Crime Fiction Author Interview: S.N. Bronstein

Welcome to our Guest Author Interview

PHOTO S.N. Bronstein

This is the first of what are planned to be weekly author crime fiction interviews. S.N. Bronstein caught my eye on Twitter. He’s from Miami and writes about the city where, curiously, I don’t know if too many crime novels take place. It’s not for a lack of crime, I’m sure. A snippet from his novel, The Case of the Miami Blackmailer, follows below the interview.

If you’re an author who wants to be featured in an interview please go to our contact page.

Now, S.N. Bronstein:

What makes Miami a good city for crime/mystery/ thriller novels?

Miami has grown to be a huge metropolitan, heterogeneous area with over two million residents. With this growth came crime. Especially in the Miami Beach area, the crime problem is in total contrast to the feeling one gets when they see the beaches, ocean, hotels, and natural beauty. This contrast adds irony to the crimes I write about.

COVER The Case of the Miami BlackmailerWhat motivated you to write The Case of the Miami Philanthropist?

I lived all my life on Miami Beach, and when I retired I had the time to reflect on the disconnect between the natural beauty there and the underworld of crime in all its forms. Knowing the culture, I was driven to write a series about crime stories in the area.

You mentioned in the 2nd edition that crime techniques have changed – what are some of those changes and why did you feel you needed to update the story?

The science of forensic crime detection becomes more complex each day. Technology such as DNA testing, routine cheek swabs of incarcerated persons, and laboratory analysis of previously untestable body evidence made me realize that a manuscript written in 2008 failed to contain opportunities for a detective to find evidence to establish reasonable suspicion. For example, iphones were never considered as a means for tracking the moves of a person of interest.

Have you grown as an author – name 1 or 2 techniques you’ve learned about the craft of writing and/or what advice would you give to new authors?

I have learned to trust my instincts while writing. If I am satisfied that my research establishes that something is factual, I keep in my books rather than edit it out because readers might not find it plausible. Also, I don’t count words as I write. When the story is told, it’s done. Crime stories in contrast to mysteries can be brief, to the point, and tell a great tale without being 500 pages long.

Do you have favorite authors in this genre that you like to read?

I always liked the style of Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy, and two great screen writers of the Columbo TV series; Stephen Cannell and Steven Bochco.

What do you like about writing older children’s stories and how did that come about?

One day the thought occurred to me that if I could write adult crime stories, then I could do the same for middle grade kids. Using the inquiring behavior of my two cats, I dreamed up the Private Eye Cats series. I used the same formula of discovering a crime, the gathering of evidence, and the insight of the protagonists to bring the criminal to justice. Of course, the books are age appropriate for 9-12 year olds but the formula is the same. I love that kids are fascinated by two cats being detectives.

Where can readers browse and buy your books?

My website is the best venue for learning about all of my books, myself, and ordering copies. Books are available in ebook format, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon and all online book sellers.

snbronsteinauthor.com is my website address.

BOOK EXCERPT–SNIPPET: The Case of the Miami Blackmailer

After almost ten years as a private investigator I still feel uncomfortable when I conduct my first meeting with a new client. Cops, murderers, whores, dopers, petty thieves, and everyone else who exists or works in the substrata of society I can deal with comfortably. My problem is I can never figure out how a new client should perceive me during the initial meeting.

I can do the therapist routine like keep eye contact, do the ‘forward lean’ thing, repeat a statement the client makes to get them to embellish on it, summarize periodically, and all of the other moves that encourage the client to talk. The problem is, this often makes me feel like a damn marriage counselor not a detective. I do these things and I can’t help but wonder if the person is looking around the walls to see my Doctorate in Psychology degree instead of a PI’s license. On the other hand I can sit there looking like a tough guy, smoke a cigarette, and keep a wary snarl on my face. I don’t smoke cigarettes, I’m not a tough guy, and I look foolish when I snarl. I’m not comfortable with the tough guy persona any more than I am with the therapist routine. I never got this introductory phase down.

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Crime Fiction Author Interview Coming April 13

SN Bronstein
Crime fiction author S.N. Bronstein

Interviews with crime fiction authors will be a regular feature.

Check back on Friday, April 13 to read an interview featuring Miami-based writer S.N. Bronstein. He’s written 4 novels for adults and books for children and tweens ages 9 – 13.

 

 

If you’re a crime fiction author who would like to be featured, go to our contact page and connect with us on social media or do the old-fashioned thingy and email us!

We know there are some terrific writers that readers should know about.

Detective story update: Tom Stone Day of the Dead

Our police detective stories evolved. Here’s an update on the soon-to-be-completed Tom Stone Day of the Dead. We began writing our Tom Stone novels January 2015, scrapped the very first one about 13 chapters in and started fresh with Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas.

Tom Stone 3 Pack

Currently, we’re in the home stretch of finishing our full draft–we’re currently in Chapter 32 with Stone in a pivotal discussion. What will come of it?

Stay tuned for Special Offers as we prepare to publish this trilogy.

And stay tuned to this blog as we invite other authors to drop in and develop some cool features — or, as we like to say Kewl Features.

Come connect with Tom Stone, his family, friends and — alas, enemies. Enjoy this taste of Book 3 Tom Stone Day of the Dead with an excerpt from Chapter 18:

EXCERPT

The pilot’s sunglasses gave him a hard look, but his lips were trembling. Angel kept the gun aimed with his finger tight on the trigger. The chopper slowed and the runners touched dirt.

“Shut it down,” said Angel.

“Okay, you got it.” The pilot turned off the power. “So, okay, man, I walk away? That’s cool with me. I won’t say nothing. Agreed? I’ll keep my mouth—”

Angel fired and the man fell forward, his sunglasses dropping from his face.

“Power lines, my ass.”

The whirring blades grew quieter and fell silent. He looked at his fingers and breathed a sigh of relief.

A quick look around the craft revealed a semi-automatic rifle stashed away and emergency flares. He found a first aid kit, bottles of water, and snacks. A daypack sat inside a cabinet along with bottles of wine and whiskey. Someone was prepared. That was the thing about DeVito. He was a first class guy and made sure all his vehicles were fully stocked and up to code. Angel packed the pistol and the other items, hopped out, and decided to take more revenge at DeVito’s expense.

He located the fuel tank and then made his way across rocks, pear-shaped cactus and grass that grew scraggly and wild like it was desperate for a sip of water. The sun was dipping lower. Angel knew he had to work fast to get out of the desert before nighttime hit and temperatures plummeted.

The chopper had landed in a depression with hills shielding the location from back roads, off-road adventurers, and hikers. That was to have been his graveyard while DeVito would sit in his estate, chomping on cigars and fondling women too stupid to know any better. Idiots.

Angel set down the supplies and cradled the rifle. No one was going to get in his way now.

He opened fire and the bullets flew wildly into the craft. Click. Click. Empty. He tossed the weapon to the ground. Nothing seemed to happen. Angel walked close to inspect his work. Gas leaked from the tank, but he was disappointed that it didn’t blow up like in the movies. He stepped back, lit a flare, and tossed it to the fuel leak. Fire caught and began to burn. He turned around, walked away, and a sudden explosion knocked him to the ground. He looked and shielded his eyes to see the copter engulfed in flames.

 

Available now on Amazon:

Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Christmas

Tom Stone Sweltering Summer Nights

Jack Webb: Facts and The Great Los Angeles Detective

Crime fiction is part of American lore on TV as well as in novels. Just the facts. Three words that were seared into our pop culture consciousness by the TV show Dragnet and Sgt. Joe Friday. The concept started with a radio program that Jack Webb launched after serving with the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Jack Webb and Harry Morgan  

Webb said the character of Joe Friday was “neutral.” In an interview with the New York Times, Webb remarked that Joe Friday “had no religion, no childhood, no educational background, no war record and no personal side at all.”

What he did have was a close working relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department. After Webb’s death, the LAPD chief at the time, Daryl Gates, ordered flags flown at half mast. The working relationship was too close, according to a critical article in 2015 published in The Atlantic: 

The idealized image of the Los Angeles Police Department that the series portrayed, of a thoroughly modern agency dispassionately dispensing justice, is sharply at odds with the historical reality of an imperfect force beset by racism, brutality, and decades of scandals.

Joe Friday likely does resemble what we think of the American police detective — neutral but with a good and compassionate side who works tirelessly to fight evil.

What detectives do you recall from books, TV or movies?

A new detective on the scene is Tom Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe in Tom Stone: Nitty Gritty Christmas; Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights; and Tom Stone: Day of the Dead.

Check out these crime stories and links to free previews on the Tom Stone website.

 

 

It’s a Crime … Story

Crime fiction and detectives who track down the criminal hold a special place in novels, film and TV dramas.

Our hero is often aloof or at least not exactly brimming with personality such as Jack Webb from the legendary TV show Dragnet. In recent years, consider Harry Bosch, the character written by best-selling author Michael Connelly. He’s a terse man who borders on being a loner and has little to say as he’s focused only on pursuing the criminal, except for a love interest here or there.

This blog, It’s a Crime … Story, will take you through beloved and lesser known detectives and crime fiction authors.

Your host will be Detective Tom Stone whose stories are being written by Don Simkovich and Lon Casler Bixby.

Join us and if you’d like to contribute a post, then please do.