by Diana Hockley
Once again we are reviewing one of local mystery writer Marilyn Meredith’s wonderful mystery novels–this one is the latest in her Rocky Bluff series. We also have an interview with Marilyn & a chance to win a copy of the book–details at the end of this post.
Dangerous Impulses by Marilyn Meredith
When I was asked to do a review on Marilyn Meredith’s Dangerous Impulses, I was delighted because her books are always good value! I was not disappointed. This book is terrific!
The Rocky Bluff Police Department has two sticky problems to solve–the brutal and shocking murder of a mother and son, and the poisoning by a drug of a number of teenagers at a party. The blocking of the investigation by a prominent attorney raises suspicions that his son is not as pristine as he is presented. Upon questioning, the guests at the party–including the two girls who did not take the drug–clam up, obviously in terror. Who or what are they too afraid to talk about, even though one of their friends is at death’s door?
I have not read the previous “Bluff” books, and I believe this is the ninth in the series. This meant of course that I didn’t know the characters, but this did not matter. Meredith’s writing is such that the men and woman of the force are easily known and liked people, thereby inspiring this reader to want to invest in their lives.
The main characters, Gordon Butler, Doug and Stacy Milligan and two cops for whom I had great sympathy–Ryan Strickland and Vaughn Aragon–are joined by a newcomer, Lizette Gibbs, who has set the single male hearts thumping with her incredible beauty. Gibbs however, is more interested in learning all there is to know about the department and becoming a detective.
The plot is tight and well-written; the novel is not long but it is complete and ends in a most satisfactory manner. I don’t want to give too many spoilers, because this book is well worth having. In fact, it’s a keeper!
I am sorry that I have not read the previous novels in this series, but intend to rectify these vacancies on my Kindle in the next few weeks.
Interview with Marilyn Meredith
Diana: Did you start writing from a young age and are you a dedicated reader?
Marilyn: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Short stories, plays and magazine articles for my own magazine when I was a kid. More of the same as an adult. Wrote some full length stories as an adult, but didn’t get anything published until I was a grandmother.
Diana: What or where did you find your inspiration for the plot?
Marilyn: For Dangerous Impulses I found an article in a police magazine about a horrendous murder that I thought “What if?” about, and a newspaper article about so called “legal “ drugs that could be purchased over the Internet that had sickened and proven fatal to many young people.
Diana: How do you plan your books and for how long before you actually start writing?
Marilyn: I do a smattering of planning based on the crimes I’m going to write about and the new characters that I’m going to bring into the story. I also have ongoing threads to pick up about my ongoing characters—the men and women who serve on the Rocky Bluff P.D.
Diana: What research do you do for your novels?
Marilyn: Besides looking things up on the Internet, I also ask friends who are police officers if certain things that I’m writing will work. However, I am writing fiction so I often write what will work for the plot.
Diana: Do you have a schedule for writing?
Marilyn: When possible—when life doesn’t interfere—I try to write most mornings.
Diana: Do you set yourself a goal of so many words per day?
Marilyn: No, I work on a scene, sometimes I finish it and sometimes I don’t. I like to stop in the middle of a scene because then I don’t have any trouble getting right back into whatever I’m writing.
Diana: How do you cope with writer’s block?
Marilyn: I don’t really have writer’s block. I just sit down and write.
Diana: Does someone else check your plot as you go along, or do you keep it a secret until you have finished the first draft? Or finished altogether?
Marilyn: I run plot ideas by my husband, and sometimes he gives me some great insight into what might work better than what I’m doing. My critique group hears each of my books, chapter by chapter when it is in the first draft stage. They give me a lot of helpful ideas about what works and what doesn’t.
Diana: How do you keep track of the characters and what is happening at any given time in the story?
Marilyn: I always really know my characters, but I have to confess, I do get names mixed up at times. This happened too often in this book. I think all of them were caught by an early reader. I also keep a timeline in order to remember what happened on what day.
Diana: If you had a choice–and you may well have–what time of the day do you like to write?
Marilyn: Mornings are my best writing times. Of course I do some editing at other times.
Diana: What are the titles of your other books?
Marilyn: This is number nine in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, the titles are from the first to the last: Final Respects, Bad Tidings, Fringe Benefits, Smell of Death, No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, Angel Lost, No Bells, Dangerous Impulses.
Diana: Future books?
Marilyn: My next book will be in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, out sometime this fall.
Diana: What do you like to read? And do you read your own books after some time has passed and think “Oh no, I could have done that better!!!” and gnash your teeth? 🙂
Marilyn: I mostly read mysteries, and often those by friends of mine. I seldom reread any of my books.
Diana: What did or do you do other than writing?
Marilyn: I’ve had many jobs over the years: babysitting, long distance and information telephone operator, teaching in a pre-school for children with developmental disabilities, day care center teacher, and my longest lasting job was being the administrator of my own residential facility for six developmentally disabled women. I also taught ongoing CEU classes to other administrators for about 15 years. No matter what job I had, I always wrote. Now, though, I am writing full-time.
Diana: Any advice for new writers?
Marilyn: Read the kind of books you want to write. Go to writing conferences, something I still do, learn as much as you can about writing, and write, write, write.
Diana: Where do you see the publishing industry going in the next few years?
Marilyn: I’ve seen so many changes since I began writing, most of them great, but I have no idea what will happen next.
To enter to win a copy of Dangerous Impluses, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Dangerous,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 6, 2013. U.S. residents only.
More mystery reviews, short stories and articles can be found in this issue, and those and others can be found in our mystery section. You can also find reviews of Marilyn’s past books.