Open Apology to Susan Barton and Robert Germaux

Public screw up, public apology.

I’ve been out of town for a couple of days (roughly 5 pm Tuesday to 11:40pm Thursday) for some medical screening and evaluations for one of my kids (long story, not that relevant, but if you’re super curious, feel free to check out The Backup Kidney blog). To help keep things alive during that time, I signed up for a couple of Book Tours — posts that are pretty much prepared by someone else, and can be scheduled well ahead of time.

One of those was for the entertaining read, One by One by Robert Germaux, as put together by Susan Barton. Those posts went up Thursday, technically yesterday now. Monday while packing, I finished putting those together, got them scheduled to post and checked another item off my pre-trip To Do list, and thought no more about them.

They looked fine, everything worked in Preview mode.

Then this morning, somewhere between a chest X-Ray and an echocardiogram (I’m not exactly sure when), I got an email from Ms. Barton that things weren’t looking right — no images were showing up — and could I please fix that. Well, no, I was on a spotty and slow connection with only my phone — I really couldn’t even get a reply composed given all that was going on. I was 400+ miles and 13-14 hours away from being able to sit down and fix things.

I don’t know what happened, again, it all looked good Monday night. I didn’t bother to troubleshoot — I just uploaded the files with different names and changed the coding on the posts. I believe things are displaying correctly now. I sure hope so. If not, I’ll try again as soon as I get home from work tomorrow — and then, I don’t know, try self-immolation.

I’ve given the explanation, now the apology — I’m very sorry, Ms. Barton and Mr. Germaux. I said I’d do something and I didn’t deliver. The “irresponsible” in the blog title is supposed to mean that I read whatever, with only a regard for what catches my eye, not in an effort to better myself or be literary or live up to whatever standard — it’s not supposed to be an ethic.

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GIVEAWAY: One by One by Robert Germaux


We hope you’ve enjoyed these posts today, and are interested in the book. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for One by One by Robert Germaux

One by One by Robert Germaux

And so we bring this Book Tour stop to the point where the material wasn’t pre-made, here are my thoughts on the novel. Short version: I enjoyed it.

One by OneOne by One

by Robert Germaux
Series: A Daniel Hays Mystery, Book 2
Kindle Edition, 342 pg.
2017
Read: July 12 – 13, 2017

Daniel Hays and his Special Assignment Squad — a Major Crimes squad set up to help smaller cities in the county around Pittsburgh — haven’t had a lot to do since being formed. That changes when the chief him Hampton Township has a strange homicide show up. He doesn’t need the help necessarily, but is concerned that the strangeness of the murder indicates that there could be something “big” coming. Another few homicides (at least) with the same strange element.

There’s a note left on the corpse, it reads “Blue is Better” and has a big, red check mark underneath. Daniel and his partner agree, they probably don’t need to be involved, but should be familiar with the investigation, just in case.

Good thing, too — because one week later in a very different part of the county, here’s another murder. With another note. Now things are getting serious and the SAS has to jump into action.

There’s no connection between the victims that they can find, no clues, no anything for them to go on. Just the notes, and repeated homicides on Fridays.

From there, we get an interesting twist or two there, some wrong turns, until after a lucky stroke, all the pieces fall together.

The characters are nice to spend time with, professionals who get along and work for the common good. They could possibly be a little more interesting if they were a little less professional, if there were a glitch or two in the teamwork. One by One falls into something like a “blue-sky” drama on TV — like NCIS, Burn Notice or White Collar, not the grittier Homicide, The Wire, or Bosch. This is not a dig at One by One to compare it to those shows — people love them, I’ve watched every episode of NCIS and enjoyed over 87% of them. But readers should go into this with eyes open — just because it’s a detective squad working multiple homicides, don’t go in expecting Michael Connelly, Owen Laukkanen, or Ian Rankin — expect Chris Grabenstein, David Rosenfelt, Aaron J. Elkins (check my archives, you’ll see that I’ve really enjoyed all those authors — again, this isn’t a knock, this is me describing where this belongs on a spectrum).

That said, Germaux could’ve given us a little more sense of urgency, had the characters seem less casual in their approach to this work. They did a lot of run of the mill, interviews with people that didn’t get them anywhere — even just showing more of that, would’ve been something. Maybe all of the smaller departments weren’t as cooperative with the task force. It wouldn’t have to be much, the book could’ve used a little something to intensify the drama. This was a good read, a light and enjoyable mystery; it’s thiiis close to me saying it’s a must read, but instead, I’ll leave it as a good read. You will enjoy it.This is a quick, easy story with a nice puzzle and some charming characters. I planned on reading the previous novel in the series, Small Talk, I just hadn’t got around to it — I’m going to work a little harder on that now.

If nothing else, read it for the recommendation on your new favorite version of “Over the Rainbow.” Wow.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my participation in the Book Tour.

—–

3.5 Stars

Robert Germaux Author Interview

Please tell us about One by One

 

This is a very frustrating case for Daniel and his squad. There are multiple victims who appear to have almost nothing in common, and although the killer leaves a “clue” at each crime scene, those clues likewise appear to be completely disconnected from each other. It’s only through hard work and determination that Daniel and his colleagues eventually realize that they need to change their focus in order to catch the killer.

 

Since One by One is your follow-up novel to Small Talk, what new character developments can readers expect from main character Daniel Hayes and his team?

 

We learn more about Daniel’s previous life as a professional athlete, and we meet a journalist who covered Daniel in that life, a man whose skills Daniel calls upon to assist the police in their hunt for the killer. In addition, we follow Daniel’s developing relationship with bookstore owner Lauren Cavanaugh.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the dual POV in Small Talk. I loved how you got inside the killer’s head. Can readers expect something similar in One by One?

 

In Small Talk, Daniel and his squad had an idea who their killer was fairly early on in the case. The problem they faced was proving their suspect was actually the killer. Thus, a major part of the plotline in that book involved the way Daniel and the killer interacted with each other, which is why I used the killer’s POV occasionally. In One by One, though, the squad has no idea who their killer is until near the end of the story, so the emphasis is on the hunt for that person as opposed to any interactions the killer has with Daniel.

 

Where do your story ideas come from?

 

Everywhere! It doesn’t take much to ignite a spark in my fertile imagination. Sometimes I have to do a lot of research, as was the case with both Small Talk and One by One, because to the best of my knowledge, my social circle has never included any serial killers. But in Leaving the LAW, a Jeremy Barnes novel I’ll be releasing in the future, I relied heavily on my experiences teaching in an inner-city Pittsburgh high school that the police called Gang Central.

 

What do you think makes a good suspenseful mystery?

 

The answer, in part, lies in your question. Suspense. I like to read books that keep me guessing. Along with that, I think readers have to be involved with the characters in a novel, to care about what happens to those characters, even the bad ones. I want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose.

 

 

ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX

 

Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court.” Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? After “The Backup Husband,” I wrote “Small Talk,” my first novel about Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. I then switched gears again with “Grammar Sex (and other stuff),” a book of humorous essays. Now I’m back with “One by One,” the second Daniel Hayes mystery, which will be released on June 1st. You can find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as “Sports Night” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me on my website.

 

One by One by Robert Germaux Book Excerpt

Ellen Tishler was killed in her home in Hampton Township, about twelve miles north of Pittsburgh, but still within Allegheny County. My team works out of Zone 3 in the city, so in the normal course of events, we wouldn’t have had anything to do with the case. We were called in because the chief of police in Hampton thought it might be something SAS should be handling.

The chief’s name was Benjamin Roberts. He was a shade under six feet, with dark hair cut very short and the beginnings of a little potbelly, but still in good shape for a guy chasing sixty. His uniform was neat and clean, his tie perfectly knotted, his shoes spit-shined. Ex-military, I was guessing. Roberts had a reputation for being old school all the way. He even conducted inspections at the start of most shifts. He also had a reputation as one of the sharpest cops in the county.

It was three o’clock on a sunny September afternoon when Henry and I arrived at the two-story brick colonial on Edgerton Drive in the upper-middle class neighborhood. The chief greeted us at the door.

“Ben Roberts,” he said, shaking my hand. “Thanks for coming, Detective Hayes.”

“It’s Daniel,” I told him. “And this is my partner, Henry Reynolds.”

Roberts nodded at Henry, then motioned for us to enter the house.

“I appreciate you gentlemen driving out here,” he said. “I hope I’m not wasting your time.”

“You’re not,” I said. The three of us were standing in a small foyer. I could hear people talking and moving around in what I assumed was the living room, down the short hallway and to the left.

“When you called,” I said, “you indicated you thought this might be a case for the Special Assignments Squad.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Crime scene’s got kind of a weird look to it. My department doesn’t handle many major crimes, but I’m pretty sure this isn’t your run-of-the-mill homicide. Anyway, c’mon in and have a look.” He led us down the hall and around the corner, and Henry and I got our first look at Ellen.

If it wasn’t for the small hole in the middle of her forehead, it would have been easy to assume that she had simply dozed off while reading that month’s issue of Beautiful Homes, which was lying on the floor next to the large floral-patterned wingchair. Ellen was slumped in the chair, her head tilted to one side, her right hand dangling over the armrest. Her eyes were closed, and there was no noticeable blood.

“Small caliber,” I said. “Maybe a twenty-two.”

Roberts nodded and said, “That’s what I was thinking. Probably a revolver.”

“So no shell casings,” I said.

“And no exit wound,” said Roberts. “Bullet must have bounced around in her head a bit. We’ll find what’s left of it at autopsy.” He shrugged. “Might not be enough to identify or match. We’ll see.”

Henry and I stood for a minute to take in the scene. Ellen appeared to be in her mid-to-late seventies. She was wearing an expensive-looking dark green pants suit, with low-heeled brown shoes. Her white hair was nicely coiffed, as though she’d recently been to a salon, and there was a string of pearls around her neck. I doubted if this was how she dressed for an afternoon at home.

“Who found the body?” I said.

“Next door neighbor, woman named Alice Cloakley. She and the deceased were supposed to go out for lunch today. Ms. Cloakley came over around noon, found the front door ajar, came in and discovered the body.”

“Ms. Cloakley still around?” asked Henry.

Roberts nodded towards the back of the house.

“She’s on the patio. I figured you’d want to talk to her.” He paused, shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “There’s something else. It’s the main reason I contacted you.”

He’d been carrying a large plastic evidence bag, and now he held it up for Henry and me to see.

“We found this on the body.

 

ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX:

Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court.” Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? After “The Backup Husband,” I wrote “Small Talk,” my first novel about Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. I then switched gears again with “Grammar Sex (and other stuff),” a book of humorous essays. Now I’m back with “One by One,” the second Daniel Hayes mystery, which will be released on June 1st. You can find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as “Sports Night” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me on my website.

One by One by Robert Germaux Book Tour

Welcome to the One by One by Robert Germaux Book Tour stop here at The Irresponsible Reader. We’ve got this spotlight post here, and coming up over the next few hours, we’ve got a nice little excerpt from the book, an interview with Robert Germaux, then my own take on the book, and finally we’ll have a way to enter a giveaway for the book! (the links will work once the posts go live).

Print Length: 342 pages
Publisher: Robert Germaux (May 26, 2017)
Publication Date: May 26, 2017
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B071PBX39B

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The victims appear to have had nothing in common, other than the fact that, as one officer put it, somebody wanted them dead. And that somebody left a “clue” at each crime scene, but as those clues began to accumulate, Detective Daniel Hayes and his hand-picked squad soon discovered that the clues appeared to have even less in common than did the victims. In order to catch his prey, Daniel realizes he has to change his focus and concentrate on an entirely different aspect of the case by following a twisting trail that eventually leads to a face-to-face encounter with the killer.

 

PURCHASE ONE BY ONE ON AMAZON HERE

ABOUT ROBERT GERMAUX:

Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew to the Hardy Boys to almost anything about distant and exotic places. And although I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English. I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, Cynthia’s idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court.” Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plot line of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game. On that particular day, the question that occurred to me was, What if a woman suddenly realized she might be in love with two wonderful men? After “The Backup Husband,” I wrote “Small Talk,” my first novel about Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes. I then switched gears again with “Grammar Sex (and other stuff),” a book of humorous essays. Now I’m back with “One by One,” the second Daniel Hayes mystery, which will be released on June 1st. You can find all of my books on my Amazon Author Page.

In our spare time, Cynthia and I enjoy reading (of course), seeing Broadway plays and musicals, watching reruns of our favorite TV shows, such as “Sports Night” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and traveling to some of those distant and exotic places I used to read about as a child. So far, we’ve been fortunate enough to walk in the sands of Waikiki, swim in the warm waters of the South Pacific and enjoy a romantic dinner in Paris.

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me on my website.