They say revenge is sweet. In my case, it’s part of the title of the mystery I finished this week, and really, that accomplishment is indeed sweet for me. Redneck’s Revenge, its full name, is the second in my Isabel Long mystery series.
So, who is Isabel Long? She’s the main character in this series set in the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, the preferred setting for most of my adult fiction. Isabel’s a former journalist who got canned after the newspaper she managed went corporate, part of a bad year in which she also lost her husband. So she uses the skills she learned as a journalist to solve a 28-year-old missing persons case in her town. (She also has a Watson — her 92-year-old mother who lives with her.) Adela Collins’ disappearance way back when was her first big story as a reporter. The mystery is written from Isabel’s rather sassy POV.
It’s taking me a while to find a publisher for Chasing the Case. Yeah, that’s a bit disappointing, but it hasn’t stopped me from writing another mystery featuring Isabel and some of other characters I created in the first, plus new ones.
In Redneck’s Revenge, a woman contacts Isabel to find out who killed her father, an ornery SOB named Chet Waters who owned a junkyard and repair shop in a nearby hilltown. Now Annette Waters, who’s a bit rough around the edges, owns it. She doesn’t believe the official ruling her father passed out from booze and died when a cigarette set his small house on fire. Isabel decides to take on the case even though Annette can only pay her through free service on her car.
Another glitch: legally Isabel needs to work for a licensed P.I. for three years before she can go on her own. She finds a P.I. who’s a bit down on his luck that agrees to take her on.
I began writing Redneck’s Revenge in May and kept at it despite a 2,400-mile move from New Mexico back to New England and all that entails. A couple of weeks ago I wrote the so-called last word. Then I went through the novel one more time, changing things here and there.
I will surely do it again, looking for little things to change here and there. But I am happy about what I wrote. I feel the novel is complete.
What do I do when I get to the end of a novel? I’m not the type to whoop it up although perhaps I should. Using 84,000 words to tell a story is, as I stated above, an accomplishment.
I will tell you what I did do. I started the next one. Isabel, who’s a bit banged up from her last case, and her mother will be asked to solve another hilltown mystery. This one is called Checking the Traps — a phrase I used as a reporter when I would make the round with my sources. I’m a few pages in and raring to go. Damn, I’m excited.
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Along the Deerfield River on a recent hike.
ONE MORE THING: Here is a link for my books for sale on Amazon, including my most recent, The Sweet Spot, set in Western Mass. They’re not free, but they are for the taking. Check them out: https://www.amazon.com/Joan-Livingston/e/B01E1HKIDG