by Sandra Murphy
This week we have a review of The Burial Place by Larry Enmon, along with an interesting interview with Larry who has not only worked for Houston Police Department, but was also a federal agent for over 30 years. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Burial Place, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
The Burial Place: A Rob Soliz & Frank Pierce Mystery by Larry Enmon
Review by Sandra Murphy
Rob Soliz and Frank Pierce are partners at the Dallas Police Department. They don’t always play by the rules and dance between solving the case and getting in trouble for how they did it. When they get called to the boss’ office, their first thought is, “What did we do now?”
This time the answer is “nothing.” A nineteen-year-old woman has gone missing. It could be that she’s run off to spend time with a boyfriend her parents don’t like. She could be with a girlfriend to avoid going home. Worse case scenario, she could have been kidnapped for ransom. After all, she is the mayor’s daughter.
It doesn’t take Frank long to decide she’s being held against her will and is still alive. He has no evidence of either, but Rob has learned to go along with Frank’s ideas. The bosses have too but not with as much assurance as Rob has.
Although the family says the girl wasn’t religious, there’s a Bible found on the front seat of her car. Frank, a rather obsessive type, reads the entire Bible, looking for clues. He finds only one—in Revelations, the name Wormwood is highlighted. No one but Frank is sure it’s even a clue, but he puts out a memo to other police departments in a three-hundred-mile radius. When responses show other similar cases, Frank’s off and running.
During the investigation, Rob learns more about Frank than he’s been able to find out before. That leads to a discussion about Frank quitting the force and working in the security sector. If that happens, what will Rob do? It’s Frank who makes their success rate so high. Frank tends to focus when on a case, but this girl’s disappearance seems to mean more to him than any other case ever did.
For readers who love a good thriller, Frank and Rob will keep you turning the pages as fast as you can. Both are good characters, dedicated but with interesting quirks and reluctantly changing. This has the potential to be a long running series. Although it’s early in the year to say so, I see this being on my Best of 2018 list next December.
Interview with Larry Enmon:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Larry: On and off for about 11 years. Finally got serious about it a couple of years ago. Always enjoyed writing a story more than submitting my work to agents for literary representation. Never concerned myself much about getting published. Figured it would happen sooner or later.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Can you tell us a little about it?
Larry: That’s a very strange story. I signed with the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency in London. My agent is David Haviland. He sold the manuscript to an English independent publisher, Bloodhound Books, and to a U.S. publisher, Crooked Lane Books. In November 2017 Bloodhound Books released it as Wormwood. The same story, with a slightly different ending, will be released by my U.S. publisher April 2018 under the name The Burial Place.
It’s the story of the missing Dallas mayor’s daughter, Katrina Wallace. Two senior DPD detectives assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit are instructed to locate her. The story of her disappearance is kept quiet for political reasons. No one really believes she’s missing at first. The parents think she’s angry at them and staying with a friend. As the investigation unfolds it becomes apparent she’s been taken. When no kidnapper demands are forthcoming, the tension rises. Is she still alive?
When the detectives uncover Bible prophecy, men with full back tattoos, and other missing girls who resemble Katrina, the clock starts ticking to save her.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries? If not what else have you written?
Larry: I only started writing mysteries recently. Most of my writing years were spent on international suspense/thrillers. I’ve written four of those. They’re tucked away, ready to spring into the literary world at the just right time.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Please tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.
Larry: I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so writing about places I knew made sense. Being from rural Eastern Texas, I chose to set the story both in the city and country. By shifting the action from Dallas to rural East Texas, I took my city detectives out of their comfort zone into a very different world with different rules.
My main character is a combination of several police guys I’ve known over the years. I worked both municipal and federal law enforcement. Six years with the Houston Police Department and over 30 years as a federal agent. There were officers/agents in both the Houston Police Department and U.S. Secret Service who made an impression on me.
My protagonist was a professional chef in New York who changed professions and became a Dallas cop. A personal tragedy caused his departure and he hides a secret he’s shared with no one. He’s a Sherlock Holmes type. Very intelligent and quiet—always thinking.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Larry: Pure, unadulterated entertainment only. If a reader recalls my story as a memory rather than just a good book, I’ve done my job properly.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Larry: I find I do my best creative writing in the mornings. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I’m enthusiastic about opening the laptop and getting to work. After lunch, I get in a workout and come back to what I’ve written. I spend as much time as necessary revising it, but I still understand it’s only a first draft. We all know what Hemmingway allegedly said about those.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Larry: I’m very much of a seat of your pants writer. I know how the story begins and how I think I want it to end. The rest is up for grabs. As many times as not, I don’t even know what the characters are going to do or say. I’ve learned to allow them to take control of the story and tell me what should happen next. I know good criminal investigative procedure. The only time I step in and throw the B.S. flag is when a character decides to go rogue and squirrel out. Hey, someone has to be the referee here!
The closest I come to outlining is to keep a stack of index cards tracking the story’s progression. I track the following: Scene POV, page number the scene starts and stops, location, and the action taking place in the scene. Under the action section, I write in colored inks. Red = super heated action, Blue = the regular story line, Green = back story, and Purple = reversal or twist. By doing this I never let the story drift. I can track it scene by scene. This keeps me honest. By the way, I borrowed those ideas from a couple of good writers.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Larry: Always the mornings.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Larry: Ha, is that a trick question? As I said earlier, I spent most of my time writing rather than submitting to literary agents. That’s how I ended up writing half a dozen books before getting one published. My writing was poor in the beginning. Having written government reports for 37 years my story sounded like a report, and not an interesting one at that. The few queries I sent out over the years were met with a cool reception. When I changed genres to mysteries, a literary agent signed me and my first mystery novel was published.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Larry: It’s not all that great, but it’s special to me. Years ago, a friend at the DFW Writers’ Workshop, Dick Cassidy, critiqued a scene I’d read and sent me an email. He’d been writing on his own book for 10 years. He was retired and saw it as a challenging hobby to stay busy. Here is what he wrote: “I dabble and entertain myself, and it’s been wonderful. You, on the other hand, write. There’s a huge difference between what you’re doing and what I’m doing. Keep on keeping on, man.” Dick died last year, his novel unfinished. When I need a shot of inspiration I go back and reread that email.
KRL: Most interesting book signing story, in a bookstore or other venue?
Larry: None so far. I’ll have a few by this time next year.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Larry: Keep writing quality novels and expand into the international suspense/thriller genre.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Larry: Thomas Harris and Dennis Lehane for mysteries. Frederick Forsyth and Ian Fleming for international suspense/thrillers.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Larry: Depends on the story. For international suspense/thrillers, I draw on my Secret Service knowledge about the many places I’ve traveled. I like writing about locations I’ve spent time in. During my Joint Terrorism Task Force days, I attended about a half dozen CIA/FBI training courses in weapons of mass destruction. I learned a lot of technical aspects regarding WMD materials. This led me to write four novels about WMD attacks against the U.S. As far as mysteries, I draw on my criminal investigative knowledge from the Houston Police Department. Everything else can be Googled.
KRL: What do you read?
Larry: Mostly fiction, with a good non-fiction or biography thrown in a couple of times a year. I like international suspense/thrillers and mysteries that ring true. Having too much inside knowledge about subjects sometimes is a bad thing. Hard to find authors and books that satisfy me. I can spot a phony plot and characters a mile away.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Larry: HBO’s True Detective – season one is hard to beat for a crime/mystery movie. Don’t watch a lot of TV shows except the news. Netflix is my go-to source.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Larry: Read as much as possible. Write as much as possible. Learn the craft by studying books on writing. Join a writers’ group. Attend writing conferences. Find a writing mentor. Have fun and don’t become discouraged.
A true writer writes for the joy of writing, even if they knew they might never get published. I did that for a decade. If you can’t, best to quit now and cut your losses.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Larry: Most people aren’t born good writers. It’s a special skill. An art form you’ll never fully master. Some will develop the skill faster and better than others. They’ll rise to the top and become the Stephen Kings and Tom Clancys of the literary world. Most won’t be able to make a decent living off writing alone. But everyone can have fun and enjoy writing in their own way—like my friend, Dick Cassidy.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Larry: While in the Secret Service I stood shoulder to shoulder and was introduced to Queen Elizabeth of England. She politely smiled, but did not offer to shake hands.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of The Burial Place, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “burial,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 7, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
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