his estranged daughter to find out what really happened. That’s how the story begins in my latest novel Greasing The Piñata, which Library Journal called “a cracking good mystery.” The plot moves between San Francisco landmarks to some beautiful regions of Mexico, but the characters soon discover that even the most tourist-friendly destinations can harbor criminals and reveal dangers never seen on any postcard.
As a writer I’ve always been intrigued by what lies beneath the surface, just out of sight. My first novel Stealing The Dragon explored the back alleys of San Francisco’s Chinatown, a city within a city that transforms from a bustling tourist destination by day to a world of shadows and secrets by night. The local Tong gangs are never mentioned in any travel guides for the city, and the local gangsters never mentioned in the local papers, and yet they exist in an unseen underworld, unless you’re willing to take a walk down the right (or wrong) alley and have a look.
My second novel Beating The Babushka is a satire of the move industry that reveals what really goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood. Some shady financing deals involving the Russian mafiya change the course of a blockbuster movie and trigger an investigation that wreaks havoc on an industry already sorely out of touch with reality. None of that is seen on screen of course, but it happens out of sight, before the cameras start rolling.
I confess that my fascination with how things really are — as opposed to how they appear —can sometimes lead to some funny and even bizarre scenarios. Publishers Weekly said Greasing The Piñata “smoothly mixes wry humor with a serious plot”, and much of the humor comes from taking a different perspective on things we all take for granted. Even in the midst of a murder investigation you might find a spark of humor, an irreverent take on the world, or an unexpected moment of compassion that reveals our humanity and gives us hope as it makes us smile. Great stories offer a chance at redemption for the characters, and books worth reading should still be fun, unapologetically entertaining.
Sometimes when you turn things upside down you get a whole new appreciation for what makes our wonderful but often dysfunctional world come together. Thanks for reading; I hope you have fun exploring the world just out of sight.