Monday, May 9, 2011

Good, Bad and Murderous - a look ahead

A murderer turns good, a cop turns bad, a remorseless assassin turns on a man tracking him down. That in brief is Good, Bad and Murderous, the second Sid Chance mystery/thriller. It starts with a young black man getting out of prison at twenty-five for a murder committed at age twelve. When he's accused of another homicide, his grandmother hires PI Sid Chance to find the real killer. Sid's sometimes-associate Jaz LeMieux helps out on the case, and things get dicey when a woman who accused her of making racially disparaging remarks turns up dead. Do a pair of homicide detectives have an agenda of their own? Sid must navigate a maze of lawlessness involving drugs and Medicare fraud and contract murder that leaves him and Jaz in mortal peril.

That's the plot blurb for the new Sid Chance book that's nearing completion. When I started working on the plot, I decided to deal with Medicare fraud. I had seen a piece on CBS about FBI agents in Miami hitting store front operations that bill Medicare for thousands of dollars for durable medical equipment, then disappear. I did a lot of research on the subject and learned that new regulations provided tighter requirements for firms that  bill Medicare. However, some scammers still get around them, as my fictional company does.

Starting the story with a young black man being charged again with murder came out of a newspaper's coverage of what happens to child killers. The focus of the stories was on Nashville's youngest murderer, who had  been out of prison a couple of years after spending most of his life behind bars. I based my character on his experience. He had shot a man during a late night drug sale while he was twelve years old. Despite his age, he was tried in Criminal Court as an adult and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Efforts have been under way to have such juveniles go to Juvenile Court and serve their sentences in a correction program designed for youths.

As with the young man in the newspaper stories, my character came out of prison determined to change his life and become a productive citizen. However, a month or so after the newspaper article, the real former prisoner wound  up in jail for beating up a girl friend. My guy is more reliable.

Jaz LeMieux became a popular character with readers of the first book, The Surest Poison. She's a fun character to write, a young woman who overcame the odds and took over as board chairman of a national chain of travel centers. To give her a bit of a problem with this story, I had her accused of making racially disparaging remarks to a black company employee. When the woman is found dead, the tension ratchets up.

You'll have to read the book (hopefully it'll be out early this fall) to find out what else happens. I should have a cover to show shortly. Stay turned.

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