I’m well on my way in writing the next book in the Sam Slater Mystery series “San Francisco Nights.”
Here’s a synopsis:
A mysterious woman in a large red hat is following Sam Slater and finally crosses his path on a train. The woman says she desperately needs help because she is getting threatening anonymous notes. Sam is willing to help her but Amelia warns that she has a bad feeling about the mystery woman. The PIs discover that this woman has a secret life–one that she carefully conceals from her husband who’s a rich, shipping magnate and often out of town. The story unfolds in the fall of 1959 in San Francisco against the backdrop of the Nixon-Kennedy debates on television.
The more Sam and Amelia get tangled up in the strange woman’s web of intrigue the more they discover that no one is telling them the truth about what is really going on. Someone is ready to blow the lid off of the woman’s secret world where she has illicit affairs at a swanky downtown hotel. She begins to receive notes quoting Bible verse about adultery and the anonymous messages are getting more and more ominous with each passing day.
Watch for “San Francisco Nights” by Christmas of 2016.
I’m well on my way in writing the next book in the Sam Slater Mystery series “San Francisco Nights.”
Award winning author Greg Messel spins a new tale of intrigue in Cable Car Mystery, the sixth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series set in at the 1950s in San Francisco.
The book is now available on Amazon in softcover and Kindle formats.
Here’s a synopsis of “Cable Car Mystery.”
On the hottest day of the year in San Francisco in 1959, Private Detectives Sam and Amelia Slater are contemplating fleeing the city for their Stinson Beach house. However, when Sam decides to take a cable car ride to run some errands on the lazy summer day, he’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight when he rescues a woman who fell onto the busy street. Sam pulls the mysterious red haired woman out of the path of an oncoming cable car in the nick of time. The entire incident is captured by a newspaper photographer who splashes Sam’s heroics all over the front page. Sam is troubled not only by his new status as a city hero, but by the rescued woman’s plea for help. She whispers to Sam that she didn’t fall from the cable car but was pushed. She is frightened and disappears into the crowd before Sam can get more details. A San Francisco newspaper launches a campaign to find the mystery woman and Sam hopes to cross paths with her again.
Meanwhile, Amelia is troubled by the sudden disappearance of her elderly neighbor. Two thuggish younger men who now occupy the house next door say he took a sudden trip. One night when she’s alone Amelia grabs a flashlight and finds some disturbing clues in her neighbor’s garage. What really happened to her neighbor? Amelia is determined to find out.
“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the Sam Slater Mystery series. See a synopsis below.
Pre-production work is now underway on my eighth novel and fifth in Sam Slater Mystery Series–“Shadows in the Fog.”
Look for it this fall. Watch this space for the latest news about my writings.
SYNOPSIS OF SHADOWS IN THE FOG
Private Eye Sam Slater thought he was performing a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam.
The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business.
Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses.
At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead.
As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late.
The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.
“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits.
This is an interview I gave recently to the Virginia Beach Examiner at examiner.com
Our guest today is Greg Messel, author of the mystery romance, Fog City Strangler. Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound with his wife, Carol. Fog City Strangler is his seventh novel and is the fourth in a new series of Sam Slater mystery novels. Greg has lived in Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper. Follow news about Messel’s writings and books at www.gregmessel.com.
Welcome to my column, Greg. Wow. Seventh book. How do you do it and still have ideas for more books?
Greg: It’s hard to really explain. Sometimes the process is amazing to me. I get a basic idea of where I want the plot to go and it evolves. I had one reviewer say I always to do a “two-fer”– meaning that I always have two mysteries to be solved in each book. I don’t know why I do that and I don’t’ remember consciously deciding that. I like for my private eye to get hired to solve a mystery, meanwhile there are strange things going on in the background. I think long and hard about the plots in my mysteries but it definitely changes as I write. I got the original idea for a strangler terrorizing the city but it really changed as I added layers–like he preys on blonde women, my main female protagonist is a beautiful blonde, the billboard campaign–are all items which just developed as I wrote. I love that part about writing. I’m at that point in the writing of my eighth book. I written the characters into a corner and now I’m trying to figure out how they get out of their jam. One of the elements is the disappearance of a woman over two years ago. Suddenly, her mother gets a letter from her previously assumed dead daughter. Where has she been? That’s what I’m working on now.
Can you tell everyone what the Sam Slater series is all about?
Greg: Sam Slater is a retired baseball player. His career ended in 1957 when big league baseball came to San Francisco. Sam takes over his best friend’s private eye business when his pal is brutally murdered. At the same time Sam meets a dazzling woman–Amelia Ryan–who’s a TWA stewardess. When Amelia is not flying around the country or the world, she helps Sam solve his cases. The series is set in the late 1950s in San Francisco, which is a great setting and interesting time. Sam and Amelia are surrounded by a cast of colorful characters who intersect with their life.
In Fog City Strangler, you have a guy who terrorizes young women and then announces each murder by sending a note and a piece of cloth from each victim’s dresses to the local newspapers. Wowsers. Would you like to tell everyone more about him without giving too much away?
Greg:The Fog City Stranger thrives on fear. I studied the cases of the Boston Strangler and the Zodiac killer in San Francisco. The Zodiac killer liked to send pieces of cloth and notes to the San Francisco newspapers in the 1970s. It allowed the Zodiac to taunt the police and frighten the citizens. The Fog City Strangler is obsessed with beautiful young blonde women. He stalks them and seems to pick the perfect moment to attack the women, when they are alone. The strangler doesn’t break in but is invited into the women’s homes. The police wonder how he is doing that. He removes their nylons and strangles them with their own stockings after tying them up with white ropes. As the body count mounts the police become more frustrated. The Fog City Strangler roams the city looking for the perfect victims.
Have you ever thought about writing another genre? Sort of out of your comfort zone?
Greg: The mystery series pushed me way out of my comfort zone. Prior to the Sam Slater mysteries I wrote books about people who overcame great adversity and found romance and love in their lives.
Do you think your journalism background has helped you write your series?
Greg: I think it has helped me. Novel writing is different than writing a news story. I am still honing my skills to capture the inner feelings of the characters in my writing. I also like to paint of the picture of the world they live in, like the 1950s in San Francisco.
Biggest question of the day. Is there a book eight in the wings?
Greg: Shadows in the Fog is well underway. I should be done with it by the fall. I’m excited about it and think everyone will enjoy the further adventures of Sam and Amelia. The new book begins in 1959, on the day that Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and other rock stars were killed in a plane crash. The new year holds some very interesting surprises for Sam and Amelia. There’s even a psychic who has a storefront at Playland at the Beach in San Francisco who has visions of the past and the future of Sam and Amelia.
Get my new mystery novel “Fog City Strangler” at Amazon through April 6th for just 99 cents. It won’t last long. Load on your Kindle today. FOG CITY STRANGLER is now available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon in softcover and Kindle format.
November 22, 1958
A noise that sounded like glass shattering and a door being kicked open startled Amelia Slater awake. She jolted out of bed and peered out the window but saw nothing. The worst storm of the season blasted sand and water against the windows of their beach house obscuring her view.
She wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed them to ward off the freezing cold. In the pitch black, she couldn’t see. Was her husband Sam awake? Was he even in the room? Her blood pounded through her veins. “Sam! Wake up. I heard a noise.”
“I’m awake. I’ve been awake for a while. I didn’t want to bother you in case you were able to get to sleep.” The mattress squeaked as he sat up in bed.
“How could anyone sleep in this storm?” Amelia peered through the window, still trying to see outside. “Besides, it’s freezing.” She took a deep breath, but inhaled a lungful of briny air, which made her queasy.
Sam tried to click on the bedside light. “Damn, no power.” He switched on a flashlight, and shone it at the clock by his bed. “It’s 1:15. Why don’t you light some candles?”
In the dim glow of Sam’s flashlight, Amelia fumbled until she found the candles and matches they’d laid out the night before. Once she lit them, their glow cast long shadows in the room making it even eerier than it had been before.
Sam and Amelia were staying at a two-story beach house which was right in the bull’s eye of an unusually fierce early winter storm that zeroed in on the northern California coast. When storm warnings were issued for Stinson Beach, they’d taken all the precautions possible, but it appeared they weren’t enough. The rains had not yet arrived but the wind whistled through the rain gutters and pounded against the house. The sliding glass door of their bedroom that opened onto a deck threatened to shatter as flying branches battered it.
Sam headed for the bedroom door, his flashlight making a dim circle against the wall.
“Where are you going?” She tried to control her voice so it wouldn’t shake. She didn’t like the thought of being left alone in the bedroom.
“I’m going to go check on things, see if the house is okay. Maybe I can get a fire going in the fireplace.” Sam hesitated. “Shhh. Did you hear that?”
“What?” He didn’t answer her. She watched the shafts of light from Sam’s flashlight vanish from sight as he walked through the upstairs hallway. Shivering, she picked up the candle and made her way to a chair to retrieve her coat and put it on over her nightgown.
She listened intently and heard some thumping noises. She wasn’t sure if the source of the banging was Sam or the storm…or something else. Someone might have climbed the wooden staircase that could be accessed from the beach. Still, that would have been difficult because the surf was so high it was probably crashing up against the bottom of the stairs.
“Sam! Sam!” Amelia called. “Where are you? Sam, is that you?”
There was no response.
Listen to my interview with Quinn Barrett on her podcast about publishing, writing, my books and quotable quotes. Quinn has resumed her podcasts in a new format for Wise Bear Books. Give a listen. Click on the link.
I attended the two-day writers conference, Write On The Sound, over the weekend. Fortunately for me this top notch writers conference was held in Edmonds where I live. It was a beautiful autumn day and the conference was held about seven or eight blocks from my house.
I attended workshops aimed at improving your writing craft. One of my favorites was the two hour session called “Pump Up Your Plot” under the tutelage of Bill Dietrich. He’s the author of the New York best selling Ethan Gage Series and a half a dozen other novels. Bill’s a career journalist who shared a Pulitzer Prize at the Seattle Times. There was an interesting discussion about the changing world of literature. Editors continue to push writers to pump up the plot and have a slam-bang beginning to pull readers into the story. “Classic” literary works would have a tough time if they were just coming into the market today. Ponderous and lengthy descriptions and literary musings such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger and Ernest Hemingway could fall under the editor’s knife.
One of my favorite events was the “Solving the Mystery” panel of four authors discussing constructing a mystery and amping up the suspense.
The keynote address was given by noted author Benjamin Percy. His humorous hour long talk was somewhat modeled after Rocky Balboa training for a fight. Percy talked about “Going the Distance: A Training Guide To The Writing Life.”
The conference came at a great time for me as I’m in the middle of extensive review of the galleys of my new novel “Fog City Strangler” after it was worked over by my editor. The conference was inspiring and it helped my resolve to fight your way through problems that every writer faces.
It was the 28th annual Write On The Sound conference. Great job Edmonds Arts Council and volunteers.