Drop Dead, a brand new thriller series by author James L’Etoile
Guest Post + Book & Author Info + Giveaway
Drop Dead: A Nathan Parker Detective Novel
Hundreds go missing each year making the dangerous crossing over the border. What if you were one of them?
While investigating the deaths of undocumented migrants in the Arizona desert, Detective Nathan Parker finds a connection to the unsolved murder of his partner on a human smuggling run. The new evidence lures Parker over the border in search of the truth, only to trap him in a strange and dangerous land. If he’s to survive, Parker must place his life in the hands of the very people he once pursued.
Border violence, border politics, and who is caught in between. The forces behind it might surprise you.
Praise for Dead Drop:
James L’Etoile is such a talented and terrific storyteller! His real-life experience in the criminal justice system gives his compelling, high-stakes thrillers an authenticity that only a savvy insider can provide. You’ll be turning the pages as fast as you can!
~ Hank Phillippi Ryan USA Today Bestselling Author of HER PERFECT LIFE
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
Series: The Detective Nathan Parker Series, Book 1
Guest Post by James L’Etoile —Author of Drop Dead
Thank you for the chance to guest post here at Mystery of Writing. I’m excited about the release of my latest novel, Dead Drop in the next week. Dead Drop involves border violence, border politics, and those caught in between. It’s the first in a new series set in the desert southwest and includes some colorful characters. I thought I’d talk about one of the most asked questions at book events—where do the ideas come from?
In terms of my creative well, I’m fortunate to draw upon twenty-nine years deep in the criminal justice system. I worked in a maximum-security prison where “plots” take on a completely different meaning. I’ve written novels and short stories involving serial killers, prison gang enforcers, and convicts serving life. It gives you a unique view of life in another world.
The storyline for Dead Drop didn’t come together based upon one event or incident. This one’s been wearing on me for a while until it grabbed me and demanded to be written next. We’ve all seen the news over the past six years—immigration is a politically charged issue. Wherever you position yourself on the issue, the one common denominator is the people caught in the center of this struggle.
Dead Drop isn’t an appropriation of a migrant’s journey. My main characters live north of the border and experience the end results of undocumented migration in different ways. Nathan Parker is a detective in Arizona and his partner was murdered by a smuggler bringing people across the border. Billie Carson knows the land and the routes over the border, and together they follow the trail of undocumented migrant murders which tie back to the killing of Nathan’s partner.
In California, there are over ten thousand men serving time, who also have what’s called an Immigration Hold. This means federal authorities have placed a detainer on them. When they complete their state prison terms, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes them for federal prosecution and deportation proceedings.
These offenders aren’t the people you see on the news, migrating over the border with their families in search of a better life. Often, they had a record of previous deportation, with long histories of violent crimes in this country. But underneath that long criminal history, most of them made their first entry into the United States to escape conditions in their homelands.
Some left El Salvador to avoid the vicious gang terror inflicted by Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. The group began as a collective to protect Salvadoran migrants in Los Angeles, but soon branched out into extortion, rape, and murder. Refusing an order to take part in their criminal organization results in threats to their families. Others sought a means to send money back home until the Mexican Mafia or the Cartels forced them to traffic narcotics. Still, others turned to crime out of desperation, unable to support themselves, or their families, in this strange and unforgiving land. A bleak future for these men.
Talking with these men, observing what had happened to them, it left me wondering how much of their life was determined by chance? A chance they made it over the border and stayed out of the grasp of these criminal groups. A chance they found jobs, supported their families, and avoided ICE raids? A chance they found one person who accepted them?
Chance. It got me thinking about how life would have been different, if chance leaned in a difference direction for the undocumented migrants who ended up spending years in state prison.
Dead Drop blends many of these stories, and while I don’t pretend to capture the immigrant experience, there is a level of fear, hopelessness, and desperation we can all identify with. Hope seeps through the cracks and sometime hope is enough. I heard that theme many times over the years. Little did I know that I’d use my time in prison as a creative wellspring.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming review of Drop Dead!
Meanwhile, read a previous interview with James L’Etoile. Click the link here.
James L’Etoile —Author of Drop Dead
James L’Etoile uses his twenty-nine years behind bars as an influence for his novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is a former associate warden in a maximum-security prison, a hostage negotiator, facility captain, and director of California’s state parole system.
He is a nationally recognized expert witness on prison and jail operations. He has been nominated for the Silver Falchion for Best Procedural Mystery, and The Bill Crider Award for short fiction.
His published novels include: Black Label, At What Cost, Bury the Past, and Little River. Look for Dead Drop in the summer of 2022.
To learn more about James, click on his name, photo, or any of the following links: Goodreads, BookBub – @crimewriter, Instagram – @authorjamesletoile, Twitter – @jamesletoile & Facebook – @AuthorJamesLetoile
Visit all the Stops on the Tour!
06/27 Guest post @ Novels Alive
07/01 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
07/04 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
07/05 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
07/06 Review @ Novels Alive
07/07 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
07/07 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
07/08 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
07/11 Interview @ I Read What You Write
07/12 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
07/13 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books
07/13 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
07/14 Showcase @ Nesies Place
07/15 Review @ Quiet Fury Books
07/16 Review @ Cassidys Bookshelves
07/20 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres
07/21 Review @ Melissa As Blog
07/22 Review @ Enjoyingbooksagain
Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020
The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Out July 19.