by Lorie Lewis Ham
& Kris Neri
What a better start to Spring than a trip down Route 66 with mystery author Kris Neri! This week we have a review of her latest Tracy Eaton mystery, a guest post from Kris about Route 66, and details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of the book!
It was fun to once again join mystery writer Tracy Eaton and her quirky family on one of their adventures in Kris Neri’s latest book in this series, Revenge On Route 66. Tracy Eaton is a mystery writer who always seems to get involved in real murders, and half the time they involve someone in her interesting and unusual family, such as her movie star father Alec Grainger.
In Revenge On Route 66 Tracy and her husband Drew head out on a road trip down Route 66 to relive some of her childhood adventures with her father. But it doesn’t take long before the trip ends up being more about murder, than fun. Alec lures Tracy and Drew to Tecos, New Mexico where he wants her to help solve an old murder that their friend Lucy was sent to prison for. However, soon after their arrival they end up involved in a more recent murder, that of Lucy’s strange son Woody. Things get even worse when the FBI calls Tracy one of America’s Most Wanted and she has to go on the run.
Throw in a 30-year-old airliner hijacking, collector lunch pails, ten million dollars of lost money, a crooked politician, caves, and some wonderful sites along Route 66, and you have a fun mystery! There are a lot of twists and turns to this plot as well. On the personal side, Tracy is also frustrated with Drew because he doesn’t seem interested in going back to work and she doesn’t want to be the sole bread winner on her writer’s income.
My favorite part of this series are the quirky characters–I’m very glad my family isn’t quite so quirky though. And Drew isn’t immune to having crazy relatives as his uncle, a former con man and thief, has his own secrets that pop up during this adventure.
If you are looking for a fun, fast read with great characters, a good mystery and a fun setting, don’t miss Revenge on Route 66. Can’t wait for Tracy’s next adventure!
I Get My Kicks…
By Kris Neri
Some years back, the publicist for my first two Tracy Eaton mysteries, Revenge of the Gypsy Queen and Dem Bones’ Revenge, suggested I consider setting a Tracy Eaton novel on Route 66, calling it Revenge on Route 66. She told me the title and idea had come to her in a dream (which meant her dreams were way more useful than mine!). She backed up the idea by telling me how many millions of people visit the Mother Road, as John Steinbeck dubbed Route 66, each year. That certainly supported its great marketing potential. The trouble was that, while I’d heard of people touring Route 66 and had a vague idea of what they found on it, I didn’t really get its appeal.
Then I moved to Northern Arizona, where Route 66 cuts a significant swath. Even before my husband Joe and I began conducting our own Route 66 trips, we discovered the fun of seeking out old Route 66 roadhouses, such as Miz Zip’s, in Flagstaff, AZ, where the food is good and reasonably-priced, and the décor is strictly something from yesteryear.
Finally, I started to get what Route 66 was all about. Those slices of Americana preserve little pockets of time from the days before everyone became so cool, from the time when we were comfortable with being offbeat and unique. When individuality rocked more than sameness, before Anytown, USA became Everytown, USA.
I also discovered that my former publicist was right—it was the perfect place to set a Tracy Eaton mystery. (I thanked her for the great idea in the acknowledgements.) This madcap series, which features the unconventional daughter of eccentric Hollywood stars, along with a cast of loveable loonies, celebrates quirkiness as much as the road. Not a drop of sameness in the entire daffy bunch.
And so, Revenge on Route 66 came to life. Since it venerates a time past, I decided some of the characters would have a history with the road, and the seemingly divergent mysteries that make up this storyline, would be linked to it as well.
Quirky spots that I could make part of Tracy’s road trip began to occur to me, such as the Biker Bunny Bin. That’s an odd self-storage yard, which is guarded by a hellish pair of giant plywood rabbits that make the whole place seem like Disneyland on acid. Or the signs that might catch the eye of motorists along the way, not just those for “Burma Shave,” which you really do see, but also “New Dead Things.” And the restaurants that lure them away from the anonymous fast food stops, like the diner that promised, “Warm beer, lousy food.” Tracy insisted to her husband Drew that they had to reward humor like that, though it turned out that all they were rewarded with was truth in advertising.
I hope I did justice to the spirit of Route 66. Not just because that road has stolen my heart, although it has, but because it might be our last hold on a time that’s all but vanished. Because it celebrates the people we used to be. And maybe, deep down, still are.
Check out KRL’s review of Kris’ latest book from her paranormal mystery series & another guest post and our video interview with Kris from last year’s LCC.
To enter to win a copy of Revenge On Route 66, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Route 66,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 30, 2013. U.S. residents only.