When twenty-five-year-old Mary Stuart learns she inherited a farm from her recently murdered grandparents—grandparents her father claimed had died before she was born—she becomes obsessed with finding out who they were and why someone wanted them dead. Along the way she accumulates a crew of feisty octogenarians—former gangsters and friends of her grandfather. She meets and falls in love Tim Olson, whose grandfather shared a deadly secret with her great-grandfather. Now Mary and Tim need to stay one step ahead of the killer who is desperate to dig up that secret.
I like the beginning. I’ve been told that the first sentence is too long and introduces too many characters, but it’s the only possible beginning since it states the book’s main premise and it foreshadows the end:
“Who were James Angus Stuart and Regina DeBrizzi Stuart?” Mary asked, trying to ignore the mounted heads of murdered animals staring down at her from the lawyer’s wood-paneled walls.
I also like my characters, though I do wonder about the long-windedness of a couple of them. The eighty-year-olds that I know, however, aren’t as quick with one-liners as are younger folk, and they do tend toward loquaciousness, so I hope readers are as forgiving of my octogenarians as they are of their own.
Still, after all these years of researching the Mob, of writing the book, rewriting it, editing it, copyediting it, I am a bit tired of the whole thing and will be glad to see the end of my work.
So why am I telling you this? Well, it is a painless way of doing a bit of pre-publishing publicity (painless for you, too, I hope). There is also a moral: when you decide to write a book, make sure it’s one that you can live with for a very, very, very long time.