Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Funeral Party - Paul L. McMurray

I grew up on the SW side of Chicago and then lived in nearby suburbs and mainly stayed out of serious trouble thanks to my strict-but-kind mom and a top-ranking relative on the CPD. I worked a lot of jobs, including selling insurance in the “inner city”, where I had a loaded gun pointed at my head twice (by undercover cops, not residents) but didn’t get shot, and learned to look out for roving packs of feral dogs. I also remember gratefully the many good people there who checked the windows first so I didn’t get robbed and/or my butt kicked. I then joined my family in owning and running the 2nd largest private campground in SE Wisconsin (at the time and may still be). I’m busy working on the next Zak & Freddy (Funeral Party) caper—The Wilding—because my lovely wife won’t let me start cocktail hour until I finish a lot of pages each day.
I live in Wisconsin but travel frequently to Chicago for more “research”, which usually involves Italian beef sandwiches and beer after driving around some bad neighborhoods with Mike Da’ Cop or other protective drivers.
And while I might sound like I’m joking around in my BIO , I’m serious about my writing. I just talk this way.

FUNERAL PARTY (Mystery, Murder, and Martinis: On The Run). (Approximately 154,000 words; Adult Content—contains sex, violence, and frequent profanity). Tavern owner and former bagman for the Chicago Outfit while he was a cop, Zak O’Neill is forced to do one more job for his old Mob boss: take the gangster’s girlfriend out on a date to see if she can be trusted. Of course she can’t—but for an entirely different reason than suspected—and Zak is forced to shoot his way out of a set-up and flee, leaving behind his tavern, his house, and the girl he’s in lust with. Driving far north into Wisconsin to hide, low on cash and gas and lost, Zak winds up at a desolate saloon and all too soon wonders if he wasn’t better off back in Chicago , hit-men be damned. Besides the fact that he’s a hated Flatlander in Cheesehead-land, there’s the hulking but too-short Freddy who’s always looking for a fight, the WANTED fax with Zak’s face that brings those darned bounty hunters, the mysterious private club that hosts a funeral party complete with strippers dancing around the casket, and finally the ultimatum: Die here, or head into dangerous territory to deal with gangs, guns, and a lot of missing money.

I use a lot of Chicago flavoring, and Wisconsin also, and even if you’re not from either place, I think you’ll get the feel. Some of my characters are not good people, and their dialogue reflects that—they are definitely not PC (and please re-read the Adult Content disclaimer, eh?). But that’s the way certain people talk and act, and there it is. For $2.99, I think you get a lot of bang for your bucks (no pun intended).

I was in the “200 Rejection Club” for some long-ago submissions and quit writing. Somehow I found Scot Nicholson’s 100 Blog Tour (I think it was that many; I just know I went back to any I could still get onto for the Kindle contest). I mainly wanted the Kindle, but the more I read each blog, I saw examples of good writing being published, works that might still be stuck under a coffee cup (or a martini) on a NY desk. I decided then to do it right (and give myself my own rejection slips when I wrote under-par) and publish it when I decided it was ready.

I re-read Ed McBain and Robert B. Parker, and I’m waiting for the next Michael Connelly and Lee Child, but it’s not right to say that’s “my genre”. What I will always try for is because of a book I read as a kid: Step Right Up! (aka Memoirs of a Sword-Swallower) by Daniel P. Mannix. I had read a lot of crime and mystery from a young age, but Mr. Mannix, in his autobiography about joining a carnival (so definitely not my genre), just impressed the hell out of me with the way every paragraph, long or short, kept me reading until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. Check it out.


  1. This sounds great! Just added it to my "to-read" list on Goodreads. Good luck!

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