“Murder has never been this much much.” That has been my tag line for these books nearly since I wrote the first sentence of ‘Murder at Pride Lodge’ almost two years ago. I was not out to write the Great American Novel, if such a thing even exists anymore. I was simply out to write a rip-roaring good read, fast-paced and sometimes diabolical, featuring characters I could imagine populating my own life if solving murders was a central part of it.
The Kyle Callahan Mysteries are the culmination of a lifetime of writing; not so much an apex, as a destination reached after forty-plus years. I started writing short stories as a child for my own entertainment. From there I moved into poetry and spent a decade filling spiral notebooks with my teenage, angst-ridden version of confessional poetry. Then it was back to fiction, as I began to have my stories published in the early 1980s. Writing is a restless master, and I found myself spending yet another decade – that seems to be a cycle for me – writing plays and having them produced, with the last being in 2002 at New Jersey Repertory Company. And then, finally, full circle, back to fiction, my first, oldest, truest love.
Most of my fiction has been what the market would label ‘literary fiction.’ I say that with no sniff of an upturned nose. I simply wrote dark, sometimes maudlin stories about people for whom life presented problems. It was no doubt reflective of my own mental and emotional states. Yet, all those years, my reading preferences ran to the entertaining, the exciting, the active: series featuring damaged cops and colorful investigators. Heroes stalking villains, as the two inevitably met, with justice – however empty – prevailing. It was more than a little odd that I seldom read what I wrote: not for me the novels of Joan Didion or David Foster Wallace. It’s not that they were too dense or intimidating; it was simply that, after the chores of daily living, with its office cubicles and its demands, I preferred to give my reading time to something fun – fun not being confined to light-hearted. Something I could imagine myself reading with a bucket of popcorn in my free hand. Something murderous and puzzling. Murder can be very fun.
Signing books at the Brooklyn Book Festival
Which brings me back to The Kyle Callahan Mysteries. I’m in my 50s now and enjoying, so far, one of the best decades of my life. I have nothing left to prove to anyone but myself, and certainly nothing left to write that doesn’t have me excited to sit down at a keyboard every day. I wanted to write a mystery series featuring a mature male couple: Kyle Callahan and Danny Durban. I wanted to write about what I know: being a man in the last third of his life who intends to enjoy it, see what I can see, experience what there is for me to experience. I wanted to populate these mysteries with my peers – and the characters’ peers – all aging, some not so gracefully. And above all, I wanted to have fun. I hope you’ll have fun with me. Come along, meet the characters, see if you can figure it out, and let’s all take a ride on the mystery train.
You’re welcome to visit my personal blog at MarkMcNease.com.
They Asked Me Anything – on Reddit Books
Here’s a short clip about my Reddit experience. I have to say that as a 55 year old man who chose an unconventional path, it meant a lot to me to be asked about my writing and my life as a creative person. It makes up for all those days over the years when I wondered why I didn’t just give up. It’s not about money, it’s about fulfillment. I’m very touched by these nice people asking their nice questions. You can read the comment thread here.
And now for a short reading …
This is a short reading from my new short story, ‘The Seer’, available on Amazon now for just $1.75. “Death is the father,” he said. “Apocalypse is the child.” What do a two thousand year old man and a young couple about to have their first child have in common? Find out as their world are about to collide in modern day Manhattan. See for yourself what is to come, and what is gone forever.