You can probably tell from my writing that I’m from the South–not the South Bronx—the South—you know. North Carolina?
Anyway, where I come from we serve sweet iced tea and call you honey even if we don’t know you and ask you to “come back” as you’re walking out the door. We scrape our feet at your front door, even if they’re not dirty, to show respect before entering your house. We’ll offer you food, even if we don’t have any left, praying you’ll say “no thank you.” While we’re eating one meal, we talk about the next one over fried chicken, rice and gravy, and homemade biscuits. We say, “Bless her heart” to make it okay to condemn somebody in the next breath and “yawl” to make sure everybody’s included.
If you’re from Florida and come to the mountains looking for land to buy, watch out. Mountain folk refer to you as “Southern Yankees.” They smile and point you in the wrong direction because they don’t want you developing their land. Some of us—not me of course—dodder along in our pickups, throwing you a friendly wave, even if we don’t know you, our shotguns mounted firmly in gun racks behind our heads—”just in case.” The innocent-looking church ladies welcome you to the reunion in the churchyard with open arms then gossip about you behind closed doors.
So that’s what I write about in the Brad Pope and Sisterfriends Mystery trilogy. Classic Southern murder mysteries that shatter the stereotypes. Limestone Gumption, my 2014 debut novel, won multiple awards. She’ll Be KILLING Round the Mountain, the second in the series, more along the lines of a thriller, will be out in 2016. Currently, I’m working on the third, Michael Row the BODY Ashore, set on St. Helena Island, SC.
My protagonist, 35-year-old psychologist Dr. Brad Pope, is to the mystery/thriller genre what Anderson Cooper is to broadcast news: the first gay male sleuth to join the mainstream ranks of other straight male protagonists—Jack Reacher, Alex Delaware, Cork O’Conner, and Alex Stone. He’s a one-of-a-kind reluctant sleuth, who outsmarts the cops by solving crimes when the police drop the ball.
The Sisterfriends are a group of 6 quirky women of a certain age who refuse to be typecast as church ladies. They are vivacious, wicked, and irreverent, fun loving, smart, and gritty. Glued together because of a crime they committed, the women are not exactly sisters but are more than friends, hence Sisterfriends. Their biggest claim to fame is the garden they tend under the welcome sign on the outskirts of a small Southern town of Whitecross, Florida, where passersby wonder what they planted there:
Camellias or Corpses?
With a blend of humor and dark plot, the three novels are a communion of the beauty and brutality that are found in the South. As they twist and turn, the fast-paced mysteries tease to the surface one suspicion, one misunderstanding, and one murder at a time, keeping you on the edge of your seat or making you fall out of it laughing.